I was fuming inside as I practically stomped a path back up to the second floor. Damn Alistair, what is he thinking keeping me inside this fort? What could his reasons possibly be? None of this made any sense. Unless he thought I didn’t plan on attending his coronation? I had a duty as a Cousland to be there beside my brother. I’d done all the work getting Alistair on that throne and I wasn’t going to miss seeing him crowned king. One part of me felt like running away but I also knew it was my duty to be there as a Cousland and the Warden Commander. I could grin and bear it. I’d have too.
Zevran and Leliana were walking behind me and both of them were very quiet. Various soldiers and personnel of the fort bobbed their greetings and respect to us as we walked by them. Many bowed to me. Something I was used to anyway being a Cousland. I would nod my head in greeting to them and acknowledge their show of respect to me.
I was raking my brain on how to get out of this fort as I walked along. When Alistair and I were in a cell here, I’d easily picked the lock on the cell door and we found our equipment close by and we managed to fight our way out of the fort. We’d left by the front door and made a run for it. I still felt very guilty killing the people that we had. We’d had no choice because Alistair and I both knew what was at stake to the country if we didn’t get away. Everyone in Ferelden was going to die if we hadn’t escaped and the Arch Demon would have razed Ferelden and moved on to the next country which most likely would have been Orlais.
Morrigan and Leliana had come to rescue us with the rest of the gang waiting outside to help, incase Alistair and I were injured when our two friends found us. We’d made a beeline back to Eamon’s estate taking the back alleys. Lucky for all of us we hadn’t run into any more gangs which roamed the back alleys with the intent of robbing and killing those who traveled those dark corridors of paved stones, trash, rats, and all manner of things, which I really didn’t want to think about. All the riffraff in the city traveled the back alleys.
The back alleys….an ideal just formed in my mind. I knew how I was getting outside of this fort. I had two options. One was to leave as a servant. There were all manner of Elven servants here inside the fort, and they left in the evening when their day of work was done. Most of the elves left by the back entrances to the fort where deliveries were made and which led directly to the docks. Yes, the docks weren’t very far away from the palace and the fort. We’d have to turn east and then south to make the west gate, which is the road that we needed to head to the Brecillian Forest and to Gwaren. Since Zevran was coming with me and I had a strange feeling Leliana might also be coming along this would be perfect. Leliana could create a diversion if need be to help get me out of here.
If there was no hope of leaving by the servant entrance, my only other choice was to scale the walls down. I hoped the servant entrance would work. My legs wouldn’t like me scaling down a tower wall. I had to be prepared for both plans of escape. We’d have to reach one of the turret towers to do this too. The roof might work and I’d have to make an excuse to get to the roof. Well I already had an excuse. I wanted to see the bones of the dragon on the roof. Zevran, Leliana and I would have to knock out a few guards to make our escape. They would come to check as to why we hadn’t come down from the roof.
I’d made a grave error in my statement to Commander Rader. He would now be on guard for my escape which he knew was coming. I was struck dumb when he told me Alistair had commanded that I had to stay inside these walls. Hmmm, before they checked, they’d have to get through Kristoff first. Blast it. I really didn’t want to involve him. I’d rather he not know I was gone also. I didn’t see any way around this unless I tucked Thor inside my bed. I giggled to myself. Well that might work too. My mind was so full of my thoughts that I didn’t see the man coming around the corner to the second floor entrance hall which lead to the massive hall where my room was. We both bumped right into each other. Zevran was immediately at my back. Leliana took up my other flank.
“I’m so sorry, I didn’t see you there.”
We both recognized each other and we both started laughing.
“Kardol it is so good to see you.”
“Ah the Legion of the Dead Commander, it is good to see you again, spoke Leliana.”
