I’d skirted Redcliffe Castle and the Village. I’d need supplies soon and my weapons sharpened and looking forward to seeing the wise cracking drunken smith Owen in Redcliffe Village. Whom had helped me tremendously during the civil war and fighting the blight. His prices had been fair. I hoped his daughter Valena was doing well since I’d rescued her. Most likely she was back being Isolde’s maid, better her than me I thought.
I could still hear ‘TEAGAN’ being screeched into my ears from Lady Isolde’s whiny voice. That woman was something else and I couldn’t help but feel that her and Teagan had been having an affair and I wondered if Connor was actually Teagan’s son not Eamon’s. Recent events made me wonder. Personally, I couldn’t stand the woman and her treatment of Alistair as a little boy. I’d been here less than three months ago and it seemed ages ago. Fighting the war band that had broken from the main horde which had split off to attack Redcliffe.
I was approaching Ostagar coming north by northwest. I could see the Tower of Ishal in the distance. Not a sound, eerily quiet, no wildlife, no Chasind, no Elves had settled here yet but I knew they would soon. Thus my trip, before they arrived. This was my only opportunity without having to answer questions on why I was here. The landscape around the old military fortress still blackened by the blight with black ash, blackened rocks and fires still burned in the area. The acrid smell still in the air from the darkspawn and the battles fought here.
I decided to leave my horse on the outskirts of the old fortress. I tied his reins loosely to some bushes in case he was attacked. He could break free and run if he had too. He didn’t hesitate to chomp on the soft grasses at his hooves. I’d watered him at a small stream not far from here. Actually I was in the same area in which we’d ran into Calian’s bodyguard whom had been taken prisoner by Calian’s enemies. I’d tried to save him and he was the one who gave me the tip to go back to Ostagar and thank the Maker that I did. Or else we might not have won the Landsmeet. A chill went up my spine at that thought. The bridge was still out so I’d gone below and down into the creek bed with the horse to fill my canteens and to allow the horse to drink.
I removed my bedroll, and several leather bags which held my supplies. Taking out a small camp shovel I buried my items in a hole behind a large boulder not far from the horse. Then I spent a few hours placing rocks on the top of the mound to make it look like a cairn. Taking care to be as quiet as possible. I had no idea what I’d find here. I made sure I had plenty of various bombs in my packs. I was on my own here without Thor to alert me, just my warden sense to tingle as a warning in case of danger.
I sat down next to the horse and wiped the sweat from my brow. I held my hair off the back of my neck to cool off. I took several pieces of jerky out of my pack on my waist and grabbing my canteen – enjoying my small light lunch. If one could call jerky a lunch. As I chewed my meager meal I thought back to the battle fought here and compared them to my return from the bodyguard’s tip.
There had to be tunnels under this mass military fortress. The horde had surrounded Calian and his men. When my war party had come back the second time, we’d found tunnels in the Tower of Ishal where the darkspawn had broken through. I was of a mind that these tunnels led deep in the Kocari Wilds and possibly even further south than this. Duncan’s journal also made it clear that many more tunnels were also near Gwaren. King Maric and Duncan had come out from the deep roads near Gwaren. I had to find a map of these tunnels as possible and have them resealed it could be disastrous for Ferelden if I didn’t. The Shaparete in Orzammar surely had this recorded.
As I sat, I also contemplated the words of the powerful mage Gaxkang, whom we’d killed in the back streets of Denerim and his prideful words that eyes from on high were on me and he didn’t intend to be a footnote to my now famous history, then he had attacked me and my party. That battle was one I wasn’t sure we’d survive without Wynne and Morrigan. I’d never seen anything like Gaxkang’s abilities. A mage who could transform into an Arcane Horror and revert back to a Revenant and he had zeroed in on Wynne and Morrigan. I remembered Morrigan commenting a few slashes were going to leave scars. All of us had been badly injured. I remember thinking we’re all going to die here and what happens to Ferelden if we do? Thank the ‘Maker’ for lyrium potions to keep Wynne and Morrigan on their feet. Alistair had taken a beating trying to hold the powerful mage while I battled him from behind. My sneak hidden abilities really didn’t work on Gaxkang, I wasn’t strong enough and my ability hadn’t developed enough at the time; but, my Warden blood abilities helped me help Alistair to keep him cornered while Wynne and Morrigan battled him with magic. I had to constantly jump in front of Wynne to protect her. If Wynne went down we all went down. Once we finally killed him all of us slumped to the floor in pain and agony until Wynne healed herself enough to help the rest of us. This was the only time Morrigan didn’t mouth off to Wynne and her Circle taught magic. I chuckled to myself at the memory.
