At dusk a loud explosion startled me; I moved away from Alistair. I sniffed at the air, smoke filled my lungs, and a disgusting smell choked me. I nudged Alistair with my foot but he didn't stir. Kneeling in front of him, I took both of shoulders and shook him hard. He still didn't open his eyes. Panic filled me; I grabbed his wrist and checked for a pulse. A sigh of relief escaped my lips when I found his beating pulse. Was he knocked out from the smoke? Frantically, I stood up and looked for something to help me. A small puddle of water wasn't that far away. I ran over and scooped a tiny bit into my hands, I groaned as the water poured through my fingers. I wouldn't be able to hold enough to help him.
I stood up and took in my surroundings. We were outside the Chantry, since we agreed to patrol it for the night. We were alone, but I felt scared of the shadows like something would jump out at me if I went near. I noticed a small bucket on top of one of the crates that were lined against the wall beside the Chantry steps. Running over, I realised it was already half full with water from the rain. Lifting it from the crate, releaved that it was not heavy, I awkwardly carried it over to Alistair.. With one sweep I threw the water over the sleeping Alistair, he spluttered and his eyes narrowly opened. Throwing the bucket to the side, I quickly got to my knees beside him, cupped him under the armpit and pulled. "Come on." I groaned at his heavy weight. Something must have registered in him; he helped me support him by pushing himself up. He started to cough which soon turned into a coughing fit. "Hold on, let's go into the Chantry." I pulled his arm over my shoulder, hastily dragging him with me.
As we ascended the steps, women ran down them carrying jugs, looking scared but determined. They noticed Alistair and a few stopped to help us. He was torn from my arms and I had to watch in panic as they poured water down him and checked his senses. One woman tried to look me over but I shooed her away. The women who were tending to Alistair worked fast and gave him a few jugs of water. The women who I had shooed away, stood next to me. "He's a lucky man, the smoke was far into his lungs." She turned and raised her eyebrow at me. "You should really let us check you out."
She was really starting to irritate me. I spun around to look at her. "Do I look sick?" I interrupted before she could answer. "Do I look like I need you too check me out?" I was starting to make myself angry from sheer panic. I pointed at Alistair. "He's the one coughing his lungs up so why don't you tend to him instead of chatting with me." The women gapped at me, bewildered by my tone. I didn't regret it. After seeing Alistair unconscious I was still too panicky. She walked away from me without another word.
Once the women were done and Alistair looked considerably better, we didn't hesitate to see what was going on. As we ran, I couldn't keep from worrying about him. Finding him that way had scared the life out of me. I held his hand firmly in mine making it awkward to run but it gave me peace of mind. We were running behind the women from the chantry who said the explosion came from somewhere in Hightown.
We found the source of the explosion in the market area. The ground had collapsed forming a large hole, hooded figures stood on the opposite side of the opening. They were talking, quietly huddled together. I realised they hadn't noticed us yet, so I signalled for everyone to hide behind something. I waved my hand at the women to go back the way we come and find some help, I knew in our condition we couldn't take on all of them. I never mention that my throat felt like it was swollen and my head was pounding. It took all my strength and concentration just too stay hidden. Against the wall behind me, Alistair was taking breaths and keeping watch. Training my ears, I tried to listen in too the mage's conversation but they were too quite. "We have to do something." Alistair whispered into my ear, his voice clear in the quite darkness. Since the explosion had startled me the night had become very dark, the moon our only guiding light.
I shook my head. "It's too risky to do something on our own. Let's just wait for the others." I didn't actually know if anyone was coming; I was just hoping someone would come before the blood mages realised they weren't alone. Glancing around the wall we were hiding behind, I caught a glimpse of what was causing the smoke, I recoiled, and vomit came into my throat. Bodies of men and women were piled on top of each other; someone had set them on fire. So… that was what was making my stomach churn as I breathed. Alistair had looked when I did, I could hear him viscously vomiting behind me.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw someone coming towards us. Wiping the back of my hand over my mouth, I turned to see a distressed Cullen. He was covered in blood. I immediately knew something had gone drastically wrong. Behind him five templar's and two guardsmen were bouncing on there feet in fear. Cullen knelt down and gazed around me, I heard him choke but he didn't vomit. He rested his hand on my shoulder. "Are you two ok?"
Surprised by his question and physical touch, I looked at him like he had been hit over the head. "Eh…Yes?" I hadn't expected him to ask of me. From his sarcastic remarks over the past couple days I thought he'd have been more than happy to see me amongst the dead. Clearly, I was wrong.
"Good. Don't you go worrying about Bethany, she's safe." He surprised me again, and I was really considering calling for a healer. What was the sudden change of heart? He didn't seem to notice as he turned to look at Alistair.
"So, what's the plan?" Alistair asked in a serious tone.
