“The Grey Wardens left King Cailan for dead! If it weren’t for Tyrn Loghain, Ferelden would be lost!”
Bethany looked curiously at her older sister, as the two kept their heads down and moved quickly through the town.
The encroaching Darkspawn Horde, not stopped at Ostagar, had increased Templar presence making the younger of the Hawke mage sisters even more nervous.
Aleiah shook her head to pay it no mind. Right now she just needed to get these supplies home, get packed and get ready to flee. Carver was at Ostagar and should he have made it out alive, he would be heading home and they would need to be ready to go.
Leandra, their mother, was a ball of nerves; on edge and snapping at her daughters for little reason. Her only son was on the battlefield where the Grey Wardens supposedly turned on their King and country.
Malcom Hawke had worked with the Wardens before, even if he only briefly spoke of it, but he spoke highly of the Order, and Aleiah was unsure why the Wardens would abandon a battle against darkspawn.
While heading out of the main of the village, further to their hidden home, Bethany paused watching a trio of people standing before the qunari who murdered her friends.
He had been there 20 days, yet he stood as if it had only been 20 minutes. Aleiah tried to pull her sister away, but Bethany was frozen in curious rage.
“Do you not wish to seek atonement?” The woman at the head of the pack asked. She looked tired, her leathers worn and flaking with dry blood, her hair falling all over the place.
Bethany might have stepped forward, were it not for the large blade on her back and it’s matching dagger at her side.
“Death will be my atonement,” the beast replied in his cool calculated voice.
“There are other ways to find it,” she replied wearily, almost unsure of her own words.
“You could help me defend the land against the Blight.”
“The Blight? Are you a Grey Warden, then?”
Bethany tugged at her sister’s sleeve but Aleiah was already paying close attention.
“If we tell Loghain’s men, we would have enough gold to buy horses. We could get out sooner. Maybe even find Carver on the roads,” Bethany whispered to her sister.
Aleiah shook her head and stepped forward, the trio already leaving the cage, heading back to the main square.
“Excuse me,” she called after. The woman who was speaking earlier paused her conversation and turned towards her. The other woman, a mage as far as Aleiah could tell, scoffed.
“Are we to help every villager who demands our attention?’
The woman raised her hand in silence.
“Is there anything you need?”
Aleiah examined the Warden in front of her. She didn’t look particularly Warden-like based on the stories she had heard.
“My brother was at Ostagar,” she began unsure to believe the rumors of being true. “Did anyone make it out alive?”
The Warden’s face fell, and the man next to her dropped his head in shame. Were these Wardens who had abandoned the King, they seemed very remorseful.
“I’m sorry. I don’t know,” she replied and began to walk away. Aleiah sighed and turned back towards Bethany.
“Miss,” Aleiah paused turning back to the group, “I hope your brother is okay and you find him.” She finished her sentiment with a wide smile, tears starting to well in her eyes.
“Livia? Is everything okay?” the man asked.
Livia wiped her eyes and waved it off. “Let’s go talk to the tavern and see what we can learn.”
Aleiah returned to Bethany, standing a few feet away from the qunari. Bethany was locked in her spot glaring at the grey giant who paid her no mind.
With some effort, Aleiah pulled Bethany away, heading home.
Later that day the cage was empty and the Wardens gone.
The village was burning. Darkspawn, vicious foul creatures, swarmed her hometown. The fires broke out quickly afterwards. Bethany and Aleiah did what they could, the Templars were long gone, so the Hawke sisters didn’t have to hide their magic.
Hawke summoned another large strike of lightning, leaving a charred corpse, while Bethany cleared the path in front of them with a wall of fire, their mother shaking with fear.
A loud shout and a Darkspawn split in two right in front of Aleiah.
“Hello Sister,” Carver greeted, his voice always a bit icy towards his older sister.
“Carver!” Leandra ran to embrace her son.
“Mother,” he said, his voice much softer. “We need to go. Now.”
Bethany stepped forward to her twin, their eyes speaking where words wouldn’t do justice.
“He’s right. The Darkspawn are coming.”
They ran and fought and ran and fought. Aleiah was exhausted. Bethany and Carver not looking much better.
There was an ounce of hope when they met Aveline. Her husband Wesley was a minor hiccup; they didn’t have time to worry about Templars right now.
Then there was the ogre.
Bethany jumped forward so fast.
There was nothing Aleiah could do.