Zevran nodded his greeting and with a slight of movement put his throwing daggers away, hidden inside pockets up the sleeves of his armor. I also had a couple of the small daggers hidden in mine was well. I had a total of seven daggers on me, plus my sword. My lucky seven’s as I referred to them. Two daggers were in my boots, two in my sleeves, and one in my belt and the two on my back along with my sword. Each of us also carried attached to our backpacks on our waist, small vials of poison. When swinging our daggers down, we’d break the vials with the hilts of the daggers on the downswing and on the upswing coat the daggers on the flowing liquid. I normally used ‘The Quiet Death’. Each rogue that I’d ever meet – each had a favorite. Zevran carried several varieties and so did Leliana. Adder’s kiss was another good one especially fighting against warriors. It slowed their movement and defense. With quiet death, a victim was immediately paralyzed and died a quick death with just one slash. One slash to the leg or arm, then the kill slash across the throat all done in a matter of seconds – then on to the next opponent.
Kardol, didn’t see Zevran’s slight of hand, but I had caught it out of the corner of my eye. There would have been a very sharp blade pressed against Kardol’s throat if he had been someone else and posed a threat to me. They wouldn’t have seen Leliana or Zevran both going for their hidden daggers, because their main weapons would have been on their backs still. It would have been up front and personal if it had been a threat. I would have blocked with my arms guards. Leliana and Zevran would have gone in for the kill giving me time to skip back and draw my daggers and take up the position to guard Zevran’s flank. Leliana would have struck then danced away far enough to draw her bow while Zevran and I would have finished them off. A quick dance of death would have been over and done in a matter of seconds. A rogue’s footwork was a dance of death. I was thankful it was just Kardol.
“Commander it is good to see you up and about again.” “We’d heard you more than likely wouldn’t be up for awhile.”
“Well Kardol, one of the good things on being a Warden is that we heal very quickly.”
“Yes, I’ve seen it happen to other Wardens in the deep roads before.”
“A trade secret of the Wardens from what I’ve seen and heard.” “The Legion has always wondered how you fellows heal so quickly.”
“I guess you could say it is a trade secret of the Wardens, I never thought of our abilities in that manner before.”
“Care to share that secret Commander, it would be a skill the Legion would find very useful?”
“The only way I could share this trade secret Kardol is if you’d be willing to join the Wardens, I’d gladly extend that invitation to you since I’ll be in charge of rebuilding the order here in Ferelden.”
“So what say you Kardol, would you care to join the Wardens?”
Kardol played with the braids of his beard for a few moments as he thought of my offer. His hair was more blonde than Oghren’s. Both Orzammar warriors were part of the warrior caste of Orzammar.
“I appreciate the invitation and the honor of being offered the rite to join the famous Grey Wardens, Commander, it’s actually an honor.”
“However, my blade is in service to my homeland of Orzammar and keeping her safe.” “The Legion is the only thing standing in the way of the darkspawn from entering Orzammar and the only hope we have left for the safety and security of our people.” “I’m sure you understand Commander, as much as I’d wish for the title of Grey Warden to be associated with my name, the people of Orzammar must come first.” “I’ve sworn an oath commander.”
“I understand Kardol, I truly do.” “If you change your mind I’d be happy to accept you into the order.”
I will keep it in my mind Commander.
“So what are your plans Kardol, how soon do you plan on going back to Orzammar?”
“We plan to leave after the coronation of King Alistair.” “I do have men I left on duty in the deep roads as we speak and I must get back to them as soon as possible.” “King Behlen has already decreed that the castless can now join the Legion, and I’m grateful Commander to you for placing him on the throne.” “I know it wasn’t an easy decision.”
“No, it wasn’t an easy decision, you are right.”
“I liked Lord Harrowmount; yet, I felt that Behlen and his supporters would have done whatever was needed to take Orzammar’s throne.” “Even kill Harrowmount if need be.”
“It pains me Commander to say it, but it is true what you just said.”
“I’m afraid I have to be the one to tell you, but Behlen already has done exactly that, he has nearly wiped out the whole House of Harrowmount.” “A few nobles of the Harrowmount House have managed to escape to the surface from my understanding.”
I felt the smile leave my face in greeting Kardol. I looked down at the floor in remorse. I’d hated that Harrowmount and Behlen both had placed me in such an awkward position just to gain Orzammar’s troops and get them both to honor the Grey Warden treaties.
“I was afraid that would happen to Lord Harrowmount and I’m truly sorry for Orzammar’s lose.”