Cullen didn't hesitate. "We attack before they leave this area."
"Is that it?"
"Got a better plan, your majesty?" Cullen wasn't sarcastic but genuinely curious.
Alistair shifted uncomfortably. "Sadly not."
Cullen ordered two templars to guard Alistair. I was pleased about this; at least I didn't have to worry so much about him. Cullen and the other three Templars got ready to run into the clearing. I hung back to check Alistair. He seemed impatient with me as I ordered him to drink from the jugs. "Alistair, please. You have to keep your strength up." I begged, thrusting a jug of water at him. He snatched it from me, poured half the jug over his head and drank the rest. He grimaced as he gave the jug back to me.
He reached out and cupped the back of my head. "Don't you go worrying about me, I got two strapping men protecting my ass." He winked.
Glaring at him, I tried to keep the smile off my face. "Just be careful." I reached around and grasped his hand from my head; bringing it around to my mouth, I kissed it gently. Before we could say anything else, Cullen and the templars rushed into the clearing, I heard the roar of the blood mages. Sparks of light signalled they were attacking.
Looking at Alistair, we nodded at the same time and rushed in after them. Two mages stood away from the fight blood dripping from their ribs. I charged towards them, the adrenaline helped me leap at them. Hitting the floor I crouched, letting my daggers fly out it slicing at the mages knees. They fell to the floor screaming in pain. I crouched over one mage, getting a good look before I ended its life. The mage was female, short black hair and golden eyes. She screamed at me, before I dragged the dagger across her throat. I turned back to the other mage who was grasping at his leg; the cut was deep. Standing up, I went and stepped over him. "Fuck you!" He spat. Anger surged through me; I brought my foot up and stamped on his nose. I heard the sickening crunch.
"Murderer!" I screamed. I drew the blade up above my head then slammed it down into the monster heart. The tears fell down my face, recalling Cassandra's final breaths. This was for her and everyone else.
Standing back up, I looked around the clearing. Everyone was trying their best to steer clear of the whole in the middle. A templar was tackling with a mage close to the hole, not winning. He was in clear need of help. I ran across the clearing straight up behind the mage. I drew back my arm to strike just as an electricity bolt hit my arm; I fell to the floor. My elbow hit first, a crunch sent shooting pains up my right arm. I ground my teeth to stop from screaming. Rolling backwards, I crouched behind a stone pillar. Holding my arm at an awkward angle, I peered around the wall. The templar was still struggling with the mage, oblivious that I tired to help. I reached at my side belt and brought a small bottle of a health potion to my lips, which Cullen had slipped into my hands when he joined us. The pain in my arm went slightly numb.
Springing out from my place behind the pillar, my eyes went wide as a fist was coming towards my face. I didn't have enough time to move before the fist connected with my nose. My nostrils filled up with a salty liquid. I didn't have time to wipe at my nose as the mage started to hit at me again. When his fist came down I lifted up my dagger defensively, facing the sharp blade toward the direction of the fist. I heard him scream in anguish as the blade sliced through his hand. Clutching my over dagger, I jabbed it into his stomach. He fell down dead.
Without bothering to check my clearly broken nose, I ran to the aid of the templar who was still struggling with the mage. I took a small blade out from my belt; pinching the end of the blade I threw it, hitting the mage in the neck. It dropped too the floor. The templar looked gratefully in my direction. I nodded in response. I had already killed four mages, from the looks of things ten more were still battling it out. I caught a glimpse of Alistair in a corner with only one templar guarding him. Figuring he'd be ok, I looked around for anyone who needed help. Stepping forward, I suddenly stopped in shock. A sharp pain jolted into the bone on my shoulder, inches above my heart. Falling to the floor, I put out my arms to stop me. Pain shot up through my right arm, making me cry out in agony. Flat on the floor, I expected more pain, yet none came. I heard clattering above me, rolling over I saw a big body leaning over me protectively. My immediate thought was Alistair but the voice that was shouted threats sounded different. When the man in front of me let his shoulders sag, he turned round and picked me up. Cullen's face filled my vision, I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. I reached out to touch the face as my eyes started to blur. Then darkness overshadowed everything.
X X X
I was standing in the middle of a large field. Flowers of all different colours tickled my feet. Looking down, I saw I was wearing a white dress, the bottom of which just brushed the top of my feet, tickling them.… The air was hot, but cool, with the wind blowing gently against my face. Trees circled the field showing me no hint of an exit. Stepping forward I was stopped by a gush of wind blowing leaves into my face. Shielding my face with my arms, I peeked out from under them and saw a manly figure standing far in front of me. Letting my arms fall back to my sides, I gazed at the man. He was broad and tall, a mop of red, brown hair on his head. He looked like Alistair but his stance told me he wasn't. Alistair always stood awkwardly as if he was always expecting bad news but this man stood confidently, his back straight. He suddenly raised his arm and pointed too me. "You," he said, but his lips didn't move. Come to me. I felt myself moving. I couldn't stop myself, something in me wanted to obey.
