A: The concept for 1, Dark Nights is pretty simple, but — we hope — very exciting. At its core, Dark Nights is a marketing project designed to introduce fans to fabulous authors they might not have read before. We wanted to seek out authors that had strong relationships with their fans and wanted to grow their brands by making new relationships — not just sell a book to a reader, but really put themselves out there to connect with the readers.
We also wanted to create a theme that allowed the authors freedom to tell any story they wished to tell, but also kept the collection under the same umbrella. What better way than the tale of the Arabian Nights, where our Scheherazade can tell a different story every night! With this line of thinking, the authors were free to work within their publishing commitments and still give us an incredible novella that readers could really latch onto.
Rose and Liz Berry are the co-creators of 1, Dark Nights. Click here for more about M. If I read one from the authors I am not familiar with, will I be lost? Or do these stories stand on their own? A: Yes, the plan is to continue bundling the books in groups of four. The titles will be bundled together beginning in March, , and will continue to release every few months throughout the year.
The best way to find out about new releases is by subscribing to our newsletter. A: Each novella will be on sale exclusively through Amazon only for the first 90 days. After that, the book will be available at all retailers in all ebook formats. Q: What is the procedure to submit a novella to 1, Dark Nights for consideration? Referred to as "Silence" in the common parlance, the constellation Silentir is historically attributed to Dumat , the Old God of Silence and leader of the ancient Tevinter pantheon.
The depiction of the constellation, however, is often debated. Some depict a dragon in flight, while others also the most common modern depictions show a man carrying a horn and a wand. Some scholars believe these represented scales, which would point to this constellation being a supplantation of the elven Mythal , but nothing indicates this to be more than speculation. Codex entry Constellation: Solium. There are two common interpretations regarding the history behind the constellation Solium, commonly referred to as "the Sun.
Indeed, many believe proper depiction of Solium is as both. The second interpretation is that this constellation originally represented Elgar'nan , the head of the elven pantheon who was also known as "Eldest of the Sun. Codex entry Constellation: Tenebrium. Called "Shadow" in the common parlance, likely due to the ancient association of the constellation Tenebrium with Lusacan , the Old God of darkness and the night. It is odd, however, that the depiction for this constellation has always been an owl and not a dragon, even in the Tevinter texts.
This lends credence to the widely-held belief that Tenebrium was a name meant to supplant an older, elven association—perhaps with the elven god Falon'Din , sometimes represented in tales as a giant owl. There is, of course, another explanation: owls are nocturnal hunters, and among earlier people, were considered terrifying omens of loss.
Codex entry Constellation: Toth. The only constellation to maintain its ancient name in the present day, the constellation Toth directly corresponds to the ancient Tevinter Old God known as Toth , the Dragon of Fire. The depiction of this constellation varies, usually represented either as a man aflame in agony, presumably a victim of the Old God or as a flaming orb.
Scholars in the Divine Age attempted to officially change the nomenclature to "Ignifir" this is why some old texts record it as such , but the attempt never caught on, even after the eradication of Old God worship in the Imperium. Codex entry Constellation: Visus. Known as "the Watchful Eye" in common parlance, this constellation had great significance to the ancient Alamarri and Cirianne peoples of southern Thedas. The story goes that the Lady of the Skies opened one eye so that the light from her gaze could lead her people safely from the Frostbacks.
When Andraste's armies marched north from their ancestral lands to wage war upon Tevinter , they were guided by the Eye, and it became the Maker's gaze—not the Lady's— leading them to victory. The sword was added later; it is said that the star that marks the point of its blade only appeared in the night sky after Andraste's death. The early Inquisition took Visus as the symbol of their holy calling when they joined the Andrastian faith: the Eye representing both their search for maleficarum and the Maker's judgment upon their actions. When the Inquisition ended and became the Seekers of Truth and the Templar Order , the templars took the sword while the Seekers retained the eye.
Codex entry Darktown's Deal. Ask the nobles of Orzammar how their kingdom gets silks and grain and wine from the surface, and they'll tell you "trade with the surface occurs. As if on its own. With no traders or merchants or human farmers involved. A little miracle of dwarven ingenuity. Orzammar relies upon the surface not just for its prosperity, but for its survival.
Ages of Blights have taken thousands of thaigs away from the dwarves. These were the places where most of the food was raised. The dwarven kingdom that endured alone, independent beneath the Stone from time immemorial, perished in the First Blight , faded into myth.
