I sat down on my bed and wiped the tears from my face. I really had to stop crying over Alistair. I loved him yet there was nothing I could do to change his mind. If he really loved me he wouldn’t do this to us. Therefore I couldn’t put my faith in him and the future of our children. So I was on my own, and I’d have to build a life without him. It was time to get started on that life and also see the threat to my own children removed.
I stood up and removed my sleeping shift. I checked to make sure my bandages were secured. They seemed to be alright at the moment and I’d have to have Wynne change them tonight and again tomorrow before Zevran and I left for Gwaren. I would be a few days without my bandages being changed. There was no help for it and I’d had to go before without bandage changes. What I was preparing to do was a risk, but one I had no choice in seeing done.
My arms were healing and I was sure my face still had bruises all over. My legs as I looked down at them and the bandages there, they still hurt. I couldn’t allow my injuries to stop me from doing what I knew needed to be done. I would not allow Anora to win.
I reached down on the bed and was happy to find that Zevran and Leliana had also brought me new small clothes. I put these on. Amazing how much pain just doing this small task was causing my body to feel. I ignored this. Next I reached through the clothes and armor and found a heavy linen sleeveless-shirt that I put on next. I sat back down on my bed and picked up the tights. I bent over to start putting the tights over my feet and I gasped from the pain and pressure on my chest and legs. Once again, I just had to ignore the pain. At least with the pain I knew I was alive and had goals to achieve. Finally I was able to get the tights over my feet. I stood up and pulled them all the way up. Next I grabbed the beautiful leather skirt of leather armor and stepped into the skirt. Pulling the skirt up to my waist and securing the ties at my back. Next came the beautiful chest piece. I loved how well made it was and the color of it. I put my arms through and pulled it over my head. I had to grit my teeth from the pain. It had been a few weeks since I’d had any clothes on at all. It was uncomfortable with my bandages. I slid the chest piece into place, buckling the straps to secure the piece. Next I put on the arm guards and secured them to my arms. The belts came next. I really needed to get my equipment secured and in one place because I had ruined belts that I really needed that were better ruined than the ones that had come with the armor. The matching gloves for this set were still on the bed along with my sword and daggers.
I realized the armor didn’t have any boots. I looked around my room and finally spied my boots from my Superior Drake Scale Armor. They didn’t match this armor but they would have to do. I walked to the corner where they sat and noticed all the dried blood on them. I really didn’t have time or the supplies to clean the leather. I picked up my boots and went back to my bed, sitting down I put my boots on.
I looked over at my beautiful sword. Alistair had been right. Starfang was damaged badly. I hoped that Mikhael would be able to repair this marvelous sword. I loved this sword. It was light and flexible, yet strong. This sword had saved my life numerous times, especially when we had fought in the deep roads. The Grandmaster Silverite, Frost, and the Grandmaster Dormer ruin for spell resistance were still in place. There was a very large nick in the sword where the blasted Ogre I had been fighting here in the fort sidestepped and I hit the damn table instead. I remember the wood flying from the table. That had ticked me off to no end. I smiled, as I recalled bringing the Ogre down with glee. Duncan’s dagger was also badly damaged.
Well a trip to Eamon’s estate would be necessary. I had to have access to my equipment. I wanted all of my equipment sent to our family estate here in Denerim. I really had to find my brother and see where he was and make arrangements to get my equipment moved.
I also noticed several of my backpacks in the corner as well. I was sure Wynne had most likely used many of the supplies from within them to heal me. I’d have to check those too and see what I had left.
I got up and went to get the backpacks. Most of the lyrium was gone but I still had loads of health kits and heal potions which were a relief. I had relied on Wynne to heal me and she had done her job. I really didn’t have time to grab health potions during the battle, except in-between waves. I had seen to it that Wynne and Morrigan both had a few hundred lyrium for both of them. I had also taught both of them the arcane warrior arts which had been shared with me. Morrigan had come to my aid when the Ogres in the market and fort both had overwhelmed me. She had struck them from behind while I held them in place, being the tank, since I hadn’t brought Alistair along for that position. Zevran and Wynne had taken out any darkspawn mages that we came across and there had been many of them.