As I got closer, I realised he looked nothing like Alistair. His face was more child-like; no stubble shadowed his jaw line. His irises were pure white, only the outline of the iris and the pupil were black. My head screamed danger but I felt no fear as he reached up and touched my face.
A tingly feeling made me tremble. I felt extremely happy as he touched me and I couldn't explain why. Beautiful, he cooed. I closed my eyes letting the tingly happiness overwhelm me. I didn't see darkness; lights danced in front of me like stars.
"What's happening?" I breathed softly. My lips felt numb.
"Cameron!" I opened my eyes at the scream. The man was still in front of me looking intently at me with his witch-like eyes. Close your eyes…I obeyed.
"Cameron! Open your eyes!" I obeyed, this time my visions were blurred. A silhouette was leaning over me moving frantically. I blinked wildly, trying to make the blur go away. A warm feeling covered the whole of my body. As the night sky came into sight, I remembered a battle. Sitting up quickly, my head hit something. Grasping my head, I looked around to see Cullen grasping at his nose.
Realising I had head butted his nose. Quietly, I said, "Sorry.".
He waved away my apology. "No need."
Looking around, I noticed the battle was over. Bodies were all over the place covered in blood. "Where is Alistair?" I asked, realising he wasn't there. Looking back at Cullen, I saw him wince at what I said. I started to panic but my voice came out angry. "Where is he?" I asked sharply.
Cullen looked at me sadly. "I don't know. He isn't in the clearing. People are looking for him, don't worry."
Don't worry? What was with him not wanting me to worry? Anger surged through my veins. How could I not worry? When he was clearly worrying. I jumped to my feet with many objections from the people around me. I frantically ran around, checking all of the bodies. Cullen was behind me asking me to sit down and think positively. But how could I? Alistair was missing. I didn't know if he was ok. He might be seriously hurt and I couldn't know. Not if I sat around thinking positive thoughts. Idiots, I cursed silently.
I ran to the corner where I had seen Alistair during the fight. A sob broke my lips as I noticed the templar, who had been protecting him, lying dead. A shield lay next to the body, my heart dropped as I recognised Duncan's crest. I fell to my knees. Alistair had told me that Riona had found the shield for him in a vault back in Denerim, ever since she gave it too him he was firmly attached to it. Here was the shield, but where was he? Tears stung my cheeks.
"Cameron." Cullen warned behind me, I felt his hand rest on my shoulder. "Everyone is looking for him." He tried to pull me up but I shoved him away. I leaned down and picked the shield up from the floor. "Cam." He warned again.
"Shut up!" I screamed. I closed my eyes trying to calm myself down. I was too sick with worry to have someone nagging in my ear. "Just shut up, please." I said softly.
Cullen stood up and walked away from me. I jumped up and ran after him, afraid of being left alone. "I'm sorry, Cullen." I said, embracing the shield in my arm. A tugging pain kept my voice firm.
He suddenly stopped. "I know you are." Then he walked off, leaving me staring after him. The way he said that made me think that little exchange was more to do with six years ago than six seconds ago. Was he finally forgiving me?
X X X
I couldn't sleep. The bed beside me was empty, so how could I? I glared up at the ceiling. I should be out there looking. But Cullen had guards outside my room. I wasn't allowed to leave in case I did something stupid, like jump down one of those holes.
Pushing myself up from the bed, I felt the tug of the cut on my shoulder. From what Cullen said, a mage had thrown a blade into my shoulder., an inch lower and I'd be dead. My elbow was swollen to twice its size and I couldn't smell properly from my nose. It was sort of ironic that I felt guilty for letting mages die, yet now I wanted nothing more than to see a blood mage dead. Of course, I also wanted to know if Alistair was alive and healthy.
How could I find him if no one else believed him to be alive? Cullen doubted him to be still alive because I overheard him say so.
"There is no way blood mages would keep him alive. That's if they even have him." He said, quietly to the second in command templar. I felt their eyes burning into my back.
"Should we tell her that?"
"And have her bite our heads off? I think not."
The cowards. They didn't have the balls to tell me their fears. But I could hear the doubt even if they couldn't. Why would they take him? Why not just kill him out right if that is what they planned to do? But I needed more proof than what I had to know he was alive.
And I knew where to go.
It didn't take long to figure out a plan to get out of here. I knocked lightly on the door a few times and they opened it slightly. "Yes, my lady?" The short Templar asked.
"I need a drink and I've run out of water." I said.
"Ok, my lady." The short templar stalked off down the corridor. The other templar tried shutting the door, but I stuck my foot out to stop it from closing.
"My lady, your foot is in the way." As if I didn't already know.
