“How is this possible, Warden Cousland being alive?”
“I don’t honestly know until she wakes up and is able to tell us what happened when she struck the final blow.” Alistair supplied his answer with what he hoped looked like a concerned expression on his face followed with a puzzled expression on his face as well.
Alistair did know, but he’d be damned if he would tell the Orlesian Wardens or anyone for that matter. Bell and I will have to talk this out before she spoke with the Orlesian Wardens. They couldn’t reveal what had truly happened. He had confidence in her to outwit these pesky Orlesian Wardens.
“What we do know is when Warden Cousland struck the final blow, a massive wave of energy and magic spilled from the dragon.” “The massive wave of magic and energy keep building until the explosion occurred which knocked everyone off of their feet that were fighting on the roof.” “It was seen for miles, the darkspawn turned in retreat, leaving Denerim with all due haste.” “I believe the explosion came from the corrupted taint within the dragon.” “The bones of the dragon are still on the roof of Fort Drakon, if you’d like to seem them.” “The flesh of the dragon was mangled and torn, and I followed procedure in burning the dragon, which Duncan had told me needed to be done as soon as possible, as with all darkspawn.” “This had been one of my training discussions with him.”
“Once the battle was over all of us on the roof tended to Warden Cousland, and those injured on the roof.” “Hours later I collected the blood from the Arch Demon and various other darkspawn along with First Enchanter Irving.” “He purified the blood with lyrium and it has been placed into flasks for future use.” “We’ve been short handed and I have not checked on the Denerim Compound thus far.” “It is still standing and made it through the siege.”
“You were on the roof with Warden Cousland during the battle with the Arch Demon?”
“No, I wasn’t.” “Warden Cousland was to meet up with Warden Riordan once she killed the generals of the Arch Demon, and they both meant to battle the dragon together, while I held the cities gates to stop more darkspawn from gaining access to help the Arch Demon.” “The plan went wrong when Riordan lost is life falling off the back of the dragon, he was killed instantly.” “Our plan of attack was formed as a safety measure in case both of them fell in battle.” “I was to order a retreat back to Redcliffe and wait until reinforcements from the Orlesian Wardens showed up with your legions of Chevaliers.”
“Since you’re here I’m assuming that you did receive my edict on resending Loghain’s orders?”
“We did, the messenger found us just over the border,” replied Kristoff. “Darkspawn were making it over the border into Orlais in various sizes of war parties.” “A rather large war party of darkspawn did make their way into Jader, it was apparent that they broke off from the main horde.” “A hundred or so people were killed in Jader alone.” “We’ve battled many roaming war bands on our trip here.”
“It’s also my sad duty to inform you Highness that the Senior Commander from Orlais was killed in Jader where the darkspawn had infiltrated an Orlesian Estate.” “The Duke and Duchess of De’ Charny and their heir were killed.” “Their second son was tainted and we were told by many that he is a good warrior and we took the chance and offered him the joining.” “He survived, which we are all thankful for.” “It’s my understanding Duke De’Charny had sent most of the women and children from his estate to Val Royeaux weeks before the darkspawn made it over the border.” “The Orlesian Wardens gave them escort to the capital.” “Where it is said, that the Divine herself, was helping to look after the people flooding into the Cathedral.” “Nobles in Orlais have started to panic when news of Jader reached the capital.” “I’m sure you can understand why the Empress is so upset.”
“I do indeed understand and it is unfortunate what has transpired.”
“I’m happy to welcome a new brother to our order and that the Wardens of our order from Orlais were able to save many lives.”
Kristoff nodded. “Thank you that is most kind of you to say Your Highness.”
“Since General Loghain denied us entry into Ferelden, the Empress has held back her Chevaliers and only a dozen or so wardens are with me.” “We didn’t know what to expect and most of all we didn’t expect the battle to be won, Your Highness.” “We’ve killed numerous bands of darkspawn that we came across when marching here to Denerim.”
“On behalf of my country we are thankful for your assistance warden and those of your men.”
“It is my duty Your Highness.”
“I don’t think I need to explain in detail Your Highness that Empress Celene is very angry with the decision that General Loghain made and now she has her own subjects dead because of the man, when she offered her own Orlesian Wardens and their Chevaliers for support to aid Ferelden in her defense.”
“General Loghain’s decision was his own, and thousands of our own countrymen died because of his actions.” “Loghain’s actions at Ostagar also resulted in the deaths of all the Ferelden Grey Wardens and our beloved King Cailan.” “Warden Cousland and I are the only ones left.” “Loghain was sentenced to death at the Landsmeet for his crimes and betrayal of his Oath of Fealty in protecting his rightful king.” “Warden Cousland beheaded him herself on behalf of Ferelden and our order.” “Loghain is no more and his daughter is currently cooling her heels in the Arl of Redcliffe dungeons.” “I will be sending Empress Celene an official written apology and an explanation on what happened to her offer.” “King Cailan and General Loghain were at odds over the help offered from Orlais.” “It’s my understanding that Loghain didn’t want Orlesian help and my brother did.”
