Alright folks I've got some announcements to make and while I know some of you won't read them, I hope you will as they pertain to the story possible future story. First a few of you pointed out in chapter 4 that Naruto shouldn't have had any trouble with the shriek and that he had nothing to worry about from Darkspawn in general except for their poisonous blood since he's stronger and faster than regular people. Additionally people also pointed out that normal humans, elves, and dwarves should be able to take on Darkspawn like that shriek Naruto fought without a problem since it happens in the Dragon Age games all the time.
I just want to point out a few things. For a start to all my readers who pointed out that Naruto is stronger and faster than ordinary people, you are in fact correct, but your also wrong. While its true that Naruto is stronger and faster than ordinary people I've taken this into account with my story. If your expecting me to write this to be one of those godly Naruto cross over stories than stop reading this one now since it won't be. I'm not saying that Naruto is gonna be weak or powerless, but he won't be curb stomping the world. You have to keep in mind that while Naruto isn't a mage his powers don't make it seem that way. Factor in that he's in Kirkwall a city known for its cruelty towards the treatment of mages and I don't think the Templars will believe someone with abilities that only a mage should possess who says he isn't one. Sure I could have just had him pull out his Jinchurikki mode but what then? What else could I have written then? His Jinchurikki mode uses Kurama's demon chakra which can be felt by everyone as something evil and terrifying if they're not used to it. And if you've ever played Dragon Age 2 or even origins you know what happens to demons, and abominations. For those of you who don't they get hunted and killed, plus with the current lack of trust I don't think saying oh and by the way I have the most powerful living demon from back home currently living in my gut is a smart move.
Second the shriek that Naruto was fighting was unique, just like the ogre was and just like the Hurlock with the 2 handed blade was. I'm trying to make this story more realistic and not follow the laws of the game itself. If I wanted to have my creativity restricted by forcing myself to write the story according to the rules and plot line of the Dragon Age games, than I wouldn't be writing this story and I'd just play the games instead. This cross over story is going to be just that a story and so I'm going to change a lot of aspects, events, etc to make the story more realistic and interesting (plus I have to since Naruto was never a part of the DA universe). For those of you who think you'll have difficulty reading the story like this think of it like the story following a unique set of choices only available on a difficulty level higher than Nightmare.
That being said I still appreciate the feed back I received from these reviews as it has given me some ideas for the future. As for my second announcement I want to write another cross over story but I'm looking for a co-author. The reason for this is because it's a Naruto and Star Wars the Clone Wars story, and while I love star wars I don't have a great deal of knowledge on the subject. My level of knowledge is only what I know from all the movies and the episodes I can remember (which isn't a great deal) from the tv show. That being said I really want to write this story or at least see it get written so I will post the idea on my profile as a challenge but now onto the story.
Disclaimer: I own nothing from this story, except whatever I write, OC's and techniques I create and the idea for this cross over. All other characters, techniques, etc, associated with Naruto and Dragon Age don't belong to me though I wish they did.
"talking" "Hmm? You say something?"
'thinking' 'what's that noise'
flash back/memory/recent event
"people speaking in sync"
Chapter 6 A well deserved break
Deep Roads two days after Darkspawn attack
The expedition was currently stopped in a small cavern two days travel from the Darkspawn ambush though this brief respite was a forced one given how exhausted everyone had become. It had been decided that once everything that could be packed up or salvaged had been, the expedition would travel through the only apparent safe route available to them at an increased pace and a forced march. Needless to say the pace exhausted the survivors not to mention the draft animals. Bartrand being the cut throat merchant (not to mention crazy bastard) he was had wanted to press on instead of stopping. Given the reason for their forced pace the survivors might have agreed with the dwarf if not for one simple factor. Bartrand didn't want to press on for the safety of his hired hands, nor was it because he was scared even if only for his own safety after what had happened, something which everyone could have of begrudgingly accepted. No, the dwarf wanted to push on because they were finally making good time of all things.
To his frustration his own brother Varric had over ruled his decision after clearly outlining their odds of survival, thus forcing him to set up camp and giving everyone a well needed respite. Fortunately this time the camp site was situated in a easily defended location having only two points of entry. Further more said entry points were just large enough to allow the wagons through them with a few centimeters of space between their sides, which provided the expedition with a natural protective barrier from ogres who would be vulnerable as they'd have to crawl to make it through the tunnels. Even then it would take a decent amount of effort on their part to make it half way through before being slaughtered by a barrage of lethal magic and/or projectiles from the hired guards. The guards were the happiest about this by far as they had suffered the most losses out of the expedition members. When the ogre had joined the fray it had done so at the perfect moment as reinforcements had been sent from the men left to protect that section of the camp. Those left behind were unable to form a proper defense resulting in the death of many. While incredibly disheartening as the death of those brave men and women was, the expedition still had to push on, at least in the eyes of Bartrand.
