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message 1: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Weber (lissa_weber) | 136 comments The grey area between Fan Fiction and personal writing. The world of Dragon Age, but these characters are all mine.

Prologue

“No! I will not calm down! That wretched child has run off to Maker know’s where, and his Lordship is at our doorstep! I have earned the right to ‘freak’ and ‘wail’ and… what have you!” Lady Eyline stormed through the halls of the villa, her ire hotter than the deserts of the Western Approach. “Kaline must know where-” (Xe’s headed)

“She’s still asleep,” her husband said quietly. “She had another fit last night. It would do you no good to wake her.”

The pairing of Ser Westin and Lady Eyline was an advantageous political match, and it was never more obvious than when the two were side by side.

Lady Eyline, hair as black as a raven’s feathers and eyes that shined like obsidian, had a temperament that burned like dark ethereal flames, a Blight of its own right, destroying everything in its path. She stood straight as and arrow, proud and sure, never second guessing any move. Her duty to the Game and to maintaining power overshadowed any spark of light or goodness she might have had hidden beneath her dark exterior. On the outside she was a believer, but no one, not even her husband, knew the truth of what lay in her heart.

Ser Westin, on the other hand, was a ray of light that never wavered in her storm. With his bright eyes as clear as the sky and hair the color of the springs first, the visual difference was enough to make a passersby wonder. His shoulders slumped, and wrinkles lined his face as if he constantly showed more emotion than one being could express. His age showed, and he looked much older than the lady he married in their shared 20th year. And everyone knew what the Lord Knight had in his heart: One thing came before his faith, and that was his children.

“When she awakes, I want her questioned,” Eyline said firmly. “Those two are thick as thieves-”

“She won’t know. I was there when they gave her the potion,” Westin interjected. “There were no mischievous plans discussed. Only sibling affection and…” He hesitated and his wife pounced on his weakness.

“So, are you protecting her again?!”

“No! But is it so wrong?! She’s sixteen, for Andraste’s sake. And they were saying goodbye! Do you even know what that’s like? Saying goodbye to a sibling because not even the Maker knows when or even if they’ll see each other again?!”

Eyline blinked, not used to having anyone raise their voice to her, let alone her husband. “Westin…”

“I know, in your own way, you love our children, and you want what’s best for them, but I cannot watch this any longer. Maker, I hope you never find {xer}, Eyline. Danny deserves an ounce of freedom with all the horrors {xe’s} been through, and perhaps {xe}’ll find it out there beyond our reach.”

As he turned and walked away, Eyline stood frozen, unable to process the events fully.

A gentle cough broke her from her trance.

“You wished to see me?”

Eyline hesitated, then nodded, her mask slipping back into place. “Same thing, as usual, but…” She paused and looked back down the hall, as if her husband were still there. “Just make sure Danny is safe. And Keep a watchful eye out, just in case… things change… Send Ari in if there’s trouble or we need to make contact. He’ll cause the least amount of fuss.”

“Are you sure, my lady?” The man asked.

Eyline smiled wryly. “No, but my husband seems sure. I should trust him every now and then. It keeps him on his toes.”


message 2: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Weber (lissa_weber) | 136 comments Chapter 1

“But if you give me the potion now, I can’t say goodbye to you tomorrow!” Young Kaline tried to push the concoction away between fits of coughs.

Danny smiled sadly and brushed a blonde lock from the younger girl’s eyes. “Then we’ll just have to say our goodbyes now.”

“But!” Kaline’s eyes flicked briefly to their father, who had started to drift off in the chair beside the fire.

Danny’s head shook and pulled Kaline into a tight hug. “No matter where I go, No matter how far I travel, I will always love you. And if you ever need me, all you need to do is ask, and I will run straight home, Alright?”

Kaline started to cry and held on to her older sibling as tight as she could, as if she wasn’t planning on letting go. “Don’t go!”