“Don’t feel sorrow Commander that is the way of things in Orzammar.” “It would have happened sooner or later.” “It was wrong of both men to use you in the manner in which they did, and everyone in Orzammar agrees it was wrong, and made our kingdom look bad to outsiders, and people we might gain new trade relations with, especially King Alistair. “It wasn’t the best impression for the new King who is a member of the Wardens either to gain firsthand knowledge.” “All of Orzammar is very happy to have a Theirin back on the throne of Ferelden once again and for King Alistair to be a Warden himself.” “The Legion is very happy to hear of this news out of Ferelden.”
I just nodded. I was still upset in hearing that Lord Harrowmount was now dead. I couldn’t help but feel responsible. The man should have run for the surface when he had the chance, when I left Orzammar and could have helped him in his escape. Lord Harrowmount for his shady dealings was still the more honorable of the two men.
“At least with Behlen, the ranks of the Legion will now grow and hopefully our dwarven kingdoms will be able to reclaim part of the old empire once again and the deep roads.”
“I hope so too Kardol, Orzammar does have the need for the Legion to be as strong as it can be.”
“In recruiting for the Legion and for those casteless who don’t wish to join the legion and would like the start of a new life, I’d be happy to test them for recruitment into the order.”
“I’ll keep my eyes open Commander and send them to you.” “It would do the Legion good to have many of Orzammar’s citizen’s within the order of Grey Wardens, since the Wardens and the Legion both know what it is to fight in the deep roads, even if they be casteless.”
“Speaking of the deep roads, Kardol, I’ll have need of the deep roads and I was wondering if I could depend on you to help host the Wardens when I’ll need to train my new recruits?”
“The Legion would be honored to train with you and the Wardens at any time Commander just send a message to King Behlen so he can make us aware of when you will arrive.”
“Thank you Kardol.” “It won’t be for several months yet; but, I’ll send you word.”
“It was an honor to have you fight on the surface here in Ferelden, know Kardol, that you saved many lives and especially mine and those of my companions fighting on the roof with me.” “Without your aid I’m not sure we would have won.” “You and your men keep the darkspawn busy so I could get to the Arch Demon, without you, I’m not sure it would have worked out.”
“Well commander all of us were beginning to wonder if you were ever going to blow that horn to allow us to get into the fighting with you, all of us were afraid you’d forgotten us.”
I laughed, “no, just trying to save as many lives as I could Kardol.”
Kardol chuckled, “unlike you Commander, I have no need for such worry, since the mantra of the Legion is death, and is what is expected of us.”
“Thank you Commander for the compliment.” “It was an honor and a privilege to lend aid to the Grey Wardens.” “I can say Commander, I believe you would have won regardless, you’re a natural born fighter Commander, with great instinct for the kill.”
“Thank you Kardol, that means alot coming from you.”
“I won’t keep you any longer Kardol; it was good to see you again.”
“It was good to see you as well Commander, I’ll look forward to seeing you in the deep roads once again.”
“I’d enjoy having a pint with the Legion before they head back to Orzammar.”
“Aye, I’m sure we’d all like that Commander and swap war stories; we’ll look forward to it.”
“Till then Kardol.”
I stood there digesting the news that Lord Harrowmount was dead, and in a way I was responsible. Yet, I knew that Behlen and his supporters would have killed the man if I had placed him on Orzammar’s throne. I just wish there were other ways of getting into the deep roads besides Orzammar so I wouldn’t have to deal with Behlen again. This was probably wishful thinking on my part. Still there had to be more than one entrance to the deep roads, this is something I was going to do research on. It just seemed plausible that there would be.
Leliana placed her hand on my shoulder.
“You’re not responsible you know.”
“I know Leliana, but I feel like it just the same.”
“Kardol was right, it was a hard choice and hard position to be in,” spoke Zevran.
I looked over at Zevran and nodded. He gave me a comforting glance.
I nodded my head for us to get to my room. At least the talk with Kardol had calmed my temper over Alistair keeping me prisoner here in the fort. I knew what Alistair was doing; he thought he was keeping me safe from Nathaniel Howe. I did have a slight advantage. I knew what Nathaniel looked liked and Alistair didn’t. Or I didn’t think he did. No, Nathaniel would still be in the Free Marches where he had been sent to train with his uncle’s men so he could one day take over his father’s garrison at the Vigil. This was never going to happen now after what had happened. I felt sorry for Nathaniel and I was sure he had played no part in his father’s twisted behavior and his actions.
