Dreamland 3

Oh..." Liliana said "I see that's what this is about" she said in a sad tone and then looked up at him "I will ease your mind, you don't really like me...this is why I don't like to be touched" she said in a soft tone "it happens more then I like to admit bit it's just because I have a affinity with spirit magic, people are drawn to me..find comfort in me" she said with a sad smile "it's not real and I promise it will go away" she said

"I wont," said Higran. "Turon is a spirit mage. He'd know the difference."

"She can try," Turon said. "But he is right. I'd know the difference between magic and reality."

"Besides, Red, he's a big strong mage," Higran said. "He'd keep the spirits and demons off of ya."

"You are not helping, dwarf!" Said turon

"Look please stop, I give you my word it's not real" she said in a serious tone "besides I'm just...we me, I don't belong next to someone like turon" she said "I belong here, in the forest and among the people, I would be useless in your cause and in your life" she said with a soft smile "if it will make things easier for you and for the mission I will strengthen my potion and my magic will be weakness" she said walking over to the cart "lil don't...your fine the way you are " nug said "it's fine...it's a bother for me too, it gets tiring not knowing how someone truly feels about you, I would rather be hated then this" she said going to the back of the cart and looking through some bags "I'll be here making my potion why don't you guys make out plans for the trip" she said not looking up at them "lil....." Nug said in a soft tone "I'm fine really, at least know I know what's really going on..."

Turon went to see the ingredients and said, "I don't know who taught this potion to you but it doesn't look safe and I don't think it actually works. I don't know half of these ingredients."

"That's because they are rare posions, this potion is what the templars give to mages to weaken them" she said in a low tone "you should step away..." She said

"Templars don't use potions," he said. "They take lyrium so they can better sense magic."

Liliana looked at him "things have changed" she said making him uneasy. Had the templars been advancing and he didn't know about it?

"You know, I might get a good story from this," said Higran. "The Love Sick Mytherial Pushed Away by a Fake Potion."

Nugget slugged higran in the arm

"What was that for?" asked Higran.

"Because you're being an ass," said Turon.

A noise brought his attention back to liliana. She had pricked her finger and was dropping her blood into the vial

He pulled her away from the vial and said, "This is blood magic, Liliana. No templar would do this, let alone condone it. They hunt mages that do this."

"And mages who don't," said Higran.

"My parents gave me this potion to hide me from demons and templars" she said trying to get out of his grip "they learned it from a Templar friend they had all they did was change it a little, my parents loved me and would not have done anything to hurt me" she said in a sincere tone "and your friend is right they hunt all mages.....I won't survive if they take me" she said in more of a scared tone

He looked at her wrist, his eyes narrowing, and said, "And explain this chain mark."

Higran saw the look on Nugget's face and said, "I think that's enough, Turon."

"No, I need to know," he said.

Higran saw nugget reach for her cross bow "you should listen to your friend " she said in a serious tone

Liliana looked at him "please......" She said in a pleading tone "didn't you want want to keep distance between us, why learn more about me"

"Because I need to know," he said, as if that explained everything.

"Skippy, you are walking a line that shouldn't be crossed," Higran warned.

"Those don't come from the Dalish," he kept going. "Those come from something else. The worse of the shems."

"I'd shut up now," Higran kept trying.

"Those are from repeated use of chains on slaves in Tevinter," Turon said. "Or your parents did something horrible in your past very similar because you are a rare mage that has not been seen since..."

Higran threw a bit of mud and hit Turon in the face. Turon turned towards the dwarf who threw it. Higran pulled him away from Liliana.

"I'm sorry, Red," Higran said. "He is big on elven rights. Pay no attention to him right now. I'll explain boundaries to him."