Now, the remaining dwarves underground cling to existence through a lifeline to the surface, a chain forged from the casteless. Every dwarf who goes to the surface is stripped of caste , effectively exiled and removed from dwarven society forever. But Orzammar relies on continued relations with these exiles to live. This has created a shadowy area of dwarven trade and politics where the rich, powerful, and elite maintain secret ties to people who, by official decree, no longer exist. And everyone knows what kinds of things lurk in the shadows. The Carta lives in the underbelly of the surface trade like a tapeworm.
Many surface dwarves maintain ties—not officially recognized, of course, but respectable—to their former houses in the Noble or Merchant Castes , and those contacts are their means of trading with Orzammar. Those who have no ties, because they were cast off by their families or never had good connections, make the trip back underground to trade with Orzammar personally, where they find themselves treated like criminals.
A casteless in Orzammar, even a wealthy one from the surface, will be driven away from most merchants, treated like he's carrying a plague at best. So these surface merchants turn to the Carta for help. The Carta acts as a contact in Orzammar for surface businesses and sells their goods on the black market. For a cut, of course. The Carta always gets its cut. The outraged citizens of Orzammar sometimes petition the Assembly to deal with the rampant crime surrounding the black market, and showy displays are made of kicking in the doors to Carta hideouts and razing Dust Town.
But the Carta always comes back, because the Assembly always allows it. Too much of Orzammar is dependent on the black market trade, and the nobles know it. They all do business with the Carta. Everyone has a stake in its success. The Carta has a thousand faces above and below the surface—honest merchants and Noble Caste lords and upstanding members of the Merchants Guild—all a cover for the thousands more smugglers, thieves, and murderers in the shadows.
The lifeline of Orzammar. Praise the Ancestors. Codex entry Dwarven Mugs. Pride of Nalthur : The words "let them eat steak" are etched into the side of this well-worn tankard. Wraith Blood: Apparently this mug once belonged to someone named Amrun. Branon's Custom Mix: The mug bears the inscription: "Five minutes here is fifteen minutes there. Everd's Experience: This cup is cracked. It has clearly seen action and no longer holds ale without leaking.
Lost Memory: "World's Best Shaper " is stamped into the side of this mug in an obnoxious script. Enchanted Stein: A rune is attached. Cup of Cobalt: A blue substance is caked on the bottom. Cullen might know what it is. Vessel of the Ancients: A forest of mold and rot is growing inside this cup. It clearly has never been washed. Titan 's Nail: There's an oddly organic quality to this stone cup, as if it were grown and shed rather than carved. Codex entry Elven God Andruil. One day Andruil grew tired of hunting mortal men and beasts. She began stalking The Forgotten Ones , wicked things that thrive in the abyss.
Yet even a god should not linger there, and each time she entered the Void , Andruil suffered longer and longer periods of madness after returning. Andruil put on armor made of the Void, and all forgot her true face. She made weapons of darkness, and plague ate her lands. She howled things meant to be forgotten, and the other gods became fearful Andruil would hunt them in turn. So Mythal spread rumors of a monstrous creature and took the form of a great serpent, waiting for Andruil at the base of a mountain. When Andruil came, Mythal sprang on the hunter.
They fought for three day and nights, Andruil slashing deep gouges in the serpent's hide. But Mythal's magic sapped Andruil's strength, and stole her knowledge of how to find the Void. After this, the great hunter could never make her way back to the abyss, and peace returned. Codex entry Exhuming Bodies by Moonlight. My tenure as ambassador to the Nevarran court began, appropriately enough, with a death.
I arrived to find my predecessor and intended mentor, Sifas Carrenter, had died in his sleep. Not unexpected, given his age. Instead of a cremation, the Mortalitasi were summoned for him, those grey-robed mages who seem to be everywhere in the palace. I was warned of the Mortalitasi in Starkhaven. Some cautioned me about their political prowess, learned from sitting at the king's feet for generations.
Others talked about the Mortalitasi like they were ghoulish surgeons in leather aprons, exhuming bodies by moonlight in their Grand Necropolis. The Mortalitasi who spoke to me was a polite, tawny-haired woman who smelled strongly of soap. She explained that Carrenter had earned the honor of being preserved and interred in the Necropolis. It seems a barbaric practice, but I knew that demanding a cremation would have made me—and, more importantly, Starkhaven—lose face in Nevarra. Instead, my thanks seemed to please her. She described some of their rites.
