My stomach growled from hunger and I was hoping dinner would arrive soon. I was starving. I’d been reading manuals and manuscripts all day long to acquaint myself on my responsibilities of being a Warden Commander. I was hoping Zevran would pop-in for a visit to update me on his progress. I knew that most of my companions were helping my brother over at our estate here in Denerim.
During the blight, I’d never mentioned my family estate because I didn’t want to bring unnecessary attention to Alistair and the rest of our companions and put them in anymore danger until Howe had been dealt with. Even if Anora remained Queen, she would have had to deal with my brother once it became known that Fergus was still alive.
Anora still amazed me in her thinking. Did she honestly think she could have stopped me from retaking my family home again, once I’d dealt with Howe or that she could have stopped my brother? She would have tried to work it to her advantage as she had tried to do with me. She wouldn’t have gotten away with that on Fergus anymore than she had tried to do with me. The Cousland’s had enough supporters in Ferelden and especially the Bannorn to help change her opinion in case she had other ideas of hampering me or Fergus from retaining our father’s title and our home. I was just as clever and crafty as Anora. Many within the Bannorn had never liked Anora. I knew who these Banns were too, because of their daughters and sons with me growing up with them. They had always called her the ‘Ice Queen’ behind her back. I wasn’t a complete fool and I knew that she had her supporters in the south. If I didn’t get to Gwaren and soon, there could be a real rebellion against Alistair before he is even crowned if I don’t act. For the sake of my own child I needed to protect my child’s birthright, even though I’d decided to not tell Alistair of his impending fatherhood. I would still need to protect the throne for the Calenhad line. I felt it was best for legal heirs of Alistair and not my bastard child. I really needed to get to Gwaren and I couldn’t wait any longer. Zevran, where are you? I need you my friend.
One thing for sure, I’m getting out of this room come the void or high water. I’d take the water anytime. I was an excellent swimmer. I still didn’t have much in the way of clothes. Something would have to be done about this. I was tired of lounging in bed all day long. I’d never recover if everyone kept treating me like I was fine crystal. I wasn’t a person who liked to stay in bed. A day or two to read a good book or if I was really very tired; everyone needed to do this once in a while. I didn’t feel too tired. Even though I knew that my body needed more sleep because of my child that I carried. I would need to make adjustments and of course I still needed to fully heal. It was going to take time that I didn’t have. It wasn’t like I hadn’t dealt with this same situation out on the road battling the blight.
I threw the manuscript that I had been reading aside and also threw the covers off of me. I climbed out of bed and for once the pain was manageable. So walking around my room for hours had helped with the stiffness of my muscles. What I wouldn’t give for a good workout with a practice dummy and my daggers. Even a bow, anything to pass the time, as much as I would have liked to do this I didn’t think Wynne would approve. I also didn’t need the King coming back here to order me to stay in bed until I healed. Like, I’d listen to him anyway even if he tried.
That was the whole point wasn’t it. I wanted him to come and say something like that to me. For him to say anything to prove that he still loved me even if it ended in a fight. Alistair how could you do this to us? How? I started to pace once more. No, I had to stop this. I couldn’t dwell on this; it wouldn’t do me or my child any good. It would be harmful. I’ll have to do what I’ve always done and jump into my work. There was no other way for me to survive this madness of my relationship with Alistair being over. I didn’t have much choice in the matter over our relationship it seemed. Onward then to the next chapter of my life, and wherever my life would take myself and my child, and I was starting on that journey today. I’d start making preparations for my future and that of my child. Hopefully one day, I’d be able to leave and go far away from Ferelden within a year. If I did my duty and did it well, maybe I could request a different post then here in Ferelden. The King wasn’t going to get his way if I had any say in the matter. I wanted to raise our child away from here. Neither Orlais nor the Anderfels would be a good idea. Somewhere else in Thedas is where I’d have to live and build a home. I would start a new adventure all of my own and hopefully a peaceful life, alone to raise my child in peace. Where that would be remained to be seen? I also had to consider the safety of my child due to darkspawn. Would the darkspawn be able to sense my child like they could sense me as a Warden? I really won’t know until my child or children are born. I still needed to think on this and what I’d need to do to keep my child or children safe if I was having twins. I would start today preparing for my journey. I was tired of mopping in bed.
The first order of business was clothes of any kind. I’d prefer any suit of my leathers. Where in the bloody hell are my daggers and my sword? I’d sure hate to lose Starfang. I’d given Alistair his father’s sword. He hadn’t seemed too impressed with the gift, even though that sword had been amazing. Duncan’s shield had seemed more important to him. I’d also given him Cailan’s armor and shield. His Highness also had some work to do over his feelings for his father. Fergus and I both understood why King Maric had done what he had done. For Alistair’s own safety, too bad his Highness hadn’t figured that out yet. Well, he’d have to figure that one out on his own. I don’t think it would help to bring this to his attention and he’ll have to think and act on his own from now on. Maybe I should give Fergus a nudge to help His Highness deal with his feelings. I’ll have to mention this to Fergus.
