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Oathsworn (Oathblade)

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It’s a surreal experience, moving through what appears to be a lush wilderness thriving in what had appeared to be a mere tower, a seemingly endless forest of green contained within the constraints of circular stone walls that shouldn’t be able to hold such an expanse in the first place. Nevertheless, Varda takes the opportunity to enjoy the sights and scenery; even in a world that can only be birthed through arcane means, she can enjoy gazing upon the environment so reminiscent of her home if need be.

That is, until the sound of rustling in the undergrowth reaches her ears.

"Stay close to me."

Despite the rolling waves of anxiety and fear breaking over the shores of her mind, Varda feels a pang of safety at those words. After a few deep breaths, she finds it in herself to grant her companion a gentle, trusting smile. “As you wish,” the Lady murmurs, taking a step closer to the Doctor and his sword cane. “What—what do you think is there?” The words tremble, just a little.

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"I'm not sure."

Silas held his blade out before him and shifted his weight to his back foot; preparing to spring forward should he need to. He has no idea what could be prowling in the brush; doesn't even know if his sword would hurt it. Theoretically he could fall back on his psionic abilities, but he hadn't used them in a long time; and the same with his magic. Even if he wasn't rusty, there was no guarantee that their stalkers would have minds susceptible to illusion or other mental attack. Should they turn out to be like the creatures he had been examining above, it seemed likely.

The rustling came to an abrupt stop, and for a moment the forest was dead silent. A hissing sound broke the tenuous peace, and suddenly every plant around them was spraying some kind of strange pollen into the air. Not breathing it in was impossible, and soon Silas found his legs giving out as he collapsed to the ground. As his vision faded, he thought he could hear footsteps coming toward him.

"Varda..."

It was the last thing he said before consciousness left him.

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Even as Silas shares his uncertainty over the situation, the Doctor brandishes his sword with courage nevertheless; all Varda has to do is keep her wits about herself and not cause any undue harm to either herself or her companion, because then what else can she offer in this sort of scenario?

Perhaps the only thing that she has going on for her is her inability to be affected by magic, as far as she knows. It is not much, but it is a fact that comforts her, even as the rustling stops and a breathless pause settles down like a shiver in the soul.

There is a sudden break in the silence, a loud hiss in the air, and Varda flings a hand over her nostrils as the plants spray pollen over them, but to no avail. The world falls down around her, and she is taken along with it into darkness.

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The steady drip of water woke Silas from his slumber; though the pounding of his head made him wish that he had stayed unconscious. Looking around, he was that he was in some kind of cavern; held to the wall by vines and branches. A pool of water below him was the source of the dripping. Captured in its reflection was Varda, who had been restrained to the wall opposite him. He tried to struggle free of his bindings; but found it of no use. The wood and vines felt like steel cable. 

You awaken.

ArtStation - Forest Spirit , Antonio Esparza

A voice echoed in the enclosed space; hindering any attempts to pinpoint its origin. But he didn't have to wait long as a figure rose out of the pool with such eerie grace that its emergence didn't so much as ripple the surface of the water. The entity was humanoid, its body resembling a mans, but carved from wood and leaves instead of flesh and bone. Hovering above the pool, the being seemed to regard Silas quietly.

"What are you," he asked, voice calmer than he felt, "What do you want."

The creature cocked its head.

You. The true you.

Without warning, the vines holding him receded, and he dropped into the water. Once the surprise had worn off, he tried to swim to the surface, but found that his body felt heavy; like he had been clad in lead. No matter how he struggled, he couldn't so much as move a muscle as he sank deeper and deeper. Just as he feared he would drown, his body suddenly felt incredibly light, and he swam back to the surface, pulling himself onto the edge of the pool. He lay there gasping for a moment before he caught sight of his reflection in the still water.

