"Oh Maker." I whispered as we walked the steps into the Gallows' courtyard. The reality for these people had turned into chaos. One side of the courtyard stood a group of terrified mages protectively standing over their young. On the other side the Templar's taunted the mages with wild threats and accusations. In the middle of them all was Knight-Commander Cullen trying as desperately as he could to calm everyone. Beside him was First Enchanter Randall looking sceptically from one side to the other.
Morrigan grunted behind me. I walked forward, realising they weren't following me I grimaced. Clearly I was on my own for this. As I approached, Cullen ran towards me, relief flooded his face. Seriously what was up with him? "I'm so glad you came back. Maybe they will finally understand." He looked at the mages who weren't looking in our direction.
"What's happened?" I'd only been gone for nearly five hours. Which meant Alistair had been gone nearly eleven hours now, but my feelings had changed completely. Letecia was in a psychic link with him ever since she found out where he was. She had informed me that they hadn't harmed him severely. According to her, Alistair was too valuable to their freedom; killing him would only bring more chaos. I couldn't help but scoff at her when she said that.
Cullen sighed. "I must admit that it wasn't the mages who started this. One of the Templar recruits accused some mages of helping out the blood mages." He looked at the floor ashamed. "I know they didn't."
"So why aren't you stopping this? You're the Knight-Commander… What do you expect me to do? I didn't come back here to sort out you're problems. Do you even remember Alistair? You know, the King of Ferelden." I kept my voice calm. I didn't have time to be arguing. Cullen ran his hands through his hair.
"Alistair would be dead by now, Cameron." It was then that I realised he had no idea what I've been up to or that the soul of Dumat was now in his courtyard. However, I also realised I couldn't tell him. If these people knew what she really was then she would be in more danger than she was now. It's strange how the unknown can make everyone go crazy.
I wiped at my eyes. "Maybe… Or you just give up too easily." Raising my eyebrow I looked at the two rival groups. I had an idea that should have occurred to me days ago. Without saying anything, I walked towards the group of mages. Bethany was speaking intently to them. When she noticed me, her eyes lit up, she quickly started running towards me, throwing her arms around my neck. As she pulled away I took in her appearance. Faint lines were forming around her eyes. The circles were under them made her look drained and stressed. Her clothes were ripped, showing skin that I wasn't sure was appropriate in this setting. "Bethany if you could leave would you?" I asked, pulling her away from the other mages.
Her eyebrows creased. She pushed at the bracelets on her wrists, looking nervous. "I couldn't even if I wanted too. I can't leave these mages in this mess, and I'm not allowed to leave." I could tell by her tone that she had caught on to my idea. Crossing her arms over her chest, she narrowed her eyes on me and leaned forward. "What's going on?"
I looked back at Cullen who was watching us suspiciously. Looking back at Bethany I smiled weakly. "Come with me?" I asked. Her eyes widened, she quickly glanced behind me at Cullen. "He won't be a problem." I was confident that I could convince him. And I could thank Morrigan for that. On our way back here, after I told her about my sister and Cullen, She started to show me how I could manipulate people. On our way here she had me pretend to be a man whilst she said things that confused my mind and then she had me try and do it. I failed miserably the first few times but after much practice I had irritated the bones out of her. I knew exactly what I was going to say and do because I had rehearsed it a million times in my head.
She eyed me for a second, looking doubtful. "How are you so certain?"
With a smug smile, I winked at her. "Don't doubt your big sister."
"This will be fun," giving me a crooked grin. She walked towards me, twisting me around to face Cullen, and gave me an encouraging push, then we stalked towards Cullen who gave us a look of unease.
"You ladies look…" He raised his eyebrow anxiously. "You're up too something."
"Are we?" I looked at Bethany who shrugged. "No. We just wanted to sort everything out so we can be on our way." I kept my eyes on his not breaking the contact. This I had learned from Morrigan. She said never to break eye contact, and, in any situation, never touch the person...
Cullen was on high alert and expectedly he picked up on it straight away. "We?" Constantly looking between us searching for a sign or something.
"Yes. Didn't I mention that?" I pursed my lips, placing my finger on the corner. Innocence is the key.
"No you did not." He didn't look at all relaxed. Which was good, I didn't need him to be thinking clearly, either.