Instead the Grey Wardens would take over the Howe’s family home here in Ferelden and make it our main base of operations, which I didn’t agree with. I’d still prefer the old keep at Soldier’s Peak. It felt so strange to accept Alistair’s decision over matters such as this, when I’d been the one making all the decisions on the road. I also just realized all major decisions regarding the Grey Wardens of Ferelden would also have to have his approval as King. I felt my teeth grate as I clamped down on my jaw.
My small party turned the corner into the main hall of the second floor and Kristoff saw us. A puzzled expression crossed his face.
“Commander?” My title was spoken with a question in his voice.
“Come Kristoff we have much to discuss, in my room please.”
All of them followed me into my room. Kristoff closed my door behind us. I walked over to my bed unbuckling my scabbard and tossed my weapons on my bed. I turned and started pacing my room. My fellows waited patiently for me to walk my anger off.
When I finally found my voice I turned and faced all of them. They eyed me unsure of what my reaction was to be.
“Well Kristoff it seems that my future king and fellow Grey Warden feels it is necessary to keep me protected inside these walls and I’m not allowed to leave this fort without his permission.”
I saw Kristoff keep his face and composure steady, even though he was trying not to laugh.
“I believe the King is just trying to protect you Commander until you are fully healed and also due to the threat against your life.”
“Oh, so I guess killing a demonic dragon carries no weight?” I asked the question with sarcasm heavy in my voice. I’d placed my hands on my hips as I started pacing again.
“I’m sure Alistair didn’t mean it in the way it seems Bell.” “You’re still not back to full health and it will take time for you to heal.”
“Are you forgetting Leliana that I’m a Grey Warden and we do heal quickly?” “How could Alistair forget this ability when he is a Warden also?”
“I think Alistair and Eamon both have men out looking for any sign of the Howe Family and also supporters of Anora as well.” “He can protect you better here inside this fort.” “I’m sure you’ll get mobbed if you go outside.”
“I doubt that Leliana.” “People hardly know me anymore here in Ferelden.”
“Not true, my beauty, you are the talk of the town and those in the army will know who you are if you walk outside.” “I think Alistair just wants to keep you out of the press of the crowds for now until people start leaving the city after his coronation.”
I felt like stomping my foot.
“Zev, I can take care of myself.”
“You haven’t been outside Commander since the battle.” “The city is bursting with people and it would be easy for anyone to come up and harm you in the crowds.” Kristoff’s words of wisdom to sooth my temper on Alistair’s behalf.” Hmmm, who said Grey Wardens aren’t great politicians?
“Don’t forget you are the one who took Anora’s throne from her.”
At the mention of Anora’s name I ground my teeth together once again.
“I have somewhere that I need to be Leliana.” “I should have already left truth be told.”
“Leave?” “Where is it that you plan on going?”
“I need to get to Gwaren.”
“Gwaren?” “Are you out of your mind?” Leliana’s eyebrows shot up and a crease formed between her eyes.
“The safety of Alistair, myself, my brother, and certain individuals in Orlais…their lives depend on me getting to Gwaren before Anora’s maid gets there.” “She already has a head start on me.”
Zevran eyed be with speculation.
Leliana was flabbergasted.
Kristoff was intrigued.
“This has to do with what happened with your family and their murders?”
“Yes, there are documents at Gwaren that I need to get my hands on before Anora’s maid.”
“Who are these people in Orlais and why do you need to protect them?”
“I was on a mission in Orlais for King Calian Leliana when I was sent to school there.” “I need to protect our contacts in Orlais.”
Leliana gasped, and then she let a small tinkle of laughter escaped her lips.
“You were playing ‘the game’ in Orlais?”
“Yes, I guess you could say that on behalf of King Cailan.”
“You are not a bard though?” “Are you?”
“Did you think that Orlais is the only one with bards Leliana?”
“Of course not, I’ve run into others from all over Thedas.”
“It seems a very famous one is hidden right here in Ferelden.”
“So it seems Leliana”, I smirked at her.