He’d said a signal was generated from this place. This had always puzzled me. What kind of signal? From whom/who and for what purpose? Had he meant the Archdemon or something else? Was this signal magical in nature? If so, then I had no way to find this unless a mage happened by who might pick up on it. If this is the case then why didn’t Wynne or Morrigan say something? This is what I was here to find out. I desperately wanted a clue, if I could one.
I was also interested in seeing how far Flemeth and the Chasind’s territory went into the unknown forest south of Ferelden; however, that was a trip far into the future. I didn’t have the time to go that far or deep into those dangerous woods. One thing I knew for certain the horde and the Archdemon had risen from that forest. The trick was going to be to find exactly where the great dragon had arisen from. Was this the signal that Gaxkang was referring too? I was also curious if Lanaya would have any knowledge or insight into this. Her clan had known the darkspawn had reached the surface – they’d lost members of their clan to battling darkspawn and werewolves. Elven lore was more ancient than Trevinter’s. Keepers were very guarded on what information they shared, yet I did intend to ask her the next time I saw her. I figured Lanaya wouldn’t tell me flat-out but I’d beat she would point me in the right direction nonetheless.
I finished my meager meal and wiped my mouth with the back of my hand and closed my skin of water attaching my canteen to my waist bag. I rummaged around in one of my bags pulling my journal, thumbing through the pages until I found the chapters I’d written on Ostagar to review them. I had to go to the tower and of course out to where Cailan had been killed on the main battlefield. The entrance to those tunnels had to be here.
I knew from reading Duncan’s journal that King Maric’s party had come out of the Deep Roads through tunnels near Gwaren, very close to where Loghain had defeated Orlais Chevaliers with his charge and his archers, whom my mother was one. Even though I was west of Gwaren I was confident that tunnels or an entrance to the Deep Roads had to be under this old military fortress and I had to find them. Oghren had told me dwarven history confirmed that the dwarves had been the main training partners of Tevinter back before and after the blights had started. The dwarven empire ran for untold miles underground in every possible direction and Oghren had also confirmed there were many places to reach the surface along these trade routes and many had been forgotten. I’ll also have to check the library with the Shaperate on my next trip to Orzammar.
I stood up, patted the horse to reassure him. I hoped I was back by nightfall to untie him and water him again, then make a small camp on the outskirts of Ostagar, then head for Redcliffe Village on the morrow. I couldn’t build a fire to tip-off anyone I was in the area, so I would also have jerky for my dinner. I hoped my growling stomach didn’t give me away to less desirable in the area.
I took Starfang and Blight Blooded out of their sheaves on my back and with a flick of my wrists activated the Grandmaster silverite, frost and fire runes to name just a few within my swords. I cast myself in stealth and walked toward the opening in the gate of Ostagar. Silence. I stood quietly as my gazed took in the sights around me. All of the skeletons of friend and foe whose remains had long since been plucked clean littered the ground. What would the blight riddled remains of darkspawn do to birds? I’d never seen blight infected birds before, it had to affect them. I had to be careful of wolves and maybe hidden war bands of darkspawn. I lightly stepped forward being careful of twigs underneath my feet.
It was so eerily silent. Not even crows about. This unnerved me somewhat. No crickets, frogs, bees…nothing. A shudder ran through me. A shroud of death and mist lingered over the ground even though the sun was high in the sky. I looked over to my right and ahead of me was the entrance to the chamber room where Cailan held his war council and just beyond the exact spot where I’d first meet Alistair and had my joining ceremony into the Grey Wardens within the temple area of this old military fortress. It was all so clear in my mind’s eye. I stood there reliving all of these events. Is this the real reason I was here? I’d been second guessing my decisions during the civil war and the blight, now that everything was over and done with. Wynne had once told me my decisions would cause ripples just as my actions in Orlais had caused ripples and so had Christian’s. All of which still echoed to this day. Loghain’s death bothered me the worst. Something, something, still plagued me over Loghain’s death. I should have made him a Warden like Riordan wanted me to do. His death the worst on my soul.
