I didn’t know what Wynne had given me but I’d slept the night through. I stretched with my arms up over my head. I wish I was out on the open road where I could see the sun coming up and listen to the birds gathering their morning meal. With any luck this will happen in a few days time. My journey to Gwaren had to be quick. We had to have horses and I hoped Zevran was able to fulfill that order. We would also have to ride nonstop until we came to the outskirts of Gwaren itself. I also hope that Zevran knew how to ride. I didn’t think to ask him.
I sweep the covers off of me and examined the bandages covering my legs. I was so hot and the ever present taint was once again rolling up my legs. I itched all over and was just generally uncomfortable. My body felt like one big scab. I pulled myself up in the bed and rearranged my pillows behind my back for comfort. I looked around my room and realized that Wynne wasn’t in the other bed so she was already up and I also didn’t hear any sounds coming from the room next door, which meant everyone was already up or they were still sound to sleep.
I really wanted to see my brother and Thor. I knew that I would see them today along with the rest of my war party. I was thankful that my brother was still alive and I couldn’t wait to hear how he had survived Ostagar. It was going to be hard to tell Fergus what had happened that night at Highever, especially about Orianna and Oren.
I knew that Alistair and I hadn’t run into him in the Kocari Wilds. We had run into other soldiers that had been killed in the wilds, none of them being my brother. I remember that Alistair had been getting slightly peeved at me because I would turn over the body of any soldier that we came across checking to see if any of them was my brother. Daveth had taken pity on me and he had joined in to help me. He had known the heraldry of Highever and had offered to help me look. He remembered seeing my brother and our men at Ostagar.
I will always remember Daveth and Jory to my dying day, I would never forget them. I still thought of them often and had wondered at times what our journey would have been like if they had survived to help Alistair and I battle the blight.
I had no idea if Ser Jory’s wife had survived the massacre at Highever. This was something that Fergus and I would have to check on and find out who she was. I at least could bring her the news on what had happened to her husband and that he had died a hero. I would just tell her he had died along with King Cailan and the other Grey Wardens. I wouldn’t ever tell her the truth; it would serve no purpose if I could find her.
Something that had always bothered me was the men that we had found hanging from the trees in the wilds. Why would anyone do such a thing? Alistair had been right; it was excessive in a sense. They were dead, why hang them from the trees? Something else which also bothered me was why the wild animals of the forest had never bothered to get them down and feed off of them or the birds of the air? It had puzzled me at the time and it still did. I remembered that those men had looked like they were asleep just hanging there. It had been so strange to see that.
Morrigan had told me one night that the wilds were a vast place and most likely Fergus had been in another area. She had also said where the wilds met with Flemeth’s hut and Ostagar this was just the tip of the vastness of the unknown frozen forest which is the wilds. Morrigan had said it went on for untold miles and most of the people of Ferelden had no idea how large the forest actually was and the lands beyond. Very few people ever ventured into the vast wilderness. There were unknown monsters, creatures, and Chasind tribes in the area. Morrigan had also said the darkspawn had broken through into the forest in this area. This is where the blight had started with the horde of darkspawn pushing north into Ferelden.
I also knew that there had to be tunnels that the darkspawn had dug to get to the surface. These would have to be located within the wilds. Those tunnels would have to be sealed off. I wonder if Duncan had maps of the area in the compound. Since I was now Commander of the Grey for Ferelden, I’d have to check the compound and see what records might be there. I really hadn’t taken much time to look around the Grey Warden Compound before the Landsmeet. It was still standing when I had fought my way through the market district. I had just grabbed what weapons and supplies I had come across very quickly and locked the vault on my way back out. I had found Duncan’s shield and given this to Alistair just before heading off to the Landsmeet.
I also knew that today I would see Alistair for the first time since leaving him at the gates during the Battle of Denerim. I was not looking forward to seeing him again. I had to steel myself against the thought of just running away. I wonder if Wardens ever left the order and what would happen if I did? I had no idea what they would do to me if I did such a thing.
Nature was calling so I wiggled out of bed and slowly stood up. Oh yes, the pain in my legs was still there. I knew that my chest was on the mend because it itched like mad. I looked around and spied a chamber pot which I quickly used. I was a little steadier on my feet this morning. So my uninterrupted sleep had done me a world of good and I was starved. I really couldn’t recall the last time I had such a peaceful night of sleep since Alistair had broken up with me.
I remembered at times sleeping in his arms at night; the nightmares of the darkspawn hadn’t been nearly as bad. It was like he was my protector and Alistair had keep the bad dreams away. I also remembered that he too would sleep more soundly when we held each other at night.
My stomach started growling. I wanted real food. I was certain I’d want more than just a boiled egg and some broth with tea on the side. I was nearly certain I could eat a whole side of beef on my own. Being a warden and the constant need for food was just something I lived with. I’d always been the type of person who had a healthy appetite, being a warden now just compounded this feeling.
As if right on cue, Wynne opened the door and came into my room just as I was getting back in bed. “I know, but I had to take a tinkle and you weren’t here to help me up.”
“Well you seemed more chipper this morning.”
“I am, and I’m also starved.” “I’d like more than just broth today.” “I want actual food Wynne, so what is on the menu?”
“Actually the staff at Redcliffe has been delivering our food each morning and supper in the evenings.” “It’s been a nice change of pace in not cooking each morning.” “The staff and messenger will most likely be arriving any minute with breakfast.”
“What have they been bringing?”
“The usual fare of a good hardy Ferelden breakfast, with all the trimmings which will include: eggs, bacon, fry cakes, sausage, jams, butter, and tea with honey, and fresh baked bread.”
“I think I’ll have a bite of everything.”
“Are you really sure you’re up to eating that big of a meal?”
“I’m one hundred percent sure.”
My stomach grumbled to prove my point and Wynne chuckled.
“Alright, I’ll go across the hall and see if they have arrived with breakfast.” “The others will be getting up and want to eat as well.” “We set up a table across the hall for us to eat at and many of the other soldiers here in the fort join us.” “It’s been nice meeting these people and learning about their own experience with the blight.” “At first they wanted to hear all about you.”
“Me?” “Why would they want to know about me?”
“Because you’re a hero Bell, and I don’t think you realize how many lives that you actually saved when you stormed the gates of Denerim and battling the blight in general.”
“You’re being called the Hero of Ferelden.”
“Who is the idiot that decided to call me that?”
“Alistair has declared a proclamation that you will be forever known as the Hero of Ferelden.”
I should have known it was him that would make me known as this. Oh Maker, does he realize what he has just done. I won’t be able to go anywhere in the entire kingdom without people knowing who I am. Bloody hell, I wanted to shake my fist at him. I’ll just have to add this to my list of grievances against His Highness. This was going to make getting to Gwaren a little more difficult, lovely I thought.
“Wynne, I forgot to ask you, how long I’d actually been out before fully waking up.”
“You’ve been asleep for nearly two weeks when you finally woke up the other day.”
My jaw dropped open.
“I’ve been asleep for nearly two weeks, before I finally came too?”
“Yes, why do you ask?”
“Uh, no reason really, I was just curious.”
Wynne nodded and she went to check on breakfast.
I must have been in a semi-awaken state at times and my state had seemed like dreams to me.” “I did know that Alistair had stayed at my side for several nights; I would always know the touch of his hand on mine. I was relatively sure that Arl Eamon had put a stop to this by keeping him busy. He hadn’t been here the last several nights. He did see to it that someone was inside my room to guard me and Wynne when we slept and I didn’t really know why this needed to be done.