“Why was the decision made to go ahead with the battle?”
“I’m going to assume that Cailan made his decision to go ahead with the battle because the Horde was growing in number and we didn’t have time to fight them back before the horde got even larger.” “I believe he was trying to kill as many as possible before ordering a retreat.” “This I believe was his reason even though he didn’t tell me personally.”
“Warden Cousland was at the war council with our Senior Warden Duncan and it was by Cailan’s request that she join that meeting, she told me of the exchange between my brother, Loghain and our senior.” “The Circle of Magi, and the Chantry also had a tit for tat as well during that meeting.”
“Why did King Cailan request Warden Cousland’s presence, if I may ask, Your Highness?” “She had just joined the order here in Ferelden and she is junior even to you.”
“Warden Cousland is the daughter of the Late Teyrn and Teyrna of Highever. They are the highest ranked nobles in Ferelden and were above Loghain in rank.” “Warden Cousland was the last of her family or so it was thought at the time.” “There were political reasons to ask her to be there.” “She has also been trained all of your life to fight and if the death of her father and brother occurred at Ostagar she would have been fit to rule Highever and also to led Cailan’s troops if he choose for her to do so.”
“Warden Cousland is that good of a fighter?”
“She is that good, there is no way I could have accomplished defeating the darkspawn on my own.” “She is also politically savvy, which it is my understanding that she has been trained to be by her own father Teyrn Cousland since she was a small girl.”
Kristoff had heard the stories of how she had won a tourney in her class in Orlais. So the rumors that he had heard of Bellavalia Cousland were true. She had also been sent to finishing school in Orlai by her parents and spent a few years there.
“Is it true that she defeated the Hero of River Dane in a dual?”
“It is absolutely true and all of the nobles of Ferelden witnessed the dual according to our traditions.”
Holy Maker, thought Kristoff, she is a woman and defeated General Loghain Mac Tir; a man which nobles in Orlais hated with a passion. I can’t wait to meet her. Sweet Andraste, people in Orlais were not going to believe this.
“So, it’s true that Queen Anora has been deposed and you the Senior Warden of Ferelden will now rule in her place?”
“A right that is legally mine and it was not Anora’s right to rule without the consent of the Landsmeet.” “She is Cailan’s widow and that is all, she has not a drop of royal blood in her veins.” I’m a Royal Prince of the Theirin bloodline.” “Anora could only rule as Regent if she had given Cailan the heirs that he needed.” “Anora has not conceived a child by Cailan before Ostagar that we are aware of.” “I will have a healer examine her before I make a decision on what needs to be done with her to assure that she is not carrying an heir to King Cailan.” “I would have to put this before the Landsmeet for a vote for her or me to rule as regent if she is with child.”
“Yet, most of your countrymen didn’t know of your existence.”
“Yes, that’s right.”
Yes, I’m a bastard, do you wish me to say it, thought Alistair. Alright he was getting really ticked off now. He hadn’t even sat on the throne yet and here were the sly remarks already.
“May I ask why?”
“You’d have to ask my father the reason for his decision.” “Since he is dead you’ll have to find him in the fade to do so.” Alistair said dryly. In other words, drop dead if you like and go ask him. He wished he could say what he was actually thinking.
“Yourself and Warden Cousland are aware that wardens are not to interfere in politics?”
“We are aware Warden Kristoff; we didn’t have much choice in the matter when Loghain claimed that we killed my half brother at Ostagar and blamed all the Ferelden Wardens for the deed.” “If Loghain hadn’t retreated and given my brother at least some hope of survival I might not be on Ferelden’s throne this day.” “He cast Warden Cousland and me as traitors to our nation that we love and serve.” “He captured Warden Riordan and tortured him. If Warden Cousland and I had not found Warden Riordan in the Arl of Denerim’s estate dungeon, then Riordan would have died before the battle with the Arch Demon.” “If we had lost the Landsmeet, Loghain would have executed us and tried to fight the Arch demon on his own, which you and I both know he had no hope of accomplishing, unless he was made a warden, which we didn’t accept.” “The Horde would have marched on Orlais if we had not taken the actions that we did.”
“Riordan wished to make Loghain a warden?”
“Yes, he did, which we couldn’t allow.” “Loghain couldn’t be trusted to be a warden once he sold his own people into slavery.” “I didn’t want any other wardens to fear a knife in their back from Loghain.”
“I see,” said Kristoff.
“You’re coronation hasn’t occurred?”
“No, it is scheduled within a fortnight.”
Why you are planning on trying to stop it, wondered Alistair.
“You’re welcome to stay for this bless event of our country if it pleases you.”
Maker! I’m starting to sound like Morrigan thought Alistair. He was getting tired of this pompous ass warden from Orlais and his questions. I have to answer them and show this man respect because he is senior to me within the order; he has his duty to perform for the First Warden. I don’t have to like it as the new monarch.
“You’re also aware Your Highness that the First Warden might not allow you to rule your homeland?” “He does have the final decision in these matters.”