"Oh I thought I did, never mind… So yes, we'll get all this sorted and then we'll be on our way." I reached my hand out towards him, smiling. Cullen frowned at my hand but suddenly he took it. I caught myself feeling shocked. I had at least expected him to banter with me first. Something was definitely going on with him lately.
X X X
Dealing with the mages and Templars was easier than I thought. It didn't take me long to convince them that they could sort their problems out verbally instead of physically. Bethany had also been a great help because the mages looked up to her. It also didn't take long to get all of Alistair's things and mine from our room. We took them to my old estate; the Viscount was more than happy to allow me to reclaim it since nobody has lived there since. However I couldn't bear to go in there, Bethany and Morrigan took them in. I stood awkwardly outside with Letecia, trying not to meet gazes of anyone I used to know. I had sensed someone watching me; I didn't have to look all the way up. Aveline's daughter had been curiously watching me, when I waved she just turned and walked away. Just like before. Now I was standing outside the Hanging Man with Letecia, waiting for Morrigan and Bethany. They didn't go in for a drink though. When I asked Morrigan, if she was, she had looked at me as if I was crazy.
Letecia had Alistair's cloak over her shoulders with the hood over her face. I didn't blame her for being scared. Lowtown wasn't a place for young girl's, especially young girls who possess the soul of an old god. I knew that she could look after herself if she really had to, as an Arcane Warrior she had magic and twin blades to protect her. "How long are they going to be?" She whispered, as I paced passed her. I paused to look at the closed door, willing them to open it. They had been in there nearly an hour I had no idea what they were up to.
"I don't know, I'd go in but I'm not leaving you out here by yourself." Unfortunately the barman recognised her age from under the hood and kicked her out. No manipulation from Morrigan convinced him, Morrigan looked furious at the time.
"I'll be fine for like two minutes. I'll scream if anyone approaches me." She was nearly on her knees begging just as Bethany walked out of the tavern, smiling smugly. Letecia was instantly quiet; she was weary around Bethany, however I felt too nervous to ask her why.
"Oh good, what have you been doing?" I asked annoyed, having Bethany back was as if she never left. We'd been bickering within the hour; she thought I was stupid for not wanting to go into my old estate. I couldn't help but argue that I could only remember the bad memories from there, which shut her up.
"Recruiting." She leaned into me. "That Morrigan is scary." She whispered thinking Letecia couldn't hear her. But I knew she could. Bethany realised it too and looked guilty towards her.
"Recruiting who?" I inquired, suddenly I felt really suspicious of the way my sister couldn't quite meet my eyes. When she didn't answer my heart started thumping violently in my chest. A lump formed in my throat as I went over the possibilities and all of them came down to the same person. "Fenris?" I breathed. I snapped my head up to look at Bethany begging her with my eyes to tell me I was wrong. She nodded still not looking at me.
"Who's Fenris?" Letecia asked coming to stand beside us. She saw the horror in my eyes and a strange expression crossed her face, she looked concerned.
My lips wouldn't move as much as I wanted them too. I was thankful that Bethany answered. "Cameron's first lover, but it didn't end too well." Her voice was just higher than a whisper; I could almost hear the anger in her voice. When Fenris ended it with me I wrote all my thoughts down on paper as if it was a journal, I left nothing out, I sent it all to her. Bethany had hated him ever since.
Letecia raised her eyebrow. "So…you're with Alistair now aren't you?"
"Yes...But it's more complicated than that." I stated, I wasn't in the mood to explain since Fenris may walk out the door any second now.
Letecia thought otherwise. "How is it more complicated?" Looking at her I realised she was genuinely curious.
I wanted to relieve her of her curiosity but at that moment Morrigan and Fenris walked out of the Hanged Man, laughing hysterically. I instantly stiffened. I recalled kissing him on the cheek and instantly regretted it. I had never gotten over Fenris since he was my first love; even in my relationship with Anders I had secretly pined for him. However it was different with Alistair, every second I was with him I never wanted anyone else. And right now all I wanted was Alistair.
