Part 113: Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads?PART 113: WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE LIKELY LADS?
With the archdemon dead, the darkspawn horde quickly crumbled. Most ﬂed back into the Deep Roads.
They would remain a threat in the years to come, but the Blight had been ended before it had truly begun.
Ferelden had been saved, and the entire kingdom rose up to joyously greet its queen.
Its king was there too.
The Grey Wardens stood redeemed, and a new age had begun. But at what cost?
My friends, we are gathered to celebrate those responsible for our victory.
Of those who stood against the darkspawn siege of Denerim, there is one in particular who deserves commendation.
The one who led the charge against the archdemon and killed it remains with us still, an inspiration to all she saved that day.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present the hero of Ferelden, the first Grey Warden to defeat the Blight since Garahel four centuries ago.
Grey Warden, it is hard to imagine how you could have aided Ferelden more. I think it only appropriate that I return the favor.
Is there any boon you might request of Fereldens queen?
I only ask that my people be aided against the darkspawn.
[We could also ask for power and riches, or boons for the Wardens, or just nothing. In the end, you have to decide where your character's loyalties lie.]
Very well. My people seem to forget the plight of yours all too easily, do we not?
Let it be known that Ferelden hereby offers its full military support to the new king of Orzammar, and will aid in reclaiming the parts of the Deep Roads it has lost.
Let it also be known that the arling of Amaranthine, once the land of Arl Howe, is now granted to the Grey Wardens.
There they can rebuild, following the example of those who went before them.
What are your plans? Will you remain with the Grey Wardens?
I think I will travel... at least for a time. I have heard of these things called 'beaches' and I wish to see one.
I don't suppose the Grey Wardens are really in a position to stop you, are they?
Then let me say I hope your travels bring you back this way soon. You will always be welcome here.
There is a group of eager Fereldan citizens waiting outside to get a look at their hero.
I suggest you make at least a brief appearance before they storm the gate. (Chuckles) Just tell the guard at the door when you are ready.
[We're now free to wander the throne room and talk with our old friends before we finish the game. Time to say goodbye.]
I don't think we have much to say to one another. You killed the archdemon. Well done.
The Grey Wardens seem to be mighty curious as to just how you managed to pull that off without dying.
Morrigan saved me. With magic.
Morrigan... saved you? Well, that figures.
That might also explain why she ran off right after the battle. The Grey Wardens will be interested in figuring out just how she did that.
Hah. Good luck with that.
Look you made me king and I'm... grateful; And Duncan would have been happy the Blight is over.
I know you're leaving, anyhow. I'm sure we'll see each other again.
Until then, you'd best get on with your procession. Your adoring public awaits.
Take care, Alistair. Don't screw this up.
Allow me to offer you my personal congratulations, Warden.
I must admit that while I did not share my father's pessimism regarding the Grey Wardens, I had my doubts that such a small number of you could be victorious. Yet here you are.
(Chuckles) Normally I would call that bravado, but it seems your confidence is deserved.
Tell me something. Is Alistair always... like that?
Oh, yes. Yes indeed.
Thankfully, he has surprised me with his eagerness to learn the business of ruling. Despite his questionable humor... he may yet be a good king.
Ah, well. His heart is in the right place. In that he reminds me of Cailan, which is no failing.
Now I see Arl Eamon gesturing to me. There is more work to be done. I must take my leave of you, I fear.
It is over. I can barely believe it. You stopped the civil war and then defeated the Blight.
On behalf of Ferelden, allow me to say thank you. It truly cannot be said enough.
It's too bad that you aren't remaining here in the capital. The hero of Ferelden would have inﬂuence. But I understand.
[We do have the option of staying in Denerim, as Anora's 'chancellor', but I think Bianca would want to get shot of this place and these people as soon as possible.]
Myself, I will be remaining here to help Alistair. Teagan will take over the rule of Redcliffe, at least for the time being.
Connor seems well enough, and Isolde refuses to speak of what happened. She says she never wants to go back.
I... cannot thank you enough for saving them. They are the joy of my existence.
Tell me... have you noticed anything... strange about the lad? He seems... quiet.
Consider what he's been through.
Ahhh, you are no doubt correct. It is my imagination, I am sure.
But here I am rambling on. I shall let you get back to your celebration, Warden. Enjoy it while you can.
You've really showed these humans something. Took down the Blight practically single-handed!
All in a day's work.
(Laughs) Exactly! Give these tall folk something to chew on the next time they badmouth a dwarf, that's what.
I'm not just here to witness the whole human spectacle, however. The Assembly contacted me with a message for you.