On our return trip we’d battled darkspawn all over this place. Many tables were still overturned. I could clearly see in my mind’s eye Cailan and Loghain arguing over Cailan’s battle plans of Cailan not fighting. Loghain with his limited knowledge had given Cailan sound advice believing that Cailan might die without issue. Franny and I were the only two people left in all of Ferelden who really knew the truth.
Looking back I realized why Father and Mother wanted me to survive not just for them and Fergus but for Cailan and his son, to see justice done. Yet, had I made the right choice in executing Loghain? Loghain had seen his daughter clearly for what she was. Loghain being her father and mentor all of these years dealing with the Theirin bloodline. Loghain had known them better than anyone. Their secrets, their desires, yet Loghain hadn’t known about Maric and Cailan’s private smuggling deal with Celene. My father wasn’t here any longer to ask questions on the particulars of the matter. Fergus and I were now on our own wading through that murky quagmire. At least with Dwarven politics it was all out in the open for the most part. Totally different rules when dealing with Celene and Ferelden’s courts to my way of thinking. Many decision I had made had been for Alistair -his desires when I went against my first choices, and now here I was second guessing myself and my decisions.
I had walked through the one chamber and now stood at the entrance to the temple where I’d first meet Alistair. My mind going back to his wise-crack to the mage he’d smarted off too. Then turning to speak with me. Knowing what I know now, would I have made a different choice in our relationship? Alistair had been the first person to bring a smile to my face after the death of my parents. I’d fallen in love with him on the spot. My eyes traveled to the very location as my memories resurfaced and my mind traveled back in time.
One thing we hadn’t done when here for Cailan’s papers was to destroy the darkspawn relics that were left. We’d carried out many yet more remained for Owen to smelt into scrap metal. I turned around and headed to my left and went down the stone paved ramp where the quartermaster of Cailan’s army had held his store and his forge. The darkspawn once they had taken over Ostagar had redecorated in their macabre style. I looked around for an old torch, spying one on the ground behind the darkspawn forge. I picked it up and was delighted to see it was still soaked in oil. I laid the torch on the old forge and rooted around in my waist packs for flint and steel. I laid out twigs I’d gathered on the forge and stroke flint to steel and with patience got a fire going in the forge and relighted the torch. I was giving my presence away but I didn’t really care. I replaced Blight Blooded back in my sheath on my back and with the torch in my left hand and Starfang in my right I set fire to the forge and all of the darkspawn macabre I could find. The wind wasn’t blowing, so I wasn’t to worried.
BURN. BURN. BURN.
Yes, I wanted it all to burn, just like the destruction of my life that had taken place here. The future I should have had died here in this place. I continued on toward Cailan’s old tent or what was left of it and once again my memories took a trip down memory lane, of Cailan holding me within the confines of his tent. While we’d been alone, he’d kissed my forehead promising me he’d make Howe pay for killing my parents and restore my home to Fergus and I once he was done here. Reassuring me in private – calming my fears, yet he couldn’t break my father’s oath in making me a Grey Warden. I was Duncan’s to command. If the Arch Demon hadn’t arisen he would have stepped in and tried to stop Duncan from recruiting me or so he’d said.
I had been Cailan’s personal bodyguard and spymaster. Loghain had to have known by what he’d said to me when I’d arrived in Ostagar. Cailan had ordered me to stay home in Highever and help my father and brother prepare the King’s troops. If I hadn’t been needed at Highever I would have already been at Ostagar with Cailan and never been caught in the massacre; but, he had commanded me to remain at Highever to heal over my broken heart regarding Christian.
I’d been totally unprepared for Cailan’s gentleness toward me given our history. Me getting on my knees before him and swearing my duty in regards to his son in Orlais when he had called Ferelden’s Grand Cleric and Duncan to witness my oath. I’d been shaken to my core that he’d learned the truth of his son and that he didn’t hate me for withholding that knowledge from him. He’d gently kissed me instead and told me he’d make it right.
