Upon the Morrow

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Upon the Morrow

Post  lothering_rose on Fri Nov 20, 2009 12:55 am

Hi all! I posted this on the swooping_is_bad, but I figured I should post it here too, now that it's completed.

PC: Female City Elf Rogue, Odessa

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that if she WERE to decide that having Alistair marry Anora was the dutiful thing to do, the more I realized SHE would then find it HER duty to break it off with Alistair, with the thought of this helping him along the correct path. If he thought she no longer wanted him, there would be no reason for him to hold back from the idea of marrying Anora and becoming King of Ferelden.

However, my fellow Swoopers, we know things are never quite that simple...


Upon the Morrow – Part 1

Blast my noble heart. When did I develop this iron-clad sense of duty anyway?

As if I didn’t already know.

“You know, Anora…. there is another option.” By the Maker, this hurts as much as my battlefield wounds. “You have the experience and the acumen to rule. Alistair has Meric’s bloodline. You could… use this to your advantage.” I could feel the tips of my pointed ears burning.

“Oh?" The queen scowled. "And set up the bastard son of a bastard son to inherit the throne? And here I thought we were making progress in coming to an agreement,” Anora narrowed her eyes and gave me the look that every elf in Thedas has seen on all human faces at least once in their lives... Never his though. Never his.

“Perhaps elves are more… forgiving about such things. But the noble houses of Ferelden are not.”

“Elves take their bonding and procreation very seriously.” Well, elves from Ferelden anyway. Antiva was apparently another story. “But I was not proposing an heir conceived on the wrong side of the sheets. I was proposing…” I could hardly get the words out. I swallowed, and steeled myself. “I was proposing a proposal. One that would lead to a joint rule between you and Alistair.” I couldn't put to words what I really meant, I just couldn’t. The words would not come.

Anora looked surprised, then intrigued. “Marry Alistair? That IS an interesting thought, Warden. My word, what would Cailen say if he knew…” She stroked her chin in contemplation. “There are worse ways to rule. I ruled for five years in Cailen’s name, what difference will it make, truly, to rule through his half-brother? And he seems handsome enough. Hopefully we could conceive an heir with his looks any my brains…”

My heart leapt into my chest, an angry fire. “You speak of him like he’s a prize stallion available for stud! Made for pleasure riding and siring strong colts on your favorite mare, while able to be bridled and lead around by the nose,” I told the queen vehemently.

Anora smirked and raised an eyebrow at me. “You mean to imply that he is not exactly that? For that is exactly what I thought you proposed.” I glared at her, trying to keep the pain out of my expression. But she saw it anyway. Her grin disappeared and she cocked her head a bit to the side, reading my face like an open codex.

“You’re… you’re in love with him, aren’t you Warden?”

“Your majesty, I….” I squirmed, knowing that the truth was in plain view, the bronto in the room that could not be ignored. “Yes. Yes I am. And he returns my love.”

By Andraste’s Ashes, why did I ever let him filch the key to my heart’s strongbox??

“But I am his first love, and he loves me as only a newly besotted man can. With the blind loyalty of a puppy, not the devotion of a man.” Or so I’m going to tell you, Anora Mac Tir Traitorsdatter. I know better. “But he is steadfast and true, and I know he will permit no lovers to his bed, were he married under the gaze of the Maker and the world.”

Filch the key, you fool? You handed it to him on a platter. And now you’re surprised to find he stores his daggers in there? Fool. Lovesick fool.

"That may be true. But I wonder, Warden… would you turn him down in a moment of weakness?” Anora said, not unkindly. “If your shining chevalier dropped his shield in a trying moment, and gave in to the call of love over that of duty? What then?”

I swallowed, trying desperately not to let the tears fall. “Alistair values duty over passion in all things. Any time during our travels, if I even considered doing something less than noble, he was there with a strong word and a scowling face.” Will he scowl like that when I tell him what I have done here, I wonder? “He will not falter. And… and I intend to make it easier for him to decide. I will tell him before the Landsmeet of this plan, and that we can no longer continue…. this…”

“Fraternizing,” Anora said. Hearing her repeat Morrigan’s words stung all the more. She was, however, trying to lesson the blow by making light of it. Perhaps she would indeed be a good match for Alistair.

“Err, yes. Fraternizing. As you say. There shall be no more fraternizing.”

