The Last Beginning

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The Last Beginning

Post  lothering_rose on Tue Nov 24, 2009 11:49 pm

Hi all! This is my second foree into the land of fanfiction in two weeks, after telling myself I would never do such a thing. Must be a DA:O thing.

Do not read if you have not at least finished the game once.

Title: The Last Beginning
Rating: M in subject matter, but not smutty.
Pairing: Fem!Cousland/Alistair, post-game as rulers of Ferelden
Word Count: LONG. Nothing I do is short and to the point. Smile
Summary: Wynne contemplates and undertakes that which may be her last service for the good of Ferelden.

A/N: Wynne survived the Blight, and is now staying at court with Elissa and Alistair. Given the amount of foreshadowing they gave to her death in-game, this can't be a coincidence, yes? The Last Beginning is written from the POV of Wynne documenting the carrying out of her chosen task. She intends for it to become documentation in the Circle's archive. She begins writing two and a half after the Blight is ended, and three and a half months before Alistair and Elissa's wedding.

A/N 2: UPDATE! Thanks to the kind help I received over on Livejournal, I have been granted a canon list of months. The first name is the official name, the second one the name the common folk use, and the third one (obviously) it's real world equivalent. It's odd though.... Ferelden is in the southern hemisphere, but seasonally their calendar lines up with the northern hemisphere. Is this an oversight, I wonder, or is it because the Chantry is based out of Orlais, which is also in the south?

Month 1 Verimensis – Wintermarch (January)
Month 2 Pluitanis – Guardian (Feburary)
Month 3 Nubulis – Drakonis (March)
Month 4 Eluviesta – Cloudreah (April)
Month 5 Molioris – Bloomingtide (May)
Month 6 Ferventis – Justinian (June)
Month 7 Solis – Solace (July)
Month 8 Matrinalis – August (August)
Month 9 Parvulis – Kingsway (September)
Month 10 Frumentum – Harvetsmere (October)
Month 11 Umbralis – Firstfall (November)
Month 12 Cassus – Haring (December)

The Last Beginning - Part 1

14 Verimensis, 9:30

The Blight has ended. I can state this more definitively than most, for I was there on the top of Fort Draken. Warden Elissa, called now the Hero of Ferelden, struck the final blow against the Archdemon as Wardan Alistair bravely entertained the foul creature with his swordplay.

Given that I have already quite literally lived beyond my time, I expected that to be my last great moment of service, both as a Spirit Mage of the Circle and as a citizen of Ferelden. Supporting my traveling companions with my healing magics, ensuring that the Grey Wardens survived to face and defeat the Archdemon. After conquering the impossible in sunset of life, I could have died happy knowing all I had accomplished with my time here.

However, it seems that the Maker is not finished with me yet. One last task has been laid at my weary, old feet. Thankfully, it is not one of battles, of armies, of long marches and cold nights sleeping in a tent. After all the death and destruction I have witnessed, to have a task with the potential for life and joy to result from it warms my old heart.

The newly crowed King Alistair is pledged to wed Lady Elissa Cousland, on the last day of Eluviesta, a little over three months hence. I am sure the songs and tales of these two Grey Wardens will resound through the ages, and I am honored to consider them my friends. More than friends, for in truth they are like the family I never had; the children I never got to know.

Though I must say, now that they have attendants and maids to change their bedding and wash their dirty socks, they are certainly much more comfortable to be around in an olfactory sense. The shear amount of dirt and sweat one has to contend with while on these supposed grand adventures is sincerely unconscionable.

But I digress. I have already written the journals of my time traveling with the Grey Wardens, and my reflections as a Spirit Healer supporting a major battle offensive are within. Thus I start a new journal here, detailing my notes and procedures as to the task I have been presented. I find it very hard to believe that these events would ever repeat themselves, a kingdom ruled by two Darkspawn-tainted Grey Wardens seeking an heir to the throne. However if my long life has taught me anything, it is that knowledge and wisdom in its own right needs to be shared and preserved. Should my efforts come to successful fruition, I can hardly envision a more wonderful and powerful use for a Spirit Healer’s gift. Helping two people so genuinely in love and forge a new life together, for the good of their own hearts and the good of their people.

I am reminded yet again of how fortunate I have been in this life, even after all the self-inflicted trials and hardships of my youth. The Maker be praised.

17 Verimensis, 9:30

Going forward in this manuscript, I will refer to the Lady Elissa and King Alistair by their first names only. I understand that those looking back through the lens of history may see this as disrespectful or flippant. Remember, however, when I met both they were Grey Wardens, lacking titles and claims to any type of nobility, and this is how I came to know and love them both. They would personally be offended, or at best think that I’m being dreadfully silly, were I to refer to them by any other name or title. History may say many things about Wynne the Spirit Mage, but I absolutely refuse to allow of it to think of me as silly.

In addition, dear reader, please note that I will be speaking bluntly about certain very personal and private matters within this journal. If you are squeamish about such things I recommend shelving this manuscript instantly. Matters of reproduction cannot be seriously discussed without touching on certain things which would not be considered polite dinner conversation. That being said, I will attempt to keep such matters as clinical advice and information only. May the Maker forgive me if I lapse into impropriety.

It was just about a week ago when Elissa approached me requesting my assistance, and I have spent much time contemplating her request since. The events of the Landsmeet had been swift and passionate, and it was only afterwards that she had learned from Alistair that he had never once heard of a Grey Warden conceiving a child after performing the Joining. The very weapon they used against the Darkspawn, ingesting in a small bit of their essence and thus allowing them to battle against them more effectively, changed them on a very base level. Over time, these changes will take over their entire selves, and most Grey Wardens choose to end their lives early down in the Deep Roads. But I shall not go into those factors here and now, for the effects of the taint on those who voluntarily suffer its burdens is highly documented elsewhere.

Having one parent with the taint in their veins would make conceiving a child hard enough… but could a child grow in the womb of a Grey Warden and survive? Let alone one conceived by a father who also carries the same taint? I could, possibly, see a man fathering a child in his first few years subjected to the taint, when its grip on him was not as strong as it will surely be in later years. But for a woman, whose very body will nourish the child for the better part of a year? The chances seem dire at best. Or worse, if a child could survive, would it be born human, or as… something else? Could the mother even bear such a child and live? The consequences of such an event could indeed be dire.