The dwarven merchant had only taken the time to 'relieve' the dead of any valuables or useful equipment on their person, before giving the order to pack up and move. He hadn't even taken the time to give the fallen a decent burial, and had expected everyone to just leave the bodies for whatever found them first. Naruto hadn't taken that very well, though he didn't confront the merchant about it. That however was purely due to the fact he was on unstable ground with Varric and the others about leaving them in the dark regarding his own abilities. Something which they had only discovered once he'd entered the battle.
Varric had however seen the foolishness in Bartrand's decision and had made sure the bodies were all put to torch. It was a decision that was equal parts respect and common sense. Respect from the perspective that those who died had sacrificed themselves for the others, something which was not only noble in the eyes of any respectable fighter, but simply demanded a proper burial. Common sense from the fact that it wouldn't due to leave such a large food source for the denizens of the deep roads to find and start living near. After all when it came time for the expedition to return home, it wouldn't bode well if they had to fight their way back home through hungry wildlife or worse yet, more Darkspawn.
As Varric briefly recalled the mass funeral which had been held for their dead, he couldn't help but think back on the information that he'd learned regarding the blonde shinobi. The dwarf smirked a little in amusement as he remembered the relative ease with which that particular information had been given.
Varric was trying his very best to remain calm as he waited for the members of his close knit group to show up. The key word here was trying, something which was becoming more and more difficult by the minute. Like himself some members of their merry little band of misfits had responsibilities of their own to attend to on the expedition in addition to being extra security. Anders helped out by doubling as a physician given his healing abilities which was no surprise. Hawke aside from funding the expedition was there to use his more 'magical' talents to identify more subtle dangers be it from any treasure that might be found or any trap which might try to kill them. Varric had gotten off the easiest out of them as he didn't have any responsibilities outside of keeping an eye out for more conventional traps and providing security. That being said however there was nothing he could do to speed things up for the group to deal with their current situation regarding Naruto.
It wasn't until mid-day that everyone aside from Naruto had their positions shifted around in the expeditions, now ever patrolling guard. It was probably a very fortunate thing as well, given that the dwarf looked as if he might spontaneously combust if he had to wait any longer. Irritated as the marksman may have been, he didn't make a big deal out of the situation, particularly after taking note of Fenris's injuries. Anders had ended up working himself to the bone and then some ensuring Fenris was capable of traveling, not to mention defend himself and while his wounds had been completely healed the pain was still there. Varric quickly pulled himself from the distracting train of thoughts in order to focus on the current dilemma at hand. Breaking up the argument between Fenris and Anders. One stomped foot and a swift jab to the ribs was all it took before the dwarf brought the focus to the topic of Naruto being a mage.
Varric just shook his head at the simultaneous response of Hawke and Anders, not that he blamed them. The dwarf himself was still having a bit of trouble believing this strange turn of events, and he had been an eye witness. As the group discussed the information that Varric had been able to glean through observation, it became clear to the dwarf that the whiskered blonde was a walking contradiction.
"What do you mean his magic isn't possible?"
He had three mages with him, not to mention an escaped former slave to a Tevinter magister and they all agreed the magic Naruto had performed should not have been possible for him to do.
"That's exactly what I mean Varric. The devastating power displayed by those spells you said Naruto cast is proof enough."
Varric just scoffed at Anders. This was one of the things he disliked about magic and mages. Not that he had a severe dislike of mages, but when it came down to a simple eye witness testimony of "I saw Naruto using magic" the mages had to make things more complicated than necessary.
"I think your forgetting that Merrill, Fenris, not to mention myself saw him do that mystical magic crap with our own eyes."
Anders shut his eyes before squeezing the bridge of his nose in frustration. He'd forgotten how frustrating it could be to deal with the magically inept. Before he could dump the responsibility of explaining things to Hawke (and watch in amusement as his fellow mage suffered from the inevitable frustration induced brain aneurysm) however, Merrill decided to jump in with her own statement.
"He means that Naruto's magic was too powerful to have been cast that fast without a focus of some sort."
Varric's look of confusion was enough for Merrill to give a brief run down on the subject of a focus.
"Alright then just to make sure I've got everything right. A focus is an object of some sort typically a staff, that sometimes has enchantments on it?" A nod from the Dalish elf encouraged the marksman to continue his summary of the complicated subject. "And this focus allows mages to cast more powerful spells in a shorter amount of time, whereas without the focus a spell would take twice the amount of time or even longer? And that the more powerful a spell is the more dangerous it is to cast without using a proper focus due to the concentration needed, and the mental strain to prevent the possibility of becoming an abomination?"