Though she wouldn't speak of the greater mysteries, even a glimpse into their arts put my hair on end. But I held my peace. The Mortalitasi are linked to the throne by blood. If I die in my office, like Carrenter, my body will be in their hands. In a land where death and politics are intertwined, one should be polite. Perhaps local to a handful of Grey Warden companies, these spirits reflect a custom—or legend—born of utility. Allowed to seize goods to aid their cause, Wardens combine half-full bottles to save space while traveling.
Never fully emptied or—as with a kettle—cleaned, each eventually takes on a base flavor as unique as the Warden carrying it. Nothing burns like the first cup. It does seem as though the bottles range farther than the namesake Warden could. A bottle marked "Vintage: Warden Riordan. Serve yourself. A bottle marked "Vintage: Warden Bethany Hawke. Princess piss.
A bottle marked "Vintage: Warden Carver Hawke. Toast them all! A bottle marked "Vintage: Warden Steed. Joining juice.
Codex entry Hard in Hightown: Chapter Five. The kid was barely twenty and looked like he'd walked straight to the Kirkwall barracks from somebody's potato farm. Taller and broader than the other guards, Jevlan slouched as if he didn't know how to fit into his own limbs, as if he thought he should be smaller. Hunched over in his brand-new, too-large armor, he looked like a child playing at being a guard. He was too green for a murder investigation.
Donnen glared at the kid. And so are you, recruit. Nobody gets away with murder while we're on duty. Codex entry Hard in Hightown: Chapter Four. Donnen Brennokovic didn't stand on ceremony. He strode through the barracks and slammed open the door to the captain's office without so much as a nod to the guards he passed.
Just barely dawn, and already Captain Hendallen was buried behind a mountain of paperwork taller than the Vimmarks. All Donnen could see of the captain was her fiery hair and an angry gaze that had stopped more than one pickpocket mid-grift. The Captain rose to her feet. He could never keep his temper in her presence. And you practically broke down a comte's door. If you want a warrant, you'd damned well better have hard evidence to justify it. You're not arresting a man on a feeling, Brennokovic. You want to stay in the ranks long enough to get pensioned, you follow procedure.
Find me evidence and quit wasting my time. Codex entry Hard in Hightown: Chapter Seven. Donnen Brennokovic searched Comte de Favre's office. The comte lay dead, murdered while armed and barricaded inside his own home. The servants' rooms were all empty, and from the pulled-out drawers and abandoned trunks, they had been sent away in a hurry. The comte had clearly expected trouble, and trouble had come to call. The comte kept all of his letters. Decades of correspondence sorted by, apparently, kingdom of origin filled his writing desk.
Donnen rummaged through them, looking for darker ink, fresher pages, anything that might indicate that it was recent. A woman stood over the splintered door, her eyes glittering brighter than the daggers in her hands. We need to have some words. One of them will be 'coin,' and another will be 'now. Identify yourself. Man poking around a noble's house in the dark. This does look like a crime scene. Captain Belladonna, of the Dragon's Jewels.
She cracked a wry smile. He'd almost forgotten his partner was there. You want this rubbish, come to the docks tonight and pay me fifty sovereigns for it. Otherwise, I'm dumping it in the sea. Codex entry Hard in Hightown: Chapter Six. The estates of Hightown fall into three types. The dwarven palaces in their enclave, huddled around their counterfeit paragon statues for shelter against the onslaught of human ideas that surround them.
The foreign quarter, where the wealthiest Orlesian and Antivan merchants stay during their twice-yearly visits to criticize the ship captains and shop clerks and accountants in their employ. And the noble mansions, where families who can trace their lineage back to Orlesian conquerors and Tevinter landlords perch to look down on the rabble of ordinary folk scurrying at their feet.
But whoever they belong to, all of the Hightown estates have two things in common: a showy front entrance used when the occupants want to be seen and a hidden back way when they don't. The servants' door to the Comte de Favre's mansion was in an alley hidden by overgrown topiaries. Donnen Brennokovic picked the lock while his partner, Jevlan, kept an uneasy lookout. They had left their armor at the barracks, but even in civilian clothes, the recruit managed to look like he was wearing an older brother's hand-me-downs. Only a few slivers of light slid through the shuttered windows.
Silence hung in the air like a cheap tapestry.
Donnen and Jevlan crept through the dark rooms, alert for any sign of servants, but nothing broke the eerie quiet except their footsteps. In fact, there was no sign that anyone had been in the house at all until they found the room whose door had been torn from its hinges. Inside, the comte lay in a pool of blood, one hand clutching a loaded crossbow, a dagger hilt protruding from his back. Codex entry Hard in Hightown: Chapter Ten. Donnen Brennokovic had been pursuing the killer of Magistrate Dunwald without food or rest, and so far all he had was the seal of an imaginary group, a wounded arm, and a package that contained a rusted Tevinter shortsword.