I guess they figured once a manservant, always a manservant. Ahhh, I don't mind. Thing is, we've both been given leave to return to Orzammar.
Both of us?
Apparently. I went down with you, seems I rise back up with you too.
Seems your brother is mighty grateful for what you did. We've been restored to House Aeducan, full rights and everything.
And the Assembly is considering naming you a Paragon. Getting the humans to help Orzammar like you did... that should make it a lock.
A Paragon? That's exciting news!
Not a bad change from an exiled "murderer", no? Congratulations, my friend.
Think you might head back home? To tell them of the humans coming, at the very least!
We'll see. I have things to do first.
Well, I hope you manage it. I'll be happy to take up my old position, if you'll have me.
I'd always take you, but I thought you were a merchant now?
The guard revoked my license after I got caught selling stolen goods.
Eh, I was terrible at it anyway. At any rate, I'll let the humans get back to their dwarf worship. (Chuckles) Still makes me smile to hear them talk.
So here we are. The conquering heroine has won the day, and now she takes her bow and exits the stage. A fine ending.
It doesn't have to be an ending.
Doesn't it? It certainly feels like everyone is heading off on their own paths.
You know, I can't help now but think of my vision. Whether it was the Maker sending me to you, or whatever... it was a good thing.
I thought I was supposed to save you, to show you the way... but it seems it was meant to be the other way around. Odd how that works, no?
I think you did plenty.
You're kind to say so, but I think we know who was in charge.
I've been offered a position... to head up an investigation into the darkspawn. It's quite exciting, really.
Well, we really don't know much about them, do we?
Anora says that we need to find out more, see how far they go in the Deep Roads and where those broodmothers can be found. I agree.
It will be a grand adventure of my very own! I'm looking forward to it.
Good luck, Red. I can call in a few favors with the Legion, if you need them.
At any rate... you should get back to the celebration. We can speak another time.
So it appears that Riordan was wrong.
I find it difficult to believe that he deliberately misled us. Have you another explanation for what happened?
Morrigan helped with her magic. We didn't do that whole sex ritual for fun, you know.
I should have known. The witch disappeared not long after the battle, and has not been seen since. I assume this was... expected?
Still, the Orlesian Grey Wardens have been persistent in their questions. I intend to keep any thoughts on the matter to myself.
I understand you are leaving soon. I have been tapped to lead the Grey Warden recruitment efforts here in Ferelden.
Anora's inﬂuence, no doubt. I would have preferred she not interfered.
She's her father's daughter.
So it appears.
Allow me to say before I go that you have earned my respect. Odd that I ended up here, saying that, but there it is.
Return to your celebration. Perhaps we shall meet again.
Humans have a better taste for spirits than I thought. Heh. The ale up here is actually good.
Orzammar ale tastes like dirt in comparison. Probably because they put dirt in it. Go figure.
Think you might go back to Orzammar?
Mmph. I don't know. Maybe eventually.
I'm getting used to that big sky up there. And I'm thinking I might just look up Felsi again... see where that goes?
Just treat her well, Oghren.
I'd better. If she throws me out and shacks up with some poetess, I don't think my ego could take it.
Ah, well! Enough babbling. That pot-bellied son of a whore Teagan said I'd pass out before drinking an entire barrel of pickle juice--I aim to prove him wrong.
Don't ever change.
(Laughs) Who, me?
It's been good traveling with you, Warden. Don't get lost in the shufﬂe, now.
So it survived after all. My impression that all creatures made of ﬂesh were hopelessly squishy was... premature.
It's nice to be appreciated.
It has made me revise my opinion of its kind--my kind... I am, or at least was, a dwarf. A creature of flesh. I have to keep reminding myself that.
In fact, I think I may even try to become one again.
Wynne has offered to accompany me to Tevinter, to speak with the mages there. The Circle of Minrathous has the largest collection of arcane knowledge in Thedas.
If it is possible to reverse this... process... then the knowledge to do so will be there. Or that is my hope.
And if not? Then I will keep looking. I have nothing if not time, yes?
Then good luck.
I intend to return, eventually... unless I finally decide to destroy all pigeons everywhere. That may take a while. But otherwise, I will come back.
If it happens to one day see a tiny little dwarf who appears very nervous of being squished... that will be me.
Until then, I wish it well. It--you have been a fine friend
Don't go soft on me.
It is good to see you again, kadan.
These people... they call you "hero." It is a strange word, but I think I understand its meaning.
The arishok on occasion has declared a qunari to be qunoran vehl, one who serves as an example to others.
Such examples are always made after their death, however. A death in service to the Qun. A living qunoran vehl would be too proud.
