Chapter 5: A Son's Destiny
Nellas woke up with his stomach in knots. He was in a bed with a fire going on to keep him warm. He groaned and wondered why his stomach hurt so much. As he got up, a startled elf girl dropped a box on the floor. She took a few steps back and Nellas gave her a raised eyebrow.
"Oh please, I didn't mean to-" She started.
"It's ok, everything is ok, I think?" Nellas got up with slight vertigo. She immediately bowed her head to the floor.
"Please forgive me, I am but a humble servant your grace." She started.
'Your grace?' Nellas gave a confused look but she had her face toward the floor. "You are back in Haven, my lord. I was told that you were able to stop the Breach from growing and it had the side effect of making your mark stop growing as well." She gasped and got up quickly, slightly startling Nellas. "I must go and tell Seeker Cassandra." She breathed out, not directing her attention at him for the moment.
"Then the Breach has been sealed?" Nellas asked, looking at the mark and realizing that he hasn't felt any pain from his hand.
"Yes, it's what everyone has been talking about for the past three days." She nodded before his stomach rumbled extremely loudly. Nellas blushed in response and she lightly chuckled.
"Well, I guess we're safe then." Nellas mumbled in relief.
"For the most part, even if the Breach is still in the sky. Either way, I must go. Lady Cassandra will want to know you've awakened." She grabbed the supplies from the floor and left it on the desk. "There are elfroot herbs in there in case you still feel weak."
"Thank you for your help." Nellas nodded before she started retreating to the door. "Wait, where is the Seeker?"
"In the Chantry!" She yelled back before closing the door. Nellas felt a headache coming on and flopped back onto the bed. He stared at the ceiling, a rush of memories from his time near the Breach flew into his mind. Nellas raised his hand and touched the mark. That slight hint of magic wasn't growing anymore, is what he felt at least. That weird hunger that seemed to pulsate out of it was gone too. Nellas felt a connection to the mark but couldn't pinpoint why.
He sighed as he realized that he couldn't lay in the bed forever. Nellas had to get answers from someone. He got up, noticing the bandages around his torso and around his arms. Looking around the cabin, he spotted a small bucket with dirty bandages and his mother's books were around the desk nearest his bed. She must have found the pack they had left in the mountain. It gave him comfort that she was looking after him. He took off his bandages and, noticing that his marks were fading, took them off. Nellas looked around and saw his armor shining near the fire that was flickering in the fireplace. He picked them up and noticed that they were clean of blood and demonic essence. A smile played on his lips as he imagined his mother meticulously cleaning it for him.
He put them on quickly. He had to go and find the others. He had to know what really happened while he was out. Nellas opened the door and was hit by chill air and bright sunshine. He gaped as there was a line of people on either side of the trail looking straight at him. Whispers and stares went around as he tentatively walked out of the cabin. Soldiers saluted him when he passed and his sensitive ears picked up the whispers.
"That's him. That's the Herald of Andraste. They say that Andraste was right behind him when he stepped out of the Breach!"
"We shouldn't disturb him."
"Why did the Seeker have him in chains? I thought Seekers knew everything?"
"We were all frightened when the Breach happened."
"That's him. He's the one who closed the Breach."
"I thought he was supposed to close the Breach entirely."
"Even if he didn't, he made more of a difference than anyone else."
"Aren't there more rifts outside of Haven?"
"Yes but the Herald of Andraste can seal those easily. Maker knows those things won't get sealed with the Chant of Light."
Nellas carefully walked through the paths that the people made, trying not to let his anxiety set in. Herald of Andraste? What is this talk? These guys were shooting glares of hatred and wanted him dead a few days ago. What changed? Everyone around him clamored around, not daring to talk to him, only looking at him with awe and reverence. Nellas wasn't used to all this attention and accidentally bumped into a woman.
"Oh it's you. They're calling you to the Chantry in case you haven't heard." She said before going back to her desk near a tent. Nellas nodded dumbly before shaking himself out of it. He went to the Chantry and noticed the clamor around the door. Mothers, Clerics, and many others that wore the robes of the Chantry stood around, talking at length about what to do.
"Go in peace, Herald of Andraste." One sister said as he opened the doors. He nodded stiffly and walked in. He finally realized that he can see the Chantry in its glory since the last time he was escorted out. There were various candles on the floor with small metal pots of incense. The banners of the sun were scattered everywhere with supplies mostly congregating at the door. The torches burned brightly, giving the Chantry a warmth that was comforting from the cold of the mountains. Nellas started to relax before hearing the voice of the Chancellor from the mountains. "Have you gone completely mad? He should be taken to Val Royeaux immediately, to be tried by whomever becomes Divine!" Nellas pouted at that. He sealed the Breach for Elgar'nan's sake! For the most part at least.
