Chapter 1: Surprising Revelations
Things had changed between Anders and Fenris recently, ever since that night.
It had happened a few weeks ago, about a week after Fenris had killed Danarius. It was the first time they had all gathered in Varric’s suite at the Hanged Man for a round of Wicked Grace since the incident with Danarius. Fenris had been drinking and instead of being his usual, mage-hating, prickly self, he had started to become somewhat handsy with Anders instead.
At first Anders was concerned by the change in behavior, but the touch-starved mage couldn’t resist enjoying the small touches the elf kept giving him. At first it was a touch on his arm, then touches to his shoulder and eventually an arm snaked around his back.
The others saw, of course, but said nothing and Anders merely shrugged in confusion.
Later, after everyone else had left, Anders found himself dragged into an unoccupied room down the hall by Fenris, who pushed the mage against the wall after closing the door and very thoroughly kissing him.
Then even more shocking, the elf had begged him for sex. Anders hadn’t indulged in so long, and at first Justice railed against the distraction, but when Fenris began to remove Anders’ clothes and kiss alongside his neck, he couldn’t deny the frisson of want that ran through him.
So, that night, Anders thoroughly ravaged Fenris. The elf just kept begging for more and Anders was all too eager to comply.
The next morning, Anders awoke alone and had almost wondered if that entire night had just been an erotic dream until Fenris confronted him on the way back to Darktown, warning Anders to never speak of it to anyone.
Well, at least Fenris was back to himself again, Anders shrugged.
Since then the tension between them seemed greater even though they bickered far less than before. They barely spoke to each other anymore. When Fenris was around, Anders wouldn’t bring up his tirade about mage rights anymore, while Fenris stopped ranting about keeping mages locked up.
One morning, Hawke by Anders’ clinic and requested that he accompany Varric, Fenris and him up to Sundermount for a mission. There had been no patients waiting and Anders was in need of some fresh herbs for his potions so he readily agreed to join them.
They were about half-way up towards Sundermount when Fenris stumbled in front of Anders. The mage was about to make a quip about the elf’s drinking habits when all of a sudden Fenris fell backwards into his arms in a dead faint.
“Fenris?!” Anders shouted as he caught the elf and gently lowered him to the ground. Hawke and Varric can over as Anders began to use his magic to probe and see what could be wrong.
“What happened? Did the elf drink too much again?” Varric joked and Anders scowled. Hearing the same thought from another suddenly made the mage ashamed of having similar thoughts.
“I don’t know yet,” Anders said. “Please go on ahead without us, we’ll catch up.”
Hawke and Varric shrugged. “Alright, we’ll wait for you outside of the Dalish camp.”
Anders then began his examination of the still unconscious elf, probing slowly with his magic. He found no evidence of alcohol in the elf’s system. That was strange. Fenris usually had at least one bottle of wine each night, or so he claimed, but based on Anders’ probing Fenris clearly hadn’t had any wine for at least a full day.
Anders also took note that Fenris’ stomach was empty and he clearly hadn’t eaten recently either. At first, he thought perhaps lack of food was why Fenris had fainted. More probing however showed that Fenris had probably eaten but hadn’t been able to keep it down, as there was evidence of stomach acid burns in his throat.
Fenris was clearly not well. The mage probed to see what kind of infection the elf may have but could find no evidence of any. Perhaps a parasite? Anders probed lower until he reached the lower abdomen and when his magic found the cause he recoiled in shock, falling backwards onto his rump.
Anders stared at Fenris in shock just as the elf slowly started to come to. Fenris looked up and slowly sat up, looking over at Anders.
“What happened?” Fenris asked. “Why are you staring at me like that, fool mage?”
Anders shook himself and replied. “You fainted, right into my arms.”
The tips of Fenris’ ears turned pink in embarrassment. “I assure you that will not happen again.”
“I’m afraid it might,” Anders said.
Fenris looked at his quizzically. “So, something is wrong with me? I had wondered why I couldn’t keep food down for the past few weeks.”
“Weeks?” Anders looked shocked. “You should have come to me about this!”
“I have been ill before,” Fenris shrugged. “It will pass.”
“No, you don’t understand,” Anders continued. “I…I still don’t understand it myself. You…you’re male…but…there is no easy way to say this but…you’re pregnant!”
Fenris looked at Anders as if the mage had finally lost his mind. “I’m…what?! Don’t be ridiculous. I can’t be.”
“I don’t know how it’s possible,” Anders said. “Let me probe you again, and make sure. Please?”
Fenris sighed and nodded.
Anders gently removed Fenris’ utility belt and lifted up the bottom part of Fenris’ armor, laying a hand directly onto the elf’s abdomen, which had Fenris blushing several shades darker. Anders then felt out with his magic and immediately found the spark of life he had felt before. It was definitely a baby and as Anders checked on its health, realized it was half-human. Could it…?
“Fenris, I need you to be completely honest with me,” Anders said as he withdrew his magic and his hand. “Besides myself, have you had sex with anyone else recently?”
Fenris shook his head. “No, only you. I have no idea what even came over me that night. I’ve…I’ve never wanted sex, especially after…Danarius…but for some reason that night I wanted sex with you more than I have ever wanted anything before. It was almost like I was possessed.”
“I remember,” Anders smiled. “I will always cherish the memory of that night. You made me feel something I hadn’t in a very long time. And it seems somehow that union resulted in…this.”
Fenris’ ears drooped as he looked up at Anders and after removing his gauntlet, held his hand over his abdomen. “So, I am pregnant?”
“Yes, and it’s half-human, so unless you were canoodling with some other human besides me,” Anders shrugged. “Then the child is…well…ours. Unless you decide you don’t want it? I can help you terminate it. No one ever need know…”
Fenris furrowed his brow in thought for several long moments. “I…don’t know. I have never thought about having children…”
Anders reached out and took Fenris’s bare hand in his. “You don’t have to decide now and I will support you in whatever decision you make.”
Fenris nodded. “Thank you.”
“Let’s go meet up with Hawke and Varric,” Anders suggested, as he stood and helped Fenris to his feet. “Perhaps the Dalish have an explanation for your current…condition?”
“Yes, but please don’t tell Hawke or Varric just yet. I…need time,” Fenris asked.
Anders nodded in agreement, helping Fenris put his utility belt back on before taking the elf’s hand and leading him back up Sundermount.
The rest of the way up Sundermount was quiet, except for Anders’ internal bickering with Justice. A child was a distraction. But it’s a child. There is no justice in the death of a child. At one point Anders wasn’t even sure if he was arguing with Justice or with himself or both.
Before they were in sight of the Dalish camp, Fenris let go of Anders’ hand and put his gauntlet back on. Once they rounded the corner of a hill and saw Hawke and Varric, Hawke looked relieved to see them. “Feeling better Fenris? You really should stop hitting the bottle so hard.”
Fenris scowled at Hawke and pushed past him, heading straight for the Dalish camp. Hawke grumbled about now he’s in a hurry?
After they had concluded their business and helped the Dalish by routing a few monsters from a nearby cave, Hawke and Varric were anxious to get back to Kirkwall.
“Go on ahead,” Fenris insisted. “I have something I wish to discuss with the Keeper in private. Anders, if you would, I would prefer if you remain.”
Hawke and Varric looked at each other. “Wait, you want Anders to remain, while you speak with Keeper Marethari in private?”
Fenris sighed. “It is a private matter concerning my health, Hawke,” the elf sounded exasperated. “I need the Keeper’s advice and as a healer it may be of use for Anders to understand in case I require his assistance in the future. Now, please go.”
Hawke looked dumbfounded but quietly turned to leave, taking Varric with him.
“You know Hawke will continue to pry until we tell him,” Anders reminded the elf.
“I know, but I need more time to process…this.” Fenris admitted.
The pair then sought out Keeper Marethari, who invited them both to warm themselves by her campfire. “Was there something you needed to ask me?”
Fenris and Anders took turns explaining the situation and once the Keeper understood, a hand flew over her mouth in surprise.
“Oh, by the Creators,” Marethari breathed. “I didn’t think I’d meet a carrier in my lifetime!”
“A what?” Fenris asked.
“You’re a carrier! Male carriers are very rare. Only a handful are ever born in a generation,” Marethari tried to explain. “It is said that in ancient Arlathan male carriers made up about one percent of the elven population, but since the fall, they’ve become almost non-existent.”
“So, you’re saying that some male elves are born with the ability to become pregnant?” Anders asked.
“Yes, and their children are always extraordinary,” Marethari said. “What I’ve never heard of is one who mated with a human before. Tell me Anders, I know you are a mage, but what is your specialty?”
“I am a Spirit Healer,” Anders explained.
“That explains it,” Marethari mused aloud. “Male carriers tend to be drawn towards Spirit Healers as they are equally rare, even among the elves. There has always been a special bond between male carriers and spirit healers.”
“Would that explain why I…was insistent that Anders...have sex with me? It was an almost uncontrollable urge.” Fenris asked.
Marethari nodded. “Yes, I think so. It is believed that because male carriers are so rare, they have a heightened need to procreate, once they meet someone compatible.”
“But I’ve known Anders for years, so why now?” Fenris wondered.
“Perhaps Danarius had you under some sort of spell?” Anders suggested. “The spell could have been suppressing your true nature and when he died, the spell could have been broken.”
“So, Danarius knew what I am?” Fenris asked rhetorically before looking at Marethari. “Do you think my lyrium brands could harm the child?”
“Those markings are…lyrium?” Marethari asked. “I don’t know. Do they give you any special abilities?”
Fenris nodded. “When I activate them, I become stronger and I am able to pass through solid objects.”
“That is concerning,” Marethari frowned. “I would recommend you stop using that ability until after the child is born.”
Fenris thought back to how much he’d used it as they had fought the monsters earlier that day and hoped he hadn’t done irreparable harm already.
“Keeper, I have been unable to keep any food down,” Fenris thought to ask. “Do you have any recommendations to help ease that?”
“Oh yes, I have a recipe for a simple potion that your mate could easily make for you,” Marethari smiled.
Fenris looked at Anders after she mentioned the word mate, while the Keeper explained the potion to the mage. Anders said something about it being easy and he could make a batch if they stayed the night and he had some time the next day to gather the herbs needed.
“It would be my honor to let a carrier and his mate remain in our camp,” Marethari invited. “I have some potion stored that we keep on hand for any pregnant female. I will bring you some of the potion so that you may join us for dinner and I will have a tent made up for you both to sleep.”
Once Marethari left, Anders refocused his attention on Fenris. “Don’t worry about her calling you my mate. I will not lay a claim on you if you do not wish it.”
“Thank you,” Fenris said gratefully. “I didn’t like the idea of belonging to yet another mage…although this situation I suppose is quite different than the one with Danarius.”
“I have no wish to force anything against your will,” Anders reassured the elf. “Believe it or not, despite all the years we’ve spent bickering, I do actually care about you, and your well-being.”
Fenris took a moment to study Anders’ face and saw the sincerity reflected there.
Marethari returned with a small vial of the potion and it worked well enough for Fenris to eat some of the rich venison stew that was being served for dinner that night.
After dinner, Anders noted how tired Fenris was. The mage excused them both and led a very sleepy elf to the guest tent that had been prepared for them. Once inside the tent, he helped Fenris remove his armor. There was only one bedroll so they would have to share but Fenris was sleepy enough not to mind.
The next morning Anders woke up to find Fenris still lying next to him, with his hand splayed over his abdomen. “Hey, good morning. How are you feeling?”
Fenris looked up at him. “Better, and I’ve made my decision. I will keep the child.”
Anders’ heart lept. “You will?”
Fenris nodded. “Marethari said a child born from such a union as ours would be extraordinary. I must give this child the chance to become whatever it is destined to be.”
Anders sat up all the way covered his mouth with his hand. “Oh, Maker…”
“What’s wrong?” Fenris asked, sitting up beside the mage and noticing the tears streaming down the mage’s face.
“I just realized…I’m going to be a father…”
Chapter 2: The Best Laid Plans...
Anders and Fenris come to terms with having a child, and tell the others.
Once they were back in Kirkwall, Anders immediately set to work on making a batch of the potion Keeper Marethari had instructed him to make. He had gathered all the herbs needed and returned to his clinic after seeing Fenris home.
The Keeper suggested that Fenris may have need of the potions throughout as much as the first half of his pregnancy so Anders made what he thought would hopefully last for about two months. He easily could make more if needed.
While he was brewing the potion, Anders let his mind wander. Oddly, he recently began having vivid daydreams of his childhood back in Ferelden, from his days before the Circle. Anders hadn’t thought about those days for a long time now. Remembering how he had romped freely with the other children from his village through the surrounding countryside always made him sad.
Back then Anders never gave Templars or mages much thought. He had been considered a very personable child with many friends. His life was carefree when he wasn’t helping his parents around their small farm.
Anders sighed. He never thought he would ever be a father. It was rare for Grey Wardens to produce children because of the taint they carried. When he was at the Circle, he’d seen the infants taken from their mage mothers before they could ever get a chance to hold them. That had always broken his heart.
What kind of a life could he and Fenris give a child? A wanted apostate abomination and a runaway Tevinter slave? Would their child ever have a carefree moment?
Once the potion was complete, he began to fill the empty vials he had gathered and began to fill them.
Anders found himself smiling. Despite all the worrying thoughts, he found himself happy to know he was going to be a father. The thrill in his heart at the thought of holding the babe for the first time, counting all their fingers and toes, helping to care for and raise them. It truly gave Anders joy.
Ever since the discovery, Anders’ feelings towards Fenris had changed as well. His feelings had softened already since their one night of passion, but now…Anders felt a strong sense of protectiveness come over him when he thought of the elf carrying his child.
After all the vials were filled with the potion, Anders carefully packed them and closed up the clinic before making his way back to High Town. Along the way he stopped at the market and made some additional purchases.
As Anders let himself into Fenris’ mansion, he looked around. The mushrooms and corpses would have to go, this was no environment to raise a child. His clinic was hardly any better, but Anders recalled Varric offering to help Fenris fix up the mansion and formally get the deed into his name. Perhaps that was something to seriously consider now.
“Fenris!” Anders called out. “I’m back with the potions!”
“Up here!” Fenris shouted from the master suite at the top of the stairs. Anders made his way up and found Fenris perched on one of the benches in front of the fireplace. Anders went to sit next to the elf.
“Here,” Anders handed the pack he carried. “There should be enough vials to last you about two months. Also, I bought some food for you. Apples, bread and some cheese as well.”
“Thank you,” Fenris said gratefully. “I appreciate your help, mage.”
Anders sighed. “Fenris, the child will be as much mine as yours, and I will help you in any way I can to give birth to a healthy baby. Can you perhaps give me the consideration of using my name, for once? Please?”
Fenris looked at the mage, and studied his face intently for a moment. “My apologies, Anders. It’s…become a habit.”
Anders smiled then. “Thank you.”
“What does your…Justice…think of all this?” Fenris asked.
Anders shrugged. “He’s not pleased. He finds this a distraction from our mission. I disagree and so he’s currently in the back of my mind somewhere, pouting.”
Fenris laughed at the thought of demon…spirit…whatever…curled up like a grumpy cat in the back of Anders’ mind.
“I will say this…while the plight of the mages will always be important to me…” Anders held up his hand when he saw Fenris about to argue. “I have decided to make you and our child my priority.”
Fenris relaxed then. “Anders, I know all of this is completely unexpected. This will change both of our lives, forever.”
“I know, but I never thought I’d ever be a father,” Anders explained. “In the circle, children are immediately taken, when they are born to a mage, and raised by the Chantry. The children never get to know their parents. I want to know my child and make sure they know I love them.”
Fenris’ hand moved over his abdomen and Anders reached out to cover it with his own. “This is our child. They deserve every chance we can give them to have a better life than either one of us did.”
Caught up in the moment, Fenris pulled Anders closer and kissed him. Compared to the last time, this kiss was soft and sweet, lacking the hunger and desperation Anders had felt from the elf. When he pulled back and Fenris reached out to wipe his cheeks, Anders realized that he had become so overwhelmed with emotion that tears had spilled down his cheeks.
“Why are you crying?” Fenris asked, his impossibly green eyes full of worry.
Anders smirked. “The last time I was kissed like that was by Karl.”
Fenris nodded in understanding. “You miss him,” he stated and Anders nodded in acknowledgement.
Anders straightened himself then. “Come, let’s get some food in you. You’re eating for two now.”
The mage handed Fenris a potion first, before pulling out the simple food he had brought with. “Do you know how to cook?” Anders asked and Fenris shook his head no.
“Alright, then I’ll come over and cook meals for you, and the child, as well,” Anders declared. “And no more wine until after the child is born.”
“Why?” Fenris asked as he took a bite of the hunk of bread Anders had handed to him.
“Alcohol could harm the child while it develops,” Anders explained. “I’ve seen it happen many times and I don’t think we should risk it.”
After eating in companionable silence, Fenris went to relieve himself. When he came back he stood pointedly in front of Anders. “You should move in here. If you’re going to help look after us and also cook, there is no need for you to make the trek through Low Town and High Town each day. That would increase your risk of being caught by the Templars. I can also protect you better if you are close by.”
“Only if you let Varric help you fix this place up,” Anders insisted. “The mushrooms and corpses have got to go. Also, that hole in your roof will not be good for the child.”
