Note: What is this I don't even...
The first thing he noticed upon opening his eyes was that he still had eyes to open. It was enough to make him blink (twice) in genuine surprise, before he turned his awareness inward. The last thing he remembered was a boom and the searing agony of being ripped apart at the molecular level.
Right. He might need to think just a little bit past that part.
He blinked again as it registered. The nuke. Manhattan. Operation FIREBREAK. For all intents and purposes, he had fully believed that he had died. Nothing had come close to comparing to the feeling of that much concentrated, super-heated radiation slamming into him from what, on a nuclear scale, constituted point-blank range. He had all but dissolved, and here he was. Blinking. With his eyes.
He rolled onto his back and stared at the sky. A decidedly clear, dark sky. Not polluted like Manhattan or tinted red from a nearby Hive. Clear. Clearer than any sky he could ever remember seeing firsthand.
Something brushed against his body before draining sluggishly away and he felt his skin crawl in irritation. Water. A lake? That made sense. He'd detonated the nuke over water, after all.
He took another moment to appreciate the feeling of being in one relatively intact piece before pushing to his feet. With a flick of biomass he cleared his form of sand and grain, staring out at what could only be a tower before him.
It sure as hell wasn't any tower he'd ever seen before.
He blinked (only the fifth time he'd done so since awakening in the morgue) as his mind automatically searched for anyone in his myriads of consumed victims that had seen or been to this lake before, and came up empty.
The odds of that happening were astronomically low.
The only logical explanation was that he had either been unconscious for so long that the earth had completely reshaped itself, or he was actually dead. And he was almost positive that he wasn't dead.
Alex Mercer, codename: ZEUS, living weapon of mass destruction, personification of the Blacklight virus, turned to stare at the man in silver armor gaping at him from a nearby dock, gripping a sword and a shield in his hands, and knew that he was most definitely not in Kansas anymore.
Alex kept silver-blue eyes locked on the brown ones of the man on the pier, gaze blown wide as he watched Alex like one might watch a particularly venomous snake. Not surprising, really. Alex was used to those kinds of gazes, although generally he was threatened with rockets and guns, not… swords.
"Maker's breath…" the man on the pier breathed, and Alex cocked a brow.
Maker's breath? Who, or what, was the Maker? Had he stumbled onto some kind of cult? Alex sighed. That would be just his luck, wouldn't it? Alex took a step forward, holding up his hands to show his projected innocence. "Look, I'm not going to hurt you. I just need to know where the hell I am."
The silver armored man jerked back when Alex got too close, brandishing his sword in a particular manner that triggered memories Alex hadn't even known he'd had. This man knew how to use a sword. He wasn't just waving it around for show, and Alex halted his forward march. While he seriously doubted the weapon would do much to harm him, Alex was dangerously low on biomass and didn't fancy having his arm chopped off and being unable to regenerate it.
"Stay back, demon!" the man hissed, raising his shield, and Alex froze.
"Demon?" Alex repeated dumbly, blinking. He'd been called a lot of things, but demon was a new one. "I'm not a demon."
"I won't fall for your tricks," the man insisted, tightening his grip on his sword. Alex frowned. This was proving to be more trouble than it was worth. Playing nice was obviously getting him nowhere.
"You call me a demon? Fine. I can be a demon." Alex let his biomass crawl over his arms until the claws spread from his fingers, long and metallic in the light from the moon overhead, and smirked when the armored man paled. To his credit, though, the man didn't drop his weapon or run away. Not that he had anywhere to run, what with the lake at his back and Alex at his front. "Let's see how demonic I can be."
With speed the human couldn't hope to track, Alex crossed the span between them and had his claws outstretched, ready to tear his head from his shoulders. Amazingly, the human pulled his shield up in time to block the first set of claws, and Alex congratulated him by jamming his free hand through the silver armor and into his torso, effectively silencing whatever other names the man planned on calling him with a choked gasp.
He peered around the man's pauldron and saw the tips of his claws protruding from his back. His shield had taken the brunt of his other claws, although the only reason he hadn't simply stabbed straight through it instead of denting the metal back into his arm was his lack of sufficient biomass.
Well, Alex mused as he felt his tendrils crawl from his skin to engulf the wide-eyed, dying man in the strange silver armor, what do you know? I guess I am a demon.
