Blast it. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all. I have to try. Fire like molten lava was sweeping up my legs. I gritted my teeth, part of this was the taint trying to heal my body, deep down I knew this. It wasn’t as bad as yesterday when I got up for a bit and walked around my room. I had caught a break in the action and found myself alone. I went for it. Sweat was starting to drip down my brow as I moved across the room at a slow pace.
That’s it old girl deep breath. Slow but sure. No, not as bad as yesterday. I was healing just not as fast as I would have liked. Time was running out and I still had to get out of here and push toward Gwaren. I also realized that I was going to need help. Zevran was my likely choice. I had no other option.
I had learned from various conversations that the Grey Wardens from Orlais had made it to Ferelden and they had taken up residence outside my door as my personal guards. The Royal Templar guard had returned to their duties of guarding the future King of Ferelden. His Highness had also been kept very busy it seemed because he had not been the one to sit with me the past couple of nights, which I was thankful for. My brother had taken a turn and so had Leliana and Zevran again, with Thor at their sides while Wynne and I sleep. Well Wynne slept, I was pretending to be asleep.
Its official, I’m the new Warden Commander of Ferelden. I had been given Duncan’s command and I really didn’t know how I felt about that. Once Alistair was crowned he would sign the agreement between Ferelden and the Wardens naming me as such. From what I’d heard they were still working out the details, whatever that meant. I had some fairly large shoes to fill taking over Duncan’s old command. I was scared to take the post. I was hoping for somewhere else which would place me far, far away from His Highness, this would have suited me just fine. I had no idea that the ruling monarch would have a say in who their Warden Commander was for each country. It did make sense in a way. His Highness thinks he is going to stop me from leaving Ferelden, we’ll just see about that.
Click went the lock on my door. Oh No! I’m too far away from my bed. I’m going to get caught in the act and here comes a lecture from Wynne. I sighed deeply. So be it I thought.
It was Wynne who entered my room, one of the Orlesian Wardens had opened the door for her. I also spied Zevran sneaking inside just behind Wynne. He drifted in within her shadow. I wanted to laugh he had done it so well. Zevran positioned himself against the wall behind my door, he crossed his legs, and then he leaned back and made himself comfortable crossing his arms to settle in. One of the Orlesian wardens did have a strange expression cross his face when Zevran drifted by him. I really wanted to laugh.
Wynne didn’t say anything, she just walked over and I nodded, she helped me back in bed without a word. This surprised me greatly. She took her time as usual checking her patient over. Then she pulled up a stool and sat down next to my bed once she was done with her examination.
“Are you hungry?”
“I…I think I could go for a bit of broth if that would be alright.”
“I think that is a good idea.” “You haven’t eaten anything for several weeks.” “I want you to start out slow.”
“How was your walk around your room?”
“Not as swift as I would have liked.”
“I’m sure it wasn’t.”
“Wynne, is my leg ever going to heal properly?”
“Yes, Bell, it will heal, your right leg is injured badly.” “It’s just going to take more time than usual, even with you being a Grey Warden.”
“I’ve been a might concerned that you would develop a fever.” “You’re right leg is just barely hanging on from infection setting in.” “I’ve been very concerned.” “The rest of your body is healing nicely.” “Believe it or not, you’re right leg got the worst of it.”
That was hard to imagine, since I had thick heavy bandages wrapped around my chest and shoulders. Wynne changed my bandages every day after she washed and disinfected my wounds. Having my bandages changed wore me out and I’d fall into a sound sleep afterwards. Wynne told me that was just my body healing and I need the sleep for it to heal. I was so tired all the time. I wasn’t used to this tiredness. Grey Wardens usually healed quickly and had stamina to spare.
“Bell, we need to talk.”
I looked up at her. I already knew what this would be about.
“I need to let Alistair know that you are indeed awake.” “I think he has this foolish notion that you’re never going to wake up.”
“That is ridiculous Wynne.”
“I know dear, but I can’t put him off any longer.” “He sends messengers every few hours for updates on your condition.” “It’s also not fair in not allowing your brother to know that you are indeed awake.” “You’re also going to have to talk with the Orlesian Wardens, they wish to interview you.” “Alistair has asked, that you speak with him first before you’re interview with them.”