He was past exhaustion, and every breath made his head throb like he'd had too much too drink. He was getting too old for this shit. He couldn't go to the barracks with a knife wound he'd picked up off-duty. If the captain caught him, and she would, he'd be thrown out of the guard for sure. That left one option. The Chantry clinic turned no one away, but it usually didn't have to. The presence of three Circle healers was more than enough to frighten more decent folk into deciding to wait and see if they got better on their own.
Aside from a few drunken beggars snoring in the beds, the clinic was quiet. The healer didn't ask his name and tended the wound with only a disapproving frown.
The pickpockets and confidence men head to the taverns at dusk, the dwarven businessmen and nobles go back to their tiny palaces to fret over the ways they got cheated, and the market falls silent. Readers also enjoy the variety within a given collection, says Alexandria Kendall, founder and owner of Red Sage Publishing, which has since published anthologies that combine a variety of genres, including historical, paranormal and contemporary. Or, will he show the kindness that she and her injured steed most desperately need? Her mother and father have tried to get her married off for two years, and have even offered a substantial dowry to the young man who'd do so. This Present Darkness, although populated with an entire cast of demons, is not satanic. You're the one who killed De Favre. For the second time in what was becoming a very long night, Donnen Brennokovic and his partner, Jevlan, found themselves knocking on a nobleman's door.
In a few breaths, his arm was as good as ever. Pity magic wouldn't mend his coat sleeve. The deep black gown she wore only made her eyes more otherworldly. A scent like lilacs filled the air around her. She may have been dressed in mourning garb, but she was dressed to kill. Codex entry Hard in Hightown: Chapter Eleven.
Lady Marielle studied the room across the rim of her cup. A few nobles sat at the delicate little tables, sipping tea from Rivain and whispering among themselves about the latest maneuvers in the Grand Game a thousand leagues away. Donnen picked up his teacup and gestured with it as if making a point while he turned slightly in his chair to look. The men were finely dressed but almost as out of place as he was: a large, sickly-pale Ander with a face full of scars and a tattooed Chasind with a stone dagger at his belt. Lady Marielle favored him with a half-smile. A man came by the estate. He said he wanted to buy Seamus' collection.
All of it. Those two have been shadowing me ever since. Codex entry Hard in Hightown: Chapter Twelve. They say you can buy anything in the Lowtown Bazaar. It's mostly true. On the right day, you can find vendors hawking spices from Seheron , the legacies of unknown dwarven Paragons , maps to hidden fortresses in the Donarks, and the crown jewel of Antiva. And no bookstore in Thedas peddles more wild stories than Lowtown. Donnen Brennokovic made a point of greeting each shopkeeper as he passed so that the continual chant of " Guardsman " reached the ears of the two large men shadowing him since he'd left Lady Marielle in Hightown.
The address she'd given him led to a warehouse in the Foundry district, a section of the city populated only by rusted metal spikes and vagrants. Donnen knocked on the door. An immaculately dressed butler greeted him and gesture for him to enter. Messere Wagner has been expecting you. Donnen followed him through a labyrinth of warehouse offices to a back room richly appointed with silk carpets and tapestries depicting the execution of Andraste. Two heavy armchairs upholstered in velvet occupied the center of the room.
In one sat a smug red-haired man dressed entirely in blinding white samite. The other chair was empty. Please sit. As I'm sure the Lady Dunwald explained. You are soon to retire, are you not? Allow me to present you with an opportunity. Wagner watched him through a growing veil of smoke. What made the poor man worth killing? Donnen gave him a flat stare. It is no longer the jeweled blade of an archon. But to the right buyer, guardsman, the sword is worth an empire's ransom.
I know such buyers. In Kirkwall. And if you help me find it, I can make you a very rich man. Codex entry Hard in Hightown: Chapter Thirteen. In the Lowtown Bazaar, Donnen paused to pay a little elven girl to play courier for him before making the long climb back uphill to Hightown. A careful glance told him the scar-faced Ander and the tattooed Chasind were still tailing him.
Donnen was certain they'd love the Viscount's Keep. He passed beneath the stone gaze of the cormorant statues flanking the gates and nodded to the guards on his way to the barracks. No one noticed his ragged, bloody clothing, which disappointed him as much as he benefited from it. Recruits these days. Always slacking off. Donnen bypassed the Captain's office and went looking for Jevlan. By now the kid ought to be rested up, and Donnen suspected he would need backup if his large, suspicious shadows decided to pick a fight.
