I want everyone to keep in mind that this is a sequel fic. You're not going to get anything unless you read the first story DAYS OF OUR LIVES. :3 Thank you and read on!
9:31 August 7th
Alistair came and dropped Lily at the stables along with our wagon. I stretched and took off my hair tie, scratching at my scalp. It has been a long while since we have visited Denerim and it has also been a while since I've written in my journal. It has been half a year since the Archdemon's defeat. Alistair and I have been traveling through Ferelden in that half year to kill the various darkspawn encampments that have settled after the battle. We were good at it too but this was only to kill time. What we were really waiting for was the papers to make Alistair the Warden Commander of Ferelden and the Arl to Amaranthine. It took a while for the nobles of Amaranthine to accept us but with King Eren at our hands, there was nothing but time.
"They cleaned up the main gates very well. You can't even tell that the walls were collapsed in several places." Alistair said, overlooking the main gates. There were no spikes in the grounds, no houses that were torn down, or fires. There were many merchants going over to the new marketplace to set up their wares.
"Unfortunately we're not here to sight-see Alistair. We have to go see Eren and get a move on to Amaranthine."
"Oh you had to ruin the moment didn't you?" Alistair whined and I laughed. After traveling six months with him our relationship has been rock solid. I didn't think I could get close to anyone like this besides Zevran. We passed the main gates and got a small carriage that would lead us to the palace district. I watched through the window at all the rebuilding. Denerim was completely trashed the last time I came to visit and now it was a bustling city again. People moving to and fro to fix what the darkspawn destroyed. It was good to see how it rebuilt. Time heals most wounds.
I paid the ferryman and we got off in front of the Royal palace. There were a few nobles running around that gave us glances. Alistair still had on his Grey Warden armor from that time in Soldier's Peak and I had on Varathorn's armor which gleamed beautifully. We went to the main gates of the palace before being stopped by a few guardsmen.
"Halt. You are not allowed to proceed unless you have an appointment." Alistair and I shared a look.
"You do know who you're talking to? Grey Warden? Warden Commander? Arl of Amaranthine?" The guardsman scoffed.
"Is that so? Unless you have papers you won't go through." I rolled my eyes and got my cylindrical tube to get out my papers.
"Here, that should be good enough identification." The guard took it and noticed the enchantment that made it unique only to the Royal House of Denerim.
"That's the Royal seal…you must be! Oh I am sorry my lady, I-I-I didn't know!" I took my tube away and put the papers in there nice and safe.
"It's ok. We need to get by and talk to my brother, King Eren."
"O-Of course my lady, go right ahead!" I smirked at Alistair and he was trying hard not to laugh. The guards let us through and I went into the hall that would go to the throne room. There was a line, no doubt to see what the King and Queen would do for them. I hummed and sauntered in, ignoring the looks of surprise as I skipped the line entirely to see Eren. He was decked in full ceremonial armor with the most bored look on his face. His hair grew out slightly and his bangs were in his eyes. It seemed that he had to trim his mustache down as well.
"Yo King Eren!" I said, catching his attention.
"What are you doing here girl? Don't you see there are plenty of people waiting for the king's attention!?" An old noble said.
"You are forgetting who you are referring to. That is my sister and your princess." Eren said, standing up from his throne. I heard gasps all around the hall.
"Is that the one who helped the dwarves?"
"I heard that she killed off all the darkspawn off of Wulff's lands!"
"Is it true that she fought the Archdemon as well?" The nobles were all whispering to each other. It didn't matter since I could hear very well. Eren came down from his throne and I gave him a quick hug.
"I didn't expect to see you so soon. How goes the restoration of the Temple?"
"Oh man you have to see it to believe it. It is gorgeous!"
"And dragon free, we checked." Alistair said. Eren chuckled.
"Ladies and gentlemen, allow me a moment of respite if you will." A few of the nobles were haughty and scoffed but most were looking at me in wonder. It was hard not to. I made a name for myself in Ferelden. We went into a side room where a servant gave us a few cups of ale and some fruit as well.
"It's good to see you again Nia." Eren said, sighing and patting my head.
"And what about me? Where's my pat on the head?" Eren chuckled, shook Alistair's hand and gave him a manly hug.
"It's good to see you too Alistair. How went the darkspawn killing?"
"Good. There aren't many bands or camps from what we've seen and the reports of darkspawn stragglers have gone down since, what last month?"
"That is good to hear. I have the papers all set for your Arling Alistair. Before you go there is one recruit that I had in mind to go with you on your journey. You can stay here while I call on her and gather your papers. I would be traveling with you but there is still so much to do in the country. Once I am done with my duties, I will meet you there in Amaranthine." Eren explained.
