Alistair reflected on his companions as he came around the corner. They all looked slightly refreshed after a few hours of sleep. He wished he could get a nap in himself. Duty still called. He steeled himself and pushed forward. His duty as a Grey Warden was not yet complete. With the burning of the dragon it would finally be over. He realized that he had to get some sleep even if only for a few hours or he was going to collapse. He hated to admit he was just a man and even he had limitations. King or no King, he had more duties to perform. He was beyond exhaustion, running on sheer will power.
They all looked exhausted even after a quick nap. Leliana looked the most refreshed. The bard always amazed him. With just a few hours of sleep, she looked completely revived even if she was covered from head to toe with purple and black bruises from the battle. She gracefully wiped her beautiful auburn hair out of her eyes with her beautiful hands, battle scared as they were. Leliana wasn’t as tall as Bell; but she was just as deadly in her skill as her friend.
Every one of them were bruised and battered. Weary, yet steadfast and ready as always in doing what was needed when asked. New friends and relationships had been forged on the road together. Blood spilled, wounds tended, funny stories told and arguments haggled over regarding their own personal beliefs systems which had been fought over a campfire somewhere on the road during their long journey when a day of fighting was done.
There had been songs song and new ones written, a fire tended, a meal cooked usually from stolen provisions when they didn’t have the coin to purchase supplies or get a meal at an inn or tavern, hunting in the woods for game to feed themselves. Cold baths in streams and rivers when they could manage, wood and herbs gathered for the meal and their healing potions, the watch set. Card games with their few meager silver and coopers won or lost. Few clean clothes and always dirty small-clothes, lost socks and misplaced backpacks to be found, tents put up or taken down. Journals written in and books read when they came across one and swiped it. Weapons sharpened and repaired. Anything to pass the time for normalcy even though their circumstance weren’t normal.
They had all grown as a group trying to stay alive and each and every one of them had their eyes opened to other cultures of their world. New fighting techniques learned from each other. Their love, hate, joy, fear, and rage all shared. Vengeance taken, justice handed out when the situation warranted. Where was life going to take all of them now that it was finally over?
Alistair already knew his destiny was already decided, becoming The King of Ferelden. The love of his life, his Bellavalia, at her own decision and the bitterness still raged inside of him over his loss of her. She would always have a special place in his heart. Just as she would with the others standing before him. Their lives together would unravel as they all left each other to get on with their own lives, for a while longer they would all still be together as a group. He knew it wouldn’t be for much longer. Sten would return to his people. Leliana might stay in Ferelden; she had the option to return to Orlai. Wynne, most likely would return back to the Circle of Magi. Zevran was now free of the Crows and where he would go would be interesting to learn. Oghren was the odd man out. He was now a surface dwarf. He had no home to go to. Bellavalia would go where? The Grey Wardens needed to be rebuilt in Ferelden. She was the logical choice to rebuild the order. Where was Morrigan going and where would his child be born? A child he would never see if she had told the truth. She must have told the truth for Bell is alive even if she is badly injured. Alistair shook himself slightly, time for these thoughts later. They still had work to do like burning that damn dragon. He had to stay focused. His fatigue was catching up to him. He could feel it with every step.
“I see Wynne got you all up.”
“Yes, Alistair we are all awake,” spoke Leliana.
She was trying her hardest to stifle another yawn.
Alistair smiled at her.
“Are you sure you’ll be able to stay awake for your watch over Bell later?”
“Of course I will. I can’t believe you asked that.”
“Just checking,” laughed Alistair.
“Come on then, let’s finish this final task.”
As a group they all made their way back upstairs to the roof of Fort Drakon. Everyone of them for whatever odd reason was silent in their approach to the dead dragon. The dragon’s massive body had so many slashes from the swords that had come in contact with it’s body it would be hard to count them all. It’s body was covered with arrows still embedded in it’s hide from the Denerim soldiers that had fought it before Bell and her party got to the roof. Every one of those soldiers was lying dead on the massive roof of Fort Drakon. It’s one mighty wing torn nearly in two by Riordan’s slashes, which resulted in the heroic death of his fellow Grey Warden. The demonic ichor of it’s blood still seeped from its wounds. The sword that Bell had plunged into its head was still embedded within its skull. The blackness of it’s soul of the old god Urthemiel hopefully destroyed forever. He didn’t want to even think what Morrigan was even up too.