“You know I have to…” Danny pulled back and handed her the cup. “Drink, and I’ll stay until you fall asleep.”

The eldest watched, violet eyes blazing with unshed tears, as the youngest slowly sipped the contents of the earthen clay mug.

And as her eyes started to drift closed, the little girl cried, “I don’t want to lose you…”

A tear slid down Danny’s cheek. “You won’t.”

He leaned down to kiss her forehead-


Danny’s eyes opened, and he rolled over with a sigh. His sister’s pleas had haunted him for the past two months every waking moment, and now it had invaded his dreams. How was he supposed to get any sleep between the dreams and-

All of a sudden, he felt the cot start to tip, and Danny rolled with the movement to spring to his feet.

“Aw, shucks. The new kid’s picked up a few tricks.” A large, scruffy looking man with melons for biceps pouted and crossed his arms. “It ain’t no fun if we can’t harass you. Let us win every once in awhile.”

Danny straightened from his defensive stance and started silently picking up his bedding. His silence only aggravated the man further, and he growled as he strode forward.

“Hey! I’m talking to you, boy!”

As the man grabbed his arm, Danny turned and glared up at the towering man, but still didn’t say a word. The man shook him roughly. “You answer me when I talk to you, boy. You got that?”

“That’s enough, Mad Dog,” A smooth voice said behind them. Danny turned to see Valor, the leader of the mercenary gang he’d joined up with a few weeks ago. “I thought I told you to stay away from our new recruits. You’ll scare them all off.”

“Ah, Boss, If I scare them, they shouldn’t be here,” Mad Dog chuckled, releasing Danny’s arm only to capture him in a headlock. “Besides, this one ain’t new, are you, kid?”

Danny let out a feral growl, and Mad Dog laughed and let go. “Should have saved my name for this one. Feriece as a Marbari, this one.”

With another look from Valor, Mad Dog shrugged and left the tent without a second glance. Danny straightened out his clothes and started picking up his bed clothes again as the tall, swarthy man stepped closer. He settled onto his camp chair and raised a brow.

“So, I’m guessing you still haven’t said a word to anyone? Haven’t mingled with the rest of the men? Trained with the rest of them?” Silence met his questions. “Have you at least pretended to eat with the rest of them in the time I was gone?”

Danny exhaled through his nose and a small smile crossed his lips.

“Yes, no one else may understand you, but I think I’ve got a pretty good read on you.”

Another snort. Valor leaned back and crossed his legs.

“You know if you don’t start playing nice with the others, I’m not sure I can keep you with the Blades much longer. We’re not a charity, you know…”

Danny righted the cot and set the folded sheets neatly on top of it, his expression cool and neutral again.

“We can drop you off at the next Chantry, if you’d like. The Sisters would be all too happy to-”

Valor hadn’t seen him move, nor had he seen the blade in his hand until it was pressed against his throat.

“Then let me fight,” Danny said in a hoarse whisper. He replaced the dagger in his belt and left the tent.

The man continued to watch him as the boy avoided everyone in camp and started wailing on a practice dummy.

“I told you, Boss. Something ain’t right with that one.”
Mad Dog was leaning against the tree a few paces away.

“You may be right,” Valor said with an amused smile. “He may be just wrong enough to be right for our little crew. Don’t you agree?”

“Maybe,” Mad Dog said with a grimace. “But I tell ya, that kid gives me the creeps, sometimes. Never saying a word…”

“Until today.” Valor turned and walked towards the rest of his men. “I want you to officially test him.”

“What? Why me?” Mad Dog protested. “What about your other lackeys?”

Valor shrugged and walked away, hiding his grin, and leaving a stewing Mad Dog frowning at the boy across the clearing.


message 3: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Weber (lissa_weber) | 136 comments Chapter 2

“Come on, boy! You’ve got to do better than that! Give me some sort of reaction; I just insulted your mother!”

Danny exhaled through his nose and got back to his feet. He winced slightly as he tried to shift his weight to his left foot.