Templar. What a strange occupation. Alex sat on the pier, one leg dangling almost in the horrid water of the lake, the other pulled to his chest as he thought. The man's memories had quite happily answered all of his questions, and then some.
He was no longer in Manhattan. No. Screw that. He was no longer on Earth. This was not a land of technology and guns and terrorism. This was a land of elves and dwarves, of castles and forests.
This was a land of magic.
Alex would have scoffed at the very idea of a thing like magic existing, but the memories playing behind his eyes from the consumed Templar were impossible to ignore. He had been a jail warden, in a way, for the mages in that tower across the lake. Apparently magic was dangerous, and because mages had the potential for danger, they were locked away as soon as they were discovered.
He wasn't going to make any assumptions about whether or not magic was really dangerous until he had more information. The perspective of the warden was usually vastly different from that of the prisoners, after all.
Alex stood and put his hands in his pockets, hood casting shadows on his face, as he stared out at the tower. He was curious, insanely curious, about the mages within. But if the Templar's memories were at all accurate and not colored by prejudice, magic had the real potential to be quite harmful. Ice and lightning had never been his friends, and to think that people in that building had the ability to shoot both out of their hands…
Then a grin pulled at his lips. If he consumed a mage, would that give him the ability to use magic? He quite liked the idea of being able to shoot fireballs out of his eyes, or however it was mages went about casting spells. He glanced at the small boat rocking nearby, and then glared distastefully at the water surrounding him.
It was settled. He'd go across, find out as much as he could about the mages there, consume a few to see if the powers could be learned, and then be out again before this world's equivalent of Blackwatch swarmed the place.
He stepped into the boat—thankful for once that he didn't have the same mass he'd accumulated in Manhattan, or the flimsy wooden vessel would have buckled and sank beneath his weight—and began the slow drift across the lake.
The massive doors seemed to be bolted shut, but that was nothing compared to a being like Alex Mercer, and he pushed them open as if they were no heavier than a sliding glass window. Immediately, he knew something was quite possibly wrong. He saw Templars running around like chickens with their heads cut off, barricading the far door while a bunch of wounded men were treated with bandages and red potions on the far side of the room.
Alex didn't bother with a disguise. The Templars seemed too preoccupied to have noticed him anyway, and he made his way towards the bolted doors where he assumed the mages were. Finally someone grabbed his shoulder and the virus within him bristled with the urge to lash out and remove the offending limb, but instead Alex reined it in and turned with a curious tilt of his head to the stern brown glare directed at him.
Knight-Commander Greagoir, his memories whispered, and Alex reassessed the man's worth by raking his ice blue gaze over the thick silver armor. This man was important, and Alex had made a name for himself by consuming important men.
"How did you get into the Tower? Jacobs was supposed to be guarding the docks."
"He wasn't doing a very good job," Alex informed him dryly, a smirk pulling at his lip. Greagoir was clearly not amused.
"This is no place for civilians. I'm going to have to ask you to leave. Immediately."
So far, the Knight-Commander was being infinitely more gracious than 'Jacobs' had been. Alex decided to extend him the same courtesy. Treat others as you wish to be treated, and all that.
"What's going on? Aren't there supposed to be mages in here?"
Greagoir sighed and stepped back, rubbing a gauntleted hand across his face. He looked tired. Weary. Alex kept a brow raised, waiting for the response. His usefulness was directly tied into how long Alex allowed him to live.
"We've lost control of the Tower," he finally admitted, bitterly. "Demons and abominations stalk the halls; we're waiting for the Rite of Annulment to arrive from Denerim before we can cleanse the demons from the area."
Alex frowned. Rite of Annulment. They'll kill the mages. He couldn't let that happen. If the mages were all dead, he wouldn't be able to consume any and figure out how they worked.
"I'll make you a deal," Alex offered, grinning wide. The Knight-Commander stepped back uneasily. "I'll go in and handle your little pest problem, and in return you don't murder the people I came here to see. Sound good?"
"Abominations are a force to be reckoned with," the man warned, and Alex was pleasantly surprised the Templar hadn't just refused him outright.
"So am I," Alex grinned wider. "So what do you say?"
Greagoir frowned deeply, looking displeased. And then he sighed. "I'm locking the doors behind you. I won't open them for anyone less than the First Enchanter. If any mage could survive in there, it would be Irving."
Irving. Alex filed that away for further use. He wasn't here to save the mages so much as eat them, but Greagoir didn't need to know that.