“You played the game very well for me not to hear of you even in Orlais.”
“So I was told.”
“I always knew there was more to you and you did well keeping your other talents hidden.”
“Well I also sing and bake as well.”
“Oh, you hid that from all of us as too?”
“Well you couldn’t really expect me to fight darkspawn all day and bake all night did you?”
“It was a good thing Sten didn’t know, you’d never got away from the cooking fire if he had known.”
I laughed,” yes, I’m sure, he would have had me baking cookies all night long.”
“If Anora gets those papers in her hands her supporters will call a Landsmeet and she will force my hand on what I know and who I’m protecting in Orlais.” “She will be able to remove Alistair from the throne and make me her puppet, her in-house killer.” “Or so she thinks.”
“I have signed documents from King Cailan that were signed before the Divine herself; so, Anora won’t get what she thinks.” “Her life will in my hands once again.” “She has no idea at this time how lucky she is to still be alive and only because Alistair does not know the whole truth and because he shows mercy to her because she is the grievous widow.” “Her fate will rest in my hands and not Alistair’s if she trips my hand.” “I was given the authority over Alistair and any regent she/he/or I placed on the throne.”
“She knows this, you, have the authority given to you by her own husband?”
“No, she does not.” “I’m the safe guard that King Calian put in place.”
“Did she kill King Calian?” Zevran asked the question before Leliana got it out of her mouth.
“Yes, she did.”
“She ordered her father to retreat at Ostagar and she stopped my father from arriving at Ostagar with the larger of the two forces to back Calian up.” “She meant for Calian to die at Ostagar, he knew it also.”
I still had deep felt sorrow in my heart of telling Calian goodbye that day as I turned to leave his tent and the instructions that he had sent me with and to safe guard Alistair and his last wishes for his kingdom.”
His words to me echoed in my mind still:
“Maker speed your steps Bellavalia and my He keep you and Alistair safe.”
“Maker protect you as well My Sovereign Lord.”
These had been my last words to my friend and King. There had been more spoken that night, but my mind refused to play those words. I knew I’d never see or hear Cailan again as my friend once I left that tent.
“The man who we tried to save in the forest….Cailan’s bodyguard, this is what he meant?”
“Yes, even though he could have meant the darkspawn were too many.” “If Loghain and my father had been on the field then there was a chance all of them would have beaten the darkspawn back and many would have survived long enough to sound a retreat and wait for the Grey Wardens from Orlais to arrive to help.”
“Which Loghain was never going to allow any soldier from Orlais to cross the border into Ferelden, he as good as said so at the Landsmeet,” spoke Leliana.
“They would have brought thousands of troops with them, so Loghain was right in that aspect.” “In rebuilding the order here, I’ll have to also recruit for the new garrison of soldiers that all Grey Warden’s need at their backs.”
“I was called to a special meeting with Calian before the battle at Ostagar, just after I became a Grey Warden.” “Calian was counting on my loyalty as a Cousland to do what was right, for him it was icing on the cake that I’d become a Grey Warden, he trusted no one else except for me and my brother.” “He also sent Fergus to scout in the wilds away from the major battle to keep him safe.”
“I have those documents signed by him.”
“The Grand Cleric of Ferelden also witnessed the second signing at Ostagar on Cailan’s wishes.”
“The Grand Cleric has asked to speak with you, spoke Kristoff.”
“I’m sure she has,” I replied.
“She is wondering what I’m going to do.” “What I have to reveal now that the threat of darkspawn is on the back burner for now and the country has been saved from the blight.”
“She knew you would place Alistair on the throne?”
“She knew Cailan’s wishes the same as I did; but, she is also a backer of Anora and Loghain and I’m not sure how deeply she was involved with them.”
“Alistair plans on sending Anora to the chantry for the rest of her life.”
“Is that wise since Anora has the Grand Cleric in her pocket?” Leliana shifted her weight as she pondered her own question.
“No, this is why I need to get to Gwaren, to get those documents and see that she hangs for treason.”
“Treason, how will you prove this?”
