Leliana was drifting in and out of the shadows in the halls of Eamon’s estate. She was turning over in her mind the best way to get inside Alistair’s room when Eamon came out of his room carrying a tray of dishes. Well that was odd thought Leliana, the Arl doing kitchen duty. She saw her opportunity and she took it, when Eamon walked out of Alistair’s room. She drifted into Alistair’s room without his guards even knowing that she had gone inside. Perfect, she couldn’t have asked for a better chance to sneak into his room. She found Alistair sitting at the desk in his room and he seemed to be studying from several books.
She came close to see what he was reading. He was reading books on governance. Ah, so her friend was serious on learning his new duties as the king. He would be a handsome king and one with grace and charm. She hoped he would find true happiness one day after letting Bell go. She still didn’t understand why Alistair had ended their relationship. It was foolhardy in her opinion. I will never understand nobles thought Leliana. She settled herself against the wall in Alistair’s room to observe, making sure that he was alright and he didn’t appear to be sick. She would stay for a time to be sure.
She had just made herself comfortable to settle in for a stay when Alistair turned in his chair facing her.
“What’s going on Leliana?”
“How did you know I was here?”
“Your perfume,” spoke Alistair.
“Oh, what a terrible slip on my part; I can’t believe that I messed up in this way.” “I forgot I put on perfume this morning for my meeting with Bell.” “We were all going to be allowed in to see her this morning.”
“I see, so why aren’t you there instead of here?”
Alistair got up from his chair. “What has happened Leliana that you came to check on me?”
Alistair was standing in front of her with his arms folded over his chest, a clear sign that he was agitated.
“Oh it’s nothing for you to be worried over; the rest of us will handle this.”
“Handle what Leliana?” “I’ll decide what I can and can not handle.” He said this with raised eyebrows.
Alistair shifted his weight and it didn’t appear as if he would move until he was good and ready.
“Tell me now Leliana.”
Rats, thought Leliana, she’d have to be more careful in the future. She’d forgotten about the abilities that Grey Wardens have, they had an acute sense of smell.
“Alright, let’s sit down to talk.”
Alistair grabbed his chair and he indicated that Leliana could sit on the bed and he brought his chair over next to the bed and sat down in it. Leliana followed and she sat on the bed. They sat facing each other.
“Alright, let’s hear why you sneaked into my room.” “I may be Ferelden’s future king; but, I’m piss poor at the moment, so I don’t have anything besides my equipment to steal that has any value.”
“You think I’m here to rob you?” “Really Alistair, I’m affronted over that.” “I’m sure I can pick better targets than you.” “Lady Isolde to name one in particular, she has rather nice shoes.”
“Well I did travel with three rogues over the past year and a half and I’m now wise in the way rogues work.” “So yes, I’m curious as to why you’re here.”
Alistair chuckled as an afterthought “she does have nice shoes, and I’ll give you that one.” “Eamon always spoiled her.”
“Even giving her her way in sending you to the chantry?”
“Yes, even that.” “But, you’re not here to talk about my past.” “So get on with it before I get ticked off.”
“Patience, Your Highness.” “I just came to check to see if you are alright.” “Do you feel sick, or feel the need to vomit, dizzy perhaps?”
Alistair raised his eyebrows at her statement.
“Why wouldn’t I be alright?” “No, I don’t feel any of those things.” “Why do you ask?”
“You’re breakfast this morning was fine, yes?”
“Yes, I had a nice big breakfast this morning.” “Leliana, enough, tell me what is going on.”
Leliana sighed. “As you wish, you will promise me that you won’t act rashly once I tell you, yes?”
“Well, that will depend on what you tell me.”
“No, I will have your word that you will listen.” “My friend will have my head if you are put in unnecessary danger.”
“Which friend would this be?”
“Oh, you cad, you know which friend I speak of.” Leliana had gasped her sentence.
“You mean the woman whom I love and the one who was a total bitch to me this morning?”
“Alistair, don’t you dare call her that again.” “I won’t hear that.” “Do you understand me?” “What in the Maker’s name is wrong with you this morning?”
“Me? “What the bloody hell was wrong with her this morning?”
“The king can’t figure that out on-his-own, really Alistair I’m surprised at you.” “You know why she is upset with you.” “You say you love her, yet you have a dangerous way of showing that love.”
“She loves danger, so I don’t see you’re point.”
“Oh, you’re insufferable, this morning.”
“I sort of get this way when people sneak into my room and they still haven’t told me the reason why.”
“That is beside the point.”
“Really, I don’t see how?”
“You realize Alistair that she only had eyes for you from the start do you not?” “I tried with her too and so did Zevran.” “We both lost to you.”
