"All right listen up you sodding pieces of nug shit, these are the paths that must be blocked! Gather your barrels of explosives and place them on the targets where they are on the map! Legion, protect the Keepers from the darkspawn at all costs! If we are to save this point, then we got to give it all! Move out!" I shouted and they shouted back to me. I went back to the board and looked over the map again.

"Not a bad speech Paragon." I looked back as Shaper Valta came into my tent.

"Shaper." I nodded. "Don't worry, we'll break through their lines soon and you can go ahead and try to get the information from Bownammar."

"Well it's not like we're on a deadline. We don't have a Blight on the surface not that the darkspawn care. I'm surprised you came back. Everyone has said you settled down on the farms, Paragon Brosca." Valta said, coming up beside me and placing a few map points when the scouts came back to report.

"It was nice for a while. The missus didn't really agree but I got to save face. Not only that, going to Amgarrak a few years back really opened by eyes as to what I have to do. A Grey Warden's work is never finished. My friends might have continued their lives on the surface but we are the one doing the heavy lifting. We're the only ones making sure these rotting bronco riders don't get a straight shot to the surface. While everyone topside is worrying about what color matches which, we stay and get our hands dirty and kill these sorry pieces of rot." I heard someone laughing behind me.

"Now that's what I like to hear!"

"Renn! You thunder humper!" I slapped his back. We both gave each other a side hug while he came by me to look at the map.

"You think we'll find anything here?" Renn asked.

"Not sure. I went through here years ago. I didn't get the time to smell the corpses since we were looking for Branka. If there's anything here that can pique the interest of the Shapers, we have a chance." I nodded. Valta sighed and Renn looked uncomfortable.

"I'm sorry about what happened Valta." Renn said.

"No it's fine." She nodded.

"Ah Bhelen lost a good one. It's his loss. What you did? It was honorable. Stupid considering how the Deshyrs think, but honorable and you're with the best of us." I laughed.

"Paragon, the explosives are set." The scout said. I started to hear that same whispers in the back of my head. I got my maul and put on my helmet.

"Tell the men to get ready. It seems another wave is coming, big one too. Get ready for some shield Genlocks and maybe an ogre or two." I described.

"An Ogre!?" Valta gave me an incredulous look.

"An Ogre. Get ready shaper. We aren't in the city anymore…" I closed my eyes and remembered the day before I set out.

"Derek I understand that you want to leave because of the growing problem but what about managing the farms!? What about your kids? What about me…?" Haile bit her lip. I sighed. I was getting on in years. My children were growing before my eyes and my wife couldn't be any lovelier. Still, what happened years before in the Amgarrak Thaig changed me.

I was a Grey Warden before anything else. The water was starting to get low. We had to find another source and fast. I had to help my people. The Stone brought me back. The best thing I could do for it was to repay it in kind by getting rid of those Darkspawn.

"You know what I am Haile. This is my home and it will always be my home. I need to protect it. I need to protect you. I heard that a Shaper was sent out to the Deep Roads to recover some artifacts of some sort. I'll be heading out with the Keepers and the Legion. We've made good progress to get back Bownammar." I explained. Haile wiped her eyes and I held her close.

"Then I'll pray to the Stone to keep you safe…just remember to come back. I would hate to tell the children that you died a hero when I wanted a husband, a father." She whispered. I made sure to memorize her face, her smell, her body. I didn't know when I was going to back and I didn't want to forget her though I know at this point I won't.

Born a Duster only to become one of the most memorable Paragons that has even pushed Branka out of memory. Life was good but in order to pass on this life to the next generation, I have to make sure that it's safe.

"Ogre coming up!" The cries of battle were raging, blood saturated my beard and I heard the heavy stomps of an Ogre coming up to our group.

"Archers!" I shouted. A few hit the Hurlocks that covered the Ogre. It batted away its brethren and stood before me. I whacked a shriek away as I stared down the humongous monster five times my size. It growled and roared, spittle dropping to the ground.

I laughed darkly and remembered my wife and kids. I ran, dodging its fists before slidding in between its legs. I used the momentum and swung hard onto the back of its knee. A resounding crack filled my ears as it knelt down.

"Now!" The others rushed at it, chopping, slicing, stabbing. The Ogre had to chance against our numbers and lied dead on the floor. "Set off the charges! The hall is clear!"

The sounds of booms filled the caverns and we moved the dead darkspawn bodies over to one side to burn them. The Legion and the Keepers both took a breather. I sat back, cracking my back in the process.

"You feeling the years old man?" Renn said, passing me a mug of ale and sitting next to me.

"I'm not like you youngin's that can keep up with the best of them but I got a good head on my shoulders at least." I guffawed.

My work will never be done in my generations or maybe my son's generation or my grandson's generation. It could be that the darkspawn will be here to stay indefinitely.

But maybe I can achieve a peace where my son won't worry to look behind him, where I can come home to a warm smile, a warm hug.

A dwarf can't dream but I'll be damned if I can't make one come true.


And so ends Derek's journey...for now. He's coming back in DAI as you all can see.

Thank you Dforce76, Chimera Spyke, and ThelonewolfNT for reviewing! Please Review!