Fenris looked me straight in the eyes as he and Morrigan approached us, feeling uncomfortable under his gaze I returned his staring in an attempt to unnerve him. I didn't succeed; he smiled weakly at me. It faltered quickly when I didn't return the gesture. Morrigan glanced between the two of us and snorted loudly. My eyes turned to glare down on her, she shifted awkwardly falling silent. Glancing towards Letecia she signalled for us to leave. Turning on my heels, I walked on silently, the others followed closely behind. Morrigan was definitely up to something, was Fenris in on it too?
X X X
As the days progressed I felt myself growing more impatient, we were no closer to finding Alistair than when we first started. Alistair was underground in the deep roads, miles beneath our feet. As we moved they moved we had no choice but to enter the deep roads. I had only visited the deep roads twice before, once for the expedition and the second time when I met Nathaniel Howe. Breaking my sworn promise never to return, I entered the deep roads, hopefully for the final time.
As I stood at the edge of a collapsed road I gazed down into a river of lava, vicious spurts leaped from the river making me jump back in fear. Wiping at the sweat forming above my brow, I slowly walked back to Bethany and the others. Bethany sat apart from the others, watching me. Enthusiastically she jumped up and quickly ambled towards me. "I didn't want to disturb you." She said with a weak smile.
"Thank you," I whispered. Along with my impatience I was also growing more sensitive. It was getting harder to join in a casual conversation since all I wanted to talk about was Alistair. Yet no one complained, on the odd occasion I heard Morrigan sigh but that was it. Fenris steered clear of me, but I had to admit he was extremely useful in a fight. The lyrium that marked him made him an extraordinary fighter giving him unique skills that made the fights less of a struggle.
Bethany patted my arm. "We will find him."
Pressing my fingers against the bridge of my nose, I expelled a long breath. "I hope so."
Bethany sighed, kicking at a small dirt pile near her feet. "We will, Cam. I heard Letecia and Morrigan speaking earlier, the group that he's with is only a few miles from here." She turned her head to look at the others I followed her gaze. Letecia was looking back at us, as our eyes met she signalled with her hand for us too leave.
As we descended further into the unknown, the hallways became more chilling. The air was getting colder the lower we went; I had to rub viciously at the small hairs standing up on my arms. Light was slowly glowing dim so we had to rely on a torch I crafted from a dry piece of tree wood I had in my pack. We hadn't encountered many living darkspawn, which continuously nagged at my mind.. However we did pass dead darkspawn, which may have meant we was on the right path. Rounding a tight corner, a nauseating smell filled the air instantly making us all recoil in horror. I pressed my nostrils together with my thumb and index finger but the smell didn't falter. The smell blew into my slightly open mouth, making me gag. At the end of the hall a pile of bodies laid on top of one another as fire burned the flesh, just looking at the heap made my eyes fill with tears. Walking towards it holding my breath, I realised all of the bodies belonged to men of all different shapes and sizes. My eyes caught on the floor in front of them; a piece of parchment was wrapped around a large rock. Someone had scrawled the words 'They will never have you.' In what looked like blood. Snapping my heads towards Bethany, I saw she also had tears in her eyes as she looked at the pile of burning men.
An ear splitting scream echoed throughout the hall. Twisting around I saw a young girl stood watching me, her face distorted and beaten. She had long white hair that reached her waist. Her eyes a golden brown were large yet sad. As her mouth opened, blood dripped from her lips and down her chin but she didn't notice it as her hand raised to point at me. Abruptly her mouth opened wider as her screams filled the air once again. Covering my ears, I kept my eyes on her. The screams stopped and her mouth twisted into a terrifying smile. He's waiting for you. A girlish whisper filled the air but her lips stayed closed. Without another word the girl turned away from us and walked away. My heart raced as I looked towards Bethany she was still looking at the men. Hadn't she noticed the girl?"Bethany, what just happened?" I asked, my voice lower than a whisper.
She turned to look at me as if I was stupid. "What do you think happened? There is a pile of dead bodies in front of us. Who else would have done this?" Her voice still choked from the tears. Turning to look at Morrigan I realised she was trying her best to not look at the pile of men by inspecting her staff. Beside her Fenris was leant against a pillar looking disgusted. Snapping my head towards Letecia I saw that she was looking at the spot where the girl had stood. I couldn't see her face, so I walked towards her.
"Did you see her too?" I asked.
"Yes." Letecia sighed.