Donnen noted blood spatter on the bedding and a scent like lilacs. All of his gear was missing. In the center of the bunk was a note. Codex entry Hard in Hightown: Chapter Fourteen. Wrapped in a black shawl, Marielle sauntered into the room and leaned against one of the glass cases.
What a pleasant surprise. Donnen held up the note. I think it was the sword meant to go right here. You tell me who you're working for and where my partner is, and I'll see if we can't get you a deal with the Viscount's office. This was already on his bunk when I went to find both of you. Donnen didn't hide his scepticism.
That doesn't seem strange to you? How else could they have gotten Jevlan out of the keep without being seen? Since he arranged the sword's purchase for Seamus, he'd been hiding in his own home. The only people he'd seen were Seamus and you. Codex entry Hard in Hightown: Chapter Fifteen. The nobles of Hightown like to imagine that petty crime can only happen in the dank shadows of Darktown or maybe the crooked alleyways of Lowtown between the Alienage and the poorest neighborhoods. Their lofty, ivy-walled avenues could never be the site of something as crude as a mugging or a simple assault.
Donnen didn't have much trouble finding an out-of-the-way alcove near the Chantry to wait for the scarred Ander and the tattooed Chasind to catch up with him. The Ander came at him first, dropping down from the balcony above his head. While Donnen tried to back out of his reach, the Chasind loomed behind him, clamping an enormous, vise-like hand on his shoulder. The Ander's follow-up punch just below his ribs knocked the air from his lungs. As the Chasind lifted him up by his coat, Donnen got back enough of his breath to say, "You work for Wagner? I need to give him a message.
This earned him a skeptical look from the Ander, but the Chasind set his feet back on the ground. He can meet me in the quays at midnight to settle on the price. Another long moment, and both Ander and Chasind walked away, leaving him alone in the alcove. The tavern in the center of Lowtown sat in its own tiny moat of spilled ale, vomit, and the seawater the owner flung at the walls in a half-hearted attempt to scour the seagull crap from the building. Donnen, like nearly every guardsman who drank at The Hanged Man , walked through the door to a frantic chorus of "Put it away!
Donnen placed a handful of copper coins on the bar. I've got some time to kill. Codex entry Hard in Hightown: Chapter Sixteen. Donnen left the tavern and headed out through a moonless night. Fog clung to the streets and buildings like cobwebs, and the heavy air threatened rain. Any other night, he would have gone straight up to the barracks, but he had appointments to keep. The quays at midnight exchange the cacophony of swearing sailors for the mournful sound of distant bells in the harbor.
Donnen found Wagner and his two thugs waiting just out of sight of the harbormaster's office. In the fog, Wagner's white samite coat made him gleam like a smug moon. I trust you've brought my merchandise? Beside him, the tattooed Chasind cleaned what might have been blood from his nails with his dagger. Donnen reached into his coat and pulled out a small, cloth-wrapped bundle. Wagner's eyes gleamed in the reflected light of his paunch. After my run-in with your friends here, I realized the only blade that could have made that kind of stab wound was your Chasind's stone knife.
Wagner shrugged. We should not let that unpleasantness get in the way of business. Donnen handed over the bundle, and the Ander dropped the bag at his feet to deliver the prize to his boss. Wagner eagerly unwrapped the bundle, revealing an ancient, rusty, and pitted shortsword. He frowned. For the first time in months, he saw what might have been a smile on her face.
We'll take it from here. Codex entry Hard in Hightown: Chapter Seventeen. Donnen left it to his captain and a dozen of Kirkwall 's finest to drag Wagner and his thugs to the stocks. The heavy air gave up and turned into sheets of rain. The ancient grey stone stairs leading up to Lowtown turned into a waterfall. Donnen slogged up the narrow passage, boots squelching with every step. As he reached the top of the stairs, a faint rasp of steel made him throw himself aside into a vegetable seller's table. A sword swung through the air where he'd been and chimed against the rock wall.
Donnen fumbled at his scabbard and just managed to catch the second blow with his sword. He had one moment as they locked blades to recognize his attacker. The younger man had shed his guard uniform for dark leathers, and his left arm now ended in a bandaged stump, but there was no mistaking him. He dodged back, slipping and nearly stumbling ass-first down the stairs. The inside man. You're the one who killed De Favre. Jevlan quickly moved to block, but Donnen's blade sliced his arm, drawing blood. I know that pirate hag gave it to you! In the darkenss and the driving rain, the guardsman struggled to see his attacker.
