Anonymous: That Bar in Kirkwall was being frequented last night and the tales of ghosts and Hobgoblins was being talked of at great lenghts Will Isabela please pass on one of her Halloween stories to scare her ducklings
It’s nearing the time when the ladies and I have our annual spooky story weekend getaway, so I thought I would whet your appetites with a bit of a terrifying tale.
There was a family I’d heard of who lived just outside of Denerim in a small cottage. It was a family like any other - a father, a mother, and a young daughter. Like Hawke, they had adopted a mabari that they had adopted after the fifth Blight, a cheerful war dog they named named Dancer.
Dancer took to living on the homestead like one would expect - he’d chase birds, get belly rubs, and protect the home by fending off wolves or other threats. The family lived happily with Dancer, and he protected them well.
One day, after a day at market, the family returned home to see Dancer choking on something. Concerned, the family immediately took the beleaguered dog to the local healer, hoping that something could be done. The healer was sympathetic, having that deep love for such dogs as only Fereldans do, and suggested that the father leave the dog with her overnight. The family could return for Dancer in the morning and bring him home. The father agreed in relief, got onto his cart, and drove back home with his family.
The family arrived at their home and had just gotten in the door and begun to rest when the healer rode into view on her horse. The woman was frantic with fear, and her horse had been ridden half to death. Foam flecked the exhausted animal’s mouth, and the healer herself was out of breath when she arrived. Nevertheless, she screamed at the family to get out of the house from her saddle.
The father was confused, but he did as she bade and brought his wife and daughter out of the house with him. Confused, he asked her what the matter was. Was it Dancer? Did something happen to him?
As she was about to tell him, a group of heavily armed soldiers on horseback entered the clearing from the forest and began advancing on the house. Frightened, the father demanded an explanation.
The healer quickly explained - she had discovered what Dancer had been choking on. She pulled a small, dark-stained pouch from her belt and opened it. Inside was a darkspawn’s still-bloody finger.
Cheers, my ducklings. Happy month of frights.
"Oh come off it, whore. All those things are good for is a better price at the market when you inhale."
"Whoops!" she exclaimed as she accidentally bumped into the side of the merchant’s stall. To her horror, the porcelain figurine fell and teetered precariously on the edge of the shelf. She glanced down. One hand was holding the bag with a live fish inside Hawke had asked her to carry, and the other held that shimmering bolt of silk she had just purchased. The dirt of the road would dirty the silk, and she couldn’t set the fish down for fear of hurting it. She glanced left and right, then gave the figurine a bump with her chest, rolling back to the safety of the shelf.
"Oh, so that’s where you’ve been!” she exclaimed, reaching down for the directions scribbled on the scrap of parchment that she had misplaced.
"Better not lose this again," she said to herself as she slid it down the front of her blouse.
"The damn guards found my lockpicks, Rivaini. I hope you’ve still got some way to get us out of here."
She reached one hand down into her cleavage and retrieved the small pack of lockpicks she kept wrapped in silk and hidden under her flesh.
"Thankfully, they didn’t strip search me too carefully."
"I’ve got the soup, Hawke."
"But won’t it splash?"
"Just place a lid on it."
"Won’t it just fall off?"
"I’ve got it, sweet thing."
"We’ve got one pillow between us. Do you want it?"
"I’ll tell you what, sweet thing. I’ll trade you the pair I brought for it."
"They’re quite a bit more useful than you might think, big girl."
Apologies for my absence, my lovelies. I’ve been struck with a sudden onset of things that have demanded my time. I hope to have some more time soon.
crystalineasari: Isabela? Why are you very awesome and a lovely person to know?
My darling @crystalineasari, why am I awesome and lovely?
Anonymous: Has lsabela found any worthwhile jetsam whilst at sea Was once told of a Mermaid but have yet to find such a divine creature
Never trust a mermaid, my lovely. They’ll sing sweet nothings in your ear long enough to lure you up close, then drag you to your grave before you realize what’s going on.
No, the most interesting bit of flotsam I’ve found was probably an amber pendant. It was clutched in the hand of a corpse we found afloat in an old dinghy one day while ferrying refugees from Denerim to Kirkwall. The poor blighter had expired from thirst, probably the survivor of a shipwreck. Two of my crew, the lookout and deckhand, rowed out to check the boat for valuables and survivors, and they returned with this:
The workmanship wasn’t especially fine, but it looked and felt like real gold and it was the lookout’s first piece of booty, so I let him keep it. I am not sure I would say it is entirely a regret, but it certainly had interesting effects.
You see, my lovelies, the jewel wasn’t actually a jewel. I discovered later that we had found the last lifeboat from a cargo ship that had carried a number of rare spices and valuables, and this particular wonder was a special concentrated medicinal pendant. The medicine is activated by body heat and gets absorbed into your bloodstream through extended skin contact. It was intended to be worn about the neck in order to slowly provide the medicinal effect.
"But Isabela," you might ask. "Why is some medicinal pendant so interesting?"
Because, my lovely, the pendant was a cure for impotence. The lookout had proudly worn it for hours while on duty, then he went to his bunk and fell asleep. When he awoke, his mainmast was fully hoisted and no matter what he did, he couldn’t lower his mainsail. He swore that the necklace was cursed and threw it away, but the boatswain quickly retrieved it - what sort of pirate leaves valuable gilded booty just lying around on a ship full of other pirates? The day after, the boatswain had the same problem - a proudly flying flagpole that refused to go away. It took an entire week and a number of unfortunate tossers with angry one-eyed trouser snakes before they came to the conclusion that the jewel was cursed. It also gave the ladies on my crew plenty to snicker about. Let’s just say that several of the crewmen had been a tad boastful when they visited the brothel.
I did have to cuff the first to suggest that I “take care of it personally” so hard that he lost a tooth. As all of the poor fools would later discover, stimulation (self or otherwise) didn’t actually have any effect on the little throbbers. Come hell or high water, they would stand tall and firm against any enemy. Even more unfortunately for them, having their fore admirals standing at full attention quickly became painful for them. It became a problem for me when they refused the ship’s physician (who’s plan was, admittedly, to let the excess blood out via an incision), because I had several (formerly) able-bodied sailors out of commission. In the end, I took the pendant for myself and earned a reputation for being a curse-breaker in the process. But it was certainly interesting while I had it. I’d occasionally use it as punishment or an interrogation aid. An unfortunate shame that I lost it in my shipwreck some time ago.
That said, the medicine actually had a slightly different, much less pronounced effect on women than it does on men. It would tend to inflame their lady parts and help increase blood flow, so when I saw a similar medicinal pendant on sale in Seheron, I knew I had to purchase it. I naturally gave it to Aveline as a gift.