“You are a Grey Warden, and all know of how you toiled to save Arl Eamon and his son. You do not speak such words lightly, I know that. Very well. I will think on what you propose, and speak to Eamon about this.”

“Please, Anora, I mean, your majesty. Please grant me leave to speak to Alistair first. I do not want him to hear this plan from anyone else’s lips.”

“Granted. I will speak to the arl upon the morrow. Now, if you would excuse me… I must prepare myself for this as well. I must pray to the Maker for strength and guidance… and thank him for your sacrifice.”

That did it. I had no hope of holding back the tears, not now. Not after that. With a curt nod, I headed from the queen’s chamber, not unhastily. I said nothing, not trusting my voice to carry out the words.

“Odessa…” she called after me. Strange that she would call me by my real name. I stopped, but did not turn.

“Yes, your majesty?” I managed to choke out.

“I would not be… wroth… were I to learn that you were to spend this last night with him. But upon the dawn, I will hold you to your word and move forward with this plan.”

“As you wish, your majesty.”

Out in the hallway, I lost all control of my composure, much to the surprise and chagrin of the two guards stationed outside the queen’s chambers. To see a Grey Warden crying like a spoiled princess must have been a sight to see. I ran, ran down the hall and out of the Arl’s estate into the yard, intent on being as far from anyone I knew until I could get a firm grasp on my emotions.

But my shield was there, in the yard. Maker take him and his sweet, protective hide. Not even he can shield me from myself.


Part 2

I froze in my tracks on seeing him standing there in the yard. He was wearing his old leather armor, not the dragon scale armor he’d been wearing ever since Haven allowed us to have two sets crafted. He he had a pike in his hands, and seemed to dance around a target dummy he'd set up. Training. Of course. Or trying to clear his mind of this Landsmeet insanity. Probably both.

“Maker’s Breath, you look like you’re running from a vengeful shade! I didn’t know Arl Eamon’s estates had a secret dungeon that leads to Andraste’s ruined temple…” Alistair’s face sported an ear-to-ear grin with matching smiling eyes.

“We can speak later, Alistair,” I told him. “Please, come no closer. Right now I need to be alone.” His expression quickly turned to one of concern.

Please, Maker, let him not see the tears, please.

“Alone?” He looked genuinely hurt by my request. “Love, we’ve been at each other’s sides since Ostigar. MORE than just sides since after we lifted Zathrian’s werewolf curse.” He tried to smile at his own joke, but it was a pale thing. Great, looks like I’ve gone and set this whole blasted mess off on the completely wrong foot. “Of course, if you insist, I won’t stop you…” he replied, ever the gentleman. "But if you head out into the market, I will follow you. The streets of Denerim are too dangerous right now for me to consider doing otherwise.”

“Did you miss all those battles where you were “at my side”? I can handle myself.”

“Of course I didn’t. The point is we’ve saved each others lives countless times. I’m not about to let you go out there without my shield to protect you. The same way YOU would not let me go out by MYself, without your daggers and hand axes to watch my back and stab our foes in the kidneys.” He started walking toward her.

“Alistair, PLEASE! Come no closer,” I pleaded, my voice cracking and betraying me. “We can speak more once I’ve… had time to compose myself.” And had a few tankards of ale to boot, to help loosen my treacherous tongue.

He stopped, and his hurt and confused look intensified. “Your desire is my command…” he replied, but not with his normal playful inflection. I hurt him. I suppose I should get used to the feeling.

He turned and slammed his pike into the dummy he’d set up on the side of the yard. Again, again, again he smashed it.

I did not linger to ruminate on the dimming fate of the straw-and-wood dummy.

~=~

After getting well enough away from the Arl’s estate, I kept to the shadows, making sure that Alistair would not find me. I leaned against a stone wall, and slumped to the ground, finally letting the sobs and tears consume me. I did not care who saw me or who walked by.

But I should have.

“By the Maker! You’re the last person I expected to find when I heard such sobbing, Warden.”

Startled, my one hand instinctively reached for my hand axe, and the other wiped my eyes. I saw a chantry sister before me, kneeling down to try and catch my gaze. She shied back when she saw my reach.

“My… my apologies, Sister. I did not know who approached.”