I looked inside another bag and found my wide tooth comb. I’m sure my hair more than likely looked a sight since I’d been in bed for two weeks or more. I reached behind my head and loosen the tie for my braid. It came loose with a little difficulty but I was finally able to get it undone. I slowly began the process of unraveling the long braid. I realized that my braid hadn’t been undone since being last in camp the night before the final battle when I had washed my hair in the lake. I had spent the night by myself and I had declined any companionship from my friends and most especially Alistair. I had spent the night with my faithful dog at my side. We both knew we might die the next day. I couldn’t wait to see Thor. I knew that Sten had most likely taken good care of him and Sten had promised me that if anything happened to me he would take Thor and see to his well being which had eased my mind somewhat. I had not known at the time that my brother was still alive.
After a short while my braid was finally undone and my hair fell down my back to the level with my waist. Most didn’t realize how much hair my braid held. Most people assumed that my hair was shoulder length. It was for battle purposes. The long braid which wound into a loop at the back of my head held most of my hair. The long braid and loop keep my hair secured and out of the way when I had battles to fight. I took my comb and finally managed to work the knots out and get my hair all combed out, then I started the slow process of getting my hair back into the long braid and then into the loop. I don’t know who spent more time on their hair – me or Alistair.
Besides a few more pieces of armor I was finally dressed. I felt sort of strange. I walked over to the bathing pool in my room and turned the knob and the water started to flow. I cupped my hands under the water filling my hands. I brought the water up to splash my face. I really didn’t want anyone to know my conversation with Alistair had caused more tears. The water felt good if a little cold. I used the sleeve of my shirt to dry my face. I turned the water off and thought what to do next.
I guess it was time to have that chat with Kristoff and one I wasn’t looking forward to having. I still needed to talk with Zevran too. I’m sure they were all waiting outside my door and I’m also sure they had seen Alistair leave.
I walked to my door and for a change Kristoff didn’t get to see me in my night clothes. This was a boost to my confidence. Let me see how serious you take me with my clothes on. I motioned for him to come inside. I seated myself at my desk and I motioned for him to get the other chair in the room and he finally had it situated next to my desk and It was time for our little talk or interview you might say that the First Warden wanted to know about my adventures.
“Alright Kristoff what does the First Warden wish to know?”
“I’m sorry; it’s alright that I call you by your name even though we haven’t known each other for long.” “If this displeases you I’ll just call you Warden.”
“No, Commander, the use of my name will be fine.”
I nodded, “very well, let’s get to it.”
Just as her reputation suggested the Commander got right down to business. Direct and to the point, thought Kristoff. He had to be careful, he knew she was trained as a rogue and might try to mislead him with her answers. He didn’t think she would, but he had to be on the alert for anything out of the ordinary in her narrative.
“Our records indicate from the last communication that we had from Duncan that he recruited you from your family home of Highever which is in the northern part of Ferelden, is this correct?”
“Yes, both of those statements are correct.”
“Your family was murdered during an attack on your home I’m given to understand, and Duncan was there when the attack occurred?”
“My brother had already ridden out for Ostagar to meet up with King Cailan.” “My father and Arl Rendon were to ride out the next morning.” “My father had introduced me to Duncan earlier in the evening and Duncan had asked my father to test me for recruitment into the Grey Wardens.” “My father inquired if Duncan was invoking the Right of Conscription for me and Duncan replied no he would honor my father’s wishes, at this meeting my father rejected Duncan’s recruitment of me.”
“There was another recruit that Duncan was there to test as well at least I was told so.”
“Yes, besides me, Duncan was there to test the captain of our guard, Ser Gilmore.”
How in the hell does Kristoff know all of this I wondered? Hmmm, interesting I thought.
“Arl Rendon is the man who attacked your family?”
“Yes, the excuse was given to my father that Arl Rendon’s troops were still massing and were on the march to Highever; they had been delayed to gather supplies.”
“Your father was Teyrn Bryce Cousland, second to the King Cailan?”
“I really don’t see why this information is needed?”
“It’s just background information that is needed for the First Warden’s records Commander; I assure you this is the case.”
“Will I be expected to maintain such records for my own recruits?”
“Yes, but not as much, you have read the manuscripts and I believe more time will be given to you to learn the cipher for our secret communications within the order.”
“I have, but I have not fully committed the cipher to full memory as of yet. I’m not up to full pare as of yet.”