His Highness had nothing to worry over. I already knew not to tell them anything. Maker only knows what they would do to Alistair and me if they found out what we had done. I had cheated death and the wardens would want to know how it happened. I was sure they wouldn’t believe my explanation either. Hopefully, there would be enough truth mixed in that they would leave this alone. They wouldn’t be able to prove it one way or another. Even if someone saw Morrigan enter Alistair’s room. Alistair had ended our relationship, so it shouldn’t be unexpected that he would bed other women. My other companions would want to know why if any of them had seen those two together.
Once I’d heard the click of the lock to Alistair’s room echo from the hallway, I had made a beeline to the Chantry. I had made my way down through the dungeon of Redcliffe and out the secret passage to the hill with the Windmill. As fate would have it I had also run into Teagan as well and I’d just keep on running. Then I had run all the way down to the Chantry within the small fishing village. Mother Hanna would be able to back up my story if the need arose. I had indeed spent the night in Redcliffe’s Chantry before the march for Denerim, while Morrigan and Alistair did their thing. If I survived I needed an alibi in case the wardens figured out what happened, if they knew of the ritual and they would want to know how Alistair and I knew. As far as I was concerned Alistair by that point could sleep with anyone and it wouldn’t be that much of a stretch for anyone else to realize this also.
“Alright Wynne, how about you send word tomorrow morning that I’m awake.”
I knew Wynne wanted to send a message to Alistair now. I couldn’t afford to do this with Zevran in my room. This would give me time to make my plans with Zevran for our trip to Gwaren. I had exactly one week to pull this off. I had no choice, I had to do this or all would be revealed which I couldn’t allow to happen. Even if I died in the process it had to be done, I swore an oath to my King.
“Fair enough, tomorrow morning when the messenger comes, I’ll send to Alistair that you are indeed awake.”
“I’m going to go across the hall and get you a cup of broth.”
“Yes child, what is it?”
“May I have some of that wonderful rosehip tea that you favor, with some honey?”
“Of course you may.”
“I’ll go get these for you now.”
“Thank you, Wynne.”
“Of course Bell, this is what I’m here for.”
“You rest and no more getting out of that bed unless I’m here to help you.”
“Fair enough, I said.”
Wynne smiled at me and left my room.
“Alright Zev, the coast is clear, let’s make this quick.”
Zevran came from the shadows and hurried to take Wynne’s place on the stool. He reached out and gently took my hands in his own. His eyes were lowered for just a few seconds.
“Mia Bella, I wish to thank you for what you did to save us all.” “I will hold the Grey Wardens in my prayers to the Maker all the days of the life and will always show them my respect.”
Zevran kissed each of my hands and released them.
“Thank you, Zev.” “Most people don’t know the cost of what we do.”
“This must be changed Mia Bella, they must know.” “When given the chance in the future I will make this known what I have witnessed with my own eyes.” “I’m so thankful that you live Mia Bella, I was afraid that we had lost you forever.”
“So what it is that you need of me my beauty?” “Warm you’re bed, offer my special services with my special massage?” “Murder a certain prince of royal blood for you?” “I will do this for you for free if you will allow it, yes.”
I laughed. “No nothing like that; I am flattered that you’d think of me in that way, with my body being the mess that it is in right now.” “It’s a boast to my confidence, which I will surely take.” “No, you can’t kill Alistair; I’ve had to hard of a time getting him on that throne.”
“Ah, so you wish all the fun and not include me.” Zevran’s face had fallen into a pleasing pout.
“I have something in mind which I’m sure you’ll enjoy.” “I will need your help and sworn word to never utter a word to anyone what we are about to do.”
“Of course Bella, what do you wish for me to do?”
“Well, I need one of my good sets of armor, my daggers, and the black box which was under my bedroll that you found when taking down our camp and this most especially brought to me.” “We’re also going to need elfroot potions, health potions, bandages, food, and a couple of horses if you can find any to purchase.”
“I need you to get all of this and sneak them into my room.”
“Now the horses might be a bit of a problem, the rest not so much.” I’m sure the Grey Wardens outside your door will notice the smell after a time, it’s hard to hide horses in a small room such as this.” “Why do you need these things might I ask?”
“I’m going to sneak out of Fort Drakon.”
Zevran blinked. “Mia Bella, you know that I would do anything for you.” “I don’t believe this is such a good idea.” “Alistair will cut my head off if we get caught and something happens to you.” “Of this, I have no doubt.” Zevran emphasized his point with a wave of his hand across his throat.