“If you did not have those instincts, you would not be a Grey Warden. The same as I would not be a Chantry sister, if I did not have the instincts to seek out those who are hurting and try to help them.” She smiled, and offered me her hand. “Though I must say, if you wanted to avoid my notice, you should not have huddled down against the outside of the Chantry wall.” She grinned at I accepted her hand and came to my feet. “Please, come with me. The Chantry is closed, but with me escorting you, you would be welcome to respite in the Sister’s common room. Especially after the service you’ve done for our Chantry, by recovering those scrolls.”

“You’re… I’m sorry, your name has completely slipped my mind.” I felt stupid, and even more embarrassed. The Sister had been so thrilled when I’d given her those ancient ciphers… and I had taken my reward and headed out, not giving her a second thought.

“It is of no concern, Warden. My name is Sister Justine. And, if I may be so bold, I never did catch your name…”

“My name is Odessa. Please, lead the way.”

~=~

The Chantry Sister’s common room was round, with a high ceiling and a large fireplace on the north wall. Sturdy yet comfortable couches were placed perpendicular to it, a knee-high table situated between the two. Tables and chairs circled the edges of the room. Sister Justine lead me to one of the couches, and bade me sit. She gestured to one of her sisters (or perhaps not, I thought, remembering Leliana and her stay in Lothering’s Chantry) and spoke briefly with her before sitting down on the opposite couch.

“So, Warden… I mean, Odessa. I do not want to pry into your affairs, but know that I am here to offer a friendly ear if you so desire it.”

“My troubles are of a… political nature.” I tried to keep my face stoic, hoping that the idea of politics would sour Sister Justine’s interest. The other sister returned, bearing two cups of tea, of which she was offered one. Not the ale I was looking for, but it figures that in my wishes for a drink, the Maker provides me with tea. I took the tea with a polite nod. There was a small handkerchief on the teacup’s saucer, which I thanked the sister for and used to dry my eyes and face.

“How strange,” Sister Justine reflected, after a sip of tea. “Politics can bring men to such tears, but a woman? The only thing I know of to bring on such a fit would be tied to matters of the heart, not a matter of whose bum sits on which oh-so-important seat.” She grinned. “Especially a Blight-fighting, darkspawn slaughtering Grey Warden….”

“Sometimes, Sister, they are one in the same.” They must teach face reading in the Chantry. Maybe Leliana taught them all. “Especially when one is a mere elf in love with a king’s bastard.”

“Ahhh…. I see you did not lie to me then.” She tittered. “My dear, you must admit, the songs and tales they could write about the Last Two Grey Wardens, bound to one another on the battlefield and off…”

“A fine tale, for telling around a late-winter fire, singing of lives and times gone past. Not so romantic when it’s happening to you.” I sighed. “And, I may add, we are not the last Grey Wardens. There are others… we are just the last two in Ferelden.”

“That is all that matters in the songs dear… but I digress. Do not mind my glibness… if you wish to talk about it, the Chantry is sworn to secrecy with the burdens that are relieved onto it in confidence.”

Did I? Wish to talk about it with this sister? The daylight had been fading when she brought me inside, I did not dare miss my chance to talk to Alistair before the sun returned. I sipped my tea again. “I do not wish to burden you with matters of state, kind Sister. And I need to return and speak with Alistair before the night is out. Could you… could you tell me what you’ve decoded so far from the ciphers I brought you?”

Sister Justine nodded, and went into a lengthy explanation as to what she had found, and what steps she needed to take to discover more from the scrolls. I sipped my tea, listening enough to be polite. When my tea was gone, I stood. “Thank you for your hospitality Sister, especially in these dark times.”

“It is nothing, Warden Odessa. This Chantry is still deeply indebted to you. It was a small way to help start paying back some of that debt.” She stood as well, and headed with me to the Chantry’s side door. “If you’d like, you’re welcome to sit in our back garden for a bit before returning to the Arl’s estate. The night air may help clear your mind as well. Stay as long as you like, and I will not bother you. Much safer than crying yourself into hysterics in the middle of the road.”

It was an odd thing to say, especially after it seemed that my welcome here had expired. But I still wasn’t sure if I was ready to face Alistair yet. “You are too kind, far to kind, Sister. I thank you deeply for the offer.”

Sister Justine opened up a thick wooden door, which headed out into a small manicured garden. They must grow night-blooming jasmine out there, because the air was perfumed with it. The garden’s centerpiece was a beautiful marble fountain, with benches were built into rounded sides of it.

