A Tale of Heralds and Champions
'All That Shit Was Weird!'

-Excerpt from the Preface -

This is the story of the Herald of Andraste and her four Champions of the Inquisition. Now, everyone knows the beginning parts. But that wasn't really the beginning for the Champions. And, no, I don't mean that they were sent by Andraste from the Golden City to aid the Herald in her quest. I'm talking about where they came from as they told me. Though, keep in mind, that I only learned about this after I got one of them very, very drunk. But I suppose the best place to start this tale is where we first met those five lunatic mages. That is the story you are all really interested in, isn't it?

-as written by Varric Tethras

Chapter #01:
The Wrath of Heaven

It was a scene of absolute devastation on a scale that few had ever seen, and fewer still survived. The grand structure that was once the Temple of Sacred Ashes had been reduced to rubble and ashes itself. The high walls, beautiful stained-glass windows, the two bell towers that stood adjacent to the main building of worship, the modest living quarters of the various clerics and servants who lived at the temple fulltime. All of it had been blasted to countless fragments of debris. The wooden beams of the cathedral and surrounding buildings being incinerated to ash. The strong stone walls and arches blown outwards in all directions, some even still raining down from the sky many miles away from the source. Smoke and ash hung heavy in the thin air, mingling with the heavy scent of ozone. Faint echoes of the resounding explosion that had gone off minutes ago could still be heard as they traveled through the various mountain passes and valleys.

The air itself almost seemed to vibrate as a dense, almost oppressive aura of heavy magical energies floated through the area. So dense and vibrant with energy that it sent tingles and reflexive shivers down the spines of the approaching people. For the people in the immediate area, all they could focus on was the destruction before them. All they could think of was trying to reach the site and investigate what had happened and find survivors that may yet live. Fear and confusion hung heavily upon these first responders as they stumbled through the debris and entered the newly made ruins. Had they been able to look skywards and see through the cloud of smoke and ash around them, they'd have seen the cause of the oppressive magic around them was a massive glowing green hole high up in the clouds overhead.

But that wasn't what they were paying attention to as they finally entered the Chantry. What they saw in the blasted ruins was a scorched landscape. The once richly decorated walls that where elegant tapestries had hung and the beautifully carved rows of benches for the worships who'd gathered to join the chant or pray to Andraste were all missing. There was an occasional body scattered about the area. But even at just a passing glance, one could tell that they were long dead. Their bodies scorched beyond recognition, torn and stretched into grotesque shapes of showed their last moments of pure agony as they died. It was a scene of carnage and devastation that one might've imagined had been torn out of the pages of Hell.

And situated at the head of the former auditorium, where the Reverend Mother would've led the Chant of Light, was the first true sign of what might've happened here was the large, wavering film of gaseous green Fade magic that hung ominously in the air. Floating within the center of this film was a patchwork of randomly jutting and retracting pillars of raw Fade collected around a single point. Even the most ignorant and magically insensitive peasant could've recognized what that hovering magic was: an unstable Fade Rift from which monsters and demons could emerge from to terrorize and destroy the world around them.

The platoon of soldiers quickly spread out. Most traversed through the ruins, searching and calling out for any signs of life. But three brave soldiers cautiously approached the Fade Rift, weapons drawn and weary, intending to guard the portal in case it collapsed and opened. As such, these three men were the first and only real witnesses to the strange events that came next.

With a flare of green, a small branch of the gaseous Fade surrounding the Rift suddenly reached out for the ground below. The three soldiers panicked momentarily, backing away as they readied their weapons. But they needn't have bothered for as soon as the newly created Rift opened, a pair of figures appeared from within it. One was what seemed to be a lady dressed in heavy woolen gambeson with armored pauldrons that were common among mercenaries. She didn't appear to be in a good physical shape as she required the assistance of the second lady to support her and keep her on her feet.

It was the second lady that really caught the three soldiers' attentions thanks to the simple fact that she was glowing a golden and majestic light. In a word, she looked positively divine. But thanks to that same blinding glow, they were unable to make out any features upon her face, nor identify what manner of dress or robes she wore. Though they could easily see that she wore the high hat of The Divine. Sadly, that was all they were able to make out of her as she bent over and let the other woman slide off her shoulder and stumble forward, stepping out of the Fade Rift and collapsing limply to the ground below. As soon as this was accomplished, the glowing woman stepped back and the Rift vanished back up into the nebulous cloud above it.