"I do not believe he is guilty." Cassandra's voice rung out.
"The young elf failed Seeker. The Breach is still in the sky, for all you know he intended it to be this way!" Chancellor Rodrick yelled.
"Ah yes, a young humble elf had plans to ruin the world from underneath my wings. Are you even listening to yourself?" Nellas gave a sigh of relief when he heard his mother's voice.
"We do not believe that." Cassandra countered.
"You may have decided that but it is not yours to make. Your duty is to serve the Chantry." Rodrick scoffed.
"And your organization has done well enough to calm the disturbance of the Breach." Elera's sarcasm dripping with her tone.
"Why is she here Seeker!?" Rodrick snapped. Nellas almost laughed at his high pitched tone.
"Because she is the Herald's mother and because she helped us in sealing the Breach. Besides, my duty is to serve the principles on which the Chantry was founded, Chancellor as is yours." Cassandra said.
"Apparently from how he is acting, he seems to have forgotten that." Nellas can imagine his mother's eyeroll at that.
"How dare you!" Rodrick yelled out. Nellas knew that something bad could happen if he wasn't there keeping his mother in check so he went in at that point. Rodrick, Cassandra, Leliana, and Elera were all surrounding a table that had the whole of Orlais and Ferelden on it. Two Templars were standing guard at the door that spooked Nellas when he saw them.
"Chain him! I want him prepared for travel to the Capital for his trial." Rodrick pointed at Nellas. Elera glared before Cassandra waved her hand.
"Disregard that and leave us." Cassandra commanded. The Templars saluted and went out.
"You walk a dangerous line, Seeker." Chancellor Rodrick glared at Cassandra.
"The Breach in the sky is still a threat and I will not ignore it." Cassandra returned it in full.
"I know it isn't much but I did everything I could to seal it." Nellas said, trying to break the tension in the room. It didn't make him feel better when all the eyes on the room focused on him as soon as he spoke. He saw Leliana in the shadows, watching them all.
"And yet here you are when greater men have failed." Chancellor looked down on him. Elera put a step forward but Leliana stopped her.
"Have a care Chancellor. The breach is not the only threat we face." Cassandra said.
"Sabotage. Has it ever crossed your mind that someone else could have been behind the Breach?" Elera said.
"Exactly, someone that the Divine did not expect to be there. Perhaps they died with the others or have allies who yet live." Leliana glared at Chancellor Rodrick.
"I am a suspect!?" He gasped, clutching at his robes at the audacity.
"You and many others!" Leliana shot back.
"But not the prisoner." Rodrick kept his hateful eyes on Nellas.
"In the voices in the Temple, I heard the Divine call out to him for help." Cassandra said.
"All of this, his survival, even the mark on his hand, is just a mere coincidence?" Rodrick said, disbelief in his tone.
"Providence. The Maker sent him to us in our darkest hour." Cassandra nodded and Elera raised an eyebrow at that.
"No." Nellas put his foot down and everyone looked at him. He wilted slightly before taking a breath. "I'm not anyone's chosen one."
"Whether or not you were chosen or what you believe in, you were still what we needed at the time." Cassandra said.
"Besides that, you still need him even now don't you? Considering the Breach wasn't fully closed." Elera pitched in.
"That is not for them to decide." Rodrick scoffed at Elera who opened her mouth for a retort before Cassandra reached out for a heavy tome and slammed it on the table.
"You know what this is Chancellor. A writ from the Divine, granting us authority to act. As of this moment, I declare the Inquisition reborn." Cassandra stalked Rodrick as he walked backwards to retain his distance from her. "We will close the breach, we will find those responsible, and we will restore order, with or without your approval." Cassandra put her foot down. Elera was amused at the mousey look Rodrick had put on when she declared this. Rodrick took one last glance at Nellas and Elera before walking out. Cassandra shook her head at him while Leliana looked at the tome.
"This is the Divine's directive: Rebuild the Inquisition of old. Find those who will stand against the Chaos." Leliana's face fell. "We aren't ready. We have no leader, no numbers, and now no Chantry support."
"And yet we must continue walking this path." Elera sighed.
"We have no choice. We must act now, with you at our side." Cassandra looked to Nellas. He looked at the tome and then back to Cassandra. He looked at his mother but she had an unreadable expression on her face. He was young, untrained, still relied on his mother but everything in Nellas' heart told him that he wanted to stay.