Mad Dog sighed. “Well, if I’ve learned anything these past few weeks, it’s that you’re tough and stubborn as sin. You’ll at least survive here, if not, thrive.”

Danny gave him an odd look. He’d been running simple missions for the Blades for at least a month, so the comment seemed out of place. Mad Dog tossed a practice staff to him, and he eyed it strangely.

“To lean on, dummy. Can’t have you injuring yourself and not able to be useful. Valor’d tan my hide.”

Danny’s focus turned from the staff to his trainer, and Mad Dog sighed. “I could throw your sorry weightless skeleton over my shoulder, if it pleases Your Highness.”

Danny stuck out his tongue and made a face, and Mad Dog threw back his head and howled, his laughter scaring small critters from the clearing.

“And it’s that face right there that makes me think you were a nob once. Come on, let’s get you back to camp and bandaged up before the crew comes back.”

They wandered their way back to camp where Danny immediately plopped down onto a log and started rubbing his ankle. Mad Dog grabbed a roll of bandages and knelt to help, when Danny glared at him.

“Alright kid, calm down. You want to do this yourself…” He dropped the bandages in the boy’s lap and turned to walk away.
Danny sighed, then took a deep breath.

“I am not used to having anyone take care of me… or trusting someone’s intentions are good. I am truly sorry. And… Thank you.”
Mad Dog turned back and blinked. “You… You talked? And multiple sentences at that?”

Danny rolled his eyes. “Staying quiet is difficult, and…” he paused and shrugged. “If I have to talk to someone, it might as well be you.”

Mad Dog snorted and knelt beside him again. “Maybe you can try trusting me.” Danny sighed and handed him the bandages, and Mad Dog grinned. “Now, that wasn’t so difficult, was it?”

“Four months, six days, and twelve hours!” Valor shouted from across the camp. “It’s about time!” Danny frowned and clammed back up. “What, you’re only talking to him now?” When Danny sighed and looked away, Valor smirked and continued. “I was thinking we could give you a name, if you’re willing to join the rest of the men.” He sat down next to the boy and offered him a hand. “An official welcome to Valor’s Elite.”

Danny turned and gave him an odd look. “I thought the name of your company was the Blades, and I was under the impression I was in… Or were you just paying me out of pity?”

“Ouch,” he chuckled, standing again. “Now come, I can’t tell you unless you agree to join us. But I wouldn’t ask you if I didn’t think you can handle it.” He extended his hand again. “So… You in?”
Danny hesitated, then nodded, taking his hand firmly. Valor grinned, then pulled the boy to his feet.

“Come, you’ll camp with us from here on out.” He shouldered Danny’s bag and took a path through the officer’s tents. Along the way, he started talking, pointing out people along the way.

“And that’s Carson. He’s my lieutenant. When it comes to the Blade’s, he’s my second.”

“I always thought Mad Dog was your second,” Danny stated plainly.

Mad Dog puffed up his chest. “I do give off an air of leadership, don’t I,” he said smugly.

Danny snorted. “More like you two are joined at the hip.”

“Mad Dog is my second,” Valor said, casting a look over his shoulder at the both of them. “Just giving him power and people seemed like a disaster waiting to happen.”

“Hey! I’m very responsible! … I just prefer not to make decisions.” Mad Dog started to pout, and Danny almost giggled. When he received a curious look, he burst out laughing.

“You looked more like a Sad Puppy just then.”

Mad Dog growled, but there was no menace behind it. “Just wait, Princess. I can throw some weight behind your nickname.”

Danny stuck out his tongue. “Ugh. Must you keep up the nob jokes?”

“Yes, I must. Especially when you ‘speak thusly’,” he mocked.

Valor raised a brow. “More concerned with the nobility jokes than the girl jokes?”

Danny shrugged. “You really think with these looks I have not heard them before?”