Thus were the concerns that Elissa and I discussed this afternoon. I did not shield her from my darker postulations on the issue. She and I have spent many a night resting outside my tent while traveling, discussing our varied views on the world. I will not do her the indignity of sparing her my darker thoughts, no matter what role she may be playing now in the annuls of history.

I do have some hope to offer for the situation, however. While no Spirit Healer can drive the taint completely from a person’s veins once they consume it, I do believe I temporarily drive the taint out of small areas of the body. Once that is accomplished, I can create a magical barrier around these limited areas, and prevent the taint from entering them for a time. If this theory is sound, I should be able to drive the taint from Elissa’s womb and quickening glands for a time, and allow them to be able to accept her future husband’s seed. The downside I see to this is that no magical shield lasts very long… let alone the months a body needs to nurture a child. The best shields last only hours. I would have to re-cast the shields morning, noon, and night, in order for them to have any long-term effects.

Knowledge may be power, but the raw stamina required for such an endeavor may be beyond what I can muster. I will need to beseech Irving and the Circle for an assistant for this endeavor, and soon. Time is of the essence here. Elissa said she will speak with Alistair as soon as the opportunity presents itself. I will need to send a message at once, when and if they decide they want to test my theory.

If I know anything of politics, yet alone the heady insanity of young love, I should draft the message now and simply pass it to a messenger as soon as they say the word.

18 Verimensis, 9:30

It becomes blatantly obvious to all that a king is young and deeply in love when he will cancel holding court for the day to spend it conversing with an old wizened witch bearing questionable promises. Now that I think on it, I do believe Alistair did indeed call me wicked once, while discussing this very topic in fact. I may have been teasing him mercilessly at the time, but that is neither here nor there.

Discussing a man’s virility is always a touchy subject, not to be undertaken lightly. No matter what the cause, he will invariably take it as a slight against the very core of his manhood. I feel very fortunate in this instance, therefore, because in this case Alistair fully understood that it was the taint that was to blame, not any personal weakness of his own, perceived or imagined.

When I explained to him that the procedure would involve casting a spell shield around his seed glands several times a day, however… well, he took that far less amicably. Once he finished sputtering out his shock and horror, he said he would most likely agree to such a thing, once the time was right, and if it was the only way. I assured him of two things: one, that it was only way that I could possibly see being able to help them, and two, the procedure could effectively and safely be performed while wearing trousers.

As an aside… normally I would not commit thoughts such as these to parchment, but I’ve been worrying about it since this morning and simply cannot put it out of my head. At this point of our conversation, the oddest glance passed between Elissa and Alistair. They proceeded to ask several times if I was sure it was the only way to help them, almost as if they firmly believed I should have another answer. Which, of course, I did not.

Feelings of shock, fear, and a large sense of discomfort at the thought of an old mage casting spells over one’s nether region, I could understand. But the guilt I saw in their eyes was unexplainable. They did not deem me as needing to know what was being unsaid, however. I note it here mostly in case my old mind does eventually move on and forget about it, lest it have some bearing on something in the future.

Moving on, here is my plan, as I laid out to the young royal couple. First, Alistair would need to allow me to cast the taint-shield on his seed glands for at least a month, to give his body time to heal as well as to start producing viable taint-free seed. Secondly, I would then need to start casting a similar shield on Elissa’s womb and quickening glands during that same month, starting after the completion of her moon’s blood. (The chances are good here that I would pass Alistair’s care to whatever assistant Irving deems worthy to send my way. I must remember to request a female mage be sent if at all possible, for I get the impression that our wayward king would run for the Frostback Mountians were I to turn this particular task over to another man.) Thirdly, and this was the part that pained me the most, was that I had to tell them that I simply could not keep up with this kind of magic up forever, even with additional assistance from the Circle. If, despite all our best efforts, we do not see results within a handful of months, the plan may simply not be viable and we may need to stop. If we are successful, I will be facing many months of necessary treatments going forward, and the longer we pray to the Maker for a quickening, the longer the spells will need to be maintained. And I honestly do not know if I have that much time left before I pass to the Fade.

I have truly come to love these two Wardens as my own children. I will go to any possible lengths to help them when and where I can… but I cannot promise aid past my death. Alistair insists yet again how “formidable” I am, and they both believe in my abilities as much as I believe in theirs. I feel irresponsible enough, promising to help them at all… but we all do desperate things at times for the ones we love. Never let it be said that I did not try.

Perhaps I should ask Irving to send two mages to assist me, a teacher and an acolyte. But that would be a selfish request to make of the Circle, even in this time of post-blight relative peace. Love makes selfish fools of us all however. We shall see.

Last edited by lothering_rose on Fri Nov 27, 2009 5:57 am; edited 4 times in total

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Re: The Last Beginning

Post  TrishaMcMillan on Wed Nov 25, 2009 10:15 pm

I love it!
So what if it is not short? All the better to me.

In my opinion it is a very logical and realistic take on the possibility of conceiving a child for our two favorite grey wardens and the journal form is a nice touch. You also captured Wynne's voice perfectly and I hope you intend for her to see the fruit of her labors one day if it should come to pass.

I'm definitely eager to read more.

p.s: I did smirk at the thought of Alistair running for the hills (literally) if another man should concentrate his magic on his manly parts.

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The Last Beginning - Part 2

Post  lothering_rose on Wed Nov 25, 2009 11:55 pm

21 Verimensis, 9:30

I have written to Irving and the Circle, beseeching that they send another healer to Denerim, as well as acolyte if they could spare both. Preferably female, but I will take whomever I can get. Irving, far more than most of the Circle, understands more about the whims of young people in love and desiring children. The rest, of course, will simply see it as a political necessity. I am hopeful that they will acquiesce to my request, and I am confident that Irving will fight for my cause if only to please the young woman trapped within my aging body.