“That is understandable Commander considering what you have been through in the past few weeks.” “It will become easier once you begin writing your reports, which must be done in duplicate and written in the cipher.”
“I understand and will see it done.”
“The reason we need more background information on you is due to the fact you have been named Warden Commander of Ferelden.” “It will be up to you to decide how much information you wish to have recorded for your records on each Warden here in Ferelden once you get started on recruitment.”
“The First Warden does not expect you to begin recruitment until you take command of the Vigil in six months.” “This will allow the rest of the Wardens the chance to move into the keep and get it ready for your arrival.” “The First Warden wishes the six months time to be used for you to make a full recovery.” “This will also give you the opportunity for any outstanding family business you may need to see to before you take your command.”
“You do realize Commander that your title as Teyrna no longer applies to you as a Warden?” “I hope also Commander that you realize that all Warden business comes before that of your family?”
“Yes, I do.”
“Good, let’s move on.”
“Duncan and you escaped the slaughter of your family at Highever, where you and he finally made your way to Ostagar.”
“How was Duncan able to get you to join the Order?”
“When the attack happened that night, Duncan got my father to safety even though he had received a mortal wound.” “My father asked Duncan to see my mother and me safely away.” “Duncan agreed only if I became a Grey Warden.” “My mother chose to stay and die with my father, to my horror.”
“So Duncan was able to gain your father’s permission?”
“Yes, my father granted his permission as he lay dying.”
“You took your joining at Ostagar?”
“Yes, after Duncan sent us on a mission into the wilds to obtain three vials of darkspawn blood and also to retrieve the old documents from an old warden base in the Kocari Wilds which were the ancient agreements for all races to send troops to the Wardens to defend against the blight.”
“Which you did recover and this is how you formed the army that you had.”
“Yes, but the documents were of no use to us until we were able help leaders of each race and until we did, they wouldn’t commit troops to the cause.”
“I’m not following you?”
“We had to do certain favors for each group before they would commit troops.”
“Would you please give me an example?”
Hmmm, this was going to be tricky, and I wondered if Kristoff would believe me. He would get similar versions from all companions within our party so it didn’t matter if he believed me or not. Our stories would all be virtually the same.
“Alright, before the Dalish would commit troops I had to help weed out werewolves in the Brecillian Forrest and remove a threat to them before they committed troops.” “Their warriors were under threat from werewolves and we killed the werewolves in the forest which were killing their warriors.”
I excluded the part where talking trees and crazy mages were involved and ancient Elven rituals.
“There were similar circumstances for each race.” “We had to help with whatever situation was hampering them from sending troops and once done, then the troops were committed.”
“What you are saying is that you had to solve problems for all three races before they would commit troops to the Wardens to fight the blight?”
“Even though you had the signed agreements in your possession, they still wouldn’t commit troops?”
“The First Warden will be greatly interested in this detail I assure you.”
“What were the circumstances with the Dwarfs?”
Rats! I had chosen the situation with the Dalish to avoid the swamp of politics I had been forced to wade through in Orzammar. So the Wardens outside of Ferelden already knew I had been involved in the politics of Orzammar. Hmm, interesting to say the least. I’d like to know who spilled the beans on that score. Oghren perhaps, I’ll have to make a note to remember to ask him. The Crows might be involved as well since I had uncovered a connection with the Crows and the Carta.
“I had to decide who would rule Orzammar between two men.”
Kristoff’s eyes narrowed slightly.
“You are aware Commander that Wardens don’t involve themselves with politics and yet you’ve done exactly that on two separate occasions.”
“I’m aware, yet I was forced to get involved when I had no desire to do so.” “The situation warranted, solving the issue of Orzammar’s crown or receive no troops from Orzammar or the Legion of The Dead for troops.”
“Once again the treaties were ignored.”
“Yes, there was no king in Orzammar to give the order for Orzammar troops to march, thus my involvement.”
“Human troops weren’t committed until the same situation occurred within Ferelden?”
“Yes, until I decided the Landsmeet, no human troops beside those of Arl Eamon’s would have been committed.”
“Why were you the one to decide the Landsmeet and not some other noble?”
“Because of me being the last of the Cousland line and Teyrna of Highever.” “It was not known at the time that my brother was still alive or he would have been the one to decide the Landsmeet which is our given right under the law being the oldest Teynir in Ferelden.”