Mad Dog was about to retort when Valor stopped in a remote area a bit far from the rest of camp.

“Dang it, Sparks! I told you, not so close to our camp!”

A lithe, blonde, tattooed elf dropped from the trees above their heads, grinning from ear to ear. “Ah Valles, you’re no fun. It was supposed to be an initiation! A “welcome to the club,” if you will.”

Valor sighed and nodded to him. “Sparks is our resident trap builder and explosives maker.”

Danny blinked. “You are Dalish?”

Sparks shrugged. “Got a little crazy with my experiments when I was younger, and they thought a trip might be good for me, calm me down. Left to see the world and they haven’t disowned me yet, so…. Are you still whatever you are?”

Danny looked down at his feet. “Only thing I know for sure is I am human, and even that could be called into question.”
Sparks’ grin returned. “He’s perfect, Val! Where do you find all us broken puzzle pieces?”

“It’s a gift,” he muttered. “Now, please move your traps.”

“Aye,” the elf grumbled. “Spoilsport.” He disappeared and a few clicks could be heard.

“You’ll be able to learn how to spot his traps eventually,” Valor said, moving again towards a campfire just beyond the traps that were now visible along side a bright pink dye. “It only takes getting caught unawares once for it to become your first priority during leisure time.”

“Duel wielder,” Danny commented, looking where the elf had disappeared to. “Daggers usually for practicality, but judging by his belt, it’s not uncommon for him to wield larger blades.”

“Perceptive,” Sparks said from behind him, making Danny jump, startled witless. “Bigger battles call for bigger blades, but they can get in the way if I don’t want to be noticed.”

“Also would help if you didn’t talk so much,” Mad Dog quipped quietly to Danny, making the boy snicker.

“Oh, ha ha,” Sparks deadpanned. “See if I help you out next time you get into a sticky situation.”

“Archie’s got my back, don’t ya, bud?”

A dark cloaked figure looked up and nodded slowly. The stare made Danny shiver, and Valor put a hand on his shoulder.

“Archer doesn’t speak much. I found him after the Fifth Blight. Lot’s of Tranquil were scattered during the Mage-Templar rebellion.”

“He’s a dang good shot, and makes a potion that make the dead walk,” Mad Dog said proudly.

“It’s a healing potion,” Archer said slowly, monotone. “It only revives you, it doesn’t raise the dead.”

“And he’s very serious,” Sparks said with a chuckle, plopping down next to him. “Does not mince his words.”

Valor motioned to a chair on his left, and Danny took the seat, eyeing the circle nervously.

“This is a rather well balanced group. Valor’s finesse, Mad Dog’s heavy hitting… All you need is a Mage…”

Archer eyed him from across the fire, and Danny coughed, trying to avoid his look.

Mad Dog sat on Valor’s other side. “Kid, I’ve been training you for months, and while your dagger work is exceptional…” He motioned to Danny’s bag, where the jeweled hilt of a dagger could be seen. “You’re best with your jeweled, lyrium laced blade.”

“Just because it is lyrium laced does not mean I am a mage,” Danny countered. “It just means I like expensive things…”

“And the way you handled the practice staff…”

Danny swore under his breath. “I knew you had an ulterior motive.” He looked at Valor pleadingly. “I am not-”

Valor’s look silenced him. “If you insist on keeping it a secret, it won’t leave us. But we thought you should know that we know, and if you’re an escaped Circle mage with templars on your tail, a heads up would be nice.”

“Never been in a Circle. My parents don’t even know.” Danny shrugged and tried to downplay it. “Not that it is a big deal. I am really not as attuned to the Veil as true mages…”

Valor gave him a disbelieving look, but Danny turned away and pretended not to see it. The man sighed and continued as he took his seat.

“As you said, we’re a well balanced group, and very good at what we do. All we need is a well trained mage.” Danny started to protest, but Valor spoke over him. “You’ve evaded detection thus far, which means you’re better than you let on, and {while} I will not require you to use magic, I still believe you have something to add to our group. I would have chosen you for your other skills whether you were a mage or not.

