9:31 Kingsway 13th
I told Anders to accompany me inside. Eren and Alistair were waiting in the main foyer. Anders looked anxiously around. Eren signaled us to follow him.
"The way to the cache is here in the royal palace. We'll have to walk a few winding tunnels to get there." Eren explained. He led us through the hallways past several rooms until we went into a closet that had a few supplies.
"I can't believe this is really happening." Anders whispered.
"Me neither. Are you sure this is a good idea?" Alistair asked me.
"It'll be fine Alistair."
"I still think that the Chantry can't touch the Grey Wardens. They let me go!"
"Didn't you tell me that the Revered Mother tried to make you stay by force anyway? Even after the Right of Conscription?"
"…Point taken." Eren shoved a loose stone and a fake wall opened. He motioned us to follow him. The glowlamps were our only source of light. He took one from the wall and led the way.
"I was shown this way by a Templar when we announced our marriage. There should only be one Templar in here. The Chantry also has a way here from their cathedral." Eren explained. There were many hallways that we pass, twists, and turns. It was dizzying. Then we saw one lone Templar standing before a great vault door. He was sitting down in a stool with cards on the table. He yawned loudly. Eren sucked in a breath.
"Just follow my lead." Eren stood up straight and walked like he was on an important mission. "Excuse me." The Templar got startled and stood up quickly.
"I can see you are dutifully watching your post."
"I-I'm sorry your majesty!"
"I need to enter." Eren commanded. The Templar blinked when he finally noticed Alistair, Anders, and I.
"They Grey Wardens just lost a blood mage and he is on the loose. I need to track him." Eren lied. The Templar's eyes widened.
"If that's the case shouldn't there be a Chantry Templar or-"
"Every single moment that we waste here, gives him a greater berth of escape. Let me through." Eren said. The Templar nodded. Eren walked up to the door with Alistair and Anders. The Templar looked at us confused. Alistair allowed his Templar abilities go through and Anders sent out a bit of magic. The clacks of the door resounded loudly until we were able to walk through.
It was a grand thing to see. The walls were carved in and the phylacteries were all next to each other, rows after rows of lightly glowing vials of blood. They only needed a small amount of a mage. Eren kept the Templar busy while Anders, Alistair, and I searched through the rows.
"How do we know when we'll find it?" Alistair whispered.
"It'll react with Anders by glowing brighter." I whispered. Anders walked around. I noticed that there were many phylacteries that were dark. That meant that the mage that belonged to it has died. Anders gave a small gasp. In front of him, in a small corner, was a vial that shown brighter than the rest. He grabbed it and pocketed it quickly. Alistair and I nodded and we got out of there.
"Did you get the vial Warden Commander?" Eren asked.
"Yes I did. Thank you, your Majesty." The Templar was growing suspicious. Eren gave him a pat on the shoulder.
"I will make sure that the Chantry knows of your involvement and help." Eren said, his voice sounding like silk but with an undertone that was threatening. The Templar nodded vigorously. We closed the vault and Eren led us back to the palace. Anders let out a breath as we came back into the hallway of the palace.
"I can't believe it…I…I…"
"Calm down. I hope this will help you Anders." Eren said.
"Thank you your majesty! I will remember you kindly, very kindly!" Anders laughed, letting the anxiety and worry roll off him. Alistair rubbed his face and shook his head.
"I need a drink." Eren laughed.
"I'll provide it for you. Nia, Anders, excuse me but I still have to go back to the vultures." Eren said with a roll of his eyes. I laughed. Alistair followed him. Anders and I got out of the Royal palace then Anders went into a small alley and crouched down, the vial in his hands. I went with him, leaning against the wall.
"Aren't you going to break it?" I asked. Anders said nothing. He was going through many emotions. I waited, looking out at the road. I heard glass crackling as Anders threw the vial on the ground. Anders gasped and laughed. I thought I saw a few tears in the corner of his eyes.
"I'm free. I'm free Nia!" Anders said shaking me by my shoulders. I laughed at him. He stopped and stared at me, an indiscernible look on his face.
"…I can't…I will never be able to give you my thanks." Anders said seriously. I smiled and pinched his cheek.
"Don't leave. That's all I ask." Anders gave me a sigh of relief and held my face in his hands. He gave me a quick kiss on my forehead.
"Thank you. Oh Andraste, what a time to be alive!" I shook my head at his antics. "Well…now that we're done with all the serious bits, I'm off to the Pearl." I face palmed.