I am pleased yet reserved that Alistair and Elissa are wanting to go forward with my plan. They deserve this happiness, and beyond that, if the events of the past year have taught us anything, Ferelden needs an heir to the throne. I sincerely doubt that there are any more of Meric’s by-blows lurking in some forgotten corner of Thedas. If there are, they were not born under the nose of an arl, and thus have no idea of the royal blood in their veins. This is probably for the best overall, but it does not solve this problem of the taint.

13 Pluitanis, 9:30

I received a reply from the Circle today. Irving will not just be sending a mage to assist me, but Senior Enchanter Leborah herself, my old colleague. He also states that my old student Petra volunteered to accompany Leborah, and was so adamant in her desire to assist with this task that he couldn’t leave her behind in good conscience. The plan, Irving states, is for him to accompany Leborah and Petra when they travel to Denerim for the royal wedding come late Nubulis. Several other notable figures from the Circle, as well as Knight-Commander Greagoir and several Templars, will be accompanying them. The wedding itself is scheduled for the last day of Eluviesta, which will allow for beautiful spring weather, but it will also make for abysmally bad travel for the wedding guests. Poor Irving. I don’t envy him the trip.

Elissa is overjoyed. Alistair quipped something along the lines of letting the entire Circle of Magi into their bedchamber. He stated that he was losing hope that he would be the only one in the room with a long, thick staff in his hand. Which, in his own ridiculous way, means he’s touched and thankful as well.

29 Pluitanis, 9:30

The wedding plans are coming along as only these things can come along; slowly, painfully, and with the threat of Elissa going bald from pulling her hair out. She is a warrior at heart, not a princess, but the seneschal appointed to organizing the wedding just doesn’t see that. He wants her approval on everything, and refuses to believe that she simply does not care much for anything except being declared Alistair’s wife and queen when the day is done. I know this doesn’t seem like something I should be writing here in this particular manuscript, but I mention it because I feel the need to intervene here, for the sake of her health. We will most likely being the treatments before the actual wedding day, and the additional stress could make things more difficult. I will speak to him and see if I can change his approach.

1 Nubulis, 9:30

Speaking with the seneschal has proven… difficult. I have decided to try a more unorthodox approach, much as it pains me. I spoke with Elissa, and recommended that she grant Zevron the authority to sign off on any wedding decision on her behalf. As much as I despise the vile Antivan and his inappropriate humor, the thought of sicking him on this particular problem seems fitting somehow. She agreed, and stated that they would probably spend every waking moment planning the event, morning and night. Especially night. I suppose that’s one way to get him out of our hair for the next two months. The way he eyes Elissa has always gotten my dander up, and if she were to suddenly become fertile ground, as it were… I trust that elf not at all. If he’s infatuated with a fancy serving boy, more’s the better.

28 Nubulis, 9:30

A messenger arrived today, stating that Irving’s party from the mage tower was about a week away from arriving in Denerim. Preparations have begun to set up apartments for Leborah and Petra. I envision taking shifts maintaining the necessary taint-shields, with whomever casts the evening spell staying nearby overnight, so that the spell can be re-cast as soon as possible in the morning.

The more and more I think about how the next year will play out, the more nervous I become. I wonder what I’ve truly committed myself and my colleagues to, and whether or not our efforts will be all for naught. But I must stay positive in front of the Wardens. If I appear to be losing hope, it will infect them and dampen their spirits.

Talking of spirits, the spirit that sustains me has been very quiet lately. It hasn’t faded, but it certainly hasn’t gained any strength either. I hope that the extra support in Leborah and Petra on hand will help to prevent myself from becoming over exhausted. Time will tell.

5 Eluviesta, 9:30

Irving’s party arrived yesterday, the first of many groups to arrive for the festivities. Alistair called the first of many pre-wedding feasts, to celebrate the coming together of those who aided the Wardens on their path to stopping the Blight. It touched me to learn that Dagna, the dwarven girl that we recommended for study at the Circle, had decided to accompany the group. She is a joy to talk to; her spirit is infectious. I think I may even have a chat with her about the original subject of this manuscript. I realize that I am rambling off my original topic here, dear reader, but I hope you can find it in your heart to indulge an old woman the chance to write about something she considers worthy of documenting.

It is good to have the camaraderie of my fellow mages around me again. I do not regret my decision to stay at court, but it has been a challenge for me emotionally. Perhaps I can convince Irving to retire once my chosen endeavor comes to a close, regardless of its outcome. It would be nice to spend time with him, outside of the stresses of the Circle. But those are thoughts for another day, when I have consumed fewer flagons of ale.

7 Eluviesta, 9:30

Leborah, Petra and I met today, and I explained my plan to them more in detail. We are all in agreement that a shield constructed to block only the magic of the taint should hopefully accomplish our goals. Physical functions should carry on as normal within the shield, and blood should pass through the barrier unhindered. Only the taint would be blocked from entering. Initially banishing the taint from the necessary organs and glands, however, will not be easy. What will probably need to happen is that one of us shall need to focus on shifting the taint out of the target area, while another one sets up the walls of the shield once all has been removed. Maintaining the shield after that point should not be too difficult, just time intensive and demanding. Maker give me strength.

9 Eluviesta, 9:30

Leborah and I commenced the initial phase of treatment on Alistair today. By the Maker, do men EVER grow up? I know this is Alistair I am speaking of, but he should thank Andraste that I’m so willing to overlook his jocular manner. I know it is just his way of dealing with emotions he’d rather not leave exposed. His armor, if you will.

But this fact does little to make it less infuriating at times.

My impressions are that the procedure went extremely well. Since we are only dealing with a small percentage of his body, relocating the taint outside of his seed glands was surprisingly much easier than I expected. Leborah cast the initial shield, and she is maintaining it at the moment. We shall re-examine things in the morning, to see whether or not any traces of the taint have returned to the glands.

10 Eluviesta, 9:30

Upon examination this morning, while attempting to ignore yet another comment about “no longer being impure”, it appears that the taint shield is holding nicely. The subtle physical damage caused by the taint is still there, however, so it remains to be seen whether or not Alistair’s body will be able to heal itself. I must keep this brief, for the shield is currently my burden. Perhaps this will get easier, given time… I do not look forward to the time where we are maintaining shields on both Alistair and Elissa. Once Leborah and I are comfortable with this, however, we will teach Petra. That will alleviate some of our burden.