"I'll keep an eye out."
"May the Maker watch over you."
It turned out that there weren't really any mages left on the first floor. He did, however, literally run into a large, bulbous red thing that reminded him almost uncomfortably of a large Walker. Unlike a Walker, however, this… thing… had claws as long as his own and topped him by a good few inches. It was marginally intelligent, but not smart enough to know better than to lash out at him.
Alex repaid the favor by tearing the thing in half, looking dubiously at the black ichor seeping into the floor in place of blood. Opting to step over it rather than take his chances with consumption, Alex was positive that after seeing that abomination—that's what it was… abomination—that nothing else in the Tower could surprise him.
That lasted about two minutes, until he came face to… face?... with a blob of molten lava with anger management issues. The Templar in his head rather nervously informed him that this was what they called a rage demon, the supposed weakest of several tiers of demon plaguing the Fade.
Alex filed that away under 'worry about this at a later date' as he ducked another enraged swing of fiery claws. Extreme heat didn't affect him as much as other things could, but he still didn't fancy getting set on fire anytime soon. He settled for ripping a nearby desk out of the floor and beating the demon into the ground with it. The demon sunk into the floor with an agonized wail and Alex scowled.
Were there even any mages left in the tower?
He had that question answered in the very next room, where he saw a few people with some children huddled in a far corner, and an elderly woman sustaining some kind of blue barrier across the room. One of the children had fixed wide, horrified eyes on him, and idly Alex wondered if he should bother dismissing his claws or not. He chose against it, seeing as how he wasn't here to make friends, and looked over what he assumed were the mages. They were wearing dresses, even the men—robes, the Templar insisted. The old woman's dress—robe—was green, and seemed to hold the most bearing in the face of whatever was going on, so he approached her.
One of the other mages caught sight of him across the room and pointed, shrieking. "Wynne! Look out!"
'Wynne' whirled, brandishing a stick—staff!—in one hand and a nimbus of glowing red in the other. Her eyes widened at the sight of Alex standing behind her, metallic claws covered by black ichor and scorch marks from the rage demon, cocking a brow over ice blue eyes from beneath his grey hood.
"Are you the mages?" Alex asked her, trying for civility. Wynne's eyes widened further, and her gaze switched between his claws and his glowing eyes in befuddlement. Alex's own gaze flicked to the stick—STAFF—and what could only be fire magic in her other hand, and decided the question was irrelevant.
"Stay back, abomination," Wynne hissed instead, taking a step back. Alex sighed heavily, fixing a silver-blue eye on her.
"You know, all this name calling is really starting to tick me off. I'm not a demon, I'm not an abomination…" Alex paused, considering. "Well, I might be an abomination, but not in the way you're using the word." He shook his head. "Are you all that's left?"
Wynne hesitated. Alex's lack of hostility so far had obviously put her on the defensive. A confused defensive, but the old woman hadn't lowered her weapon yet. "Some of the Senior Enchanters are being held hostage by Uldred, up in the Harrowing Chamber. We are all that managed to escape before we lost the upper levels."
"Uldred?" Alex rolled that name around in his head, and the Templar offered a picture of a bald, steel-eyed older gentleman with a propensity for slitting his wrists and creeping everyone out. Alex smirked. If 'Uldred' was able to capture so many mages, it was feasible to assume he was the most powerful mage in the tower, and therefore marked for death. "I'll take care of it."
Alex slid around the still nervous woman and rapped on the blue barrier with his claws, looking meaningfully back at her.
"You plan on lowering this any time soon, grandma?"
Wynne bristled. "Now see here young man," Shit. Is she about to berate me? "That barrier is the only thing keeping the demons from reaching the children. If you expect me to lower it, then I'm coming with you to ensure Irving is safe."
Alex rolled his eyes. Fantastic. The old lady wanted to tag along. "I don't need some old woman slowing me down. This is a tower. You sure your joints can handle all those stairs?"
He had not been expecting her to hit him with the stick—staff—and so he did not dodge in time to avoid what would have been, had he been human, a rather large knot on the back of his head. As it was, he was too stunned by the fact an old woman had just thwacked him with her staff to retaliate.