Do the qunari celebrate and put on parades?
When a qunoran vehl is declared, certainly.
It is one of few occasions when the qunari are permitted to engage in... revelry. There is imbibing of spirits, public chanting, meditations abandoned... it is madness.
Heh. Don't you ever smile?
I am smiling.
I suppose I should tell you... I have decided to return to my people. Your quest is done, and thus so is my reason for accompanying you.
And I was just starting to get used to you.
And I to you, strangely enough.
It must be said: You found my sword and gave me a chance to restore my honor. I owe you a great debt.
You helped me, as well. It's been good.
It has. That one of the bas... a foreigner... would become known as kadan to me? Unthinkable. Yet here it is.
Perhaps I shall see you again one day. Until then, may you always find the path you seek. Farewell, kadan.
[Beside the Top Meme Content of 2009, do you see the ratty dog next to Sten? If we had opted to not do the ritual with Morrigan before the final battle, she would have fled Redcliffe Castle by shapeshifting into a dog exactly like that one. Looks like she made it to the final celebrations after all.]
The hero of Ferelden." My, my. How does it feel?
They could have thought up a better name.
Alistair's idea, I understand. Which should explain much.
But it's not so bad, is it? A Blight defeated with the other nations barely becoming aware. Who could ask for better?
I wonder how long the love will last.
Until you do something wrong, and then they will enjoy tearing you down just as rapidly.
I regret saying anything now.
I'm glad not to be on the receiving end of all this attention, myself. I say let the young have their fame.
Not that I've gone without notice. Irving asked me to take over as first enchanter, but I don't wish to go back. Not after all this.
Instead, I've decided to travel. Shale has expressed a desire to go to Tevinter to look into a way to regain her mortality, and I will join her.
That's going to be an interesting road trip. What about... your problem?
It's true, I... don't know how much time I have. Maybe not very long at all.
So I shall see as much of the world as the Maker allows. Perhaps this is a gift, in the end... a nudge in the right direction?
I doubt we will meet again, my dear. If not... please accept my best wishes.
I will be relieved when all this pomp and ceremony is done.
Such events are perfect opportunities for assassins, after all. I can't help but expect the Crows to appear at any moment. Which would be a welcome break, mind you.
You think the Crows will still come after you?
Eventually. With Taliesen dead, it may take them time to figure out what has happened... but they are like the tides. Predictable.
You know, it does occur to me that staying in one place is only going to invite the Crows to find me that much quicker. While fun, that might eventually get... complicated.
You said earlier that you were planning on leaving soon. Is that true?
That is indeed what I said.
And would you be in favor of my remaining with you? I've grown fond of you, you see. Sad, but true.
I'd like you to stay. With me.
Now that's a request that I would be hard-pressed to refuse. So I wont.
So let the Crows come. It will make for fun times and interesting party talk, yes?
I live for fun times and interesting party talk.
Well, then. Since I am sticking around, I suppose we'll have plenty of time to speak later, yes? So go on and get paraded about. It is fun to watch.
Dont worry, I'll keep an eye on you and make sure no one gets a clear shot. Not without paying me a great deal of coin, anyhow.
Are you ready, my lady? The crowds outside are getting restless.
Yes, I'm ready. Let's go.
Right. I'll take you there now. Follow me.
In the months that followed their wedding, Alistair and Anora proved themselves a surprisingly effective pair. Alistair spent a great deal of time at court, showing willingness to learn the art of governing from Anora and often deferring to her judgment--and no one was more surprised by this than Anora herself.
The two of them made numerous outings into Denerim and the other settlements in Ferelden, supervising the reconstruction process and greeting their subjects personally, much to the commoners enthusiastic approval. Many said the chaos of the civil war and Landsmeet were worth it for delivering such beloved monarchs.
News that the Urn of Sacred Ashes had been found in Ferelden did not spread outside the Chantry until Brother Genitivi made an announcement several months after the defeat of the darkspawn. The manuscript detailing his research and his experience with Andrastes cult drew huge interest among scholars throughout Thedas.
Some years later, the Chantry announced that the resting place of Andraste's Ashes had indeed been found. A ripple of excitement spread among the pious people of Thedas. with many undertaking pilgrimages to see the Ashes or partake of their healing powers.
Following months of effort, the tower of the Circle of Magi was ﬁnally cleansed of the last spirits to slip through the Veil. No further abominations were created, and First Enchanter Irving was pleased to declare the Circle safe. All that could be saved had been.
With the slavers shut down in the Alienage, the lot of the city-born elves improved for a time. The new king even named the local elder to his personal court--a scandal amongst the humans, but a sign of new hope to the elves.
