Wynne knew she couldn’t do anything about Alistair at the moment but she could find out what happened with Bellavalia. She was going to be that nosey old woman once more. Walking over to their shared room, she went inside. She found Bell sitting up in bed staring down at the scroll in her lap that had arrived this morning. She was so lost in thought she didn’t even hear me come in. I walk over to her bed and sat down on the stool that Alistair no doubt just recently occupied.
Bell looked up and there were tears in her eyes.
“Are you alright?”
Bell didn’t say anything just shrugged her shoulders and winced from the pain of movement. She kept running her finger over the scroll in her lap over and over. Wynne decided to wait her out this time. They sat in silence and Wynne was sure Bell was hoping she’d just go away. She knew that look from her former students.
“Wynne, you know when you asked me how I came to be a Grey Warden, I wasn’t fully truthful.”
“I see and yes I remember.” Wynne replied softly to Bell.
“The only reason that Duncan agreed to save my life that night was I had to become a Grey Warden.” “I’ve often wondered if he would have actually left me there to face Howe’s men alone if my father hadn’t agreed for me to become a Grey Warden, it was blackmail as far as I was concerned.” “Once again, I wasn’t given a choice in what happened to me in regards to my future.” “Unlike Alistair I never wanted to become a Grey Warden. “ “I don’t think Alistair really wanted to become one either.” “He just wanted to escape from the chantry.” “Alistair and I look at the order differently.”
“Why do you say this?” Wynne coaxed me gently.
“He believes the order is a noble order and its cause just.” “I too feel the same way, except I don’t approve of how they recruit members.” “I understand the need for the order to remain a secret order.” “Once within the order I can’t help but feel and I’m sure Alistair might also feel even though he has never said that we were misled.”
“I saw his fade dream when we were trapped in the fade at the CircleTower.” “He didn’t want to be a Grey Warden either; he doesn’t want to die in the deep roads, alone and forgotten.” “Like he never mattered to anyone, he told me once he was never accepted at the chantry growing up there because he was a noble bastard.” “Then, Isolde making him sleep in the barn with the animals, which still angers me; by-the-way, since he was just a little boy.” “His dream showed his deepest desire was to be a man with a family more than anything; I think to finally be accepted for Alistair and not just King Maric’s bastard son.” “I thought I had done what he needed – someone to accept him as just Alistair.” “I think he just wants to be a normal person.” “In making him King, I gave him this opportunity.” “So he can be someone to somebody, he was to me anyway.” “I didn’t care that he was King’s Maric’s son.” “That never mattered to me.”
“I think you did that for him, he is more confident since he meet you, more sure of himself.” “I think if he hadn’t met you he would have run from his duty as a Prince of Ferelden.” “I think he will be a stronger and better man for having the opportunity of knowing you.”
“Perhaps.” I really couldn’t think of anything to say to this.
“Bell might I ask a question of you?”
“You can ask, that doesn’t mean I’m going to answer if I don’t like the question.” I grinned up at her incase I didn’t wish to answer her question, taking the sting out just in case I rejected her question.
“Fair enough, my question is this; you never told any of us what your fade dream was and how you broke out of your dream and saved all of us.” “Would you tell me since you knew all of ours?” “I’ve always been curious about it.” “I never believed what you told Alistair when he asked you about yours.”
I sat there thinking on why I’d never told anyone at camp my fade dream. I was confused by it for the most part. I’d never wanted to discuss my dream especially in front of Alistair. There were things that had happened to me in my life before I met Alistair, things I didn’t want him to know and also my fade dream.
“I never wanted to tell because of Alistair, it would have been hard for him to hear, it wasn’t that I wanted to keep it a secret or for anyone else to not know.” “As for your question, yes, I’ll answer, this is for your ears alone.”
“Alright, I promise I won’t tell of your dream to anyone.”
“That would please me.”