Tranquility.  This will never happen, but I guess anyone who has a mage OC in the Dragon Age universum has to go through this kind of fantasy sooner or later.  Cheers

The face staring back at him looked at least a decade of hardship older than he had before; a result of the stress and trauma of his time in the dungeons of the Beast King having taken its toll. His pupils had a dull, glassy sheen. Scars of all kinds covered his body, and he looked thinner than he had before entering the pool. A sudden stab of fear ran through his heart, and he looked to see that Varda had awakened. How long she had been conscious he didn't know; but now she looked upon him as he truly was, as he never wanted anyone to see him.

"No," he said, voice a hoarse whisper, "Don't look at me..."

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Varda awakens to darkness and an erratic drumbeat pulse thrumming through her head, more pain than anything else. 

She tries to move her limbs to no avail; something has kept her entwined within its bindings, and she cannot easily break free. Her eyes squint in the lowlight of the cavern, and when she finally sees what form Silas has assumed in the pool below her, the sight does not immediately register in the hazy fog of her consciousness.

"No, don't look at me..."

In some distant part of her mind that can still comprehend, Varda wants to tell him that there is no reason to be afraid of what she thinks of him, that who he is will always be what is beyond the surface of his scarred skin, but the words are stuck in her throat. She can do nothing more but stare, mouth agape and confusion simmering in her eyes.

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It was like a nightmare.

Silas seemed to shrink in on himself; doing everything in his power to try and obscure himself from view. If he could have opened a hole in the earth and crawled inside, he would have done so without hesitation. He never wanted anyone to see him like this; least of all a woman like Varda. What would she think of him now? Might she judge him a liar? A trickster hiding his true appearance out of vanity and pride? Or perhaps she was simply repulsed  by the battered shell of a person that lay before her. Either possibility was more than he could bear to dwell on. Looking up at the elemental he choked out a single word.

"Why?"

You are a healer, but you refuse to heal yourself. You cover up your wounds, let them fester while pretending not to feel the pain. 

He gestured to his scars, "My wounds are healed.

The entity quirked its head.

Not all wounds are physical. You must not cling to the past. Only by letting go can you begin to heal.

"There is no moving on!" he snapped, "Don't you understand? I never left those dungeons! I can never leave!"

A moment passed, and all the energy and anger seemed to leave Silas.

"Every night I find myself back there, reliving the worst moments of my life. Perhaps I didn't die there... but I might as well have. No matter how I struggle, I will never be free."

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It becomes all too clear that something has brought them here, something strange and challenging and all too willing to see Silas’ unraveling at the bottom of the pool. With that deep voice echoing from the strange figure of wood and bone entwined hovering over the surface of the water below, Varda takes a moment to breathe in and out, steady her crumbling composure. Fear will serve no purpose to her plight at the moment; she must keep herself calm even as she watches the entity loom over her companion.

It is perhaps only due to their conversation that she is distracted from her panic.

"Every night I find myself back there, reliving the worst moments of my life. Perhaps I didn't die there... but I might as well have. No matter how I struggle, I will never be free."

She can’t quite understand where these words are coming from. The mention of dungeons and suffering is alien to Varda’s concept of the good and capable Doctor that she knows Silas to be, and so she can do nothing but watch the exchange unfold, all the while subtly trying to pull herself from the natural chains that bind her.

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The dungeon in which you dwell is of your own making. Fear, guilt, and anger form its walls; its doors locked by your own hand. Only you can free yourself.

Silas shook his head, "It's not that easy. I tried to move on; to live a normal life, but that was taken from me; cut and torn and burned out of me. The shadow of those days looms over me; blocking out all light. But I won't kill myself. So all I'm doing is killing time until I die. Maybe I can do some good in between... but I doubt it."

The woodland spirit regarded him silently, it's featureless face giving away nothing of its inner thoughts. Suddenly the creature lifted a hand, and the vines holding Varda to the wall let her fall to the ground. It looked at her, its manner seeming somehow expectant. 

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She is suddenly weightless, the vines giving way and allowing her to fall to the ground with a cloud of dust and a loud thud. Varda coughs away the dirt threatening to crawl into her lungs, her furtive gaze darting to and fro before settling on the arcane being looming over her, waiting for her response.

