EH 04 – Changing Skies

The Templar and the Medic

The hours since the explosion had been a blur of blood and horror. The SS Cookie was filled with wounded pulled from wrecked ships, and Peanut had long run out of actual bandages and now resorted to tying off wounds she couldn’t heal immediately with strips of tea towels from the galley.

“Tim-tan, we’re too full to get anyone else,” she said, doing her best to sound cheery for the sake of the men and women that were laying shoulder to shoulder in the small spacecraft. Magi and Templar alike, even some tertiary members like journalists and pilgrims had been caught in the mess. From the Temple proper, there had been reports of only two survivors, escape pods drifted in the debris field, carrying survivors. At least… as long as the demons didn’t get to the pods before a rescue ship did.

“Gotcha, heading towards Haven station. We can drop these folks off and loop back for another round.” Peanut smiled, exhausted but glad she didn’t have to argue. Like her, Tanim wouldn’t be able to abandon people that needed their help.

The Templar she was tending groaned, coming round after a dangerously long period of low oxygen.

Peanut smiled at him puffing a stray curl of white hair from her face.

“Hello,” she said. “You’re safe. Mostly. We’re heading to Haven where you can get more treatment.”

The man’s gaze was unfocused at first, but eventually settled on Pea’s face… then horns.

“Qu- Qunari?” He rasped, and Pea pulled a bottle of water from a loop on her belt. Nodding, she opened the bottle and held the rim to his lips, careful not to drown the poor man.

“It’s complicated, we’re not… affliated with the Qun, we’re just here to help,” she said warmly. “Please, call me Peanut. My brother’s piloting right now, say hi Tanim,” she said, glancing over towards the bridge.

“Hi,” came the distracted reply.

“Theseus,” the man replied, looking around more carefully now that he was coming to. “Theseus Trevelyan. You’re… you’re an apostate,” he said, looking at Peanut’s staff, then back at her face. “Am I a prisoner?” he asked, frowning and trying to sit up.

“Nope!” she said cheerily. “Well yes I’m an apostate but everyone’s in a post-state right now after the explosion,” but the pun sounded just a little forced and she tried not to let the smile slip. “No you’re not a prisoner, we’re here to help whoever needs help and that meant you. I… I’m sorry though, no one else in your pod survived.” She added, propping Theseus against the nearest wall.

“oh,” he said quietly, looking around at the men and women that covered the small craft’s floor. Templars, Magi. They really were helping everyone. Running his hands over his arms, Theseus checked for injuries, and winced as he saw the state of some of the other survivors.

“Who did this?” he asked, looking up at Peanut. The smile finally faded and the Qunari’s shoulders drooped.

“I wish I knew,” she said quietly. “Maybe the people at Have will know more. I was hoping- maybe- you’d have seen what happened?” There was hope in her, but Theseus shook his head.

“I was supposed-” his throat closed and the world swam in vertigo. “I was supposed to be on the ground, part of the guard of the Templar delegates.” He swallowed, hard. If he had he’d be dead.

“I remember the shuttle I was supposed to take, it left without me. I thought I had just messed up my career, everything I’d worked for. Maybe it was the Maker’s hand, keeping me from dying. I saw the explosion, before the Justinia started to break apart…” He trailed off, feeling ill.

Why had the maker saved him instead of all those others? The more faithful, the Divine, the senior officers? Why him?

“Final approach to Haven’s dock, hold on, this might be bumpy,” Tanim said. “It’s realllly crowded.” Peanut moved to stand, but spotting Theseus’s face, she stopped and rested a hand on his shoulder.

“I’m sure you’ll find out,” she said quietly. “If you’re feeling strong enough, we could use the help when we go out for more survivors.” With a warm smile, she stood and headed over to the co-pilot seat, buckling in next to her brother.

The Queen and the Hound

Haven was chaos. The small station had been built to handle the needs of pilgrims to the sacred Temple, not to become a warcamp and field hospital both.

Rythlen had worried that despite her change in hair and lack of finery, she would be recognized. But now as she and the Hounds edged through crowded walkways Ry realised that everyone was too busy trying to survive what had happened to notice who she was. Even still, she walked with enough purpose that people made way in the cramped station to let her and the others pass.

“Maker…” murmured the small Hound, looking around. “I can help them, Rutherford can wait,” but the other two nudged her forward.

“I’m sure if this is the Captain we’re supposed to meet that he’ll know best where our resources can be used,” Fallon said, eying and glaring at a gathering of Apostates, huddled together under a stairwell and tending to each other’s injuries.

Haylan grit her teeth but kept walking. Fallon was right. They’d find this Captain then she’d get to work.

The two mabari had been left on the ship under the watchful eyes of Merrill, too large and anxious to be brought into such a crowded space. Neither Rythlen nor Haylan felt happy about that, but now that they were in the station, they couldn’t argue that the decision wasn’t the right one.

“Excuse me,” Rythlen said to a soldier who was in the middle of carrying fresh bandages and water down the hall “Cullen Rutherford, did he survive?“ The man nodded, looking over the Hounds before scratching at the tattoo on his nose.

“Aye,” he said, pointing down a hall. “Commanders in the main hall just down tha’way. In a right mood though, so yer warned.” He offered a fleeting smile to Haylan before continuing down the way from which they’d come.

“Alright then, not a captain,” Fallon said under her breath. “Commander.” But that wasn’t a Templar rank, why would Faulkner have sent them to see a regular soldier?

Rythlen, curious to see who the boy she’d met all those years ago had grown into, led the way into the main hall to see a blond man holding apart a Templar and a magi. He looked… different. Tired as he had back then, but whole. Less angry, despite his evident frustration with what had happened.

“That would be him,” Rythlen said quietly to Haylan. “Looks like he’s not a Templar any longer.”