“The sloth demon wasn’t as clever as he thought he was.” “I hated what Duncan had done to me, only helping me escape the massacre at Highever once my father gave his permission on his death bed for my conscription.” “For me this was the same as blackmail as I said just a moment ago.” “I had to become a Grey Warden in order to survive.” “My parents wanted me to live so Duncan and I could inform King Cailan at Ostagar what happened at Highever and Howe killing my family.” “So my brother would know, since he too was at Ostagar.” “I was thankful to Duncan, yet I hated him for what he did to me.” “I’ve hidden a well of resentment toward him away from Alistair because I knew how much Duncan meant to Alistair.” “I’ve always wondered if Alistair also didn’t harbor resentful feelings once everything in the order was finally revealed to a new recruit.” “We’re changed as individuals forever when we become a Grey Warden.” “There are things that I can’t talk about Wynne.”
“I’m not sure if I can live up to being a commander knowing what I know and be able to talk people into joining the Wardens.” “I will have to lie to them.” “I don’t know if I can do it and I’m scared.” “I don’t want this command.” “I’m sorry; I’m going digressing instead of telling you about my fade dream.”
“In my fade dream, I met Duncan in mine.” “You know that he was the Warden Commander of Ferelden, and our mentor.”
“Yes, Alistair and you both have talked about him and I’d met him before when he would come to circle to see if we had any new mages that had taken their harrowing that might be worthy of becoming a Grey Warden.” “He came to tower often.” “I knew him well, the same as you and Alistair.” “I will always believe him to be a good man.”
I wasn’t so sure if I’d call him good. Conniving perhaps, this would be my description. Daveth had a point that the Warden’s couldn’t tell or they’d never get recruits. Much as I wished to have known the full truth before my joining, that Daveth had been correct. People wouldn’t join if they knew the truth.
“The sloth demon tried to make me think I was with Duncan at Weisshaupt.” “The demon acting as Duncan told me that we had defeated the blight and all was well.” “I almost fell for it and accepted it as fact.” “Yet, I couldn’t recall in my mind on defeating the blight and I knew that Duncan had died, and I remembered seeing him die on the field.” “He tired to say he was very much alive.” “I basically called him a liar because I told the demon I had seen him die, and the demon attacked me, the demon as Duncan attacked me.” “I had to kill a Demon that looked like Duncan in the fade.” “Alistair would have gone over the edge if I told him that, he was still very melancholy over Duncan’s death.” “If the sloth demon had conjured an image with me and my family at Highever, I would never have found the will to break out of the dream.” “I’d buried my hate on what Howe did to me and to my family so deep inside of myself that the demon didn’t have anything except the recent events with Duncan to draw on.” “I don’t know if it was The Maker or Andraste who protected my inner most thoughts from the demon.”
I shrugged my shoulders even though it hurt.
“I’m also sure if the demon had conjured the dream with Duncan for Alistair he would never have agreed to think on how he came to be in the fade.” “Alistair’s true wishes of wanting a family and people to love him are his deepest desires and they overcame any desire to see and be with his father figure which Duncan was for him.”
“I think Duncan was the first person in Alistair’s life that ever gave a damn about him.” “I had a heck-of-a- time with all of you and I had to stay on guard listening very carefully when the demons would try to convince all of you to stay and getting all of you to realize we were being tricked.” “You and Leliana were the hardest in my mind.” “Sten and Morrigan both realized it was a dream.” “The rest of you I had trouble with getting you to realize we were trapped in dreams and for some of our companions they were nightmares.”
Oh Maker, nightmares, did Alistair think having a wife and being a father might be a nightmare? Why was his sister in his dream when he had never met her? Hmmmm, I never considered that before. Zevran’s dream was a nightmare. Thor my war hound was just having a good nap. Shale was bored out of her skull. I don’t recall Oghren’s dream at the moment, I don’t think we’d meet Oghren yet. No, Oghren wasn’t with us at that time, or at the Urn. We meet up with him later in Orzammar. Which categories did all our dreams fall into? Mine was a dream, and so was Thor’s. Morrigan and Sten I’d say dreams also. Wynne and Zevran’s had been a nightmare to be sure, Leliana a dream, which would be my guess in her case. Hmmmm.
“You’re right, about Alistair; he might not have been willing to awaken if Duncan had been in his dream.” “He always wondered why you wouldn’t share.”
“I still don’t think that Alistair has gotten over Duncan’s and Cailan’s deaths, and I’m not sure if he ever will.” “The same with me over my family; my childhood friends and our servants at Highever, their deaths, all needless slaughter and for what….some evil man’s greed.” “It will be hard to go home to face what happened there.”