"Listen carefully, because I'm only going to say this once," Wynne continued in the calmest, most in-control tone of voice Alex had ever heard. "I've lived in this tower my whole life. Stairs are the least of your concerns, young man. I don't know who, or what, you are, but if you're dead-set on facing Uldred, you're going to need my help. I didn't become a Senior Enchanter by sitting on my rear in the library knitting sweaters." She fixed him with a pointed look that made him feel like he was only seven inches tall. His biomass twitched uneasily. He didn't like feeling weak, or small, and especially not compared to an elderly lady who was a good three inches shorter than he was. "Now, stand aside son, and I'll lower the barrier so we can go find Irving."
Alex opened his mouth to argue, to protest, but she sent him another Look and he shrunk back in confusion. "Yes ma'am."
Wynne nodded once, with purpose, and waved her staff at the barrier until it shimmered out of place. With another parting stare at Alex, as if to say I've got my eye on you, boy, she marched further into the tower with a bewildered virus at her heels.
It became quickly apparent that Wynne could, in fact, hold her own in a fight. He'd never witnessed magic firsthand before, but something told him that she hadn't been exaggerating when she said he'd need her help.
Wynne, too, realized that her services as a healer were Not Necessary when one was following the Blacklight virus through a tower, and had long ago switched to offensive spells that had ice and fire flinging across the room almost too fast for Alex to track their origin.
The first time they ran into some other mages, Alex had thought they were survivors, like Wynne. And then they'd opened fire on Alex and one of them had turned into a bulbous abomination, and Alex had leapt at them, claws outstretched. One of the mages was so frightened he actually dropped his staff, and the others froze mid-cast at the sight of Alex leaping at them like a wild animal. The two still holding weapons had their heads ripped off and were summarily consumed, and the third passed out before Alex could reach him.
Alex paused over the unconscious mage—blood mage—his new memories whispered, as he focused inward. He knew the motions behind magic, now, and knew the logic behind using it, but there was no connection. No spark. No bridge to the Fade, a voice whispered. Alex frowned. Being inhuman, and lacking any real reason to ever go to sleep and dream, it wasn't surprising he didn't have a connection to the mage's Fade. It was still disappointing though.
He stomped the downed mage's head into the floor in irritation, ignoring Wynne's noise of shocked disapproval behind him.
"I wanted to shoot fire out of my eyes…" Alex mumbled forlornly, turning for the next door and pointedly not addressing Wynne's curiously raised brow as he passed her. He stopped in the doorway and turned, more than a little surprised to find Wynne still following him despite his gruesome massacre just moments before. "Aren't you afraid of me?"
Wynne slowly raised the other brow, and Alex felt insignificant again. Damn her. "I expected little else from an eldritch abomination. Human you may appear, but I can sense the void in you where life should reside. Besides," Wynne pushed him aside with her staff so she could step through the door. "This is neither the time nor place to indulge in petty fear."
Well, she had a point there. Alex stalked after her, not liking the fact the old woman made so much sense. It made it harder to rationalize his desire to consume her just so he wouldn't feel threatened. She was an old woman. How could she possibly be a threat? He dismissed his odd paranoia and quickly took the lead again, not so much for the strategy of it but for the iota of control he gained by being in front. He liked her at his back as much as he'd like having Greene there, but at least this way he got to choose what rooms they looked in and what battles they fought.
He pushed open a large door and immediately tensed, claws flexing. A tall bulbous creature that wasn't quite an abomination stared lazily back at him, almost floating off the floor. He felt Wynne stiffen and she raised her staff defensively beside him, and Alex raked blue eyes over the—sloth demon—before him.
"Wow," Alex muttered, "and I thought Greene had been ugly."
If the demon heard him, it made no sign. "Why do you fight? Wouldn't it be… easier to just let go? You deserve a nice… long… rest…" Alex raised an unimpressed brow, and then turned to stare at Wynne when she began to tremble.
"You must… resist…" she managed to grate out, leaning with both hands on the staff she'd planed between her feet for balance. Alex stared at her incredulously.
"This is really not the time for a nap, old woman," Alex reminded her, eyeing her as she began to sink towards the floor. He looked back at the sloth demon, who had its… eye?... fixed on him. Alex was distinctly Not Amused. He really didn't have time for Wynne to have a nice snooze in the middle of a damn fight.
"You should take a moment," the demon coaxed, slithering closer. Alex bristled, claws twitching, as Wynne collapsed into an undignified heap on the floor. Alex filed the image away to gloat over later. "Just close your eyes and relax… just for a minute…"
Alex frowned. Was it trying to hypnotize him or some shit? "What'd you do to the old lady?"
