A/N: Huh, talk about taking my time with another part of Time for Change, eh? I know, I know - I'm a terrible person. The DAO kmeme or Ser Gilmmore NPC mod will be my doom, eh... Well, this chapter is more of a filler. But really, I already have notes for next chapter. Hee. *plotting hand-rubbing*
Disclaimer: I own nothing, only this fan fiction and all the grammar errors contained it are all my fault. Daaamn!
Amélie was always pretty stubborn and daring. Some were laughing over it but our parents, especially our mother, probably fought with the urge to scream and bang their heads against the wall quite often. And if not theirs, then it would be scream and bang her head against the wall.
She had a knack for finding things she shouldn't do and shouldn't be allowed to do - and always somehow managed to persuade our parents into letting her do what she liked. The only thing forbidden to her was being with the people she loved. Such as was one of our knights, Ser Roland Gilmore. There was something between them ever since they met each other at age nine. I've seen how their eyes always lit when they met, how they laughed together when they were playing being litte rascals. I've seen Roland carry her to her room after celebration of his eighteenth birthday and how his gaze lingered on her sleeping form when he turned in the doors of her room and took one last look at her. I knew how they met on the night of her debut ball in the gardens. Or the times they secretly met in various places in the castle, to spend at least a few fleeting moments together.
And I also knew it won't last, just like our parents made sure would happen when they caught them kissing. She was crying when she begged them to give them a chance - they were forced apart, forced to abandon all hope of being together ever again. I remembered the long nights, filled with silent sound of her crying, me or Oriana secretly going to her, trying to comfort her, the hard lessons of self-control she had to master before she was allowed to see Roland again. And their reunion had been bittersweet, his eyes shining with unshed tears, her head down when she was sure he couldn't see her. That was when our little Oren was born and she dedicated all her free time to her little nephew, letting me and Oriana spend the time together. Only once she let her self-control slip before Roland. When she was escaping the Castle and he urged her towards the hidden entrance, she kissed him for the one last time, as I was told by one of the few survivors of the attack. Roland was killed that night after refusing to tell anything about wherebouts of Amélie Cousland.
Only now I finally realized why she made me promise her that no matter what, I will always be loyal to the King Alistair. If not for anything else, then for her. And her tears, spilt now, while her body was fighting the poison and the fever it induced, I finally understood.
That bastard, in more ways than just that one. Bastard. My knuckles cracked when I've heard her sobbbing a plea of 'I love you, please, do not leave me' to that sorry excuse of a man. My thoughts were interrupted by a man's voice, speaking softly to the sobbing Amélie, gently caressing her hair. Bann Teagan. I'd almost forgot he was here, as well as the mage, Wynne. Although his voice was soft and comforting, his eyes were blazing with rage. Rage both of us felt.
I started pacing around the room. "So this is the reason for my sister being called Lady Ice?" I fumed. "Some bastard beds her just to dump her? How could he do that?
Silence, filled only with Amélie's harsh breathing - thank the Maker Teagan managed to calm her down - was interrupted by Wynne's sigh. "You know, Fergus, when their relationship started, I gave her talk about how much I like Alistair myself and how much I would hate to see him hurt," she said, closing her eyes.
'Heck, heck, heck,' I thought, 'as if she ever needed the talk when it came how to treat others.'
"She told me that she has no intention of doing so and hasn't spoken to me unless it was completely neccessary for about a week," finished Wynne with dry grin.
"They seemed to be a good match - until the time right before the Landsmeet," continued Teagan. "I remember they argued a lot during that time. There were lots of... misunderstandings between them."
That piqued my curiosity. Amélie almost never talked about what she did or how she felt during the Blight, only that she just did what was her duty. Only sometimes something slipped her and I learnt about that time. But never a single word about these misunderstandings.
Before he could continue, it was the time Amélie chose for her next and very vivid nightmare. From what Wynne said, it was most probably related to their time in Brecilian Forrest, when she was bitten by a rabid werewolf. She was screaming and clawing at her hands, as if trying to rip the skin off, drawing long red lines with her fingernails, her eyes wild and glowing with fever. We even needed one of Wynne's stunning spells to prevent her from causing any more damage to her body. When she finally stopped trying to hurt herself, she started singing; songs varying from lullabies, bawdy songs usually known only to soldiers, songs in language I didn't understand - but was told it's Elven - to sad ballads about love in several languages. 'Our Amélie,' I thought fondly, 'always so romantic.'
I noticed Teagan's eyes lingering on her face when she started ballad Je t'aime - I love you. She didn't get far with this one, instead of singing she went limp as another nightmare got her in its grip.
"First day, they come and catch everyone," she said in surprisingly clear voice. Mumbling. "Fifth day, they return and it's another girls turn." Her voice was becoming stronger. "Eight day, we hated as she is violated. Ninth day, she grins and devours her kin. And now," she opened her eyes again, looking deep into my eyes, straight to my soul as I held her in my arms, not willing to risk another turn of self-inflicted damage, "now she feasts, as she's become the beast!" with wild thrashing she tried to break free, only to lay motionlessly only a moment after.
Wynne went to find some food, instructing us take care before she left. I turned my attention from Amélie to Teagan, since Amélie giggled just a few moments ago and said: "Your only fault is, my lord, that you are not bold enough," making Teagan blush in quite an interesting shade of red, something quite unusual for a man like him.
"Care to tell me what she's talking about, Teagan?" I asked conversationally. He squirmed under my gaze. Wow. Not that I minded getting people nervous - but usually it was my sister whom I was trying to embarrass.
And so he told me. How he was doing his best to protect at least some of the Redcliffe citizens and how Amélie and the rest of the group came just in time to save the village. And how she flirted with him. Wow, wow, wow. Not that I didn't know that my sister can flirt or anything like that. But she did that only with people she knew for longer time - or people she liked exceptionally. From what I've heard about Teagan, he was a good man, I think I've even heard mother saying something about him being a possible good husband for Amélie - not that I would ever told her that. She hated it when someone tried to set a match for her.
I changed topics slightly. "You said you asked her to dance with you, yes?"
"And not that I mind that but - what made you to invite her for a dance? Not many of men do that these days," I grimaced in the end. Although Amélie used to joke about the lack of dancing partners, I knew she missed dancing. Dancing solo wasn't all that great.
He shrugged. "Well, she's very beautiful, yes? And then - when I've seen her surrounded by people who obviously haven't care about her much, on a feast like this," this time it was him who grimaced, "I thought I should go and talk to her, if nothing else. When the dancing started, it seemed like a good idea to ask her for a dance and..." He stopped, obviously thinking he said too much. I hid a small smile. We, the Cousland siblings, could make people talk - and talk more than they wanted.
That was the moment when Wynne returned to the room, with a tray full of food and a somehow thoughfull expression on her face. "Wynne?" I asked, "what's the matter?"
She blinked, snapping to attention. "Oh, I've happened to meet Zevran - you know him, that Antivan elven assassin, yes?" Both of us, Teagan and me, nodded. "Well, he and his men are running all around the palace, trying to find who tried to kill Amélie. I asked him to deliver a message to Vigil's Keep - her Grey Warden comrades would probably liked to know about this."
It was starting to be more and more complicated. Whom was this mysterious assassin trying to kill; Amélie Cousland - sister of teyrn Cousland, Lady Chancellor or Commander of the Grey?
A/N: And here comes the dramatic pause! Next chapter will bring a rather unexpected turn of things, I believe. Well, as soon as I write it, alright. XD Stay tuned and pay for me to get enough plot Darkspawns soon. Hey - do I feel some plotting Taint over there?