“I see now why you would never say.”
“I knew it would hurt him to hear my tale.” “I just told him it was about my family and I didn’t want to talk about it.”
“I don’t want to hurt him Wynne, and it’s best if we stay away from each other from here on out.” “Once I leave Denerim for good, I don’t plan on ever seeing him again.” “I can’t keep the catty comments out of my conversation with him because I’m hurt.” “If he was anyone else and not the future King; I would have unloaded my hurt and anger on him by now.” “If he continues to needle me, then he will get the full force of my wrath.”
“I thought as much and told him so.”
“You told him, why?”
“It’s not fair to you either, and I told him to leave you be.” “Yet, I will always believe that he loves you.”
“Duty would most likely separate us eventually even if he hadn’t ended our relationship.” “It doesn’t matter now anyway.” “It will take me along time to get over him.” “I can’t do what he asked of me and being near him, and I don’t think he has the will either.” “It’s better this way.”
“I needed to let him know that he couldn’t end our relationship and everything be alright or the same as it was before, so I treated him as any of his future subjects will also treat him.” “Maybe when I’ve had time to be away from him, it won’t be as hard.” “I’ll just have to wait and see.” “If he marries someone else, I will leave Ferelden for good.” “I won’t be able to take it, seeing him married to someone else and being here in Ferelden means coming to the yearly Landsmeet to give my reports on the Grey Wardens, and seeing him with a wife, his Queen.” “No, I won’t do it.” “I can’t.” “I love him enough that I have to walk away, as he has asked me to do.” “It’s breaking my heart but it has to be, this is what he wants.”
“You made him king so Anora wouldn’t execute him, didn’t you?”
“Yes, this was one of my reasons -not the only one, so she wouldn’t have the power to hunt him down and kill him.” “It’s not Alistair’s fault he was born a bastard and his father never acknowledged his existence.” “I’d love to know what my father would have said about Maric’s hidden son or if he even knew about Alistair, I’ll never have the opportunity to ask him.”
“Alistair is totally different than Anora.” “Alistair wouldn’t even have the thought to execute her, as she would have done to him.” “She is Loghain’s daughter and this would have been her first command if I had given her this power.” “This is the difference between them; Alistair has compassion for people given how he was forced to live.” “Anora has been given everything that money can buy and I think her action toward her father proves how selfish a person she really is.” “She threw her own father to the wolves right at the critical moment.” “Her decision at that moment turned the tide fully to Alistair.” “I would never have done such a thing to my father, ever.” “Anora standing with her father when we needed Wardens to fight the blight shows that she didn’t know everything to defend her country.”
“Alistair knew and understood Ferelden needed Wardens and the throne could be decided later.”“How come Anora didn’t being married to Cailan and he knew the Wardens were vital?” “This didn’t make any sense to me.” “My father and mother both taught Fergus and I to respect Wardens and give them any aid that one needed when a request was made to our family.”
“Loghain kill his own daughter?” “I never believed he would.”
“Nor I, said Wynne. “Howe, yes, he would have killed her.”
“Exactly, Wynne, I think Howe would have turned on Loghain and Anora both.” “He wanted the entire kingdom.”
“I thought the same thing.”
“So we we’re of one accord on that thought?”
“Yes, I’d agree.”
“If Anora had any idea on how to rule for the people to better their lots in life, and not be selfish, I might have chosen her instead.” “I didn’t want to make him King, he really didn’t’ want to be king.” “I do think he will be the better monarch.” “He has had the opportunity to travel and see the true injustices done to others here Ferelden.” “I don’t believe Anora has ever seen this, she has been raised in an ivory tower her whole life.”
“I used to hate attending parties where she was going to be an honored guest.” “I’d get into trouble at home on purpose trying to get out of going.” “I couldn’t stand her growing up; she was always so full of herself, because she was Loghain’s daughter and the future bride of Cailan.” “My parents knew what I was doing and they’d make me go anyway, and then when we got home, I’d be punished for trying to get out of doing my duty in paying my respects to the future King and Queen.”
