Within Lothering, the group found themselves surrounded by soldiers of the King’s Army, marching south to Ostagar. They encountered one Bann Teagan, who offered the obviously capable fighters a position as mercenaries within his forces. Feeling the ache of their pockets for silver, they accepted, and were instructed to report to Captain Airia, who in turn, assigned them to Sergeant Jeern. In Jeern’s small company, the sole survivors were Antlis and Verdun of Highever. The company recieved its orders to alight the Imperial Highway and make it safe for travel by night. They were to reactivate a Tevinter watchtower that controlled the glowstones set within the moarter of the road. With little time before the army began its march towards Ostagar, and nightfall quickly approaching, they set off immediately. Verdun and Duergath tracked through the dense forest to the ruins of the watchtower, which appeared strangely undisturbed, despite the bones that littered the ground. The reason became clear soon enough, as massive crows, suffering from the Blight, ambushed them and, though individually weak, proved to be too numerous and too swift for the party, forcing them to retreat inside the tower.
Once inside, several skeletons of long dead Tevinter legionnaires arose to challenge their passage. Dispatched, the group discovered the mechanism to alight the glowstones and illuminate the Highway; the green pathway snaked through the forest just as darkness replaced daylight. Then, venturing deeper within the tower, the group came across the underground catacombs of Tevinter soldiers long buried, with a single corpse nailed by his rotting flesh to the stone wall. Upon opening the largest of the toombs, the corpse wailed an unholy sound and rose off of the spikes driven into it, to assault the group. Once re-dead, the corpse erupted into a pool of blood, and the victorious group finished searching the toomb of a Tevinter lord known as the Archon. As the only one who read ancient Tevene, Reed claimed the Archon’s journal.
Once outside into the newly created light of the Highway, they were greeted by a very pleased Captain Airia. However, as the army marched south towards Ostagar, it became clear that the glowstones would not stop the darkspawn. The company was set upon from all sides by elements of the horde, and the group faced the darkspawn for the first time. Creatures making a mockery of life, the paty was so struck by fear that their attacks were sloppy and their forces were uncoordinated. It was a grueling battle within the night, but with persistence and the death of the Emmisary coordinating the darkspawn assault, the monsters broke ranks and fled back into the darkness. Separated from their company, the group decided to journey back to Lothering to treat wounds and recover, leaving Jeern, Antlis, Verdun and Reed to fend for themselves.
Along the way, Jacques heard a beautiful melody being sung from within the Hinterlands mountains, and investigated. A Dailish girl sang a song of mourning and told of her lost tribe, asking vengeance against the darkspawn that had taken them. Agreeing, the party set out across the winding mountainous paths of the Hinterlands, eventually coming to find a group of genlocks pouring over their kills in the smoking remains of a Dalish encampment. Screams still echoed within the mountain peaks. Deciding the engage them on a narrow path, the party withdrew and baited the genlocks in. But this path worked as much for them as against them, and the darkspawn rained down arrows, finding flesh under armor, before being knocked aside by a Terrible Beast of Unspeakable Evil. This Blighted creature, once a sacred Halla of the Dalish, now lived out its tortured existence to slaughter, and rampaged through the party’s defenses. Broken and desperate, Borrif grabbed the deer by the horns, as it were, and flung them both off of the steep clifface. The rest of the group struggled to survive as the remaining genlocks hunted and laughed within the night before finally being smote upon the rocks. The bloody but victorious party made a more cautious way down in search of Borrif, finding his crushed body and the dead carcas of The Terrible Beast of Unspeakable Evil. Injured but alive, they regrouped and traveled, now west, back towards Lothering.
Along the way, they encountered Jeern, Antlis and Verdun, sent out to investigate the road to Redcliff. Finding burned and scorched wagons of refugees, the party followed, finding a trail of blood and death that took them along the road to Redcliff. Fererlden men, women and children, along with Chasind hunters and refugees littered the path, cut into small pieces and left for the carion birds. Within a days march to Redcliff, they tracked the bloody trail back to a group of Chasind hunters, black poison coursing through their veins. The hunters attacked from shadowed tree canopies and fired many arrows, but were wild and ravenous, and no match for a well coordinated assault. But, as the battle progressed, additional threats began to arive. Large, unpainted men, not Chasind, drawn by the sounds of battle, attacked from the party’s flank, engaging all present with throwing axes and bloodlust. The lines were split, and what was a simple battle turned into a cluttered melee. Finally slaying the crazed Chasind and driving off the axe-wielders, Borrif discovered Antlis, standing over the corpse of one of her enemies, and gushing blood from an arrow wound in her throat. Rushing their direly injured companion back to Lothering, they managed to save her life, although she would never talk again. Lothering was now empty of soldiers, a far cry from the comotion of three days ago, except for the elite corps led by Ser Cauthrien: Teryn Loghain’s elite soldiers. Ser Cauthrien had taken notice of their deeds and offered them a position within the Teryn’s forces. Although the party refused, the offer stood, and the group, accompanied by Cauthrien, arrived at the magnificent fortress of Ostagar.