"Sergeant!" one of the soldiers called out over his shoulder. "We've got a survivor over here!" This was the first such cry to be called out from amidst the destruction and death. So, naturally, it attracted a lot of attention.

The three soldiers hurried forward, weapons held low but ready as they kept their gazes upon the figure. But before they could reach her, something else unexpected happened. Golden flames suddenly erupted to life in midair around the fallen lady.

"SERGEANT!" the same soldier yelled out. The fear in the man's voice earning even more attention as more men came running over to see what was happening.

Sadly, the soldiers could do nothing but watch as the clearly unnatural magical flame began to grow and spread slightly. But before true terror and panic could settle on anyone, the strange fires then began acting even more strangely. They separated into four individual flames, spreading and changing, taking on very distinctly humanoid shapes. That wasn't to say that they had fully separated as they remained connected by what were becoming increasingly familiar arm and hand like shapes. Once the flames had reached their own unique shapes and sizes, all of the flames promptly vanished and, in their places, stood four youths. All of the new arrivals seemed to have been holding hands in a circle facing inwards. But that circle quickly broke apart as all of them promptly collapsed to the ground limply, unconscious even though they were gasping and moaning as their bodies twitched and convulsed in obvious signs of pain.

Two of those youths were young men who'd clearly just recently become full adults. One was a blonde dressed in strange yellow and black clothing which, though well-made was clearly not meant for the frozen high altitudes of the mountains. The other young man whose dark hair was cut very short, wearing a red suit that wouldn't have looked out of place in an Orlais ballroom. The third person was also a boy, noticeably younger than the other two by a few years, but was on the cusp of entering manhood. His long dark hair was messy and windswept and, aside from the red coloring, his clothes were identical to the blonde man. But it was the young lady among them that drew most of the soldiers' attentions. If ever there was a woman who personified beauty, sex appeal, and perfection, she wouldn't have held a candle against the goddess that lay fallen to the ground before them.

"Alright, you lot!" one of the men barked out. "Search and detain them! We've still got a temple to search!"

Despite their fear and confusion, these men were still professional soldiers and were quick to fall back on their training. These five men and women were thus far the only survivors found, all of whom were discovered in…unusual circumstances. Clearly, their superiors would want to have a few words with them and demand answers, especially the Hands of the Divine!

Consciousness slowly seeped back to the five prisoners. For four of them, it was the chill of frozen mountain air that pulled them back. The air was thin and freezing, and their clothing was next to no protection against this. The uncomfortable positions they were locked in didn't help matters much either. Cedric found himself hunched over and locked in a basic wooden stockade against the backwall of a dungeon. Krum was chained and shackled to a cold stonewall of a prison cell alone. Fleur and Harry were imprisoned in a cell together, but they both had large and heavy metal shackles that kept their hands and feet at a certain distance apart.

"Uhhh…that…huuuurt," Cedric moaned out painfully, his body and mind still throbbing from the agony they had all endured.

"…Wh-Where…are we?" Harry asked, squinting into the darkness of the dungeon around. He reflexively reached up to try and adjust his glasses, but only met his skin on his face. "Where's…Where's my glasses?"

"Quiet! All of you!" a harsh, angry voice snapped from somewhere nearby.

Looking towards the voice, the four prisoners found a rather ominous sight. Four guards with drawn swords stood around a kneeling woman in the center of the dungeon, her hands also bound in the same shackle bar that Harry and Fleur were. Her strange clothing was less interesting to the lot of them than the rather large and prominently pointed ears that framed her auburn red hair. Despite himself, Harry couldn't help staring slightly at the woman. Even without his glasses, he could see that there was something strangely familiar about her features. Maybe it was just because the torches' firelight around them was giving her hair an almost burning red color? And why were the guards holding their swords upon the woman so threateningly?

A sudden burst of bright green light and static erupted from the woman's left palm, which she'd been staring at the whole time. She gasped loudly as the light flared to life, her body seizing up in pain. Thankfully, the flare-up only lasted a moment before the light died down, leaving the woman gasping and sweating despite the cold air around them.

"What's going on?" Cedric asked, very confused.

"Who's she?" Harry asked curiously.

"Who 're all've you?" Fleur asked, glaring at the guards.