I marched across the massive bridge connecting the rest of Ostagar with the Tower of Ishal and screamed my rage as I held the torch setting fire to all things Darkspawn. I set fires burning everything – everywhere that was Darkspawn craft. Here on this bridge where we’d found Cailan’s body I finally screamed it all out – my rage over all of it. Which I hadn’t been able to do with my war party before. I screamed my rage and fury out over: Cailan, Loghain, Anora, Howe, and especially Alistair and Christian. Men whose decisions had set my life on this course. I burned everything in my wake. It was a cleansing, not just to wipe out the Darkspawn macabre and remaining bodies. Which I’d known nobody would obey Alistair’s order to burn the remains of darkspawn here; so here I was. This was also a cleansing of my own soul. For my own losses, my anger, my rage which had been held inside me all of these months.
I continued on going over and up the ramp to the Tower of Ishal setting everything on fire that I came too. I opened the heavy ironbark doors and headed back to the rooms which held the tunnel going down that had been broken open by darkspawn from underneath. Soon, I would climb down that ladder again to see what I could find and burn all things Darkspawn before I left. I was actually headed to the barred door leading up to the tower to see if it would open for me this time. What secrets were left there and why wouldn’t it open before? Had the Archdemon been there all along when we’d been here the second time. “What say you Urthemiel?” He was unusually quiet within my mind for the time being.
I came to the last chamber, the one with the staircase which led to the final floor and to gain entrance to the Tower of Ishal. I took a deep breath and turned the knob. There was no magical glow as before blocking my entrance. I took the stairs to the next floor. I burned everything here and took the few supplies from each floor that I found. I finally came to the last staircase. I was shocked to discover a lone darkspawn badly wounded. I grinned at it while it screeched at me. I lit the wall scone behind me dropping the torch in my hand and withdrew Blight Blooded. I walked to the darkspawn, it didn’t stop screeching at me and I looked it right in the eyes as I dual swiped it’s neck and beheaded the creature. I walked back to the wall scone and retrieved the torch and set fire to it’s body. I inhaled deeply of Darkspawn stench with satisfaction in doing my hard-earned job. I sheathed Blight Blooded and took up the torch once more and headed up into the tower burning everything as I went.
Finally I stood on the last step with the final door to the tower before me. I took a deep breath and started to reach out to open the door…instead it opened of it’s own accord. I was being invited inside. A chill went through me. Someone was here? Who? I throw the torch down and grasped Blight Blooded back into my left hand and with both of my swords held firmly within my palms I stepped through the door and into the chamber. My eyes opened wide in shock at who I was seeing and a chill of dread swept over me. Fear flooded my whole body. I shook, I couldn’t help it. I was facing my certain death as the most fearsome well-known apostate mage turned to face me, standing within the massive hole and rubble that had once been one of the walls of this circular tower, and one I didn’t remember seeing as my body was struck with numerous arrows the last time I was in this chamber and I’d passed out from my injuries.
Before me stood Flemeth herself.
I stared at her in shock, this wasn’t the Flemeth I remembered as the old hag at her hut in the Kocari Wilds. She was still an older woman yet her former beauty and glory was on full display. Her long silver hair done up with horns which sprouted from her head. Flemeth had horns like a Qunari. How? Or was it a battle headdress of some sort or did she actually have horns? Her battle armor was magnificent in black, purples, and deep burgundy. Made of leather I’d never seen before. Her boots…well I was pea green with envy in regards to her boots with heavy metal knee guards going up her long slender thighs. She also wore a deep royal purple mantle. Her battle gloves made of mithra, which was a metal I’d only read about and never thought to see in my lifetime. They shimmered with deadly finger talons covering her knuckles and long slender fingers. She looked as deadly as I knew her to be. I know she was peeved at me for killing her dragon form. OH MAKER!
She stood looking at me then she threw her head back and laughed strong of voice. “So child, you’ve returned. Did you honestly think I’d be dead?” She turned to me and I stood stock still not knowing if she meant me harm. I truly didn’t know what to expect.
Flemeth walked toward me with swaying hips. I could see the legends were true of her beauty and her fame. A battle maiden and siren walked toward me. I took a battle stance for she had every reason to kill me. I taken Morrigan’s side in their feud. Silly, silly me. I hadn’t wanted to get involved yet I needed Morrigan to battle the blight, I’d had no recourse.