"Go ahead and knock yourself out." I said flatly. Anders gave me a wide smile, his face red. We went our separate ways and I found myself back in my room in the tavern. I couldn't find Nathaniel or Velanna anywhere. I didn't care to. I just wanted rest.
9:31 Kingsway 14th
"He's late." I said, pacing in front of the carriages that were going to take us back to Vigil's Keep. Oghren was out cold in one carriage. Nathaniel, Velanna, Alistair, and I were waiting for Anders. The last anyone had heard of him was when he went to the Pearl. I felt a sinking feeling in my stomach. What if he left? Then what? What if he used me to destroy his phylactery and left without a word? I tapped on my arm and paced and paced…and paced.
"Nia, you're going to make me dizzy with all that pacing."
"I'm worried. Maybe something happened…maybe he ran away again." I bit my lip. My anxiety grew worse and worse as I thought about all the possibilities.
"Let him be. I bet you he's just having more fun with the workers." Nathaniel said. I heard a snort and a yell.
"Get away from me you schleets!" As the others chuckled, I clenched my fists. I thought that this was it. I wasn't able to change anything. I failed.
"I'm going to go look for him!"
"Nia. Calm down." Alistair said, putting his hands on my shoulders.
"I am calm!"
"What's with all this yelling?" I looked back and Anders was there, a sheen of happiness on his face. That lump in my throat was gone.
"Took you long enough." Nathaniel said.
"Oh sorry. It seems that I was extremely popular with the ladies!" Anders laughed.
"It looks like they weren't the only ones that were thinking of you then." Nathaniel said, bumping into me. Velanna and he chuckled as they went into the carriage and I felt my face heat up.
"I was just worried ok!" I said with my voice higher pitched in my embarrassment. Alistair laughed at me and I pouted away from them. Anders hugged me from behind and put his head on top of mine.
"You were worried for me?" Anders chuckled.
"I thought…maybe you have left…"
"I promised you didn't I? I'm not leaving. Now, let's go home." Anders said, going into the carriage, giving me his hand. I felt elated. I changed it. I changed it. I giggled and took his hand.
Time to go home.
9:31 Kingsway 15th
When we came back to Vigil's Keep, a few Orlesian Wardens were already waiting for us. One stood out from the rest with his blue and silver armor. Stroud.
"My name is Stroud from Orlais, Warden Commander." Stroud said, introducing himself to Alistair in the throne room. He was with three more wardens. A huge man with many scars on his face, an elven woman that glared at me, a Dalish male elf that winked at me, and another man with dark hair, light green eyes, and pale skin. I rolled my eyes.
"Good to see you Stroud. Are you sure about your information?"
"Yes. There are more Deep Roads entrances around these canyons from what the Wardens had looked for before they were killed. My condolences on the men you have lost." Stroud said sincerely.
"We all lost someone important here. Now, can we go over these maps?" Alistair said, leading him to his desk.
"There you are." Nathaniel said, coming into the throne room. I was standing near the bookshelves, reading a book on Antiva.
"Hey Nathaniel. Time for more training?"
"Yes, and don't you dare run away. We have someone here that says they know you waiting for you in the practice grounds." Nathaniel said. I raised an eyebrow and put the book back. I went to the practice grounds where Oghren was fighting against someone. Anders and Ser Pounce-a-lot looking, rubbing his stubble, leering at the person that Oghren was fighting. I gasped when I noticed their fighting style.
"Zevran!" I shouted. There was Zevran, his forehead already with a sheen of sweat. He laughed at me as he kept on evading Oghren's wild slashes.
"Stop bouncing around elf!"
"But if I do, you will surely cut me down Oghren!" Zevran twirled around before his dagger met the throat of Oghren. Oghren growled and Zevran let him go. I was bouncing in my boots. As soon as the battle was done, I ran toward Zevran, giving him a massive hug. His chuckle reverberated as I hugged him. I hugged him tight to me, smelling his familiar musk.
"Oh ho! Looks like she found a keeper!" Anders whistled. I let go in embarrassment, feeling my face heat up.
"Be quiet Anders." Zevran laughed cupping my face and giving me a kiss on each cheek.
"You look well mi niña preciosa." I giggled and Oghren whistled as well.
"What are you doing here Zevran? Your letter said that you were in Antiva hunting down the crows."
"I was but I found myself taking a ship here once I learn of your Vigil's Keep. I wanted to see the fortress of the Grey Wardens."
"To make sure that it stood against the Crows?"
"That too." I laughed.
"So are you going to introduce us?" Anders said.