"Where are—?" Viktor tried asking. But he was cut off by the sound of a heavy door suddenly swinging open, drawing everyone's attentions. In walked two women that the guards clearly recognized since they quickly sheathed their weapons and stepped back from the central prisoner.

One woman was dressed in heavy purple and black armor with some kind sun and eye symbol painted upon the breastplate in prominent white. Her hair was cut very short and, with the scar along her left cheek, she had a very severe expression on her face. So severe that it made Professor McGonagall's seem like an idle glare in comparison. She carried a large metal shield upon her back and a sword at her waist. Everything about this woman screamed out 'professional soldier' and demanded utmost submission from everyone around her, if not respect for her authority.

The second woman was dressed in fine, if somewhat simple purple and cream-white robes. A small hood covered her orange-tinted auburn hair and gave her eyes a slightly menacing shaded stare of their own. Even despite the fact that she wasn't wearing full body armor as her companion, there were still thick leather gloves over her forearms and hands as well as thick armored boots and greaves. She didn't have any weapon visible upon her body, but none of the prisoners thought for a second that she wasn't every bit as dangerous as the other lady.

"Tell me why we shouldn't kill any of you right now," the warrior lady demanded coldly as she started pacing around the redhaired lady. "The Conclave is destroyed. Everyone who attended is dead…except for you five."

"Conclave?" Viktor repeated.

"What are you talking about?" Cedric asked.

"You think I did it," the lady said, keeping her focus on the lady now in front of her.

The warrioress grabbed her shackled left hand and held it up. "Explain this…!" Purely by coincidence, the mark flared to life, but nowhere near as brightly as before. Even without knowing exactly what was happening and why, all of the four youngsters quickly understood the implications. Something bad had happened and it was somehow tied to that glowing mark on the lady's palm. Her point having been made, the warrioress roughly shoved the captured limb back to the ground and resumed her pacing.

"I…can't," the lady said slowly. Her entire expression and demeanor practically screamed out 'uncertain confusion' and 'please don't blame me!' that was plainly visible to all who saw it.

"YOU'RE LYING!" Sadly, the armored lady didn't believe her. As was made painfully clear as she lunged forward and grabbed the lady by the front of her overcoat aggressively.

Thankfully, the other lady seemed to know her comrade well and moved forward, grabbing and hauling her bodily off the prisoner. As she pushed her back a few steps, she stared at the warrioress with a stern glare. "We need her, Cassandra."

Though clearly displeased, Cassandra didn't argue or fight against her companion. Instead, she remained where she'd been pushed and watched as the other woman stepped forward to stand almost menacingly over the prisoner. The prisoner just turned her confused gaze up at her, clearly seeking answers. "I don't understand…?"

"Do you remember what happened?" the new interrogator asked.

"I remember running…" the lady answered, gazing off into the distance slightly as she drifted back into her memories. All of the four younger prisoners watched and listened with rapt attention, desperate for any type of information they could glean. "Things were chasing me and then…a woman?"

"A woman?" There was a clear note of interest in the redhead as she stared down at her with intense scrutiny.

"She reached out to me, but then…gah." That was clearly the end of the story, everyone could tell. Pretty vague stuff as far as the four youngsters in the dungeon were concerned. But it seemed to have been just enough for the two women, who no doubt understood the situation far better.

"And what about you four?" Cassandra demanded, turning her attention to the other four captives, glaring at each of them fiercely. "Care to explain just how and why you four appeared where and how you did?"

"We would, if we could," Cedric said, flinching back slightly when both women turned withering glares upon him. "But we don't even know what's happening! Or why we're even hear to begin with!"

"You don't know what's happened?!" Cassandra repeated hotly, stamping over to the young man. She looked like she was mere moments away from drawing her sword and slashing at him, or at least giving a few punches to his pretty face. "About the thousands of deaths that just happened. The Conclave being held by Her Most Holy, Divine Justinia? Or the Mage-Templar War that's been raging for months now?!"

"Eh…? Noooo?" Cedric answered, a look of confusion and incomprehension on his face. It was a look so genuine, so openly honest, that even Cassandra couldn't mistake it as anything but the truth. He really didn't know what she was talking about! Turning quickly, she shot each of the others inquiring glares and saw the same look of incomprehension on their faces too.

"We don't really even know where here is," Harry piped up, trying to draw the scary lady's attention onto himself when he saw the increasing signs of insecurity and fear on Cedric's face.