"Who was she?"
"I don't know who she is, but I've seen her before. I think she used to be human. Something terrible happened to her. She came here to warn you." Letecia informed me.
"Warn me? Couldn't she talk instead of scream at me then?" I asked with a hint to sarcasm.
Letecia turned fully towards me. Turning my head to meet her gaze I was shocked to see fear in her eyes. "She screamed at you?"
"She didn't scream at you?" I asked frowning in confusion.
"No…what did she say to you?"
Biting the inside of my gum, I said. "She said. 'He's waiting for you.' Maybe she was talking about Alistair."
"Don't be idiotic. Someone sent her here and it definitely wasn't Alistair. I need you to tell me exactly what happened."
So I did. The expression of her face afterwards would haunt me till I died. Her eyes were full of fear but not for herself, for me. She had taken my hand whilst I spoke; her touch was gentle. "Whoever sent her here has a grudge against you. When she screams it usually means something bad is about to happen. When blood drips from her mouth it means death and when she raises her hand… well I don't think I have to tell you the rest." She held onto my hand as she informed everyone of what had happened. However she didn't tell them of what she had seen. I was too worried for myself to ask.
"Does this mean we shouldn't go on?" Bethany asked, sounding doubtful.
"No we should. Alistair still needs our help and I'm sure you're sister hasn't gone through all this trouble to turn back now. We were warned so we should prepare before going any further." In those moments I saw a leader in Letecia and not just a girl. In her short life she has seen things that I have never dreamed of. With a quick glance towards Morrigan I saw pride in her eyes as she faintly smiled at her daughter.
Fixing my pack firmly around my waist, I picked both my daggers from the ground. Fenris had sharpened them for me without asking but I was silently grateful. It still felt awkward with him around, he watched me when he thought I wasn't looking. Morrigan had been the one to point this out. With my daggers in the holsters attached to my waist, I fastened the top of my steel armour firmly so that it hugged me, tightly. Bethany was casting protective spells around herself as she walked over to me. A warm feeling spread through my body and I realised she was casting the same spells onto me to. "Thank you, Bethany."
She smoothed the hair from her face. "This is a much for me as it is for you." She smiled meekly as her other hand slid into mine.
"Don't you go worrying about me; I can take care of myself." A throb in my shoulder disagreed with me. And from the look on Bethany's face she did as well.
"Cameron…" she started but I shoved her hand away.
"We have to get moving."
X X X
"Were getting close." Letecia said from behind me. We were now in a small hallway, weird symbols covered the walls and ceiling. A blood pool was in front of me and in it was something that looked like a finger or half of one. With my hands against the wall to support me I stepped across the pool of blood to avoid stepping in it. I could hear voices coming from a hole halfway up the wall a few feet away. Approaching the hole the voices got louder and clearer. A man and woman were arguing in a language I didn't recognise. Peering into the hole I saw a large room with chains falling from the ceiling. Blood was splattered everywhere. But what caught my eye was the body in the middle. My heart thundered against my ribs as the mop of red brown hair came into view. The body was muscular and I knew instantly that it was Alistair. More voices filled the room making me fall back slightly so only one eye could see what was going on. It was hard to concentrate on what was going on as a dozen mages filled the room. One of which was Anders who stood over Alistair with murderous eyes. Suddenly he drew his foot back and slammed it into Alistair's face. A small squeak escaped my lips as Anders continued to kick Alistair. Searing anger burned in my veins, but I couldn't tear my eyes away from the scene in front of me. Feeling a tug on my arm, I turned slightly to see Bethany pointing towards a toppled over steel door. Dipping my head I creeped past the opening, joining Bethany at the large doorway. Taking a deep I steadied my mind. I needed to set revenge from my mind and focus on getting Alistair out alive. I had packed some food and drink supplies sure that they had starved him and that was in the small pack on my side. Setting our bigger bags against the wall, I readied Duncan's sword against me. Letecia sat down near the bags annoyed. Morrigan had demanded that she didn't join in the fight because she was too young, however I knew from the motherly glint in her eye that it was because she didn't Letecia in danger. Fenris stood across from me, openly watching me, catching his eye I grimaced.
Fenris reached out to rest his hand on my shoulder. "I've got you're back." An uncontrollable smile spread across my lips.