The people who the King had asked to join him on the roof started arriving. He didn’t turn at their approach but continued to stare at the demon dragon. He hoped and prayed that Bell would awaken and learn that she had completed her task, they had made it. They had survived Ostagar, outwitted Loghain and Anora, and avenged the death of Cailan and Duncan. It was unbelievable what they had accomplished. He still couldn’t believe it. The odds of being successful had been totally against them. He stood ready to fulfill his final duty as a Grey Warden and put a torch to this beast. When he did, it would also end his career as a Grey Warden and soon he would take up the mantle of being Ferelden’s King at least for the next 25 – 30 years. Then he would return to the deep roads to end his life as every other Grey Warden, maybe sooner. He had no idea how long the taint would actually give him.
Also, burning this beast would bring an end to his connection with Bellavalia and she would go on in her career as a Grey Warden and probably the Warden Commander of Ferelden. He was sure the First Warden would install her in that post and if the First Warden chose someone else, the King was going to have something to say on the matter. I want to keep her as close as I can and in Ferelden thought Alistair. That is selfish of me but at least she will be close to home rebuilding the order for the Wardens here and who better to do this than a Ferelden Warden and the one that had saved them all.
“Your Highness, everyone is assembled as you asked.” It was Eamon speaking. Alistair nodded that he had heard. What should he say to these people? If Bell was standing here she would have known just the right thing to say, she had that way about her.
I need the archers from the Legion of The Dead and Dwarven army on the parapet to the north, the Dalish and City Elven archers to the east, the Redcliffe archers to the west and wait for my order. He heard Eamon gives his orders to the archers behind him. He heard the various soldiers moving to the parapets.
Alistair walked over to the dragon and started to pile up wood that had been neatly stacked around the massive beast. Alistair heard his fellow companions start to move toward him to help. “Hold, there is too much tainted blood here, you have to get back, I’ll do this.” It took him nearly a half hour to stack the wood around and on top of the giant beast. He saw that someone had indeed found some oil and it was sitting in a pail close by, and he hoped it was enough to set the massive beast and wood ablaze. He retrieved the pail and started to pour out the oil in a slow drizzle all over the wood and the dragon. Throwing the wooden bucket down, he walked back to his companions.
“Follow me.” All of them walked out to the center of the roof on the flat part that each parapet branched off from.
Alistair raised his arm and turned in a circle and saw that all of the archers from each of the armies were standing at attention.
“Archers light your arrows.”
A man from each army with a torch in hand went down the line of each archer and lit their arrows.”
Alistair turned to his companions and saw that even Sten had a bow and arrow along with Oghren. All of their crew with Zevran torching their own arrows, when Zevran was done he got in line next to Leliana. Bell’s mabari hound was standing at the end of the line at attention as well. Even Thor seemed to be happy all of this was finally going to be over.
“Archers into position,” yelled the King.
Once again Alistair turned in a circle and could see that each unit had got into position best to hit the dragon from each parapet. Each army was ready, he checked his companions, and they too were ready.
Alistair raised his arm for all to see, and then he yelled “Fire” as he brought his arm back down; which was giving him a sense of de’ja vu because Cailan had done the same exact thing at Ostagar and called for his archers. He had chills going up his back. The light thump and twang of bow strings releasing arrows could be heard, and they all watched as the arrows arched into the sky coming down on the intended target, the demonic dragon. They all saw the flaming arrows hit their marks into the wood and the beast itself and the wood and oil started to catch fire. The hiss and crackle of the wood could be heard as the fire spread along the wood.
Finally, the flesh of the creature started to catch and burn. Oh Maker! The smell of it’s flesh burning was impossible to describe. Alistair thought he was going to gag. The taint inside of him reacted as the flesh and the blood of the dragon started to burn. He could feel the burn deep in his chest as the taint within him reacted. It was making him sick and slightly light-headed.
“And so is the Golden City blackened
With each step you take in my hall
Marvel at perfection, for it is fleeting
You have brought sin to Heaven
And doom upon the world.”
Only Oghren and Sten didn’t lend their voices.