“So, you think we should tell them?” Fenris asked.
“We’re going to have to eventually,” Anders pointed out. “You won’t be able to keep a pregnancy secret forever.”
“Why don’t we take a nap and then head over to the Hanged Man later?” Anders suggested and Fenris agreed.
Feeling rested and refreshed after his nap and a hot bath, Anders led Fenris through the streets of Kirkwall towards the Hanged Man. Once outside the familiar tavern Fenris hesitated. “Are you alright?” Anders asked. “Do you want to wait?”
Fenris shook his head. “No, you are right that they will find out eventually and we could use Varric’s help on the mansion. We need to make it a proper home for our child.”
Fenris then took Anders hand as they headed inside. Corff gave them a strange look as he saw the mage and the elf holding hands as they made their way through the tavern toward the stairs.
They entered Varric’s suite, still holding hands. Varric, Hawke, Isabella and Merrill were all there, playing cards. At first, they didn’t take much notice but then Hawke’s head shot up. “Are you two…holding hands?”
They both blushed and squeezed each other’s hand tighter. “We have some news,” Anders announced.
That got everyone’s attention as Merrill and Isabella turned around to look at them.
“I’m sure you both noticed how…friendly…Fenris was being some weeks ago,” Anders began. “Well, long story short…Fenris is pregnant, with my child.”
Everyone gasped in surprise except for Merrill. “I knew it! I had a feeling you were a carrier from the moment I met you. Congratulations!”
“You knew?” Fenris asked. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Oh…didn’t you know you were a carrier?” Merrill asked.
“No, I did not,” Fenris growled. “We spoke to Keeper Marethari and she told me about male carriers among the elven population…and how we were drawn to spirit healers.”
“So, you’re saying that some male elves can become pregnant?” Varric asked for clarification and Fenris nodded. “Ask Merrill, I’m sure she can fill you in on the details. Suffice it to say that I must have broken a spell Danarius had over me and I could no longer control my desire to…procreate.”
“Oh, go on and tell us all the juicy details,” Isabella prompted causing both Anders and Fenris to glare at her in warning. “Or not…” she changed her mind, hiding behind her pint of ale.
“Varric,” Fenris addressed the dwarf. “I would like to take you up on your offer to help me fix up the mansion. It is not suitable for raising children in its current state.”
“Sure thing Broody,” Varric winked. “I’m happy to help. I’m sure your neighbors would appreciate it as well.”
“Also, Hawke,” Fenris continued. “I will not be able to accompany you on missions for the foreseeable future. The Keeper warned me not to use my Lyrium Ghost abilities as long as I carry the child within me. I would also appreciate it if you didn’t take Anders away too often. I may be in need of him as this pregnancy progresses.”
Hawke nodded. “Understood. I’m sure Aveline and Merrill will be happy to cover for you both.”
“Alright, now that everything is settled,” Varric said. “How about you both join us for a round?”
Anders and Fenris sat down and enjoyed a congenial evening with their friends, happy that they hadn’t been teased too much about their situation. As stunning as the news had been, everyone seemed very happy for them.
Over the next several weeks, Varric had workers in and out of Fenris’ mansion. Soon the ramshackle building began to look more like it belonged in High Town again as it received a fresh coat of paint inside and out, the roof was completely repaired, the interior cleaned from floor to ceiling and even new furniture began to appear, replacing the moldy old mattresses, tables and the rest.
The kitchen was also completely redone and Anders happily began to prepare all their meals there. As it turned out, he was a fairly good cook. “My mother taught me before I was dragged off to the Circle. She believed all children should be taught cooking as a skill, not just girls.”
Anders also began to extricate himself from the underground mage movement, recruiting others to take his place. It was a full-time job working in the clinic and taking care of Fenris. He didn’t have the time to devote to the cause anymore. Justice grumbled but Anders insisted that others could handle it just as well as he could.
When Anders handed over all his plans and manifesto to one of the other mages in the movement, the mage looked angry and disappointed. Anders apologized and tried to explain the circumstances but that was only met with a look of disdain. Anders shrugged and returned to his clinic, sure they could manage without him.
The work in the mansion was finally complete. Anders and Fenris stood in the room that would be their child’s nursery. Everyone had donated something and there was now a crib, a changing table, a chest of drawers filled with diapers and clothing, and even a small bed for when the little one out grew their crib.
Fenris had started to show and his pregnancy was now quite noticeable. He no longer fit into his armor and Anders had purchased some loose-fitting breeches and shirts for the elf to wear.
“I think it’s time I checked up on our little one again,” Anders suggested, guiding Fenris upstairs to the bedroom. “I think might be able to know the sex of the child by now. Would you want to know?”
“You can tell before they are born?” Fenris marveled. “Yes, it will be easier to choose a name if knew.”
“Alright, go and lie on the bed then and I’ll check to make sure everything is alright,” Anders instructed.
They had done this dozens of times now, so Fenris lay down, lifting the shirt and pushing down his breeches, in order to expose his growing belly. Anders knelt next to the bed, reaching out to caress Fenris’ delicate skin.
The lyrium markings that covered the area had begun to crack and bleed when the elf’s stomach began to expand. Anders has had to heal them regularly but they would be sure to leave additional scarring on the elf that Fenris stressed over, despite the mage’s reassurances.
The first thing Anders did was check on the markings and heal any new cracks or tears he found. Then he used his magic to gently probe further inside the elf, checking on both Fenris’ health and that of their child. Both seemed in good condition, so then Anders scanned the growing child for signs of which sex they were.
Anders let out a happy gasp and withdrew his magic. “Fenris! We’re going to have a daughter!”
“A daughter?” Fenris smiled. “I wonder what kind of daughter she’ll be? A warrior like Aveline? A rogue like Isabela? Or Maker-forbid a blood-mage like Merrill!”
“I’ll love her regardless of what she becomes,” Anders said smiling. “And so will you, my broody elf.”
Fenris chuckled. “I dare say you are correct. I already love her more than I could have imagined and I haven’t even properly met her yet.”
Anders stood. “I need to go down to the clinic and check in with some patients. I’ll be back in time to cook supper.”
Fenris nodded and stood. “I will practice my reading until you return. I want to be able to read to her as well.”
Anders waved goodbye and headed down to the clinic. During the repairs, they discovered that Fenris’ mansion had a similar access to Dark Town from the basement as Hawke’s estate did, so Anders now could go down to his clinic much more quickly and easily than before.
As expected, there were several patients already waiting for him when he arrived. Anders opened the clinic and lit the lantern and let them in. For the rest of the day there was a steady stream of people who all needed the healer’s help in one form or another.
When the last patient finally left, Anders realized it was getting late and he needed to get back home to start dinner. The mage snuffed out the lantern and went back inside to quickly tidy up and gather his things. He was so preoccupied thinking about what to prepare for dinner, he didn’t hear the clanking of armor coming from outside.
By the time, Anders was aware and looked up, he saw a small regiment of Templars filing into his clinic. Anders was about bring forth his magic when he was hit with a holy smite from the lead Templar that knocked him backwards off his feet.
Then two of the Templars approached him, putting him in magic suppression manacles before dragging him to his feet. “Wait! Stop!”
The lead Templar approached him. Removing his helmet Anders saw that it was Ser Kerras. “Meredith finally has enough evidence against you for us to bring you in, abomination! You are to be whipped for your crimes and then made tranquil. I will enjoy finally having you at my mercy. Alain has begun to bore me.”
Anders screamed. “No!!!!” and Kerras blasted him with another holy smite, knocking him unconscious.
I did mention in the tags about fluff and angst right? Welcome to the angst part of our story...*evil grin*
Chapter 3: Tranquility
The Templars drag Anders to the Gallows where he faces Meredith's judgement and punishment.
This was a tough chapter to write and will be a tough one to read. Note the new tags for anyone who needs trigger warnings.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Anders came to as he was being dragged off the boat and into the gallows. The holy smite had weakened him and he was unable to struggle. Justice seemed to be suppressed by the manacles that kept him locked away from his magic as well.
Anders’ heart pounded in fear and ramped up to sheer terror when he saw the whipping post they were dragging him towards, and the tranquil brand heating in a small forge nearby. “No! Please by the Maker’s mercy, no!!” Anders screamed hoarsely.
The Templars ignored him as they pulled his arms up and attached the manacles to a hook high on the whipping post, forcing Anders to stretch to his full height. It practically forced him onto his tip-toes.
As the Templars began to cut away Anders’ clothes, ruining his favorite feathered coat in the process, the mage began to weep. “Fenris, I’m so sorry. I promised to be there for you. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”
“You should be sorry, you worthless wretch,” Meredith sneered as she walked towards him. “I’ve been watching you traipse after the so-called Champion for years now, but even he cannot protect you anymore.”
Anders looked up at Meredith in confusion.
“That’s right. I know all about your little Mage Underground, how you helped numerous mages escape the Gallows,” Meredith explained. “And for your plans to destroy the Chantry.”
Anders’ eyes opened wide in surprise. She knew? That meant only one thing. Someone had betrayed him, and their cause. If he could have, he would have unleashed Justice in all his righteous fury upon Meredith and the Templars. Instead he just slumped, defeated in his manacles.
“Please, just don’t harm the other mages,” Anders pleaded.
Meredith laughed. “Foolish abomination. It’s far too late for that. I have called for the Right of Annulment.”
“No!! You cannot murder innocent mages!” Anders begged, just as they cut off the last of his clothing.
Meredith ignored his pleas. “Give him one hundred lashes. If he survives that, make him Tranquil and give him to Karras. He’s been longing for a new plaything.”
Anders hung his head in defeat as he waited for the first lash to strike.
Fenris looked up from his reading, and noticed it was growing dark outside. Anders was usually back by now and Fenris felt a twinge of worry. He put his book down and made his way down into the cellar of his mansion, and descended into Dark Town grumbling about absent minded mages.
When Fenris arrived at the clinic there was a small group of people gathered and Fenris at first chided himself. If the mage was late, of course it was because of some emergency or outbreak he was needed for. However, once he drew closer he noticed that everyone looked very upset, but not ill or injured.
“What’s going on?” Fenris asked the first person he approached.
“Oh, it’s just awful!” the elderly woman said, as she wrung her hands. “The Templars. They dragged the Healer away and destroyed his clinic!”
Fenris pushed through the crowd in a panic to peer inside the clinic. It was indeed destroyed. All the cots were smashed. The cabinet holding his potions and potion making equipment was in pieces, shattered vials covering the floor. A large painting of the Chantry symbol had been painted on one wall.
“No! Anders!” Fenris said to himself as he pushed back through the crowd and hurried back up into his mansion. He quickly ran as fast as his pregnant self could to Hawke’s residence, pounding desperately on the door.
“Hawke! Open up! Please!” Fenris shouted.
Bohdan opened the door and Fenris pushed past him. “Hawke!!”
A slightly disheveled Hawke was making his way down the stairs, with an equally disheveled Isabela trailing behind.
“Hawke! It’s Anders! They’ve taken Anders!” Fenris cried out.
“Slow down Fenris, tell me everything,” Hawke said.
Fenris recounted what he’d heard and seen in Dark Town and Hawke sprung immediately into action. “Let me get dressed, and we’ll head over to the Gallows immediately. Let’s grab Varric and Aveline along the way as well.”
Soon they were all on the ferry heading to the Gallows. Aveline had already been making her way there after hearing the news from a concerned citizen. Fenris gripped the edge of the railing on the ferry, barely controlling the mix of worry and rage coursing through him. “Hang on Anders. We’re almost there.”
As the last lash fell, Anders could no longer scream. His voice was hoarse and raw, just as his back was raw and bleeding. He barely clung to the manacles as he panted harshly against the whipping post he was secured to. He heard the soft sobs of the mages who had been forced to bear witness to his punishment.
For a brief moment, he wondered why Orsino wasn’t here, but it didn’t matter. It wasn’t like the First Enchanter would have been able to stop this from happening.
The next moment, a Templar came up behind him and forced him into a tight headlock, the metal of his chest plate digging into the mage’s raw, flayed open back, making Anders grunt in pain. The Templar turned Anders so that he was facing the small, portable forge used for heating the Tranquil brands. The brand would have already been infused with lyrium before the heating had begun.
Another Templar took the brand out of the heat, still glowing an angry reddish-orange. The Templar made his way quickly to where Anders was being held.
As the brand came closer, Anders could feel the heat emanating from it. The mage struggled but couldn’t get free of the Templar’s tight grip. “Hold still abomination. I’ll just as soon cut your head clean off, but Ser Karras wants his new plaything.”
Tears were flowing freely down Anders’ face as they held him still. He could no longer speak with the grip the Templar had on his jaw, but internally he kept screaming. “No…no…no…no!”
In the distance, Anders thought he could hear his name being called out, but then the searing heat of the brand touched his forehead and it was all too much. As Anders felt himself slip away, he quickly slipped into unconsciousness.
As the Ferry docked at the Gallows, Fenris was the first to jump off, running towards the open square. The sight before him gave him a sickening lurch in his stomach. “Anders!!!” Fenris screamed. “No!!! Stop!!!”
Fenris was barely half-way towards where the Anders was being held by one Templar, as another applied a brand to the mage’s forehead. A second later and the mage slumped, unconscious, and the Templar holding him let him go, to just swing from his wrists against the post he was secured to.
Anders was completely naked, his back covered in bleeding whip marks, and now upon his forehead, the brand of a Tranquil.
Fenris fell to his knees for a moment in shock, just staring at the man who was the father of his child.
Fenris could hear the others behind him and he struggled back to his feet, running towards Anders again. Once he reached the mage…his mage…he gathered him up in his arms and just held him close. “Anders! You promised me you would remain with me! I need you! Anders!!!”
Isabela, Aveline and Varric pulled Fenris away from Anders, while Hawke released the manacles from the hook they were on, gently catching Anders and laying him down. “He’s still alive. Probably unconscious from the shock of the brand.”
Hawke was about to scoop Anders up in his arms when Meredith reappeared. “You are not taking him anywhere, Champion!”
“What right did you have to make him Tranquil?” Hawke demanded, rising his full height and stalking over towards Meredith. “He passed his Harrowing years ago!”
Fenris crawled back to Anders and pulled him into his arms and just held him as Hawke and Meredith began to argue.
“I had every right! I am the Knight-Commander here and if I say a mage is too dangerous, then they are to be made Tranquil!” Meredith declared. “I have proof that Anders was conspiring to destroy the Chantry!”
“I don’t care what proof you have,” Hawke growled. “You had no right to do this!”
“Well if I hadn’t, he would have just died with all the rest,” Meredith shrugged. “I have called for the Right of Annulment. Soon every mage left in the Gallows will be dead anyway.”
“Even my sister!? Are you completely out of your mind?” Hawke shouted, about to pounce on Meredith when two Templars held him back.
Then, without warning, the Chantry exploded in a burst of magical energy. Everyone but Fenris and Anders ran towards the Gallows docks only to see the steeples of the Chantry crash and burn. An orange glow began to build in Kirkwall as fires started across the city.
“Do you see what destruction your abomination has wrought?!” Meredith sneered. “Templars! We aren’t waiting any longer. Execute all of the mages!”
Knight-Captain Cullen appeared next to Meredith. “No, Knight-Commander. You are taking this too far.”
“Did you not just see the destruction of the Chantry?!” Meredith seethed.
“Yes, I did. I also happen to know that you were the one who took the plans that supposedly were from Anders,” Cullen said coolly. “And I know you were the one who planted that magical bomb and promised to spare the life of the mage who handed you those plans.”
“That…is an absurd accusation!” Meredith shouted.
“Nevertheless, it’s true,” Cullen said. “I overheard you.”
Through all the commotion around them, Fenris continued to stay with Anders, cradling his mage’s head in his lap. When the fighting started between the mages and Templars, with Hawke in the very center of it all, Fenris decided they were far too exposed. The elf did his best to half-carry, half-drag Anders behind the weapon’s merchant stand, hiding them into the far corner as best as possible. He was in no condition to join the fight without risking the health of their child and Anders needed someone to watch over him while he lay unconscious.
Once more safely situated, Fenris steeled himself and studied the brand on Anders’ forehead more closely. The burned flesh was raised in angry, red welts. Fenris knew all too well how the welts would become a permanent reminder of what they had both lost this day.
Fenris was one to normally be stoic and he rarely showed emotion. Showing emotion as a slave would incite punishment so Fenris had learned to suppress his own emotions long ago. Perhaps the pregnancy hormones were to blame but Fenris couldn’t help the flood of tears that finally came.
The elf wept into Anders’ shoulder, clutching the man to his chest as if his life depended on it. “Anders, I’m so sorry. I wish I could have told you before…before this happened. Anders, I love you.”
Slowly Anders began to stir in his arms, and for a moment Fenris held his breath. Maybe?
Anders blinked his eyes open and looked up at the elf that held him. “Hello, Fenris. Was there something you needed from me?”
The lack of warmth in those amber eyes, the cold tone in his voice told Fenris everything he needed to know. Anders was now Tranquil. Fenris couldn’t speak, his voice caught in his throat as he let go a wail of sorrow he had been holding back.
Anders righted himself and sat cross-legged, looking at Fenris. “I am sorry. Have I done something to upset you?”
Fenris looked up at the beatific expression on Anders’ face. “Come back to me, my mage. Please, Anders. Come back to me!”