Danny sighed and paused, thinking. He finally rolled his eyes. “Alright. So, the Blades are your mercs. Blades for hire. The Elites are… what exactly?”

“Elite, duh-” Sparks started.

“*_insult_*, I meant what do we do?”

Valor hid his smile behind his hand as Mad Dog meowed. “Kitty’s got claws. Careful, Sparks.”

“The Elites are a ...secret... group for hire. Like Orlesian bards. Our talents are many, and we can serve in many capacities hired soldiers wouldn’t be useful,” Valor stated. “We follow the same mercenary codes as you learned in the Blades… Killing isn’t our first resort, never give the first blow, our crew comes first over any payday… I stand by that. No money, especially here, is worth the life of a family member. I won’t send you into a known impossible situation or suicide mission, and if you get ambushed, I want you to get out. I don’t care how, but I do not want to find a replacement for any of you.”

Mad Dog cleared his throat and took over for Valor, getting him back on topic and picking up where he left off. “Blades are hired directly, but I have contacts who send word when more… delicate… matters come along. All third party hires, we almost never meet our clients and we ain’t cheap.”

“Val’s face is too recognizable because of the Blades,” Sparks added cheerfully, “So we get to do most of the fun stuff on our own.”

Danny considered everything carefully. “I am assuming you prefer to stay out of Antivan politics, and assassinations?”

Valor shrugged, “Prefer? Yes. Does it happen that we get hired for something and things go wrong, and we cleverly cover up our mistakes? It’s been known to happen.”

“Speaking of,” Mad Dog piped up. “My lady friend popped by yesterday. One of her lesser noble friends is being harassed by a chevalier, looking to grab more power for himself.” He reached into his belt pouch and pulled out some papers to hand to Valor. “Thought you’d be interested in some good will with benefits, Boss.”

Valor glanced at it and made a face. “No.”

“She says it’s an actual problem this time. No fake fiance if you don’t want.”

“Didn’t she say that last time?”

“Valor’s family set him up with Lady ____ of Jader awhile back. She keeps asking him for favors. Even though their engagement fell through, she “absolutely adores” him,” Sparks said, emphasizing the lady’s reaction with her Orlesian accent and batting eyelids.

Mad Dog nodded. “And some part of Valor dotes on her too. Like a puppy, or a kid sister.”

“Well, we can at least check out the situation,” Valor said, either ignoring the comments or too involved in the report to care. “We’ll need information on this “Ser Jean-Sebastien,” and monitor the situation at their family home…” He looked up at Mad Dog. “Can your contact convince the ______’s to hire the Blades as… I don’t know… bodyguards… or… hall ornamentation...”

“There’s an event coming up they’ll want extra hands for, I’m sure. For the right price, I bet they’ll take the Blades on early.”

“Go as low as you need to make it happen. Something tells me income will not be a problem this time…”

Mad Dog grinned and dished out a plate from a pot {sitting on the fire} that Danny managed to overlook. “Eat up, kid,” he said, passing the plate to Valor, who handed it to the slightly overwhelmed boy. “You’re coming with, and you’re going to need your strength.”


message 4: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Weber (lissa_weber) | 136 comments “Aw, lucky…” Sparks sighed. “I never get to go on the fun trips.”
Valor gave Mad Dog a look.

“Don’t worry, Boss. Business comes first, always,” Mad Dog chuckled.

“Suddenly I do not want to go,” Danny murmured into his food.

Valor smiled and put a hand on his shoulder. “Don’t worry too much. I’m sure he’ll be on his best behavior. Otherwise, I will let everyone know his real name.”

Mad Dog growled and stood, inhaling the rest of his dish. “Hurry up, boy. I want to get back here by sun up.”

Danny scrambled to take a few more bites before following the large man, giving a small wave to the men left behind as he rushed off.