Still, Donnen grinned. I guess you ran off without it when the lady took your hand off.
Not my fault you picked a fight you couldn't win. Jevlan lunged, his blade punching through Donnen's armor just below his ribs, but the recruit slipped on the wet stone during his attack and stumbled into his enemy. Donnen shoved him away—and over the stairs. His fall ended with a sickening crack of broken bones.
Donnen drew a ragged breath and pulled Jevlan's sword from his side, trying not to slip on his own blood.
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The Chantry was a long way off. Codex entry Hard in Hightown: Chapter Eighteen. The rain stopped with a suddenness that suggested some enterprising footpad from the Coterie had climbed up to shank the clouds. The fog drifted off to haunt a better part of the Wounded Coast , and as Donnen reached the Chantry Courtyard , the clouds parted to let a sliver of moonlight shine on the rain-swept flagstones.
He stopped to catch his breath and tighten the torn-off coat sleeve he'd used as a bandage. The bleeding was slowing, which meant either the wound in his side wasn't that deep or he was running out of blood to lose. Trying not to dwell on the latter, he pushed open the Chantry doors.
A single soul occupied the space, lighting a candle for the dead. She rose as Donnen staggered into the firelight. Your message was a little vague. He pointed toward the golden statue of Andraste. Under the altar. Marielle cast him a sceptical look, but she climbed the dais and returned with a small oilcloth bundle.
She picked apart the wrapping's knot and peered down at the rusty blade inside, specks of dried blood still clinging to the pitted guard. Donnen struggled to his feet. You never know when I might need it. Codex entry Hard in Hightown: Chapter??? Donnen wiped spilled ale off the bar, listening to the cries of the birds and the crashing of waves outside. Another slow day on the Amaranthine Coast. The tavern didn't get many visitors—just a little too far south of the Antivan border to catch the caravans—but he hadn't opened it to make a profit.
He poured a glass of plum brandy from a chipped decanter and carried it out to the patio, where an impressive Orlesian mustache was keeping company with an old Grey Warden playing a minuet on a lute. Donnen handed the brandy to the Warden, in some deference to his mustache, and the gentleman accepted it with grace, placing the glass on the table before finishing the last measure of his song. The mustache did not appear impressed with the vintage.
The sun was setting behind them, drawing long shadows on the ground that stretched toward the sea. If male Hawke was left behind in the Fade He poured some noxious Ander stout from an oak cask into a heavy tankard and carried it outside to a dark-haired nobleman on the patio idly strumming a lute so out of tune, it sounded like some other instrument, perhaps a tuba or a kettle drum, trying to invent music from scratch. It finds its way into your soul, and once it gets there, you carry it always.
The sun was setting behind them, casting long shadows from the tavern down to the water. A flock of cormorants took advantage of the fading light to dive for fish making their way back out to sea. If female Hawke was left behind in the Fade He poured a glass of red Orlesian wine and carried it out to the patio where Lady Marielle sat, playing a lute for the benefit of a distant flock of cormorants and a sleepy mabari hound.
The sun was setting behind them. The hound stretched and ambled over to the table to lay his head on Lady Marielle's knee and beg for table scraps. In the distance, the cormorants took off in a single motion to return to their roosts up the shore. One guardsman might suffice. If Alistair was left behind in the Fade He poured a glass of smoky Fereldan whisky and carried it out to the patio where a sandy-haired fellow was attempting to play the lute. Or murder the lute. Or murder the concept of music itself. It probably didn't help that the man was holding the lute straight out in front of him as if he feared it were a snake that might bite him.
You came to my rescue just in time! No more responsibility, no more senior officers yelling at you, no more Kirkwall The sun was setting behind them, turning the Amaranthine Ocean a deep sapphire and sending the seabirds back up the cliffs to their nests. Along with all those other things. I just didn't bring them to the bar.
And while the blond man spun his unlikely tale, the two of them watched the last of the light vanish in peace. If Loghain was left behind in the Fade He poured the last dregs of a pale Fereldan larger into a mug and headed out to the patio where an old soldier sat strumming a particularly battered-looking lute.
