Part 1: Welcome to Sothmere
1. The Groundbreaking Festival
In spite of the grey sky having poured forth a constant, cold drizzle since morning, the Sothmere valley is in the midst of a great celebration, which appears to be centered just outside the village. The fields are covered with booths and amusements as entertainers make their way through the crowds to awe them with their performances.
Doren, Renalli, Olek the Clown, and Dielza the Dancer, all Dalish, are traveling through Sothmere on their way to trade with other Dalish known to be near Vintiver this time of year, celebrating the Harvest Festival.
Lyreal is in the company of her husband and fellow dwarven merchant, Strom Karsgard. They met while she was trading in Sothmere and discovered he was from Orzammar. She wanted to learn everything he knew about the city, its residents and history. Eventually, she just decided to stay.
Marek Hydan and Kelderek Hightower are traveling south from the Circle Tower on a secret mission bestowed upon Kelderek by the Knight-Caption of Fereldon’s Circle. Marek, a sell-sword, was paid to escort the young mage on his quest. They stop in Sothmere to partake in the festival and to watch the Dalish entertainers, Olek and Dielza, on their way to Gwaren.
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Our adventurers all arrive in their respective groups. Renalli and Doren browse the stalls as Olek and Dielza take to the stage. Renalli having supplies left from when they left the clan doesn’t purchase anything, silently browsing, aware that being a Dalish elf will already draw attention and she doesn’t want to give herself away as an apostate. Doren purchases two-weeks of travel provisions, as well as stopping by Bogdan‘s booth and purchases Viper’s Blade.
Olek is on stage as Marek and Kelderek approach, performing many of his card and legerdmain tricks for the crowd. As they approach he calls out for a volunteer to help him perform another trick. Kelderek quickly throws up his hand in excitement, and his enthusiasm deems his the “assistant” for the next act. Olek unnoticed by his assistant and the crowd manages to use his sticky fingers to pick a few items from Kelderek, presenting him with the items at the end of the act, of course.
“During the times of Arlathan, when elves lived immortal lives, there came a time in each elder’s life when they decided it was time to step aside and allow the next cycle of elves to lead and take charge of the clan. But alas, how does an immortal being step down without undermining new found authority? In those days, they would enter into “Uthenera”, the long sleep. They would retire to a chamber, one part bed, one part tomb. It is said that these elders would enter into the long sleep for years, some allowing their mortal bodies to perish, and some returning to the clan many years later with tales from their dream in the Beyond. Each sacrifice was honored with a ceremony, and the recitation of the following song."
In Uthenera: The Elvish Eulogy, in Elven:
hahren na melana sahlin
emma ir abelas
souver’inan isala hamin
vhenan him dor’felas
in uthenera na revas
vir samahl la numin
vir lath sa’vunin
(Audio provided from DA:O Soundtrack, Leliana’s Song)
elder your time is come
now I am filled with sorrow
weary eyes need resting
heart has become grey and slow
in waking sleep is freedom
we sing, rejoice
we tell the tales
we laugh and cry
we love one more day
Doren and Renalli head over to the Archery Range as Olek and Dielza take to the stage once more. It is here that the two archers encounter Fiala, a local archer and huntress.
She challenges them to compete against her. The first archer to hit 3 bulls-eyes wins; She easily beat both of them, however, she offered a rematch promising to buy the winner a pint of the local ryott ale as a reward. Both elves took up the challenge, and this time Doren won. Fiala and Doren made their way to the Food & Drink stand south of the range, while Renalli decided to join in on the traditional song and dance she could hear Dielza and Olek performing from the stage.
Meanwhile, Kelderek has been begging Marek to let him try the ryott ale and bread that Sothmere is known for (despite the fact that he is only 13 years old). Marek finally gives in, buying them each a pint and a loaf before sitting to watch the exotic elven dancer on the stage. Kelderek is entranced by the two dancing elven women (Dielza and Renalli), though Marek is less impressed, sure to have muttered “knife-ears” several times while he was forced to accompany the young mage. When he got up to refill his tankard, a beautiful, young village woman caught his hand.
“Care to join me for a dance, ser?”
“Don’t mind if I do,” he replies as he joins her in the open area cleared for villagers to dance. “Might I know your name, lass?”
“”/campaigns/age-of-dragons-darpg/characters/wanda-kovic" class=“wiki-content-link”>Wanda. And you kind ser?"
With a slight snicker at the ‘kind’ comment, “Marek.”
After several moments, Marek notices Wanda glancing over his shoulder in the distance towards the selling stalls.
“Oh, sorry. No. Just my father.”
“Is he bothering you?”
“No, no. He not after me, or anything if that’s what you’re asking. Well, not in that way. I’m just avoiding him is all.”
“He’s been hounding around after ”/campaigns/age-of-dragons-darpg/characters/ser-vilem" class=“wiki-content-link”>Ser Vilem trying to convince him to court me. But I know he has eyes for Fiala. Doesn’t bother me a’lick since I have no interest in him either, but my father has been trying to find me a proper suitor now that I’m of age. You wouldn’t happen to be a noble of some kind, would you?" she asked with a grin.
“No, lass, I am not.”
“Pity,” but the flirtation was all but lost on him.
“Is it so wrong for your father to want you to be well off?”
“No, but I have no interest in leaving. I’m happy here, this is my home. Plus, I don’t know what he’d do without me.”
“Who? Your father?”
“Yes. I’ve been caring for him ever since my mother passed, Maker bless her. He’s never been able to walk right since his knee was crushed back in his younger years, and he’s getting up in age now. He needs me.”
“I could never stay in one place for too long.”
“I could see that for a man of your,” she quickly examines him, “stature. Where might you be from, Marek.”
“Alright. Well then, where are you off to from here?”
“Um, well, it’s not rightly my place to say. I’m just a mercenary hired to transport… sensitive cargo.”
“I see. A man of great mysteries then.”
She giggles, as the music comes to an end as a young, awkward looking elven man takes to the stages with his tricks once more.
“I best return to my charge.”
“Then I hope to see you at the feast tomorrow,” she replies.
Bright and early, Marek decides to try his hand (haha “hand”) in the Dueling Arena near the Archery Range. Most of the other trained fighters in the village have already been dueling on the previous days and have decided to be spectators instead, as well as Kelderek. But Bogdan is eager to duel this young, cocky warrior and teach him a lesson.
“Buy you a pint if you win lad.”
“To first blood!”
Each holds their own, both sneaking in a few good hits before Marek wins the duel.
“Guess my defenses aren’t what they used to be,” Bogdan claims. “Aye, but I promised a pint and I’m good on my word.”
Marek escorts Kelderek back to the seating in front of the stage, then joins Bogdan for his drink at the tables between the stage and the sell-stalls.