"Get Alistair's first. Fenris, I want you to get Alistair to safety. Please." I had thought the idea was crazy at first but then after hours of arguing with myself I knew it was for the best. I knew I could trust Fenris even if I didn't want to.
With a short nod the conversation was over. And we were charging into the room of chains. Morrigan and Bethany casting spells to confuse the enemy. Bodies were dropping everywhere as Fenris and I plowed into of confused blood mages. The room was in chaos; blood spilled and splattered everywhere. Anders was in the middle looking frantic. I sprinted towards him, just as our eyes met I leaped onto him, my dagger punctured the flesh on his arm making him howl out in agony. Putting all my weight onto the dagger in his arm I brought the other dagger up against his throat. Before I could bring the dagger across his throat my back arched and I flew backwards into a pillar of chains. Jumping back to my feet, I set my sights on Anders who stood over Alistair with that murderous glint in his eye. A bloodlust roar escaped my lips and I darted towards him. Anders pulled a knife above his head just as a bolt of lightning hit his side. Fenris was instantly pulling Alistair's arm over his shoulder.
I caught a glimpse of his face and everything came into view. The vision; the white dress, the field, the eyes, the whispers, Alistair not looking like… Alistair. At that moment Alistair looked nothing like himself. His face was covered in deep cuts, dry blood stained his cheeks. His nose was clearly broken since it looked crushed from where I was standing. Instantly, I was by his side pulling him away from Fenris who stepped away awkwardly yet protectively as I caressed my broken Alistair. Tears spilled down my cheeks as I tried to kiss away his wounds. Chaos surrounded me but I couldn't stop looking at the fatal wounds that covered Alistair. He was wearing a thin cloth that was ripped and bloody. As he lay unconscious in my arms I prayed a slow, tortured death upon his attackers. Reaching into the bag at my waist I pulled out a health potion, with my free hand I pulled his lips apart and poured the potion into his mouth. Alistair came to life in my arms, he spluttered against the liquid potion in his mouth. His eyes fluttered open giving me first view of his bloodshot eyes. When he registered who I was his hand reached up to touch my cheek, I leaned my cheek into his hand. "Am I dreaming again?" Alistair whispered as he wiped at my tear with his thumb.
"I'm here." I smiled gently.
Alistair smiled back. "I'm going to die." His smile didn't falter as he said this, which made me cry harder.
"No," I said through gritted teeth. I looked up at Fenris who bent down beside us. Alistair frowned at him trying to picture him. "This is Fenris. He's going to get you out of here." I said before leaning down and placing a gentle kiss on his mouth.
"I don't think so." A voice shouted. I looked up to see Anders holding a blade to Bethany's throat. Morrigan was nowhere to be seen. And I realised she deserted us. Keeping my eyes glued to he blade at Bethany's throat, Fenris took Alistair from me; I stood up and readied a blade myself.
"Let go of my sister." I growled. Anders let out a bark of laughter.
"Wouldn't you like to know why I killed all those people?" Anders asked grinning.
"You make me sick." I spat.
"It was all for you." Anders said, ignoring me.
"I hate you." I cried in outburst.
"I wanted you to see that I'm nothing without you, just a soulless monster. But no, you don't want me, do you?" Unexpectedly, he started crying. Bethany saw that chance to stamp on his foot but she missed. Angrily, Anders pulled the knife closer to her throat.
"Is that why you killed those people? Because I didn't want you." This man was certainly not the man I had once been in love with. Justice has corrupted every inch of him and I felt pity on him but then Anders has always been a dark horse,
"Sweetheart." Anders cooed shaking his head. "I killed them because you hate me. I tried to fight the insanity but when I saw the hate in your eyes I lost it. This my love is all you're fault."
"My fault?" I breathed. "You brought this on yourself!" I screamed.
Anders nuzzled into Bethany's hair. "I know that that's why it's so painful." Bethany shuddered.
"I hate you even more for doing this. Don't you understand that? You have a knife to my sister's throat and you tortured the man I love." I froze at my choice of words and so did Anders. His face contorted with anger. He tightened the knife against Bethany's throat making blood fall down her neck.
"Please, let her go." I begged.
"I'm afraid it's too late for that…"