She is—not scared. Not really.

“P-please, release us,” Varda whispers under her breath, before a sudden spark of courage arcs through her limbs, and her words grow louder. “You’ve no right to parade his past before him without permission.” Her gaze pivots to Silas in the pool, and her eyes soften. “He is his own person, and he is more than what the surface of his skin declares to the world. I’d like him to know that it is through his efforts, his very existence, that my brother and I are still alive and breathing. If this is what it takes for him to know his true worth and let go of whatever it is in his past that hurts him, then it is my life to trade for his.”

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Silas had thought that Varda, or indeed anyone, would be as repulsed by his true appearance as he was. But now there she stood, insisting that his past was not all there was to him; and that he was more than his scars, and offering her life for his. Suddenly he felt very foolish. Despite the pitiful sight in front of her, she still believed that there was value in his existence. He still wasn't sure, but as long as she thought that, then perhaps he could trust her until he himself could believe it. He struggled to his feet to stand next to Varda, taking her hand as he stared down the spirit.

"Let us go."

The creature stood silent for a few moments, but then began to glow a brilliant emerald light. It seemed to fold in on itself, contorting into the shape of a blade before moving to hover before Silas. Curious, he reached out and grabbed it, and suddenly his body was suffused with the same light as the sword. When the light faded, he was holding a new sword, but most interestingly, his body had been restored.

 

Things - Album on Imgur

Still in shock, he looked at the blade in his hand, and once again the voice echoed through the cavern.

We can help you walk the path to freedom. In return, we ask you to help us defend these lands. 

"I accept."

As the words were spoken, the cave around them began to open at the top, and the ground beneath their feet rose to place them in the middle of the fields they had stood in hours earlier. Silas looked over at Varda, a smile more genuine than he had worn in a long time on his face.

"Thank you. For your words," he paused for a moment before deciding to throw caution to the wind, "Would you care to accompany me to dinner sometime?"

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Varda is no stranger to the presence of an Oathblade; she would know one should she see one, and the sword that had manifested in the wake of the strange creature’s disappearance is most definitely one of the famed weapons. She watches from the sidelines as Silas glows, blade in hand and facade returned to its original appearance, the tangible weight of magic heavy around his being.

It’s the same sort of aura she had experienced within close proximity of the female Oathsworn her House shelters. The thought of wielding so much power on one’s shoulders is almost unthinkable, in her current sterile state, and so there is nothing left to do but gaze upon the Doctor and observe in silence.

That is, until he poses the query about having dinner together.

With their return to the sun-warmed surface of the plains, her modesty comes in rolling waves, infusing her cheeks with pink-blossom tint. Varda takes a subtle step backward in an effort to preserve formality, but the smile that tugs at her mouth is gentle, acquiescing. “I’d be most delighted to accompany you to dinner, good sir. Consider it recompense for not abandoning me within the tower.” 

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SUMMARY: During an autopsy/anatomy lesson, Dr. Silas Harriden, Varda Hildebrand, and her sister and brother are interrupted by a geological event. Upon stepping outside, they find a massive stone tower jutting out of the middle of the field. Feeling compelled to enter, the Doctor and Varda go inside. The two navigate the narrow hallways until they come upon an underground forest. Following the path laid out before them, they are eventually ambushed and captured by a mysterious spirit. The spirit strips Silas of his glamour; revealing his physical and mental scars. Varda defends the doctor, asserting that his past does not define him. Inspired by her words, the Doctor commands the spirit to release them. The spirit complies, then shapes itself into it's true form, the Oathblade Abettor; offering to help him heal from his past trauma if he will help it to defend Ursa Madeum. He accepts, and later asks Varda on a date, which she accepts.

SHORT SUMMARY:  Dr. Silas Harriden and Lady Varda Hildebrand investigate a strange structure in the middle of a field. They find an Oathblade, and Silas becomes its wielder.

@Csl @Wade

Edited by danzilla3

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