“Where are you planning on going once we achieve our objective, of which I have no doubt that we will do?” “By the way, you play possum very well.”
I snorted. “I see I didn’t fool you at all.”
“Not in the least.” “I can’t believe Alistair never caught on, I guess guilt will do that to a person.”
“Zevran,” I said a bit sternly.
“What?” He asked with a gleam in his eye.
“I don’t want to talk about Alistair, our mission, focus please.”
Zevran sighed, and waved his hand for me to continue.
“I need to get to Gwaren as quickly as possible.”
“Why do you need to go to Loghain’s former home?” “I don’t believe he has need of it anymore, since you cut his head off.”
“Uh, that is true; anyway, I need to search Gwaren for some papers that might be there.” “It’s very important and personal to me that I find them.” “I have reason to believe they will be at Gwaren.”
“What are these papers and why do you need them?”
“I believe these papers will reveal why my family was ordered murdered.”
“I see.” “Why can’t I go alone to search for them myself?” “Why should you go, it is still clear that the journey will be difficult for you?” “How are you going to explain your absence?”
“Zevran, I was going to go alone and my health won’t allow this.” “I’m on the mend; but, time is running out and I need to get there as soon as possible.” “I’m the only one who will know what I’m looking for.” “I can’t fully explain what will be in those papers for you to go alone and find them, it is important for the security of Ferelden and Alistair that I find them.”
“Anora’s maid is no doubt on her way there to retrieve those papers; I have to get to them before she does.” “Someone else who is very, very, important to me – their life is in danger if I don’t get those papers.”
“Who is this person?”
“Zevran, I can’t tell you that, I’m sorry.”
“I can tell you that it does involve someone in Orlais that my father was ordered by King Cailan to kill.”
“For the security of Ferelden and Alistair, I have to get to Gwaren and get those papers.” “I was the person who as obtaining this information for Cailan about this man.” “I had to remain in Orlais for a year and a half after the fact so suspicion wouldn’t be aroused.” “Loghain got wind of this somehow and he also got misinformation.” “He thought my family was in league with someone in Orlais and we were going to betray Ferelden.” “This was not the case.”
“Cailan knew of my skill and how I had been trained all of my life.” “I was sent to Orlais on behalf of the crown to kill this man if the opportunity arose and to learn all that I could about him, through his daughter who attended the same finishing school that I did in Orlais.” “This man is a danger to Empress Celene and to Ferelden, and now Alistair.”
“I don’t believe that Arl Eamon even knows of this threat, neither did Anora.” “I do believe that Anora knows some of what happened.”
“My father got wind of this man through trading connections, which our family had in Orlais.” “Cailan would visit Highever without Anora to help my father deal with this threat.” “It would just appear that Cailan was coming to Highever to inspect His troops.”
“My father and Cailan both would visit me in Orlais to pass information along as I found out more and more about this man and his family.”
“Did Anora think you were having an affair with Cailan?”
“She might have, but thoughts in this direction would have been unfounded and if she acted without proof than she was a fool which would prove she was not fit to rule this nation.” “Cailan and my brother had been friends all of their lives.” “Maric and Cailan would visit Highever all the time and we all grew up together.” “So there were reasons other than Cailan and I having an affair with Cailan being a lifelong friend with my brother being around me and also visiting me in Orlais.”
“Cailan and my brother would dual with me.”
“This is why you are so good at what you do?”
“This and the fact I just had a natural talent for this, which used to drive my mother crazy.” “I would get into all sorts of trouble for my sticky fingers as a child.”
“King Maric is the one who made the suggestion to my father for me to be trained as a rogue.” “I stole his dagger once when I was sitting on King Maric’s lap when he visited Highever when I was a little girl.” “My father never liked the idea at first then he relented.” “Maric said, I would be perfect for this role, since Fergus couldn’t be viewed doing these types of things since he was heir to Highever.” “I would be able to help my brother defend Highever being trained this way.” “I was a woman and could get in and out of places that Fergus wouldn’t have been able to do with his high profile.” “My father finally agreed and my training began.” “I was trained by master rogues from Orlais and the Free Marches since I was a small child.”
“You even trained Thor didn’t you?” “We’ve all speculated that you did.”