“Her and I both being Teyrn’s daughters, we were both raised to command and rule people.” “The difference in how my parents raised me is that I had chores to do working alongside our servants.” “My parents always said I had to know how to work, so we would know the duties of the people my brother and I would one day rule.” “I would be sent to the kitchens to help or to the household staff, my brother to the barns and the fields.” “Anora wasn’t raised this way.” “She grew up being pampered, everything done for her, given anything she desired. She never had to work for what she had.”
“I suppose that a lot of people thought that I was spoiled and my father dotted on me, yes, this is true to a certain degree, I never wanted for anything either.” “My father also trained Fergus and me to understand everyone’s role within the castle and our duties to train the King’s troops.” “We learned our duty and we had to learn it from the ground up.” “I’m not saying that I’m better than Anora, not at all.” “I was just raised differently.” “Anora will always put herself before the needs of the people.”
“I don’t believe that Alistair will do such a thing, he has already proven with his decision over us that he will be a good King, a fair king who will consider his decisions, he will make mistakes, he will fail at times and he will make great decision at other times.” “He has always sold himself short of being who he is, a bastard son and those around him all of his life making him feel he was always unworthy.”
“It doesn’t take away from the fact that it hurts.” “When he was here just a few moments ago, I treated him as my King.” “He didn’t like it.” “He wanted to address me like we are still friends and I couldn’t allow him to do that, because it’s not proper for him to address me as a close friend anymore nor I him because he will soon be crowned my King.” “I did what I did to harden him up further.”
“I told him he had to address me as the Warden Commander or Lady Cousland and he couldn’t visit with me anymore unless we had a chaperone.” “He didn’t like it and he is really mad.” “I know that I hurt his feelings.” “I won’t apologize for hurting his feelings either.” “As King, he only needed to be informed that I was improving.” “He didn’t have to come here, the only reason I agreed to see him was for his sake, not mine.” “His subjects will need to see that we are one accord in regards to the Grey Wardens and Him being the new Monarch.”
“Bell, he came, because he still loves you and he wanted you to know, that you still matter to him.” “I’m sure where you are concerned you’ll always matter to him.”
“You didn’t think he would end your relationship?”
“No, I truly didn’t.” “I wasn’t angling to be Queen; but, I would have married him if he asked me.” “My parents wanted me to marry for love.” “I’ve had other marriage proposals, Wynne.” “I could have already been married and I declined them because I didn’t love any of the men that courted me at Highever and also in Orlais, many of which had already asked for my hand.” “Then I’d get the talk with my father if I wanted to marry and the answer was always no.” “I wasn’t ready to get married.”
“Arl Howe took that away from me, any chance of having a husband, children, and a family most of all.” “I was coming around to the idea of finally getting married and settled, my schooling in Orlais gave me a better understanding since my mother and I keep knocking heads and I didn’t want to listen.” “I wanted to train, not be a pretty dressed up Lord’s wife and run his household and give him babies.” “I wanted more and needed to learn more that I’d be able to do all of these things.” “I didn’t fully realize until I was sent away to school.”
“I know child, Howe destroyed your whole life and your family.”
We sat in silence for a few moments. Then I spoke my thoughts to Wynne even more.
“I’m mad and very angry that Alistair never told me before hand that I might not be able to have children.” “It was his responsibility as the Senior Warden to tell me.” “He knew when Cailan died and when we went to Redcliffe that Eamon would most likely put him forth as King.” “He should have told me before we ever started our relationship.” “I feel that he lied to me or wasn’t entirely truthful.” “I’m also angry at myself for not listening to you and I shouldn’t have gotten involved with him in the first place.” “I can’t change the fact that I love him.”
“He’s had a hold of my heart since I first met him at Ostagar.” “I knew instantly.” “I’ve never felt that way towards anyone else, ever in my life.” “It was Alistair that got me over the hump on what happened to my family.” “He held me one night at Ostagar when I cried myself to sleep over my family.” “He was the only one who offered me comfort and chased the horrors away by making me feel safe.” “Imagine, we’re facing an army of darkspawn, yet I felt safe with him, I knew that he would die to protect me, not only because I’m sister to him in the order, because he cared and understood.” “He had a natural desire to protect.”