“Did this have anything to do with why Howe murdered your family?”
I had to answer quickly and with conviction. I knew the real reason my family had been murdered, how much did the First Warden know or was this a fishing expedition?
“Yes, I believe this was the reason for Arl Rendon to take my families power, as Teyrn of Highever he would help secure Loghain’s bid for regent without much interference from the rest of the nobles.”
“Your father and his troops never made it to Ostagar?”
“My family did have troops at Ostagar, those that had ridden out with my brother, which was ¾ of the King’s troops stationed at Highever.” “A small force was to be left for me to command in the absence of my father and brother for the security of Highever.”
“Your father didn’t have any reservations in leaving you in charge of the command of the King’s troops left at Highever?”
I felt like punching Kristoff, pompous Orlesian ass.
“No, why would he, when my father had trained me and my brother all of our lives to train and command the King’s troops?”
“Please don’t take offense Commander, this just adds to your record and your background of being able to lead troops.” “I assure you this is the only reason for the question.” “It also confirms what the First Warden has been told of your background.”
“May I ask who has done the telling of my background to the First Warden?”
A slight smile crossed Kristoff’s lips.
“That would have been me Commander; for I saw you fight in the tourney in Orlais a few years back and made the suggestion for Duncan to keep an eye out for any opportunity to recruit you into the Wardens.”
A streak of alarm crawled up my back. Damnation, he knows I was in Orlais a few years ago. What else does he know I wondered? I can’t react; I must remain calm or give the appearance of being calm.
“Oh, I see.”
“Your performance on the field was most impressive Commander for one so young.” “King Cailan was also impressed with your performance on the field as well and on behalf of Ferelden.” “He sat with the Wardens as we watched the list that day.
“King Cailan was truly supportive of the Wardens his whole life and I’m sure the Wardens are thankful that his father King Maric allowed the order back into Ferelden.”
“When did you meet Warden Theirin?”
“I meet him the next day after arriving at Ostagar.” “Duncan had given me the rest of the evening to get a hot meal and bath, and to explore the camp.” “I meet him just before leaving for our mission in the wilds.”
“You didn’t know at the time that he was King Cailan’s half brother?”
“No, I did not.”
“Even with your families close association with the Royal Family of Theirin, you still didn’t know?”
“I personally did not know; I don’t know if my brother and father knew of Prince Alistair.” “A bastard son is not the type of topic my father and I would have discussed unless it meant changes at Highever and which would have involved me personally.” “At the time, since King Cailan was still alive at that point, there was no reason for me to know.”
I still didn’t understand his line of questioning and the need for it.
“When did Warden Theirin make you aware that he was King Maric’s son?” “Was it before the battle of Ostagar or after?”
“It was a few months after.” “We had just made our way to Redcliffe seeking aid from Arl Eamon against Loghain when he made all Wardens in Ferelden outlaws.”
“Warden Theirin told me at that time that he was King Maric’s son and King Cailan’s half-brother.”
“It wasn’t common knowledge among the Wardens that he was a prince, am I correct on this?”
“Yes, Warden Theirin explained to me that only Duncan knew of his royal bloodline.”
“How did you two survive Ostagar?”
“King Cailan requested that Warden Theirin and I light the signal within the Tower of Ishal for Loghain’s troops to flank the darkspawn.” “King Cailan wanted Wardens to be responsible for this mission.” “Warden Theirin and I set off when the battle started for the tower.” “Once we arrived at the tower we discovered that darkspawn had overtaken the tower.” “We were joined by one circle mage and one of King’s Cailan’s troop members.” “We proceed to fight our way through the tower.” “When we reached the top, we encountered an Ogre which we battled and brought down, and then we lit the signal and watched from the tower windows as Loghain’s troops turned and quit the field leaving all the Wardens in the valley along with King Cailan and his troops to die without aid.”
“You are certain you lit the signal?”
“Oh yes, we lit the signal and any survivors of Ostagar will be able to verify that the signal was indeed lit.” “Warden Theirin is the one who actually lit the signal.” “We had just turned to each other from the horror of seeing all the Wardens and The King with his troops being massacred from Loghain’s retreat when we were overtaken by darkspawn flooding into the tower.” “I passed out from my injuries and I believe that Warden Theirin did as well.” “We both wake up some time later inside a Chasind Hut in the wilds where an older woman and her daughter got us out of the tower after the battle was over and nursed each of us back to health.” “It’s also my understanding that several Ash warriors from Chasind Tribes also survived the battle.” “I really don’t know how many actually did survive and I’m sure it will be years before the country will have a true count.”