“Poor kid’s going to get eaten alive,” Sparks chuckled.
Valor nodded and watched as the two silhouettes disappeared into the forest.

“You got a soft spot for him, don’t ya, Vals?”
The usual composure returned to the man’s face and he shook his head. “I show the same concern for all my new hires.”

“No you don’t,” Archer said simply, which sent Sparks into fits of laughter.

“Archie has spoken! You like this new kid!”

“So? I see something special in him. Maybe a bit of me… It’s not important and it is not strange.”

Sparks continued to chuckle and Valor shoved a plate at him.

“Just… Shut up, alright?”

“Yes, ser, Boss, ser!” Sparks mock saluted and dug into his plate.
Archie silently contemplated the new side to their commander as the fire continued to burn into the silent night.


message 5: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Weber (lissa_weber) | 136 comments Chapter 3


“Where did you bring me again?”


Danny stood in the alley as far from the door to the building Mad Dog was entering.

“Where’d you think? Didn’t I tell you my lady friend was an entrepreneur?”

“Not the business I was imagining…” Danny muttered under his breath. “I was thinking a tavern-”

“This is a Tavern, dear,” a woman called from beside Mad Dog. “Now come inside before you scare off my customers.”

Danny hesitated, then slowly walked through the doors into the lively atmosphere. Mad Dog closed the door behind him with a smug grin.

“Kid, this is Delilah, the owner of this fine establishment.”

Delilah nodded her head and hooked her arm through Danny’s. “I think I have the perfect match for you-”

“What?!” Danny pulled away quickly. “No… we- *ahem* we’re here for business. N-not pleasure,” he said pointedly to Mad Dog, who chuckled.

“Relax, it’s just some company-”

“I thought you wanted to be back by sun up.”

Mad Dog sighed. “Spoilsport. Dee, is there someplace we can discuss your letter?”

She smiled graciously and nodded. “This way. Your pet can wait down here.”

Danny muttered mutinously under his breath and plopped down at a table for from the activity of the tavern. “I’ll be here.”

“You’re missing out on-”

“I do not want to hear it, Mad Dog. Or do you really want the world to know your true name?”

He shrugged. “Your loss.” As he walked up the stairs with Delilah clinging to his arm, Danny sighed, leaned back against the booth, and closed his eyes. After a few moments, he opened his eyes again to see an amused expression on a young man’s face. Danny jumped and retreated farther into the corner which made the young man laugh.

“This is an odd place to sleep. You do know there are rooms upstairs.”

Danny gritted his teeth and shrugged. “Not sure I trust those rooms being just for sleeping.”

The man scooted in across from him and smiled. “No one will do anything you don’t want.”

Danny smirked and nodded up the stairs, looking at the many doors that lined the hall. “My mentor brought me here under slightly false pretenses. Probably as some sort of prank… initiation… something like that would be my guess.” He looked back to the man across from him. “It’s not you or your co-workers that I don’t trust.”

The man blinked, surprised, then his courteous mask returned. “You are very perceptive. How did you figure out I wasn’t just another patron intrigued by the mysterious good-looking boy hiding in the corner?”

“Because most people in a place like this tend to mind their own business unless they are trying to make a sale.” As soon as the words left his lips, Danny winced and shook his head. “Sorry, that was unworthy of me.”

“Nothing I haven’t heard before,” the man said with a shrug. “And you are partially correct.” He leaned across the table to whisper, “You haven’t looked at a single lady since you walked in.”

Danny blinked. “...What?”

The man shrugged. “I figured they weren’t your type. That maybe I was more your type.”

Danny snorted and shook his head, though it was clear he was caught off guard. “That was not what I expected you to say.” After thinking for a moment, Danny took a deep breath. “I am not... comfortable… around women. However, I do not know how long my friend will be…” He paused and glanced at the stairs briefly, suppressing a shudder. “Can I buy you a drink and talk for a while?”