I walked over to my door and opened it. Warden Kristoff came to attention and turned to look at me in my bedclothes. Which of course was no surprise given how the Warden’s lived with one another. A comical expression crossed Kristoff’s face. I guess there weren’t too many female wardens around. I’ll also have to think about recruitment of women into the order. Given what darkspawn do to women in the deep roads I’d have to think seriously on this.
“Commander, is there something that you need?”
“Yes, Warden Kristoff there is.” “I’d like some of my things brought from the Arl of Denerim’s estate, especially my clothes.” “I’d also like to know what happened to my sword and my daggers.” “I’m assuming that someone picked up my sword – it’s an exceptional sword and I’d like it back.”
“It’s my understanding Commander that all of your equipment is secured at Arl Eamon’s estate here in Denerim.” “The King himself has your daggers and your sword Commander.”
Great, Alistair has all of my best equipment. Bloody hell. Well that is one way he could keep me prisoner and force me to stay in bed. I’d hate to go to Gwaren without Starfang. No, I had to have my sword and that was all there was to it. Zevran couldn’t pinch them from Alistair either. Alistair was smart enough to realize that I’d want my sword for a reason. No, I’d just have to make the request for my sword and daggers to His Highness myself. Lovely, I thought. I was starting to understand why Sten felt the way he did about Asala, his special name for his own sword. The word meant My Soul, which was actually fitting.
“Oh, that’s right, I forgot about that.” “On second thought forget that order, I’d like to see my companions especially Zevran as soon-as-possible and he can see to getting my equipment for me.” “The moment that they get back will you see that he is sent in to see me right away?” “I wish to see him alone from the rest of them.”
“Pardon me Commander; but, I’d prefer that you didn’t have too much contact with your companions until we’ve time for our interview with you over the events of the blight here in Ferelden.” “I’ll also need to interview all of your companions as well.” “This is by order of the First Warden, which you already know.”
“Yes, I’m aware of the First Warden’s orders.” Since my own orders were now lying on my bed and I’d been commanded to give my accounting of the events here in Ferelden.
“However, I don’t think he would mind me seeing to the welfare of my friends since they supported me and His Highness during our time of need and they helped defend Ferelden against the blight as well.” “My personal support troops I guess we could consider all of my friends as such; therefore, I’d still like to see them and see if they have need of anything.” “Isn’t this part of my duties as the Commander-of-the-Grey here in Ferelden?” “Seeing to the needs of my people?”
“Yes, Commander, this is your duty.”
“Then I don’t see the reason for your objection.” “Since you’ll also need to interview all my friends who traveled with His Highness and me, I’ll need to inform them that you wish to interview them.” “I can’t very well do this unless I speak with them.” “I trust you can set your own time up for each interview with each of them, since I’m guessing, you’ll wish to interview them separately?”
I could see Kristoff grinding his teeth together. So he didn’t like taking orders from a woman, too bad, old chap, I thought. It also didn’t help that I was addressing the man in my bedclothes. This is why I needed some clothes. Giving orders in my bedclothes just didn’t cut it. Being in my bedclothes just didn’t give off the sense of command. I also felt naked without my sword and daggers.
I noticed Kristoff’s sly glance at the bandages of my chest. His glance in the area of my breast especially made me uncomfortable; where the Arch Demon nearly tore my breast completely off. One of the two permanent reminders along with the damage to my legs, that I had defended Ferelden against the blight.
Maybe I should get an artist to draw him a picture of my scars and send this to the First Warden as well. Well I’m in a bitchy mood, so why not? I don’t think my brother would appreciate my thoughts. He surely wouldn’t allow me to sit for such a drawing or portrait. What a surprise that would be for everyone! This is what fighting a demonic dragon could do to a person’s body. Take that First Warden and all the rest of you. I just might have to do this. The scandal! I rather liked the ideal. I’ll have copies made and pass them about! Who was I kidding, yet the idea of the scars might be a good thing for the First Warden alone. Yes, I did kill that dragon and almost died in the task.
“We’ll schedule our interview for tomorrow afternoon at the second bell, if this is agreeable to you?”
“Yes, Commander, the time will be sufficient.”
“Good Warden Kristoff and see that my companions are sent in to see me once they return.” “After I’ve spoken to them, then you can get with each of them to set your own appointments.”
“Have you spoken with His Highness yet on our adventures through Ferelden?”
“I have Commander.”
Well so much for speaking with Alistair first so we’d have our story straight. I guess I blew our first meeting, since……well what could I say. My emotions were rubbed raw at seeing him again. Still no excuse I’d been trained better than that. I’d never been trained on how to handle a real broken up love affair. How I wish my mother was here. She could have advised me on what to do.
