Dragon Age: Smart Enough To Speak

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xfiend1013
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Dragon Age: Smart Enough To Speak

Post by xfiend1013 » Wed Mar 16, 2011 11:05 pm

Smart Enough to Speak

“A mabari hound is smart enough to speak. But wise enough not to do so.” - Ferelden Proverb

The Golem hadn't always been there, in the town square. They hadn't always had the harvest festival around it, there had been a time before when streamers didn't run from the head of the thing to the oaks and the shopfronts, Old Man Warren hadn't always spread birdseed around the thing and Fool Joad used to earn coin debasing himself in the tavern, not cleaning birdshit off the one-ton dwarven construct that stood there on the small rise, arms raised in something like rage or celebration.

It just seemed that way.

Few now could remember the night the Enchanter Wilhelm had been torn in half. He'd carried that control rod for years, and gotten the golem to carry him about, fetch water, crush the skulls of darkspawn, throw Templars into the river – even though it was a hundred yards away.

The golem hated it. To his credit, Wilhelm didn't realize the golem could hate, but the thing certainly told him. Repeatedly, often, daily.

Wilhelm would have lived a lot longer if he'd spoken dwarven. He might have lived long enough to learn dwarven if he hadn't commanded the golem to be silent after the second year of incomprehensible complaint.

Golems are patient, though, and it had taken a decade to find the moment when Wilhelm had been confused a bit – drunk, really – and was being carried from the tavern to his small tower. It was only a few yards, but he didn't dare stumble over something important in the dark.

“Put me down over here.” He'd said, control rod in his loose fingers.

“No, wait, over there.” He said.

“No, actually...” He began, but the Golem had decided that he would put Wilhelm in both places at once.

The control rod fell on the ground and the Golem froze there, hands over his head, half a mage in each fist.

The mage bits eventually could be removed. Wilhelms' family kept the rod for decades. People forgot the horrible little story. The golem just stood there

Old Man Warren enticed the pigeons to come out. They roosted on the Golem.

The Golem hated this. He strove to learn the language the people spoke so he could express his anger, but he was frozen in place. The magic that animated him now refused to, and he was as mobile as a ton of stone usually is.

One day the great grandson of Enchanter Wilhelm got the control rod out of a locked cabinet. A demon got in the boy for that, but that's a story for some other time.

The possessed boy played fetch with a mabari hound, who did not bring the stick back, this time.

Soon, the hounds' owners fled the blight without their dog.

The blight came. The Darkspawn came.

With no family to defend, the hound hid, in his makeshift den in the wilds. There he had carried a pillow, the remains of a cat, several valuable gems, an empty tankard, and the control rod for the inanimate Golem.

Where the Darkspawn came, the Grey Warden followed. He fought the Darkspawn, invaded the Enchanters' tower, and looted the place entirely.

He even learned the command words for the Golem, but he didn't have the control rod.

The Mabari did.

And the Mabari was listening.

The Grey Warden left.

The Mabaris' name was Tyn, or at least that was what his family called him. To himself, he was Almighty Tyvrok, Destroyer of Chickens and Cats, Annihilator of the Rat Horde, Father of a Dozen Sons.

And so Tyn, or Almighty Tyvrok, if you will, brought the control rod into the town square and put it at the feet of the Golem the next morning.

Morning turned to day. Tyn growled and howled and groaned and whined. Day turned to night and the dog kept it up. Proud as he was, he added whimpering to the mix before falling asleep under what might as well have been a statue of a Golem.

Morning and howling came again, squeals and whines and yowls and long low yawns all were issued to the stick.

The sun was high in the sky and Tyn was sore in the throat and his attention was waning – there were cats and rats afoot in the wake of the blight, and the darkspawn would return.

Barking again, then.

Dusk was dying the sky purple when a genlock scout arrived upon the piles of Darkspawn the Grey Warden had made into a pyre. It had gone out a day ago, and Tyn was upset that no scavengers had come to claim any of the burned meat.

The genlock crept up, eyed the barking mabari, the chewed stick on the ground, and the placid statue that hadn't moved in decades.

Then the mabari hound, all hundred stones of it, hit him at forty miles an hour with the strength of a man and the speed of a deer. Growling, barking, howling and snarling, he grabbed the thing by the head and started to shake it around.

It made all sorts of horrible noises.

And between that and the Mabari, it had happened. The control words.

The Golem shook off the dust, brushed off the bird dropping – oh how it hated the bird droppings – and walked over to where the Mabari had snapped the neck of the genlock.

“What?” The Golem asked, surprisingly articulate. “No 'Golem, carry me over there? No 'go and kill the darkspawn?”

“Bark, bark.” The Mabari replied.

“I shall call you Bark.” The Golem said. “It seems that you've not only activated me, but – destroyed the control rod with your – ugh - chewing. Why, I don't have to do anything you say. I don't have to do anything anyone says!”

“Bark!” The Mabari replied.

“Oh I know what you've done.” The Golem said.

“Bark!” The Mabari replied.

“To my leg.” The Golem said, with all the seriousness afforded to a ton of living rock.

The Mabari whined, ears down.

“No, I didn't like it one bit.”

The Mabari whimpered and turned a slow circle.

“I don't care if you didn't know.”

“Bark!”

The Darkspawn had arrived. The Mabari growled, hackles raised, legs ready to push it forward in a display of destruction.

“Oh do allow me. I love crushing squishy things.” The Golem said. It stomped forward. It clapped.

It was a wet clap.

Chunky.

“I do feel as though I were even made for this!” The Golem said. “You may call me Shale, though I suspect you cannot.”

“Bark!” Replied the Mabari.