“But, I’m right here,” Anders said, confused.
Fenris took several deep breaths and regained his composure. “Yes, you are right here. You’re just not yourself anymore.”
“I was made Tranquil. I remember being so full of anger all the time,” Anders said. “Perhaps this was for the best.”
“No, this wasn’t for the best!” Fenris argued. “How will you help me raise our daughter if you’re like this?”
“Our daughter?” Anders said before a look of recollection came across his face. “Yes, the child you carry is ours. I remember. I promised you I would help you raise her. I am still capable of that.”
“How will you be able to show her love and affection?” Fenris asked.
Anders shrugged. “Emotions are irrelevant. A child requires food, clothing, and education. These things I can provide to her.”
Fenris sighed. “We’ll figure this out together once this bloody mess has been cleared up.”
Anders turned and peered past the weapons stall at the fighting when suddenly one of the giant slave statues above them came to life and began attacking. It was utter pandemonium as one after another the statues attacked. Fenris had no idea how in the world Hawke was defeating those monstrosities, but one after the other they crumbled and fell.
Finally, the entire battle came to a spectacular end when Meredith herself turned into a glowing statue of red lyrium. Once she was defeated, the rest of the Templars gave up and laid down their arms. Cullen had been fighting with Hawke against Meredith and he took charge of the Templars then.
Fenris led a still very naked Anders out from their hiding place and looked at the carnage. Anders seemed to take note of Ser Kerras’ dead form and stopped for a moment, staring at it. “I was to become his plaything, Meredith said. I think that it is good that he is dead.”
Fenris pulled Anders away. “Yes, it is a very good thing that he is dead. If he wasn’t, I’d pull his heart out myself.”
Hawke, Varric, Isabela and Aveline rushed to them. “Is he alright?” Hawke asked.
Fenris shook his head. “He was severely beaten and made Tranquil.”
Cullen looked crestfallen. “I am so sorry. I should have stopped it but Meredith kept me away from the courtyard all afternoon. I had no idea what she and the other Templars were doing. It’s too late now, I’m afraid. There is no way to reverse this.”
“Are any of you mages a healer?” Hawke called out. “Could someone please tend to Anders?”
Several mages came forward, including Bethany, who hugged her brother. The other mages led Anders and Fenris back into the living quarters where they were able to clean and heal Anders’ back before giving him some Tranquil robes to wear.
Once Anders was dressed, Fenris led Anders back out to the others. “Come Hawke. Let’s go and see how much is left of our homes.”
“Wait!” Cullen called out. “You cannot take Anders with you. He’s Tranquil and under our charge now.”
Fenris turned with a ferocious look on his face. “You will not have him! He is mine and the father of my child!”
“Your…child? But you’re…a male elf?” Cullen looked dumbfounded.
Hawke stepped forward then. “Anders is coming with us and if I ever see another Templar lay a finger on him again, I will relieve that Templar of their head.”
Cullen sighed. “Alright, just be careful with him. Tranquil don’t understand how the world works and fall prey easily. He will have to be watched closely.”
Fenris nodded. “I understand that. Regardless I want him by my side.”
Cullen let them go and they returned to Kirkwall. Aveline marshalled her forces and they set out going through Kirkwall to assess the damage and the lives lost from the Chantry’s destruction. Varric and Isabela went to check on the Hanged Man and check in on Merrill and the Alienage, while Hawke, Fenris and Anders returned to High Town.
Fenris was relieved that the mansion district seemed relatively unscathed despite the gaping hole that was all that remained of the Chantry. Hawke’s estate as well as his mansion both were intact and so Fenris decided that they just needed to go home and rest.
Hawke agreed and returned to his own estate to check on Bohdan, Sandal and Orana.
Fenris led Anders up to their bedroom and to their bed. “Come, mage. We should rest.”
“I am no longer a mage,” Anders pointed out. “It would be inaccurate to continue referring to me as that.”
Fenris nodded. “You’re right Anders. It would. Now, come to bed.”
Fenris lay awake that night, slowly running his hand over his abdomen. “I am sorry little one. I failed your father and in so doing, I failed you. However, we will make the best of this situation.”
If you made it this far, I will promise that this story will have a happy ending. It'll just take a bit to get there.
Chapter 4: Glimmers of Hope
Fenris learns to manage life with a Tranquil Anders, and then something miraculous occurs when their child is finally born.
The first thing Anders was aware of was the searing pain in his forehead, followed by the equally harsh pain coming from his back. When he tried to open his eyes, he found either he was either blind or he was somewhere in complete pitch-black darkness.
At first Anders began to panic, thinking he had been locked into solitary confinement again. The nightmares of that year still haunted the mage. Then, slowly Anders began to be aware of a presence.
“HELLO FRIEND,” a voice rang out.
Anders looked around and slowly a figure began to emerge before him. A translucent figure of a man in full plate armor. “Who are you?” Anders asked in confusion.
“DO YOU NOT RECOGNIZE ME?” the figure asked. “WE HAVE BEEN FRIENDS FOR A LONG TIME.”
Anders just stared for a moment before a long-forgotten memory of his time in the Fade came to the surface. “Justice?”
“YES,” Justice confirmed.
“Am I dead?” Anders asked. “Are we back in the Fade?”
“NO, WE BOTH SEEM TO BE BURIED DEEP WITHIN YOUR OWN MIND,” Justice explained. “YOU WERE MADE TRANQUIL, CUTTING BOTH OF US OFF FROM THE FADE.”
“Maker’s Breath,” Anders recalled everything now. The whipping. The branding. The distant voice of Fenris crying out for him. “So why do I still feel like myself?”
“I BELIEVE THAT THE TRANQUILITY BRAND BURIES YOUR PERSONALITY, IT DOES NOT ERASE IT,” Justice replied. “DO YOU RECALL HOW YOU WERE ABLE TO BRING KARL BACK FOR A MOMENT AFTER YOU HAD RELEASED ME TO KILL THE TEMPLARS IN THE CHANTRY?”
“Yes! I had thought about that a lot after it happened, that Karl was actually still in there somewhere,” Anders remembered. “Your stronger connection to the Fade helped bring him back to himself temporarily.”
“YES,” Justice replied.
“So, I am still myself, I’m just trapped within my own mind?” Anders lamented. “This is…mental imprisonment! How do the Tranquil keep from going completely insane?”
“MOST PROBABLY DO GO INSANE IF KEPT TRANQUIL LONG ENOUGH,” Justice agreed. “YOU HAVE ONE ADVANTAGE. YOU HAVE ME. I WILL HELP TO KEEP YOU SANE.”
“Thank you, Justice,” Anders said gratefully. “But even with you here, knowing that I’m trapped like this for the rest of my life? I don’t know…”
Then Anders began to be aware of something else. He could tell he was being held by Fenris, but he had no control over his actions or responses. It broke his heart when he heard and saw Fenris let out a wail of anguish, wanting to pull the elf into his arms and reassure him, but instead his Tranquil-self pulled away.
“Ugh. This is even worse. I get to see and hear everything?” Anders bemoaned. “Leave it up to the Chantry to come up with such a cruel punishment.”
Anders was relieved when he saw the fighting around them come to an end and then his Tranquil self was led away to be cleaned and healed. The pain in his forehead and back finally stopped and he watched as he was led back to Fenris who then led him back to High Town. Part of him rejoiced in seeing the destroyed Chantry while hearing that Meredith was the one who had executed the plan in order to blame the mages and justify the Right of Annulment angered him. He was glad she was dead.
Once Fenris had gotten him into bed and Tranquil version of himself drifted off to sleep, Anders relished in how Fenris curled up with him. At least he could still feel Fenris’ touches. Perhaps, as long as Fenris was still there to hold him at night. Perhaps he might learn to endure.
Fenris woke the next morning with his arms full of Anders. For a few brief moments, he floated in that place between sleeping and wakefulness, happily holding the father of his unborn child. When Fenris finally opened his eyes and gazed down, he was immediately confronted with his new reality, burned right into Anders’ forehead.
Fenris reached out to stroke Anders’ hair, more to soothe himself than to comfort the Tranquil he held in his arms.
Anders slowly blinked awake and immediately sat up. “Good morning, Fenris.”
“I am not so sure it is a good morning,” Fenris huffed. “How are you feeling, Anders?”
“I am feeling fine,” Anders replied. “The healers did their job well and I am no longer in pain after yesterday’s events.”
“Good, I’m glad,” Fenris replied as he sat himself up.
“Andreas,” Anders said next. “My given name is Andreas. Under the circumstances, I think it would be best if you used that name.”
“I thought your given name was Anders,” Fenris said. “Why weren’t you using your given name?”
“From what I remember, when I was first brought to the Circle, I had been very angry and I refused to speak,” Andreas explained. “Since my family was originally from the Anderfels, they began to call me Anders. It was close enough to my given name that I adopted it.”
“You remember being angry?” Fenris questioned. “But do you feel anything now?”
Andreas shook his head. “No. I just feel at peace now.”
Something in the way Andreas said that broke Fenris’ heart and he couldn’t help but reach out and embrace the former mage. Andreas seemed to somehow understand and slid his arms around the elf. “I remember that I used to like it when you held me. I think you liked it too. I will continue to do so if it helps you.”
Fenris nodded into Andreas’ shoulder. “Yes, thank you.”
After a few moments, Andreas pulled back. “Shall I make breakfast? Neither of us had dinner last night and I know the child growing within you requires nutrients.”
“You still remember how to cook?” Fenris asked.
“Yes, of course. I remember everything,” Andreas replied. “I just don’t remember why I was always so angry.”
“Alright, we do need to eat,” Fenris acknowledged. “Then we should head over to check in on Hawke and figure out where we go from here. Kirkwall will need time to recover from the events of yesterday.”
Andreas rose and put on the robes he was given, and headed down into the kitchen. A meal and a bath later found Fenris leading Andreas to Hawke’s estate.
The fact that Andreas allowed Fenris to placidly bothered him. It almost felt like he had acquired a broken and obedient slave. However, Fenris also knew that there wasn’t much anything could be done about the situation and he was determined that Anders…Andreas…would be a part of their child’s life. The man’s mind may have been broken, but the child was still both of theirs.
Based on what Merrill and Keeper Marethari had told him, it would be another three months before the child was born. In the meantime, there was much to do to help rebuild Kirkwall.
As the weeks passed Fenris found his mobility slowed considerably as the child continued to grow inside of him. Despite his now Tranquil nature, Andreas was invaluable in helping the elf with everyday tasks. Since Fenris had also lost his healer, Keeper Marethari came into Kirkwall to visit Fenris and used her magic to check on both him and the child.
“I think you have perhaps a week or less until the little one decides to join us,” Marethari declared after her most recent examination. “I think it would be wise for me to remain close so I can assist in the delivery of this child.”
Fenris agreed. “Andreas, could you make up the guest room for the Keeper?”
Andreas bowed his head in acknowledgement and went off to complete his assigned task, and Fenris watched him leave.
“It is difficult, isn’t it?” Marethari said rhetorically. “He was so expressive and full of life, and now…this Rite of Tranquility is a cruel fate for anyone born with the gift of magic.”
“I am ashamed to admit I once thought all mages should be made Tranquil,” Fenris sighed. “However, the treatment I was given by one cruel magister does not justify my wish to see harm done to all mages…and I certainly never wanted this.”
“I do wish there was a way,” Marethari said. “Unfortunately, not even the ancient elven legends speak of such cruelty, much less how to reverse it. There is so much about Tranquility we don’t know so I will advise you on one thing, continue to show him your love and affection. Perhaps some small part of who he was before the Rite still exists with him, even if it is unable to express itself. Never let him forget.”
A few days later Fenris was seated in a large, padded chair that had been placed for him by the fireplace. The benches he had used before had become far too uncomfortable. A second chair had been placed for Andreas to sit in. Currently the Tranquil was sitting in his chair darning socks, while Fenris was practicing his reading.
When Fenris grunted in pain, Andreas looked up from his task. “Do you require assistance?”
Fenris put his book down and nodded his head. “I think the child is coming. Please, help me to the bed and then fetch Keeper Marethari.”
Andreas did as he was asked and helped Fenris over to the bed before scurrying off to alert the Keeper.
Fenris was groaning in pain when the Keeper and Andreas came back. “Andreas, please remove his breeches and help me situate him more comfortably. Then I need you to boil some water and bring me the pile of swaddling clothes we prepared the other day.”
“Yes, Keeper,” Andreas said obediently, following through on every instruction.
By the time Andreas returned with the hot water and swaddling, Fenris was groaning louder. “What else can I do?” Andreas asked
“Now, I need you to sit next to your mate,” Marethari instructed. “Hold his hand and comfort him as best as you can until the child has arrived. I will take care of the rest.”
Andreas climbed into bed beside Fenris and took the elf’s hand. He continued to look as placid and beatific as ever, but his presence was still somewhat comforting.
“I should be the one delivering our child!” Anders lamented as he watched through the Tranquil’s eyes. “I know the Keeper is capable, but that SHOULD BE ME!”
“CALM YOURSELF, ANDERS,” Justice beseeched. “THERE IS NO POINT IN UPSETTING YOURSELF OVER A SITUATION YOU CANNOT CHANGE.”
Anders sighed as he mentally paced back and forth inside his own mind and watched like a spectator at the birth of his own daughter.
Then, for a brief moment Anders felt a tug and almost without warning he wasn’t just watching, he was there, holding Fenris’ hand as the elf screamed as his contractors became more painful. As Fenris screamed, his markings had flared to life and Anders was there.
Almost as soon as it happened it was over as Fenris regained control of his markings and shut them down, and Anders was thrown back into his own mind once again.
“The babe should be here soon,” Marethari reassured Fenris. “That was the most powerful contraction you have had so far. Your birth canal has opened significantly since this started and soon it should be wide enough. When it is, I will tell you to push and I will expect you to push as hard as you can.”
Fenris nodded as he recovered from that last wave of contractions. Then he looked up at Andreas and was surprised to see tears flowing down the Tranquil’s face, despite his expression being as neutral as ever. “Why are you crying?” Fenris asked.
Andreas looked down at him and then reached up to wipe away the tears. “I do not know. For a moment, I felt as if I weren’t here anymore. It was quite strange.”
Fenris wasn’t sure what to do with that information but he didn’t have long to process it before another contraction hit and he screamed anew, once again his markings flaring to life. When they did, this time he did notice that Andreas squeezed his hand a little harder and the elf forced himself to look up and he saw the most wonderful thing in the world.
He saw Anders looking at him, tears flowing down his face as he squeezed his hand. The warmth, love and devotion that Fenris used to see in that face were all back again and if he wasn’t in the middle of trying to give birth he would have flung himself into that man’s arms.
Once the contractions had passed and Fenris was able to turn off his markings again he looked up and…he was gone. In his place was Andreas the Tranquil. The only sign that Anders had been restored were the fresh tracks of tears on his face.
Fenris became frustrated but now wasn’t the time to speculate what was happening as the contractions came faster and faster. When the Keeper finally gave him the word to begin pushing the elf’s entire world nearly whited out in pain as he pushed and slowly felt the child descend and eventually breach the birth canal that had opened. In the very midst of it he had shifted entirely into his Lyrium Ghost state. As he lay there once the child was out, his markings continued to flare as his body adjusted to having just given birth.
Soon, Fenris heard the first cries from the child and felt relieved that she seemed alive and well. Marethari cleaned the child quickly and swaddled her before handing her over to Fenris, who was still struggling with his markings but he didn’t care as he looked into his daughter’s tiny face for the first time.
Without even thinking he looked up and said “Anders, come look at our beautiful daughter.”
Much to both his and Marethari’s surprise, Anders was grinning happily as he reached out to hold his daughter. “Oh, she is so beautiful.”
“Anders!?” Fenris asked, trying to sit up, but unable to. “How?”
Anders shook his head. “I don’t know. I don’t know how long it will last, but I’m here. I’ve always been here. Most of the time I’m trapped inside my own head and I can’t react. You have no idea how many times I’ve tried to scream to get your attention but this…Andreas…I just can’t get through.”
“Come here,” Fenris held out his arms. “Let me hold you both for as long as I can.”
Anders settled in next to Fenris, letting the elf embrace him as they both held their daughter. “I miss you so much,” Fenris whispered as he leaned up and gave Anders a quick kiss.
“I do too,” Anders agreed. “Just know, I’m here. I hear and see everything, even if I’m not reacting. Talk to me, hold me. It helps.”
Slowly Fenris began to relax and he let his markings fade when he heard Anders gasp. “I’m fading away again, Love. I’m sorry. I don’t know how to stop it. Just know that I love you, and our child.”
Fenris reached out, trying to hold on to Anders for a brief moment longer and then he was gone, Andreas’ stoic expression back.
Fenris then had an idea and flared his markings back to life and the expression on the former mage’s changed as Anders re-emerged. “That’s it! Your markings! Just like when I was able to reconnect with Karl when I let Justice loose in the Chantry. It must be their connection to the Fade that’s drawing me back!”
“I cannot keep my markings lit indefinitely,” Fenris said. “But it’s better than not having you here at all. I will try and keep them lit as long as I can.”
“This is most unexpected,” Marethari said as she finished cleaning up as much of Fenris and the bedding as possible and pulling a blanket over the elf. “I will give you both some privacy while I go and prepare some milk for the child.”