The man smiled and reached a hand across the table. “Keep the drinks flowing, and I won’t even charge you for my time.”

“So generous,” Danny smirked and took his hand, giving it a firm shake. “Miss? Something for me and my friend? And keep them coming.”

“Ryaan?”

“You heard the lad,” the man, Ryaan, said with a grin. “I’m not complaining.”

~*~
Chapter 3.5

“-right into the lake! I had never seen Mother so horrified!” Danny’s cheeks were flushed from the drink, and Ryaan chuckled.

“Sounds like your family is really close.”

Danny shrugged half heartedly. “Yes and no… Not anymore, at least.” He shook his head. “I haven't told anyone this. I must be really soused.” (?)

Ryaan smirked and Danny glared at him. “Don’t look at me! You're a lightweight.”

“Oh look! You can enjoy yourself without stabbing someone,” Mad Dog quipped as he came back down the stairs, alone. “The rest of the crew is going to have a field day with your hangover.”

“It’s your fault. You were taking too long.”

Mad Dog shook his head and pulled Danny to his feet. “Let’s settle your tab and get going. Thanks for looking after the kid, Ryaan.”

“He settled up already, Mad Dog, and I’d hardly call it looking after. He can take care of himself.” He winked at Danny and stood. “If you ever want to talk again, feel free to drop by again, kid.”

“Great, at this rate my name's gonna be kid.” Danny stumbled and Mad Dog grabbed the back of his collar to keep him upright.

“This is going to be a fun walk home,” he grumbled. “Come on, kid. Let’s go.”


message 6: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Weber (lissa_weber) | 136 comments The trip was long, and just as fun as Mad Dog had imagined, with the boy tripping nearly every step, but they did make it back before sun up. Danny passed out immediately, unawares of the crew still waiting by the fire.

He awoke late that afternoon to whispering.

“I swear! The kid was a perfect saint! I even sicced Ryaan on him to dig up dirt, or see if he played for the other team… Nothing!” Mad Dog’s whispers turned to incredulity. “Even getting drunk he didn’t say anything embarrassing or incriminating.”

“We could call him Chaste.”

“Sparks, that’s the lamest idea you have ever come up with.”

“Oh, like you have anything better.”

Archer’s voice interrupted the fight.

“Why not his role in our group? Most of our names are as such.”

Silence, then Mad Dog spoke up.

“What exactly is his role, again? I’m sure both ‘Mage’ and ‘Caster’ will go over swimmingly.”

“Agreed. ...And we don’t know his specialty, so ‘Pyro’ and ‘Shade’ and ‘Healer’... ‘Fadewalker’...”

“Why not ‘Enigma’ or ‘Secret’ since that’s what he is to us? A mystery.”

“Oh! Archie! That’s good! ...Although it’s a bit dark.”

Footsteps approached Danny from the other side of the tent and Valor poked his shoulder. “You might as well go join them, rather than eavesdropping from here. How’s the hangover?”

“Fine,” Danny said shortly. “I wasn’t that drunk.”

“Uh-huh. Right. Out you go.”

Valor pushed the boy out of bed and through the tent flaps, where the men sat, drinking, oblivious to the two newcomers to the fire.

“What about a nob name? I swear, it’s like the kid is royalty! I vote, ‘Highness.’”

“Your Lordship?”

“It’s not catchy. ...Or ripping enough.”

“Your Ladyship?”

“Now that’s just mean. … And my joke.”

“Indigo.”

Valor’s statement was simple and short, and got everyone’s attention as he walked past Danny to his seat.

Danny smirked slightly at that. “I… actually prefer that to everything I have heard so far. But why Indigo?”

Valor looked over his shoulder, adopting a smirk of his own. “Because Violet is a girl’s name and purple just sounds weird.”

“I meant-”

“I know what you meant.” Valor stopped there, however, and didn’t clarify.

After a moment of silence, Mad Dog’s expression changed to one of mischievousness.