This was an abnormal situation that he had no idea how to respond to properly. And while Harry wasn't necessarily any more accustomed to it, his crazy life had granted him somewhat thick skin and a more flexible mindset. And, unfortunately, he wasn't unfamiliar with scary people glaring at him and snapping out questions that he didn't have any of the answers for. By contrast, Cedric was only used to Snape. Still, by Harry's own estimation, the murderous glare on Cassandra's face was only really a '6' on his scale, with Draco's petulant glare as a '1' and Tom Riddle's face as his diary had been stabbed a '10'. As it was, she was just slightly above 'Hungry Werewolf'.

"Very well then," the redhead interrogator said simply. "Then what do you know?"

"Well, my name's Harry Potter," Harry answered somewhat fearfully. "That's Cedric Diggory. He and I come from Hogwarts, that's in Scotland." He nodded towards the figure in the other cage. "That over there is the Bulgarian Quidditch star, Viktor Krum. He's representing Durmstrang." He gestured towards the eldest boy momentarily before looking towards the young lady next to him. "This here is Fleur Delacour. She's representing Beauxbatons from France."

"Hogwarts. Scotland. Bulgaria. Durmstrang. Beauxbatons. France?" the lady repeated, annunciating the unfamiliar words slowly. Only 'Beauxbatons' and 'France' came out with any form of familiarity. "It almost like you claim she's from Orlais."

"Où est 'Orlais'?" Fleur asked inquisitorially in French. Due to the womens' peculiar French-sounding accents, Fleur naturally defaulted back to her native tongue.

"C'est à l'ouest de Ferelden," Lelianna answered quickly, also speaking in what the newcomers understood as French, much to their confusion.

"So, you two Fereldans travel with an Orlaisian and a…?" Cassandra paused as she turned to inspect Viktor more closely. Whatever she saw caused her to blink in apparent surprise. And that surprise clearly colored her speech as she said, "A strangely well-dressed Avvar? Who are you people?"

"No," Viktor spoke up harshly. "Those two are Englishmen, she's French, and I'm Bulgarian."

"Those lands," Lelianna said. "Where are they?"

"We'd need a map to show you, but I doubt we'd find them if you don't already know about them," Harry couldn't snarking back slightly.

"Care to explain, boy?" Cassandra snapped back, clearly starting to lose her patience yet again.

"Harry!" Cedric hissed out lowly, almost dangerously. "You're not supposed to…!"

"We were sent on a special task by our teachers," Harry continued, blatantly ignoring his three companions' glares, even ducking down to dodge an angry swipe from Fleur. "They told us that we'd be drawn to the highest output of arcane magic. It was our duty to study and learn whatever we could of that magic during our time here. So, we have no idea where we are or what's happening. All we know is that whatever it is or was involved a hellva lot of magic."

"So, you four are mages then," Lelianna piped up with a somewhat satisfied and amused glance towards Cassandra, who was purposely doing her best to ignore her.

"Yes, now, where are our wands?" Fleur demanded, glaring accusingly at them.

"Wands?" Lelianna asked with a quirked brow. "You mean those puny little sticks you were all carrying?"

"Yes," Cedric answered. "They are very important to us."

In a sudden reverse, Lelianna and Cassandra found themselves being glared at fiercely by all of the four prisoners. The unsaid threat of what they'd do to them if their magical foci were damaged hung heavily in the air around them. The tension was thick for several moments.

"Why are these four even here?" the captured redhead asked, looking around herself curiously. "Why is the youngest among you speaking the most?"

"I'm the one most used to situations like this," Harry shot back somewhat petulantly.

"Imprisoned with the impending threat of death?" Cassandra inquired.

"Accused of crimes you barely know anything about?" Lelianna added.

"With no hope of survival but to abide by your captor's request?" the redhead asked, quirking an eyebrow.

"Happens at least once a year for me," Harry said agreeably with a nod. "But it usually happens at the tail end of the year, after a bit of build up of course. Not sure how to take it that it's happening so early this time. Might mean that I'm right and truly fucked this year."

"You are surprisingly blasé about all of this," Cassandra remarked.

"Happens all the time," Harry repeated. "I'm used to it. So, what happens now?"

"Now, we take this one to the Rift," Cassandra stated, looking meaningfully down at the lady.