“Yes, I did.” “Thor and I used to do search and find for the fun of it at Highever.” “He was easy to train.” “He used to help me with my training.” “My instructors would hide a valuable object and they would make me and Thor retrieve the item and once retrieved then we had to put it back without getting caught.” “Thor really enjoyed this, I think more than me.”
Wynne opened the door and walked into my room. She was smart enough to not mention Zevran’s name for the wardens outside my door to hear. The wardens weren’t to keen on me having many visitors until my interview. This might work to my advantage come to think of it.
Once my door was shut, Wynne came forward with my cups of broth and tea. Which I was looking forward to, I loved beef broth. I was starved actually. Wynne didn’t think my stomach could hold too much since it had been nearly two weeks since I’d really eaten anything. I was going to be allowed boiled eggs tomorrow. Yippee! I thought. I was actually in the mood for custard, not boiled eggs. Beggars can’t be choosers.
“What mischief are you two rogues planning on getting into?”
“Why would you think we are planning anything I asked between sips of my nice hot beef broth?”
“I’ll believe you two aren’t planning on some adventure when Andraste herself flies in from the sky and lands in the middle of the Market District, Wynne said dryly.
Zevran and I both giggled.
“We wouldn’t be true rogues if we weren’t into some kind of mischief, replied Zevran.”
“Make that three rogues, said Leliana from the shadows.”
Leliana, I was tickled pink that she too had snuck in. She came to my bedside and gently gave me a hug and a kiss for good measure on the top of my head.
“You really gave us a scare Bell.”
Oh Leliana, if only you knew the truth, I’m actually supposed to be dead.
“Why all of this secrecy… we need to let Alistair know that you are awake.” “He will be very upset in not knowing this.”
“That is my fault Leliana, I asked Wynne not to tell him for a few days.”
“Why would you do this Bell?” “He is beside himself with worry over you.” Why hide this from the rest of us.” “This is not like you.”
“Leliana, please try and understand I just wanted a few days to come to grips with all that has happened before I spoke with him.” “Well, since….”
“He broke up with you.”
“Which all of us are very unhappy over.”
“It has to be this way, because of Ferelden.”
“Why does it need to be this way, it’s silly, you both love each other.”
“Leliana, I can’t give Alistair an heir to the throne, because I’m a Grey Warden.”
“So?” “He is too.”
“This is the problem.”
“I’m not following?”
“Because of both of us being Grey Wardens, it’s rare for a female warden to get pregnant.”
“Alistair will have a better chance in producing an heir with a woman who isn’t a Grey Warden.” “I can’t be his wife for this reason.”
“How do either of you know this?” “I have heard of a female warden giving birth.” “There is a tale of a female grey warden who was from Orlais and she did have a child.” “I had bard friends that had met her once.” “She was with another Grey Warden and they were traveling with a small baby.” “They were traveling here to Ferelden; my friends had never met a Grey Warden before.” “They said she was beautiful, she was also an elf who had a human’s child.”
“That doesn’t mean the child was hers Leliana.”
“My friends told me she said the child was hers.”
“I think someone has misled Alistair over this.”
“Leliana it’s not worth the risk, even if I was able to give Alistair a child.” “The child could be born with the taint.”
“Where is yours and Alistair’s faith in the Maker?” “If He wishes for you to have children it will happen.” “I believe this.”
“I think it will take more than faith alone, laughed Zevran.” “Be quiet you,” winked Leliana at Zevran.
I took hold of Leliana’s hand. “Leliana, look at me.” She did as I asked.
“Alistair may have ended our relationship for other reasons then me just giving him a child.”
“What other reasons?” “Was there someone else in his life?”
“I don’t wish to know this if this is the case Leliana, he ended our relationship and that is that.”
“You won’t fight for him.”
“Why should I?”
Leliana shut her mouth. I was glad; I didn’t want to discuss this topic any further.
I was getting very sleepy.
“Wynne, did you put something in my broth?”
“I did, you need your rest.”
“I wish you’d stop doing that.”
I yawned, I couldn’t help it.
“Come you two, and I’ll sneak you back out.” “You can visit with Bell tomorrow.”
“I’ll get started and think of the best way to handle my task.” “Don’t worry, Mia Bella.” He blew me a kiss with his fingers.
My visitors left my room and once again, I was off to dream land.