Shianni continued to be an outspoken member of the Alienage community, and in time became the new elder. That outspokenness earned her frequent trouble, but served her people well.
Arl Eamon returned to Redcliffe, beginning the long task of rebuilding. He found the village already bustling and eager to leave behind the memories of those terrible nights facing the undead.
Connor was sent off to study at the Circle, and considering his earlier experiences, he excelled in his training and easily passed the Harrowing to become a full mage. At his father's urging, Connor accepted a position in Tevinter to undertake formal study of the Fade.
The tavern in Redcliffe village, now run by Bella, was renamed "The Grey Wardens Rest." It echoes with tales of how the hero of Ferelden saved the village and healed Arl Eamon with the Sacred Ashes of Andraste. Few believe that such tall tales could possibly be true.
The Dalish elves prospered after the siege at Denerim, having earned much respect for their part in the battle. For once, human lands welcomed the wandering folk.
The new keeper, Lanaya, was respected both amongst the Dalish as well as in the Ferelden court. She was a voice of reason, and other Dalish clans would turn to her to help resolve disputes with human folk.
In time, many of the Dalish clans moved to the new land provided for them in the south near Ostagar. Wary of their human neighbors, however, tensions soon rose again... and only Keeper Lanaya's leadership kept peace alive.
In Orzammar, King Bhelen quickly proved himself a reformer. Trade with the surface lands increased and caste restrictions were loosened. The casteless were permitted to take arms against the darkspawn in exchange for new freedoms. For the first time in generations, the line in the Deep Roads was pushed back, and a few thaigs were reclaimed.
Bhelens reforms quickly found him enemies within the warrior and noble castes, however, and after several assassination attempts, the Assembly was dissolved. The king then ruled alone--some said as a tyrant, others said as a visionary determined to drag Orzammar into the modern world.
When the first human armies arrived from Ferelden, King Bhelen welcomed them with open arms. Within months the darkspawn were driven back as far as the Dead Trenches, and the first dwarven warrior to return with a relic retaken from the gates of Bownammar was greeted by cheering, jubilant crowds.
The Assembly unanimously declared Bianca a living Paragon, following months of deliberation. A new statue was erected in the Commons and a new house founded in the Paragons name, quickly drawing a great number of followers from every caste.
Brother Burkel's new chantry in Orzammar drew a surprising number of converts among the dwarves. They quickly attracted a great deal of anger from more conservative quarters, and before long the Assembly severely restricted the Andrastians rights.
Brother Burkel resisted, and was slain while being arrested during a peaceful demonstration in the Commons. The Assembly claimed this was an accident. but news of the resulting riots reached the Chantry on the surface, where the Divine even contemplated a new Exalted March.
The dwarven mage, Dagna, ultimately completed her studies at the rebuilt Circle Tower. Eventually, she published a comprehensive theory of how lyrium vapors relate to the supply of magic. It gained a great deal of attention.
Although the Anvil of the Void was destroyed, rumors about its location crept into Orzamrnar. Years later, thanks to the defeat of the darkspawn on the surface, a few determined smiths managed to locate the Anvil's remains.
They examined the ruins of the Anvil, and, upon returning to Orzammar with their findings, convinced the Shaperate to attempt to recreate Caridin's research. A new golem was created, bound with a spirit taken from the Fade.
The golem immediately went insane, killing several shapers before it was destroyed. The research was branded excessively dangerous and sealed away. Whispers of its existence circulated throughout Orzammar, however, and demand among the smith caste to reopen Caridin's research refused to abate.
As good as her word, Morrigan disappeared once the archdemon was slain. Someone of Morrigan's description was seen traveling alone months later, heading west through the Frostback Mountains... and she may even have been with child.
As for Bianca's companions, they went their separate ways. When Bianca finally left Denerim to continue her travels, Zevran went with her, electing to remain with the woman he loved. They continued their adventures together--at least for a time.
As the blighted lands began to heal and the Grey Wardens slowly rebuilt the order in Amaranthine, they discovered that the fight against the darkspawn was not yet complete. Although the horde was routed and had dissolved upon the archdemon's death, many of the more powerful darkspawn survived to organize roving war bands that preyed both upon the land and upon each other.
These war bands spread havoc, and some even journeyed west into Orlais or crossed the Shining Sea by the Deep Roads. They proved incredibly difficult to wipe out.
But these are tales yet to be told. This tale ended when Bianca sank her blade in the archdemons head and destroyed it forever. It was not the last that Ferelden would hear of her, however...
TO BE CONTINUED...