"And the rest of us?" Cedric asked pointedly.

"I'm tempted to leave you here," Cassandra remarked with a serious gaze in her eyes.

"However," Lelianna spoke up, surprising Cassandra by doing so. "You four might still be useful."

"You want me to bring them too?"

"If nothing else," Lelianna said. "They can lend their magic to help close the Breach."

"What's the Breach?" the lady in the center asked.

"It will be easier to show you," Cassandra stated ominously as she squatted down to unlock the shackles. Once done, she turned to one of the four guards who'd remained silent in the dungeon this entire time. "You! Go fetch me two Templars. I'm going to need help escorting the prisoners."

"At once, milady," the guard answered, bringing his fist up to his chest in a salute before running off.

"ET APPORTEZ-NOUS DES VESTES! S'IL VOUS PLAIT!" Fleur yelled, a begging tone in her voice.

The guard paused for a moment before replying. "Right. Coats. Right away!"

"Please do not give my men orders…again," Cassandra remarked in a surprisingly placid tone.

With the loud creaks of a wooden hinges, a pair of heavy oaken doors slowly swung open. The cloudy daylight rushed into the darkness that had once filled the cathedral they'd been walking through. After a moment of squinting and letting their eyes adjust to daylight, the five prisoners all stared up at the green, glowing hole in the sky. It was quite clearly a portal of some kind leading to…somewhere else. Pouring out of the glowing portal was a malignant green oozing aura of raw and deadly magic that was so potent that it sent shivers down the spines of all the magically-attuned observers as they exited the shelter of the large stonewalls they'd been behind previously.

"There's a hole in the sky," Cedric remarked almost casually.

"Yeeeeaaaaahhhhh," Harry said, more to himself than the others. "At the end of this year, I'm so fucked."

"That's something you don't see every day," Viktor stated equally calmly.

"Qu'est-ce que c'est que la terre verte de Dieu?" Fleur asked hesitantly.

"They're calling it The Breach," Cassandra stated loudly enough for all of them to hear. "It's a massive rift into the world of demons that grows larger with each passing hour. It's not the only such rift, just the largest. All were caused by the explosion at the Conclave."

"An explosion can do that?" Ellana Lavellan asked in an incredulous tone. Her surprise being also mirrored by her captive companions.

"This one did," Cassandra said as she turned back to them. "And unless we act, The Breach may grow until it swallows the world."

Suddenly, a loud crash of thunder echoed across the lands as a pulsing wave of green energy burst out of the glowing hole like ripples in a pond. At the same time, Lavellan let out a pained cry as the mark on her hand flared brightly in response to the pulse. After just a moment of this, the flare died down and she collapsed weakly to her knees, cradling her glowing hand. Harry couldn't help rushing over to her and trying to place his bound hands in a placating gesture upon her shoulder, unable to do anything else to comfort her. Nonetheless, the long-eared lady shot him a small glance and nod of appreciation at the gesture.

Kneeling down before the pair, Cassandra beckoned towards the mark as she continued, "Each time The Breach expands, your mark spreads…and it is killing you. It may be the key to stopping this, but there isn't much time."

"A key?" Viktor repeated, shifting his attention down to Cassandra. "To doing what?"

"Closing The Breach," she answered immediately, clearly expecting the question. "Whether that's possible, we shall discover shortly. It is our only chance, however. And yours…" She said that last part while looking quite pointedly down at Lavellan.

"You still think I did this?" Lavellan demanded somewhat incredulously. Even the four captives were staring at Cassandra with slight disapproval or disbelief. "To myself?!"

"Not intentionally," the warrioress admitted. "Something clearly went wrong."

"And if I'm not responsible?" Lavellan challenged.

"Someone is," Cassandra countered. "And you five, you especially, are our only suspects. You wish to prove your innocence? This is the only way."

"So, if I do what you want, will I—er, we—live through it?" There was a rather understandable desperation in her voice when Lavellan asked that question.

Cassandra just stared at her silently for a few ominous seconds before standing upright again. As she pulled Lavellan and Harry back to their feet, she stated, "We have no way of knowing."

With her maintaining an iron grip on Lavellan and Harry's shoulders, Cassandra started guiding them through the small village. As they walked, Cedric and Fleur quickly noticed the furious glares and dark stares the group and themselves in particular were receiving.