She stopped a few feet from me.
“You have nothing to fear child. Come let us talk.”
I lowered my swords. Still weary of her. I stepped forward to meet her and converse with her. Finally I slide my swords back in their sheaths.
I examined the rubble of the wall behind her with my eyes, and I could clearly see the outline of the dragon’s body which had flown into the wall to retrieve Alistair and me. I turned to her speaking. “Your broke through the wall to rescue us.”
“Yes, I did. Most impressive is it not.”
I nodded yes, still very much afraid for my life.
“Yet, you didn’t return my grimoire or my Morrigan to me.”
“You still got what you wanted in the end, your grandson within Morrigan’s womb, fathered by my beloved.”
Flemeth cocked her head. “Touche. Clever child, I’ve always liked you and your family. It was I who saw too it they held Highever after my destruction of the place.”
“So the legends are true on that account.”
“I was betrayed by my husband Cormac when he sold be back to Conobar and you’re family was worthy, honest, and noble. There are a few bad apples in your line but not many. Your ancestor served me well while I lived there.”
I just nodded.
“This is why you won’t take my life now because I did help you succeed in your ultimate desire. Your grandson which Morrigan now carries with the soul of an Old God.”
“How did you figure it out?”
“I didn’t, not fully, until just now and partly when Morrigan came to me that night at Redcliffe with your plan. I did not return your grimoire because I felt you knew those spells by heart and didn’t really care if Morrigan knew them or not. She’d need them to protect your grandson.”
“What else child have you concluded.” Her eyes watched me closely for any falsehood.
“You made us battle you in your dragon form to prepare me for my battle with Urthemiel which I alone was going to battle in the fade and you knew this.”
“Yes, you needed the experience and my friend of whom you killed was willing to offer herself up in sacrifice to prepare you for battle as long as I rear her offspring and got her offspring to safety.”
“So you’re not really a dragon and you raise dragons, interesting.”
“I’m many things Bellavalia Ella Nora Cousland and just like you I have my own secrets which I’ve kept hidden for centuries. Unfortunately for you, your secrets will not last that long. However, you will try your utmost to keep them hidden.” She throw her head back and laughed heartily.
“Will I’ve keep them hidden for the time being for the sake of Ferelden, and you knew Alistair was going to set me aside before it happened.”
“Not from magic my dear, from experience: all men betray, they always have for glory, power, and fame and especially the love of the wrong woman for them.”
“It was a lesson I needed to learn and one you planned on teaching me and Morrigan.”
“You’d already learned you’re lesson in Orlais or am I mistaken? Apparently once wasn’t enough for you, repeating nearly the same mistakes with Alistair, you find yourself in the same mess as before while in Orlais. Yet, you’ve still learned what to do about your mistakes and to think more clearly on what to do about them. It was for Morrigan and she isn’t done learning those particular lessons either. It will be a long time until she has her own life to live.”
“Alistair will go back on his word to find her.”
“Yes, he will,” she calmly answered me.
“Will Alistair find her?”
“No he will not, he’ll be busy with other threats for us all.”
My eyes narrowed, “what threats?”
Flemeth chuckled, “you’re destiny isn’t here in Ferelden, Bellavalia Cousland, it’s elsewhere.”
“So you know my future, are you willing to share? You have the gift of foresight, do you not?”
“I have many gifts and talents when it serves my purposes and I can’t share, your destiny is what you will make of it, your choices are yours alone from here on out, choose wisely dear girl.”
“Yet, you saved me when it was my destiny to die in this very room.”
“Ferelden and Urthemiel needed you to live and I gained permission for you to live, so you could fulfill your purpose.”
“Which came with a price?”
“Yes, your price was Alistair’s full devotion.”
“Do I still serve your purposes and whom did you gain permission?”
“My, my, full of questions my dear.” She laughed wickedly. Yet she did answer me.
“Yes, you still have a purpose which will echo into eternity, as from whom, will I’m afraid that is not for you to know child.”
“Because of your grandson.”