The resulting expression of sheer joy on Merrill's face could have blinded an individual had it manifested as light. Still Varric couldn't help but feel as if there was an insult being subtly directed towards him somehow. That however was an issue to deal with at a later date since even with this information something still didn't add up.
"So then why shouldn't Naruto have been able to cast those spells that fast? What's to say he didn't just use those gauntlets of his as a focus?"
Hawke just gave what could only be considered a somewhat dark chuckle. "There's two reasons why a wooden staff is typically used as focus. The first is that a staff is a decent sized, light weight, easily made weapon with good reach. The second however is because that's the smallest a focus can get. The only exception to this rule to date is the hero of Fereldon, and that's only because he acquired a small fraction of knowledge regarding teachings from the Arcane Warriors of old."
Varric narrowed his eyes as he began to think along the same lines merchants did. There had to be a loop hole or something along those lines which Naruto was exploiting. The dwarf sighed in frustration after about fifteen minutes of questioning with no worth while results. That would have been fine with Varric but then Anders and Fenris started an argument with each other and had some how managed to pull Hawke into it. It took about ten minutes to break it up, five had been wasted because Hawke had pulled Varric into the chaos, while the remaining five had the dwarf coming to his senses and breaking it up. It was only after everyone had calmed down that Varric voiced a rather puzzling question.
"Where did Merrill go?"
As he stood watching the expedition members setting up camp, Varric just shook his head an expression of mirth clearly visible for all to see. 'There we were fighting mindlessly and she just straight up asks him for the truth and gets it no less.' After learning some of Naruto's skill set, Varric and the others were some what understanding given the city they all lived in. Kirkwall was essentially a double edged sword, on one side the blade consisted of the Templars who were quite infamous throughout the various circles of magi for their cruelty towards mages. Then there was the opposite side which consisted of the apostates and the members of the mage underground. While they did a great deal of good regarding their aid for mages they could be just as dangerous and cruel as the Templars when something caught their interest. In a sense they could be considered terrorists, the only reasons that they weren't was because they didn't want to openly draw attention to themselves or paint mages in a worse light than they already were.
"Copper piece for your thoughts Varric"
The dwarf glanced over his shoulder to find Hawke walking up till he stood beside him.
"I thought you knew me better than that. My thoughts are worth at least a sovereign."
Hawke just chuckled softly having expected a response along those lines. Humor aside however he could tell the dwarf was worried about something. He didn't need three guesses to know it was undoubtedly Naruto given everything that had happened of late either.
"You think he told us everything?"
Varric just frowned, crossing his arms as the two observed the expedition members setting up a short term camp site in case they needed to pack up and move quickly. His expression was answer enough for someone like Hawke given how close the two had become in their business deal turned friendship, though the dwarf still voiced his answer.
"No, I'd say he only gave us enough information to prevent any sort of violent outcome. I can't say I entirely blame him considering his abilities, but I wouldn't go as far as trusting him until I do know everything. Not after everything that's happened, particularly when it's so close to home."
Once again Hawke didn't need an explanation to know Varric was referring to Merrill. He had to agree with the dwarf however, the blonde was undoubtedly withholding information from them. That in and of itself was dangerous for a variety of reasons. In their group it seemed to be an unspoken rule among them to know what everyone was capable of, particularly the mages. It might seem stupid to an outsider, but the melee fighters among them would say otherwise. Many a time had their legs been spared and foes distracted by their rushing past them, only to be confronted by Hawke and one of his favorite spells cone of cold.
Then there was the situation regarding Merrill. The events and circumstances of Naruto's arrival were somehow linked to the changes occurring in the young Dalish woman, of that there was no doubt what so ever. For the most part Merrill seemed fine despite the sudden changes that had occurred upon the arrival of the whiskered blonde, which had consisted of a rapid growth of her hair and a change in it's color, change in eye color, loss of facial tattoo, and most disturbingly a secondary source of abnormal mana which for now seemed to just be doing nothing surprisingly. While this was all common information that had been gathered regarding Merrill's...condition...for lack of a better term. It would seem however that they weren't out of the woods just yet with Merrill though.