"Why are they all staring at us like that?" Cedric finally asked as they finally reached a large set of gates.

"They have already decided your guilts," Cassandra answered ominously. "The people of Haven, like all of Thedas, mourn our Most Holy, Divine Justinia, head of the Chantry."

"Chantry?" Cedric repeated, looking confused.

"Is the 'Chantry' some type of religious service?" Harry asked, being somewhat more familiar with such things than his purely wizardly-raised brethren. "Like a church or something?"

"Yes," Lavellan stated quietly when she saw Cassandra and the other two Templars' disbelieving or annoyed looks at such a ridiculously obvious question. "The Chantry sings the Chant of Light and preaches about Andraste and the Maker. They worship these two as gods and feel that everyone everywhere must submit to their religion. Even if nonhumans, like myself, are 'less pure' and thus 'less entitled' to be a part of the Chantry."

"That's…unfair," Harry said, looking honestly disturbed and upset.

"No, that's typical of most humans," Fleur shot back, now glaring back at the two Templar guards, who seemed to be visibly squirming uncomfortably in their armor at her disapproval.

Cassandra shot the beautiful young woman a look of both surprise and sudden understanding. Clearly, she just realized by Fleur's tone and response that she either wasn't a human or a full human. Which also rather helped explain just how and why she was so strikingly beautiful.

"Wait, you're not a human?" Harry asked in surprise as he stared up at Lavellan.

"No, I'm an Elf," she stated, looking down at him curiously. "Don't you have Elves wherever you are from?"

An awkward silence descended upon the youngsters as they stared first at Lavellan and then at each other. This strange behavior was noticed by all four of the Thedan natives, who also shot each other looks as they tried to silently decipher whatever was going through the prisoners' minds. After several moments of awkward silence, Harry finally turned to look back at Lavellan as he answered uncertainly, "We…don't. The closest we've ever had to anything like your people were just old fables, fantasies, and fictional stories."

For some reason, none of the Thedans believed him when he said that. At least, not entirely. The looks and postures of guilt that all of them were giving off certainly didn't help matters either. But in the end, they all decided to just leave it be. They could probably question them more fully later on, after all.

"Nevertheless," Cassandra continued. "Divine Justinia brought the leaders of the warring factions between the Mages and Templars together. It was a chance for peace between them, but now they are all dead."

"And the war will soon resume with a heightened fervor," Viktor stated knowingly. If there was one thing that he was quite familiar with, it was the darker side of human nature always surging to the forefront when stuff like that happened. "And the chaos won't just be restricted to the two sides any longer if they truly have lost their leaders in that explosion you mentioned."

"Yeah," Cedric agreed, keeping his gaze forward upon the large gatehouse they were steadily approaching now. "New factions will be forming now as various aspiring leaders rush to fill the power gap and try to fulfill their own agendas."

"Which, in turn, will cause them to turn on each other and splinter even further as well," Fleur finished.

"Indeed," Cassandra agreed sadly as they passed through the gatehouse and out onto a stone bridge beyond. "We will all likely lash out like the sky is doing. But if there's ever to be a chance for peace, we must try to think beyond ourselves, like the Divine did, until The Breach is sealed."

Walking ahead of the group, Cassandra turned around drew a dagger from her waist. "There will be trials. I can promise no more." With that said, she easily cut off the ropes binding the five mages prisoner. "Come. It is not far."

"Where are you taking us?" Lavellan asked as the group started walking across the bridge again.

The group was a fair distance away from the gatehouse that they'd left Haven from earlier. Harry wasn't sure about the exact distance, but it was easily an hour's walk away upon an icy and rocky mountain road that had definitely seen better days. Up ahead, he could see another small stone bridge that had a small cluster of wagons and soldiers upon it. The group had mostly descended into silence after their talk and were now just marching along. Despite himself, Harry couldn't hep staring up at the massive Breach in wonder and fear. There was something highly magical and highly dangerous about it. Although Cassandra called it a hole to the world of demons, Harry wasn't entirely sure if that's what it truly was. It just seemed too…artificial to be that.

It was thanks to him staring up at The Breach as they were crossing the bridge that he was the first to notice. A large chunk of green material had suddenly been spat out of the hole and was rapidly falling towards them!

"EVERYBODY! INCOMING!" Harry yelled out as he pointed towards the sky.