“Urthemiel desires that you not be harmed. He is the other half of your soul and you’re the other half of his. You can be killed, make no mistake, his power will only be affected slightly if you die, his power is drawn from a different fount but you are tied together.”
“So, I’m still a pawn in all of this?”
“All of us are pawns to some degree and we must each choose to fight or die. You my child have always chosen to fight, you always will.”
“Is his destiny and my own intertwined still?”
“I’m truly unsure at this point.”
“You need to make haste child and be sure you are on the North Road between Highever and Amaranthine within two weeks.”
“Because Alistair’s life depends on you being there.”
“Is he still important to you?”
“Isn’t he to you,” she countered. I didn’t respond.
“The Theirin bloodline must be preserved at all cost.”
“Alistair Theirin will soon learn the reason why, and if he desires to tell you, then he will.”
“You won’t tell me?”
“It’s not my story to tell child, it’s the deity that I serve and why the Theirin bloodline had to be saved.” Flemeth glanced at my belly. “Which you know something about.”
I didn’t acknowledge her inquiry regarding my children instead saying, “I thought you a deity. I actually thought you Andraste.”
Flemeth cackled with laughter. She slapped her thigh in amusement. “I like that people think that I am, it truly serves my purposes. Make no mistake my powers do come from a deity and I am possessed by her, and she is powerful, these are things Thedas will learn in the future. I fight on her behalf, for she was betrayed just like me and she came to me offering me her power if I would fight for her – to wipe her enemies off the face of Thedas. One battle is over and done with, your fight to save Ferelden, the next one begins, which you won’t have a part of. Your King will, and I promise you he will be safe.”
“Go Bellavalia, your destiny awaits, and don’t worry about the darkspawn I’ll take care of them.” She handed me a scroll.
“A map of the tunnels under this fortress and all of the tunnels of the deep roads into the Kocari Wilds.”
“Why are you helping me?”
“You’re correct those tunnels do need to be resealed. You need to reach Gwaren and set that place to rights before Lanaya’s clan begins their move to Ostagar, clearing the way for them and to seal the darkspawn inside the deep roads. It’s imperative that this gets done and very soon. Ferelden and Orlais can’t be bothered with roaming bands of Darkspawn. Which is your job to clear the remnant out of Ferelden.”
“Thank you for my life and it will be as you say Asha’bellanar.” I sheathed my swords and I bowed to her.
“Thank you Bellavalia Cousland for my grandson’s.”
She watched me leave. When I left the Tower of Ishal I heard a screech and watched as a massive purple dragon flew from the tower burning all that was left of the darkspawn which remained at Ostagar and their filth. Flemeth swept the entire complex in one circular pass burning the remains of the darkspawn and their filth. Then she flew north leaving me standing watching in awe as she swiftly flew out of sight.
I took a deep breath and started the long walk back to my horse. I finally reached him and he hadn’t left one patch of grass under his hooves. I grabbed my shovel out of my saddle bag and got busy retrieving my supplies. I mounted my horse and headed back for the small clearing, which was only an hour away.
I led the horse down into the creek bed and allowed him to drink his fill. I secured him, taking his saddle off and brushed him down. Then I gathered wood and built a small fire. Fires were still burning off in the distance where Flemeth and I both had cleaned the remains of the Darkspawn.
Well at least I could fry up some smoked pork that Frannie had given me and a few eggs for dinner, so I wouldn’t starve this night at least. As I was fixing my dinner and gathering water I heard footsteps approach.
I took the daggers hidden within my leggings into my hands as I filled the water bucket.
“Low in the camp, my lady.”
I knew that voice. It was one of Lanaya’s hunters. Before turning, I replaced my daggers in their hidden slots within my leathers just at my thighs.
I motioned the elves forward.
“Come, you are welcome to join my fire for the night.”
“Thank you my lady.”
I watched as a small hunting party of elves approached.
“Please make yourselves at home.”
They placed hares down and took off their gear.
“Please, make use of the fire, cook your dinner.” I watched as they gathered more wood and water. They unrolled their bedrolls and took out their cooking supplies. They shared their bread and cheese with me and also made a wonderful fragrant tea. It was delicious.