“My father and I knew that Anora married Calian knowing she was barren and that she would never have any heirs for the throne of Ferelden.” “It was a lie by Loghain and Anora both and they have ruled the Kingdom underhanded for years.” “Calian was starting to catch on when year after year Anora never produced a child.” “The Divine in Orlais has the mage in her service that treated Anora as a small child and nursed her back to health.” “Anora suffered an injury when she fell from her horse.” “It was impossible for her to have children.” “The mage sent Loghain a letter telling him of his daughter’s injury.” “That letter is in Loghain’s study or his bedchamber at Gwaren.” “That letter is all the proof the Landsmeet will need to hang her for treason.”
I didn’t tell my companions that Loghain also had contacts in Orlais and he knew of my involvement with certain individuals in Orlais. Unfortunately for me and my family, Loghain didn’t know I was under orders by Cailan to gain as much knowledge about the said General as was possible through his daughter at the school I attended. Loghain also didn’t realize that Calian had instructed my family to start opening up the illegal trade between the two countries. Which my father was doing on Cailan’s behalf. For Loghain it would have appeared that we were traitors to the crown when this was not the case. I hoped that Calian had left more papers telling of his plans for the country.
Cailan had been excluding Loghain more and more on the discussions of running the country and even taking away duties from Anora and seeing to these duties himself. It was a clear cut picture to Loghain and Anora that Cailan didn’t fully trust his wife or father-in-law as he once had. Especially once he returned from Orlais.
“The Divine in Orlais also showed Calian the proof when he was in Orlais for the Grand Tourney.” “Cailan interviewed the mage when he was in Orlais; my understanding is it was a private meeting.”
“Anora suspected that he knew the truth then?”
“Yes, she realized what could happen if Calian went to Orlais and he might find out, which he did.” “The mage who treated her, left with me when I was sent to school as part of my household, and sent directly to the service of the Divine.” “The mage approached my father because she was fearful for her life.” “Even though she was in service to Ferelden’s circle.” “The Divine set up the meeting with Calian to let him know that no heirs would be forth coming from Anora and he had to make a decision over his marriage to her.” “The Divine wanted Ferelden to be secure so another war wouldn’t break out between the two countries once again.” “The Divine wanted Calian to produce an heir as well.”
“Was Calian going to marry Celene?”
“No, there was someone else in Cailan’s life.” “Celene and Calian were trying to open trade back up between both countries and they were both meeting with resistance to the idea.”
“Was the woman in Cailan’s life in Orlais then?”
“No Leliana, that woman was here in Ferelden.”
“Ah, so there is another heir to Ferelden’s throne then.” Zevran was eyeing me with full speculation once again. Zevran was smart enough to put it all together. Leliana hadn’t grasped the full picture yet; but, Zevran had done so and there was a twinkle in his eye as he thought deep on this subject and he watched and listened to my words.
I keep my face smooth not giving away any hints to my full knowledge on Cailan’s activities since I was discussing them. My rogue master had always taught me, lie with the truth, it always works.
“No Zevran, Calian made Alistair his heir and not Anora.”
“Calian had no other heirs besides Alistair?” Zevran was closer to the truth than he realized and it was my job to block the truth from finding the light of day. Cailan had left the decision to me to reveal the truth or just allow Alistair to become King. I had already made that decision.
“No, just Alistair,” I responded back to Zevran and looked him right in the eye and he returned my look with speculation once again in his own.
“I’m one hundred percent positive Zevran.”
“I knew Calian myself and so did my brother.”
My brother and Calian both ran around together you might say.
“So they went whoring together?”
“Yes they did.”
“Calian had his own body guards but my brother would also have stood in his service to protect his life when he was with him.” “When they went to the finer houses in Orlais and also in Antiva, where Fergus’ wife was from – Fergus would have protected Cailan with his own life if the situation arose for him to do so.” “I’m sure they got into a few good fist fights along the way.” “Cailan did get tired of the being a king and prince upon occasion and just wanted to be like other men…drink, and have a good time in a famous house of fun.”
“I had heard that King Calian had enjoyed himself fully when he visited Antiva and so did your brother.”
“How do you think Fergus met his wife Zevran?”
“She was a lady employed at such a house?”
“No Zev, but Orianna’s family was of the nobility out of Antiva, she meet my brother at a ball one night, and it was love at first sight.” “They got on well from the start.”