“Yes, everyone here is dead.” Shale said. “I will be leaving. If you follow me, please keep in mind that I am no longer anyone's.... territory.”

And so they walked out of Honnleath, into the Plains, towards Lothering.

As far as they knew, this was a good idea.

Of course, one of them was made of stone, and the other one was a dog.

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Re: Dragon Age: Smart Enough To Speak

Post by xfiend1013 » Sat Apr 23, 2011 9:02 pm

The Dog (Almighty Tyvrok, Destroyer of Chickens and Cats, Annihilator of the Rat Horde, Father of a Dozen Sons, if you were to ask him and he somehow reply) and the Golem (Shale) reached Lothering just ahead of the Darkspawn Horde that was coming up from the Wilds.

A bit of the horde reached the main road into Lothering slightly before the two, however. It was a Hurlock Emissary, one of the blighted mage-spawn, and it crashed into one of the white marble pillars at a terminal velocity.

Shale had thrown it.

"Bark bark bark!" was all that Almighty Tyvrok could add.

He was sniffing around the crumpled ruins (of the road, not the darkspawn) and marking his territory.

He was a good fifty yards or so ahead of the golem, and on the other side of a hill. Shale had quite a throwing arm. It was made of three hundred pounds of shale and animated by ancient souls trapped in runic lyrium.

Some bandits were there. They, rather mistakenly, believed this to be their territory. Perhaps they hadn't seen Almighty Tyvrok, Destroyer of Chickens and Cats, Annihilator of the Rat Horde, Father of a Dozen Sons, urinating on it.

"Look! A mabari!" One of the dimmer ones (not that any of the others were much brighter) cried. He pointed at the dog, which was worth a small fortune if sold to a nobleman.

"Gads, looting is good these days!" The bandit leader said. He was the leader by virtue of having the largest weapon, a hammer as tall as a man, as well as the strength to use it well. Crushing heads was his favorite.

Crushing just about any other part of the body was his second favorite.

"It's the darkspawn chasin' 'em up here. We should be headin' out like they are." One of the brighter (again, not a great statement) bandits said.

"Ain't no such thing." Another bandit said, getting out the large net they'd used to capture two dwarven merchants just the day before. "Besides, we've got to make up our losses after that Grey Warden tricked us into payin' him fifty silvers road tax!"

"Yeah, we tax the roads around here." The bandit leader said. "Come 'ere boy."

They approached the mabari. It looked quite happy, gave a cheerful bark and spun around once.

"He's got no idea..." The net-man said, closing in.

The mabari was happy. Happy, because it really enjoyed thrashing people about with teeth and claws, speed and vigor.

Much better than killing cats.

***

When Shale and Tyvrok entered Lothering proper, Shale was dragging a net with two dwarves in it. They did not seem as distraught as two bedraggled, netted dwarves might normally seem.

"Look at the craftsmanship! A real golem, I tell ya! The work they must have put into that!" One was saying.

"Enchantment!" Was all the other would say.

Tyvrok had the leg of a bandit in his mouth. The foot was gone.

No one was there to meet them. The place was on fire. Groups of darkspawn running about.

Lothering had seen better days.

Shale saw fit to crush a few darkspawn, by way of pushing the Chantry down on them.

They came to a cage. There was a qunari inside.

"Don't they normally have horns?" The talkative dwarf asked. He'd stopped asking to be let out of the net. Shale didn't have fingers small enough to untie it, the dog didn't have any fingers at all, and when the golem had tried to simply tear the net open, she'd almost sliced the dwarves into a series of small cubes. They were still criss-crossed with red rope-marks.

The qunari simply regarded them as inanimate objects. A week ago, he'd have been right about the golem.

Tyvrok barked at him.

Shale looked at the qunari. An ogre and a group of darkspawn ran past them, off to a fateful meeting with the Family Hawke. It's entirely possible that darkspawn do not possess the faculties to understand the difference between a golem standing still and a statue.

"Are you the blight?" The qunari asked, finally.

"No." Shale said. "I see the qunari are quite perceptive."

"Then you are not helping me answer a question for the arishok, and I will die here unfullfilled."

"What if they let you out of that cage?" The dwarf asked, hopeful that the qunari would be able to use a dagger or something to get them out.

"Then I will likely die later." The qunari said. "I am a Sten."

"I'm a golem. My name is Shale." Shale said.

The mabari barked.

"I call him 'Barkspawn." Shale said.

She indicated the bag of dwarves.

"I have looted some dwarves." Shale said.

The Sten regarded them with a look that spoke of a deep dislike of his own fate.

"How have you survived this long with the darkspawn all about?"

At this point, as though to answer that very question, a group of hurlocks came running towards them, bent weapons and brandished torches held high.

"Allow me." Shale said, and tore the cage of The Sten from the pole it rested on.

Shale swung the pole and left little but the bottom halves of the hurlocks teetering about.

"You are a mighty warrior, then." The Sten said, from his cage, which was now rolling about on the ground. "This is most undignified. If you wish to free me, do so. If not, then I ask you to at least put me out of my misery."

"Don't get me started on 'undignified." Shale started. "Thirty years being shat upon by pidgeons! Now that's undignified! Horrible little things! Messy, messy, messy..." She tore the cage open as though it were a paper package.

The Sten got out, and picked up a sword.

"ooh, ooh, cut us free!" The dwarf said.

"Enchantment!" The other dwarf added.

Just then a dragon flew overhead. Or, at least, they thought it was a dragon. It was actually the Witch of the Wilds, but they had no idea such a person even existed, let alone had the ability to turn into a dragon.

"On second thought we'll just stick with you."

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