17 Eluviesta, 9:30

Petra has taken the night shift, and I am very grateful to be able to sleep at a proper time of day. She is young, and more resilient to such an upside-down way of living.

Naturally, nature can not leave well enough alone. Elissa informed me today that her moon blood has started. We have only a few days to prepare before we will need to start treating and shielding her as well.

Maker let our efforts not be in vain.

20 Eluviesta, 9:30

Events are flying fast and furious now, so I barely have time to write.

Arl Eamon and his retinue from Redcliffe have arrived. Much to Oghren’s pleasure, the representatives of Prince Bheldin and the dwarven assembly are now here. I can only hope they don’t finish off all the good ale before the wedding.

The bard Leliana has returned from wandering the countryside, and apparently has penned a ballad describing our final battle against the Archdemon. Were I younger, this would have set my heart alight with pride. Now, though, I’m mostly thankful that she did not include the term “elder mage” anywhere in it.

Our most surprising guest by far is that of the Dalish Keeper, Laryna, along with few of her warriors. Her curiosity about the outside world finally overcame her fear of it, though I worry that she may have picked a most chaotic time to visit. I must remember to stop by and say hello, and try to make her feel more comfortable. Perhaps she will have word from Anarian. They have put her and the other Dalish in a tower high and far from the bustle of court, but I do not think it is enough.

Now if I wasn’t so blasted tired all the time, I could properly enjoy all this company. As it is, keeping my head afloat and conscious is at the limit of my abilities.

21 Eluviesta, 9:30

The time has come to cast our wards on Elissa. Petra has agreed to take on maintaining Alistair’s wards full-time. This plan concerns me greatly, because even if the spell can last for hours while not consciously being maintained, she will still need to wake in the middle of the night and re-kindle the spell. Plus, in this time period, the spell will weaken, if only slightly… and this is the most critical time for Alistair’s involvement in the procedure. Her devotion is unwavering, and all our spirits depend on working together and having faith in one another’s abilities.

Andraste’s mercy, the wedding is only a mere 9 days away. I wonder, would it have killed us to wait a month until after it was over to being this? For it may indeed kill me for having started when we did.

But no. I’ve known this from the beginning. The sooner we begin, the less damage there is to overcome. The only reason we waited so long in the first place is because weddings between heads of state are horrifically complex affairs to coordinate. Politically, it would have been unwise for it to be publicly known that any child of Alistair and Elissa’s union was conceived before they were bound in the eyes of the Maker, especially so soon after coercing the Landsmeet to accept Maric’s bastard as the true heir to the throne.

These events are thankfully temporary. Soon, the chaos will die down, and may even someday be wistfully missed. But right now, I can only wait patiently until I and my fellow mages will be able to focus completely on the task at hand. The Maker guide and preserve us.

22 Eluviesta, 9:30

In theory, one would think that the casting and sustaining of a taint shield would be a task of equal effort, no matter the body one was trying to work within. In practice, however, this could not be farther from the truth.

I could not have anticipated how much harder it would be to maintain a taint-shield in a woman’s body. There appears to be a fundamental difference between how the sexes deal with the taint. In men, it slowly causes corruption and changes. There is an odd sense of… acceptance, perhaps. That this taint, while not something to be embraced, is not something foreign or hurtful either. It is just… a manifestation of a change. Slow, twisting, warping change, but not an evil to host an Exalted March against.

This could not be further from the truth when speaking of a female Grey Warden.

Every fibre of Elisa’s being fights the taint. Tries to keep it from hurting her, from changing her. I am uncertain if this is a unique phenomenon, or one that all female Wardens, few as they have been, have suffered from. It is said that male Wardens will slowly go mad and turn into ghouls… while female Wardens turn into something else. Something far more vile and Maker-forgotten. May you never be so unfortunate as to travel to the Deep Roads, to witness the horror that is a Broodmother.

I should have made the connection earlier, I really should have. But I had assumed that such a manifestation of the taint required something more than just the Joining of the Grey Wardens. The consumption of Darkspawn flesh. Over-exposure to lyrium. The simple passage of time. Something besides mere exposure.

Perhaps the more extreme abominations do require such, for Elissa is in no immediate danger of turning into a fanged, tentacled, flesh-hungry Darkspawn. But the act of moving the taint out of her femaleness is proving far more difficult than moving it out of Alistair’s maleness. Her body’s inherent rejection of the taint makes it resist such movements strongly. It is not a matter of placing a stone in a stream and having the water part around it. It is more akin to trying to push a boulder up a steep hill. Her body has the taint in complete balance, a balance caused by mutual hatred rather than cooperation. No part of her self will accept more than any other.

We did manage to clear one of her quickening glands, and Leborah is shielding it now. I will relieve her in a couple hours time. But on the morrow, we will need to maintain and expand the existing shield far beyond that small walnut-sized area. It will not be easy. Perhaps I will request Irving’s assistance, while he is still here in Denerim and doing so will not pull him away from his duties to the Circle beyond that which he is already being asked to do. I believe that once we establish the shields, we three will be able to maintain it. It is this initial flushing that is proving most vexing.

22 Eluviesta, 9:30

Irving graciously, if reluctantly, agreed to aid Leborah and I in the remaining cleansing ritual. He resists out of a sense of propriety, but accepts out of a sense of duty. He knows that the Wardens are responsible for the liberation of the Tower, and admits this is why he sent a Senior Enchanter as well as a fully trained mage to assist in my endeavor. Still, I believe he is not comfortable touching a woman young enough to be his granddaughter in such an intimate fashion, even if it is only through his powers and not physically.

With his help, I am pleased to say that we successfully cast a taint shield around Elissa’s womb, and both quickening glands.