Nugget shot a arrow at higran and turon feet getting both of their attention, her face was red with anger "we no longer require your services you low scum licking...." She started "nugget stop ok, just stop, it's normal for stranger's that trail together to be weary of each other. We all just have to find that balance and it will come the more we travel. But we need to start moving" Liliana said and downed the potion and started to climb in the back of the cart "I'll be in here like the usual...wake me when we stop" she said and shut herself in the cart. Nugget glared at the two men "you two must love crossing lines....let me make it clear though , if ya cross another one she won't be able to talk me out of what I'm gonna do to you" she said in a threatening tone "and how dare you do what you just did to her...fake or not if that's how ya treat the woman you like no wonder your alone" she said and went over and saddled the horse they bought to the cart "we leave in five" she hollered

"What the hell, Skippy?!" Higon asked "I am not good with people," said Turon. "You know this."

"I meant about the mark!" Higran exclaimed "If it's what..." Turon began "That is not a conversation you have with someone that you barely know!" Higran said cutting him off and pinching the bridge of his nose. "Look, Skippy, you start small. You know, nonconfrontational."

"I don't like your method." Turon said as he got on the back of his horse. "It takes too long."

"It gets people comfortable." Higran got on his own horse. "Just let it happen naturally."

"I have a duty to the Dalish. I..." Turon began before higran cut him off again "Do not be like Solas. As great as he seems to you, the Inquisition members knew what had to be done. I can guarantee that if you turn down love, you will end up just like him." He began following the cart. "Remember, it's great to put duty first, but you have to make time to keep moving forward."

"You are not Verric." Turon said

"No, but I don't pretend to be. I've adopted a few things from him but I'm still me. Get a move on, Skippy. Times wasting."

five hours later

They finally reached the next town, it had been a long ride and no one and heard or seen liliana the whole trip. Nugget and Higran and been the ones to do most of the talking, bickering back and forth over stupid things like what ale is the best and what weapons are better. Nugget parked the cart around back at the inn they had agreed upon "finally! My butt went to sleep hours ago" nugget said getting down from the cart and stretching.

Turon and Higran got off their horses. Turon stood next to the cart, like he was guarding it. Higran went up to Nugget.

"It doesn't look like the potion worked," said Higran. "Does it really work?"

"Before when she took it she was unable to use any magic for weeks I don't know what it will do lot since she strengthen it" she said and though he didn't know nugget well he knew a concerned friend when he saw one "I need a drink..." She said after locking the horse and cart up in the stable and grabbing her bag. She banged on the cart "hurry up and get up" she said and then looked at turon and threw him the key to the cart "our room is upstairs, get her in there safely" she said in a tense tone and went towards the in

Turon picked her up and carried her to the room. He sat in a chair next to the bed, worried. Blood magic. Chain marks. Something had happened to Liliana in her past and her mind changed it to protect her or she hid it well enough from others. And yet, in that moment, all he could think about was how beautiful she looked sleeping in the bed. Peaceful. He moved a strand of hair from her face.

He was startled when her hand suddenly grabbed his wrist in a tight grip, yet her eyes didn't open "don't....."she said in a weak tone

"Don't what?" he asked.

"Dont go...please.....stay with me, don't leave me here alone" she said with a year falling down her face

"I'm not going anywhere," he said.

She gripped his wrist harder "papa..." She said in a sad tone and rolled over giving him no choice but to be pulled on the bed with her

"L-Lilianna!" he said in surprise. Her eyes poped open and it took her a moment to figure out she was not in the cart and she hand someone's wrist. She looked behind her and was started and quickly let go. She moved away from him and off the bed but she was unstable and fell down on her butt and backed away until her back hit the wall "I'm....did I" she said in a shaking tone "I'm sorry..."

"It was an accident," he said, standing up and offering to help her up. "It sounded like a sad dream."

She let him help her and he noticed her touch was not warm like it usually was, her skin was cold and he felt no magic from her "I don't remember....why are you here? Where are the others?" She asked

"Nugget was worried about you," he said, guiding her to the bed. "So, she went to the bar to relax and Higran went to keep her company. I stayed in case you needed anything."

