Exalted is likely a temporary name. The name may be changed when the plot developes.
Thick black smoke poured through the sky. Charred corpses lay throughout the field, and in the distance could be seen fighting. The great battle had since moved past this site, leaving the field of war burned and desolate.
Victoir Alexandre awoke in the field. He was covered with burns, and his mind was groggy and scattered. He sat up and looked around. He was surrounded by the bodies of friend and foe alike. With a jolt he remembered what had happened.
He journeyed with thousands of others to the Tevinter Imperium to answer the call of the divine. The Exalted March had met heavy resistance, but never in this degree... The Orlesians took the Tevinters by surprise. They drove their forces back a great distance, before the mages, in desperation, allowed demons into their minds.
Great figures of fire and ash rose in the field. Their demonic flame destroyed all, even the ones they were supposed to be helping. Yet Victoir survived. He heard the step of armored footsteps racing towards him, and he spun around to see a Hurlock charging at him.
He looked around frantically- his weapon was nowhere in sight. He reached for the nearest spear, but it disintegrated into ash when he tried to lift it. He began backpeddling away from the Darkspawn, before tripping over a corpse.
He on his back, and to his luck, saw a sword lying not five feet away. The Darkspawn had closed the distance, however, and swung its black blade towards Victoir. The soldier rolled out of the way, grabbed the sword, and swung wildly over his head.
The blade easily cut through the darkspawn's armor, fatally wounding it. Hot blood poured all over Victoir, inflicting sharp pain in his burn wounds. He repositioned himself so he could see the battle. To his horror, he realized that the Tevinter and Orlesian forces seemed to have formed a temporary truce to fight what seemed to be a scouting force of Darkspawn.
Victoir heard more footsteps. He rolled over, to see several more Hurlocks and a few Genlocks standing over him. Victoir remembered stories of Darkspawn taking prisoners, but he always thought they were meant to scare children. It seemed that wasn't the case as they prepared to lift him up.
They had hardly carried him twenty meters when the an arrow plunged through the helmet of the Alpha. The Darkspawn dropped Victoir and drew their weapons, only to be quickly cut down by two unknown warriors.
"He's been exposed to the taint," one said.
He knelt over Victoir, who saw the Grey Warden insignia on his breastplate.
"We have to get him out of here," he said. "While there's still time!"
Chapter 1: The Sun
Near the Tevinter-Antiva border, a swift river ran at the bottom of the valley. During the Imperium's occupation, several bridges stretched across to allow easy transit to many different territories, but after the liberation of much of the world, the rapidly weakining empire destroyed most of them in an attempt to prevent armies from invading.
The few bridges that remained standing were watched constantly day and night by large groups of soldiers. However, unknown to the soldiers, an expansive network of caves exists right beneath their feet. The caves were a sanctuary of the Blazing Suns, an organization dedicated to freeing elf slaves and bringing them to Qunari lands.
However, if any liberated slave chose not to go to the Qun, they would be escorted out of the Imperium. This was one of their preferred venues. Several makeshift rope bridges could be extended about half way down the canyon between two concealed cave entrances.
As the Exalted March began, the Tevinter Imperium almost doubled its production to meet the demand for the war. They began importing tons of supplies from neutral parties throughout Thedas. Among the increased imports were slaves.
Hundreds of slaves were transported across the river each day, but many of the soldiers guarding the area were relocated to the front lines, and on that fateful day, the Blazing Suns pressed their advantage.
A large group of slaves was being brought across the river, escorted by a ragtag group of slavers who sensed a profit to be made and leaped to the cause. They met halfway across the bridge, where they were supposed to meet a group of Tevinter soldiers who would handle the transaction then take the slaves to their destination. However, they found no one to greet them.
Six elves hid in the dense brush, watching the slavers. One of them leaned forward and cracked a twig, causing the slavers to jump with surprise, then begin surveying the area. "Dammit Tyril you fool!" one hissed.
