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Tales from Thedas

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9:10 Dragon

Somewhere in the Frostback Mountains

“Dearest M,

I sincerely hope this raven makes its way to you. This may be blunt, and a little forward, but I have come to care for you a great deal. Our time in the deep roads has made me realize that life is too short to waste. I would like to visit you, once this expedition is over. If I do not get a reply back, your answer will be clear to me.

-F”

“F,

I would love nothing more than to be able to see you once again, as long as there is time in between our duties to spare. I have not felt this way in a very long time, and I can only wish we could spend forever together. Unfortunately, that is not so. But, if you will accept, I would hope that we will spend whatever moments we can together.

-M”

“M,

I would accept with all I have to offer, but there has been.. a setback. I am with child. Your child. I thought it was impossible for me to bear, but it seems that you have a habit of making the seemingly impossible very probable. As per my duties, I will not be able to raise the youngling. If you had harbored any true feelings for me whatsoever, please, find a safe haven for our child. Do not allow the child to know of their mixed heritage, and do not allow them to be raised in court. I want our child to have a chance of being.. Normal.

-With all my love, F”

“F,

I truly am at a lost for words. I apologize for the length of your wait for this letter. I was making preparations. The Arl of Redcliffe, Eamon Guerrin, will provide the child with a home, and a suitable backstory. Send the child with only your best warrior. I only wish I was there to meet him with you.

-M”

The wind was harsh and relentless as the young man trudged through the snow, holding a bundle tight in his arms. His brown hair, just coming down to mid-neck, was tangling in the breeze. He would normally wear it back, but he needed to provide some warmth to his ears on this day, lest they freeze off. At least his armor was padded enough. The blue and silver chainmail blended in with the background, the only thing standing out was the golden griffon on his breastplate.

He was beginning to tire, but he marched on as he looked at the bundle in his arms. A tuft of blonde hair stuck out of the small blanket, a soft cry muffled by the fabric. He had to make it to Redcliffe. For the child.

“M,

The child will be brought to Eamon by Duncan, an outstanding warrior and one of the brightest men I’ve met, if you do not remember him from the expedition. He has orders to stay in Redcliffe until our son is settled. Our son. Even on paper, the words do not quite sound right. So I shall call him by his name…”

      For Alistair.

9:11 Dragon

Near Highever Castle

The sound of wood clanking against wood echoed in the brisk, winter air. Snow fell lightly as the sun began to fall. A young boy ran towards a man with his training sword held high, and with a loud grunt, he disarmed the older man. In doing so, he lost his footing and fell face-first into the snowy ground.

A low chuckle escaped the older man’s mouth as he watched his son struggle to get up from the thick snow. “Fergus, while you are getting better, you still have to hold your footing. No man on the battlefield will spare your life just because you’ve fallen.”  He helped his son up, and dusted the heavy snow off of his wool armor.

The man’s gentle brown eyes lit up, “Besides, you do want to show Cailan how much you’ve improved, yes?”

Fergus rolled his eyes and laughed, “Cailan wishes he was as good as I am, Father.”

The father smiled and shook his head, “You won’t be saying that in a few weeks when he and the King come to visit. Keep practising, my boy. You need all of it you can fit in if you wish to see that statement through.”

The young boy smirked, and picked up his sword. “You said I needed practice? No time like the present!” And with that, the two were sparring again.

This time around, the session seemed to last for hours. Neither of the two let up their attacks. In fact, they both seemed to be growing more fierce as the session wore on. That is, until they heard the pounding of horse’s hooves against the snow approaching them quickly.

The older man set his hand on his son’s shoulders and gently pushed him behind. However, his grip relaxed when the horse was close enough for him to recognize the insignia on the saddle. The Cousland Crest. His crest.

The horse slowed down, and the messenger on top hastily climbed down and bowed to the older man. “Teyrn Cousland, sir.” The boy seemed out of breath, as if he was hurrying to find the two others. “It’s the Lady- it’s happening.”

Fergus grinned brightly, while his father’s eyes widened. Teyrn Cousland spoke up, while picking up his son and placing him on his horse, “How long has it been since it began?!”

“A few hours, at most, your Lordship. I have been looking for you since Nan informed me, as have many of your men.”

The Teyrn sat behind his son on the saddle, hooking his feet into the stirrups and making sure he had a tight grip on both the reins and Fergus. “Well, thank you for finding me when you did. If we had missed this, my wife would’ve had all of our heads.”

The two horses sped off towards Castle Cousland, galloping hard as Fergus excitedly asked his father questions. The Teyrn couldn’t help but smile as he listened and explained the situation to his boy. Fergus was going to be a great older brother to his new sibling.

As they reached the castle walls, the guarded gates quickly parted once they saw who it was. The horses slowed to a stop once their hooves reached the stone floor, resting long enough for the Teyrn to hop off, grab his son, and for the stable boys to return them to the stable.

The next few hours were excruciating. The teyrn couldn’t do anything but pace and wait for an update. Luckily for him, Fergus was being watched by Nan in his room, so that was one less thing he had to worry about. Finally, in the early hours of the next morning, Bryce was finally allowed in the birthing chamber. As he entered the room, the midwives were cleaning up the area. His attention quickly focused on his wife, who was sitting up in the bed, holding a bundle wrapped in sheets.

Bryce walked towards his wife, smiling gently as he sat down beside her. Eleanor looked up at him from her position, grinning with tears in her eyes. “I cannot believe that we have a daughter.”

The midwives quietly left the room, giving the nobility a moment alone.

“She’s beautiful.” He mumbled, his voice was soft, as if anything louder would statter the aura of tranquility that surrounded the couple in this moment. The child was still in her arms, having by now fallen asleep as her mother held her. She looks serene, small tufts of dark brown hair sticking up in every which way from her head. He felt a smile pull at the corners of his mouth, and a tug at his heart.

“Do you want to hold her?” His wife asked. He tore his gaze from his daughter with extreme reluctance to look his wife in the eyes. She looked worn, her eyes bright and full of love but he could see the weariness that pulled at the corners, the drying beads of sweat on her brow left over from her ordeal.

“I would love nothing more. You get some rest, no harm will come to her under my watch. I promise, love.” She smiled, a tired, dreary smile and passed the small bundle into his waiting arms. Now that he held her it dawned on him how frail she felt held up in his much bigger hands. It was easy to forget that Fergus had once been the same way when looking at him now. “What shall be her name?” He whispered, catching his wife’s eyes once again.

“Ryelle.”

He felt a surge of protectiveness sweep over him as he gazed upon his youngest. He would keep her safe with everything in his power. His daughter, his Ryelle.