Title: A Bard's Love
Game: Dragon Age Origins
characters/pairing- The Warden, Leliana
Disclaimer- DAO (c) BioWare
Dragon Age: A Bard's Love
The new day brought in heavy rain. Though it seemed there were no clouds in sight. The soaked stones and rock glistened into Cogdale's eyes as he left his bedroom. Highever castle had the oddest design. Indoors was outdoors and outdoors was indoors. One would have to look up to make sure a pigeon wouldn't give you a gift. The morning was warm from the blazing sunlight that did find its way on Cogdale. The heat gave him a newfound energy he hadn't felt in a long time. Yet another sign that the blight was finally lifting off the land.
But Cogdale wasn't the only one up. Several men were rushing back and forth from their mess hall and where ever they were going. Repairs on Highever were still underway. Howe was such an idiotic man to destroy a castle he wished to rule himself. The downpour was warm itself too. Making many children who were residing in the castle come out and throw handfuls of rain at each other.
Cogdale tried joining in with them but as soon as he lobbed his first cup of water at them, he jumped out of the way from incoming tosses as he realized he was wearing his nobility adornments. Only to be chased around the corridors as water jumped at him. The water seemed to giggle as it flew by him. The children maneuvered their way around the path to cut him off as they cornered him and as a group all chucked another palmful of rain splashing on Cogdale's clothes.
Their laughter was contagious as Cogdale was soon dripping wet. They scattered when one of the carpenters approached Cogdale. Wiping the water from his eyes Cogdale's stomach dropped for a second as he recognized the man who stood before him. It was the drunk from the day before who was trying to hurt Leliana in the tavern. He was one of the hired workers who were repairing the castle. Now he had Cogdale in a corner without his armor on wielding a hammer.
"Knew I would find you," the man said cracking his wrists. Cogdale couldn't put his finger on it but he was terrified of this man. Cogdale had faced the onslaught of the darkspawn and didn't flinch. But this gargantuan of a man put a painful knot in his stomach. Staggering backwards into the corner the giant only chuckled as he slowly savored cornering Cogdale. Fear didn't devour the entirety of Cogdale. He put up his fists to show he wasn't going to back down. The man laughed again only to lunge at Cogdale.
Cogdale dashed under the lumbering fist as it collided into the brick. His knuckles breaking from the force of the swing. He wailed unintelligible words waving his hand back and forth. Cogdale took the moment and landed his foot into the man's chin. The screaming ceased as he was knocked out cold. Taking a few breaths, Cogdale tried catching up with himself. He then realized the rain had stopped and a small crowd had gathered. The people whispered and kept their topic secret from him. He brushed their glances off and continued on his path to the main hall. He ran the fight over and over in his head; surprised he had done all of that within seconds of each other.
Feeling his beard, Cogdale knew he had to shave soon. He loathed it but he also loathed having the Caenolyn beard on his face. His Nevarran blood was a bane on his skin to him. His father had a strong beard. His brother had a strong beard. He himself had a strong beard but because of the blight it had only slowed down a bit.
It was still awkward he was living a normal life. The Blight might have dissipated from the outside world but it still had a strong grip on Cogdale's senses. But the fact he wasn't on any quest. The fact he was actually relaxing didn't settle in well. He felt like he was going to be jumped again at any moment. 2 years of fighting the darkspawn and always on his toes will do that to anyone. The main hall was near as guards entered and exited a large door that appeared. Entering the doorway a burst of heat blew past Cogdale. The fireplace in the main hall was at full blast, with 3 guards throwing in logs every 10 seconds to increase the intensity.
"Ah there you are, I was wondering when you'd pop out of your blanket." Elle Cousland said as she greeted him with a kiss to both cheeks. As is customary with nobility of Thedas. "Well I still get lost in the castle, I never really knew much of Highever castle." Cogdale blushed embarrassed that all he knew was the library.
"I remember!" Elle shouted her finger pointing to the ceiling. "You were the Caenolyn kid who would spend all of his time in the library, right?" She asked finally directing the finger to Cogdale. Cogdale only nodded ashamed of his bookworm past. "Knew it!" Elle snapped her fingers. "So care to tell me of your adventures?" She asked walking by Cogdale's side. Cogdale shrugged "Promise me, you don't want to hear it." Elle nudged Cogdale "Awh come on! Tell me of your exploits of the Dalish elves. Or or or! How bout your tales of battle down in the Deep Roads."
"If you want… here have one of my journals that I kept on combat that I experienced. I don't want it anymore." Cogdale said handing a small journal he had in the back of his trousers. "Ooooh goody! I'll go read now!" Elle shouted running off. Cogdale sighed in relief. He kept himself near the fireplace to dry himself off from the drenching of rain he had been dealt earlier. He ran his hands through his thick of hair to shake off all the water that wouldn't dry on its own. The quietness of the main hall became very odd.
He looked behind him to see there was no one around. Eerie, the feeling crept into Cogdale's spine. But the sense that someone familiar was near. Who could it be? The only people he knew were Leliana, Bodahn, Sandal and Garrden. They were all still resting in their beds inside the castle. As he returned his gaze to the fire a figure blocked his line of sight. The shock made him stumble and topple over a chair.
Trying to see his company his soul felt as if it was being torn into the fade. There stood his brother. Torn apart, his left arm lobbed off. His skull dented inside but still the remaining amount was recognizable. A puddle of blood at the feet of his brother.
"Victor?" Cogdale spat out in disbelief. The figure instantly turned its eye upon Cogdale. This thing that appeared to be his brother reached out with remaining right arm. Sorrow burned upon his face. His brother never spoke only continued to reach out for Cogdale with sadness. "Where are you Victor?" Cogdale asked. If this was his brother's way of contacting him it must be about something.