"Don't stress yourself out too much on your royal committee. We'll get to Amaranthine just fine."
"Good. Stay, rest. The recruit should be coming any moment now." Eren said, going back to the hall to meet with the nobles. Alistair let out a breath.
"It's all coming together. Warden Commander…I wonder what Duncan would have said." Alistair said, settling down onto a table and drinking some of the ale.
"I bet you he would have been proud of you." I said, taking an apple and munching on it.
"You are getting used to the whole princess thing aren't you?"
"I have to admit, it has its perks." I giggled. "Did you see that guard's eyes when he read over my papers and saw the royal seal? That was awesome."
"Did you hear how they were talking about you in the throne room?"
"Oh yeah, Queen Annie is totally milking my influence and what I'm doing. It's fine with me but if they said that I shoot lighting out of my eyes and fart fireballs, that's where I draw the line." Alistair laughed at the image and I finished my apple.
"What do you think we're going to find up there in Amaranthine? Derek wrote that he has a bunch of recruits for his Keepers and Talen is going to be bringing his Joining potion along with Jowan."
"Eh maybe a few rogue darkspawn here and there. We haven't been getting any bad reports from Amaranthine."
"That is true."
"I bet you with fate being a fickle being, everything is going to go to shit once we get there."
"Oh you had to jinx it didn't you?" Alistair said shoving me. I chuckled before the door opened again.
"I am so sorry I'm late Warden Commander!" A woman in red steel armor said. She had the Grey Warden helmet with a sword and shield on her back. Eren came in after her and she did a salute.
"At ease Mhairi. Alistair, Nia, this was the recruit I was talking to you about."
"Thank you, my lord. I am pleased to be traveling with you Warden Commander."
"That is such a mouthful, maybe Commander is better?"
"Yes Commander. There is a carriage stationed outside to take us to Amaranthine." Mhairi said.
"Lily is well but this will bring you to Amaranthine all the faster." Eren said.
"Awesome, so we'll be leaving at once?" Eren nodded and Mhairi looked at me up and down.
"These are your papers that secure you the Arling Alistair. Nia I trust that you'll keep these safe?"
"Oh why don't I get my important papers?"
"Sorry Alistair, King Eren's orders."
"And are you a recruit?" Mhairi asked. Eren, Alistair, and I looked at each other before we all began to laugh. Mhairi grew red at that.
"Oh sorry, didn't mean to embarrass you."
"Nia is an honorary Grey Warden. She won't go through the joining." Eren explained.
"Well now that we got that out of the way. Eren, good seeing you. Hopefully the next time we'll see you will be at your wedding. It's next month isn't it?"
"Yes it is. Anora is quite ashamed that she got pregnant even before the wedding but we will be wed before the child is born."
"I'm going to be an Auntie!" I squealed.
"Oh did we fail to mention your royal status again?" Alistair wondered.
"I'm Nia Cousland, adoptive sister of Eren Cousland and princess of Ferelden." Mhairi turned two shades of red.
"P-P-P-Princess? I am sorry my lady, forgive my informal behavior." Mhairi bowed to me.
"Don't give me that. I'd prefer informal behavior."
"O-Of course my lady."
"I'm never getting used to that. Eren, we'll see you at Amaranthine." I said, giving him one last hug.
"Of course, as soon as I'm done here. Travel safely." Eren said. We nodded to him and went out. I saw a few nobles look at me and a few men with lingering eyes.
"Getting a few admirers I see?" Alistair whispered before I shoved him.
"Save it Alistair." He snorted and I rolled my eyes. We got out of the Palace where a carriage was waiting for us. "Amaranthine, here we come. Did Eren get all the…ah our packs and my chest is there too."
"What does that chest contain anyway?" Alistair said, seating himself. Mhairi sat stiffly next to him, a weird fangirl smile on her face.
"Money. I took some out from the bank in Orzammar the last time we passed by there from the Temple. This chest was made by Talen so that only I could open it."
"And how do you open it?"
"I'll show you later. Right now, let's relax. Amaranthine is right along the coast near Highever. It'll take a couple of hours to get there."
"More traveling? I'm surprised you haven't gotten sick of it."
"I'm used to the traveling by now. Almost a year on the road now. My birthday should be coming up in Firstfall."
"Let's see, 30?"
"I can kill you Alistair." He laughed at me. I settled into my seat and watched as we made our way out of Denerim and into the scenic outskirts. Mhairi was stiff and quiet throughout the ride. I took out my ocarina and started to play it. I've gotten better after so long. I even did a few popular songs back home to the ocarina. Mhairi looked at me with reverence. The story of how we went to the top of Fort Drakon was popular with the people in Denerim. Anora used the fact that I participated in the attack to sweeten my presence. In truth I was only adopted by the Couslands and the Princess name was only just that, a name. I had no power in the court, no freedom to the treasury, and my voice had no weight. Truthfully all I was, was a trophy that could be used to gain influence. Anora liked it, I didn't care so long as I am able to help people.