“You have also been in Antiva then?”
I smiled, “yes, Zevran, I have.”
“So, you made me describe Antiva to you when you already knew what Antiva was like?”
“I laughed, yes Zevran, I would have known if you were lying to me if you didn’t describe it just right, Antiva is one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever been in and it’s also very hot.”
“Ah it is, perhaps we shall have time to play there one day as well.” “I’d love to show you things in Antiva that most people do not see.”
“Perhaps one day we will Zevran, it would be an adventure I’m sure.”
“Indeed it would, perhaps the Grey Wardens will see you are transferred there?”
“Perhaps,” was all I said.
Kristoff made no comment at this ideal.
“How can you be positive that Calian didn’t have a bastard born in a whore house?” “You recall I’m familiar with such goings on?”
“No, he didn’t have any children born in a whorehouse Zevran, because I was part of a special team to keep an eye on these said women. They would be placed in my household in Orlais or in Antiva with Orianna’s family to make sure they weren’t with child by Calian.” “If it looked as if they were with child I was to contact my father immediately.”
“So all of the whores that King Calian diddled came out of it with a better life?”
“Yes, they did.” Good, no hesitation from my spoken word.
I hope this lie was a smooth as the others. I was dealing with two rogues here who had also come from two other countries. Both of them didn’t need to know that the women from the whore houses were just a front for who Calian was actually seeing. I was the only one left in Ferelden who knew who the woman of Cailan’s heart actually was. Zevran and Leliana both had been trained to learn the truth of matters the same as I had.
“They were still servants in a household where they didn’t have to whore any longer to survive.”
“Ah well to bad, I didn’t know of this man when I was younger.”
“Calian wasn’t that type of man Zevran, to my knowledge he wasn’t into men.”
“What if they choose not to join the households?”
I looked Zevran right in the eye and calmly stated….”I killed them to protect the crown of Ferelden.”
“Ha ha, just as I suspected, you were already an assassin!”
“Yes, I was, on behalf of King Calian.”
“I knew it; you learned the skills that I taught you too quickly.” “You were toying with me?”
“Yes, Zev, I was.”
“How long have you been in training as a rogue might I ask?”
“Since I was six years old Zev.”
“I was handpicked to begin my training by King Maric himself, to help my brother and King Calian when I was done with my training – when I got older.” “My job for Highever was to do the dirty work in the shadows while my brother held the public and proper persona as a future Teyrn of Highever; I was to guard his and Cailan’s back.”
“You have trained as a rogue as long as I have?”
“Yes, except my training wasn’t done in a crow slave quarter, mine was done in my own home, with special master rogues from Orlais as my master trainers.”
“I was to be allowed to leave my service to the crown if I ever decided I wished to marry and become the proper Lady of Highever once again and the proper wife of a future lord.”
“My parents wanted me to marry for love as they did and the same for my brother.”
“Was there someone you wished to marry?”
“There was someone before I meet Alistair, yes; but, it wasn’t going to work out.” “He was promised to someone else a long time ago.” “My parents volunteered my services in Orlais to get me away from the man I was involved with and to give me time to mend my broken heart.” “There was no hope and both of my parents and I knew it.”
“Did you love him, asked Leliana?”
“Yes, in my own way.” “Not as much as I love Alistair.”
Leliana just nodded. She knew I didn’t want to discuss Alistair. “I’m so sorry,” Leliana said as she eyed me with pity.” I meet her eyes head on.
“We don’t always have the choice in who we love Leliana and I’m sure you know this.”
“Aye I do.” There was a faraway look in Leliana’s eyes. She too had her secrets when it came to love. The same for Zevran and me as well, three rogues with lost loves to mourn. For me it was now two for two.
“So, how are you going to pull this off getting out of this fort?” It was Zevran changing the subject.
“The roof, scaling the wall down with ropes of course.”
Zevran and Leliana both blinked at me and Kristoff huffed under hi s breath.
“It will be a bit of challenge due to your condition, I’m assuming you mean for us to make a mercy seat?”
“Yes Zev, exactly what I had in mind.”
You and Zevran will have to lower me down of course.
“Don’t you mean me and Zevran said Kristoff?”