“What were the names of these women who helped you?”
“The older one was named Flemeth and her daughter’s name is Morrigan.”
“The daughter traveled with you and is the apostate mage?”
It was obvious to me that Kristoff had indeed already interviewed my companions about our journey to end the blight.
“You have no idea where she is?”
“No, she said she would leave the city as soon as the Arch Demon was slain and it appears that she did exactly that.”
“Would she return to her hut in the wilds?” “I need to interview her as well.”
“I honestly don’t know, she didn’t say that she would return to her home in the wilds, she could be anywhere.”
“Where did the three of you go next?”
“It was the four of us, not three.”
“Yes, Thor, my mabari war hound was with us.”
“Oh yes, the dog that keeps joining us on guard at your door.”
“That is his job…guarding me and I’m sure he didn’t appreciate you taking up his post.” I couldn’t help it I giggle at Kristoff sour look.
“In answer to your question, Morrigan made the suggestion that we gain supplies and find out any information that we could from a small village in the southern part of Ferelden which was called Lothering.” “We made our way there were Loghain’s men tried to arrest us.” “We fought them and won.”
“You killed all of them and this is when you meet Leliana?”
“Yes, she helped us in the fight.” “I agreed for her to join our party when she asked to join us.” “I accepted her help.”
“She is the bard and is a novice Chantry sister.”
“Bard yes, Chantry sister, I’m not fully certain if she still is or not.”
“We left Lothering a short time later after doing for the villagers what we could, and when we left to enter the King’s Highway we encountered a darkspawn war party which we defeated.” “It was a few days later that we heard that darkspawn had completely sacked the village of Lothering and were starting to march against the remaining southern part of Ferelden.”
“I’m sure the apostate mage wasn’t happy to have a Chantry sister along.”
“Not exactly, it made for some interesting conversation on the road.”
“I haven’t a doubt, chuckled Kristoff.”
“Where did you go next?”
“We then made camp and we encountered a gentleman by the name of Levi Dryden and he asked for our assistance in retaking the old Warden base from King Arland’s time at Soldier’s Peak and after that we went to Honnelath a small village in the southwestern part of Ferelden where I picked up Shale.
“Shale is the stone golem?”
“She is a curious creature I must say.” “I’ve never encountered a golem that could talk before.”
“I think all of us had the same reaction.” “It seems her control rod was broken and this afforded her free will and the use of her voice once again.” “She was extremely helpful in our journey.” “She can take on several darkspawn at once on her own.”
“From there we traveled to the Mage Circle Tower to seek the assistance of the Templars and Mages alike, which I was able to get them to send mages and Templars both for my army.”
“What special deed did you have to do for them before they would send troops?”
“I had to clear the tower of demons and fight a fade demon and I saved the First Enchanter and several Templars in the process.”
I thought it best not to mention getting trapped in the fade by said Fade beast too. I didn’t wish to talk with Kristoff all bloody day.
Maker! This woman’s accomplishments….they were astounding. The First Warden would be impressed.
“Is it true that you actually found the Urn of Scared Ashes or is this just a rumor?”
“Yes, we did indeed find the Urn of Scared Ashes.” “The mountain that the temple sits on is near a small village west of Redcliffe called Haven. The village is located at the foot of the mountain.” “At the top of the mountain is the temple that holds the Urn of Andraste.” “We had to fight a High Dragon there too.”
“You killed a high dragon?”
“Yes along with two more in fact and a couple in the deep roads as well.” “I think one in the Brecillian Forest also.” “Some were drakes and small baby dragons; but yes, we’ve killed several as a war party.”
Kristoff blinked his eyes in disbelief.
“I had to find the Urn in order to save Arl Eamon from Loghain having him poisoned.” “We had to kill the dragon to make it to the urn and also wipe out a blood cult as well.”
“Which in turn secured the troops from the Arl?”
“Yes, and put us in a position to fight Loghain in the Landsmeet, after we uncovered in the Alienage of Denerim of Loghain selling Ferelden citizens into slavery.”
