(Apologies for being a day later than promised, it was a screwy weekend.)
What is this? The read-a-long is an opportunity to do a long distance book club with other Dragon Age fans, where once a week one chapter will be discussed in David Gaider's tie-in novel, The Calling
[Official book teaser blurb]After two hundred years of exile, King Maric has allowed the legendary Grey Wardens to finally return to Ferelden. When they come, however, they bring dire news: one of their own has escaped into the Deep Roads and aligned himself with their ancient enemy, the monstrous darkspawn.
The Grey Wardens need Maric's help, and he reluctantly agrees to lead them into the passages he traveled through many years before (see: The Stolen Throne), chasing after a deadly secret that will threaten to destroy not only the Grey Wardens but also the kingdom above.
If you've read it and have Thoughts or Feels, comment to discuss! Discussion can be serious or snarky, but please keep it constructive and not destructive.
(If the first person who gets to this post can start a comment thread entitled 'Serious Discussion' and a second one for 'Snarky Discussion', I would greatly appreciate it.)
[Chapter 1--Synopsis, some spoilers for Dragon Age: Origins and Awakening]Chapter 1 Synopsis
In the absence of light, shadows thrive. -- Canticle of Threnodies 8:21
In the 11th year of the Dragon Age (and 19 years before the events of 'Origin'), we meet Duncan, future Commander of the Grey in Ferelden; Fiona, an elven mage of the Order; Genevieve, the Commander of the Grey in Orlais; and Remille, the current First Enchanter of the Circle of Magi in Ferelden--three Orlesians and an Orlesian-raised Rivaini. They have traveled to Denerim, not without some mishap in the shape of Duncan, a former cutpurse in Val Royeux having robbed someone in the market district and been captured by the guards, to meet with King Maric Thierin, accompanied by his loyal friend, Teryn Loghain of Gwaren, to ask for assistance. A Grey Warden with knowledge of the hidden locations of the remaining sleeping Old Gods of Tevinter was captured in Ferelden, and Maric and Loghain are possibly the only two humans familiar with the area in which Genevieve believes the missing Warden may be located. They came to request Loghain's help, but Maric volunteers after Loghain refuses.
Maric and Loghain have a heated disagreement about Maric's offer, recapping events since The Stolen Throne: that Maric has a son, Cailan; that his queen, Rowan, is dead; Loghain has a young wife and daughter back in Gwaren that Maric suspects Loghain is avoiding; and refers back to two predictions Flemeth gave him during the time of the previous book: that a Blight was coming to Ferelden and Maric wouldn't live to see it, and that in keeping Loghain close, Loghain would betray him again and again, each time worse than the last. Loghain argues Maric needs to stay and govern and be a father to Cailan and against trusting Orlesians. Maric gives credence to Flemeth's warning and a desire to save his land from the threat of a Blight, plus getting away from his responsibilities appeals to him.
Eventually, Maric escapes the conversation by pretending to capitulate to Loghain's persuasions. Mollified, Loghain leaves him to finish dealing with the Wardens; instead, Maric informs them he is going, but that they must leave swiftly. Duncan is assigned to serve Maric, and when he protests, Genevieve says it is penance for his thieving. The rest of the group is introduced: Kell, the tracker and archer; Julien, a two-handed swordsmen; Nicolas, a warrior who fights with heavy mace and shield; and Utha, a dwarven former Silent Sister (who players of 'Awakening' may remember as the Architect's sidekick).
Before they depart, when Maric inquires further about the missing Grey Warden, Genevieve grudgingly reveals that his name is Bregan, her brother.