I am not certain where to begin. While I am quite aware that you will never see these words, I find myself with so much to tell you, and no way to do it. If that was indeed you I saw, you are likely already aware of much of what has occurred. Or... at least, that is what I am led to believe. I remain uncertain – but you know me: I've never had an easy time accepting that which I could not hold in my hand or strike with my sword, and as I'm sure it would not surprise you, I at times feel ill-equipped to navigate the spiritual world.
At any rate, Howe's treachery did not begin and end in Highever. It appears he has positioned himself in league with Teyrn Loghain – a man I had always considered to be far more honorable than to align himself with such a snake. Loghain called a retreat at Ostagar, dooming hundreds of men – King Cailan included – to their deaths. He is now Regent, and has put a price on the heads of all remaining Grey Wardens. Brother Aldous was right – history can repeat itself: once again a Cousland stands in opposition to the King. Such a position is nowhere near as glorious, and at least ten times more terrifying than the tales made it out to be. I find myself wishing for Grandfather's books – I cannot remember half of what I learned about Elethea Cousland, but I think of her frequently. She has been a source of great inspiration; I only wish I had paid closer attention to Aldous' lessons.
I do not know what the coming weeks and months will bring, but I promise you this: you are in my every thought, and your presence is in every decision I make. I can only hope that I have not disappointed you, and that I can yet restore honor to our name.
I will never be able to take from Howe all that he took from us, but by the Maker, Father, I intend to try.
My darling Mother,
I don't dare bore you with battle strategies and tales of darkspawn skirmishes. In fact, I imagine if I were to attempt to regale you with such tales, you would know I was doing it just to vex you.
I suspect I know precisely what you want to hear about. Very well. His name is Alistair, and I am nearly certain I did not impress him with my prowess (or lack thereof!) in the "softer arts."
I haven't the vaguest idea what will happen tomorrow, much less what awaits us at the end of this journey, but I do know that he is a good man, forthright, kind, and earnest. I know that I am falling – or have fallen, I'm not sure which – completely in love with him. It's wonderful and exhilarating, and yet deceptively complex – Mother, I have never missed speaking with you more.
I wonder if you would have liked him. I think you would. He's quite likeable, though I confess that may be my bias speaking. I am confident he would be utterly terrified of you. And I say that with utmost affection.
My adeptness in the arts of tact and diplomacy still leave much to be desired (to your chagrin, I'm sure), and sometimes I bite when I ought only to growl, but I am trying to improve in that regard.
Your loving daughter,
I'm sorry. I can think of no other thing more important to express than that.
I haven't been able to find Fergus, but I maintain hope he is still alive. He was scouting in the Wilds when I reached Ostagar, and I heard no word of him returning prior to the battle. I have had little opportunity to return to the Wilds, but in every town and village we pass through, know that I keep a watchful eye for him.
I will find him, Oriana. I give you my word.
My dearest Oren,
We slew a dragon yesterday. I pried off some of its scales, and they will be yours when I return to Highever.
I miss you, darling boy.