There had been some more changes that had occurred with the Dalish woman and they had been fairly subtle changes at that. If it hadn't been for Varrics constant accompaniment and surprisingly an observation from Fenris then they might have missed these changes entirely. The first thing had been her eyes, Naruto's arrival had changed them from a dark meadow green by adding specks of amber to them. Through casual observation and his constant time around her, Varric had noticed them change. They were still the same dark meadow green with specks of amber, except now there were also specks of sky blue in them. Anders and Hawke didn't know what to make of this change, then again they still didn't have a clue exactly what they were dealing with.
What was more concerning however was Merrill's apparent growth spurt. Aside from Varric for obvious reasons, Merrill had been the shortest individual in their group in addition to being the physically weakest given her tendency for using magic and staying out of melee, something which Hawke quite enjoyed taking part in. As a result of her reliance on ranged magic Merrill had been rather lacking in muscle which in combination with her elvish heritage made her appear smaller and thinner than most elves despite being Dalish. According to Fenris however, Merrill had apparently grown and not just in height either. A small but amused grin made a brief appearance on the mages face as he recalled the teasing and inevitable fight that broke out between Varric and Fenris from the swordsman's observations or 'ogling' as the dwarf put it.
Still Fenris had been correct in his observations. Merrill had indeed grown but it wasn't by much in regards to height, perhaps a few centimeters otherwise one of them would have noticed much sooner. More importantly however was the change in Merrill's physique, something only those who were close and around her frequently would notice given how slight the change was, and even then only if they were actually looking. Where once Merrill's limbs were thin and lacking in muscle, they'd become more toned and the muscles appeared firmer, giving her a light almost athletic build typical of Dalish hunters in training though not by much. It was obvious however that if this new symptom were to continue she'd probably have quite the athletic build. Despite her condition not appearing to have any negative effects thus far, he and Anders still didn't have any ideas as to what was happening to Merrill.
"Maybe we should take a look at Naruto see if he's going through anything similar to Merrill."
Hawke looked down at his short friend with an expression of confusion. Varric, the one person who cared about Merrill's well being the most and, more than likely had come to view the Dalish woman like a daughter or younger sister, was arguing against an idea that could potentially help her?
"I take it you have a good reason why we shouldn't then?"
Varric turned to look up at Hawke briefly before resuming his people watching, as he voiced his response.
"And exactly what would you look for in Naruto? We've only known him for a little over three weeks, so tell me what exactly would you expect to be different about Naruto since we obviously know him so well?"
Hawke opened his mouth to launch a retort at the dwarf's statement, when he realized just how right Varric was. They wouldn't actually know what to really be looking for in Naruto since they didn't know the true details regarding the blonde's appearance and past.
"The same can also be said for him in regards to us as well."
That statement caused Hawke's eyes to momentarily widen in surprise at the implications of the statement. To just randomly approach Naruto after everything that had happened with such an odd request. Well even a blind man would be capable of seeing such a request as being suspicious. And Naruto was certainly no blind man, in the short time they'd known him, the blonde had fooled them all including Varric with relative ease. Admittedly the blonde had had a few advantages that most others wouldn't have, but even then with little effort on his own part, Naruto had essentially earned a small amount of trust from each of them. Given more time and the lack of certain events the blonde could have easily learned more than enough about all of them to become a threat.
"You make a valid point Varric. However I think we should quietly keep a closer eye on Naruto for the time being, just to be safe."
The dwarf and the mage shared a look with one another from the corner of their eyes. They both already seemed to know the answer to the stated opinion, though once again Varric voiced a response to his friend and confident without the slightest bit of hesitation.
Naruto was loving his new found freedom and it was all thanks to those Darkspawn. Sure he felt guilty that so many people ended up dying as a result but still. He had no doubts what so ever that everyone from back home would most likely agree with him about the subject.
'I'll commit suicide before I ever wear those rags from hell again. I swear when I found out who gave those to me they'll be receiving a very special lesson in the art of pranking, Uzumaki style.'
The grin that made an appearance upon the whiskered blonde's face as these thoughts passed through his head, had more than a few workers shivering in fear. More then a few of them had seen similar looks. Fewer still had seen the end results of such looks. Those that had however would all say the same thing about the recipient of that grin. 'The poor bastards never gonna see it coming till its too late.'
Before Naruto could become too embroiled in schemes of vengeance he was pulled from his thoughts by a sudden albeit brief flare of pain from his right hand. Most individuals wouldn't be concerned with minor flashes of pain from a recent injury as it was something to be expected. Then again most individuals didn't happen to be the last living Uzumaki, not to mention the jinnchurikki of the kyubbi no youko. With these circumstances and given that it had been two days since he'd been injured Naruto was a bit concerned to say the very least. It wasn't like Kurama to make a mistake like this nor would the bijju allow himself to make one. The nature of the seal containing the mightiest bijju within Naruto, despite having been mostly removed by the blonde jinchurikki, ensured the demise of the fox if his host died. It was for that reason Kurama ensured Naruto was in perfect health, something which was also made easier thanks to his Uzumaki blood line, though their recent friendship also helped a bit.