“Thank you for everything Keeper,” Anders said gratefully.
Fenris looked down at the small babe in his arms. “While I have you here, what should we name her?”
Anders was silent for a moment. “Alina. That was my mother’s name. She objected to having me dragged to the Circle but my father wanted nothing to do with me once my magic manifested. I believe the name in Anders means bright and beautiful.”
Fenris at child and smiled. “I like it. Hello Alina. Welcome to the world.”
So, I hope this chapter makes up for the last one (sorry!). Anders is still very much Tranquil, but now they have a workable solution, at least until they find a way to reverse the process entirely. In the meantime, they have a daughter to raise! :)
Chapter 5: Hope Emerges
Life goes on, until Fenris receives a letter from an absent Varric with news that could affect his and Anders life.
A week after Alina was born, Hawke brought everyone to visit. Isabela and Merrill both cooed over the infant, and everyone brought gifts.
“How are you feeling?” Hawke asked Fenris.
“I have sufficiently recovered,” Fenris replied. “The pain of giving birth was worth having this precious one in our life.”
“How are things going with…Andreas?” Hawke said pointedly, looking at the Tranquil as he held the infant while Isabela and Merrill crowded around asking a million questions.
“It’s funny you should ask that,” Fenris smirked. “Andreas, let Isabela hold Alina for a moment and come here please.”
Andreas dutifully obeyed, as always.
“Everyone, thank you for coming,” Fenris then said as he took Andreas’ hand. “During the birth of our daughter, I made a discovery that I wanted to share, so I am glad you are all here.”
Fenris then lit his markings, filling the room with the faint whiteish-blue glow of lyrium. At first everyone was focused on the glowing elf when they let out a startled gasp at what happened next.
“Hi everyone!!” Anders said with a happy grin on his face. “I’ve missed you all.”
“Anders?!” almost everyone said simultaneously. “Is that you?” Hawke asked.
Anders laughed and nodded. “We discovered that when Fenris lights his markings, it pulls me back. Normally I’m sort of…trapped inside my own head. I feared I was going to be trapped like that forever, but Fenris is able to let me out occasionally. Isn’t that wonderful?”
Everyone rushed over to give Anders a hug and welcome him “back,” even if it was temporary.
“I’m sorry that this Andreas guy is such a downer,” Anders joked. “Just know that I’m here, watching and aware of everything, even if I’m not always able to respond. Oh, and thank goodness, I’m not alone. I think I would have gone insane if I was trapped in my mind like that alone. Justice is with me in there. He was always a good friend back when we were in the Grey Wardens together and it’s been interesting to actually talk with him as a separate entity again after so long.”
“So, you and Justice are still inside your mind, but as separate…entities?” Hawke asked for clarification.
“Well that’s what it feels like now, yeah,” Anders nodded. “I don’t feel him inside my head anymore, although I guess that’s exactly where we both are. Instead I see him in his full spirit form.”
“Oh, what does he look like? I’ve always wondered,” Isabela perked up, as she handed little Alina over to Anders to hold. “I bet he’s handsome.”
Anders laughed. “Honestly I have no idea. He appears as a tall man, but he’s wearing full plate armor, including a helmet. I’ve never seen him take the helmet off either. I think it’s almost like it’s…a part of him. That’s how he appeared when I first met him in the Fade all those years ago.”
“Well it’s good that we can have you back occasionally,” Hawke said smiling. “I am sorry that we were too late to prevent the Templars from doing that to you.”
“It’s not your fault, someone from within the Circle betrayed me,” Anders said frowning. “I don’t know if it was the mage I handed all my plans over to, or if someone found her out and betrayed her. Either way it doesn’t matter now.”
“Well what happened here in Kirkwall has ignited all the other circles,” Aveline spoke up. “In fact, I’ve been waiting until we were all together so I could share the news. Most of the other circles have begun to rebel. The tension from years of oppression had been building, and with the destruction of the Kirkwall Chantry and the fall of the Circle here…well you can imagine. It may turn into an all-out war between Templars and mages.”
“Do you think the violence could spread back here?” Fenris asked with concern, looking at Anders and their child.
“I don’t think so,” Aveline shook her head. “With our Chantry in ruins and our Circle practically non-existent, they have no reason to bring the fight here.”
“What been happening in the Gallows?” Anders asked as he gently rocked his daughter.
“A few of the mages chose to remain, and they’ve helped clear the rubble away from the battle against Meredith,” Aveline explained. “Many of the Templars have quit to join the fight elsewhere, but Cullen and a small contingent of Templars is keeping watch over the Tranquil and the remaining mages.”
“Bethany chose to stay,” Hawke explained. “Cullen has been allowing the mages a lot more freedom as well. She comes over for dinner every week now.”
“That’s good to hear,” Anders said. “Before the Fifth Blight, Cullen was one of the good ones. I liked him. He was always kind and considerate of his charges. I don’t know exactly what happened to him during the Fifth Blight, but I heard he was imprisoned and tortured by Ulrich and his abominations for days. They nearly broke him.”
“Don’t you worry,” Aveline said. “I’m making sure the City Guard are keeping a close on you both and your little one.”
“Yeah, I got some folks keeping an eye out as well,” Varric said. “Alina will grow up safe and loved, if I have anything to say about it.”
“Thank you all, so much,” Anders said smiling as he handed Alina over to Fenris. “Now, love I think you’ve been keeping your markings active long enough. Take a break and visit with our friends. You know I’m still here.”
Fenris nodded. “Alright, until later then.”
As the glow of his markings faded, Anders expression returned to that of the stoic Tranquil.
“That is going to take some getting used to,” Varric muttered.
Life began to settle into a routine as little Alina began to grow. Fenris made sure Anders could spend some time with their daughter every day, and he also spent some time with Anders every night and morning as well. It never seemed enough, but it was more than he thought he could have, and so Fenris was grateful.
As Alina grew, it was clear she was going to have her Father’s features and strawberry blonde hair, but she had her Papa’s green eyes. She lived up to her name, being both a bright and beautiful child.
One afternoon not long after her second birthday, Fenris was watching her play with some of the toys her many aunties and uncles spoiled her with, when Fenris saw something quite shocking. Alina seemed to want a toy that was out of reach, but instead of crawling over to get it, she just reached out and brought the toy to her. Force magic. Their little girl was a mage!
Fenris ran to grab Andreas from the kitchen, forcing him to stop cooking and come see. Once he had Andreas’ hand in his, Fenris lit his Markings. “Anders, you have to see this!”
They both stood, hand-in-hand, and watched Alina play. After several moments, she used her magic again to fetch another toy that was out of reach. Anders’ free hand flew over his mouth. “Oh Maker! She has magic!”
“You will need to train her,” Fenris announced. “You may no longer have access to your magic, but I think you should still be able to instruct her in its use.”
“Yes, of course,” Anders agreed. “Maker, she’s so young. Magic doesn’t usually manifest until a child is six or seven, or even as late as twelve, as in my case.”
“Keeper Marethari did say that a child of a male carrier and a spirit healer would be exceptional,” Fenris recalled. “Perhaps we could get her help as well. I am hesitant to ask Merrill. I do not wish our child learning things from an unabashed blood mage such as her.”
“While you and I agree about blood magic,” Anders replied. “I think Merrill has proven she’s harmless. If we supervise her and tell her under no circumstances is she to ever use blood magic around Alina, I think having her help would be alright.”
Fenris grumbled for a moment but eventually capitulated. “Only under my supervision.”
Anders knelt down then and called out to his daughter. “Alina! Come say hi to Daddy.”
Alina looked up and laughed. “Daddy!” she called out as she ran over to Anders.
“Where did you learn that trick?” Anders asked.
Alina looked up with her big green eyes and shrugged. “If I want da toy, it comes to me if I think ‘n think really hard. Is it bad?”
Anders laughed. “No, it’s not bad, but you need to be careful. Don’t worry, Daddy and your Auntie Merrill will help teach you.”
Alina clapped her hands. “I like Auntie Merrill. She’s funny!”
One evening a couple of years later, Fenris, Andreas and Alina made their way to the Viscount’s keep and Aveline’s office. They had been summoned, and apparently so had most of their friends. Merrill, Isabela, Hawke, and even Bohdan and Sandal were there.
“Thank you all for coming,” Aveline said gravely. “I thought it would be easier to inform you of this all at once.”
“Is it news about Varric?” Hawke asked.
“It’s actually news from Varric,” Aveline explained. “We’ve all been worried about him since he disappeared several months ago. He’s fine and currently in the town of Haven up in the Frostback Mountains.”
“What in Maker’s name is he doing there?” Anders asked.
“He was taken there by a Seeker of Truth,” Aveline explained. “She was looking for Hawke.”
“Wait, I’m right here, why would she take Varric?” Hawke looked baffled.
“Apparently, she approached Varric first, and he threw her off your scent, so to speak,” Aveline continued. “He claimed you were traveling and he didn’t know when you would return.”
“What does she want me for anyway?” Hawke asked.
“Varric didn’t say,” Aveline continued. “However, he did say that Cullen is there too, so that explains where he went. He’s now the Commander of the new Inquisition.”
Aveline proceeded to give a quick explanation regarding both the previous Inquisition, and what this generally meant for one to have formed again.
“This time they formed without Chantry approval,” Aveline explained. “Which is unprecedented. Now, here is the most important part of what Varric told me. They were holding a conclave at the Temple of Sacred Ashes. The leaders of the Templars and mages were to meet with the Divine Justinia and try to come to a peaceful agreement.”
“I thought I heard something about that rumored recently,” Hawke said. “So, did they come to an agreement.”
Aveline looked very grave and shook her head no. “They never had the chance. The entire Temple was destroyed in a large blast of magical energy that opened a breach in the Veil. Rifts in the Veil have begun to form everywhere and demons are pouring out. If they don’t find a way to close this…breach…soon all of Thedas could be lost.”
Anders bent down to pick up Alina and clutched her to his chest as he tried to comprehend this news.
“Do they know who destroyed the temple?” Hawke asked.
Aveline grabbed what must have been Varric’s letter and scanned it. “Varric says that there was one survivor found, right in the heart of the temple below the breach. They saw him tumble out of a rift in the Veil, coming from the Fade itself. Originally, he was blamed for it, but he seems to have the ability to close the rifts and stabilize this breach, so he’s now being called the Herald of Andraste.”
“He’s making that up!” Anders accused lightheartly. “The Herald of Andraste?”
Aveline shrugged. “That’s what Varric wrote. I’m sure we’ll get more news in the coming days, if this is as bad as he’s making it sound.”
“Does Varric give a name for this so-called Herald?” Hawked asked.
“Nathanial Howe,” Aveline shrugged. “Sounds Ferelden.”
“Nate?!” Anders cried out. “What in the Maker’s name was Nate doing at that Conclave?”
“You know this Herald?” Fenris asked.
“Yes, he’s a Grey Warden,” Anders replied. “He was recruited shortly after I was at Vigil’s Keep. The keep used to be his family home. He sort of broke in and…well our Warden Commander was very persuasive.”
“What sort of person is he?” Aveline asked.
“Well, he’s a bit difficult to warm up to, but he’s a decent man,” Anders recalled. “Hawke, you remember him, right? We ran into him in the Deep Roads some years back.”
“You’re right, I had forgotten his name,” Hawke said. “I also recall he was surprised to see you.”
“Yes, well, the Grey Wardens and I didn’t part on the best of terms,” Ander said. “But Nate and I were friends.”
“As I recall, you and this Grey Warden were once more than just friends,” Fenris remembered.
Anders blushed. “Yes, well that was a…long time ago.”
“Why is daddy turning pink?” Alina chimed in, patting Anders’ face with her hands.
Everyone laughed. “That’s because your papa reminded your daddy about something embarrassing. I’ll explain later, ok sweetheart?”
“Does Varric say if he’ll be coming back?” Anders thought to ask.
“No, but I get the feeling he’s going to stay with this Inquisition for a while,” Aveline replied. “I’m sure he’s already planning a book or two.”
They kept getting regular updates from Varric. Hawke was incensed when he learned that Corypheus had been the one behind the destruction of the Conclave and all the subsequent problems, and readily agreed to trek to the Frostback mountains to the Inquisition’s new base known as Skyhold at Varric’s request.
Fenris was surprised when one afternoon a messenger arrived with a letter from Varric. Fenris quickly scanned the letter and his eyes shot open in surprise at the contents. He ran to find Andreas, who was quietly playing with Alina.
“Papa!” Alina cried when she saw Fenris. “Father isn’t being any fun. Can Daddy come out to play for a bit? Please?”
Fenris chuckled. “I was just coming to fetch Daddy because we have some news. Afterwards he can play with you for a bit.”
“Okay!” Alina replied as Fenris brought Andreas over to a nearby couch before lighting his brands.
“What’s going on? What’s the news?” Anders asked
Fenris handed Anders the letter and after reading it through he nearly dropped it in shock. “The Chantry has known how to reverse Tranquility all this time?”
“I believe Varric said it was only known to the Lord Seeker,” Fenris said. “Although I imagine the Divine must have known as well.”
Anders had tears running down his face. “Talk to me, Anders. What’s going through that fool head of yours?”
“Karl,” Anders sobbed. “Karl could have been…if only I hadn’t…”
“Do you honestly think Karl would have remained sane, imprisoned within his mind as he was, for all this time?” Fenris asked. “He begged you to end it for him. It was a mercy. You of all people, know that better than anyone.”
Anders nodded just as Alina came over. “Daddy, why are you crying?”
“The letter we got from your Uncle Varric, it was a mix of good and bad news,” Anders explained as he composed himself. “How would you feel about taking a trip with your papa and I?”
Alina lit up. “Oh, yes please!”
“Little one, I have a serious question to ask you,” Fenris said next.
“Ok Papa, I’m listening,” Alina said with her best serious face.
“Would you be sad if your Father were gone forever, and you had your daddy around all the time, not just when I’m glowing?” Fenris asked.
Alina looked like she was giving the question some serious thought. “Well, I don’t know if Father even likes me very much. I don’t think I would miss him too much if he went away.”
“Good, because on this trip we’re going to find a way to get Daddy to stay with us forever,” Fenris said with a smile. “Now why don’t we all play for a bit?”
Anders let Fenris and Alina lead him to the middle of the room filled with her toys. As angry as he was over the news that the Chantry had lied all these years, he was happy at the thought of being able to be like this with his family all the time. As he sat cross legged next to his love and his child, he couldn’t help the wistful smile on his face.
This chapter was a bit more of filler/plot advancement but I hope everyone found it enjoyable.
Chapter 6: Restoration
Anders and Fenris arrive at Skyhold. Inquisitor Howe has a shocking surprise in store for them.
The journey to Skyhold took nearly a month from Kirkwall. They boarded a ship to cross the waking sea to Jader and fortune favored them as they encountered no storms along the voyage. From Jader it was another two weeks through the Frostbacks up to the Skyhold fortress.
On the morning they arrived, they were immediately surrounded by guards when they announced who they were. A woman with short, dark hair and a heavy Navarran accent strode towards them. “Clap them in Irons and take them before the Inquisitor for judgement!” she declared. “I’ll take the child to the mage tower.”
“What?!” Fenris growled even as Andreas quietly allowed himself to be manacled. “What is the meaning of this? We’re friends of Varric! You cannot take away our daughter!”
“I’m sorry but these are the Inquisitor’s orders,” the woman said, taking Alina’s hand and pulling her away.
“No! Papa!! I want my Papa!” Alina cried out.
Fenris and Andreas were led up the staircase into the great hall, towards what looked like a massive throne. Hushed whispers fell around. When they were at the foot of the dias, they were both pushed down to their knees before the man who must be the Inquisitor. Nathaniel Howe.
“What is the meaning of this!?” Fenris growled. “We were invited by Varric, who promised us a way to reverse Tranquility. Now we find ourselves kneeling before you in judgement? For what?”
“Well let’s see,” Nathanial said as he looked down at them both with a bored expression on his face. “You are Fenris, are you not? You are accused of harboring a wanted apostate, a Grey Warden deserter and murderer.”
“Murderer?!” Fenris shouted in confusion. “Anders is a healer, not a killer!”
“You see,” Nathanial continued. “When Anders deserted his Grey Warden post, he left behind quite a few dead Grey Wardens and Templars, including our good friend Justice.”
Andreas spoke up then. “No, that is not entirely correct. The body Justice was occupying was rotting away, he would have died in our world. Anders chose to allow him join with him. What you found was just the empty corpse that Justice had occupied. The spirit still lives.”
“So, the Tranquil speaks,” Nathanial sneered. “What do you have to say for yourself?”
“I am also no longer an Apostate,” Andreas stated. “I was made Tranquil over four years ago. I am no longer a mage, therefore I am no longer an apostate.”
“But you did desert your Grey Warden post, and you did kill all those other Wardens and Templars, did you not?” Nathanial asked.
“No,” Andreas replied. “After joining with Justice, I blacked out. When I came to, they were all dead. I can only assume that it was Justice who killed them. Justice would not kill anyone without just cause, therefore it was not murder.”
Nathanial huffed in annoyance. “You Tranquil and your sound logic.”
Fenris then reached out to Andreas and lit his brands, letting Anders to come out and plead with his former friend.
“Nate!” Anders cried out. “Nate, why are you doing this? Isn’t being made Tranquil punishment enough? And why Fenris? He had nothing to do with any of that!”