"Do you think Talen and Derek are already there?" Alistair asked and I stopped my playing.
"Hmm they could be. It's a long way from the Circle and Orzammar though. We'll need Talen for that special Joining potion."
"True. Do you really think it's capable of joining more than the regular slurry?"
"Jowan and Talen have both been working on the stuff for half a year and they think they got it. I trust them." Alistair huffed. Even after Jowan joined the Wardens, he had an aversion to him. Wardens did employ blood mages from time to time but Alistair never forgave Jowan for what he did to Eamon's family. The sky grew dark from incoming clouds. I did the song of storms. I knew what was about to come once we touched down. It rained and it rained heavily. I felt the carriage come to a stop. The door opened and the rider was there.
"I am sorry Commander but the road has grown too muddy to continue. You'll have to go on foot until the road becomes solid." The rider informed us.
"Walking through mud? And here I hoped that my socks stayed dry."
"It won't be the worst stuff we'd have to trudge through. Make sure our packs don't run off on us."
"Of course not my lady." The guy nodded his head and we went out. The rain has subsided from its initial downpour and instead was a light sprinkle. I hummed along at the front of the group.
"How long before we reach Vigil's Keep?" Alistair wondered.
"Not too long now Commander. I would say, at a steady pace, we should be there in less than an hour." Mhairi explained.
"Not too bad. I could lose a few pounds."
"Any more pounds and you'll be all muscle."
"Hmm, Mrs. Muscles, rolls of the tongue doesn't it?" Alistair chuckled.
"Shouldn't it be Ms.?"
"She's/I'm married." Alistair and I said at the same time. Mhairi's face grew red again and I laughed.
"Long story short? I'm not from around here. I'm just waiting until I can get back home." Alistair kept on laughing and I had to shove him so that Mhairi could save some dignity. We continued walking. We came to the beginning of Vigil's Keep and I saw fire in the distance.
"That is odd. Why are there no wardens out to greet us?"
"Darkspawn!" Alistair shouted as a man ran toward us, a few genlocks at his heels. I took out my knuckle daggers and ran into the Genlocks. I evaded their slashes and busted two of their skulls. The last one was caught by Alistair's shield and went tumbling down. He stabbed downward through its skull. The man that was running away kept on bashing their heads.
"Oh hey, hey, they're dead. You can stop hitting them." The guy looked at us, his face sunken. The poor guy looked like he didn't eat in days.
"You, you're the Warden Commander? Oh thank the Maker you've arrived!"
"How did this happen? Where did the darkspawn come from?"
"I don't know! They came out of nowhere! I was minding my own business before I started to hear screams. People were dying right in front of me and I knew I had to get out of here as fast as I could. Then I ran into these…rotting bastards. You can help them. You can do something at the Keep."
"Get to safety we'll handle it from here. Try to find help."
"Of course. I'll run the main road, there's bound to be a patrol." The man ran away.
"If there's darkspawn here and no one to defend the keep, we don't have much time."
"Darkspawn doing a sneak attack? That's weird." I said.
"This isn't a Blight, darkspawn can't be so organized. I don't understand."
"Maybe something or someone is controlling them." I said.
"That's not good but we can't help anyone standing here. Let's keep moving." Alistair, Mhairi, and I ran toward the keep. Two Genlocks came out from the side. I ran and did a strong knuckle buster at their head. Mhairi struck her shield down the other one. Both were down. I heard Alistair shout as three more genlocks found him. I ran past him and went to the archer. I rolled, knocking it down and stomping on its face before I pounded it with my fists. Mhairi and Alistair took down the other two.
"Just like old times huh Alistair?"
"Well less dismemberment than usual." Two more came from behind us. I evaded a Genlock's slash. I stabbed at its spine. Mhairi clocked the other one with her shield and Alistair finished it off. We went through the main gates and I heard the cry of a Shriek. It came hobbling into view with a Hurlock behind it. I ran to the Shriek and did a haymaker that tumbled it down to the ground. I busted its face, the Hurlock ended by Mhairi. Then I saw an Ogre coming toward us.
"Ogre!" I shouted. I crouched down and walked backward. Alistair came right at it to fight it. Mhairi looked at it nervously. I ran behind it and jumped up, my daggers sinking into its fleshy back. It roared, trying to grab me. Mhairi joined Alistair on his attack. I climbed the Ogre's back with my daggers and slash at his throat. It quickly bled out and I jumped away from it. "God damn it, why does it always have to be Ogres?"