On one of those benches sat the anonymous sister… And her shield. Her shining shield in the darkness. The sister bowed and excused herself, and Sister Justine faded into the shadows as well as any street-born rogue. She MUST be a sneaky one, if she was able to pull this little scheme off, her and her friend there. By the Maker, my love must be tattooed all over my face. No wonder the Dalish didn't take to us at first.

Alistair stood. “So, my dear, are you going to explain to me what this is all about? Or are we going to communicate through Chantry sisters going forward?”

The tears started again. Oh, you giant, naive, wonderful fool. How do you think I shall send you letters from the four corners of Thedas, if not through the Chantry’s messengers?

Everything turned into a blur, and the only reason I did not fall to the ground was thanks to a giant pair of battle-hardened arms.

“I’m sorry, love. I’m so sorry…” Alistair repeated himself several times, as I sobbed. We stood there, in the Chantry garden, for longer than I care to recount now. “I don’t know what I did, but please, talk to me. We shall make it right.”



Part 3

His self-defacing words snapped me into a more coherent state.

“...you? What YOU did? Oh, by the Maker… you think this is your fault?” I wiped my eyes with the back of my hand. “Let’s sit down," I said. "Now that we’re facing the Landsmeet, we need to talk. About… us.” I tried to sound official and undetached, but I failed miserably.

“Us?” Alistair said, stunned. “What does that have to do with the Landsmeet?” Maker’s Breath, listen to him… If his daggers are in my heart’s strongbox, mine have slashed and stabbed through his shields, and wound him just as deeply. We sat down on the marble bench surrounding the fountain. A few more stray tears fell onto the cobblestones as I looked at my feet.

“Ferelden… Ferelden needs a ruler,” I started tentatively.

“Is THAT why we’re calling the Landsmeet? I’d wondered about that.”

“Alistair, PLEASE. Stop. Just this once, so can finish.”

“Of course.” He looks like he sees the entire darkspawn horde reflected in my eyes. Come on, out with it now.

“Being united before the Blight is our first and foremost priority. We should be thinking of alliances, not ways to tear the other side down.”

“Wait,” Alistair said, all hints of glibness gone from his voice. “We are NOT forming an alliance with Loghain. You KNOW that will not end well. Need I remind you that our very continued existence is treason in his eyes.”

“No. Not Loghain. I speak of Anora.”

“Same bloody difference.”

“In that you’re wrong, my shield. Anora has truly held the throne of Ferelden since Meric died. Cailen… was never very interested in the job.”

“Huh,” Alistair grunted. “Perhaps he and I had more in common than I once thought.” He paused. “But I’m still not seeing what Anora has to do with “us”. Out with it now, my love, no more sneaking and hiding.”

Maker preserve us. “You need to marry her. Anora. For the good of Ferelden.” Now that she’d started, it just all just came pouring out of her. “In you, a man of royal blood, to appease the noble houses and bind our enemies against the Blight, and beyond. In her, the ability and experience to run the kingdom in your steed and give you your freedom, after a fashion.”

Alistair’s face darkened. He leaned back and stared at me incredulously.

“So, you would set me up as a gollum king? Made to nod and make the right noises by those who hold my control rod? Maybe even crush a few heads along the way?” he said, squinting angrily at me through his pinching thumb and forefinger.

“We… we must be united against the Blight. You and Anora can do that, together.” My heart had exhausted itself of its grief, all it had left for the moment was logic and reason.

“Don’t you dare use the sodding Blight against me! It would work just as well to let Anora rule, much as it chafes me, and you and I work to stop the Blight. As is our CHOSEN duty, not one thrust on us by an accident of birth.”

“There is more to ruling than issuing decrees and caring for your people,” I said. “A ruler needs an heir, or we land ourselves right back here, facing an uncertain Landsmeet and possible civil war.”

He stared at her, clearly uneasy with this thought. “Go on.”

“Which is why you can’t just let her rule on her own. A heir of Maric’s blood would provide peace in the realm, a united accepted ruler that the majority of noble houses would follow without question. It gives her reign a legitimacy that cannot be achieved elsewise. Both through you… and her children. Your children, I mean. Together.” I felt my heart breaking all over again. And I still have more pain to inflict here. Maker help me. “Which is also why you need to marry her. Would you wish your childhood on an innocent? Your own child?”

