The first time Sigrun met Warden Blackwall, was at Adamant Fortress alongside her fellow Wardens. Sigrun had seen many remarkable things in her life but seeing a Nightmare fly past and hearing that the Inquisitor had gone into the Fade with her companions proved a testing time. Soldiers and battle-worn Wardens were acting as if that was it – their hope had vanished along with the Inquisitor. Although Sigrun tried to keep things positive, she admitted to taking a deep breath when they stepped out of the fade, The fearsome warrior Inquisitor, the mage with the moustache, a rogue who swore in battle (‘arsebiscuits!’) and a Warden with facial hair to rival any male dwarf she’d ever seen.
She didn’t see them again until the next day when she was helping serve up food in the camp cookhouse. An excited hiss went through the camp as the Inquisitor’s companions joined the queue for food – minus the Inquisitor. Makers Breath, thought Sigrun, the Inquisitor and his companions needed to eat like anyone else! She ignored the gossip around her and continued to serve the people in front of them.
When the it was the Inquisition’s turn to be served, Sigrun was just dishing up bowls of stew (mystery meat though she’d feign ignorance if anyone asked just what it was), when they ran out – just as the man with the thick dark beard came for two bowls. She was pretty sure the other was for the Inquisitor so did not question too deeply.
“Hold on.” Turning round, she yelled into the tent, “Oi, Brec! You got any more stew?”
“Another five minutes. You’re too generous with that stew, Sig.” The man growled as he wiped his hands on his apron.
“Because an entire camp of soldiers doesn’t eat much, after all.” Sigrun muttered under her breath before smiling at the man in front of her. “Sorry, it’s another five minutes for stew. But help yourself to bread.”
The Warden in front of her, rubbed his beard before giving her a small smile. “No rush.” He paused for a moment before looking behind him, ”You normally work in the kitchen? I saw you on the field yesterday.”
She shrugged, “Every now and then. Takes my mind off things.” Sigrun set out a few more bowls. “You’re part of the Inquisitor’s group? A warrior?”
He frowned but nodded. “A Warden. Warden Blackwall.”
Sigrun noticed his frown but did not comment. “Senior Warden Sigrun – Grey Warden and Legion of the Dead. So basically, you have a dead woman serving you food.”
His blue eyes shone as he started to laugh at her words. “Well, you look alive enough to me.”
“It’s a skill I have.” Sigrun grinned up at him – just as Brec dumped a large pot full of stew in front of her.
“Dinner is served. “ The grouchy cook said, taking the empty pot away.
As Blackwall walked away, the cook came over to her saying, “You don’t get paid to flirt with the customers, Sigrun.”
The dwarf shook her head, “Pfft. I don’t get paid to do this at all, Brec. Volunteer, remember?”
Sigrun finished her shift not long after and she sat by one of the fires, eating stew and a hunk of bread. The dwarven woman was just finishing up her food, when a man sat by her. Turning to look, she was a little surprised to see Blackwall.
“You do know if the food didn’t agree with you, I can’t take it back.” Sigrun joked.
He chuckled, putting his hands out to warm on the fire. “No, too late for that. You finished your shift?”
“Yeah. Leaving for Orlais tomorrow so it’s my last time playing waitress for a bit.”
“Same here – not that I play waitress.” Blackwall chuckled.
“Hey, what you do in your spare time is upto you.” Sigrun smirked. “Skyhold or bust?”
“You’ve heard all about the Inquisition I take it?” He asked before passing her over a bottle of alcohol she didn’t even know he had.
“Who hasn’t, Blackwall. You’re all pretty famous – probably even more so after what happened here at Adamant.” Sigrun didn’t want to ask him about the Fade, as all they seemed to have been asked since coming back is ‘What was it like’ and they all looked pretty uncomfortable. She necked the drink, trying not to wince at the strength of the alcohol before passing it back to Blackwall.
“What about you, Senior Warden Sigrun, back to the Orlais Warden’s headquarters?”
She shrugged. “For a while. I have a feeling I’ll be pulled back to the Ferelden Wardens to let them know what happened here.” It was a mess. Clarel had two First Wardens – who’d been killed or badly injured and the ones below that were too inexperienced.
“Yeah, the land of smelly dogs. And it’s just Sigrun if we’re sharing a bottle.”
He shook his head. “Smelly dogs, huh?”
“Apparently, that’s the nickname for Ferelden.” Sigrun found herself rambling.
Blackwall gave her a smirk before continuing the conversation in a different direction. “So tell me, just how does a lady like yourself end up as a member of the Legion of the Dead – and then a Grey Warden?”
Wow, straight for the kill. And when was the last time a man called her a lady? Her mind was a blank. Taking the proffered bottle off Blackwall, she took a swig before starting her story.
“I don’t know how much you know about Orzammar dwarves but they’re split into castes – the Nobles, Warriors, the Merchant Caste. And then there’s people like myself – Casteless dwarves who live in the worst area, Dust Town. Either you beg, sell your body or you join the Carta.”
“You joined the Carta, I take it. I’ve met one or two Casteless before on my travels.”
“Yeah, the brand’s a real giveaway, huh?” Sigrun motioned to the first tattoo she ever got as part of her journey of being a dwarf. “Anyway, I upset a few people and got caught stealing – a ruby covered purse would you believe. I got given the choice – execution or Legion of the Dead.”
Blackwall looked at her intensely and she felt his eyes on her. She didn’t normally talk about her stealing. Not something she did anymore, she kept her lockpicks because you never know just when they’d come in handy.
“And the Grey Warden side of it?” His eyes watched her intently and she swigged the bottle before handing it over.
“Ah well, I got separated from my group in the Deep Roads and who should rescue me from being turned into a Broodmother but the Hero of Ferelden. She persuaded me to join the Warden’s.”
“That was lucky. You’ve had an interesting life, Sigrun.”
“Says the man who accompanies the Inquisitor on his travels.” Sigrun grinned at him, wanting him to talk. It had been all her stories and she wanted to hear his deep voice but he seemed to reticent to converse.
“Well, if you come to Skyhold, perhaps I can tell you all about it. For now though, I think I should go to my bedroll or the guards will be telling us to shut up.” He gave her a smile and Sigrun strangely felt her toes turn up in her boots. Oh wow.
“I might take you up on that sometime. And thanks for the chat, Blackwall.” He nodded at her words and walked away from the campfire, her eyes fixed on his broad back.
Her trip to Skyhold would be sooner than she thought.