It was all Alistair's fault.
Morrigan and her mother had had it all planned out. They would befriend the Grey Wardens, find out their plans for defeating the archdemon, follow them to the final battle and then, just before the Old God's soul was destroyed, they would perform the ritual and have that soul under their control. Morrigan wasn't exactly sure what this ritual entailed but the longer she spent around the one Grey Warden and three would-be recruits that she'd met already the gladder she was that the plan involved spending as little time around the order as possible.
And then Alistair had to go ruin it all.
First there was his irrational hatred of mages. Yes, ok, so he might have a point about Flemeth not being quite the harmless old woman she pretended to be, but that was a lucky guess. He was a Templar, and they hated all mages on principle, and so Morrigan hated him.
Second there was the way that despite being the most senior member of the party he still deferred all the decisions to one of the recruits, Elissa. Who was, Morrigan had to admit, by far the most sensible of the four of them, but that wasn't saying much, and it still showed weakness of character.
Third was the fact that, like all Templars, he was a bumbling violent thug of a man who hadn't the slightest understanding of nature. And yet at several points on their journey back to Ostagar he was able to sense and direct them around darkspawn, smugly telling an incredulous Morrigan that Grey Warden senses were much more powerful than magic. A templar! Showing her around her own forest!
It was not to be borne.
Morrigan tried to make the rest of the journey bearable by pointedly ignoring Alistair and talking to the one sensible member of the party, Elissa. Who then spent the whole walk back talking about what an honour it was to join the Grey Wardens, and how much she was looking forward to travelling the country fighting darkspawn and making the world a better place. Morrigan began to revise her opinion of Elissa's sensibleness.
"You should join," said Elissa. "You're a powerful mage, I'm sure they'd be glad to have you."
"Her?!" said Alistair, "A Grey Warden? I think not. Being a Grey Warden is an honour, one only given to the finest of warriors. They don't let just anyone join."
"Oh, absolutely," said the rattish little man who had thought Morrigan was going to eat him. "Finest Thedas has to offer we are. No desperate criminals looking for any chance to escape the hangman's noose here, oh no."
"If Duncan recruited you then yes, you are the finest Thedas has to offer," said Alistair missishly. "He is a reliable judge of character, and he must have seen something in you of worth."
"As he did with you?" asked Morrigan, derisively. "I would like to meet this Duncan that you esteem so greatly. From your description he sounds the very worst sort of sanctimonious fool, filling all your heads with tales of glory and how special you all are only to lead you off to the slaughter on behalf of our idiot king."
Elissa snorted. "Ok, I'll give you that Cailan is an idiot," she said. "But hopefully it will be Loghain who actually plans the battle strategy. He's no fool, and neither is Duncan." She winked and gave Morrigan a surprisingly lascivious leer for someone with such an innocent face. "You should meet him anyway, he's pretty hot for an old guy. He wouldn't sleep with me but you might have better luck."
As Alistair blanched and coughed Morrigan decided she liked Elissa after all.
Morrigan had had no intention of actually joining the Grey Wardens. She had just wanted to meet this Duncan to see what all the fuss was about, plus of course to annoy Alistair.
But then the idiot had started bleating to the oh-so-glorious Duncan (who was not that hot) about how he should tell Morrigan that she was totally not worthy of being a Grey Warden, what with her being an icky dirty apostate and not having passed any of the tests and blah blah blah.
So Morrigan had been forced to say that she would make a fantastic Grey Warden, thank you very much, and that if these idiots got to join the Order because they made it to the cache in a group of three then how much more worthy was she who made it there by herself and got there before them? And then she and Alistair had started yelling at each other, and Morrigan had thought "Hmm, if I'm a Grey Warden that would be convenient for the archdemon ritual" and before she knew it Morrigan was sworn to secrecy and about to do some bizarre ritual involving blood and magic (and they said she was a maleficar).
She had to admit, Duncan killing Jory in cold blood was unexpectedly badass (and yes, kind of hot) but it did imply that it might be a bad idea to try and back out of the whole shebang. So Morrigan drank the blood and did the ritual, and barely had time before she fell into unconsciousness to think "Oh, Mother is going to be pissed."