“I knew about Zevran; don’t take me for a fool Leliana.” “You, I didn’t know about.” “Really, I missed that one.”
“She looks upon Zevran the same as her brother; she loves him, yes, in her own way.” “Not the way you think.” “He never had a chance with her.” “Neither did I.”
“She is a force that just draws people to her.” “She is amazing and easy to love, so giving of herself.” “She is a true friend.” “I would have been happier for more than friend and as I said, she only ever had eyes for you.”
“The way she acted this morning it was kind of hard to tell.”
“How do you expect her to react?” “You send her mixed signals and then think it is wrong for her not to be upset with you?” “If you love her why do these things to her?” “Make her your queen Alistair and both of you be happy ever after.” “Yes, this is the thing to do.”
“It’s more complicated than you think Leliana.”
“Why does it need to be complicated?” “You love her, so where is the complication?” “You’ll be a better king with her at your side.”
“You think I don’t know this?”
Alistair got up and paced his room, running his hands through his hair.
“She can’t give me children Leliana.” He spoke turning to look at Leliana sitting on his bed. “She is a Grey Warden and we might not be able to have children.”
“You don’t sound so sure of this fact.” “Who told you these things?” “How do you know they are true?” “Where is your faith in the Maker?” “Really Alistair, I’m astounded at you.”
“Don’t go there Leliana.” “I know my duties to the chantry and I don’t need you to tell me.” “I’ve had thirteen years to know the rules of the chantry.”
“I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to question your faith Alistair.” “Yet, you’re not very religious.”
“No, not really, that doesn’t mean I have thrown out all of those years of study.”
“No, I didn’t think that you had,” spoke Leliana.
Alistair nodded his head and he continued by answering Leliana.
“I don’t know of any Grey Warden who had children after becoming a Grey Warden.”
“You’re forgetting something Alistair.”
“What am I forgetting?” Alistair asked Leliana with a puzzled expression on his face. He had gone over this in his head over and over since the Landsmeet.
“During our early travels, when we secured Warden’s Keep.” “Finding Sophia Dryden, the merchant now stationed there, this Levi Dryden.” “His grandmother was a Grey Warden, so she had to have children in her lifetime.”
“She could have had children before she became a Grey Warden.”
“You don’t know for sure do you?”
“I suppose that I don’t know.”
“Did you stop to think that someone in the Grey Wardens didn’t want to see the both of you become monarchs, this Riordan perhaps or even Arl Eamon?” “The order and the Arl both will want her to remain as the Warden Commander and not become your Queen.” “Why can’t she be both, she has the skills and her love for you to do both?” “Are you sure they didn’t lie to you?”
“It doesn’t matter Leliana if they did lie to me.” “The risk of not having children will be compounded with Bell being a Grey Warden.” “It’s my duty to produce an heir.”
“So you’re going to let her go, just like that.” Leliana snapped her fingers at him.
“I have no choice Leliana, I love her, and I don’t want to let her go.” “For now this is the best.”
“Oh, that is how it is, it’s best for you that she doesn’t become your Queen.” “So you used her to take your father’s throne.” Leliana had jumped up off the bed in her anger.
“NO, it’s not like that.” Alistair spread his hands wide to emphasize his point.
“This is the way it looks, and you think she isn’t thinking this herself?”
“I don’t know what she is thinking, she wouldn’t tell me, and I want her to remain as my friend.”
“Friend, do you hear yourself Alistair?”
“You can’t take it back, when you tell someone who you love, then let them go, for duties sake.” “Do you know how cruel that was?”
“I didn’t mean to hurt her.”
“Well you have, and you are the only one who can make this right.”
“I can’t Leliana.”
“Can’t or won’t?”
“For now it has to be this way.”
“For now you say.” “Why, what do you mean?” Leliana asked with her brows drawn together.
“I have to show the people of this country that I can rule on my own Leliana, there is more to this than just having children.” “Once I’ve done this, then I’ll court her as she should have been.”
“You are a fool Alistair Theirin.”
“Maybe,” was Alistair’s stubborn reply? He crossed his arms over his chest again.
“Remember once when you asked me for advice about women?”
“Please don’t remind me of that.” “It was very awkward.” Alistair had turned red in his face and he wouldn’t look at her now.
“Look at me Alistair; I want to make sure that you hear my words.”
“Fine.” Alistair looked back at Leliana.
“Well, I’m going to remind you and finally give you a good piece of advice.” “Women who have been thrown over don’t let the grass grow under their feet where men are concerned.” “She will find someone else Alistair to heal her wounded pride.” “You have to realize this.”
“If she loves me, then she won’t do that.”