His stoic stony look was betrayed by the pain in his eyes. “But, we’re still not talking about “us” here, are we?”

“I was getting there,” I admitted. “We… I… I promised Anora that I would end it. Between us. For the good of the realm, and the succession.”

His eyes narrowed, and his flinty glare was almost frightening. “No.”

“No?” It was the last thing I expected him to say. “…no? How could it possibly be any other way?”

“I won’t lose you. Not to that traitor’s spawn.” I suddenly found him with his arms around me, pulling me firmly into his embrace. “No. No. It will not be. It cannot. What is the…” I heard his voice catch in his throat. “What is the bloody POINT of being king if you can’t be with the one you love?”

My shield weeps. It was like one of my acid vials exploded inside my chest.

He pushed me back, holding me by my shoulders. “Look at me, Odessa. Look me in the eye.” I did, wary of what was coming next. Of what I would say next.

“This was her idea, wasn’t it?”

My reaction betrayed me. The tears started again, and I hung my head in shame. I was as a loss, not knowing what to do, not knowing what to say.

“I see.” I’d only rarely heard that much steel in his voice. If I didn’t know better, I would think he was defending his templar training against Morrigan’s mocking scorn. “I guess I just expected more from you, Odessa. After all we’ve been through. I… thought you loved me.”

I wrenched myself out of his grasp and jumped up off the bench, lashing around to meet his gaze again. “I DO love you! You impossible fool. Why do you think this is SO BLOODY HARD to contemplate? Let alone do?”

“Then why do it? If you truly do think that me and Anora should… ally with one another, that’s one thing. It has nothing to do with the other.”

“….do you really believe that, Alistair? Do you?” I paced a short distance back and forth as I ranted. “Do you really want to be constantly facing people who mock you, behind closed doors as well in the open for keeping your “elven whore” at court? It will undermine your and Anora’s power both. You’ll be seen as an elf sympathizing lecherous bastard, and she a weak woman who cannot keep her man in their bedchamber.”

“You stand before living proof that kings can do as they like in the bedroom and come away smelling like a rose.” The smoldering anger was back in his voice. “They're willing to put his by-blow on the throne, even though the only contact I had with the man was before I even existed.”

“Even if Anora and I have to rut like prized Mumbari breeding hounds, that doesn’t change us. How I feel about you. Though, perhaps it changes how you feel about me…” His anger was leaving him, and the reality of what I had proposed seemed to finally be hitting him. “Though, I must say, it’d be terribly unfair to both of you. Especially once… I cannot forsake being involved in the life of my child, no matter who is their mother.” He looked at me, concerned and slightly awed perhaps. “Is that why you’re doing this?” His eyes started laughing a bit, and a small grin graced his face. “My my, how the mighty have fallen… it’s not so easy to think of just yourself when you honestly start caring about others, now is it?”

“I…” Remind me again why people think he’s a stupid meathead? I keep forgetting. “I’ve learned a few things about duty since I… became a Grey Warden. Sometimes, the ends are not worth the means.”

“Which is odd,” Alistair said, still smirking a bit. “Because the Grey Wardens are all about stopping the Blight and the Darkspawn, no matter what the cost. The life of, say, a small child, even an arl’s child, would be considered to be something that could be lost, in the name of the greater good. Certainly not worth risking mage-born abominations and a jaunt in the Fade.”

“Well, I think that depends on the Grey Warden, don’t you?” I countered.

“Perhaps you are right. Come here, my selfless little backstabber,” he said, reaching out his arm to me. I sat beside him, and buried my face in his side. Don’t I ever run out of sodding tears??

“I don’t want to lose you,” I said with a sigh when I could control my tongue again.

“Nor I you. Not ever.”

“So…” I continued, still sitting under the crook of his arm. “How do you suggest we move forward? Anora is going to talk to Eamon in the morning about… you two.”

“A Grey Warden once told me that everyone in this world is out for themselves. I realized then that sometimes you have to hold onto what in life, no matter what the cost.” I looked up at him. There’s that bloody grin again, all mixed up with love and amusement.

“But… I told you that.”

“You most certainly did.” Can that cat-in-the-cream grin get any bigger? “It seems to me that I’m not the only one here who’s opened up to a new way of thinking.”

“….you may be right there… my love.”

“Oh good, so we’ve established that you no longer hate me and want I should throw myself off of the top of Fort Drake.”