The sloth demon paused its approach, seeming confused, or maybe amused. "I… encouraged her to take a moment to rest her weary… old… bones. She… fought her deserved respite. Much as you do… why do you resist what is… rightfully yours?"
Alex snorted. "I can sleep when I'm dead. Which means never." Alex lurched forward and impaled the sloth demon with the claws on his right hand, not enough to kill it but enough to get his point across. "I'd appreciate it if you'd wake up grandma here so we can be on our way. Or I can just eat you and wake her up myself."
The sloth demon's expression never changed, even impaled as it was. It roved a lazy dull eye from Alex to Wynne and back again. "So… weary. Tired of… mind and soul. Yet you… deny yourself your rest. Perhaps… perhaps..." The demon raised a clawed hand and waved it at Wynne, who jerked and struggled to her knees, panting. "I… see now. You do not belong. Release… me… and I shall endeavor to try harder next time."
Alex rolled an eye towards a still-recovering Wynne, and then back at the demon in his grip. "Yeah, no thanks, I don't really want you to bug me again."
Before the demon could speak again, Alex stabbed his other hand through the thing's face and it shrieked, jerking erratically before falling still. It evaporated like water into the air, and Alex stared at the place it had just been before turning to stare at Wynne, who was looking back at him with an odd expression on her face.
"Have a nice nap?" Alex grinned broadly, flashing teeth. Wynne sighed and struggled to her feet, walking slowly towards the body of a man splayed out nearby. Alex watched curiously as she rifled through his robes until she produced a small book, holding it aloft for Alex to see.
"The Litany of Adralla. We will need it to defeat Uldred." Wynne frowned. "How did you resist the sloth demon's spell?"
"What spell?" Alex repeated, confused. "I didn't see him cast anything."
She gave him an odd look again before shaking her head and using her staff as a walking stick, heading for the stairs. "Come. Irving needs our help."
Alex shrugged and followed her up. What's the worst that could happen?
Solona stepped gingerly over yet another mutilated corpse and grimaced, her expression of disgust mirrored on her fellow Warden Alistair's face. Something had torn through the tower like a bloody tornado, and ripped apart abominations and blood mages on its way up. She could feel the telltale shimmers in the Fade from where demons had been dispatched, rage most likely from the anger she felt when she stepped through them.
When Greagoir had told her that someone had already volunteered to help clear the tower of demons, Solona had expected to find the body of some foolhardy adventurer being chewed on by abominations. What she found instead was a slaughter. What surprised her the most, though, was Thomas' story of how Wynne had opted to accompany this mysterious stranger to the Harrowing Chamber to save Irving. The man had obviously been in shock, babbling about a man in a hood with claws for hands, drenched in the black ichor of slain demons, and Solona had put him to sleep with a discreet spell so he wouldn't worry the children.
"I don't like this, Sol," Alistair muttered from beside her, his grip on his sword tightening. Solona privately agreed. It didn't help that instead of bodies, some of the blood mages were just piles of blood without a corpse to accompany them. It was almost as if something had stolen their bodies. Or maybe eaten them. She shuddered. "What if that mage was right? What if it's some kind of new demon?"
"Let's pretend it's not for the sake of my sanity," Solona replied, forcing a bright smile to diffuse the tension. The question had crossed her mind, though. Maker forbid some kind of new demon had crawled out of the Fade capable of this level of carnage, but it was looking more and more likely to be the case. "Come now, stay alert. I don't want to trip over a desire demon and find myself enthralled."
"Tch," Zevran scoffed from somewhere to her left. She could never see the assassin unless he walked right in front of her. Blasted rogues. "I, for one, would not mind a nice enthralling. It has been at least a week since I was last enthralled, as it were." Solona bit back a laugh. This was not the time for levity.
Rufus whuffed his agreement from her side, and she scratched him behind the ears for encouragement.
Zevran materialized beside her and Solona jumped in surprise, biting off her protest when she saw his raised hand and serious expression. "Do you hear that, my dear Warden?"
Solona paused and listened. She could hear faint voices. They sounded far too calm and collected for someone inside this tower. "Yes. Voices. Calm voices."
Zevran nodded approvingly, slipping back into the shadows as if he'd never been. "Tread carefully. We are not as alone here as we suspected."