"I will just sleep" she said sitting on the bed "you can leave and do as you please, I need no watcher" she said looking at her hands in her lap "besides I'm no threat to you now that I am no different then a shem"

He lifted her face up by the chin, gently, and said, "You are still Dalish. And I do not trust the shems in this town. They saw me carry you in. I will stay to protect you, Liliana." He tucked a stray piece of hair behind her ear. "I will not let them hurt you."

She frowned "I don't understand... "She said in a sad tone " why are you...."

"Don't worry about it," he said. "As long as I stay in here with you, they won't come in. Until Nugget comes back, I will stay here."

He hadn't realized he had taken her hand, but now that he had, he didn't want to let go.

She looked down at his hand that was on hers "are dalish always this physical with strangers?" She asked in a soft tone looking back up at him

It was that question that made him snatch his hand away and said, "Um, I'm not sure. I never paid attention to such things before. If I have made you uncomfortable, I apologize."

"I..." She was off when there was a knock on the door "maid service" said a female voice from behind the door

"It's no needed," said Turon. "Come back later."

Liliana stood up "she will get punished if she doesn't serve us, lay on the bed " she said taking the sheet from the bed and wrapping it around her. She then turned her back to him and unbuttoned the top of her dress until it hung low on her shoulders making her look naked underneath the sheet. She then cracked the door "my Lord is in my company tonight, please tell your master I appreciate your hard work but you can skip this one for tonight" she said and the woman nodded "yes ma'am" she said and liliana handed her a coin ""thank you ma'am" said the maid and walked away and liliana shut the door

"I usually turn them away until a later time," he said. "I prepare the room for any contingency before I let anyone inside."

She buttoned up her dress before she turned around, she leaned against the door "servants will get in trouble if they don't come back with the proper coin, even if the person refuses to pay them, it means they didn't do there job, I gave her enough for her night so she won't get int trouble" she said folding the sheet and laying it on the bed "but now I announced myself as your bed maiden" she said looking down

"You should not have done that but at least no one will be bothering our room," he said. "Perhaps just hand them coins from now on."

"That's not how things work in this town, the brothel here is mostly elves, in fact it's know for it, if I was not a whore it would have been more suspicious...last time we were here nugget killed two men who tried to.....it doesn't matter anyways" she said going a sitting down in the chair and looked tired

"Then, we could see if the elves are here against their will," he said. "Higran can give them a better job as a spy. I have learned a few bits of information for the ones in South Reach. And Higran says that he wants to expand his spy network."

She looked at him "I didn't peg you as the kind to use such services" she said in a low tone "what is your liking ? Only dalish girls?"

"I do not pay for services and I do not accept them from the girls either," he said. "I never thought about what type of woman I like because of the mission have been entrusted with."

"Have you never fancied anyone?" She asked "I do not count" she said in a serious tone "the effects of me should wear off soon" she added

He smiled and said, "No, I have not. So, tell me how you and Nugget met. You two don't seem to pair well together at all, but you make it work."

She looked at him "why do you want to know ? " She asked standing up and pacing a little bit
___________
Nug slammed her bag down on the table and order a ale. She pitched the bridge of her nose "what ya doing here you should go to ya room and get some rest" she said when higran sat down across from her

"Best way to get over your worry," he said, "is not with a drink." He slammed three silvers down. "It's a drinking game. First one under the table loses. Let's clean out this bar."

"Now your speaking my language!" She said in a happier tone "though I never lose so you better be prepared to ride your horse tomorrow with the worst of ale over"

"I'm holding the bets, Buttercup," he said. "You're drinking and going up against anyone in the bar. I see a group of men coming over. Think you can play them real good? First round, low bet. Second round, high bet and win the game. What do you say?

"Oh I see, your a poor drink, scared of the ale are ya or are you just scared of me" she said with a smirk

"I have a head for business," he said. "We win enough money, we can buy better armor, enough supplies to last us well beyond the trip, and you can get a potioneering kit for Red. Besides, if my head does get clouded, even a little, we lose more than our money. I'd hate to go back to the room naked."