“When did you find the time to make it Orzammar and help the Dalish?”
I shrugged my shoulders, we just sort of keep working things off our list that had to be done, until we got the troops and supplies that we needed and got the army to form up at Redcliffe and the rest you know.”
Kristoff also knew she had also helped various organizations during her journey was well. Such as the Mages Collective, Blackstone Irregulars, and also done deeds for the Chantry. She had also had dealings with Crows as well. She had been a busy lady and her party as well that had traveled with her. She had proven herself resourceful and had gained support for the Wardens throughout Ferelden.
“You must understand Warden Kristoff that Alistair and I have been on the run since Ostagar and it has been nonstop.” “Alistair and I were running for our lives and trying to build an army at the same time.” “It has been very difficult.” “It seems very strange to me to sit idle and not have some problem that I need to solve or supplies that we need to gather. Let alone enemies to hunt down or gain allies.” “It’s odd to sit here with no pressing concerns at the moment.”
“Commander, you have earned the six month rest.” “It’s the First Warden’s order that you have six months off once told of your injuries.”
“I’m assuming you met this Orzammar warrior Oghren I believe his name is when you gained aid from Orzammar?
“We also met up with Sten in Lothering about the same time as we meet Leliana.”
“That leaves the Crow Assassin?”
“Well we encountered him on the road after he tried to assassinate Alistair and myself.”
“Loghain hired him to kill Alistair and me.”
“Yet you took him into your party.”
“Yes, that was a risk, yet I felt it was better that he travel with us so I could keep an eye on him.”
“I can see your point there.”
“Why did the Qunari warrior join you?”
“Well he had a death sentence in Lothering for killing some people and I got Leliana to convince the Reverend Mother to release him to help us fight the blight.”
“What was a Qunari warrior doing in Ferelden?”
“I still don’t understand it fully myself, all I can tell you is that their Arishok, a leader of the Qunari didn’t fully understand about the blight and he sent a search party to find the answer on what a blight is.”
“Hmmm, from my understanding, no blight has ever been recorded in Qunari lands and why this is we just don’t know.” “It’s something the scholars at Weisshaupt are trying to find an answer too.”
“I think I’d be interested as a Warden in knowing that answer as well.”
“I’m sure all Wardens would agree with you.”
“Maybe no Arch Demon is to be found in Qunari lands?”
Kristoff gave me an odd look.
“Warden Cousland, as a Warden Commander, and the higher you go in the order there are Senior Wardens who do know where the Arch Demons’ are buried.”
“Well if they know then why don’t they do something, instead of waiting until one rises to harm all of humanity?” Raw fury was pumping through my veins at this revelation. Knowing what Alistair and I had gone through to fight this blight.
“It’s not that simple.”
“Simple you say… how can it get any simpler?”
“From my understanding and what little information I have on subject, is that they are so far down, even far below the dwarven kingdoms deep roads that its impossible to reach them?”
“That doesn’t make any sense.” “If the darkspawn can reach them then Wardens should be able to reach them with the help of the dwarven kingdoms.”
“I don’t understand it myself Warden Cousland, I was just sharing the information with you.”
“I see its still puzzling.”
“I agree it is puzzling that the Wardens have not done anything with this information, my guess is that they need more information and some way of reaching them before an effort is made to try.”
I’ll pray that someone, somewhere finds a solution, I think fighting an Arch Demon underground would be easier before a darkspawn awakens it.”
“I fully agree Warden Cousland.”
“Is there anything else you wish to ask?” “I’d like to visit with my companions for awhile.”
“Yes, there are a few more questions?”
“Alright ask them, I’d like to get on with my day.”
Kristoff rubbed his hand over face, this question would be the hardest and he would have to gage her answers very carefully.
What she said, would determine the order he would receive from the First Warden in allowing her to live.
“Is it true that Loghain also imprisoned Riordan?”
“Yes, Alistair and I discovered Riordan in the dungeon of Arl Howe where he had also taken over the Arl of Denerim’s estate the same way he took my family estate and claimed the title of Arl of Denerim.”
“Alistair and I released Riordan where we met up with him a short time later at Arl Eamon’s and also again before the final march to Denerim at Redcliffe.”
“Was it Duncan or Riordan who explained to you that a Warden is the only one able to kill an Arch Demon?”