“Yes, he has that ability.” “I think it just comes natural to some men, to protect, they are bigger and stronger and it’s in their nature to do so.”
“Wynne do you think it is impossible for a female Grey Warden to have children?”
This is going to be tricky thought Wynne on how I respond, since I know that Bell is pregnant.
“There are a few, very few, manuscripts over the ages of female Grey Wardens giving birth.” “I won’t lie to you Bell; most of the children don’t survive.” “If they do, most of them are mentally handicapped in some manner or born with birth defects at least the records that I’ve read, that the child doesn’t live for very long.”
I closed my eyes, this is what I feared. My children might be born damaged by the taint in them. Oh maker, please, I don’t think I could bare that. I don’t know if I can go through with this pregnancy.
“Don’t you think if the Maker wished for a female Grey Warden to have a child then it will happen?”
“I suppose it’s possible and I don’t know everything on the Grey Wardens even as a mage.” “Your order is a secret order.” “Only those senior mages within your order would be able to tell you.”
I just nodded my head. Wynne was right, I’d have to make inquiries at Weisshaupt or go there myself and do research in the great archives there, to find my answer. I couldn’t let the wardens know that I’m with child. I don’t know what they’d do.
She still isn’t going to tell me, thought Wynne, even though I know that she is pregnant. Will she tell Alistair? More than likely she won’t after what I just told her.
“I guess it is best that our relationship is over then.”
She has made up her mind thought Wynne. She isn’t going to tell Alistair and maybe it’s for the best. How she is going to hide her pregnancy… that remains to be seen. Knowing Bell, she would find a way. Maybe she will wait and see if the children are born healthy and then she will tell him, if they are Alistair’s children, and she might never tell him. It was her decision thought Wynne. If Alistair ever asks me, I’ll have to tell him, I won’t lie.
“Wynne, when will Zevran be back?”
“I’m sure he’ll be along with your brother shortly.”
“Good, I need to see him right away.”
“May I ask why?”
“He is working on a few tasks for me.” “Just a few things that I need done on a personal nature and he is the only one who has the skill to do them.” “I just wanted to check on his progress.”
“Is there something that I can help with?”
“No, Wynne, I appreciate the offer, this is something only a rogue can do.”
“Do you need anything else right now?”
“No, I’m fine for now.” “Just eagerly waiting on lunch, I’m starved again already.”
“You wardens and your appetites, I’ve never seen anyone eat like Alistair and you.”
“I know Wynne, just one of those things being a Grey Warden.”
“Lunch will be here in a few hours, would you like something to tide you over until lunch?”
“No, I’ll be fine until then.”
“I have reading to get started on since I’m now the Warden Commander of Ferelden.” “Kristoff gave me several manuscripts to read, while I’m still abed, so I guess I better get started.”
“You’ll also have to decide what to wear to Alistair’s coronation and the ball in the evening.”
“I will be expected to attend that won’t I?”
“I’m afraid so dear, unless you want the relationship between the King and the new Warden Commander to become even harder to deal with.” “He will look upon you not attending as a slap in the face and since you made him King it will appear that you’ve changed your mind on backing him as the new Monarch if you don’t go.”
“Can’t we just say I’m still recovering?”
“Bell, you can’t do that.”
“You’ll have to attend and make a short appearance, if you don’t want to stay for the entire evening….well fine, then we can say you need to retire early due to you recuperating.” “You’ll have to swear your oath-of-fealty to Alistair and once that is done, then leave, before the dancing and the feast starts.”
“I don’t have anything to wear to that sort of occasion.” “It’s not like I’m at Highever where all of my gowns and jewelry used to be.” “I’m sure by now that Howe and his men took all of my mother’s and my jewelry and Maker knows what else and more than likely anything of importance is gone by now.”
“Leliana is already working on it.” “I believe that Alistair already has her looking for material for a gown for you.”
I groaned, “Wynne, don’t allow her to put me into anything lacey or frilly.” “I promise I won’t wear it.” “Plain, simple, and elegant, something in a deep blue will do, with matching shoes of course.” “A girl has to have pretty shoes.”
“I don’t know who likes shoes more, you or Leliana.”
“I’m sure Leliana loves them, I just like them to match my gowns.”