“Is Enchantress Wynne about?”
“She is making her rounds Commander.”
“Please send her in to see me once she returns.” “My bandages need changing.” “I’ll also need fresh water for bathing.”
I’ll keep Kristoff busy with a lackey’s errand for a while, since he seems to think he is the Commander and not I. Granted he had his duty to perform for the First Warden, which I understood. He could keep his Orlesian pompous comments to himself and my companions were my friends, not his. They would all want to see me and I them to make sure all of them weren’t harmed during the battle and they had enough funds to see to their own needs.
The First Warden would get his accounting it just wouldn’t be the full truth where Morrigan was concerned. I was also sure that Alistair would also think of the excuse that she is an apostate and she had to leave due to the Templars. Being inside a city full of Templars and Circle Mages wasn’t safe for her. Even though she’d had other reasons for leaving and nobody needed to know this except for Alistair and myself. As a rogue, I already knew the best way to lie was to shield the lie with as much truth as possible.
“Is there anything else that I can do for you Commander?”
“No, nothing more, thank you Warden Kristoff.”
I closed the door to my room that I was sharing with Wynne. I noticed there was another warden standing guard at my door along with Kristoff. How would I and Zevran get by them? Both Wardens would be able to sense me and I was sure they could sense if I was in my room or not. Hmmm, I’d have to come up with a solution to this problem.
I walked the fringes of my room once again for the exercise alone, over and over. Then the thought occurred to me, of course, a sleeping draught perhaps. Oh! Better yet, Oghren’s homebrew. That’s it. They’d surely pass out and his special brew would knock them on their asses. It was just a stroke of luck that the Wardens guarding my door weren’t Dwarven Wardens. They would be able to handle Oghren’s brew. These Orlesian Wardens probably wouldn’t be able to handle it. Orlesians loved their wine so they wouldn’t be used to the potent homebrew.
I recalled that night at camp just before we left for Redcliffe and Oghren offered me a sip of his brew. One sip had knocked me flat on my ass. I was on an instant drunk. How in the world Oghren could drink the stuff and fight like he had had been a mystery to us all. The brew had also knocked everyone on their ass except for Sten. Sten wasn’t much of a drinker. The Qun didn’t allow it too much except for celebrations. I might not have an effect on Sten because of his size. Sten was the largest man whom I’d ever met.
Ok, that problem was solved, now to get Oghren to agree to brew up a batch and give me a skin of it. It could be served to the Wardens as a toast. Maybe a special dinner for all of us here at the fort would do the trick with the Orlesian Wardens dinning as well. I and my companions would know to only take a very small sip of the brew. The Wardens from Orlais wouldn’t know this. In case they awoke from drinking the brew then something else would have to be done. Oghren and Sten would have to be included. Maybe everyone, I’d have to leave Wynne out of the game if I could. She wouldn’t go along with my plans and she might inform Alistair; especially given my current condition of healing from the battle and being her patient. I’d include her if I had too. She might go along if I explained that it was for the safety of our future king. If nothing else we’d have to knock her out too. Zevran might get a peak at her glorious bosom after all. I was positive that Wynne would fireball my ass if she knew my thoughts.
I’d also need a decoy in my bed. The only one for this job was Thor. He’d have to be my decoy. He’d like the idea if I bribed him properly. I was certain we’d have to dose him with a potion of purity too, just in case. Lucky that Wynne had found that recipe to keep all of our companions safe from the taint. Yes, this would work. How to disguise Thor to look like me? Maybe Zevran would have some suggestions or Leliana. Well this was shaping up to be a group venture after all.
The thought also occurred to me that someone would need to stand guard outside my door and not draw attention to no guards at my door. Alistair and his guards would come running if word got out that there were no Wardens guards at my door. Sten for certain would have to do this. He’d have to change into Kristoff’s armor. That left one other companion and this would have to be Leliana, unless Wynne would agree if I decided to include her. She might be the only alternative. It might be a good idea to include Leliana on the road. She’d be able to help me sneak into Gwaren, provide a distraction. I’d have to think more on this.
It was time for me to get out of this bed and see to my own future. Alistair and the rest of the Wardens could just fly a kite somewhere if they wanted too. My life was my own now. I’d never listen to anyone again where my future was concerned. I’d made that mistake years ago. Never again I vowed. The Wardens for now had a hold of my life; my plan was to break their hold on my life. I’d always be a Warden; there was no changing that fact. This wasn’t going to stop me from having as happy of a life as I could manage in my allotted time. This would be my ultimate goal. I’d find happiness or die trying.
I spent the rest of the day walking in my room and thinking on my future and where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do and how to get there. Wynne finally came in with supper and I was very glad, my hunger quenched for the time being until morning.
The morning was eagerly awaited when all things are refreshed and revived. I would look toward it with anticipation.