Nathanial dropped his farce and smiled. “Just a little payback for all those pranks you used to pull on me at Vigil’s Keep. You used to be quite the naughty mage.”
Once the manacles were removed, Anders stood up before Nathanial and slapped him. “That wasn’t remotely funny. Now where is our daughter?”
“She’s right here,” the woman who had taken her said as she led Alina out from behind a doorway.
“Papa! Daddy!” Alina cried out, running into their arms. “I don’t like that scary lady very much. I want to go home.”
“I am sorry Anders,” Nathaniel apologized, still rubbing his stinging cheek. “You did pull a lot of pranks on me back then.”
“Taking our daughter away was beyond the pale,” Anders grumbled. “Don’t ever do that again.”
“You’re right,” Nathanial said. “What can I do to make it up for you?”
“Get that Seeker of yours to reverse my Tranquility would be a good start,” Anders grumped.
“Let me introduce myself properly,” the lady who had taken Alina said. “My name is Seeker Cassandra Pentagast. I do apologize for going along with our Inquisitor’s ruse. He normally isn’t like this.”
“Yes, yes, I must always be diplomatic and proper,” Nathanial sighed. “I suppose this did go tad too far.”
“Indeed,” Fenris growled. “Now tell us, can you reverse Anders’ condition, or is he doomed to be trapped in his mind forever, unless I am able to bring him out when I light my brands?”
“Yes, it can be done,” Cassandra confirmed. “It was a closely guarded secret known only to the Lord Seeker, and possibly the Divine herself. No others knew that this was even a possibility. I always assumed, as everyone else, that the Rite of Tranquility was permanent.”
“I will admit it made me angry to find out the Chantry kept that a secret,” Anders confessed. “However, I am grateful that it is possible.”
“Let’s get you all settled in to your quarters,” Nathanial suggested. “We can discuss what comes next over dinner this evening, alright?”
“Give your daddy a hug, little one,” Fenris said. “Papa needs to turn his markings off. They are beginning to ache.”
Alina ran over and hugged Anders. “Bye Daddy. I hope to see you again soon.”
“I do as well,” Anders replied, giving his daughter a kiss on her forehead. “I love you very much, sweetheart.”
“I know,” Alina said shyly. “You tell me all the time!”
Everyone laughed at that as Anders rose and pulled Fenris into a quick embrace as well. “I love you too. Until later, my love.”
Fenris blushed as he nodded in acknowledgement. “Until later.”
Fenris turned off the markings and Andreas’ placid expression returned.
“It’s remarkable the difference in demeanor,” Cassandra noted. “To think that he is still completely aware in there. It must be maddening.”
“That is part of what we will need to discuss,” Fenris said gravely. “Have you tried reversing the Rite on any of the Tranquil in your care?”
Cassandra shook her head no. “Varric recommended we talk to you both first. Now, I can see why.”
“Anders fears that many may have gone insane,” Fenris said. “It’s worse than solitary confinement, being trapped within their own minds, unable to control their own actions or react to what’s going on around them.”
“This practice must be abolished,” Cassandra declared. “That is absolutely inhumane. I think most of us just assumed that a Tranquil’s former personality and consciousness was erased with the Rite, but clearly it isn’t. I hope whoever becomes the next Divine sees reason.”
“As do I,” Fenris agreed.
As they were shown to their quarters, they ran into Varric. “Hey Broody, I couldn’t be there to watch Nate’s stupid prank.”
“I had wondered where you were,” Fenris admitted. “Neither Anders nor I were amused, but no harm was done.”
“I’m glad to see you both,” Varric smiles. “And how are you little princess?”
Alina hid shyly behind her papa. “I’m okay.”
“Don’t you remember your Uncle Varric?” Fenris reminded his daughter. “You used to love playing hide-and-seek with him.”
“Oh yeah!” Alina remembered. “Hiya Unca Varr’k”
Varric chuckled. “She’s grown so much. How’s her magic progressing?”
“Far too fast if you ask me,” Fenris groused. “However, Anders has been training her well and she has full control of it. I’ve been told that is very impressive for a child her age.”
“That is impressive,” Varric agreed.
Later that evening, after having had a chance to freshen up and relax, Fenris, Andreas and Alina joined Nathanial and his inner-circle at the Herald’s Rest for a meal and to catch up.
Fenris was conversing with Cassandra in regards to the reversal of the Rite of Tranquility when another man arrived and sat himself next to Nathanial, which happened to be across the table from Fenris. Fenris immediately recognized the look of a Tevinter Magister when he saw one and bristled. “What in Maker’s name is a Magister doing here?” he sneered.
“You must be the broody elf Varric keeps talking about,” the man said with a laugh. “I was merely an Altus before I exiled myself and became a pariah. Allow me to introduce myself. Dorian of the House Pavus, most recently of Minrathous.”
Fenris grunted an acknowledgement and was prepared to ignore this Dorian for the rest of the evening when Alina spoke up. “Papa, why does that man have funny hair on his face?”
Dorian reached up and stroked his mustache. “My dear little lady, this is called a mustache, and it is considered quite stylish.”
Alina giggled. “I like your ‘stache. Maybe daddy could get one after he is fixed?”
“Well aren’t you the most delightful child,” Dorian praised. “Who is your daddy?”
Alina looked up at Andreas. “Well this is my father. Daddy lives inside his head and when Papa glows, Daddy can come out and play with me.”
Dorian then seemed to recall something. “You must be little Alina. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
Dorian then turned his attention back to Fenris. “I do understand your hostility towards me and I would like to extend an apology to you on behalf of all my countrymen. What Danarius did to you…it was unconscionable.”
“That didn’t seem to stop other Magisters from enjoying my torture,” Fenris growled.
“Yes, well, that faction of the Magisterium is one I would dearly love to bring to their knees myself,” Dorian acknowledged. “I am doing what I can as a member of the Inquisition. My goal is to wipe out the Venatori. The fact that they have aligned themselves with Corypheus should be the last straw for the Archon to denounce them publicly, but I fear he may be under their thrall already as well.”
Fenris found himself drawn into a genial conversation with Dorian and by the end of the evening he had to concede that perhaps not everyone of the Altus class was automatically bad, although it didn’t surprise Fenris to hear that Dorian’s father would turn to blood magic in order to ensure his son fall in line with his expectations. However, it did surprise him how much Dorian now reviled his father for it.
After retiring to their guest quarters, and tucking Alina into bed, Fenris slipped into bed next to Andreas and lit his brands, wanting to spend a little time with Anders before going to sleep.
Anders smirked at Fenris. “So, I guess you were finally proven wrong.”
“About what?!” Fenris asked curious as to what Anders was referring to.
“Remember, I’m always watching through Andreas’ eyes. I saw how you took to Dorian,” Anders teased. “Also, it proves I was right.”
“What are you babbling about?” Fenris tensed, becoming frustrated.
“Don’t you recall those arguments we used to have about mages and blood magic?” Anders reminded Fenris. “You insisted that all Magisters would freely use blood magic in order to get ahead. Dorian, I believe proves that argument false.”
Fenris sighed. “Alright, if I admit I was wrong will you finally come over here and kiss me?”
Anders laughed as he scooted closer and pulled the grumpy elf into his arms. “Yes, love.”
It took a couple of days to prepare the Rite of Tranquility reversal on Anders. The former mage insisted on studying the Seeker’s texts on how the reversal is done, which thankfully he could still do as Andreas. All it took was an order from Fenris and the Tranquil was busy reading the Seeker’s tomb of secrets from cover to cover and from within, so was Anders.
Once complete, Fenris would light his brands so that the former mage was able to discuss the reversal with Cassandra, Dorian and Solas, trying to comprehend exactly how the Rite of Tranquility worked and how it was reversible. They all agreed that the Spirit of Justice still residing within Anders may be a complicating factor.
It was decided that Fenris would keep his markings unlit for a full day, just to make sure that his bringing forth Anders didn’t interfere with the reversal process. When the time finally came to make the attempt, they chose to gather in one of the unused areas of Skyhold.
Cassandra was to be the one to conduct the reversal, as according to the instructions within the Book of Secrets it must be done by a Seeker. Vivienne, Dorian and Solas were also present, along with Dagna. Nathanial also insisted on overseeing the entire reversal as well.
They decided to keep Alina away for fear of something going wrong, so she was given into the care of Leliana and Cullen for the duration. Cullen didn’t seem pleased with having to babysit, but Leliana found little Alina enchanting and readily agreed. Cullen was chosen primarily in case Alina somehow lost control of her powers. He still had command of his Templar abilities and could help Alina with her control if required.
After dropping off Alina, Fenris led Andreas to the agreed upon location, a dark, quiet hall adjacent to the Great Hall. Nathanial came across it when he was exploring Skyhold one day and it still remained unused.
Once they arrived, Fenris left Andreas in the circle of those gathered. “Do you know what is going to happen today?” Fenris asked the Tranquil.
“You are going to attempt to reverse the Rite of Tranquility and restore me to the person I was before,” Andreas stated.
“Do you have any objections to this?” Cassandra asked.
Andreas looked at her placidly. “I am content as I am, but I know that Fenris and Alina would prefer me to be restored to my former self. They tell me that he is still inside my mind, trapped. He is not content. I think it would be best if he is restored.”
Cassandra approached Andreas then and held her hand over the brand on his forehead. She began to chant the incantation from the Book of Secrets, using her Seeker abilities to draw out the lyrium from the brand.
Anders and Justice both watched as Fenris led Andreas into the place where the Rite of Tranquility would be reversed, and hoped Anders would be permanently restored. Anders looked over at Justice. “I don’t know what’s going to happen to you during this process, but I wanted to say thank you for helping me retain my sanity, especially through those weeks before we knew what Fenris’ markings could do.”
“You are my friend,” Justice replied. “It would be unjust to not help you in your hour of greatest need. Do not worry for me. Whether or not I remain after you have been restored, I appreciate all you have done for me and with me over these many years. It has been a privilege to know you.”
Anders felt as if Justice was saying goodbye and was about to comment on it when he felt Cassandra’s hand on his forehead and listened as she began reciting the incantation.
As the lyrium from the brand slowly rose to the surface, Anders could feel himself being pulled along with it, much like how Fenris’ lyrium markings pulled him forward and temporarily restored him.
Anders wasn’t sure what the process was supposed to feel like. It began as a faint tingling sensation, but quickly it grew painful. Something felt wrong but he had no way to communicate that to the Seeker. Anders’ body felt like it was on fire and within his mind he began screaming.
That is when Anders realized it must be related to Justice and the spirit must have suspected that he might cause a problem. He tried to turn to Justice when he saw the spirit draw his own sword and plunge it into his heart.
“No!! Justice!!” Anders cried out, as he watched the spirit fall and shimmer out of existence. Suddenly the pain faded and Anders was pulled swiftly back into himself.
As Cassandra completed the incantation the beatific expression on Andreas’ face changed to one of grief and horror. “No!!!” Anders cried out as he slumped to his knees.
Fenris ran immediately to his side and gathered Anders into his arms. “What’s wrong?”
Anders looked up at Fenris then. “He…sacrificed himself…for me.”
“Justice?” Fenris asked and Anders nodded, weeping into the elf’s shoulder. “He was my friend and he gave his life so mine could be restored.”
Everyone around them was murmuring. Once Anders cried himself out he looked up with reddened eyes. “Thank you, Seeker. I believe you successfully reversed the Rite. I am grateful.”
“I am sorry about your friend,” Cassandra replied. “Welcome back. How do you feel?”
Anders rose to his feet and stretched his arms above his head. “I feel whole again. Is…the mark still there?”
Cassandra shook her head. “No, the mark faded as I drew the lyrium from the brand out of you. It is entirely gone now.”
Fenris then took Anders hand. “Come, let’s go see our daughter.”
Sorry, this chapter took a bit longer for me to post. I struggled with how I wanted to portray the reversal and I'm not sure I'm 100% happy with it, but I hope it was still enjoyable to read. I also always head canon that pre-Justice Anders was a bit of a prankster and since I hinted at some past "nanders" it felt only right that Anders would focus his pranks on his lover at the time.
It may have been too subtle to notice, but yes Nathanial and Dorian are a couple in this AU. Both pariahs with evil doing fathers? How could they not be drawn to each other?! :)
Chapter 7: Presentiment
Anders and Fenris settle into life at Skyhold with their daughter, while Alina furthers her magical education.
Anders had been freed from his Tranquil prison for a week now, and he still couldn’t believe it. Being able to be himself and direct his own thoughts and actions without needing Fenris nearby was amazing, after being trapped for over four years. Not that he minded having Fenris close, but sometimes it was nice to take a walk and think by himself.
They had chosen to remain at Skyhold and now Anders often found himself wandering the battlements, staring out at the majestic expanse around them. The beauty of the Frostback Mountains at sunset still brought tears to his eyes and he relished having the ability to shed them.
“There you are,” Nathanial said as he made his way over to Anders. “I was told I’d find you up here.”
“Hi Nate,” Anders greeted. “I just find myself enjoying the freedom I feel when I walk the battlements. Despite still being enclosed in walls, it feels different here somehow.”
Nathanial nodded. “Agreed. There was always something oppressive about Vigil’s Keep, even for me. I swear my father must have cursed the place.”
Anders chuckled and then turned to look at his old friend. “So, you and Dorian? How did that happen?”
“I think we were drawn together because of our mutual hatred of our fathers,” Nathanial shrugged. “We commiserated about that topic early on. It was one of the ways we kept ourselves occupied as we searched for a way home when we were trapped in that nightmarish future.”
“I heard the story from Dorian,” Anders nodded. “Do you think you’ve managed to prevent it by saving the Empress?”
Nathanial shook his head. “I honestly don’t know. Until we take down Corypheus, everything is uncertain.”
They both turned to stare at the mountains for a few moments of companionable silence.
“So, I never pictured you as a father,” Nathanial said. “You’re a lucky man Anders.”
Anders smiled broadly as he thought of little Alina. “I still can’t believe it myself. Who knew male elves could have children?”
“Especially with a Grey Warden mage!” Nathaniel reminded him. “Which reminds me, I’ve been meaning to ask, have you also been hearing the Calling?”
Anders straightened and looked at Nathanial in shock. “You? You’re hearing the Calling? So soon?”
“It’s not just me,” Nathanial confessed. “It’s all the Grey Wardens. Stroud discovered it’s a false Calling, created by Corypheus. So, you’re not hearing it?”
Anders shook his head. “No, thank the Maker.”
“Then it seems you may not be a Grey Warden anymore,” Nathanial said. “When is the last time you recall being able to sense one of us? Or had a Darkspawn nightmare?”
Anders thought back and shook his head. “Honestly, I can’t quite remember. I know I could still sense you and the Darkspawn in the Deep Roads under Kirkwall but that was years ago. I haven’t been around other Grey Wardens or Darkspawn since, and I know Justice always kept my nightmares at bay.”
“Well, congratulations,” Nathanial smiled. “You may never hear your Calling then. I’m glad. Your Alina deserves to grow up with both of her fathers, and you deserve to grow old with that elf of yours.”
“Thanks, Nate,” Anders smiled. “Speaking of that elf, I should go find him and Alina. They must be worrying for me.”
“Before you go,” Nathanial said, stopping Anders. “I just wanted to say it’s really nice having you around again and I’m glad we were able to help bring you back. If you decide to stay on, I could really use your help in the infirmary.”
“Thanks, Nate,” Anders replied. “So am I. I’ll think about it.”
Anders found Alina and Fenris in their quarters. He went to pick up his young daughter and spun her around. “How was your day, sweetheart?”
“Daddy!” Alina cried out. “I got to learn how to control my fireballs today!”
“You can create fireballs?” Anders asked. “Well it’s a good thing you learned to control them!”
Fenris frowned at him. “You know we shouldn’t be encouraging her.”
“She’s a mage, love,” Anders tried to reassure the grumpy elf. “It’s best she learns how to control her magic, rather than just suppress it.”
Fenris sighed. “I suppose you are correct. Alina run along and play for a bit while your daddy and I speak. Please do not use fireballs indoors.”
“Ok Papa,” Alina agreed. “I won’t, I promise!”
“What do you want to talk about?” Anders asked as he sat himself down on the small couch in front of the fireplace.
Fenris joined him, smiling and brushing some of Anders hair out of his face, fingers grazing over the mage’s forehead. “I still can’t believe I have you back.”
Anders caught the elf’s hand in his and pressed a kiss to his knuckles. “I am very happy to be back.”
“It does beg the question, however,” Fenris continued. “What do we do now?”
“If you ask me, I am inclined to stay here for the time being,” Anders replied. “Nate was just telling me they could use my help in the infirmary, and with Alina’s powers increasing daily, being surrounded by so many other mages to help teach and guide her would be helpful.”
“I thought you opposed locking mages up together?” Fenris said with a quirk of his eyebrow.
Anders huffed. “This isn’t anything like the Circle. You know very well that the mages here are free to come and go as they please. I think they choose to stay because Skyhold is one of the safest places in Thedas for mages right now.”
Fenris nodded. “I agree, that Skyhold feels safe. I am disturbed by all the reports of fighting and new rifts appearing, bringing more demons into Thedas. I am also inclined to remain here for now.”
“Well then it’s settled. We’ll call Skyhold and the Inquisition home,” Anders agreed. “At least until the crisis appears to have passed and it’s safe to travel again.”