"I can't get sloshed either, I don't trust ya or your friend and lil is sick " she said crossing her arms "I have more to lose then my clothes"

"Listen," said Higran, "I get you are protecting your friend. I do. But you come on too strong on the distrust. I was the same way. You don't want anyone to hurt her, you want her safe. But pushing people away so hard will not help her either." He touched a ring on his hand. "It can cause you to lose the one thing you want to protect." He stood up. "Now you got me depressed." He yelled out. "A round on me!"

Cheers erupted around the bar.

She shook her head "now ya just wasting money also you just let everyone know ya had money" she said looking behind him at the table of men who were now staring at them "well and good fight is just as good as a good ale I suppose" she said

"We'll go to the dark alley and corner the poor sods," he said with a smile.

She smiled "now your talkin" she said and stood up grabbing her bad after they both downed their cup of ale

"Before we go," he said, pulling her close, "this will make them go for you. If they think we are together, they will attack you, not knowing how dangerous you are. Hope you have fun."

He felt her knife on his side "the crossbow on my back will say otherwise also they will assume because I'm a dwarf, you just wanted to touch me goat beard now let go" she said with a smile

"They are halfway through a barrel," he said. "And you left your crossbow in the cart."

She frowned, she never went anywhere without her cross bow yet she didn't even notice it was not with her. Damn liliana for making her this worried. She put her knife away "fine hubby let's go" she said

"I have a spare knife on my belt next to you," he whispered. "Use it. You'll need it."

She wrapped her arm around his waist so her hand was near the knife on his belt and they started walking, almost like clockwork the men stood up and followed

When they turned into the alley, Higran stopped to turn towards Nugget as if to kiss her. That is when one of the men put a hand on his shoulder. "Give us the money and the girl," he said. "Well, Buttercup?" higran asked, his nickname coming in handy.

He felt her grab the knife form his belt and the man cried out when she slammed it into his gut

Higran backed away as the other guys came at Nugget. He leaned against a wall and watched. He enjoyed watching her fight.

He was surprised that it upset him a little when one of the men got a hit on her. It took a few minutes before the men were down, one ran away but didn't make it far when she threw a dagger in his back. And just like that it was over, higran saw blood on the corner of nuggets mouth "damn....now I have to pick all ya weapons up"

He took out a handkerchief and wiped the blood from her lip. He ran his thumb across her lip that would have caused any girl's heart to skip a beat before turning around and picking up weapons and patting them down to see if the men had any money.

They didn't have money but they had assassination orders with nuggets picture on it

"So, who's pot did you piss in?" Higran asked.

She shrugged "a lot why?" She asked walking over to him "see that pisses me off they never get my eyes right"

"Woman, you are on a hit list and you are worried about how they drew you?" Higran said

"Hey it's important! " She said taking the paper and looking at it " I work hard to look this good despite the blood stains" she said using the paper to wipe the blood of her hands"

He pulled out his ax and said, "Well, get ready to prove to the rest of them why you are wanted."

She looked down the alley and saw about six large men with their weapons drawn "what a shame....I'm wearing my favorite tunic" she said "and my cross bow is in the cart...well old school it is" she said with a dagger in each hand

"Oh, shit," said Higran. "Stringbean?"

"Hey, Higran," said the largest brute. "What are you doing here?"

"Travel."

"Nice. Hand the girl over and I can pay my debt."

"Hard pass."

"I know you're hard, but she killed some men my patron hired."

"Don't care, and I'm saying no. Walk away, Stringbean. I'll forget the debt."

"My patron does not. I'm trying to make a living here. Don't make me take down a friend."

"Well, nice knowing you."

He began to turn away. Just when she thought Higran was about to leave her, he hurled his ax at the one he called Stringbean and ran up to him, jumping onto him to grab the ax. He ripped it from the man's body as they fell over and cleaved his head from his shoulders. The fight was on.

By the end of it all the men were dead and Higran was having trouble getting his ax out of the armor of a man. Nugget sat down and gripped her arm, she had taken a nasty blow to the shoulder with a knife, she could feel her skin flapping with the knife wound

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