I reached out and grasped his wrist firmly. He didn't have time to react before I pulled him into the room. He was shocked as I pushed him against the wall. Seductively, I traced his jaw with my finger. Biting my lip in a hopefully sexy way. "My lady." He warned, uncomfortably.
"I've been wanting you." I whispered in a sultry voice. The man trembled as I leaned in closer. "I know about you and the king, so this wont work." He pointed out, but I knew he was doubtful.
"Oh him? What's a king worth to me when I could have a man who is as handsome as you?" I was inches from his lips. I stared into his closed eyes, I readied the knock out gas that I held in my free hand.
He didn't seem to be able to take anymore; his arms were instantly around my waist. As he did I brought the gas bottle down on his head, knocking him instantly out, but letting the gas leak out. Covering my nose and mouth with a cloth, I picked up my bag and Duncan's shield. I knew my plan was a little excessive, but that was all I had to go on. I couldn't stay in that room any longer.
Running from the room, I headed down the same direction as the shorter guard. Careful, not to get caught, I was light on my feet. No one walked by me, thankfully. Outside, I ran towards the Gallows docks. I jumped in a rowing boat, setting the shield and my bag in front of me. I took hold of the ore's and started to row with all my strength. Within half-hour I was across to the other side of the docks. It was obvious they had found the unconscious templar by now and knew I was gone, so I had to hurry. Running as fast as I could, with a heavy shield weighing down my healthy arm, I made it too the front gates of Kirkwall within an hour. I didn't have any armour so I didn't get weighed down. All I had was my one dagger, a shield and a bag full of small supplies. I wouldn't last long in a fight.
I found a white stallion hitched to a fence just outside the gates. I saddled the shield firmly on the back, then unhitched it from the fence. The horse didn't stir as I jumped on its back. Taking hold of the reins I steered the horse onto the road. After a few jolts the horse started the run. I remembered the way clearly as if I had a map in front of me.
X X X
Sundermount. The Dalish Mountain's where I had first met Merrill. There had been a story behind these mountains and Merrill had tried to tell me it but in the end I thought she was crazy. I couldn't support her because I was afraid of what would happen if I did. The camp was now empty, no traces of the Dalish was here. It was as if they hadn't even been here. Nothing was here, no sign of life. And that suited me perfectly, no need for distractions.
I journeyed far up into the mountains, entering familiar passageways that held nothing of value to me. I couldn't keep my mind off Alistair. Was he alive? Would I ever see him again? I wish I could know. What had stuck in the back of my mind was the curiosity of why they would take him. What would they gain apart from a throne? Then I struck me. Of course… they desired freedom. A king could help give them that. I ran the rest of the way to the top.
I was out of breath by the time I reached the graveyard, I had left the horse back down were the camp once was. I felt as if the stones were talking to me as I passed. I kept my eyes firmly on the altar on the cliff edge. The whispers crawled into my brain and picked out every doubt, but I kept going and held back the tears. Ghosts rose to frighten me off, but they faded away as my mind screamed at them to go away..
The altar was full of cobwebs. Thankfully, only small spiders crawled around it. I placed Duncan's shield on top and prayed.
I prayed harder, but still nothing happened. Frustrated, I slammed my hands down on the altar either side of the shield. "Flemeth!" I screamed.
"Flemeth, you sorry excuse of a witch, get your fucking dragon wings down here." I added with a shriek. "Now!"
Wind blew at me, and I had to shield my eyes. Peeking under my arms, I saw the delicate shape of an old woman. And she was clearly angry with me. "Well, well what vermin do we have here?" She spat. I definitely got her at a bad time. I let my arms drop to my side.
"Oh, you remember me. I'm Hawke, remember?" My tone was a little sarcastic but Flemeth threw her head back and laughed.
"Of course, I do remember you. It's been a very long time." She smiled warmly. "But why are you screaming for me now?" She was instantly curious.
"I'm here for your help." I said, I pointed at the shield. "Can you please tell me where the man who last held this is?" I asked, even now it seemed stupid. But it was worth trying.
Flemeth laughed again. "What makes you think I can do that, girl?" She was definitely intimidating and I wasn't the same girl as I was last time we were here.
"Well, can you?" I asked, impatiently.
"No." She said, bluntly.
All hope vanished, and I realised I'd made a huge mistake by coming here. Flemeth eyed me curiously. "Who may I ask are you searching for?" Like she was totally oblivious.
"Alistair." I said. "He's my… King." I bit my lip. I really wish I knew what we really were. If were anything anymore.
"It seems to me like he's more than just your king." She tapped her lips, contemplating. "I may not be able to help you, but I know who can."
I snapped my head up to look at her. "Really, who?" I asked.
"She's not far from here. In fact I think you will find her if you head back down to your horse." She smiled then vanished.