Let me step back a moment. I would have explained this more yesterday, but I was so frustrated with the fight the taint was giving us, it completely slipped my mind. A mage with healing talents can use their powers to almost see within a person’s body. It is not sight, not in the way that our eyes use light to create pictures. It is more of a feeling… not unlike sticking ones hand into a bowl of oatmeal and feeling around for the raisins. This is how I know that a woman’s quickening glands are approximately the size of a walnut, and more importantly, how to find them. The procedure on a woman is much more feel-and-guess than it is on a man. Where to cast such a spell on a man is blatantly obvious. On a woman, you have to first use your healer’s sight to find what you are looking for, and then hold onto it long enough to ensure your magics are properly directed.

The shield is currently about the size of two dessert plates, one placed upside-down on top of another to create a cavity between. It is more than double the size of the shield that Petra is valiantly withholding over Alistair. It is much harder to maintain, but not impossible. Irving is holding it for now, since I spearheaded the cleansing ritual, but now that I have taken a quick nap and taken time to record my findings, I shall go to relieve him.

Please, Maker, I know these things cannot be hurried. But if your eye and Andraste’s grace could shine upon us, I would be grateful. I must find the strength to hold out long enough to at least say that we have done all we can do.

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The Last Beginning - Part 3

Post  lothering_rose on Thu Nov 26, 2009 12:09 am

30 Eluviesta, 9:30

I put quill to parchment now, in the pre-dawn hours before I head out to relieve Laborah’s overnight shift. The awaited day is finally upon us, the bright spot we have all been awaiting since that fateful day six months ago when the Archdemon was brought to task by our Royal Wardens.

Keeping the shields kindled from sunup to sundown has been a strain on my resources. Irving has been helping some, but we both know that he will need to return to the Circle Tower sooner than later once today’s events are concluded. I can’t say the burden is any lighter, but I becoming accustomed to its weight. If the Maker wills, we will soon come to a day where Petra will be able to enter our rotation.

But today, we rejoice, both as a nation and as friends. Ferelden has reason to be happy again, and all should lift a pint of ale and a proud cheer in honor of our new King and Queen, and the honor of all who dwell within her borders.

1 Molioris, 9:31

It is finished. King Alistair and his now-Queen Elissa have been joined in the eyes of the Maker and by the laws of men. May the Maker bless their union.

If the looks on their sleeping faces in the pre-dawn hour this morning are any indication, he has thrice blessed them. I felt terribly awkward, slipping into their chambers that morning, but the spell does require some level of proximity, especially when assuming or rekindling the shield. However, if I know those two even a little bit, this is not the first, nor the last, awkward time a mage will quietly sneak into their private sanctum, in the name of love and the greater good.

Please note, for a short time I will digress from the original intent of my manuscript. A royal wedding is also something that deserves to be documented, I do believe. I do those I love a disservice not to do so. It is also a good exercise for me to learn how to focus on the shields while devoting another part of my brain to another task, such as writing down my memories of yesterday before they scuttle off into the Fade.

It was like a day plucked out of a song. The spring sun shown through the stained glass windows of the castle Chantry. Early spring flowers were tied to every bench, and it appeared that every sprouting daffodil in the kingdom had been cut and placed into vases. One of the very few requests that Elissa had from the beginning was a bouquet of roses, though finding them after a hard Ferelden winter was difficult at best. Surprisingly, the Antivan came through for her here. He mentioned a “mutual friend” who was able to sail north to Antiva and return with several potted rosebushes. Most were red, but a few of them were an indigo purple, almost blue but not quite. I had never seen their like before. Perhaps I have underestimated the once-Crow. Alistair gave orders to have them planted in the royal gardens, now that their flowers were harvested.

If I hadn’t known better, I would have never recognized the King and Queen as the two young Grey Wardens I met at Ostigar. Alistair wore a beautiful set of ceremonial plate armor, crafted for beauty and grace, not battle and bulk. Enameled in white, it was emblazoned with the blue gryphon of the Grey Wardens. The only thing recognizable about him was that ridiculous grin that always graced his face when he looked at his lady love. And Elissa… Maker’s Breath, was this the same woman I’d seen covered in blood and gore so many times? With whom I trekked over hill and dale, caked mud on her boots and dust in her hair? It was almost too much to believe. Her auburn hair was braided in a circle around the top and sides of her head. Tiny dried white flowers were interspersed within the braid, brought back from Leliana’s wanderings, she told me. Her dress was cloth-of-silver, embroidered with royal blue designs and edging. Some tittered behind cupped hands about the princess-consort not wearing a white silken dress, but in their ignorance they missed the point completely. They stood before us today as King and Queen of Ferelden, yes, but also as Grey Wardens. They did not want that to be forgotten this day, for better or for worse.

The ceremony went on seemingly for hours, but it was probably not anywhere near that long. I was sitting in a place of honor, the first row just off to the right of the royal couple, but it was not honor that placed me there. I must admit, I did not pay attention to the whole of the ceremony, for there were times I had to focus too soundly on maintaining Elissa’s taint-shield. It pushed at the barrier it constantly, fighting against the imbalance the rest of Elissa’s being simply could not tolerate. Petra sat next to me, starry-eyed as only a young girl witnessing a song-tale wedding could be.

In a surprising move of efficiency for such a behemoth of an operation, the last bit of the ceremony was turned over to Elissa’s coronation. The Grand Cleric declared her Queen of Ferelden, and placed an exquisite silverite crown on her head. Its centerpiece was a heraldic gryphon, enameled in blue, flanked by the two white wings of Highever. I often forget that she is the daughter of a teyrn; it is one of many mantles she has been granted in her short life. She wears them all as gracefully as her newly minted crown, however, so I try not to worry about how these loyalties have the potential to pull her in many different directions all at once. They are not unlike the struggles her new husband faces, and I have every faith they can face what life throws at them, together.

My chosen burden coupled with my advanced age did not allow me to partake in the wedding feast as much as I may have once liked. But such revels have always been best enjoyed by the young. The seemingly endless courses of food, the music, the dancing, the free-flowing ale and wine. And the speeches. Maker help me, I had forgotten the endless vying for the spotlight by those who wished to shower praises on the newly wedded couple. I said a few words myself, but only after I was spurred to anger by the speech the Antivan gave. I simply cannot abide his cocky manner. His audacity to claim that it was he that orchestrated Elissa and Alistair’s union may have been funny to some, those who were not there and did not know the true story. By the Maker, someone had to return some level of solemnity to this event! The hour was much too soon for it to have dissolved into drunken revelry quite just yet.