"Then you don't mind? Because I really do want to stay and help. If you really want to bring peace…" Nellas let that hang.
"That is what we are planning." Leliana nodded.
"Help us before it's too late." Cassandra held out her hand to Nellas. He took it without question and shook it. "Now that we have all reached an agreement, it is time to rebuild everything. Leliana, we need to have what little of we have of the Chantry make final rites for all those that were lost. Call Josephine and see if we can offer any last stipends for the families. For now, rest you two. We will call you in once we are ready to start." Cassandra explained and Nellas took that as a chance to get out of the room. Elera right behind him. When he closed the door, Nellas let out the breathe he has holding in.
"Mamae, do you believe I can do this?" Nellas looked up at her. Elera frowned.
"You have a lot of work to do da'len but you are my son and I believe you can do anything so long as you work towards it. Don't worry and remember you are not alone." Elera patted his head. "Now, I may be able to help Leliana with her spies if I can include some of our own numbers." Elera started making her way out of the Chantry.
"Our numbers?" Nellas wondered.
"Those from Clan Lavellan came before you awoke. They were very sorrowful at those that we had lost and have asked to do anything to right their shame. If I can convince them to work for the Inquisition, it will grant Leliana with a boon. Until then, rest Nellas. If Cassandra or anyone else needs you for something, don't be afraid to ask." Elera said, going out of the Chantry and towards the gate that lead out of Haven.
She told him to rest but Nellas didn't even know where he could even do that. He could always go to the cabin that he woke up in but he was given so much information at the moment that he knew he wouldn't go to sleep. Nellas frowned as he meandered around Haven. He eventually found a bonfire that was raging near the gates with Varric in front of it.
"Well if it isn't the Herald of Andraste himself! Have you come to linger with the common folk my lord?" Varric did a mock bow and Nellas looked at it with disgust.
"Please tell me you're not serious right now." Nellas pinched the bridge of his nose. Varric laughed hard.
"No, no! I'm not one for bowing. Just did it to get a rise out of you. Now that we're out of earshot from the Seeker though, how are you feeling? I can't imagine anyone surviving through what you did healthy." Varric looked at him with parental worry.
"It's not the first time I've been in danger but...I don't want to think about the people that died up there." Nellas confessed.
"Too many in my opinion. Kid, you might want to reconsider staying here with your mom." Varric said.
"Why?" Nellas wondered.
"I've read enough stories to know how this ends. Defeating your arch nemesis is believable but closing a hole in the sky? That's going to require a miracle. It's not a decent strategy but running away is always an option." Varric described.
"No." Nellas shook his head. "If I can do this, then I'm going to stay. Someone has to." Varric grinned.
"The kid has a backbone I see. Well your mother has to shine somewhere right? I'll be sticking around. I'm sure you have some important Herald business to attend to." Varric said, sitting down and collecting a journal that was on the bench.
"Not really…" Nellas mumbled but felt that he was going to overstay his welcome. He instead wandered over to the tavern when he smelled food. His stomach grumbled painfully as he remembered that he hasn't eaten in almost a week. Nellas walked into the tavern that had a few tables already full up. The people watched him as he walked to the stand where Flissa was. She didn't look down on elves from what he remembered his mother mentioning.
"Hello Herald! What can I get you?" Flissa chirped. Nellas rubbed his neck.
"Um do you serve food here?" Nellas wondered.
"Of course! You don't mind some gruel and bread right now do you? Our rations are slightly low from all the fighting." Flissa apologized.
"Anything right now would be good." Nellas nodded.
"Of course, take a seat Herald and I'll get you your food. Anything to drink in the meantime?" Flissa wondered.
"Just something that won't get me drunk I guess?" Nellas asked innocently. Flissa giggled.
"Of course." She said before going over to a runner to get something in the kitchens. Nellas took an empty seat as he felt the stares starting to lessen. He heard some random bits of conversation about the Grey Wardens and the future of the Inquisition. He people watched, noticing that many still often looked at him. When the sun came through the window, it shined on his hand, making him look down. The mark still shined and Nellas quickly put his hand in his lap.
He was intrigued by it but was also scared by it. He could link it to his magic but something about the mark was…hungry in his opinion. The mark wasn't all benevolent is what he believed. Nellas couldn't tell anyone about his gut feeling though. He poked at the mark before seeing Flissa bring his food and drink. Flissa gave him a questioning glance before Nellas realized that his posture didn't look so innocent. In fact, it almost looked like he was fondling himself. He cleared his throat, thanked Flissa, and started to eat.