Solona gripped her staff tighter and tried to walk silently, giving that up in moments when it became obvious Alistair was not capable of doing likewise in his splintmail. He smiled sheepishly when she turned an unimpressed brow on him. Sorry, he mouthed, and Solona just smirked and kept walking, eyes and ears alert.
Probably more blood mages, she mused, then paused briefly. They'd be the first living blood mages they encountered so far. Whoever their mysterious helper was had been very thorough. She saw light flicking from a slightly open door, and pointed wordlessly, knowing Zevran was probably already hovering by the entrance. She crept closer and pushed the door open, staff ready and an ice spell hovering on her fingertips, only to hesitate at the spectacle before her.
The first thing she noticed was Wynne, leaning on her staff and looking mildly uncomfortable. Then she saw a dead Templar—no great loss, that—with the unmistakable form of a purple desire demon hovering near the corpse.
And then she saw him. Or rather, it. At first glance, she thought she was hallucinating, because the man in front of the desire demon had long metal claws instead of hands, with spikes of black and crimson crawling up his arms and disappearing into a black jacket and grey hood. She couldn't see his face, but she could see the face of the demon, and Solona would swear she'd never seen a desire demon look so nervous before.
"Aren't you going to ask me what I desire?" a low black voice rumbled, and Solona jumped a little as she realized it was coming from the clawed man. "Isn't that what you ladies do?"
"I do not need to ask," the demon hissed, taking a slinking step back. "I can see it in your heart, in your mind. You thirst for destruction, for death. I can give you that… if you wish it."
Solona didn't think the demon sounded particularly enthused about doing such a thing.
The clawed man took a step forward to match her step back and the demon hissed, her own small claws flexing. "See, the problem with that is I don't have a heart. And I'm perfectly capable of fulfilling my own desires, thank you very much."
Faster than she could track, the man had crossed the distance between them and the demon's head separated from her shoulders, burning to ash in a flare of purple flame. The man rolled his shoulders and glanced to an exasperated Wynne.
"I told you I could resist her," he sounded smug. Wynne sighed. It was a sound Solona was very familiar with.
"So you did," Wynne admitted, turning back for the door and pausing when she saw Solona, Alistair, and Rufus gathered there. Solona thought she caught a glimpse of Zevran slinking around towards the back of the clawed man, but wasn't sure. "Solona?"
The clawed man cocked his head and glanced her way, and Solona was surprised to find his face looked moderately human. Other than the slightly luminescent blue eyes and the perpetual frown, he could have been an ordinary guy. Oh, and the claws. Can't forget those.
"Friend of yours, grandma?" the man asked, not sounding as if he particularly cared one way or the other.
Wynne, however, was smiling broadly as she walked to Solona and pulled her into a brief hug. "A former apprentice. I'm so glad to see you're safe, child."
Solona blushed. "Er, yeah. Same here." She flicked curious green eyes back to Wynne's companion in time to see Zevran creeping up behind him. What is that elf doing now?
Whatever it was, the clawed man must have seen her eyes flick behind him because he turned on his heel and Zevran froze in place, caught.
"Greetings, my friend," Zevran began smoothly, straightening and dusting off his leather armor as if nothing out of the ordinary had just happened.
"We're not friends," the clawed man informed him in a voice that could have cracked glass, but Zevran was not deterred.
"Not yet! But I hold out hope that we may become more closely acquainted with time."
Solona let her head fall into her hands. He had just seen a man tear off a demon's head with his claws, and the first thing he does is flirt with the man? Solona sighed, letting her shoulders fall, and felt Alistair's heavy hand clap her on the shoulder.
"Maybe if we're lucky, he'll get rid of Zevran for us!" Alistair said cheerily, chuckling.
Alex kept his eyes locked on the smiling amber ones of the elf in front of him. This was the first elf he'd seen in person since arriving, and he had to admit he was curious. The elf was also incredibly silent on his feet. Alex wouldn't have known he was there at all if he hadn't seen the girl Wynne had called Solona glance behind him.
He wasn't fooled by the friendly façade the elf had adopted once he'd been caught. This elf was dangerous. Perhaps not to him, but he merited watching. Very close watching.