By the time everyone had looked upwards, it was too late. The chunk of material slammed into the center of the bridge just ahead of them with incredible force. The stones and mortar holding the bridge together shattered and broke apart like glass. Everyone cried out in fear and surprise as their footing was suddenly disrupted and they fell alongside the rubble of the former bridge. Harry wasn't sure what entirely happened in those few seconds of motion, pain, and terror, but when he finally slammed to a stop on the cold, hard earth below, he was gasping in pain but alive.

Looking around, he found himself next to Lavellan and Cedric. They seemed to be a bit better off than he was, but that could've been because they could see what they were doing more readily than he could without his glasses. Looking past them, he spotted Fleur and Viktor, still alive but Viktor had a large cut running down the side of his face and Fleur was holding one of her forearms gingerly. Where were Cassandra and the two Templar knights? A quick glance behind him showed him a spreading pool of blood around the hand of one of the knights reaching out from under a particularly large chunk of debris. The two knights didn't make it. That realization sent a jolt of pain through Harry out of sympathy for the loss of life that had just happened.

Another loud crash broke him of those thoughts. More of that green material had fallen from The Breach just ahead of them. With a hissing gasp, a hunchback monstrosity emerged from the blob and glared menacingly towards the recovering group.

"Stay behind me!" Cassandra ordered as she rushed forward, bearing her sword and shield.

But even as she engaged the monster, another large chunk of that green blob stuff started to hiss menacingly. The five prisoners quickly backed away from it. They all already knew that another demon was about to emerge, and they had no way of defending themselves!

"What is that?!" Fleur shrieked out in disgusted surprise as she watched Cassandra engage the monster with her weapons.

"It's a demon!" Lavellan answered as she started looking around frantically for something to use as a weapon. It was in doing so that she spotted some nearby debris that was once a wagon. Among the debris was a thankfully intact staff that she immediately turned and rushed for. Harry was right behind her, having also seen the weapons hidden under the crushed wagon.

"That's a demon?!" Cedric cried out. This was the first time he'd ever truly seen such a creature before. And while it didn't look anything like the illustrations that he'd seen in any of his Defense books, he was willing to listen to Lavellan's opinion since this was her world. "Right, a demon. What's the spell to use to banish one?!"

"It really doesn't matter because we don't have our wands!" Viktor snapped irritably. If there was one thing he hated beyond all else, it was being defenseless.

"Well, there's no real specific spell to banish a demon once it's manifested," Lavellan stated as she suddenly took up a stance just in front of them. "But when they appear, I personally like to use fire!" She emphasized that last statement by swinging the staff she now carried and launched a large fireball towards the hissing beast as it was glided menacingly across the frozen ground.

As the demon recoiled back in pain from the fire, Lavellan glanced back towards the group. She was just about to tell them to stay behind her when she noticed a small blur rushing past and beneath her. Turning, she spotted the youngest running at the demon with a longsword clutched in his hands. With a loud cry, Harry swung the sword while ducking beneath the demon's flailing claws. The monster let out another roar of pain as a large slash opened up on its torso as Harry slid behind it on the slippery ground.

"Oi, kid!" Lavellan cried out. "Stay behind me! You're in my line of fire!" She illustrated this by launching another fireball, but not as large as the first. It did have the unexpected benefit of switching the demon's target from Harry to her. Hissing loudly in fury, the demon slid back towards her and the group. Seeing a chance, Harry managed to recover his footing and rushed the demon's back. Leaping up, he buried the sword's blade as deeply into its back as he could. As the demon recoiled again, it knocked Harry back and Lavellan launched another large fireball. "ARE YOU CRAZY?!"

"Is it working?!" Harry shot back at her while watching the monster flail and hiss in agony. Before she could answer, the demon suddenly froze and then seemed to disintegrate into a disgusting pool of sludge and slime. "Oh, I guess it did work," he muttered while leaning down to reclaim his new weapon. Looking back to Lavellan, he couldn't help sheepishly rubbing the back of his head. "Is it crazy if it works?"

Cedric and Viktor both just stared at him with thoughtful looks of consideration. Lavellan's thoughts were along the lines of 'Well, when it's put like that…' However, Fleur just stared at Harry with a wide and aghast expression. "Yes. Yes, it is. If it's crazy and it works, it's still crazy."

"Harry, where'd you find that sword?" Cedric asked, pointing towards the weapon.

