“Aye,” Casilda murmured. “Straight to business it is.” Despite her straight back, dark circles sagged beneath sore, tired gray eyes. Carefully, she leaned her gleaming silver spear aside. Casilda loosened and tugged her gauntlets, freeing a pale hand, a testimony to how often the skin saw sunlight. Tucking the wrist ends into a worn leather belt, she gestured at the pitcher sitting on the Orlais commander’s table, silently seeking permission. Overturning an empty cup, Casilda filled it about halfway before lifting it to cracked lips.
“The darkspawn have become organized.” The statement was without panic or distress. Dipping her fingers into her cup, she soothed her dry lips by rubbing wetted fingertips over them. A relieved pleasure eased the hard creases on the Commander’s face, happy to feel her lips and mouth moistened after a long trek. “They ure fierce, vicious. They spur attacks und melt away. Burned villages, beginnen to scare trade...”
She paused long enough to take a large gulp of water. “One village I investigated had nothing but male bodies.” Cool gray eyes lifted to regard the other commander, to share a look of common knowledge. There was only one reason darkspawn took women; for transformation into horrible broodmothers to commence breeding new darkspawn. The cup set almost silent on the table, Casilda’s fingers loosely cradling the side.
“But I did nah know about Hunterhorn until you summoned me. What do vee face? Well…” A pointer and a middle finger came forward, moving over the map. “Blitzen, clever darkspawn from Weisshaupt to its immediate four directions, und now as far south as here. Maybe more widespread than I know, given how the darkspawn raze the villages und towns to ashes.”
Casilda grasped the pitcher’s handle and poured another half cup. “Aye, there would be no people to send messages.” She’d gotten off track. Leonie likely wanted to know if this is a Blight, and Casilda couldn’t give a definitive answer to that. “If you ure asken if this is a new Blight, I do nah know.” Her grip on the cup tightened, her knuckles turning white. “I do nah hear the call of an Archdemon. Neider does Vincent. Neider do most of our older Wardens. Neider do you, I think, do you? Aye, no one hears... Yet the darkspawn behave as savage as if it were one.”
She bit back apologies for the darkspawn crawling in Orlais. Orlais had its own Wardens for a reason, which was the same as Anderfel Wardens, and the same reason as Wardens from any other country. The darkspawn knew no boundaries, and it was not Casilda’s immediate responsibility to take care of Orlais. She would help, but Casilda refused to accept the Orlesians problems with the darkspawn were due to her neglect in the Anderfels.
Not when some of her Wardens were likely fighting for their very lives elsewhere while she stood sheltered in this tent during a period of respite.
“I am sure you have sent scouts. Have any been able to return?” She was here to help, now. If she could secure any passageways to Orlais, and keep the darkspawn from marching, she would. Though it might also heighten her problems in the Anderfels. However, safeguard Orlais, and the Orlesian Wardens could help the Anderfels instead of being preoccupied with their own war.