So for Naruto to be feeling pain in a minor injury, and one that also happened not more than two days ago was rather disconcerting to say the least. Then there was the issue with Kurama himself. The fox had been silent ever since they had arrived in Kirkwall. Normally that wouldn't have bothered Naruto very much, at least a few years ago at any rate. Since they had become friends, Kurama had opened up to Naruto more and more as time passed and the two had become the closest of friends rather than just the allies they'd been when fighting off Obito and Madara the first time. Now even the simple comments made by the people around him were enough to spark the bijju into a conversation. Yet in the time since Naruto had arrived in Kirkwall and up to now, Kurama hadn't said a word, nor had he responded to Naruto in any way outside of healing him.
Naruto had tried to enter his mindscape to check on his friend, but everytime he'd attempted to do so he was interrupted by his new companions and his concentration was broken. It took Naruto around half an hour to enter his own mindscape since Kurama generally pulled him in when it was necessary and because of that he hadn't put an overly great emphasis on willingly entering his mindscape. It was something he was currently regretting having put off doing, though in his own defense he nor anyone else could think of a reason he would need to improve on his time to enter his mindscape so long as he had Kurama. Naruto stood there staring at his right hand before clenching it into a fist.
"Who's Kurama? Or is that another of those strange things from your home?"
The sudden question caught Naruto completely off guard. He'd been so deep in thought that he hadn't sensed someone approach him. Snapping his eyes upward he almost fell flat on his ass when all he saw was a pair of dark meadow green orbs speckled with amber and sky blue. As it was he still ended leaping back about five feet out of instinct. The only thing that prevented him from pulling out a kunai and embarrassing himself anymore than he already had was the snickering and comments of 'Varric's gonna get a second crack at him'. It was then that he recognized exactly who had snuck up on him.
"Ah, sorry about that Merrill-chan. I was a little lost in thought."
"I never would have guessed that, though it happens to me all the time."
Naruto sighed to himself a little relieved that she hadn't taken his reaction to her presence the wrong way. Thinking back to her original question he was about to respond but forced himself to pause as he looked at her eyes. They seemed slightly different, though more importantly to him he could have sworn he'd just seen a glint of mischievous amusement in them though he brushed it off as just an effect of the poor lighting in the caverns.
"Kurama's...a very close friend of mine. I'm just a little worried about him is all."
Merrill's expression of curiosity became one of sympathy. She could tell the blonde was lying about being just a little worried about his friend. She honestly didn't see why Varric wasn't able to trust Naruto. Then again that was just the way Varric was, he saw suspiciousness in everyone, not that she could blame him. It had saved their lives on more than one occasion, but still at the same time she could understand Naruto's need to remain secretive. Then she knew the others including Varric thought she was a bit ditzy or innocent and in truth regarding certain aspects of life she was. Seeing a person's true character however was not one of those aspects though.
At the moment she understood that Naruto didn't trust them, though she hoped that she might be able to earn his trust. She knew how it felt to be treated like an outsider, like you didn't belong, or didn't deserve to have friends or family. It was not an experience anyone would relish and after having been there herself, Merrill wanted to lessen the amount of time Naruto spent in such a position. The sound of a dinner bell being rung broke her out of her musings as well as giving her the perfect opportunity to engrain herself in a positive light with Naruto. Suddenly taking his hand and pulling him along with a smile on her face, she began the first steps of guiding a misunderstood hero lost in the dark, into the same twilight she'd come to know of as acceptance for what people like them were. Misunderstood.
I know that this was a relatively short chapter in comparison to all my other chapters so far and for that I apologize to my faithful readers. I had originally started writing this chapter a few months ago, though I wrote it off and on again due to re-occurring writers block. Then I was struck with a terrible tragedy that came in the form of my grandfather's death. Because of that I've been a little upset though I haven't shown it very much to the rest of the world. I've been coping in my own way and lost my inspiration for this story. I'm not saying that I'm giving up however, I'm just saying that this chapter is short because I couldn't think of any way to extend it any further. As such I hope that a fresh start on the next chapter will get me going and give you a more satisfying reading experience and I promise I will try to deliver that for you.
On an unrelated note the poll to my other story The Light in The Dark is now closed and I'm going to be working on the next chapter for that story now, and I might take some time to work on that one for a few chapters before eventually returning to this one.
Until next time, read, review, follow, and favorite.