Not that one would make such a judgment based off of Oghren’s follow-up drunken toast. With what I hoped was the last dessert course finished, I knew the dancing would start soon. I did not transfer the shield’s burden to Leborah before then, it could be quite some time before I could take the young queen aside to accomplish the task. I made note of this to Elissa, who sent Alistair to tell the annoying seneschal that the queen needed a short break from the festivities. He agreed, but forbade me from disappearing after our task was completed. When I asked him whether or not that was a royal command, he said that it could be, should I choose to take it as one. However, were I to do that, he would then start sending me other royal commands, such as “Wash my royal socks” or “Mend my royal shirt”. I asked him how this would change anything, since he had no compunction before about asking such things of me. He just smiled, and reminded me that indeed, perhaps being king really didn’t change how we should treat each other.

It was the first true glimmer of true wisdom I had ever seen out of Alistair. I hope it is not the last. Ferelden would benefit from such a king.

After we returned to the great hall, Leborah shouldering our shared burden once again, it was time for the dancing to begin. I knew that they were both dreading this part of the night. Several weeks ago, when Leliana offered to teach the couple what she knew of such things, Elissa mentioned having had some dancing lessons at Highever. From what little she remembered of them, they were almost reminiscent of the dueling lessons she’d received. Alistair asked her which part of the lessons she referred to, grinning wickedly. Elissa turned a shade of pink I’d only before seen on Alistair’s face, and threw a nearby pillow at him. She refused to discuss what he was referring to in front of me. Even Leliana giggled like a little girl, clearly in on whatever joke passed between them. The burdens we bear for being old and revered are numerous, I suppose.

Leliana apparently taught them something beyond jokes, however, for they looked stunning. Even Alistair didn’t look completely and horridly out of place. And after they were finished, he approached me and bowed. I reminded him that kings bow before no one, to which he responded that even kings should bow before their revered grandmothers. I laughed, but accepted when he then offered the next dance to me. Dear Maker, it had been so long… the Circle was not known for its grand galas. He assured me that no one would notice them, gesturing toward his lady wife who was in the process of escorting Oghren out to the center of the dance area. A beautiful woman with a drunken dwarf, he claimed, were certain to draw all the more judgmental eyes away from us.

No matter what the histories may come to say about our King Alistair, let it be known from mine own hand that he is always, first and foremost, a gentlemen who knew how to protect the honor of an old woman. I truly believe that Ferelden rests safely in his hands and the hands of his queen.

What worries me is the fact that they had taken their combined future, and the stability of Ferelden’s future, firmly out of their hands and confidently pressed it into mine. Andraste’s golden knickers, I am too old for these kinds of weighty responsibilities!

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Re: The Last Beginning

Post  melcene on Sat Nov 28, 2009 4:13 pm

I'm not normally too big on the post-final battle fanfic, but so far this has been wonderful! I especially like this part:

At this point of our conversation, the oddest glance passed between Elissa and Alistair. They proceeded to ask several times if I was sure it was the only way to help them, almost as if they firmly believed I should have another answer. Which, of course, I did not.

Feelings of shock, fear, and a large sense of discomfort at the thought of an old mage casting spells over one’s nether region, I could understand. But the guilt I saw in their eyes was unexplainable.

What an interesting way to bring up the Dark Promise.

Looking forward to more!

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Re: The Last Beginning

Post  lothering_rose on Sat Nov 28, 2009 6:32 pm

Thank you Smile I don't think they're ever going to tell Wynne about it... but she certainly would have noticed that they started acting strange when talking about magical ways to conceive a child.

I'm still a novice at this, but one thing I've learned from my betters (writing wise anyway) is sometimes you can say more obliquely, rather than coming out and saying it.

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The Last Beginning - Part 4

Post  lothering_rose on Mon Nov 30, 2009 9:10 am

3 Molioris, 9:31

All good things must come to an end. Our guests, seemingly having arrived so soon, have begun to depart. The Dalish were the first to leave, not surprisingly, but Laryna has promised to return to court as her clan’s travels will it. She trusts our new rulers; perhaps this will lead to good things for both the elves and the humans of Ferelden.

Arl Eamon and his wife have decided to remain here at court. Eamon claims he had thoughts of this nature soon after the end of the Blight, but he returned to Redcliffe to help ensure that his lands were in good condition before making his next move. He has officially turned over his lands to his brother Teagan. With his only son, Connor, recently becoming an acolyte mage and thus officially invalidating his birthright, I certainly cannot blame the arl for this decision. Teagan is a fine young man, and even Elissa admitted to me in confidence that if she had not already fallen so wholly for Alistair before meeting him, she would have probably have broached a more formal arrangement with Teagan after the fighting was done. He should have no problems marrying well and securing Redcliffe’s future.

There is talk around court about the royal couple making a grand tour of Ferelden. There are many official reasons given: so that the royal couple can meet with banns and arls that were unable to attend the wedding, so that the true damages of the Blight can be surveyed, so that the common folk can get a glimpse of their new rulers. All I know is that such a tour would complicate my plans. I will need to speak with Alistair and Elissa, and make them understand that such a tour will need to be delayed until either a quickening occurs, or we decide to stop this treatment. Between the three of us, a single shield could be maintained while traveling. But this two-pronged operation we find ourselves embroiled in right now would be troublesome.

Maker’s Breath, did we not just circle Ferelden at least a dozen times in the past year? At least this time, if things proceed happily, I can insist that a carriage be procured for our Queen. Convincing her of the necessity of riding within, however, will be far more of a challenge.

6 Molioris, 9:31

We have come to an understanding about this Royal Circuit, as people here at court are calling it. Either we wait until we are certain Elissa is with child, and are sure we can move onto the next state of treatment without major concerns, or… if we reach Matrinalis without result, we will need to stop. We mages cannot carry on like this forever. In addition, such a procession will take months to circle Ferelden. Late summer is the latest that such an endeavor can safely being if the plan is to return to Denerim by the onset of winter.