The grizzled mabari curled up at his feet flicked one ear, dreaming. The sun slipped down another notch in the sky behind them, and the wind coming in off the sea turned cooler. Two dozen bakeries with loaves of bread and sweet pies in the oven. At his feet, the hound twitched her paws, chasing rabbits in her sleep, and the last light faded from the sky in peace. Codex entry Hard in Hightown: Chapter Eight. Donnen Brennokovic left his partner, Jevlan, at the barracks. The recruit was even more jittery after their run-in with Captain Belladonna, and although Donnen himself was starting to feel his limbs weighed down and aching after such a long shift, he finally had the scent of something in this case.
He wouldn't let it get away. The city of Kirkwall has a legacy of collectors. It was built in ancient times by Tevinters who collected suffering as if it were rare coins, and they passed on their obsession with obsession to future generations. On any street from Darktown to the Viscount's Keep , you can always find someone who'll always buy tapestries or who has every known spoon made in Nevarra. Or someone who hoards odd bits and scraps of historical knowledge like it's their grandmother's crockery.
Which is how he found himself knocking on a brightly painted door in the Alienage. What a nice surprise! Nobody's been mugged, have they? She had green eyes so wide, they barely fit in her face, and she seemed to be made of nothing but elbows and knees. You will answer to us. She flipped the letter over and cooed as if she'd found a lost puppy.
Just look at you! You're just perfect! There's only been one example, on the letter claiming responsibility for the assassination of Queen Madrigal in ! And this one is so much better! Just look at that imprint! Codex entry Hard in Hightown: Chapter Nine. Donnen Brennokovic was running out of leads to chase. He had only two weeks until retirement, just two weeks to find the man who'd murdered a magistrate and a Hightown nobleman—if Captain Hendallen didn't kick him from the ranks first. The docks stank of piss and rotting fish, as foul as the men and women who worked there.
But that was where Donnen had to go to find the raider captain Belladonna who had broken into the Comte de Favre's home. The Dragon's Jewels was a big boat. She liked big boats. The pointy bits towered majestically over the water. That roundish wooden part seemed like it could crush armadas beneath its It was the greatest boat in the history of boats. He ran up the gangplank to find a dead sailor on the deck and a blood trail leading down into the hold.
Donnen drew his sword and followed. His eyes still hadn't adjusted to the dimness of the lower decks when he tripped over another dead sailor, stabbed in the gut and left where he'd fallen. The body was still warm. The ship creaked with every swell of the waves. Donnen held his breath and crept deeper into the hold. Steel rang against steel. Donnen parried a second blow, still half-blind in the low light. The third swing got past his guard and left a wicked slash in his forearm. Kirkwall city guard! She was clutching her ribs with her right hand, a dagger in her left, and was covered in enough blood that Donnen was sure is wasn't all hers.
She glowered at him. Useless as ever. Didn't care to ask. Before I cut off his hand and he bolted. If that's what this was about, you can have it. She threw it at Donnen's feet. Codex entry Hard in Hightown: Chapter One. The pickpockets and confidence men head to the taverns at dusk, the dwarven businessmen and nobles go back to their tiny palaces to fret over the ways they got cheated, and the market falls silent.
Donnen Brennokovic knew every angle of the market with his eyes closed. Twenty years of patrols had etched it into him so that he walked that beat even in his dreams. The recruit, Jevlan, was another story. The ring of steel striking stone told Donnen that the kid had stumbled into a column again. His new armor would be full of dents by sunrise.
A breeze scurried across the plaza, sending the banners and pennants shivering and carrying an old, familiar scent. Donnen stopped in his tracks. He peered into the dark, up at the mezzanine just above them. Be ready for trouble. The two guards climbed the dark stairs and there, in a puddle of shadow, found the body. Gold-trimmed satin glittered through the blood. Codex entry Hard in Hightown: Chapter Three. For the second time in what was becoming a very long night, Donnen Brennokovic and his partner, Jevlan, found themselves knocking on a nobleman's door.
It was still hours before dawn, the sky turning grey around the edges. The steel of Donnen's gauntlets clanged against the door. No answer. He sighed looking up at the dark windows of the mansion. The recruit was nervous. In the guard a week and barely able to walk through Hightown , too green for a murder case. Look up. There hasn't been a storm in months. Donnen had forgotten how badly new guard armor fit. He started to tell the kid where to get it adjusted, and the door swung open.
A man rushed them inside and through the house. Every room was dark. No moonlight made it through the shuttered windows. No candles flickered. Their way was lit only by a hooded lantern in the hands of their host. He stopped once they had reached a windowless inside room, where he closed and bolted the door behind him. The man nodded. In the dim lantern light, Donnen could see that he was dressed in a gaudy brocade doublet, but had thrown a chain mail shirt over it.