Fenris nodded. “If I had known how bad it was when we left Kirkwall, I may have not chosen to come here. I think we were lucky to make it.”
“To be honest, I think part of the reason we remained unassailed is because I was Tranquil. Neither Templars nor mages saw me as a threat,” Anders suggested. “Traveling with an elf and a child, probably made me seem even more innocent. The only real threat against us would have been slavers, but even they are avoiding Ferelden and Orlais because of all the demons everywhere.”
“You don’t see the demons as a threat?” Fenris frowned.
“I suppose they are,” Anders shrugged. “In that case, we were lucky we never came across a rift.”
“Let’s go join the others for dinner and inform them of our decision,” Fenris said as he stood, holding out a hand to Anders. “Alina, come along. Time to go to dinner!”
“Coming Papa!” Alina called out as she came running towards them, hugging them both.
Anders pulled her up into his arms, carrying her as they left their quarters. “I love you Daddy. I’m glad you can stay with us all the time now,” Alina said as she kissed Anders’ cheek.
“I love you too, sweetheart,” Anders smiled. “How would you like to stay here in Skyhold for a while? You can learn from the other mages how to better use and control your magic.”
Alina clapped her hands happily. “Oh, yes Daddy. I like it here and I like almost all the other mages.”
“Almost all? Who don’t you like?” Fenris asked.
“Vivienne is scary. She’s always so serious and I don’t think she likes me to use my powers at all,” Alina pouted. “And Solas. He’s…wrong.”
“Wrong? What’s wrong about him, sweetheart?” Anders asked, concerned. “He hasn’t tried to hurt you has he?”
Alina shrugged. “No, he hasn’t hurt me. I don’t know. He just feels wrong.”
“How about Dorian?” Fenris pressed.
Alina laughed. “I like Uncle Dorian. He’s funny!”
“Uncle Dorian?” Anders asked with a laugh.
“Yeah,” Alina nodded. “Like Uncle Varric. Not my Papa or Daddy, but someone I like very much. I call them Uncle or Auntie, right?”
Anders and Fenris laughed. “Ok yes, you can call him Uncle Dorian.”
In the weeks and months that followed, Alina’s magic grew and blossomed under the tutelage of the mages at Skyhold.
One afternoon while Anders was working in the Skyhold infirmary, Solas paid him a surprise visit. “I was wondering if I could have a word?”
Anders shrugged. “What can I do for you?”
“It is in regards to your daughter,” Solas explained. “I’ve noticed that both myself and Vivienne have been kept at an arm’s length regarding her education. I wish to know why.”
Anders sighed. “I was wondering when one of you would ask about that. It was by Alina’s request actually. Vivienne wanted to teach Alina how to hold back and suppress her magic and she was scaring our daughter with stories about how mages should be kept under lock-and-key in a Circle. As you can imagine that did not sit well with me.”
Solas inclined his head in agreement.
“As for you?” Anders shrugged. “All I know is that Alina keeps saying that you feel wrong, but she cannot explain why.”
For the barest moment, Solas’ eyes widened in surprise before the elf schooled his features back to their normal placidity. “I see. Thank you for the explanation.”
Solas then turned and left without another word and Anders just shook his head. Their daughter was right about there being something wrong about Solas, but he also couldn’t put his finger one exactly what.
When Solas disappeared a couple of weeks later, it came as no surprise to anyone.
After Nathaniel defeated Corypheus, hopefully once and for all, life at Skyhold became much more mundane. Nathaniel focused his efforts on shutting down any remaining rifts that were still scattered through Ferelden and Orlais, while Dorian was determined to route the last of the Venatori, or at the very least send them scampering back to Tevinter. Everyone else settled into a comfortable routine.
One evening two years later, Fenris arrived back at their quarters, finding Anders and Alina bent over an old tome.
“There is news,” Fenris announced as he closed the door behind him, causing Anders and Alina to look up. “The Chantry has called an Exalted Council at the behest of both the Ferelden and Orlais governments. It seems the fate of the future of the Inquisition is to be decided.”
“I was wondering how long it was going to take for the Chantry to meddle again,” Anders groused. “Even with all the reforms The Divine Victoria has enacted since ascending to the Sunburst Throne.”
“I doubt Leliana will repeal her reforms, Amatus,” Fenris said. “Didn’t you tell me recently that Nathaniel has been struggling with how to proceed now that the Inquisition has no singular purpose uniting us?”
Anders nodded. “You’re right. I just bristle whenever the Chantry tries to involve itself in anything.”
“Papa,” Alina spoke up. “We must all attend this Exalted Council. It’s important.”
“Little one, only the Inquisitor and his inner-circle were invited,” Fenris tried to explain.
“No, Papa. We have to be there,” Alina insisted. “You and daddy and me. All of us. I…can’t explain why but it’s really important. Daddy, please ask Uncle Nathaniel to let us come. Please?”
Anders looked helplessly at Fenris shrugged. He was weak when it came to their child and he probably indulged her far more than he should. “Alright, I will ask, sweetheart.”
Nathaniel had agreed and made sure that Anders, Fenris and Alina were all outfitted with new clothes befitting the new titles he bestowed upon them, Ambassadors of the Inquisition.
Anders and Alina were given matching custom tailored mage robes in the latest style, with one slight change that Nathaniel surprised them with, black feathered pauldrons, much like Anders had always favored. The robes themselves were a rich red with black and gold accents. They were also given new, more powerful staves.
Fenris was also given new armor that Dagna enchanted especially for him, so that he could easily use his Lyrium Ghost abilities. To match his mate and daughter, his leather armor was also a deep red with black and gold accents, emblazoned with the Inquisition logo upon his chest.
When they arrived at the Winter Palace, they looked resplendent and Anders was amazed at how much deference he and Alina were being shown. Unfortunately, Fenris was not quite so fortunate.
Being surrounded by so many self-important nobles reminded the elf of the parties that Danarius would often host. The fact that several Orlesians had already mistaken him for a servant or body guard, rankled him further.
The elf finally relaxed a little when he heard a familiar laugh.
“Hey Broody,” Varric called out. “It’s good to see you and Blondie again!”
Alina’s face lit up when she saw who was calling to them. “Uncle Varric!” she cried out as she ran to give the dwarf a hug.
“Woah there, little lady,” Varric laughed. “When did you get so big?”
Alina shrugged. “I’m almost seven now!”
Varric shook his head. “Time flies. I can’t believe it’s been over 2 years since I went back to Kirkwall.”
“How are things?” Anders asked.
Varric gave them the run-down of all the improvements he’d made since being appointed Viscount. “Her divine holiness herself came by and saw the new Chantry. She was suitably impressed.”
“Did you really need to rebuild it?” Anders grumbled.
“Don’t you worry, Blondie,” Varric soothed. “I made sure the new College of Magi is equally impressive. I tore down the entire quarter the Qunari were holed up in and had that completely rebuilt. I think you’ll like it.”
Anders laughed. “Alright, fair enough. I was hoping you hadn’t planned to put the College over in the Gallows.”
“I’d never do that to you or the other mages,” Varric frowned. “Those were dark times. I’ve repurposed the Gallows into a new warehouse district. I tore the whole damned thing down too, including all the cells and everything. Dropped the red lyrium statue of Meredith into the Waking Sea too. She can rot down there for all I care. The only thing I preserved were the books from the Circle library. Those have been added to the new College library, which has been greatly expanded.”
“That’s wonderful,” Anders began to say when Alina tugged at his sleeve.
“Daddy, Papa,” Alina said in a loud whisper. “Solas!”
“What about Solas?” Fenris asked.
“He’s watching,” Alina announced.
“He’s here?” Anders asked for clarification.
Alina shook her head no. “He’s not here but he’s watching.”
I'm sorry for the long delay on getting this chapter up! I got stuck on this chapter and then I had a business conference that had me traveling for over a week. I'm back now and hopefully unstuck. I hope you enjoyed this chapter!
Chapter 8: Returning Home
Anders, Fenris and Alina return to Kirkwall. Merrill reveals an ancient Dalish prophecy to them.
Alina’s warning had been prescient, as it turned out that Solas literally had spies everywhere. When Nathaniel finally figured out the truth of who Solas was, and caught up with him, he had been shocked to learn of the elf’s plans. Nathaniel vowed to thwart him.
Because of Solas’ actions, Nathaniel realized that the Inquisition had become too large and easy to infiltrate, so he agreed to disband the entire organization when he finally was able to return to the Exalted Council. Instead, he opted to gather only those few he trusted to work with him to stop Solas from tearing down the Veil and destroying everything in Thedas.
As an archer, losing his arm to the mark had been a blow. Thankfully Dorian had been there to comfort Nathanial as the healers removed the damaged part of his arm. While they were busy packing up Skyhold and dismantling the Inquisition, Dagna secretly built Nathanial a new hand, especially enchanted and with the capability of interchanging different implements, including a small cross bow.
Anders and Fenris feared that their daughter may somehow be linked whatever Solas was planning, not just because of her prescient statements about the elf. There were also the circumstances of her birth and the strength of her magic from an early age. Because of this, they agreed it would be best for them to return to Kirkwall and remain away from Nathaniel’s efforts for the time being. Alina had the right to enjoy her childhood for as long as possible.
They left Skyhold several months after the Exalted Council, and arrived back in Kirkwall the day before Alina’s eighth birthday. She had certainly grown into a beautiful little lady, with lustrous dark reddish-blonde hair and ever curious green eyes. Her skin tone was a lovely caramel, a few shades lighter than her Papa’s.
The day after they finally arrived home, Varric invited them to the Hanged Man for a party to celebrate Alina’s birthday, and to welcome them all back home. As they entered their old, familiar haunt, Anders and Fenris’ eyes went wide. The place was completely transformed. Gone were the dingy walls and fire pits. The bar was now central in the establishment, instead of off to the side. Cozy booths lined the walls and small tables were scattered throughout. Corff still tended the bar, which was made of polished mahogany and topped with marble and polished bronze accents.
As Varric came out to greet them Anders grinned. “Wow Varric, you went all out on this place. I don’t even recognize it anymore.”
“Welcome back!” Varric greeted “Yeah I was tired of living in a dump. I’ve decided to keep my little suite here and as Viscount I was able to allocate funds to redo this place. I wanted to bring a little class to Lowtown. The nobles weren’t entirely thrilled but they backed down when I told them that if people in Lowtown are happier, they are less likely to come to Hightown to commit crime.”
Anders laughed. “That is a very good point!”
Varric escorted them up to his suite, which already had a small feast laid out on the table. “Apple tarts!” Alina cried out when she saw a plate full of them. “May I have one Uncle Varric? Please?”
“I forgot you loved them almost more than Fenris does,” Varric laughed. “Go ahead sweetheart, it is your birthday after all. Just make sure you leave some for your Papa.”
Fenris blushed a little. “She did inherit my taste for sweets,” the elf acknowledged.
Anders wrapped an arm around his husband’s slim shoulders. “How you can love sweets and remain so thin still baffles me, love.”
“So, what’s the plan now that you’re back home?” Varric asked.
“I was thinking of starting up my old clinic again,” Anders began.
“Well, you may not need to,” Varric said. “With the Circle disbanded and the College of Magi now set up in the former Qunari quarter, we have quite a few available healers in Kirkwall now. They even set up an infirmary in Lowtown near the College. I’m sure they’d welcome your help, or perhaps you could consider teaching other mages at the College.”
Anders had to sit down. “Wow, the College is already that well established? You turned the Gallows into warehouses too, if I remember, right?”
“Yeah,” Varric nodded. “You wouldn’t recognize the place. I got rid of every single one of those damned slave statues. They creeped me out after they attacked us, so I had them all smashed into rubble and they now make up part of the new base under the bridge that’s being built. I’m getting sick of taking those ferries across all the time.”
“What are you planning to do, Broody?” Varric asked.
Fenris and Alina were currently both enjoying an apple tart together and Fenris flushed a bit because his mouth was full. Once he finished chewing and swallowing, he wiped the crumbs from his lips. “I hadn’t given it much thought. I have this little one to look after. She will always be my first priority.”
“Aren’t you going to enroll her at the College? She’s old enough,” Varric asked.
“We…hadn’t even thought of that,” Anders replied. “I suppose we should consider that option. What do you think Fenris?”
Fenris nodded. “Perhaps we should go and speak to whoever is in charge and get a better idea of how they run the College. Alina wouldn’t be required to live on the premises, correct?”
“They do have dormitories, but those are reserved for children coming from smaller settlements that are too far away to travel to and from,” Varric explained. “So, Alina would actually only attend classes during the day. That would free you up to pursue other things if you wanted.”
“You seem to know a lot about the new College,” Ander remarked.
“Well yeah,” Varric shrugged. “It comes with being Viscount. I gotta know what’s going on in this city if I’m going to make the right decisions. Also, I knew you were coming back and I wanted to make sure it was a good place for Alina to attend.”
“What is a College?” Alina asked, clearly having been listening to the conversation.
“It is a College of Magi,” Anders explained. “It’s like a school, just for mages. Do you remember how the mages back at Skyhold helped you learn to use and control your powers? This College would be like that.”
Alina’s eyes lit up. “Oh, that would be wonderful! Can I go there? Please?”
“Yes, little one,” Fenris said. “Why don’t we plan to go there tomorrow and just see what it’s like first, okay?”
“We’ll all go together,” Anders agreed. “Maybe I’ll even become a teacher there.”
“You want to be a teacher? I thought you were a healer?” Alina asked.
Anders laughed. “I am, but I could teach other little magelings like yourself how to use healing magic.”
“But Daddy,” Alina said. “Not everyone can do your kind of healing. You told me that yourself.”
Anders nodded. “Yes, that’s true, but there are other ways to heal. Spirit healing is just the most powerful.”
“Oh yeah,” Alina said. “I forgot. Sorry Daddy.”
“Well then it’s settled,” Anders declared.
“What’s settled, Sparklefingers?” a woman asked from the doorway.
“Isabela!” Anders and Fenris exclaimed. “What are you doing here?”
“I heard there was a party, so where else would I be?” the pirate winked. “Oh my, who do we have here? You can’t be little Alina, can you?”
Alina shyly hid behind Fenris, looking up at the strange woman.
“Little one,” Fenris reached out to stroke his daughter’s head. “Do you remember you Auntie Isabela?”
Alina shook her head.
“She helped look after you sometimes, when you were very little,” Fenris explained. “Especially when your Papa needed time alone with your Daddy, back when your Father was still around.”
Alina scrunched her face. “Oh, yeah. Auntie ‘Bela. Where is Auntie Merrill?”
“She should be here soon,” Varric replied. “I think she was making you a special birthday present.”
“Anders, it’s good to see you fully yourself again,” Isabela said. “You were really creepy when you were Tranquil. Is it true, that Justice is gone?”
Anders nodded. “Unfortunately, but he kept me sane while I was Tranquil. I will always be grateful for him for that.”
As Isabela caught up with Fenris and Anders, Varric sat Alina on his knee and told her a story while they waited for the other guests to arrive. Soon Aveline and Donnic joined them, followed by Lirene and a few other acquaintances.
Last to arrive was Merrill, who came in wielding a beautiful hand-carved staff, that looked like it was just the right size for a young mageling.
“Happy Birthday Alina!” Merrill said beaming. “I made this staff just for you.”
Fenris and Anders looked at each other and then at the blood mage nervously as Merrill turned to look at them. “Oh, don’t you two worry. I didn’t use any blood magic. Bodahn and Sandal were recently visiting Kirkwall and I asked Sandal to enchant some runes on the staff for me. We added enchantments for physical resistance, paralyze and knock-back. The best ones to keep this little one safe.”
The two fathers relaxed visible and welcomed Merrill warmly after her reassurances.
“It’s perfect,” Anders said gratefully. “Thank you.”
“I need to talk to you both about Fen’harel when you have some time,” Merrill said. “Not now, but soon.”
Fenris furrowed his brow at the mention of the ancient elf. “Can you join us for dinner tomorrow? We plan to visit the College of Magi in the morning, but we are free after that.”
“Yes, I’d be happy to,” Merrill nodded.
They spent the rest of the evening reminiscing with old friends until late into the evening. Alina fell asleep on Varric’s bed hours before they finally decided it was time to go home. Anders gently picked up their daughter and carried her all the way back home, despite Fenris’ constant offers to share the burden of carrying the sleeping child.
“I missed out on holding her for so many years,” Anders explained. “I want to hold her as often as I can now, before she gets too old.”
Fenris finally acquiesced then, nodding in understanding.
The next day dawned far too early and they all regretted staying up quite so late the night before. After breakfast, they quickly dressed and made their way towards the new College of Magi with Alina. Anders still looked around nervously as they walked through Hightown, still surprised by the friendly greetings he received, despite no longer hiding his status as a mage. “It still feels weird, walking openly here. I keep expecting Cullen and a troupe of Templars to jump out and grab me.”
“Why would Uncle Cullen do that, Daddy?” Alina asked innocently.
Anders sighed. “That is a long story for when you’re older, sweetheart.”
“Why does everything have to wait until I’m older?” she pouted.
“Because, little one, your Daddy and I have been through some very dark times,” Fenris explained. “We want you to enjoy your childhood for as long as you can, without having to fear about the dark things that happened in the past.”