"Who knows maybe we'll fight a High Dragon again." Alistair chuckled.
"Is…is the Warden Commander your husband?"
"NO!" We both shouted. I heard a scream and went up the stairs along the wall and I found a survivor. Two Hurlocks and a Genlock were trying to kill him. I growled and ran toward the survivor, rolling to the fray.
"Get behind us!" Alistair shouted. I grabbed the Genlock and heaved it over the wall, impaling it onto a set of barricades. I got hit in the back and Alistair rammed the Hurlock. Mhairi came over and tackled the other Hurlock archer. Two slashes and they both went down.
"Thank the Maker that you came when you did!" The survival ran away and I heard another yell.
"Come on!" I said, jumping down the stairs. I ran through the courtyard to find another guy surrounded by two darkspawn. I threw my dagger which got one of the Hurlock in the dead. The other glared at me but I clocked it in the mouth. It staggered and I stabbed upward through its chin. "There, now stay down."
"There are more up ahead!" Alistair said, running past me.
"Commander I'll be at the front, send any soldiers or survivors to me!" The soldier I saved said, running toward the front. I ran to where Alistair went. Mhairi and him already took care of the two Hurlocks.
"Thank you Commander." The soldier ran from us. We went back to the wooden stairs. The gates were shut.
"Get down!" It was too late and the gate exploded. Mhairi was thrown down the stairs and I got flown into a wooden bar. "Oh that's going to bruise." Alistair was able to shoulder the blast until a fireball came toward him. Then a shield of magic came and covered him.
"No one throws fireballs at Alistair except me!" I smiled when I heard that familiar voice.
"Talen!" I shouted. He looked different. His robes weren't like usual robes. Instead, they looked wilder with various types of chainmail and shoulder pads to it. His hair grew out long in a braid, with only one protruding ear. His staff rotated in the air, another fireball to the darkspawn. The emissary shouted as Alistair ran toward it to kill it.
"Already killing darkspawn without me?" Jowan said, running toward us. His armor was heavy plate, shining in various places. I tried going near him but I felt the shocking feeling again. His armor was enchanted. He took out a nice looking mace and shield.
"Unfortunately the darkspawn couldn't wait for your invitation and started the party without you, you know how they are." Alistair joked. We all came together as a group and Mhairi joined us.
"Y-You're Talen the Grey Warden mage!" Mhairi shouted with glee.
"Huh, I didn't know I was that popular. What's going on Alistair? I thought we were heading to Vigil's Keep to rebuild our numbers. I came here expecting fanfare and all I feel is darkspawn everywhere." Talen wondered.
"We don't know for sure what's going on. All we know is that there was a sneak attack on the Keep."
"Sneak attack? How did the darkspawn get so organized?" Jowan asked.
"My thoughts exactly. Come on, let's go pound some skulls." I said.
"And you say I'm the one with the problem." Talen mumbled. I laughed as we ran further into the Keep. I recognized the forge and I saw two more Hurlocks battling a soldier. Jowan ran forward and I saw a small sliver of blood heading to both of them. The Hurlocks grabbed their heads before exploding in guts.
"Oh I never get tired of that one." Talen smirked.
"You are the Warden Commander yes? Maker bless you. Unfortunately the darkspawn stopped me before I could go and restock on bandages. There are lots of heavily wounded soldiers, my lord."
"Jowan, go find some bandages and make sure these guys don't bleed to death. Alistair, Nia, random person I've never met, you ready to go inside and kill some darkspawn?" Talen asked.
"Her name is Mhairi and yes, let's do this!" I said.
"Hey! What happened here!?" That was another voice I recognized. Our group went toward the gate and Derek was standing there.
"Hey Derek!" Jowan ran past.
"Templar. I came here first, hoping to get all ready for the force that's going to be joining. Never expected any of this madness."
"Things didn't go as planned." I said. Derek's beard finally grew in more magnificently after that mishap with the werewolves back in the Brecilian Forest. He also had a wicked scar left from that experience.
"Huh, do they ever?"
"That's beside the point. You want to kill some darkspawn?" Alistair said.
"Heh, count me in."
"Time to go into the Keep then." I said.
First chapter of Days of Our Time! :D So to fix anything that anyone asks about the timeline:
DA2 mentions that the Fifth Blight was ended in a year but game wise, Awakening happens six months after the fifth blight. Meaning that Anders was in Amaranthine when Hawke was gearing up for their expedition. It doesn't make sense and though there are some accounts that say that the Fifth Blight ended in half a year so I took that route instead. It gives me a bit of a wiggle room to work with especially with all the things that happen in Amaranthine.
Updates are every three days as usual. Please Review :3