I had to laugh a bit at that. “Never.” I put my arm behind his back and squeezed him tightly. “Not now, not ever.”

“We will figure this out.” He put his hand under my chin and made me meet his gaze. “Whatever we decide will not be perfect, but I will not give up on you. Not for Ferelden, not for the Blight, not for the Maker himself.” He smiled. “And, most certainly, NOT for Anora Mac Tir.”

I threw my arms around his neck and kissed him. Which, of course, dissolved into something that made us very conscientious of our surroundings. Too soon, he pulled away and plied his laughing eyes on me. “If you’re sincere about continuing down this path for the evening, we should continue somewhere that isn’t in the shadow of the Chantry, don’t you think?”

“Yes, of course,” I agreed. “But where to go? We’re all crammed into Eamon’s estate like packed fish. The Gnawed Noble, perhaps?”

“I had a different idea,” Alistair said, smirking. “What about the Pearl?”

“The…. Pearl? My word, Alistair, you really HAVE changed.” I punched his arm jokingly. “You DO know what kind of an establishment the Pearl is, yes? It’s purpose is not blotted off your templar-forged mental map?”

“I know they rent rooms and the use of women and men of questionable morals. I’m sure, for a reasonable price, they could be convinced to let us use the room only and not the other… amenities that they offer.”

I looked at him. Really looked at him. All jesting aside, he HAS changed. He is no longer a sheltered Chantry boy, that’s for certain. It hurt a little to realize this, but his innocence was a small price to pay to see him grow into this new Alistair. One that could lead a group of men into battle by choice, not circumstance and need. One who could stand up to squabbling nobles.

One who could maybe, someday, with a lot of practice and knocks about the head, could become a fairly decent king, I’d wager.

I pecked him on the cheek. “Lead the way, my shield. We shall deal with our more weighty concerns upon the morrow.”

“Maker, you are beautiful… especially in moments when you finally let someone else take charge for once.” There's that sodding smile again.

I playfully punched him in the stomach. “I’ll show YOU who’s in charge!”

“Oh? Will you?” I kept punching, laughing as he stood and straightened. He indulged me for a moment, before bending over and picking me up off of the bench, and threw me over his shoulder not unlike a sack of potatoes.

“Put me down NOW you giant lug!!” If you’d stop laughing so hard, maybe you’d actually get him to do it! I drummed my fists on his back in a fine show of resistance.

“Alright, if you insist,” he relented. “Though I swear I read somewhere that I thought women LIKED being swept off their feet. You will at least permit me to escort m’lady? The hour is quite late.” He bowed with an over-exaggerated flourish.

“Always, my shield. Always.”

From a candlelit window above, the two Chantry sisters watched the two Grey Wardens leave the garden, arm in arm.
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lothering_rose

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Re: Upon the Morrow

Post  Polara on Fri Nov 20, 2009 7:17 am

I loved this! A very sweet piece of fic...keep writing them Smile ! Thank you so much for sharing it.
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Re: Upon the Morrow

Post  lothering_rose on Fri Nov 20, 2009 7:55 am

Thank you Smile What's really picking at my brain at the moment is Wynne's back story... I think she really tried to stir up trouble in the Circle in her youth... but part of me doesn't want to do that, because it also seems like they're setting that up for future DLC.
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Upon the Morrow - Epilogue

Post  Odie on Fri Dec 04, 2009 10:07 pm

I posted more about this here, but the short of it is:

a) I'm Lothering_Rose
and
b) I thought this story was complete, but it bit me hard and demanded closure. Harsh closure. Like, 180 degrees closure.




Upon the Morrow – Epilogue

Chancellor. After being called “the Warden” for what feels like forever, it is an odd title. Like trying to wear someone else’s armor; useful, powerful, but it just doesn’t quite fit right.

These past six months have given me time to adjust to it. It is certainly easier to wear than the title Hero of Ferelden. But today, it stings as if someone branded the words “King’s Gilded Whore” across my chest.

People will notice my absence. It will only feed the fires of rumor and intrigue. I should be there, in the front row of the crowded audience, giving my silent seal of approval of the union. In the eyes of many, this gesture would mean even more than the words of blessing the Grand Cleric spoke over them. Several even recommended that I approach the Grand Cleric, and offer to do one of the traditional readings from the Chant of Light.