"Oh, Zevran this is my friend Anders. Anders, the one I talked to you about."
"So he knows of our time at the Pearl."
"We all know." Nathaniel said. I groaned.
"You're as red as my beard girly!"
"Shut up Oghren!" They all laughed at me. I'm never going to live this down. Alistair came out to the practice grounds.
"Zevran!? What are you doing here?"
"Ah my favorite Templar!"
"He's stopping by." I said.
"Odd. You're not here to carry out any assassinations are you?"
"Not unless your King orders it."
"What is it Alistair?" Nathaniel asked.
"Pack up your things, except you Nia. We have a few new maps from what Stroud gave me. We're going into the Deep Roads."
"Ugh, again?" Anders whined.
"Yes again. It comes with the Grey Warden package. Nia, you are in charge while I'm gone. I'm sure this keep will be back on its feet with you in charge."
"Oh joy." I said flatly and Zevran laughed. "Well at least I have you."
"For the time being yes." Zevran said, grabbing my hand.
"Then we shouldn't wait too long. Will Justice be coming with us?" Nathaniel asked.
"It would be hard convincing him otherwise. We'll meet at the front gates." Alistair said. They all left with Anders winking at Zevran as he passed. I looked at Zevran as he leered at him as he left.
"Already Zevran? You move fast." He laughed.
"I am amazed at this fortress though…I have heard of the rumors from the attacks." Zevran said softly as we passed through the hallways to go to the main gates.
"It was…we lost a lot of people but the soldiers helped to make sure the keep didn't fall." I said. "They have made the soldiers that survived without getting tainted wearing the silverite armor, the Silver Order but…there's a lot of scars now." I said, leaning against the main gate.
"There are also rumors of a great guardian spirit that came forth from a sundering of the veil of all the death and protected the Vigil in its time of need. Is this true?" I smiled at Zevran.
"What do you think?" I saw Alistair and the others come toward the main gate.
"Nia, Zevran. We'll be back before you know it." Alistair said, patting me on the head.
"Don't miss us too much!" Anders laughed.
"And for once try not to get yourself kill." Talen said, crossing his arms.
"Once we return, I'm training you on evasion from archers." Nathaniel said. I groaned.
"Be well. I shall return with more stories for my people." Velanna said.
"Nia." Justice said, nodding to me. I nodded to him back.
"Make sure they pay Justice."
"Then onward." Stroud said. I saw them leave, their backs strong and proud. I looked at Vigil's Keep.
"Well…time to settle in I guess."
9:31 Kingsway 22nd
There was another reason why Zevran came. The crows came by to get Vigilance from the rumors of the fight. He killed a few before trying to track them down from where they came. It was a short time but it was nice to have him around.
"Alistair? Where's everyone else?" I asked. I was out in the courtyard with a few of the recruits, trying to clear away the rubble. Alistair and Stroud were the only ones that came back. He looked at me with a somber look and sighed.
"A…Templar managed to join the Grey Wardens ranks. His name was Rolan. I had sent Anders with him to deal with a Broodmother in the Deep Roads. When we didn't get a response back, Stroud and I checked. The Grey Wardens and Templars that we found were all dead. Anders and Justice are gone. We came back to try to find them." Alistair said.
The world stopped then. I dropped what I was holding. My mouth moved but no sound came out.
"No…no…" Alistair grabbed my forearms to steady me.
"I'm sorry Nia."
"Are you sure you must tell her of these things? I understand that we must look for Anders but she is no Grey Warden and-" I let go of Alistair and punched Stroud in the face.
"You fucking bastard! How could you let him and Anders go like that!? Alistair you knew how Anders felt about Templars!" I shouted.
"We didn't know! Rolan must have called on other Templars and-"
"When?" Alistair looked at me confused. "When did they leave!?"
"Three days ago." Stroud said, moving his jaw back and forth, blood coming from his split lip. I ran toward the stables, Alistair calling out my name. Aura. I had to find Aura! I took a horse that had its saddle on and quickly got on. I commanded it to go forward. I saw Alistair try to stop me but I had to go to Amaranthine as soon as possible.
I paid no heed to the people on the road. There was no time anymore. I had to get there. I had to get there!
The horse made the trip and I left it in the stables outside of the city. They were still repairing from the attack earlier in the month. I ran around, looking for Aura. I didn't know where she lived. I was hyperventilating. I had to find her. I had to find her!
I nearly ran into her when I ran around a corner. She was about to say something when she recognized my face.
"I…I remember you. You were the one that were with the body of my husband." I cleared my throat and tried to calm my heart that was ready to burst.
