A Unfamiliar Face
"Boss, remind me why we're here?"
The Iron Bull wasn't one who often complained, but trekking through Orlesian woodland wasn't on his top five ways to spend his afternoon. On top of that, since the appearance of the rifts, the place was stuck in some kind of eternal winter, so it was freezing.
"Red Templars were spotted just outside Sahrnia" said his employer, Inquisitor Maxwell Trevelyan explained for the fourth time "So we're here to find them and kill them"
"All in a days work for the Inquisition" Varric smirked. Varric was a dwarf, small in size but more than had the mouth to make up for it. Next to Bull, he looked comically small.
The Iron Bull was a Qunari, a race of horned giants that stood two heads taller than even the tallest man. Bull was large even by Qunari standards, muscular and covered in scars from hundreds of victorious battles. He was however shirtless, due to the sheer size of his body and horns, and was seriously hating having to go without.
"You know me boss," Bull spoke "I'll take whatever fights you give me, but the weather's kinda shit"
"I know, Bull" the Inquisitor sighed "But considering what we might face..."
"Yeah, I know" Bull shrugged "Mysterious warrior in the woods"
Before coming, the Inquisition had received intel of strange sightings of a warrior stalking the woods outside Sahrnia. The warrior was supposedly impossibly strong, and any and all attempts to fight them had ended in injury and death.
"You don't sound too convinced, Tiny" Varric noted.
"Oh I'm sure there's some dangerous people out in these woods, Varric" Bull admitted "But it's probably bandits or even the Templars"
"Regardless," The Inquisitor spoke "Keep your eyes out. Our priority are the Templars"
"They're close" came a voice from behind, startling everyone.
"Damn, Cole" Trevelyan breathed, "Don't sneak up on us like that"
Cole was unusual. On the surface, he looked like a normal (albeit skinny) blond human dressed in leather armour and a broad brimmed hat. But in truth, he was a spirit of compassion, capable of turning invisible and even make people forget his presence. He was also an empath, able to sense emotion. "Sorry" he apologised.
The spirit tensed as if he heard something, then steadily began to walk, and then run off "This way!"
Anyone else would have just stood there in confusion, but Trevelyan and the others had long since learned to just accept Cole's quirks and listen to him, so they followed him.
"Cole!" Trevelyan called "Can you tell how many there are?"
"Not sure" was his answer. Cole gasped as his legs began to buckle underneath him, leaning on a tree for support.
"You alright, kid" Varric asked him.
"They hurt" Cole whispered, his empathic abilities coming to him and his friends in disjointed rambling "Burning, black and baleful, they sing to him and pray for the stones. They..." he stopped speaking, got back to his feet and began walking again.
"Cole?" Trevelyan spoke
"It's cold" Cole said.
"I thought that was already common knowledge?" Bull snarked.
"It's a new cold" Cole explained in his own strange way "Burning like fire, but cold. Burning cold"
Human, dwarf and qunari stared at each other, none of them quite understanding their friend, but nonetheless gave chase.
They followed him until they stopped at a clearing. There, the four of them stood at the edge, hidden in the tree line, and watched a massacre unfold.
They could recognise the red templars easily enough. They were the soldiers clad in metal plate, deformed from the corruption of red lyrium, bellowing battle cries and charging with little self-preservation. A dozen red templars against a single opponent. And they were losing.
Their opponent was someone that Trevelyan had never seen before. They were clad in a tattered red cloak, but other than that he couldn't tell anything about them. They carried some kind of scythe in their hands, crafted from red metal.
"Well damn, they were right" Bull commented. They had found their mysterious warrior.
The stranger was truly as powerful as the rumours claimed. The person was barely the height of the templars, and the scythe was nearly as large as they were tall. Regardless of that, they were cutting through the red templars like they were parchment, heavy armour and all. Not even Bull could claim such strength.
"Should we help them?" Varric voiced the question
"I think we'd just get in the way" Bull admitted. From a man loving a fight, this was a painful thing for him to admit.
And so the quartet stood and watched as the warrior tore the red templars apart. They leaped and slashed and kicked, acrobatic in their movements, and the templars fell like dominoes. One of them, the last man standing, seemed to grow wise and run.
"Varric?" Trevelyan gave the unspoken order.
Varric nodded, unslung his crossbow and took aim. The warrior in red beat him to it though. Planting the blade of their scythe into the frozen earth, there was a cracking BOOM like thunder, and the red templar fell dead.
"What the-" Varric said
"Adaar" Bull gasped
"What?" Trevelyan was confused.
"Adaar means "weapon"" Bull explained "They use gaatlok, explosive powder, to kill things from afar"
"So we're dealing with a Qunari?"
"No, more likely a Tal-Vashoth" Bull said "But if it's a Tal-Vashoth, they're small"
Trevelyan nodded. The stranger fiddled with their weapon, and then suddenly their weapon shrunk into a small rectangular shape, which they then hid under their cloak.
"That's cool" Bull noted
Trevelyan spoke "Bull, Varric, you'll come with me. We'll approach him, plain sight"
"Not to argue Inquisitor, but won't that leave us exposed. We've just seen them kill someone from fifty paces"
"Cole will sneak around them, try and stay unseen, and can ambush them if they turn aggressive"
Cole nodded and began to sneak away, and despite Trevelyan trying to focus on him, he could not convince himself that Cole existed.
"Okay, let's go gentlemen"
The three of them slowly marched into the open while Cole ran ahead, taking a long way around the mysterious figure. Trevelyan was just about to call out to them when they spun on their heel and drew their weapon from their cloak again. Holding it like a crossbow, they pointed it a Cole.
"Hey!" they called out, their voice surprisingly feminine "Don't move!"
Cole froze on the spot, more bewildered than scared "You can see me?"