“It was Riordan when we meet up with him again on our way to join up with the army at Redcliffe.” “The darkspawn attacked Redcliffe castle and our party came upon the attack and we saved everyone at Redcliffe.”
“Riordan did die during the battle for the city?”
“Yes, he fell off the back of the Arch Demon.” “Riordan did injury the dragon’s wing and it landed on the roof of this fort.”
“Riordan explained to Alistair and I the need for a Warden to make the final kill.”
“He told you that a Warden gives up his life and soul to destroy an Arch Demon?”
“Yes, he did.”
“Then can you tell me Warden how it is that you are alive?”
“The only answer I can give you is that I’m alive by the Maker’s own divine hand, it’s by His Will that I’m alive.” “I have no other explanation.”
“There was no use of blood magic to keep you alive?”
“Not to my knowledge, none was used.”
This was a bold face lie to be sure. I couldn’t tell Kristoff about the ritual between Alistair and Morrigan. Alistair had saved my life by doing what he did. My life and the life of a child was the result of that ritual and I would not give the Wardens the answer on how I was alive. If they didn’t like it, they’d just have to kill me.
Warden Kristoff eyed me critically.
“I’m afraid; I’m going to need more of an explanation Warden Cousland.”
Oh ho! So it’s back to being Warden Cousland instead of being Warden Commander! Interesting.
“I wish I had more of an explanation to offer, but the one I gave you is the only one I have.”
Kristoff knew she was lying. Why she would lie, well he just didn’t know. She was the only Warden in history that had survived the killing of an Arch Demon and the Wardens needed to know how she had done it.
“You have nothing else to offer by way of explanation?”
“When did the Wardens start questioning the Maker’s will over someone’s life?”
There wasn’t much he could say when someone involved the will of the Maker. He certainly couldn’t prove or disprove the will of the Maker. She is clever and cunning just as her reputation has been put forth. She had just proven her reputation to him. He couldn’t think of a single question to ask to draw the truth out of her. Not one. There were no contradictions in any of the companions’ stories. They were all very nearly word for word. The Qunari had been the hardest to interview and his story on their adventures had been the same as the rest of the companions. That left only one, the apostate mage. Blood magic had to be involved in her being alive. The higher Wardens would have to find this mage to uncover the truth. She was the only one missing and she was more than likely the key of how Warden Cousland was alive.
He and the Commander were at an impasse and they both knew it.
“Warden Kristoff, the events of this morning, this has to do with my family being murdered and I’ll handle this, I want no interference from the Wardens on this.”
“Commander, I must protest.” “I’m charged with your safety by the First Warden and His Highness until you make a full recovery.”
“I appreciate their concerns, but this is a private matter and one I wish to handle myself.” “I promise it will be handled but it will take rogue’s touch, which I am trained to handle.”
“Commander, I don’t feel this is wise, given your physical condition.”
“Your concerns have been noted Warden Kristoff; but, I must ask that I handle this myself.” “If I don’t see the possibility of pulling this off myself and ending the threat to my life then we’ll put our heads together and see what we need to do, especially if they try to end my life once more.”
“If this is what you wish Commander, I’ll give you time to deal with the threat on your own.” “If another attempt is made on your life then the Wardens must act, we will have no choice.”
“I understand Warden Kristoff.”
“I wish for all of our meals and the supplies to cook them be handled by you and the other Wardens from here on out.” “This will include the meals for my companions here at the fort as well. I will be going to Arl Eamon’s estate once I make an appointment with him and also when I consult my brother. I wish to move all of us to my family’s estate here in Denerim which my brother has recently secured. Therefore, we won’t need the assistance of any of Arl Eamon’s staff once we make that move. Then whoever tried to do me in, won’t have as easy access to me or that of my companions, or any of my Wardens under my command.”
“As you wish Commander,” “I’ll send some of the other Wardens to the market to purchase supplies for our meals here.”
“Wynne and Leliana can still both cook and I’ll also start helping with this until we move to the Cousland Estate here in the city.”
“Is there anything else we need to discuss at this time Warden Kristoff?”
“I have no more questions at this time.” “I’ll provide the First Warden your answers that he has asked for.”
I nodded my head.
“Very well Warden Kristoff, your dismissed then.”
I felt it best to end our conversation this way with his slip of calling me Warden, instead of Warden Commander.