They asked me if I was the one burning the fires and the dead darkspawn at Ostagar. I told them I was, it had to be done. I asked after their clan and what news they had. We caught each other up to date regarding the local news and to my surprise the elves informed me Lothering was on it’s way to being rebuilt. I was shocked.
Lanaya and her clan would soon arrive at Ostagar which was to be their new home. She’d seen the fires and sent her hunters to investigate. My ring she had given me glowed on my hand. The head hunter smiled at me, noticing my ring.
“Keeper Lanaya knew you to be in the area and she sent us to make sure you weren’t in any danger. Sleep commander when you’re ready, we’ll guard you through the night and accompany you to the outskirts of Gwaren.”
“Thank you, I’d appreciate the company.” I yawned.
“I’m sorry, I’m tired it seems.”
“Sleep commander, rest, all is well.”
I thanked them, wrote in my journal which was now a required duty of me as the Warden Commander of Ferelden. I couldn’t keep my eyes open a minute longer and I soon snuggled down and was lost to my dreams as the elves spun tales around the camp fire. I dreamed of Alistair, and Christian for some reason. My dreams later became of darkspawn terrorizing villages and I wasn’t there to save the people. I tossed and turned in my sleep being restless.
Urthemiel walked into my dreams. “My lady, you must rest, you’re exhausted, your children need you too. Be at peace my lady.”
“It was you at Ostagar when my war party returned for Cailan’s papers?” I asked him with my mind.
He didn’t answer me for a time. “Yes, in my tainted form. I was watching and studying you, how you fought. I was directing my various war parties and keeping track of your progress. I was the signal.”
“I thought so, you’re whom Gaxkang mentioned.”
“Yes, he knew through magic the horde approached.”
With a wave of his hand I was at peace and slept soundly.
When I awake the next morning was to find the elves had already cooked breakfast and were just waiting on me. I was beyond embarrassed. I ate a quick meal of mush, fruit, and toasted bread with cheese and tea. Very filling actually. Their cook filled my plate full and they’d also saddled my horse and gotten him ready feeding him his bag of grain.
Ashna winked at me. “The Keeper told us what to do. She is still worried over your condition and she was fussing at us to see all of this done. She also sends her thanks in preparing Ostagar for her. She will ritually clean the entire fortress, and for you not to worry. We’ll also seal the tunnels Asha’bellanar told you of. Keeper Lanaya already had plans to do this and we’ll also seal the ones near Gwaren and we’ll send you updated maps to the Vigil of the area.”
“Ah well now, that will be most appreciated.”
The ring on my hand glowed with warmth.
“I’ll see you soon Commander Cousland, I’ve sent my hunters to see you safe.” Lanaya talked with me through my mind. I heard Urthemiel chuckle. Powerful magic indeed.
“Thank you, Keeper Lanaya.”
“You carry heirs of the elves within your womb, we’ll see you safe to Gwaren.”
I nodded, mounted my horse and got on with our travels, once we packed up camp.
I talked my Elven companions in allowing me to enter Redcliffe Village on my own. Being unsure of how the villagers would react to my escort. Owen was happy to see me and informed me his daughter was indeed back in service to Lady Isolde. He was as drunk as ever. Owen sharpened my weapons for me and was most impressed with Starfang and Blight Blooded, wanting to know where I obtained them. Of course I told him I found them along my journey of fighting the blight which wasn’t exactly the truth nor lie. He also informed me Bann Teagan was at the castle and the new pub had a new name. Which was now called “The Grey Warden’s Rest.” In honesty I thought it a horrible name. Like I’d died or something. I made no comment however except to say it was a nice gesture on the Grey Warden’s behalf. I stocked up on the few supplies that he had that I needed. And sold him a few things I’d found at Ostagar.
Stopping by for a pint at the pub I very nearly never got away from the crowd. I knew my Elven escort would get antsy if I didn’t show up soon.
“I was just sending a search party in to rescue you Commander.” Said Ashna.
“It was close Ashna let me tell you.”
His eyes creased with concern.
“Oh,” he said. He smiled shyly at me. He was handsome in the way of elves.
“They wanted me to stay and drink.”
“I see.” he said.
We continued on our way. Thankfully, taking deer paths known to very few humans and nearly all the Elves. I knew we’d camp tonight with Lanaya’s clan before I continued on my journey to Gwaren.