It was probably the greatest thing he ever ate though Nellas attributed that to his appetite. He tried not to scarf down his food and he managed, in some part not to look like a barbarian. He ordered more food after his first plate and, by the time his second plate was cleared, Nellas was finally feeling normal. He went outside and passed through the people of Haven and settled on a rock that over looked the village. There, he let his mind wander.
So many things, incredible and scary, has happened in such a short course of time. Nellas' eyes looked to the Breach, stable but still there. He looked at his hand, shining less brightly with no pain. It felt like a lifetime had already passed by him and Nellas wasn't sure what to think about it. He couldn't even remember what truly happened at the Temple since his memory didn't return either. As much as he tried to rummage through his memories, all he could remember was how he felt when he managed to sneak there, that's it.
"I thought I would find you here." Nellas looked over his shoulder and found his mother trailing toward him before sitting next to him. "I am sure you can't relax." She stated.
"A lot of things happened mamae and now that I can relax…" Nellas let out a drawn-out sigh and groaned. He lied back and stared at the sky. "I can't relax. I'm still trying to believe everything that happened." Elera nodded.
"This almost reminds me of the day I learned I was carrying you." Elera mentioned and Nellas looked at his mother. She very rarely talked about the circumstances of his birth and of his father. "My world changed at that moment. I knew there was something wrong for a long time and didn't want to accept it but then our clan leader made me realize that this is something I couldn't run from. It took some time to accept that I would have to accommodate a child into my life but I did so because that change was something that, in my mind, was amazing if frightening." Elera looked at him and smiled. Nellas looked at his hand again.
"Amazing but scary…" He mumbled. "I want to help mamae in any way I can." Nellas got up. "It feels like the right thing to do. I'm not sure what I can really do right now but once I find it, I'll do my best."
"I would not have it any other way. For now, it would be best to regroup. I believe they will be making the announcement of the return of their Inquisition soon." Elera got up with her son and patted his head. "You'll do fine." She encouraged him and Nellas nodded.
They went back into Haven as people were crowding the Chantry doors. Cullen was there, hanging a post over the Chantry doors. Nellas managed to see Chancellor Rodrick walk away with a red face of anger. Cullen, once he was done, spotted Nellas.
"You're here, good. Cassandra has announced the Inquisition rebuilt. She has offered to replace any armor or weapons that you need, all you have to do is visit our smithy." Cullen relayed the information.
"My armor is fine but…can your smithy make bows?" Nellas wondered.
"Of course." Cullen nodded. Nellas thanked Cullen and made his way out of Haven. Elera watched him leave and Cullen noticed the looks of awe that she was gathering from the villagers of Haven. The Mother of the Son, of course everyone would also attach some sort of blessing on her as well.
"Is there anything you need done Commander?" Elera asked him and snapped him out of his reverie.
"Oh, thank you for your consideration but I believe the people you brought to Leliana will be all that is needed. If there are any requisitions that you might need, I suggest you visit Quartermaster Threnn." Cullen suggested.
"Thank you Commander." Elera nodded but she didn't move. In any case, it looked like she was observing.
"Has, um, anyone harassed you or your son?" Cullen cleared his throat, speaking in a low tone.
"Nothing out of the ordinary for elves like us. Though I have picked up some choice names about me." Her ears twitched.
"If anyone tries anything-" Cullen started but Elera waved her hand in a stopping notion.
"No need Commander, I am perfectly capable of handling those that dare harm me or my son. Let me reiterate my earlier statement, these names are not of the offending nature. Instead it seems that many have placed me on a pedestal similar to my son and it is…strange. I am not used to the attention, I'm sure I'll be fine with it eventually." Elera explained.
"Oh then I shouldn't worry then." Cullen said awkwardly.
"Commander." One of his soldiers called for him and Cullen was glad for the distraction. Elera was a strong woman and nothing short of professional as well. He shouldn't worry too much about the riff raff around the village. He saw her fight and would pity the fool that would challenge her or her son. Still, something about having the Herald as a young man didn't sit well with Cullen. A rather protective feeling went to both of them. He'll just keep an eye on the situation as a whole for now.
Beta'd by Syutaku
There are many reason for my very, very long absence. For one, my mental state started to deteriorate so I had to take time off to raise myself up from the dark place. Two, my pregnancy was affecting me for a long while. Three, my beta was being extra slow with this chapter alone lol. Either way, I am back! Not giving up on this so please don't give up on me. I'm also on maternity leave, little one is doing well, so be prepared for more updates!
Thank you Voraces Lector, dougcupcake, and emil2409 for favoriting/following!