"There's a bunch of swords over there," Harry answered, pointing. "But a few of them are a bit…broken."

As they were digging through the debris and collecting what they could, Lavellan and Harry became confronted with Cassandra as she returned from battling her own demon. "What do you think you all are doing?!"

"Defending ourselves from demons?" Harry asked more than answered, flinching back slightly. If the woman was intimidating earlier, she was downright terrifying now that she stood before him with a bloodied sword and an angry glare.

"And we're sure to encounter more the closer we get to The Breach," Lavellan pointed out in a surprisingly calming voice.

For several long moments, Cassandra stared at the pair of them as they stood resolute before her. Then, with a loud sigh of resignation, she stood up from her partial attack stance. After casually swinging her blade to the side to flick the blood from its edge, staining the snowy ground with the black ether, she sheathed her weapon and said, "You're right. It will likely happen again. And I cannot protect all of you by myself… Come. All of you. We must make haste."

As if on cue, the other three champions approached, all now bearing new weapons. Viktor was holding a large greatsword in his hands, swinging and raising and just moving it about, trying to get a feel of the blade's weight and dimensions, before casually swinging it over his shoulder into the new holster he'd put on. Cedric had a recurve bow poking up over his shoulder and a large quiver of arrows at his side. And Fleur was just finishing tightening her new belt that held a pair of short swords on either side of her waist.

"This is gonna be interesting," Cedric said softly, shooting his Earthly companions a meaningful glance, which all of them nodded to in return.

The climb up the mountainside trail was a long, slow, freezing cold, and tedious trek for the group. Not just because the snow and ice that covered the terrain made making any fast progress a potentially dangerous task, but because of the small swarms of demons that popped up every so often. The fights were exhausting and dangerous for the four youngest of the group. Cedric, Viktor, and Fleur all proved ill-prepared for to deal with the fighting since none of them had ever truly been in situations of true life or death like them before. Despite his own semi-regular experience in it, even Harry was being pushed to his limits, though that was more due to him having little to no endurance and being unable to properly see without his glasses.

Plus, their inexperience with using their new weapons had quickly been made obvious to all. Cedric proved mostly useless with hitting anything that wasn't more than four meters away from him. Fleur was reluctant to get close enough to use her short swords for fear of getting badly hurt. And Viktor was getting constantly smacked around and wounded due to leaving himself open to counterattacks whenever


I used Google Translate for the French talking. So, if any of that is wrong, that's the reason why.

Viktor winds up an honorary member of The Iron Bull's Chargers. Meanwhile, Cedric is almost apprenticing under Cullen, learning not just how to fight in a battle but lead an army. This leading to the outcome of Cedric the Soldier and Viktor the Warrior. Fleur would be more diplomatically minded, so she usually helps Josephine whenever she's at Haven/Skyhold. But she also frequently balances that with the game of shadows Lilianna works in.

And of course Harry is practically a duckling following after Lavellan, but the many of the other residents at Skyhold tend to try and steal him away for moments, save a few. Varric, Iron Bull, and Sera (once she finds out he grew up in a cupboard) will often trade stories and try and give him ale. Cassandra is known to steal the poor boy to work on his sword forms. Blackwall takes a hand in teaching Harry wood carving. Dorian thinks it's his job to help educate the boy. But it quickly becomes a subtle tug-o-war with Vivianne who also thinks that's her job too, but they both feel that there are different things Harry needs education in. Solas wants to like the boy, but is cautious of the thing that feels like a demon inside of him. Which is also why Cole stays away since 'Tom' frightens him. Sera at first didn't like any of the champions, even if she thinks Fleur is easy on the eyes. But as stated once she overhears enough about Harry's childhood, possibly after someone tricks him into trying some kind of strong alcohol, then she will be on his side… Which will probably lead to her giving Fleur a shovel speech once the Inquisition has figured out that Harry and Fleur are making moon eyes at one another. Fleur is naturally drawn to Harry since none of the Thedas natives really interest her, Viktor is focused on his battle training and fighting the war, and Cedric is wholly dedicated to Cho back at Hogwarts.

Varric's nicknames for the Champions
Squire – Cedric, who speaks with a 'Fereldan' accent
Beater – Viktor, Avvar accent
Songbird – Fleur, Orlaisian accent
Stormbringer/Stormrider – Harry, Fereldan accent