Oh, so that is how it is going to be, thought Alistair. We’ll just see about that. I hope this doesn’t backfire on me. The First Warden could send Bell to any nation in Thedas and to any post that he desired. I’m hoping the First Warden will give her Duncan’s command; I want her to remain here in Ferelden. Which he was sure they were going to do. Kristoff had already informed him this would happen once the new ruler of Ferelden gave their consent. Kristoff was expecting Queen Anora, not me a warden as ruler. I need to be as fair as I can be, thought Alistair. I also need to be on alert; this man is a warden from Orlais.
“If this is the First Warden’s desire, I’m afraid he will be gravely disappointed.” “As ruler of Ferelden, I can and will remove all wardens from having an outpost in my country just as King Arland once forbid the wardens from being in Ferelden.” “This will be a preparatory measure that I’m ready to implement if it is my desire to do so.” Alistair fired right back at this pompous Orleasian. Who does this Kristoff think he is….the First Warden?
“I meant no offense Your Highness; I’m just preparing you for this possibility.”
“I have not taken offense Warden Kristoff; I’m just informing you where I stand as ruler of this nation.” “It will be my duty to protect my people, and if it is protection from the wardens then so be it.”
Alistair hoped he was making his point. He really didn’t want Bell transferred to another country.
“Correct me if I’m wrong continued Alistair, but doesn’t a warden sit on the throne of the Anderfels currently?”
“Yes, I believe this is the case.”
“Well I’m sure you can see my point.” Alistair gave a dismissive wave of his hand.” “My own countrymen voted for me to rule and preserve the Theirin Bloodline, just as those in the Anderfels most often accept the rule of a Warden from our order.” “I’m the last of my line and these are my subject’s desire.”
“You are aware Your Highness that you may not sire children at all?”
“I’m aware Warden Kristoff, My Commander informed me long ago of the changes to my body in becoming a Grey Warden.” “It was not expected that I would rule one day.” “My life was meant to take a different direction from what has happened.”
“I’m not sure if you are aware Warden Kristoff, since the Orlesian Occupation and what nearly happened to my father King Maric during those times, Ferelden has since placed safe guards within our political system to ensure that this country always has a ruler.” “Even if that ruler is not of the Theirin Bloodline, I can claim any two Teyrnirs as my heirs.” “Which the people of these lands will fully and willing accept.” “The highest title in our country is to be a Teyrn next to the Monarch.”
“I understand Your Highness; I’m just trying to make sense of what happened here in Ferelden once your senior here in Ferelden was killed in the battle of Ostagar.”
“You were also trained as a Templar is this correct Your Highness?”
“I was educated by the Chantry and was in training to become a mage hunter when my senior conscripted me into the Grey Wardens.” “I had not taken my final vows when I was asked to join the Order of Grey Wardens.”
Alistair crossed his arms in agitation. He was getting tired of this conversation. Kristoff had been interviewing him for a good while.
“We don’t have Duncan’s records for the members of the order here.” “The First Warden just wanted to make sure our records are accurate.”
“Riordan had entered the vault here in Denerim and gained access to those records.” “I don’t know what became of them before the final battle.” “I will send a unit to start looking for them if this is required.” “The new Warden Commander of Ferelden will have need of those records.”
“An excellent idea Your Highness, if it pleases you, our units would like to help with this search.”
“No, that will not be necessary; I have a few people in mind to do this job.” “They are trustworthy individuals and I would place my life in their hands.” “Riordan said the records are encrypted with the Orders cipher so they should be safe guarded from prying eyes.”
“I must protest Your Highness, are these Grey Wardens that you are sending?”
“No, but I also can’t allow an Orlesian the opportunity to have access to certain areas of Ferelden either.” “It’s nothing personal Warden, this is political.” “I will have to send those that are loyal to the Grey Wardens and Ferelden to search for the records.” “It is also for your protection as well of that of my country.” “These people will also know the areas and will most likely find them before you could even get started.”
“As you say, Your Highness.”
“Good, my time is limited Warden Kristoff, this audience is at an end.” “I will be available for further questions if you have need of me.” “You’ll need to make an appointment with the Arl of Redcliffe, since he is currently the acting Chancellor of Ferelden and the Arl of Redcliffe is responsible for my schedule.”
“Also Warden, I will make available to you any of our war party that you may wish to speak with for your report to the First Warden.” “I do wish to be notified before you question any of them.” “I am King and it is my duty to see that they are treated respectfully with dignity and honor given what they have accomplished here in Ferelden.”
“Of course, Your Highness.”
Warden Kristoff bowed to the His Highness and left Arl Eamon’s study.
Well, this meeting has certainly left another sour taste in my mouth.
On to the next appointment which was getting stuck with being fitted for his crown. He couldn’t wait. Yay he thought as he threw his hands in the air, something else ridiculous to do with his time, when he could think of other things to do, he was already frustrated and he hadn’t even been crowned yet.
What a life this was going to be.