Alex turned away from the smiling elf, keeping one eye on him as he stalked for the doorway. Wynne, used by now to his manner of walking in a straight line regardless of what or who was in his way, stepped aside. Solona scrambled to follow, but Alex found his path blocked by a man in splintmail who looked to be a few wheels short of a wagon. Alex stopped, not really wanting to just plow through the man in case it made Wynne give him another lecture on proper manners, and stared the man in the eye. Miraculously, the reddish blond man was as tall as he was, which was quite a feat since Alex had yet to meet a man other than Cross that matched him in height.
"It would be beneficial to your health if you stepped aside," Alex informed him, and the man frowned briefly before stepping out of the way. Alex brushed past him, heading for the final door which hopefully led to the Harrowing Chamber. And Uldred. He grinned, flexing his claws.
He could hear Wynne following behind him, and several other pairs of feet. Great. He'd picked up some more strays. This sort of thing never happened back in Manhattan.
"Wynne," he heard a female voice ask, "who exactly is this man?"
"He's the one helping us save the tower," came Wynne's firm reply. "Other than that, I know as little as you. He hasn't attempted to kill me yet, so I imagine he can be trusted at least that much."
Alex cleared his throat from up ahead, not looking back at them, gratified when they fell silent. "I have ears, you know," he called back. "And I'd appreciate it if I could use them for something other than filtering out your conversation from tracking my prey."
"Prey?" he heard one of them whisper, but ignored it favor of pressing his shoulder against a bolted door until it yielded, snapping open.
"You are a hunter, then?" a voice asked casually by his elbow, and Alex jerked away, snarling, claws tensed with the effort of not lashing out. It was that elf again. Damn it but the man was quiet.
"Yes," Alex growled. "And I don't like it when people sneak up on me."
"My apologies," the elf replied, smiling wide. His voice indicated he was not sorry at all. "I shall endeavor to walk more obviously in your presence."
Alex just growled low at him, and the elf chuckled. Did he have a death wish? Alex eyed the man warily as he began heading up the steps, tense. To his irritation, the elf matched his pace and stayed at his side. While this didn't bother him quite as much since he knew the elf was there, it was still strange having someone walk so close to him, especially when he had his claws drawn.
"Why is no one in this damn tower afraid of me?" Alex muttered to himself, pointedly ignoring the answering laugh from the elf tagging along beside him.
"We should be nearing the Harrowing Chamber," Wynne broke in, and Alex nodded.
He still wasn't sure what use a book with chants in it was going to be against Uldred, but Alex intended to consume the man whatever the cost. He was obviously influential, and powerful, and that was a delicious combination where targets were concerned. Alex smirked at the thought, pausing in front of a door. He could hear quiet whispering from beyond it, and he kicked the door off its hinges rather than working it open. He glanced to the side and saw a pink barrier with a man rocking on his knees behind it, and dismissed it as Not Important.
He saw Solona and Wynne attempting to speak to the kid, but Alex was too busy running his claws around the seam of the door, looking for a weak spot. He wanted to make a quieter entrance here, so he could observe Uldred before planning his attack. Unfortunately, stealth was not something Alex was particularly adept at, and while he had the memories required to pick locks, he lacked the proper tools or the patience with which to do so.
"Allow me," the elf began with a flourish, producing a needle and a pin as if from thin air. Alex eyed the elf before stepping aside, watching the man kneel in front of the door and deftly unlocking it with ease.
Alex glared at the door. It would have taken him at least three times that long to get the lock open without breaking it. "Thanks," Alex growled out, mostly just so Wynne wouldn't smack him with her staff again. The elf beamed and stepped back, bowing dramatically towards the open doorway.
Alex furrowed his brow at the strange elf before shrugging it off and stepping through, eyes immediately finding a bald man matching the Templar's description. He was surrounded by abominations, and there were some mages tied up on the ground around him.
Alex grinned, letting his biomass writhe and reshape itself into a blade as long as he was tall, flexing the newly formed fingers on his left hand and readying the blade on his right. He heard the elf swear under his breath and grinned wider.
It was time to hunt.
A/N: So I was playing Fallout: New Vegas and it kept crashing every time I tried to leave the BoS bunker, and I /ragequit and stuck Dragon Age: Origins in instead. And then I was like, "Oh wow, I'd forgotten how absolutely awesome this game is!" and after I'd derped around on there some more I decided I should write something. This is what came out. There are like no Prototype / DA crossovers on FF, and so... yeah... I am a bad person. I have the first new chapter of CDC sort of written, but it's NOT RIGHT and it WON'T COOPERATE with me. *pulls out hair in frustration*
I am such a bad person.