“What color will you be wearing and what sort of gown?”
“A formal mage robe for special occasions.”
“You mean to tell me you can’t wear a gown?” I asked in utter disbelief.
“No we’re not allowed to wear a gown, even at formal functions.”
“That is so unfair.”
“I’m used to it Bell, this is the life of a mage.”
“It’s still unfair; you deserve to dress up too.” “I can see you in a midnight blue gown.” “Or a dark rose color.” “Tiny crystal earrings at your ear and a crystal pendant to grace your lovely neck and of course matching shoes,” I giggled.
“You’re ideal of fashion sounds lovely, I’ll enjoy helping you get ready instead.”
“Irving and I won’t be allowed to attend unless Ser Greagoir escorts us.”
“He will of course.” “I don’t see Alistair having a party and you not being invited after saving him countless times during the blight.” “I’m glad you’ll be able to attend.” “I’ll at least have someone to talk with, you and Leliana and the rest of our gang.” “These Orleasian wardens are sort of stuffy for lack of a better word.”
“I couldn’t agree more, they are a stiff necked lot,” laughed Wynne.
“Bell, you must know several of the lord’s daughters?”
“I used to know several of them, I had just returned from Orlais where I spent the last two and a half years at a Ladies Finishing School.” “I sort of lost contract with the nobles’ daughters here.” “I’d only been back home at Highever little more than a month when Cailan called for troops to Ostagar.” “We were all scrambling getting Cailan’s troops ready.” “My mother had planned on giving a party after Ostagar, to invite some of the local Bann’s and their families for me to get reacquainted with my father’s retainers.” “I was known as the Teyrn’s wild child.” “It’s been so long since I’ve seen or spoken to those in my own age group except for the female warriors at Ostagar and all of you.” “You, Leliana, and Morrigan, are the only female companionship I’ve had since that night at Highever.”
She looks so sad to think of her home thought Wynne.
“Will you be allowed to dance or will you have to stand in a corner under guard?”
Wynne laughed lightly, “I’ll be allowed to dance as long as Ser Greagoir can see Irving and me.”
“Senior Mages have been to court before, have no fear, all will be well.”
I’m guessing all our companions will be in attendance?”
“Of course, Zevran already has his outfit and you should see the antics that Leliana is using to get Oghren and Sten’s measurements.” “With Sten it is a flat out NO, he swears that he will wear the armor you found for him and he has already had it repaired and shinned up.” “He said no soldier of the Vanguard would be seen before a King out of armor.” “So you might need to have a chat with him or he is going to spoil Leliana’s fun.” “Leliana and Zevran have been trying to measure him with Zevran standing over Sten while asleep and trying to get his measurements with a string.” “Not, an easy task since Sten is a light sleeper.” “I think they got Oghren drunk, when he passed out, then they got his measurements.” “It was all Zevran could do to roll him over.”
“Awwww, I missed that.” “That would have been funny to see.”
“Personally, I’m glad I missed it.”
“I feel sorry for Oghren, You and Leliana will see that he is scrubbed down, I’m sure.”
“Have no fear, we have a plan.”
“I’m sure you do.”
“Rats I won’t be allowed to help either.”
“I hope for Oghren’s sake he can swim.”
“I’m sure we’re about to find out.”
“I thought so.” I chuckled.
“So, what kind of work have you been doing when not tending to me?”
“There were so many injured and I’ve been preparing poultices and remedies not just for you but for all of the injured here in the fort which is housing the dwarves that fought on the roof with us.” “Reading in my spare time, serving dinner, when it arrives for the others.” “The normal routine, we’re all under a roof and not camped out in the woods somewhere is the only difference.” “It’s wonderful sleeping in a bed again.”
“I’d enjoy it more if I wasn’t bandaged up so much; it’s uncomfortable and itches like mad.”
“I know dear, it just means you’re healing.” “Well I better get back to work and finish more remedies and I have my rounds to make on my other patients even though you’re my priority.”
“Yes Bell, what is it?”
“Thanks for being the nosey old lady.”
She smiled at me, “you’re welcome child.” She reached over and squeezed my hand then rose and left my room and I went back to reading my orders and tried to get Alistair out of my mind.