“Wow, Boss. I didn’t know you spent that much time staring into Indigo’s eyes- Oh… I like that… That’s pretty good, actually.”
Valor rolled his eyes as he sat down. “Yet here you are, trying to rip me for it. I thought about it before I opened my mouth,” he deadpanned. “You should try it sometime.”
Sparks laughed as Mad Dog winced. “Touche!”
Danny sat down cross-legged and leaned forward. “Honestly, though… How long have you been arguing about my name?”

“The last fifteen minutes…” Valor muttered. “It was difficult to keep Mad Dog on track.”

“Still don’t want to know.” Danny rolled his eyes. “So… I take it things went well?” Before Mad Dog could respond, he raised his hand and continued quickly. “With getting the Blades hired?”

“Of course,” Mad dog said matter-of-factly. “Scouts left a couple hours ago to intercept the messenger that should be sent out tonight. We should hear something by tomorrow evening.”

Valor sighed. “The waiting and not doing anything is the worst part of all this.”


message 7: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Weber (lissa_weber) | 136 comments Spot for chapter 4

Montage of trip into town and the Elite and Blades goofing off together. Danny disappears for a little to buy a book, grins like a kid at the candy shop, an actual real smile and not a smirk. Valor sees from across the street. All other non important important mush.


message 8: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Weber (lissa_weber) | 136 comments spot for chapter 5 part A

Messengers come, Blades are hired for a ball, but the guests are arriving over a period of a month, Messer ________ of Jadar requests the Blades presence early so they don’t have too many new faces to surprise them.


message 9: by Melissa (last edited Oct 09, 2017 06:04PM) (new)

Melissa Weber (lissa_weber) | 136 comments As Valor turned to continue packing, Danny picked up the note.

“So… I did not realize there were ladies in the Blades. Where have you been hiding them… Ser?”

Valor paused for a moment, then continued without looking up. “I haven’t, and we don’t. The few we’ve come across didn’t stick around long. Always something about more ‘bad boys’ in other merc groups.” He glanced over his shoulder briefly. “What made you think…”

Danny held up the note and read. “‘We would appreciate your help in another matter as well. My daughter has recently become afraid for her life, and while I believe she’s over reacting, it wouldn’t hurt to take extra precautions. If you have a woman trained in weaponry or is of noble stature who could look out for my little girl, I would be much obliged. She would have to maintain cover as a lady in waiting…’ etcetera…” He looked up at Valor, who was busy packing again. “...Well?”

“Oh, Indigoooo,” Mad Dog called from behind them. Sparks was chuckling, and it made Danny turn. What he saw made him blanche.

Several ladies from the tavern, including Delilah, Ryan, and the rest of the Elite stood there, boxes of makeup and dresses in tow.

“Maker’s Breath! No.” Danny firmly held out his hands. “Not happening. Absolutely not.”

Mad Dog grinned. “You were the one who said you had the looks.”

“I think you’ll pull it off better than I,” Sparks added.

“No.” Danny took another step back, only to look down at the still packing Valor. “You knew about this, didn’t you?”

“I don’t know what you are talking about… However, they do have the right idea.” Valor looked up at Danny with an appraising eye. “Loose robes and a veil or a mask… should be convincing enough.”

“You’re going to let them do this to me?!” Danny shook his head, disbelieving, then sighed. “Fine, but I don’t need this many people. Or this much work.”

“But-” One of the ladies started to protest.

“No buts. I will have to do this on my own when I am undercover, correct?” When no one countered, he continued smugly. “Delilah and Ryaan can stay, but Ryaan, you’ll have to wait outside with the rest of the gentlemen folk while…” He shuddered. “While we figure out this dress thing…”

As Danny walked off towards the only tent left standing with Delilah, Mad Dog tossed a dress at him. “Have fun, Indigo! We’ll be waiting!”

“I hate you.”

“No you don’t.”


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