“Yes, she will.” “You would let her go, knowing this, you would risk her finding someone else?” “Will you be able to take seeing her with other men?” Leliana crinkled her brow. “I see you being the zealous type.” “She won’t take kindly to seeing you with other women.” “I suspect you won’t see her again if she has her way.”
“I will see her, since she is to be Warden Commander, which means she will have duties to me and the Kingdom.” Alistair feinted back in his stubbornness.
“She is a rogue Alistair and she is highly educated; she will find a way around this of not seeing you. I can assure you of this.”
“I’ll take steps to see to it that she stays here in the Kingdom.”
“Well good luck with that.” “I see you being wrong.”
“Wait, what do you know?”
“Tsk, Tsk, Alistair.” Leliana was wagging her finger at me.
“I’ll not be placed as the go person between the two of you, nor will our other companions get involved.”
“You’re on your own in regards to Bell.” “I won’t spy on her for you.”
“Yes, you will, if I command it.”
“Oh, you’re being insufferable again.”
“Yes, I am.”
“I will lie, I promise you.”
“I wouldn’t advise that.”
“I’m a better liar than you think; I just haven’t turned my skill on you.”
“I’m telling you Leliana not to try that.” “Don’t forget who I am.”
“You think I’ve forgotten that she made you king?” “I’m insulted.”
“Leliana, please, I don’t want to argue with you and I wasn’t trying to insult you.” “I’m making a mess of this.”
“Yes you are, and I accept your apology.”
“I’m glad you’re here anyway.” “There is something that I wish to speak to you about along with Zevran and Oghren.”
“Oh, what do you wish to speak to us about?”
Alistair walked over to his desk and settled his hip on the edge; he crossed his legs in front of him in a relaxed pose and also crossing his arms.
“What are your plans for the future?” “Are you planning on staying here in Ferelden or do you see yourself going back to Orlais?”
“I haven’t made any plans just yet.” “I do have a meeting with the Grand Cleric; she wishes to see me and interview me on our journey through Haven and finding the Urn of Scared Ashes.”
“Yes, she asked to interview all of you.” “I’d planned on telling all of you and it seems she beat me to the punch.” “I have a meeting with her tomorrow to go over my duties and responsibilities for my coronation.”
“I understand that we all have a meeting with Kristoff too for the Wardens.”
“Yes, he has already interviewed me.”
“If you decide to stay here in Ferelden, I’d like you to work for me?”
“Work for you?” “You mean in setting up your own spy network?”
“I wasn’t going to call it my own personal spy network, no.” Alistair shrugged his shoulders.
“Ah, Alistair, this is what it is to be though?”
“Yes, I suppose it will be my own spy network in retrospect.” “I wish to pay you for your services to do certain jobs for me and I’m in the process of purchasing Marjolaine’s former home for you, so you will have your own home here.” “This will give you freedom to do your work for me and not be seen at the palace.” “I’ll pay you a monthly sum for your bard skills.” “What do you say?”
“You will need eyes and ears on the ground with people who you can trust.” “I’ll consider this, give me time to think on this and I’ll give you my answer in a few days.”
“What?” “Expecting a better offer are you?” Alistair smirked at her.
“No, it’s not like that.” “I just haven’t made any plans in regards to my future and where I’ll go.”
Alistair smiled at his red-haired Orlesian Bard friend.
“Alright, but, I’d like to know as soon as possible.”
“I promise I’ll let you know.”
“You are going to make this same offer to Zevran?”
“Yes, I plan on offering him the same except I will see to it that he has a permanent room at the Pearl.”
“He would be better suited at the Pearl; I agree.”
“Do you know what his plans are?”
“Besides buying me a warehouse full of shoes, these are his only plans.”
“He means to buy you a warehouse full of shoes?” “Really, where does he plan to get his gold to do this?”
“Oh, I don’t think he is worried about the cost.”
“No of course not, with both of you being rogues.”
“Leliana laughed, well it is what we do, yes.”
“No, he hasn’t said anything.”
“As much as I love our drunken dwarf friend he won’t be suited to this type of work?”
“No he won’t unless he goes as muscle to back up you and Zevran on your missions.” “I’m going to give Oghren a position in the Guard of Denerim.” “I hope he accepts.”
“Oghren is in the worse position, so he will likely accept.”
“Why make these offers to us?”
“Because you’re my friends and you three really don’t have any place to return too.” “Ferelden needs people like you and I need you.” “I want to know that all of you will be alright, and it’s my duty as king to see that all of you are provided for because of your service to Ferelden and also to me personally.” “Because you helped Bell and I fight the blight, heedless of your own safety.”
He would be a good king thought Leliana and it would take time for him to learn as king, people would try to manipulate him. He did need them and he even realized this. This was good.