He wore the helmet from an obviously ceremonial armor set, slightly askew on his head. When dragons do battle, guardsman, mortal men can only take cover. Drop the case. Don't draw their gaze. Codex entry Hard in Hightown: Chapter Two. He stared down his nose at Donnen Brennokovic and his partner, Jevlan, as if he were on some lofty balcony above them instead of standing in the parlor in his dressing gown. This can wait until a reasonable hour. A dozen ancient swords lay nestled in display cases, protected from dust and prying fingers. He moved to lift the lid of the nearest one.
Jevlan started to protest, but then the doors opened. She had eyes the color of topaz and dark hair that fell across her brow like sword strokes. Donnen nodded at the recruit to speak up. He said he was going to play Wicked Grace with the Comte de Favre. Political rivals. Even people in his district who disagree with him. Vague threats. I thought it was nothing, but it upset Seamus. Codex entry Her Perfumed Sanctuary. Divine Rosamund. Now here's an interesting story. Rosamund was the youngest Divine ever crowned; she was born to the noble Montbelliard family and groomed for the rank of Divine by her predecessor, Divine Hortensia II.
Records of Rosamund describe her as a radiant beauty, and she captured the hearts and imaginations of the Orlesian public almost immediately. Not long after she was crowned Divine, erotic art and literature featuring her began to make an appearance in noble Orlesian circles. The situations depicted in these works were entirely fictional; Divine Rosamund led a life that was beyond reproach, but it seemed that purity only served to fan the flames of creativity in her "followers.
Several pages of a pamphlet containing a story about Rosamund still exist in the private collection of a certain gentlewoman who will remain unnamed. One page describes, in painful detail, Rosamund's "perfumed sanctuary. The best of us ran when the dreadnought was sighted! Nuggins, Nuggins!
For he heard the call. Tripped nine Qunari, and that's why he's knighted! As brave as he's small! A shore full of pirates, the worst set to happen. His heart pure and true. Tripped him an admiral, now he's our captain! For me and for you! The blight was upon us, and we found no pardon. Now he'll make a stand! Tripped up the darkspawn, and now he's a Warden! For all in the land! Paraded through Kirkwall as hero and winner!
Stubborn and vicious! Tripped up a viscount, now he's for dinner! Of course he's delicious! Codex entry How to Act Fereldan. I'd like to take full responsibility for Lady Marchellette's odd behavior of late. You see, we recently began the study of history. I thought that it would do the young mistress some good to be exposed to all Thedosian cultures and not just Orlais.
It was a foolish thought. Regrettably, your dear daughter has taken a particular interest in Fereldan folklore. She first developed an affinity for King Calenhad , which seems to have devolved into borderline infatuation. She stared at me, eyes wide, when I told how he unified the barbarians with his allegedly incomparable might and charisma. Every time I tried to move the lesson on to something more important, she insisted I tell her again about Calenhad: how the Fereldans say his hair was twice as yellow as the sun, and his chin more chiseled than the tallest peak in the Frostbacks.
Twice now, I've had to tear down drawings she's tacked up in her bedroom of the man shirtless. Then we moved on to the werewolves, which was even worse. As you may already know, the Fereldans venerate the folk heroes Dane and Hafter. Dane was said to have been a werewolf, and Hafter to have descended from one. No enlightened man or woman could ever view such beast people with anything but revulsion. But you know Fereldans and their love of wildlife. Unfortunately, these tales of the wolf men set the little mistress's imagination afire.
When she suggested we put on a play for you and her lord father, I could not say no. I'm afraid that's why Marchellette was running through the mansion, wearing wet furs and frightening the chambermaids. She was rehearsing a scene in which Hafter drives back the darkspawn. I've been informed that some priceless family heirlooms were destroyed amidst all that confusion, and I cannot fully express my dismay.
We set sail from Kirkwall under fair winds and clear skies. The captain said we would be in Rialto within a week if the weather held. I spent the day aboard deck, chatting with the crew, and retired to my cabin at dusk. To my dismay, the motion of the waves made it impossible for me to settle down. Even reading was difficult, though the book of myths and legends I had brought was quite riveting indeed. I emerged again several hours later, after it was dark, hoping the chill night air would grant me some relief. As I leaned over the rail, I heard a cry of alarm from the crow's nest. I raised my head and saw, in the sky to the far-off southwest, an eerie green glow, which grew brighter as we watched.