"Yes. I need to know Aura. Did you ever receive your husband's body?"
"A fortnight ago yes. I have his ashes." She said happily but it crushed what little hope I had left.
"I…I see. I am glad." I said. I patted her on the shoulder and went out of the back gate. The seagulls cried as I saw the docks in front of me. I stood on the bank. Anders promised. He promised he would stay. He broke it.
"Liar…" I whispered but the emotions were too much. I grabbed at the rocks and threw them into the sea. The warm tears coming down. "Liar! Anders you liar!" I screamed as I continued grabbing rocks and throwing them, sobs coming out of my mouth. "Traitor! You said you would stay! You said that I as long as I was there, you would stay! Liar! Liar! Traitor!"
I slipped and fell on my knees. There was no hope anymore.
What was the point in trying to save all those people? What was the point of Varel and Sigrun dying if I couldn't stop Anders?
It was all for nothing. All those people protecting Vigil's Keep, the way I tried to make a home for him, the promise that he made me...it didn't matter. Nothing I did mattered.
It was all for naught.
I failed again.
I wasn't able to stop him.
I gave out one more wail at the heavens as I felt my world shatter and crumble before me.
I felt a ball of fur nuzzle my face in the morning and I groaned. I turned away before that same ball of fur meowed at me for food. I opened my eyes. Ser Pounce-a-lot wasn't a small kitten anymore. I sighed and got up. I went to my vanity drawer and looked at myself.
It's been several weeks since the disappearance of Anders and Justice. Kristoff's body was laid to rest when Aura found it on her steps. That was the last time they heard of him.
Rolan was a Templar that heard of Anders when he was in the order and managed to become a Grey Warden. He, Anders, and Justice with a few new recruits were sent off to fight against a Broodmother in the Deep Roads. They won but Justice asked Anders to become his host.
Anders did so in front of Rolan. He called on Templars that were waiting for him out in one of the entrances. They tried killing Anders. He killed them all.
Amazingly Ser Pounce-a-lot found his way back to the keep after being left abandoned in the Deep Roads. I looked in the mirror and smiled. No that looked fake. I smiled again. That was better.
The depression was getting worse. I found myself smiling less and less when I was alone.
The demons in the pit wanted to drown me in my darkest emotions.
I wasn't able to stop anything.
Anders left me a note. I opened my drawer and took out that small piece of vellum and unfurled it.
The rage was bursting inside me. I smiled at the mirror again. I sighed and put on my usual clothes. I heard a knock on the door and I rubbed my face.
"Come in." Nathaniel came in with his blue and silver armor, the griffon symbol before him.
"Good Morning Nia."
"Morning. What are you doing here so early? I thought that our training sessions wouldn't be until later?"
"Alistair told me to tell you to get ready. It seems that he wants to take you out to a known smugglers nest near the coast…He said you need the sea air." I laughed but I didn't have much emotion into it.
"So I need to get my pack ready, put on my armor, daggers and all?"
"And all that music, yes." Nathaniel said, crossing his arms and leaning on the door frame.
"She's doing well. That ice trick you told her about seems to be easing her morning sickness."
"And we have tons of it now that we're in winter." I said, taking my armor down from its stand and putting it on. "Nathaniel the dad. That's going to take some time getting used to." Nathaniel chuckled.
"Well, I'll leave you to pack. We'll meet each other at the main gates." Nathaniel said. I nodded and smiled at him. He closed the door. My face settled back into the frown. I looked at the gleaming Dalish armor with the masterpiece runes that Alistair tried so hard to place. I looked at my new daggers that Wade made for me. I couldn't carry them enchanted for fear of the lyrium making my power known. As long as the runes weren't touching me directly on my armor, everything seemed to be fine, besides the occasional shock.
Ser Pounce-a-lot rubbed against me. If it wasn't for him, I probably would have thrown myself in the Waking Sea already. I sighed, making my pack, putting in my pouch of gold, journal, ocarina, bed roll and various other things that I'll need. I made sure to buckle my armor tight.
I looked in the mirror again.
I met with Alistair and Nathaniel out in the front gates. I nodded to both of them as we got on our horses and set out for Amaranthine.
"The smugglers are using a set of abandoned tunnels and caves along the coast. We'll leave our horses in Amaranthine for now and then continue through the secret docks." Alistair explained. I nodded and kept my eyes forward as the horses brought us to Amaranthine. My mouth was coming out in wisps and the countryside looked different than ever. Winter has descended on Ferelden with a cold blanket of snow. The cold relaxed me. It made me think about how cold I was and focus on that besides the emotions I was feeling. We left the horses in their stables and used the secret entrance out in the abandoned houses.
