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Tale of the Stranger- Go Forth and Be Free

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My name is Selena Hawke.

It hasn't always been. I lived a life once, long ago and literally far away. A life of modern convenience and personal hell, with an ex-husband that drank too much and used his fists to express his frustration. A life with the most amazing children, all grown and moved on. A life where I died.

My after-life, my new life and body, began in Kirkwall, surrounded by people that would eventually become my dearest friends and in some cases, loves of my life. To give me stability in their weird world of elves and dwarves and magic and dragons, Garrett Hawke gave me his name. It didn't hurt that he and his true love, Anders, loved me as well, and we became a family. Then Fenris joined us, the man that stole my heart and cradled it to him just as I held his.

But Fenris and I both have our problems when it comes to love and communication. We've both fought hard to be able to say and do the things we feel are right, and sometimes we forget that saying those things might hurt the other.

When I died again, hurdled back from Kirkwall to Earth, into a life I had never lived, I was alone and scared. My loves were a world, an entire existence, away, out of my reach. And then God, or the Maker, or whoever, gave them back to me. A prayer Fenris whispered into the dark that was actually answered. We were happy for a short time as I introduced them to the world I came from- shopping malls and television, cars and the internet. But it was never meant to last, and we dove right back into saving Thedas from itself once again.

We have children now, our family bigger than ever with the addition of the twins, Jackson and Victoria, as well as Garrett's own twin siblings and his mother's new husband. I couldn't have been happier. And then I went and fucked it up again. I said things, took sides, without considering Fenris' thoughts and opinions. I drove him away and the last sight I had of him before he and Garrett, along with Wardens and soldiers, went off to the Western Approach, was him kissing Skinner, one of the Iron Bull's Chargers.

Thankfully the Chargers were sent off on a job the next morning to Nevarra or something, or Anders would have had an even harder time getting me out of my shell than he did. He became my rock, my beautiful blonde Warden, and I guess I became his distraction while Garrett was gone. He rarely leaves my side these days unless there's an emergency in the clinic. And when it comes to things like judgments (which I hate) or figuring out military strategy (where I get completely lost) his non-military/mage/doctor mind can be invaluable. Especially when it comes to dealing with some of Cullen's obviously Templar answers to solving issues. Sparks have literally flown between the two in the War Room and Bethany and I have an ongoing bet over who will cave first. The jury's still out on that one.

And when the night's get too long without the men that we love with us, Anders lets me curl into his side and will hold me through the worst of the nightmares, or I him through darkspawn dreams, and have slow, languid sex until we're both too exhausted to do anything but pass out.

And every crow that flies to Leliana's aerie causes my heart to lodge in my throat and Anders eyes to flare with concern. This one was no different really, the two of us stepping out into the courtyard from our rooms to face the day, looking up into the sun to see the bird's silhouette as it headed to the tower. We both grimaced, giving each other a squeeze around the fingers, before heading off to the main Keep for breakfast while Abby fed the twins. It wasn't' until later, when the runner approached us at the long table where we sat among friends, that the fear really hit.

“My Lady Regent? Sister Nightengale requests you speak with her right away in the aerie.”

Have you ever seen that weird, slow blink done in TV or movies? You know, the one that's supposed to show the main heart throb's surprise or realization about something important, but the audience is supposedly too stupid to figure out for themselves without it? Yeah, I had one of those moments. A real slow blink, before turning my head to my lover, eyes starting to fill with dread. It was just a feeling, and the rational part of my brain told me I was being paranoid, but with so many changes now to the the game timeline I couldn't trust that someone- someone very important to me- wouldn't be hurt or, God forbid, dead.

I took Anders' hand in mine and stood from the table, taking him with me.

“Um, the Nightengale said for only you to come,” the poor scout stammered.

“Too bad,” I replied, moving toward the rotunda and the stairs leading up. “I outrank her.”

Leliana's work space struck most as a giant storage room. Crates upon crates were piled high around the large opening that lead down into Solas' work space. Really, these crates acted more like stairs, allowing Leliana and her scouts to interact with the messenger crows that they used as they perched in their hanging cages. Her desk was nothing more than a rough wooden table and chair that might have been carved during the last Age- or knowing the history of Skyhold, several Ages ago. The only thing relatively new, painted and gilded, surrounded by thick red candles that smelled heavily of beeswax, was a small shrine to Andraste hidden away in an alcove.

Today she stood before her desk, a small scroll spread out before her, face pensive and brows drawn in slightly. I did not like this look, not one bit. She looked up when we entered with no note of surprise to see Anders with me. Not surprising there, the woman knew everything, I swear.

She straightened, trying to go for calm but I could see the worry etched into the thin lines around her eyes and lips. “They have faced Magister Erimond and the Wardens. Even with their forewarning Erimond managed to escape and has fled to Adamant fortress. The group has...they have decided to follow right away and have sent for our armies to meet them.”

My heart fell straight down into my shoes, Anders' fingers tightening around mine. This couldn't be happening. This wasn't how it was supposed to play out, not at all. They were supposed to come back to Skyhold first, plan and prepare and then strike when we were at our strongest. Now we were left scrambling. Did Max order this? Nathaniel Howe? Why would Garrett have agreed-

“Leliana, how fast can a contingent of scouts be out there to meet them?”

“There are approximately fifty spread out throughout the Approach with another fifty in the nearby Exalted Plains,” she said, nodding slightly in what I hoped was approval.

“Send crows with orders for them to meet up with Trevelyan and his current party. They are to waylay and basically make a nuisance of themselves with any supply shipments they see heading into Adamant Fortress. We might not be able to stop them from doing something stupid, but we can slow them down a bit. Maybe enough for the rest of our forces to catch up.” I rubbed a hand down my face with a sigh. “Have Josephine, Cullen and Bethany informed of what's going on and meet us in the War Room in an hour. We'll need to go over strategy. Anders and I will inform the Inner Circle that we need to be ready to move out, preferably no later than the morning.”

Leliana nodded and called over a couple of runners while Anders and I started back down the staircase. Halfway down, once our heads had cleared everyone's line of sight, he stopped and pulled me into his chest, wrapping long, strong arms around me. We stood like that, leaching strength from the other, for several seconds until a runner brushed past us on his way to speak with and advisor. A twisted smile, a kiss on the nose, and a nod of approval, and we were off to prepare for one of the most horrific battles in Thedas' history.

So As most of you know that read this series, I'm going through the beginning stages of a divorce. That said every penny is now wrapped up in lawyers that doesn't go to rent or food. If you like my work I'd appreciate anything you might be able to do to help me out. Please do me the favour of buying me a coffee, and if you contact me on Tumblr I'll write you a drabble of the pairing of your choice.