I did not broach the subject of carriage travel with Elissa yet… it is a battle for another day, when and if it becomes relevant. No need to besiege that castle yet, for that will only give her time to build up her defenses and garner support. Maker knows tasks like that are what she was born for.

9 Molioris, 9:31

After the chaos of the past month, the palace halls seem oddly silent. The normal noises of a functioning castle cannot hold a candle to the cacophony and bustle of one preparing for a once in a lifetime royal gathering.

Irving and the others from the Circle left this morning. He stated that he would seriously consider joining me here at court, once he was able to set his affairs in order and appoint his chosen successor as First Enchanter. He offered me the position yet again, and yet again I refused. I suggested that I may be able to convince the royal entourage to visit the Circle during the forecoming Circuit. Alistair and I have had several preliminary talks about his wishes to improve the lot of mages in Ferelden, so a stop at the Circle could have a political motivation as well. We could collect Irving at that time, if he is willing to accompany me. I hope he agrees for his own reasons, and not out of concern for me and my chosen burdens.

Leboarh and I are doing well enough, I suppose, under the constant strain. I am sleeping a lot more than I used to, but that appears to be the only side effect. Petra, however, is holding up as only the young can, for which I thank the Maker. Without her, there is no way we two could have a chance of maintaining both shields.

Sadly, I have noticed no change in Elissa’s condition. I am honestly not sure how quickly I would know, were a quickening to occur... detecting life’s first glimmers are something beyond the skills of even the most trained healers. I will do a more in-depth investigation after Elissa’s first missed moon blood.

15 Molioris, 9:31

Our first month of treatments have proven unsuccessful. Elissa informed me today that her moon blood came again. The poor child. I assured her that we certainly have not failed yet… but this still hurts her deeply. There are few things sadder than watching a proud warrior queen weep. We shall continue, and pray that Andraste rewards our vigilance. However, since Andraste favors those who put their efforts behind their hearts, I must expound upon my efforts to find help in moving Elissa’s condition along.

21 Molioris, 9:31

I have been researching more traditional fertility treatments, in the hopes of augmenting Elissa’s reproductive capabilities. Unfortunately, many of the “treatments” I’m finding are much more in the realm of superstition and foly than true herbalism. In separating the wheat from the chaf, I have been able to determine that a tea made from red clover, nettle, and elfroot could possibly have some effect. It will certainly not harm her, even if it does not help her.

In addition, I intend to pen letters to several of the other healers I know around Ferelden. It may not hurt to send a request for aid to the Circle in Orlais. The home of the Chantry, Orlais has always drawn more spirit healers to its borders than other nations. Perhaps there will be one there that could provide some helpful insight.

12 Ferventis, 9:31

Another month has passed, with no viable results. I try to refrain from probing my powers into Elissa’s womb, in order to keep things inside as un-touched as possible. Many things can go wrong with a quickening, and I do not want to be the cause of more variables. My interventions are invariably causing them already. But, after having done this for two months now, I have begun to get an inkling of how Elissa’s ebbs and flows cycle. Elissa seemed surprised, when she came to tell me the news, and I explained as much to her. Perhaps if this happened again next month, I can at least give her the privacy of her grief.

She still drinks the tea made from the herbs I provide her at every meal, but I fear for how long Leboarh and I can manage under the strain. Even Petra is starting to show wear on her sharp youthful edges. The sooner we can aid along a quickening, the sooner we can take another step closer to the end of our task.

29 Ferventis, 9:31

Messages travel so much faster in the warmer months, with more travelers on the road and more hours of daylight. For that I am grateful. I received word from a mage in Orlais, by the name of Odelle. Aside from an herbal concoction quite similar to the one I’ve already deduced, she offered two interesting bits of advice.

The first was that she had once helped an Orlesian noble lady with a similar issue. When applied in small, controlled doses, she had found that the same healing magic that helped internal injuries heal properly could be used to stimulate the quickening glands. The spell was applied using a different technique, however. Normally, this magic is applied at the injured ends of the endangered flesh or organ. The magics then seek one another out to create a bond which then allows the flesh to heal naturally. She recommends filling both quickening glands with such magic. The difficult part is that there is no definite wound to cast the spell on. The entire quickening gland needs to be penetrated with the magic, not just the edge or a surface. The spell needs to be cast daily over the beginning half of the woman’s moon cycle.

The second item was more of an aside, but it immediately brought back memories of when I traveled with the Wardens. Odelle states to make sure that Elissa is eating heartily at her meals. In her experience, “woman of lesser means” as she delicately puts it, can encounter problems when trying to conceive. I couldn’t help but snicker to myself at first glance, for as we learned on our journeys one of the lesser-known effects of the taint is an increased appetite. But when I thought more seriously about it, I realized that perhaps this information may mean more to Elissa’s circumstance than just a chuckle to myself. I met our Queen after she became a Grey Warden, but in my experience she has always been a woman of solid sinew and muscle, and very little extra flesh. If the taint is somehow absorbing some of the nourishment that her food provides, there would be very little left to build up significant enough reserves. I shall speak with Elissa and the head cook about this first thing tomorrow.

1 Solis, 9:31

It is too late in her cycle for the spell to have any benefit this time, but nevertheless I made my first attempt using Odelle’s healing technique on Elissa. More as a trial run than anything, so that I can be familiar with it before its need comes into its time. I must say, compared to the efforts needed to repel the taint, this spell requires little effort. Steady concentration on the healer’s sight to aim it effectively, but no worse than healing any other invisible injury.

I will continue this on a daily basis, at the end of Leborah’s shield-shift. If events show a quickening this month, I will stop. If not, the treatment and the routine will be in place. We have but one more month before the Royal Circuit begins, and our stamina reserves are depleting. Let us hope that this technique will make a positive difference.

9 Solis, 9:31

Another month’s effort comes to naught. Though, perhaps I should not be so self-defeating. I have learned much in the last three months. Aside from being exhausted all the time, I am much more familiar with the spells and techniques. If nothing less, this document has resulted from my efforts, and its knowledge may aid those who come after me. I only wish I could do more.

