"Oh Ferelden, it has been entirely too long…or not long enough, I haven't quite decided." Mused the drunken redhead as he stumbled off of the ship. It had been eight years since the blight was ended and Eruthiawen Tabris declared the "Hero of Fereldend". Alistair should have been there beside her, had she not betrayed him. "Damn her anyway." He thought as he took a large knock off of the flask he was carrying. "Why should I flee my homeland because of some woman? Ferelden is a large enough place, chances are I will never see her."
They say that time heals all wounds, but that is not necessarily true. As far as wounds go, Alistair was fatal. He had never loved a woman in his life and when he did finally find "the one" whom he could give himself to in every sense of the word, she betrayed him for the man that killed the leader of Ferelden's Grey Wardens and the nearest thing he had to a father, Duncan. She showed mercy to Loghain when he could show not even a scrap of it towards King Cailan, the king's army, Duncan, or for any of the Grey Wardens. Had Loghain had his way both Alistair and Eruthiawen would be dead as well, either at the top of the Tower of Ishal or at the hands of the Antivan Crows. Yet when it had come his time to pay she granted him the mercy he never could have even defined. She not only allowed him to live, but to fight for the same order that he had attempted to completely put asunder. And then if that wasn't enough, she allowed for Loghain's pit viper of a daughter, Anora to take the throne and then to exile him. "Well at least she insisted I not be executed…how generous of her."
Time had certainly not changed Denerim much. The docks were still quite dodgy, with mercenaries and sailors walking about. The Pearl still stood with it's vast array of ladies and gentlemen of the evening waiting to greet their next clients. And though he hadn't noticed it before, Alistair's nose began to pick up on the scent of wet dogs and garbage. "I suppose after being gone for so long I got used to other smells." He thought. Alistair decided that Orlais definitely smelled better than Ferelden, but he much preferred the soggy pup scent of his homeland to the leathery smell of Antiva. "The damn assassin can keep his grand Antiva City" he thought to himself "I never did see what was so wonderful about it".
As Alistair left the docks he began to cross over into the Alienage. This was one part of Denerim that did indeed seem to have gotten better with time. The small squalled huts that the elves had once lived in had been transformed into nice quaint cottages and apartments. The once muddy and dirty streets were now paved. There was a nice new school standing where the old haunted orphanage had once been. There were children laughing and playing, running around the grand tree that stood in the middle of the square. Alistair decided to sit down on a nearby bench to rest. Nearly a week at sea with nothing more in his stomach than some dodgy fish chowder, moldy cheese and some rotgut did nothing for his stamina. Perhaps he would head back to The Pearl, find a bed to sleep in and possibly some companionship for the night.
As Alistair sat and watched the children there was one little girl that particularly caught his attention. She was quite short, like the other elven children but did not have the pointy ears that all of the other children did. It was obvious that she was the odd one out amongst the youngsters. As he watched another little girl came up and snatched something out of her hand. "Give it back!" the little girl screamed. As she began to cry, reaching for this prized possession Alistair could take no more "Poor thing." He thought as he stood to help.
Alistair walked over to the two girls. "What seems to be the problem here ladies?" he asked as the girls jumped back in shock. "She stole something that belongs to me and she will not give it back." She exclaimed as the tears poured down her face.
"Why don't you be nice and just give her back her possession" Alistair said to the other girl, whom he noticed stood a good two inches shorter than the child she was picking on.
"Oh fine, take it you stupid half breed." She retorted as she shoved what looked to be a necklace into the little girls hand. She then ran off after a small group of children that had been cheering her on.
The little girl quickly tried to compose herself as she attempted to get the necklace on her neck. "Here, let me help you with that." Alistair said.
"Thank you sir." Said the little girl as she handed him a small chain with what looked to be a rose petal charm on the end of it. "You've no idea what this means to me. This is all that I have of my father and nearly all that I have left of my mother." She said. Alistair finished clasping the chain and turned the young girl by the shoulders to look at him.
"I couldn't just stand by and let them pick on you." He said. It was then that Alistair really got to look at the little girl. As he noticed she was quite petite, but with remarkably broad shoulders. She had very light strawberry blonde hair and rounded human ears. After hearing the other girl call her a half breed he realized she must have had one human and one elven parent as those children always get the human ears. It was her eyes though that caught Alistair's attention. They were the deepest emerald green, a color he had only ever seen one other time in his life…..Eruthiawen….
"You said that your necklace was all that you had of your father, what happened to him?" asked Alistair.
"Daddy was a soldier and died protecting us from the blight." Said the little girl.
"And your mother?" he questioned.
"Mamae is gone…she died a few months ago." Replied the little girl "Auntie Leili said that it was a broken heart that killed her, whatever that means. I don't remember Mamae ever feeling well." She said "But Uncle Zev said that she was once very brave and fought alongside my daddy."
Alistair was taken back. "Uncle Zev, Auntie Leili? Surely it couldn't be." He thought to himself. It was then that he realized, the pendant that she wore was indeed a rose petal, or it had been. It appeared to have been cast in some sort of bronze but he recognized it…it was his rose, the one that he gave to Eruthiawen when he began to have feelings for her. He clasped his hand over his mouth as he looked down at the little girl.
"Thank you so much for helping me." She said "I need to get home before Auntie begins to worry."
"What is your name, if I may ask?" asked a dumbfounded Alistair
"My name is Rose." replied the little girl. "What is your name?"
"Call me Al." he said
"It was a pleasure meeting your Al." she said "I won't forget you!"
"The pleasure was all mine." He said as he poured the remaining contents of his flask onto the ground.
Alistair watched little Rose run off, down the street and around the corner. "I have a daughter." He thought to himself as he felt tears nearing the surface of his eyes. For the first time in eight years Alistair allowed himself to feel something other than anger, as he dropped the flask and headed in the direction that Rose had left in.
It then came to his attention what Rose had said…her Mamae was gone too, dead from a broken heart. "Oh Ruthi, what have I done?" he said out loud. "By the Maker what have I done!" he shouted as he began to run down the street toward where he saw Rose turn the corner.
"I have to find her." He thought, "I have to know for sure what happened."