Tyril hung his head. The lead elf knocked an arrow on his bow and took aim. The other elves followed suit, except for Tyril, who waited quietly. Without making a sound, the elves took down all but one of the slavers, who quickly drew his sword.
When he realized all his companions had fallen, he dropped his weapon and exclaimed, "I surrender! Don't hurt me, I'm just trying to feed my family!"
Tyril unleashed a burst of magic, freezing the slaver in place. The elves revealed themselves from their hiding place.
"What about the families you've destroyed by taking away fathers, or sons?" the lead elf asked scornfully.
"I... I'm sorry! Please, you can free them! Just let me go!"
The Suns unbound the slaves and began quietly conversing with them in their native tongue. It seemed an accord had been reached, because about half of the slaves ran back the way they came. The others stood rooted to the spot.
"They have agreed to go to Par Vollen," said one of the elves to the leader.
The leader nodded, then continued to study the slaver. Then his face lit up as an idea struck him.
"Where did you take these elves from?" he asked the slaver.
"F-from a little Dalish camp not six miles yonder," he said, indicating a direction with his head.
The leader nodded. "I have decided," he said. "We will lead this elves," he indicated the group of slaves, "to the coast, where they will board a ship to Par Vollen."
The elves nodded and began pulling their arrows out of the fallen.
"Except... for you, Tyril."
Tyril looked at him. "What would you have me do?"
"I want you to blindfold this scum and escort him back to the Dalish camp, where they will decide what to do with him," he said.
The elves made a quick trip to the caves, gathered up provisions, and set out, leaving Tyril with the slaver.
Tyril began his expedition. He used the directions the slaver told him to guide himself through the dark forest. After about three hours of walking, Tyril noted with satisfaction a group of dead Tevinter scouts, whose bodies were littered with arrows of Dalish make.
He continued onward at a quicker pace until he could see light filtering through a break in the forest. He forced the slaver forward then excitedly strode into the clearing. His heart skipped a beat. There was certainly a Dalish camp, but it had been devastated and torched. Scattered bodies of elves lay throughout, including the slaves that had turned back after being freed on the bridge.
Tyril looked at their bodies. "They couldn't have been far ahead of us, so this must've happened within the hour."
He took the slaver's blindfold off, and cave him a Dalish Hunter's sword. "You seem to have been spared by this misfortune," Tyril said. "Now if you want to survive, watch my back."
He took a deep breath and picked up a foul stench. "Darkspawn."
"What? Darkspawn? Here? We can't fight them! We..."
"Shut up," Tyril hissed. "They're coming!"
They heard a resounding twang, and an arrow rocketed out of the brush, barely missing Tyril. Three Genlocks burst through the tree line, followed by a Hurlock archer. Tyril shot a fireball and killed the archer, then drew his sword.
He decapitated the first Genlock, but the other rushed forward, knocking him to his back. The slaver leaped forward and stabbed the beast in the back, and it fell to the ground. Tyril rose, spun around, and fired a cone of flame from his hands, scorching the last Genlock.
"There's sure to be more," Tyril said quietly.
He noticed the Genlock that the slaver stabbed in the back was still alive, and slowly crawling towards him.
"I'll finish it," said the slaver, striding forward.
The silence was broken by an earsplitting cry that forced Tyril's hands to his ears, and caused all the birds to abandon their perches. A Shriek appeared behind the slaver, brutally slashing him in the back. Dozens of Shrieks began appearing left and right.
Using all the mana he could muster, Tyril fired blast after blast into the group of Shrieks. He killed several, and the rest seemed content to circle around him. Perhaps they were mocking him...
He thought up a plan, and using all his residual energy, he blasted a path forward and began sprinting blindly forward, hoping to lose the Shrieks in the forest. He must have ran several miles, because he almost stumbled and fell into a deep gorge that made one of the estuaries into the river that marked the border of the Imperium.
He looked around for a way to go, but heard screams not far behind him. Not seeing any other options, Tyril jumped.