Bell had been right, he did need people outside of court to let him know what was really going on in the kingdom outside of Eamon and the other advisors that he would likely have. It was a good idea to offer all of them positions. He would need their help. He wished Sten was also staying and he also didn’t know about Shale and what her plans might be. He would also be giving Wynne a permanent position at court as Mage advisor to the King and she would have an apartment of her own at the palace. She would not return to the tower. He would see to it. As far as he was concerned she had earned her freedom from the tower and the chantry could kiss his arse over it. She was the closest thing beside Bell that he truly had as family, not the royalty part. As far as Alistair was concerned Wynne was his grandmother.
“Ok, that is settled, now tell me why you came to check on me?”
Leliana rubbed her eyebrow. She didn’t really want to tell him.
“We think that someone tried to poison Bell this morning.”
Alistair went into defensive mode as he always did where Bell was concerned. He reached down for his sword and shield and strapped them on his back. “Let’s go.”
Leliana walked over to him and placed her hand on his chest.
He raised his eyebrows at her in question. Looking down at her hand placed on his chest.
“She is alright.” “There wasn’t enough poison to do her any real harm.”
“I don’t care Leliana; I want to make sure she is alright.”
“She is I promise you.” “Wynne has already checked her over, and she is asleep for now.”
“You can’t go without your armor on anyway.”
Alistair looked down at himself. He had forgotten he had taken his armor off in his anger when he came back from the Fort this morning.
Leliana walked away from him back to his bed and sat on it.
“Well, I’ll just have to put it back on.” He started to reach for his chest piece beside his desk.
“I don’t think that is a good idea.”
“Tell me you’re joking.” He spun around to look at Leliana.
“No, I’m not.” “Stop and think about this. If you rush off back to the fort you might clue someone in that their plan worked.” “They might be trying to draw you out using Bell to do this and to try to take a shot at you.”
“You mean assassinate me?”
Alistair sighed in frustration. “What’s your advice then?” “I can’t stay behind walls and rule Leliana.”
“True, but you can show patience and how clever you really are.”
“Well it appears I’m taking you up on your offer of employment.”
“Good to know.”
“Stay here.” “I’ll get word to you on what we find out.”
“Leliana, I can’t.”
“You don’t have any other choice.” “This isn’t like battle with darkspawn Alistair; you can’t weigh in with shield and sword bashing your way to the truth.”
“Well it’s worked before.”
Leliana laughed at his cranky reply.
“Patience my king,” “You’re going to have to learn patience and wait for the information to come to you.”
“I’m not very good with patience.”
“I don’t want too in this instance.”
Now Leliana sighed. “Trust us will you?” “Do you honestly think we’ll let anything happen to her?”
“No, I know that you wouldn’t.”
“Then let me and Zevran get to work.” “I’ll let him know that he is now in the employ of the monarch.”
“I’m not sure he’ll like that?” “You know, working for me?” Alistair was waving his hand in the air to express his point.
“This is right up his alley and he’ll love it.”
“I’ll be back when we find something out, until then go on as before as if nothing has happened.”
“Easy for you to say,” replied Alistair, frowning in the process.
“Alistair, promise me.”
“I promise, but hurry or I won’t hold to this promise.”
“I’ll do my best.”
This was the best that he could hope for. He didn’t have much choice.
“You have to help me get back out of your room.”
“You need a distraction?”
“Yes, I do.”
“Alright, the only way I’m holding to this plan is have a diversion of my own.” “I think sometime on the practice dummies with my guards will work.”
“Ok, help me into my armor then.”
They both got Alistair back in his armor with his sword and shield correctly in place.
“Ok, let’s do this then.” “I’ll be here when you get back.”
Alistair walked to his door opening it and his guards immediately came to attention. Ser Allen turned to him.
“Yes Your Highness?”
“Allen, I need a break from studying.” “How about we get some practice swings in on the training field.”
Smooth as silk thought Leliana. The people in this kingdom better watch out. Alistair was craftier than he had ever let on.
“Excellent idea Your Highness, I was getting sleepy just standing here.”
“All right, let’s go then.”
Alistair left with six of his guards and Leliana walked in Alistair’s shadow leaving his room behind him. Alistair sensed her leaving. He didn’t turn to watch her go. He didn’t want to give away that he’d had a visitor. The other two guards remained positioned at his door while he would be away from his room.
Hurry Leliana, please hurry were his thoughts as he walked through Eamon’s estate to the training field outside and Leliana made her way in the other direction staying to the shadows to reach the outside to the market district.
It was time for her and Zevran to get to work finding out who tried to poison their friend and the motive(s) for their deed.