17 Solis, 9:31

The first properly timed week of the new treatments has gone well. It is too soon to know whether or not they are actually helping matters, however. Elissa still drinks the fertility tea, though she grows quite tired of it. I have added peppermint, and sometimes chamomile, to the mixture. These additives do not add to the tea’s effectiveness, they are purely for adding flavor and variety.

28 Solis, 9:31

It has been over two weeks since Elissa’s last moon blood, so I am stopping Odette’s procedure. Given that the Royal Circuit is scheduled to leave in mid-Matrinalis, I fear this morning may be the last time I visit this part of the treatment. I do not want to make more promises that I have already made… perhaps, after the Circuit returns to Denerim… but that is months in the future. I am surprised on a daily basis that I am still here writing these words. I wonder how long my guardian spirit will keep me here, while I also wonder how aware it is of events going on around me. Does it know that I am on a quest to create life? Does it feel my love for Alistair and Elissa? Or do the musings of when my own death will arrive amuse it, and it keeps me alive out of a sick sense of perversion? No. That cannot be it. I have not once felt the slightest speck of maliciousness from this spirit. All I can do is continue forward, and be thankful for every day wherein I open my eyes to the next sunrise.

31 Solis, 9:31

Something feels… different. If the taint were a living thing, I would say it was hungry. It pushes on the shield more than before, prying its defenses for weakness. The doting old grandmother in me wants to take this change as a positive sign, but its implications worry me. The taint is clearly seeking something. If its efforts keep up like this, presuming that which I dare not yet hope for is true... no. I shall not speak of it yet, let alone put word to paper. It is far too soon.

2 Matrinalis, 9:31

Elissa is complaining of headaches, and has been retiring to bed earlier than usual. And the taint continues its relentless clawing on the shield. I dare not say anything to anyone besides Leborah at this point, but I am cautiously optimistic. My fellow mage does agree with my assessment that the shield’s structure has been being tested more than before. Or perhaps we are just tired and losing focus. Perhaps our labors are coming to an abrupt, unsuccessful end.

10 Matrinalis, 9:31

Elissa finally requested that I probe her womb with my healer’s gift, since she expected her moons blood several days past. Unfortunately, not even my sight is strong enough to see the child of a quickening so soon after its conception. I boldly took the opportunity, however, to breach the idea of riding in a carriage while on the Royal Circuit. She took such a suggestion with about the amount of venom I expected. I shall speak to Alistair as well in private, since the Circuit is scheduled to leave 10 days hence. Preparations must start as soon as possible if we need to procure a carriage.

12 Matrinalis, 9:31

I must remember to employ Alistair more often, in matters of coercing the fiery Elissa to conform to matters of her own good. I did not tell him why I wanted Elissa traveling by carriage and not on horseback, but he already suspected. When I asked how he proposed to ensure Elissa’s compliance, he tells me, “You say that like I’m going to give her a choice.” I realize that statement sounds harsh in black and white, without his biting tone and giant mabari-pup grin on his face. Elissa’s well-being has clearly become his duty, more than usual that is. She knows first hand how inflexible he can be in matters of duty.

15 Matrinalis, 9:31

I have never seen someone to be so happy to wake up and immediately thrust her face in a chamber pot, nor a doting husband so willing to hold back her hair while she does so. While I still cannot confirm matters with my healer’s sight, colloquial wisdom of such ancient tradition does not often lie in these matters. Granted, there is no guarantee at this very early stage that the quickening will not extinguish itself through no fault of anyone. Or from complications of the taint. Or by the will of the Maker. And given all the magic, both of live and of death, which have surrounded this conception… nothing is assured. Even if the child lives for the next nine months, we still have no guarantees that it will not be born a… no. To speak of such a think is to invite it into existence.

It is hard to tell those so young and in love that they must keep their greatest secret from everyone, especially on the eve of entertaining all the nobles of Ferelden for weeks on end. They have both promised, however unwillingly, to wait these first three months before sharing the news. Oh, I fully expect that it will leak out somewhere along our travels. I can’t imagine Elissa not telling her brother Fergus, and I have a feeling Alistair told Eamon even before we had our conversation. He has had his own trials and tribulations in such matters, so I trust Eamon is smart enough to keep his mouth closed. I will check with him before we leave for the Circuit, just to make sure.

All that being said, after my shift is completed here I will be heading to the Chantry to give thanks to the Maker and Andraste. His gaze has fallen upon us, and we are in Andraste’s hands now. I will need Her strength over the next nine months, if all goes well.

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Re: The Last Beginning

Post  melcene on Mon Nov 30, 2009 1:22 pm

Yay! But pale @ the taint try to get to it Sad I continue to look forward to more!

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Re: The Last Beginning

Post  thief of hearts on Mon Dec 21, 2009 6:20 am

omg this story is so awesome, i just had to register and make a post telling you.

i love how you use the POV of Wynne, and I think you keep her very well in character. The wording and tone is very appropiate.

even just the idea of this all, the magical barrier concept, the 'science' of it, is really fascinating. i really look forward to the next installment.

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Re: The Last Beginning

Post  Odie on Mon Dec 21, 2009 6:25 am

Thanks Thief Smile

FYI, I've been posting this story over at, since this board hasn't seen a lot of activity. There's a Part 5 now Smile

You can find a link to it here:

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Re: The Last Beginning

Post  thief of hearts on Mon Dec 21, 2009 6:39 am

You know, I lurk around FF net but for some reason I never read this story even though I always search for really good alistair fanfiction. thanks for updating me. i'm glad our posts were relatively close to each other as well Very Happy

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post more here?

Post  JAYMEY313 on Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:05 pm

PLEASE post the rest on here, I am registered over at FF, but for some reason today anytime I try to do ANYTHING over there, I keep getting an error page- so if you could post the rest of the story here, I would MUCH apprecaite it!

I LOVE this story thus far, eventhough I usually read more Alistair-based stories, this really pulled me in! A+.


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Re: The Last Beginning

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