Morrigan woke a few minutes later to the sound of Alistair saying "Oh of course she survived alright."
She sat up and rubbed her head. Her whole body ached, and her mind burned with a mixture of the strange visions she had seen and simple headache. If everyone who did the Joining fell over, did they really have to do it on stone?
"Did something happen to Elissa?" she asked. Morrigan found the idea surprisingly upsetting.
"She will live," said Duncan. "But just barely. I hope that she will be well enough for the coming battle but it may be that you, Morrigan, will be our only new recruit to take part. You will be a fine addition to our Order, and I am doubly glad that you chose to enlist, and that you survived the Joining."
"As am I," said Morrigan. "Well. Now that I am…joined, would it be possible for me to go home and tell my mother? She will be…most surprised. And I would not like her to worry."
Alistair snorted in disbelief. And he was right to, Flemeth was hardly going to lay awake worrying about Morrigan's safety, but Morrigan needed some excuse to slip away and put this whole bad idea behind her.
"I am afraid not," said Duncan. "I am not sure why, but the King has requested your presence. And later tonight you will take your place with us in the battle against the darkspawn. That is why you joined after all."
"Oh yes, of course," said Morrigan. "And a meeting with the king? What an unexpected honour."
Cailan was even more of an idiot than Morrigan had expected, and while Loghain was, a promised, much less of an idiot he was also completely ignored. Still, unlike Alistair, Morrigan had no particular desire to be on the front lines of battle, and if the King wanted her to climb some stairs and set a pile of wood on fire rather than fighting an army of darkspawn she was not going to whine about it.
Except of course there turned out to be an army of darkspawn between them and the pile of wood.
The oh-so-helpful darkspawn sense she'd acquired as a Grey Warden was turning out not to be such a wonderful gift in practice. Every single darkspawn was an unmistakable sickening itch in the back of her mind, she had no trouble motivating herself to kill them all and make the horrible feeling go away. Except they kept coming. Even once they'd lit the beacon there was no respite, and as Morrigan finally succumbed to the endless barrage of fire and arrows she cursed herself for being fool enough to get herself into this situation. What an utterly pointless way to die.
Morrigan opened her eyes and found herself back in her own bed, in her own little hut, as if the last day had been some sort of horrible dream. The bandages on her side and uncomfortable hum of distant darkspawn in her veins implied otherwise, however.
And there was Mother, scowling her old familiar scowl. Morrigan felt a wave of affection for Flemeth. She might be an abomination, but at least she never shot arrows at her.
Seeing that Morrigan was awake, Flemeth came over and leaned in to speak to her. She spoke so quietly that Morrigan had to strain to hear her.
"You idiot child," she hissed. "What have you done?"
Morrigan refused to feel guilty for messing up her mother's plans, she'd never said she needed a male Grey Warden. If Morrigan didn't know better she might suspect Flemeth of concern for her well being, with the way she'd fretted about the Taint riddling her body and ruining her chances of a long life or having children. As it was Morrigan found the complaints oddly disquieting, Flemeth sounded more like a farmer worried about their prize cow than a concerned mother.
She did not have long to voice these concerns, since Alistair slept in Flemeth's bed only a few feet away and would soon wake. And Morrigan was, it seems, never to be free of the idiotic Templar: all the other Grey Wardens were dead, and now they two were the last chance Ferelden had to defeat the Blight. If it had happened to anyone else it would be almost funny.
"Obviously it is important that you defeat the Blight," said Flemeth. "Now that you have for whatever fool reason decided to throw your lot in with the Wardens you'll have no choice but to fight the darkspawn, and you are the only ones who can defeat the archdemon. But beyond that it is vitally important that you not let Alistair die. I need him, you must watch him closely and keep him safe or this will have all been for nothing."
"What will?" asked Morrigan.
But Flemeth merely smiled and went to fuss over the still sleeping Alistair. Morrigan had a sinking feeling that she'd gotten herself mixed up in an ever bigger mess than she'd imagined.