Alina looked up at both of them. “Okay, but you promise to tell me everything someday. Please?”
“We promise,” Anders said. “When the time is right, we will tell you everything.”
Satisfied for now, Alina happily walked with them, pointing out interesting things along the way.
When they finally arrived at where the former Qunari compound had been, they hardly recognized it. The entire area had been completely transformed. The wall that had surrounded the compound had been torn down. In place of the compound, there was an expanse of grass and trees, with several new buildings dotting what was now the College of Magi campus.
It was bright, airy and open. Not at all the oppressive atmosphere of the old Circles. Anders stood there in awe as he watched young mages strolling to and from the different buildings.
Anders didn’t even realize he was crying until he felt Fenris’ hand clasp his. “Are you alright, Amatus?”
“What’s wrong Daddy? Why are you crying?” Alina asked.
Anders wiped his eyes. “I’m sorry. It’s just so open. This is how I always wished the Circles had been. Just to be able to be outside and see the sky.”
“Are the Circles something else I have to wait until I’m older to learn about?” Alina asked.
Anders chuckled. “Maybe I can tell you a little bit about them later. Are you ready to check out the College?”
Alina nodded her head vigorously as she clutched her new staff.
Anders was very impressed with the College. The mage in charge had been a former member of the Kirkwall Circle. Anders knew her well. She had been one of his inside contacts as part of the mage underground and she had helped many of her fellow mages in the Gallows escape during Meredith’s tenure as the Warden-Commander.
“It’s good to see you again Helen,” Anders smiled. “Things have changed so much, haven’t they?”
“Indeed, they have,” Helen agreed. “You have a remarkable daughter. She is far more advanced than any of the other students her age. I think I will need to develop a special curriculum just for her. Give me a month before we have her start classes.”
“That’s fine,” Fenris replied. “We only just arrived back in Kirkwall two days ago. We still need time to settle in.”
“Perfect,” Helen smiled. “Anders, please give some thought about joining our staff. We really could use someone to teach spirit healing. We have a couple of young ones who are showing some possible skill in that area and I haven’t been able to find a suitable instructor for them yet.”
Anders nodded. “I will give it serious consideration.”
“What do you think, little one?” Fenris asked his daughter. “Would you like to come here and learn?”
“Oh yes, Papa!” Alina smiled.
“Then it’s settled. Alina will start classes in a month,” Fenris proclaimed. “While Anders considers your offer. Now I think we best get home if we are to be on time to prepare dinner for Merrill.”
Once they arrived back home, they were pleasantly surprised to see Orana cooking in the kitchen. “What are you doing here?” Anders asked as he hugged the elf.
“Merrill told me you were back,” Orana smiled. “I knew you would probably need some help preparing dinner so I let myself in. I hope you don’t mind?”
“Not at all,” Fenris replied. “As long as you join us?”
Orana nodded. “I knew you would ask, so I already set myself a place.”
“You have come a long way,” Fenris praised. “I’m glad to see you’ve lost your habit of referring to your friends as Master.”
“You set the example for me, of what being free is,” Orana smiled. “It just took time for me to get used to it.”
“Used to what?” Merrill asked as she came into the kitchen.
They all greeted their guest and a short time later they were all happily seated around the dining table, enjoying the meal Orana had prepared for them. Anders and Fenris answered all of Merrill’s many questions she had about the Inquisition, Skyhold and, in particular, Solas.
After dinner, Orana cleared the table and offered to take Alina to bed. Alina didn’t complain after Orana promised to read the child a bedtime story. She smiled at Fenris’ surprised expression when she admitted that she now could also read.
Once they were alone with Merrill, the blood mage turned serious. “I didn’t want to mention this while Alina was still here, but there is something you should know. There is an ancient Dalish prophecy. I always thought it was silly nonsense that we were told as children. I was suspicious about the truth behind it after you both first told us you were having a child, but now that Fen’harel has revealed himself and we know his true name is Solas, it makes perfect sense.
“What does the prophecy say?” Fenris asked.
Merrill cleared her throat. “When the gryphon and the wolf become as one, pride shall reawaken. When the elf-blooded child heralds in a new age of enlightenment, pride shall know defeat and the world will finally know peace.”
Sorry for the long delay. I was really stuck. I knew how I wanted this story to end but I didn't know how I wanted to get there. I think I am unstuck and I'll try to get the next chapter written more quickly!
Chapter 9: Truth
Alina grows up while her fathers do their best to protect her from her destiny.
“When the gryphon and the wolf become as one, pride shall reawaken. When the elf-blooded child heralds in a new age of enlightenment, pride shall know defeat and the world will finally know peace.”
Fenris and Anders stared dumbfounded for a few moments. “What does that have to do with Alina?” Fenris asked.
“Oh, well, we now know that Fen’harel’s true name is Solas. Or maybe it’s the other way ‘round? Regardless, ‘solas’ means pride in elven,” Merrill explained.
“Ok so when the gryphon and wolf became one, that’s when Solas woke up?” Anders clarified and Merrill nodded. “The gryphon…well that has to be me. The gryphon is the symbol of the Grey Wardens.”
Fenris’ eyes flashed in understanding then. “Then I must be the wolf. Danarius named me Fenris. His…’little wolf,” Fenris said with a note of disgust.
“So, when you and I…became one, that’s when Solas woke from his long slumber,” Anders continued. “Which means Alina must be the elf-blooded child.”
“Yes! Exactly!” Merrill exclaimed, clapping her hands excitedly. “She is meant to herald a new age of enlightenment and peace!”
“But at what cost?” Fenris growled.
Anders reached across the table and took Fenris’ hand. “We’ll do everything we can to keep her safe. If I take the teaching position at the college, I can keep a closer eye on her.”
Fenris nodded. “Yes, and if I accept Aveline’s offer to join the City Guard, I can help watch for signs of Solas.”
“You said that Solas was planning to tear down the Veil? To destroy our world and restore ancient Elvhenan?” Merrill asked rhetorically. “I will keep my ears open in the Alienage. If he wants to restore Elvhenan, he’ll most likely start gathering elves, recruiting them to his cause.”
“Alright, so it sounds like we have a plan,” Anders said. “We do what we can to keep Alina safe, for as long as possible. She deserves to enjoy her childhood.”
“Agreed,” Fenris nodded.
Weeks and months turned into years. Alina thrived at the College of Magi as did the city of Kirkwall around her. Under Viscount Varric’s rule, Kirkwall became a renowned center for trade within the Free Marches. Lowtown and thrived as Varric instituted programs to refurbish all the buildings and improve conditions throughout the city. He even had permanent housing built in Darktown, and the former clinic was turned into a hospice.
A new, larger clinic was built in Lowtown and all the healers studying at the college did rotations there, perfecting their craft while helping heal the poor of the city.
It came to no surprise at all when it became clear that, instead of specializing in one or two schools of magic like most mages, Alina excelled at them all. She had her daddy’s affinity for spirit healing, but she was equally adept at force, creation, primal, nature, elemental, arcane, fade, and shapeshifting magic. The only type of magic they avoided was blood magic, which was still strictly forbidden.
The first time Alina shapeshifted, she chose a bird form and scared both of her fathers half-to-death when she flew off, only to come back almost an hour later. She had been excited to tell them about all she saw but Anders and Fenris at first so furious with her that she just broke down and cried.
“Please, little one,” Fenris almost pleaded. “Do not fly off like that again. It is not safe for you.”
“Alight, Papa,” Alina agreed. “Now can I tell you what I saw?”
“Wash up first,” Anders said. “Then you can tell us over supper.”
As Alina ran off, Fenris sighed. “She is growing up so fast. It will be even more difficult to protect her now.”
“You’re right,” Anders nodded. “I think perhaps it’s coming time to tell her everything. It’s almost her thirteenth birthday. I think she’s old enough to hear the truth about how she came to be, and about the prophecy.”
“I hate to admit it,” Fenris agreed. “But you are right, Amatus. In many ways, she is still very much a child, but she is growing up fast and she needs to be prepared. Have you heard any news from our erstwhile Inquisitor?”
Anders shook his head. “Not since his last letter, where he was convinced that Solas and his followers were probably gathering deep in the Arlathan Forest.”
“Merrill has been reporting more and more elves leaving the Alienage and heading North,” Fenris said. “The last we spoke she said the Alienage was practically deserted now.”
“Alright,” Anders said. “Then we’re agreed. We tell Alina everything on her birthday. No more secrets.”
“No more secrets about what dad?” Alina asked as she rejoined them.
Anders smiled at his daughter. “Well it’s a secret until your birthday. Can you wait until then for us to tell you?”
Alina nodded. “Oh yes! I can’t wait. I promise to be properly surprised!”
“Surprised?” Fenris asked.
“For my party, Papa,” Alina giggled. “That’s the secret, right?”
Fenris wasn’t sure how to respond and Anders admonished the girl. “Now stop spoiling it, young lady.”
Alina rolled her eyes. “Yes, dad,” she said as she headed towards the dining room. “Come on, let’s eat!”
“She’s going to be a handful, isn’t she?” Fenris groaned as Anders laughed.
The day of Alina’s thirteenth birthday arrived. Naturally a party was planned and everyone they knew were invited, including quite a few mages from the College of Magi.
The party was to begin in the evening, so after lunch Anders and Fenris took their daughter out into their courtyard garden to speak with her. Fenris spread a large blanket over the grass and they all sat facing each other.
“Alina, sweetheart, we think you’re old enough now to know the truth…about a lot of things,” Anders began. “We felt it right that we tell you everything on your birthday.”
“Alright,” Alina nodded, eager to hear what her fathers wanted to share with her.
They began from the beginning, how Fenris came to be pregnant and why he was able to bear a child. They didn’t go into detail about how she was conceived but both men blushed at the memory of that night.
Alina giggled at their discomfort. “I have learned about the ‘birds and the bees’” she confessed, making the two men blush even more.
“Well, that is irrelevant,” Fenris huffed. “What matters is that apparently it’s very rare for male elves to be born to carry a child and I am just very glad that I was. Otherwise I would never have had you, or have then opportunity to grow as close to Anders as I have.”
“Oh yes, we used to hate each other,” Anders laughed. “At least it seemed like we did, with the way we used to argue.”
“What did you fight about?” Alina asked.
Anders chuckled and Fenris blushed. “Mage rights and freedom, mostly. Why don’t we demonstrate, Love? I’m sure you can remember, we argued about it ad nauseum.”
Fenris nodded and cleared his throat. “You should have lived in Tevinter. You'd be happier there,” Fenris grumbled.
“You're probably right,” Anders agreed.
“There, your magic would be a mark of honor. Apprenticed to the right Magister, you would do well,” Fenris continued.
“Is there a down side?” Anders responded sarcastically.
“Only if you're bothered by owning a few slaves and performing the occasional blood ritual,” Fenris said.
“So, they all do those things?” Anders pressed.
“Just the ones who don't complain about how powerless and persecuted they are,” the elf replied.
Alina looked surprised. “You really used to speak to each other like that?”
Fenris’ ears dropped in shame. “I’m afraid so, little one. As you recall I had once been a slave to a Tevinter Magister, and at the time I thought all mages were capable of much the same cruelty if given enough freedom with which to exercise it.”
“Papa, you know that isn’t true!” Alina admonished.
“Yes, I do, now,” Fenris agreed. “At the time, I was still on the run from Danarius. I never knew from one day to the next if I would be captured and re-enslaved by that monster. I had no trust for any mage. You and your dad helped change that for me.”
Alina flung herself into Fenris’ arms. “I love you, Papa. Never forget that.”
Anders joined in and hugged them both. “We both love you, you prickly old elf.” Fenris felt ridiculously happy in that moment, having the two mages he loved most in this world held in his arms.
Once they separated from each other again, Fenris cleared his throat and wiped the happy tears from his eyes. “We have yet much to discuss.”
They told Alina about the prophecy, and about what they knew so far about Solas’ movements.
Alina listened silently and then contemplated their words solemnly for a moment. “I also haven’t been forthcoming with you,” she finally confessed. “I’ve known what my destiny is for a long while, but I didn’t want to tell you because I knew you both would worry. What I do know is that I cannot confront Solas until all of my magic has manifested. I have yet one ability that lies dormant within me. It is not a common magic, but it is one that I will require.”
“What kind of magic is it, sweetheart?” Anders asked.
Alina shook her head. “I cannot put it into words yet.”
She sat quietly for another moment before taking a deep breath. “Dad, Papa, you should know that what Solas is attempting to do, requires that he gathers most of the elves together. His biggest problem is going be the Tevinter Imperium. They won’t surrender their slaves easily. I don’t think slavery is right but for the sake of Thedas, the longer we can slow him down, the better. I still need time.”
“I will write to Dorian in Minrathous,” Anders said. “He is at the forefront of the movement to end slavery in Tevinter. I’ll ask him to delay for the time being. If he succeeds then Solas could easily recruit all the elves in Tevinter.”
“That’s a good idea,” Alina nodded. “Tell Uncle Dorian ‘hi’ from me, please. I miss him and Uncle Nate sometimes.”
“I will sweetheart,” Anders smiled. “Now why don’t we go get ready for your party? Let’s have some fun. It is your birthday, after all!”
The letter was sent to Dorian and he agreed to slow his efforts to free the slaves. Apparently, he had just dodged an assassination attempt and backing off at this juncture felt like good timing.
In the meantime, Nathaniel had gathered his closest advisors at Dorian’s estate in Qarinus, which was close to the Arlathan Forest. Dorian visited from Minrathus when he could, but it was the perfect place for them to keep as close of an eye as possible on Solas.
For now, there was nothing left to do but sit back and wait while Alina kept training and waiting for her magic to fully manifest. Anders and Fenris trusted Alina to know when she felt she was ready.
Seasons passed and Alina’s affinity for all things magic had become legendary. She had long since surpassed her instructors and she was now an instructor and mentor like her dad.
Alina was now fifteen, going on sixteen. She was taller than her Papa Fenris, but not quite as tall as her Dad. While everyone could see the resemblance between Anders and Alina, there was no doubt she was also very much her Papa’s daughter. She was much more serious and studious than Anders, and occasionally was accused of being somewhat broody.
By now the Alienage had been completely abandoned and Varric was having the entire area opened up and rebuilt with small shops and apartments that was open to everyone, human and elf alike. Merrill kept her small home where it had always been, although Varric insisted on remodeling it as well.
The disappearance of the city elves from across Thedas had people talking. There were rumors of the elves gathering an army, to retake their lands and subjugate the humans the way they had once been enslaved.
Even many of the Dalish clans seemed to have vanished, although a small group of Merrill’s clan still remained on Sundermount. The only place where elves remained as they were, was in Tevinter. Dorian had slowed his efforts on freeing the slaves there, but discontent was stirring as rumors of the return of an ancient elven god reached even their ears. Dorian wasn’t sure how much longer he could prevent an all-out uprising from happening.
Then, one evening Alina ran into the parlor, excited and out of breath. “Papa! Dad! It’s time!”
Anders and Fenris both sprang to their feet. “What is it sweetheart?”
“My final magic ability! It’s manifested! I’m ready now!” Alina exclaimed.
“What is it? Can you show us?” Anders asked.
Alina shook her head. “No…I don’t want to hurt you or Papa.”
“This sounds troubling,” Fenris growled. “What exactly is the nature of this new magic?”
Alina just looked at him and smiled. “Truth.”
Sorry for the delay. My muse hasn't been as forthcoming with ideas for this story until recently.
As for where I'm going in regards to Alina's new magic? If you're at all familiar with "The Sword of Shannara" by Terry Brooks, it's basically a nod to that.
Chapter 10: Destiny
Alina faces her destiny and confronts Solas in the heart of his new stronghold.
After Alina’s pronouncement, they prepared to travel to Qarinus. They felt meeting up with Nathaniel firsr would be a wise course of action before proceeding into the Arlathan Forest to seek out Solas and his followers. They sent word ahead to both Nathaniel and Dorian via messenger crows to expect their arrival.
Varric helped them to book passage on a vessel heading towards Qarinus. The voyage could take up to a month depending on weather, but it was safer than trying to travel by land, as the Imperial Highway didn’t end before reaching Qarinus. They needed to keep Alina safe at all costs and by now Solas would probably have heard the Dalish prophecy and deciphered it’s meaning. They couldn’t risk traveling through the wildlands and getting caught by Solas’ agents.
Less than a week later, they boarded the ship bound for Qarinus, waving to Varric, Merrill, Aveline and Donnic, who had come to see them off. Fenris rolled his eyes when they entered their cabin. Apparently Varric had splurged and gotten them the best cabin on the ship. It had a bed large enough for all three of them, a separate dining table, and a private bath.
On the dining table, there sat a note from Varric. “Nothing’s too good for my favorite ‘niece.’”
“Varric does like to spoil you little one,” Fenris huffed.
“I’m not that little anymore, Papa,” Alina admonished. “I’m taller than you!”
Fenris strode over to her and pulled her by the collar of her robes down to his height. “That doesn’t mean you’ll ever stop being my little one.”
Alina made an exaggerated sigh. “Yes, Papa.”
Anders just stood near the door way with his arms folded, laughing that the two of them.
“Oh, don’t you start, dad!” Alina huffed.
Anders merely shook his head. “You may have my looks, sweetheart, but you truly are your Papa’s child.”