“I really didn’t want to get you involved Kristoff.”
“I’m already involved in this hair brain scheme which I think is entirely foolish.”
“If you recall I did ask you to allow me to handle the threat to my life and that of my brother in my own way Kristoff?”
“Do I need to remind you Commander that you are dealing in the affairs of political intrigue once again?”
“I’m fully aware of what I’m about to do Kristoff, yet, you also told me I had six months time to get my affairs in order, this is my number one priority regarding those affairs.” “It won’t matter to Anora and her supporters that I’m the Warden Commander of Ferelden; she will see to it that I’m dead one way or another. They will send assassins to kill me and possibly Alistair as well.
“This is why you wanted us to stick around for a few years to guard Alistair’s back?”
“Yes, you both need to watch for the three Banns out of the Bannorn. Bann Loren, and Bann Ceorlic, the third, their name escapes my mind, I’ll think of it later I’m sure.” “You’ll also need to keep an eye out for the Arl of Denerim….Vaughn, you remember him don’t you Zevran.”
“Indeed.” “Alistair has already sent Leliana and me to watch for his return.” “I’m afraid the good Arl will be called before his new King and asked to give an accounting on why he didn’t defend his city but ran like the coward that he is.”
I knew Zevran couldn’t wait to get his hands on Vaughn. When Zevran and I were alone I would give Zevran special instructions regarding Vaughn.
“I wish I could be there to hear his explanation to our new king; I’d be most interested in hearing what he has to say.” “Alistair will have the authority of stripping his title of Arl from him and I won’t be surprised if he does this anyway even if Vaughn has fled Ferelden for good or ill.” “Time will tell on that score.” “I know Alistair and he takes duty seriously.”
“I did see men from the Arl of Denerim’s garrison, but I didn’t see the Arl anywhere.” “I looked when Alistair was giving his speech to the troops before we stormed the gates to the city.”
“Enough of these topics for now, let’s talk about supplies for our journey.”
“I’m going with you,” spoke Leliana. I just nodded I knew there would be no stopping her once she found out what my plans were. It would be hard to keep the rest of them here as well. Sten was not going to like the ideal at all nor was Wynne.
“Zevran have you been able to secure any of our equipment from Arl Eamon’s estate?”
“Yes even though it wasn’t easy with Alistair, Eamon, and that fool woman Isolde walking around.” “I wasn’t able to find our bed rolls; I didn’t have time to look for our cooking utensils.”
I nodded easy enough to find in the market. “I’m assuming trade and market stalls are back up and with so many people being homeless there has to be need of those items and I’m sure someone must realize they have a booming market for such goods.”
“Yes, trade stalls are up and business seems to be booming for everyone.”
“I was able to sneak out Top Sider’s Honor for you but I couldn’t find any of our daggers.”
It’s heavily ruined up anyway.” “I almost gave it to Alistair for the charge of the city gates and decided against it.” “It has the most ruins best suited for a templar to use.” “He chose to carry his father’s sword instead.”
“I guess you too are going shopping again.” “We’ll also need Dalish made rope, as much as you can find to purchase and a board big even for my bottom to sit on, we’ll need at least two holes punched into the board. We’ll need bread, wine, cheese, and apples if possible.” “For now just purchase the food stuffs incase Alistair relents and allows our equipment to be moved or give you guy’s access.”
“I’ll go ahead and send a message to Eamon’s estate saying you guys need access to your own personal effects and have our equipment moved.” “I’d like Sten and Shale on hand to keep an eye on our equipment once I get it moved.” “Since I’m sure our family estate is probably short staffed.”
“I wish the rest of our companions would hurry and get back and bring my brother with them. “ “I want my equipment moved and the chance to sleep in my own bed.” “I’m getting out of this fort one way or another.”
“So Zevran, I believe it is time for you to try and win some gold from me, let’s go out in the main hall and play cards while we wait, once I write the letter to Eamon.”
“Warden Kristoff, you’ll see the message to the Arl delivered personally, yes?”
“As you say Commander, I’ll see it delivered.”
“We need to be prepared; we leave tomorrow night come hell or high water.”
Both of my companions nodded, they were both with me as I’d knew they would be.