"Of course I can see you!" the cloaked character snapped "Who are you? What do want?"
Trevelyan took that moment to speak up "Hello there"
The hooded one spun again, a BOOM coming from her weapon, disturbing the snow just in front of Iron Bull. "Shit" he gasped
"Sorry" the cloaked woman quickly said, sounding surprisingly sheepish. She cleared her throat before speaking again "Uh, I mean weapons on the ground! Now!" She quickly looked at Cole "You too!"
"You can see me" Cole repeated
"Yes, I can!" she snapped again "Now, please, drop your weapons. I don't want to hurt you"
Trevelyan eyed up the stranger. She was definitely a woman up close. She was a little shorter than average. Her red cloak was billowing in the wind to reveal what looked like a black overbust corset over a white blouse, with a black and red skirt that ended just above her knees. She wore a belt that carried several small metal pieces, and thigh-high stockings with black boots.
"Okay" he relented, dropping his sword and shield "Varric, Bull, Cole, if you please". The others did the same with their own weapons.
"Good" the woman sighed "Now, maybe you guys can be a little more helpful than the last ones" she motioned to the Red Templar corpses with her weapon.
"What do you need?" Varric asked
"Well..." the woman pondered for a moment before lowering her weapon "For starters, where am I?"
Trevelyan shared a look with Bull and Varric "You don't know?"
"No, not really" she admitted, "I got separated from my friends and I think I passed out or something. I woke up a couple of days ago..." She stopped and glared at Cole "What are you doing?"
Cole looked like a child that had been caught with a hand in the cookie jar "Helping" he said by way of explanation.
"Uh, kid" Varric spoke to him "Don't go spooking the lady with the weird crossbow-scythe alright?"
The lady looked offended "It's not a crossbow! It's a high-impact sniper rifle"
"A what?" Bull looked bewildered
"It's also a gun" she explained, before realising the dumb looks on everyone's faces "What, you guys have never heard of a gun?" She turned back to Cole, raising her "gun" "I said stop it!"
"Cole" Trevelyan spoke "What are you doing?"
"I'm trying to help her" Cole explained
"He's trying to read my mind" the woman snapped "I don't how you're doing it but stop it"
Trevelyan was really confused now. Cole could read emotions and by extension a persons mind so intimately he can view their memories. Sure it was a thing most people wouldn't appreciate but most couldn't actually tell he was doing it, much less actively block him out. Who was this woman?
Cole looked at Varric with distress "She's hurting. I'm trying to help her"
Varric almost responded but Trevelyan spoke over him "We're getting off topic" he spoke to the mystery woman "You said you don't know where you are?" She shook her head in response "This forest is just next to Sahrnia"
The woman nodded her head, gun down again "Is that anywhere near Mistral?"
The woman shuffled from side to side a little "What kingdom am I in?"
"Orlais" Bull answered
"Orlais?" the woman repeated "Never heard of it"
Trevelyan shared a look with Varric, and saw a confused look to match his own "Where are you from, miss?" he asked.
"Patch, in Vale" she answered
Now Trevelyan was more than confused, he was concerned, "I've never heard either of those names"
"What?" the woman sounded distressed "You had to have heard of Vale. It was nearly destroyed less than a year ago in a big attack"
Trevelyan looked at Varric, who only shook his head, and Bull "Anything like that show in the reports?"
"Nothing, Boss" was his reply
"Reports?" the woman asked
"We're with the Inquisition miss" Trevelyan explained "We get reports all the time"
"What about Atlas? Have you heard of Atlas?" More blank looks met the woman's as she grew increasingly panicked "Mantle? Vacuo?" she turned to Iron Bull "You must have heard of Menagerie, I mean, you're a Faunus right?"
"A what?" Bull looked mildly confused, as if he didn't know whether to be offended or not.
"A Faunus" the woman repeated "You have big animal horns"
"I'm Qunari" he corrected her "We all have horns"
The woman took a step back as if she had been punched "Oh God," she whispered under breath. She turned back to Trevelyan, the panic in her voice unmistakeable "Is this Remnant?"
Trevelyan didn't know what to say. The girl was so utterly confused. Varric answered slowly and softly "You're in Thedas, miss"
There was a thud as the girl dropped her weapon. She backed a few steps away from the men, a few quiet "no"s escaping her. She pulled her hood off her head and began running her hands through a head of black shoulder length hair, muttering incoherently. She sank to her knees before falling back on her rear. She pulled her knees to her chest, muttering all the while.
Cole looked pained, no doubt due to whatever emotion the stranger was giving off. Trevelyan motioned for his men to form around him. "What do you think?"
"She's being honest, boss" Bull said, "She believes everything she's saying"
"She could just be nuts" Varric noted. Bull just shrugged in response. "Look," the dwarf spoke again "I think we should take her to Skyhold. She's lost and confused, she has no idea where the hell she is. We might be able to help her"
Trevelyan nodded, and went to the woman. "Miss" he spoke, and the woman looked up at him. It was at this point Trevelyan realised just how young she was. She looked younger than even Sera. Barely a woman. She had remarkably pale skin, with the eyes that were a startling grey colour, like pools of molten silver.
"Yes, sir?" the girl asked
"I want to help you" Trevelyan said "I think my people can do that, but you'll have to come with us"
"You're the inquisition, you said?" the girl asked.
He nodded, offering his had "I'm the Inquisitor"
The girl wiped a few tears away from her eyes. Gingerly, she took his hand.
"Ruby. Ruby Rose"
Now this was an idea I've had for quite a while now but had shelved in favour of other ideas. But after weeks of writers block I've woken up in the middle of the night (it's about 2am) with a sudden urge to make this. I have no idea whether or not I'll continue this but I had to type this up otherwise I'd never go back to sleep
Anyways, hoped you liked this, I'm off to bed.