"Nia, how are you feeling?" Alistair asked as we took down another set of tunnels away from the secret dock.
"Do you really have to ask that?" Out of everyone I knew, Alistair was the only one that was trying to help me with my depression.
"Nathaniel told me you smiled when he saw you in the morning."
"It was fake." He sighed.
"I'm worried for you Nia."
"Don't. I brought this on myself."
"Didn't you once tell me that sometimes you have to take it step by step?"
"That's a load of bullshit and you know it Alistair." I said, walking away from him. It was hard to understand how he wanted to help me when, I knew, that he blamed me for Sigrun's death. I didn't need his half-assed attempts to cheer me up when I knew that.
"Nathaniel?" Alistair asked. He took out a roll of a map and they held it against the wall. Alistair used a glowstone that he had to check the map. I kept on walking. I wondered what would happen if I got lost just like that. Would anyone miss me? Would they cry over me? How would I die? I didn't even notice how I got separated from them. I felt something vibrate in my pack. I was confused by it but I wasn't able to concentrate on it before I ended up falling through a hole. I slid through the tunnel, down, farther. I ended up nearly falling on my face in a small cavern. I sighed at my stupidity before I saw it in its glory.
There was a statue carved out of the stone. It looked like one of the elven pantheon. There was a glow emanating from above and I saw there was a carved out roof and it was filled with strands of lyrium. The walls were carved smooth to the touch like polished marble and there was a small, perfect circle of frozen water in front of the statue. I stared in awe before I felt something vibrating again.
I checked the pack I was carrying and found the small orb in my pack.
'The veil is weak here.' I gasped and looked around. There was no one around me but I knew who that voice belonged to.
"Halo?" I walked forward toward the pool that was frozen. It glowed before showing me five figures. I gasped and put my hand over my mouth.
Hawke, Bethany, Carver, Merrill, and Varric walking up a mountain.
'This is what you are seeing because of the Witch's magic.' I looked at the orb. It must have been resonating with the amulet that Hawke carried.
"It's time then." I said.
'The power to transport you will take much of what I have gathered, even with the Witch's help. This will further the time needed to take you home.' I bit my lip. It would take more years to get me home if I chose this route.
"You already know my answer Halo. I'm going to see this through the bitter end." I said with conviction. I had a chance to change things.
I'm not going to make the same mistake.
'I understand.' I closed my eyes and felt Halo giving me the information I need to get there. I threw the orb into the water and it melted the ice surrounding it. It glowed like the energy inside of me. The warmth spread from my chest all throughout my body, my shoulders giving me that itch since I gained those scars. I held onto my pack as I took one step toward the pool and I became immediately submerged in it.
I felt warm feathers gather me up in a loving embrace as the light grew hotter and hotter, surrounding me. The light burning my eyes and my mouth set in a grimace. My vision became blurry for an instant before closing my eyes and letting this take me where I need to be.
Done! I was wondering how you guys would react to the transition. So those repressed emotions, yeah, totally messed her up. Remember I do get up to Inquisition and events still happen. The only story is HOW we get there. Mind you, it's a bumpy, bumpy ride.
I would like to thank all my silent readers, my reviewers that reviewed all chapters, those that only reviewed once, all who favorited and followed! We have reached the end of Amaranthine! The next installment is called DAYS OF OUR PAST! IT IS OUT NOW! I hope to see you all there!
Taffy and Sweetrolls: Oh you know this isn't the end. The true end won't come for...a very long time lol I like the new name.
Buggy300: I see that you are also knowledgeable on tropes as well! Things are going to get worse first before they get better. True the epilogues from the first games were awesome. Don't worry I will be mentioning Soldier's Peak and Amaranthine in my version of Inquisition along with a few guest appearances that you might like. I'm glad you like the change. It's not the last one either...
ThelonewolfNT: Unfortunately the decision wasn't made by Nia and Alistair would kill them both seeing as they are both darkspawn. True, the Architect was a magister but had amnesia, this was confirmed.
Chimera Spyke: I can't say anything due to spoilers but Anders has Justice so there's one question answers. I would love to do table top games but I don't have enough nerdy friends for that. Thank you though on the story!
GamerGeekGirl: I base my interactions on my own experiences on not getting feedback as well as my frequent updates.
Thank you EG and White Story for your reviews! Please Review!