My courage in this matter is spent, however. I barely had any in the first place. When my shield refused to even consider the idea of ending things, I found hope in that. But I’ve watched them since then. Playing the role of First Chancellor, I serve as witness to their joint rule. Alistair is a quick learner, and Anora much more forgiving than I believed she could ever be. She does not berate him, and when they argue it is more of an exchange of passionate ideas rather than opposing forces warring with words.

He claims not to love her. I want to believe him. He honestly may not, as of this moment. Even now as he professes to love, honor, and protect her in front of the Maker and the eyes of men. But I’ve seen them together, every day. It constantly reminds me of the beginning of our travels together. It’s not as organic, given how well Alistair and I hit it off when we first met. We met as comrades in arms, and I’d been granted Duncan’s seal of approval as worthy of the Grey Wardens. He and Anora met as enemies, she the daughter of a man whom he reviled more than the most unscrupulous of malificar.

Time changes everything, however. The only thing we are assured of in this life is change. Look at Arl Eamon. From a ruling arl with a loving wife and son, to a landless noble who’s son lives in the Tower, with a melancholy wife who still persists in her belief that Eamon lies to her about Alistair’s father. She still wonders about why he’s so fiercely loyal to him, loyal enough to give up his lands and live at court as his advisor.

She won’t be happy if Alistair appoints him as First Chancellor.

Everyone is so focused on the wedding that I should not have trouble slipping away. I will make my to Weisshaupt. They deserve to know the truth of what Alistair and I wrought that night in Redcliffe. If they will listen to my plea, perhaps they will even allow me to lead the hunt to find and kill her, and the child. Sten’s speeches about atonement and honor are starting to ring more true in my heart than they once did.

Maker’s Breath, even if Alistair could forgive me for running away, he would never forgive me for killing his flesh and blood. No matter how tainted the child may be. But I would be able to un-do what we wrought. I fool myself not about my part in this. Just because I did not, could not, perform the ritual with Morrigan, it does not make me any less responsible for the outcome of her dark promises.

I look around my solar, a grand place for a grand woman with a grand purpose. It is not meant for the likes of elven whores who willingly allow witches absolve them of their sworn duty.

I keep my old pack in my closet, as well as my fine dragon scale armor. I will have to find provisions on the road, for the kitchens will be a cacophony of noise and insanity. My old bedroll still hangs from the bottom of it. I will have to find a tent as well. A small one, easily carried. The smaller the better. Space for only one is ideal.

But there is one thing I must do first.

It is old and dry now. The petals a deep sanguine color, more black than red. I’d dried it, pressing it between the pages of a journal I rarely kept up with. Always, I carried it with me when we fought the Blight.

But the Blight is over. And so too is that which the rose once represented.

I briefly consider sneaking into the royal apartments and leaving it on their bed. No. Not today. I dare not put a thorn in the paw of this union. It will make what I need to do all the harder. Nevertheless, this relic will not be accompanying me.

Leliana. She will understand. I showed her the rose in camp one night during our travels, as together we giggled like school girls over it. By the time she finds it, my presence will surely have been missed. It may even inspire her to write a song. Bards love these romantic tragedies; Sister Justine was right about that.

I pressed the rose into the journal, wrote a simple goodbye on one of the blank pages, and closed the book’s belted clasp. I gave the book to one of the guards stationed in the hallway outside my solar, requesting that the book be delivered to my friend the bard.

As I passed under the city gates, the bells began to ring. It spread through the city as each district Chantry took up the toll as the sound reached them. I broke into a run, not daring to look back.
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Odie

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Re: Upon the Morrow

Post  Illoynia Surana on Mon Dec 07, 2009 8:16 am

First let me say that you are an EXTREMELY talented writer. I've read each of your pieces here and I simply cannot put into words how much I enjoyed each one. The emotion behind the characters is intensely moving, for all of us fan-girls that have played out the game every which way possible and know the characters as well as the next the emotions are even more moving. Upon the Morrow especially brought a few tears to my eyes. Please keep up the most excellent work! cheers

Illoynia Surana

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Re: Upon the Morrow

Post  Odie on Mon Dec 07, 2009 3:49 pm

Wow, that's high praise indeed! Thank you very much. Smile

I still feel bad for ending it how I did, I really did intend to leave the ending open. But it didn't feel like it fit well with the tone of the game.
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Re: Upon the Morrow

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