Since they were granted such a large cabin, they utilized the space to their advantage. Anders would train with Alina, keeping both of them sharp on their magical skills, while Fenris insisted he train Alina how to fight in close-quarters combat, just in case.
It was a bright, sunny morning when they arrived in Qarinus. Krem was at the docks to greet them as they disembarked from their ship.
“Welcome to Tevinter,” Krem greeted.
Fenris wore a scowl. “Don’t remind me. At least we’re not meeting in Minrathous,” he growled.
“Oh right, I forgot you were once a slave here,” Krem said apologetically. “I’m sorry.”
“I cannot imagine you are anymore thrilled to be back here, considering how you were treated,” Fenris replied. Krem nodded in agreement. “I will admit I missed the warmer weather, but I missed little else.”
They made their way through the town and towards the Pavus Estate. The house was elegant but understated, surrounded by rolling green hills and immaculate gardens. They were pleasantly surprised when they were greeted by Nathanial and Dorian. They had expected Dorian to still be at the Magisterium in Minrathous. “Welcome to my summer home,” Dorian greeted.
“Uncle Dorian!” Alina cried out as she flung herself into the Magister’s arms. “I missed you! I have so much to tell you!”
Dorian hugged her back. “I missed you as well. My look how much you’ve grown!”
“I wish we could have visited under more pleasant circumstances,” Anders said in greeting.
“Indeed,” Dorian agreed. “Come, let’s get you all settled in first. I’m sure you’re all tired from your journey. Why don’t you all get some rest and we’ll have a late lunch on the veranda? Then we can discuss this nasty business, hmm?”
Alina was given her own private room, adjacent to the one Fenris and Anders were to share. Both rooms had large balconies facing the ocean. After they all had a chance to refresh themselves and get into a change of lighter clothes, they met on the balcony of Anders’ and Fenris’ suite.
Someone had left them a pitcher of cool lemonade and Anders poured them each a glass as they made themselves comfortable. “Sweetheart, will you finally tell us everything when we met with the rest of them this afternoon?”
Alina nodded. “Yes. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to say it properly so you’d understand. But everyone needs to know because once I confront Solas, I cannot have anyone interrupt me or interfere in any way.”
“We’ll make sure of that,” Fenris reassured her. “We just need to understand what’s going on.”
Alina nodded. “You will, I promise.”
Alina spent the better part of the afternoon trying to explain everything, from what her visions of the future have shown her and about her own magical abilities. Everyone had dozens of questions but in the end, she managed appease most of their concerns.
“So, what we need to plan next is how to get Alina safely into Arlathan Forest and close enough to confront Solas openly,” Nathanial said.
“I think it would be best if we appeared non-threatening,” Anders agreed. “That doesn’t mean we wouldn’t be, but we shouldn’t go in marching with what looks like an army.”
“Agreed,” Dorian nodded. “That’s why The Iron Bull and his Chargers are here. I was thinking they would make acceptable protectors. Solas knows them, to an extent, and I think might be less threatened by them.”
“As long as he doesn’t try to recruit Dalish and Skinner,” The Iron Bull growled.
“Things are quickly coming to a head in Minrathous,” Dorian continued. “I believe it will take us at least a week to reach Solas on foot. How soon will we be ready to depart?”
“Give us a day to rest and prepare,” Fenris suggested. “We will need the time to pack enough supplies to last the journey. So, the day after tomorrow at the earliest?”
Alina immediately nodded. “Yes, the sooner we go the better. I can sense that Solas has been increasing his strength and he’s made some gains recently from the Tevinter villages that border the forest. We should make haste.”
Bright and early on the day they were to depart, they all shared a final meal at the Pavus Estate as they discussed their final plans. They were going to travel east along the coast until they reached the Arlathan Forest, and from there they would travel southeast into the heart of the forest to where Solas’ encampment was reported to be. There were some ancient ruins from Elvhenan that still remained in the forest and Solas had chosen that site to be his new seat of power.
Before departing, Dorian presented Alina with a gift. “I’ve had this made for you,” Dorian presented Alina with an impressive looking staff. It was inscribed with ancient runes, older than she had seen before. At the top, it appeared as if delicate branches grew from the very staff itself and intertwined themselves around what looked like a crystal within their center. On the opposite end, it had a very wicked looking blade.
“It’s beautiful Uncle Dorian!” Alina stared in awe at the staff. “Thank you!”
“You’re quite welcome,” Dorian smiled. “I’ve heard of all your progress and I thought you ought to have a staff to match your talents. The enchantments it carries should boost all of your magical abilities to some extent.”
Soon after, they headed out, intent on making swift progress.
Once they reached the forest, they chose to travel by night as much as possible, to reduce the chance of being detected. They wanted to get as close as possible before Solas was aware of their presence.
They made good time and arrived early in the morning, a day ahead of schedule at the outskirts of the elven ruins.
“Let’s make camp and freshen up and rest at that stream we crossed a mile back,” The Iron Bull suggested. “I’ll send my chargers out to scout around the ruins and report back so we can plan how we want to approach them.”
Everyone agreed and so they trekked back to the stream.
After they all took a respite and some time to bathe in the stream, they sat around eating a quick meal of hard tack and jerky. They wouldn’t risk lighting a fire.
Anders sat down next to Alina and she let him wrap an arm around her lithe shoulders. He reached out to brush a strand of her golden hair from her forehead. “How are you holding up sweetheart? Getting nervous at all?”
Alina shrugged. “Not really. I’ve known what I have to do for a while now. I know you and Papa just want to protect me and you did a wonderful job giving me a safe and happy childhood. I will always be grateful to you for that. I know in the past I would have been shut away from the world like you were. I think if that had been my fate, I would have tried to escape too.”
Anders kissed the top of her head. “So, there is a little bit of me in there somewhere,” he teased.
“Dad!” Alina admonished. “You know, I am glad we got you back, that your Tranquility wasn’t permanent. What a cruel thing to inflict on someone.”
“I was lucky,” Anders agreed. “At least I had Justice to help keep me sane whenever Fenris wasn’t able to bring me out to play with you.”
“It’s been a very long time since I’ve seen Papa glow,” Alina recalled. “I remember I used to really like it, but I don’t remember if it was because it brought you back to us, or if I just liked how he looked.”
“He does look even more beautiful when he glows,” Anders agreed.
“Talking about me behind my back again, I see,” Fenris grumped mockingly at them. “Would you like to see me glow again, little one?”
Alina nodded. “Yes, I would Papa, but not right now. Right now, it’s not safe.”
“Why not?” Fenris asked.
“Solas could detect it,” Alina explained. “The activation of that much lyrium at once would certainly get his attention.”
Fenris nodded in understanding.
Fenris sat next to Alina and she pulled him into a hug as well, so all three were cuddling together. “I’m so glad I was the reason to bring you two together. I can’t imagine you both just hating each other forever.”
Fenris chuckled. “Neither can I, little one. Falling in love with Anders has been one of the highlights of my life since I escaped Danarius. Second only to having given birth to you.”
“Why haven’t you ever had any more children?” Alina asked, suddenly curious.
Anders shrugged. “I’m not entirely sure. It’s not for lack of trying,” Anders joked as Fenris batted at him, the tips of his ears pinking in embarrassment.
“I’ve always thought that I was just meant to have you,” Fenris confessed. “I’ve never even had another heat like I did the night Anders and I conceived you. You’re not upset that we never gave you any brothers or sisters, are you?”
Alina shrugged. “It would have been nice to have some siblings to play with, but once I joined the College of Magi back home, I had lots of kids my age to play with. I’m not sad about it if you aren’t.”
“We have each other and we have you,” Anders said. “That’s all we need.”
Alina shifted and sat up. “I sense that the scouts have returned. I think it’s time I get ready. I also wish to change first, but it’s nearly time.”
While Alina went to prepare herself, the scouts were debriefed. They confirmed that a large encampment of thousands of elves surrounded a large, ancient ruin of what looked like a temple. They weren’t able to get close enough, but they surmised that Solas must be somewhere near the temple.
When Alina finally joined them, she looked stunning. She wore a pair of tight-fitting dark brown breeches and her leather traveling boots which reached up to her knees. Over that she wore a loose-fitting cream-colored shirt that was worn under a dark green leather corset and some leather bracers upon her wrists. Over her shoulders flowed her dark green traveling cloak. Her hair was intricately braided and tied up.
Standing there, holding her new staff in one hand, she looked more like a fierce arcane warrior, than a mere mageling. “It is time to meet my destiny,” she declared as she marched confidently towards the ruins. The Iron Bull just shrugged and followed her, signaling for the rest of the group to do the same.
Anders took Fenris’ hand as they followed their daughter. “She looks so grown up, doesn’t she?” Anders said wistfully.
As they neared the ruins once again a horn could be heard from within the heart of Solas’ encampment.
“He knows I’m here,” Alina declared. “Come, there is no need for stealth.”
Alina kept moving forward, while the others ran to keep up with her. Anders and Fenris grasped each other’s hand, a mix of excitement and fear falling over them as they neared their goal.
As they neared the encampment around the ruins, they were met by an army of armed elves. Many had drawn bows in their hands, with arrows aimed directly at them. Alina continued to approach, keeping her staff strapped to her back she raised her hands to show she was otherwise unarmed.
The Chargers took her lead and also did not draw their weapons. Anders and Fenris just looked nervously at each other, but tried their best to trust their daughter’s judgement. They knew Alina had to get close enough to Solas in order to complete her task.
As Alina continued forward, several elves broke from the main group and came forward, also keeping their weapons sheathed.
“State your business, Shemlen!” one of the elves insisted. “You are not welcome upon this sacred ground!”
Alina gestured to her fathers to join her. She took their hands and raised each of them and joined them together with the words of the ancient prophecy.
“When the gryphon and the wolf become as one, pride shall reawaken. When the elf-blooded child heralds in a new age of enlightenment, pride shall know defeat and the world will finally know peace.”
“When my fathers became one with each other, Solas reawakened. I am the elf-blooded child foretold by this prophecy. I come to fulfill my destiny!” Alina declared.
The elves stared at her for a moment but then a runner burst forth from their midst. He ran and conveyed a message into the ear of the elf that had addressed them.
“It seems our Lord Fen’harel wishes to meet this one,” she said. “She may come forth. However, no shemlen may accompany her!”
“Skinner, Dalish, go with her,” the Iron Bull ordered.
“Wait,” Alina interrupted. “I understand why you distrust humans, but I must insist that both of my fathers accompany me. That is the only exception I ask for.”
The elves conferred among themselves for a moment before addressing Alina again. “These fathers of yours, they are the gryphon and wolf of the prophecy?”
“Yes,” Alina confirmed. “My father Anders was once a Grey Warden, whose symbol is the gryphon. My other father, Fenris, was so named by his former Tevinter master. It means ‘little wolf.’”
“Alright,” the elf conceded. “But he is the only shemlen who is allowed.”
Alina bowed her head. “Thank you.”
Alina, Fenris, Anders, Skinner and Dalish followed as they were led into the heart of the camp, towards the largest of the old ruins. There, up a short flight of stone stairs stood Solas. His choice of clothing was remarkably more impressive than the last time they had seen him. Gone were the threadbare clothes, replaced by resplendent armor and a wolf’s fur cloak.
“As I suspected back at Skyhold,” Solas said as Alina approached him. “You are the elf-blooded child of prophecy. Do you think your magic is strong enough to stop me from tearing down the veil and restoring what was lost?”
“I know it is,” Alina declared confidently.
Solas laughed and flung his arms wide. “Alright child, do your worst.”
Alina did not hesitate as she grabbed her staff and twirled it around her expertly before planting it into the ground and forming a ball of pure white energy in her hand. A moment later she let it fly as a stream of white light flowed from her and encircled Solas with several pulsing bands of light. The light began to project an image of Solas, larger than life, above him. One that clearly everyone in the encampment could surely see.
The elves behind her gasped and some shouted to stop her. Fenris stepped forward, blocking their way. “No! Do not interfere. She will not harm him!” When the did not slow, Fenris lit his lyrium brands and brandished his sword which finally slowed them.
“Speak the truth, Solas,” Alina commanded. “Speak the truth of how Elvhenan truly fell.”
Solas appeared to be compelled by the magic to speak.
“As with everything else we did, our wars seemed ceaseless and never ending,” Solas began, his projection echoing his every word, booming his tale across the entire encampment. “Our immortality seemed both a blessing and a curse. With no fatalities, no faction was able to gain or lose a quarter. The endless monotony of the constant warring began to wear on many of us. I was one of the generals who led the armies into battle day, after day, after day.”
“I finally called for a truce, begged the other generals to come treat with me,” Solas explained. “I convinced them that we should cease fighting. By banding together, we could unite all of Elvhenan under us. We could finally have peace.”
Solas then took a deep breath and his expression changed. He looked like he was fighting against continuing.
“What I did not foresee,” Solas continued, fighting against the words that were coming out. “I did not foresee…the greed…the need for control…in my fellow generals. When they…enslaved…our people and forced them to wear the vallaslin, I cried. I refused to force my followers to do the same. I wanted them to be united in peace, not divided and enslaved.”
“It…was my ennui over the endless battles that caused me to convince my fellow generals to stop fighting,” Solas confessed. “If I had not stopped the constant warfare, the Evanuris would never have formed. The enslavement of the elvhen people would have never happened. When I tried to correct that mistake, I made a far worse one. Mythal agreed with me and she was murdered for it. In my grief over her loss, I banished the Evanuris behind the Veil, trapping them in the Fade. I alone destroyed Elvhenan that day.”
By now all the elves in the encampment had been slowly working their way closer to the temple, confessing his errors to all. “I keep trying to fix my mistakes, and every time I do, I make things worse. Why? Why do I make them worse? Why can I not restore Elvhenan?”
Alina spoke then. “Elvhenan’s time has gone. It is not meant to be restored. The elvhen people must move forward from where they are now, not go back to the past. As much harm as the humans have done, many have also done much good as well. All the races need to learn to live together, in peace and harmony. Destroying this world will not restore the old. That is the mistake you keep repeating. You have had too much pride to admit to your own mistakes, until now.”
Solas practically slumped into the grip of the magic that still encircled him. “You are right. I was well named, for I have always been too prideful. I never wanted to admit to my mistakes, even to myself. I see now that moving forward with my plan is foolish. I…cannot continue down this path any longer.”
Alina seemed satisfied with that and she slowly drew the magic back into herself. Once the magic released him, Solas fell to his knees. “Thank you. Thank you for helping me recognize my errors and stopping me from making yet another, even worse one.”
“What will you do now?” Fenris asked.
“Your daughter is right,” Solas admitted. “The elvhen people need to move forward, not try to go back. We could make a fresh start here in the Arlathan Forest, if we could convince the Tevinter Imperium to allow us the use of this land.”
Dorian emerged from the crowd of elves behind them. Apparently Solas’ confession had changed their mind about allowing shemlen within the encampment. “I believe I could lend a hand with that.”
“How?” Solas asked.
“The slaves within the Imperium are on the verge of a rebellion already,” Dorian explained. “I was working towards a means of freeing them. All of them, elves, humans and qunari. I believe I’ve come up with a solution even the Archon would agree with. I also think he would agree that freeing the slaves and giving the elves a piece of their rightful homeland back would be better than trying to fight a war on two fronts. We have our hands full against the Qun as it is, fighting an army of elves as well would spell our defeat for certain.”
“Thank you,” Solas nodded. “If you can help us come to a peaceful resolution I would greatly appreciate that. I am so tired of war and fighting.”
“So, is that it?” Anders asked. “No epic battle? All Alina had to do was make you face the truth that you’ve denied yourself?”
Solas laughed. “A bit too anticlimactic for you?”
Anders smiled. “Not at all. Just a bit surprising after all I’ve seen. I expected at least one large explosion.”
“Dad! Stop trying to blow up things!” Alina admonished.
“Hey, I wasn’t the one who set the bomb in Kirkwall,” Anders feigned innocence by raising his hands.
“Based upon your own plans, Amatus,” Fenris reminded him. “You didn’t build or set the bomb, but you did discover how to make it.”
“I’m never living that down, am I?” Anders sighed.
“No, never,” Fenris laughed as he pulled Anders into a quick embrace, kissing his mage in front of everyone.
Alina truly did herald a new era of peace and prosperity in Thedas. It took time but slavery was finally abolished in Tevinter. Dorian used his wit and charm to convince the Archon to allow the elves to rebuild within the Arlathan Forest and recognized it as an independent state.
Within a few years the elves built a magnificent city right in the heart of New Arlathan, as they decided to call their new home. Because of the majority of the elves in Thedas relocated to New Arlathan, Alienages were slowly being torn down and repurposed, following Kirkwall’s example.
Even the Qun finally ceased their war against Tevinter, citing that they no longer saw a need to topple the Imperium.
Alina returned to Kirkwall with her fathers. She continued to teach at the College of Magi, eventually becoming the head of the College itself. She wrote many new books on magic and magic theory and she became renowned for her philosophical and scientific explorations regarding magic.
Fenris and Anders managed to settle down and just enjoy life together, something they hadn’t really been able to do before. They were so very proud of their little girl, all grown up.
And they constantly marveled at how something as simple as the truth had saved them all.
This little story took a little bit more of an epic turn than I had expected it to, but I've had a lot of fun writing this one. I hope everyone reading this enjoyed it as well.