"Don't ignore us, Heed us." Victor said ghostly.
"What?!" Cogdale was confused. But his focus was cut short when he found himself lifted off his feet. Suddenly sound rushed back into the room, as did the guards and servants. Like he had been dreaming. "What happened?" Cogdale asked clenching his head in pain. "You passed out and knocked over a chair." A familiar voice said. It was Garrden dressed in noble attire with concern on his face.
"I saw my…" A distraught Leliana who was still wearing only her sleepwear interrupted Cogdale. "Cogdale are you alright? I heard people saying that you had passed out." She said massaging his head. "I'm fine I…. I think I just saw my brother." He said. "So where is he?" Garrden asked scanning the main hall. "He died here 2 years ago Garrden." Garrden's face dropped. "I apologize." He said palming his chest.
"It is alright you didn't know." Leliana said. "I don't know what could've caused it." Cogdale paused. "It could be him calling out from the fade asking for help. But what he said to me didn't make sense at all." Cogdale said.
"What did he say?" Leliana asked as Cogdale looked around the hall. The guards didn't take notice and continued their way around the castle as the 3 of them conversed. "He said…." Cogdale tried to remember what Victor was trying to tell him. "He said "Don't ignore us, Heed us." Cogdale clenched his head again as a wave of pain hit him again.
"That is odd…" Garrden said pacing around the room stretching his clothing to entertain his hands.
"I'm not ignoring my family if that is what he meant." Cogdale said walking over to where he last saw Victor's corpse. He felt the ground. There was no change in temperature on the floor. Perhaps the fireplace masked it. Cogdale couldn't understand this vision, what was his brother trying to convey?
"Enough we'll talk of it later." Cogdale said escorting Leliana back to her room while kicking Garrden in the shin for looking at her butt. Leliana was staring at Cogdale with worry painted on her face. "Don't worry Lily… I'll figure this out." Cogdale said kissing her on the forehead and patting her butt, pushing her into her room. "Now get dressed we have to get ready for breakfast. It will be a good breakfast too and not one of Alistair's dull stews." Cogdale laughed at his own joke. What an odd thing to do after being visited by a mangled husk of what was once your brother.
Cogdale went back to his room to grab a few things from his bags. As he rummaged through his bag he found his journal and wrote down what had just happened. Time flew by as he soon found himself being taken from his room by Leliana to the dinner hall. His old bookworm ways hadn't died yet.
The dinner hall was massive. With pillars that were taller then the walls of Denerim. The table was as long as the room with over 60 seated members of the new Teyrna Cousland's order. Arls and Arlessas all sat in their respective seats. Cogdale and Leliana found themselves across the entire table away from Elle. Cogdale relaxed himself after what Leliana accused him of yesterday. Elle was a beautiful woman yes but she was more like a sister to him then anything.
Breakfast was a wonderful array of foods from all over Thedas. How nobility anywhere could acquire these exotic foods was beyond anyone's understanding. But a Teyrna such as Elle probably has her ways. There were too many conversations going on at once that no one could hear himself or herself think. Heck Cogdale could've yelled any of Ohgren's many "sodding" remarks and no one would've heard it. So Cogdale kept to himself and the only conversation he had was one between him and Leliana with their feet. A couple times getting tangled with each other and accidentally kicking the bottom of the table hard enough that cutlery and dishes jumped a few inches.
Causing a few nobles to frown at the two of them several times. Which Leliana gave them a proper raspberry. The only food Garrden ate was the bread and pastries that Cogdale snuck behind his seat. Seeing as Garrden could only stand behind them with his hands behind his back.
Eating in the dining hall again brought back memories of the night Howe's men attacked Highever Castle. Cogdale excused himself from the table. Leliana and Garrden soon followed him. "What's wrong?" Leliana asked catching up with him. "Memories, tis all." Cogdale smirked knowing he just used Morrigan's way of speaking. His attempt at changing the subject failed. "We're here to help you forgive yourself Cogdale." Leliana said. "If there is anything we can do for you Cogdale. Please, Please PLEAAASE! Just let me know and I'll do my best to help you my warden." She finished it with a kiss to his cheek.
"I think that's one thing I wish to do." Cogdale whispered. Leliana leaned in closer "what?" she asked. " I don't want to be a warden anymore… I want to live again." Cogdale answered. Leliana brushed her fingers across his cheek. He could feel her well-filed nails brush across his face. Soothing his anxiety.
"I'll be fine. Just still traumatized. The Caenolyns and Couslands didn't die in vein. But the memories still haunt me." He said snatching Leliana's hand and looked her in the eyes. "The memories are my war scars. If there was a way to forget everything I would take it." He said with a subtle tone. "You'd even forget about me Cogdale?" Leliana gasped under her breath. Cogdale stumbled over his words. "No! No no no no! No no! Never Leliana I didn't mean that. But I'm an injured man Leliana I may not seem to be…. But I am." Cogdale said finally releasing his grasp of her hand.
He could remove the images of his family laying on the floor… his brother still twitching in a pool of blood. His father impaled on a spear left in the ground. His mother and sister bonded and throats slit. They will forever haunt Highever. Until the day he could forgive himself for letting his family be slaughtered by Howe's lackeys.
He and Leliana reached the courtyard and a pedestal for a chantry lay sister to recite the Chant of Light stood there. "Perhaps it might help if I could say something from the chant?" Leliana asked. Cogdale nodded. They both knelt and lowered their heads as Leliana began speaking the Chant of Light.
The Maker did give Cogdale a sense of forgiveness as he felt the sunlight warm him up. Cogdale felt a presence near the left of him. Opening his eyes… His father stood over him. The shadow of the spear split Cogdale's face in half. The forgiveness Cogdale had felt was murdered as a terrible fear rushed into Cogdale's eyes once again.