Title: A Bard's Love
Game: Dragon Age Origins
characters/pairing- The Warden, Leliana
Disclaimer- DAO (c) BioWare
Dragon Age: A Bard's Love
Warmth soaked his right arm. He painted the large boulder with his blood. He slid down to one knee his blood giving no room for friction between his armor and the rock. His arm was good as gone. He knew it was broken into a million pieces, he could feel every newly shattered piece rattle around as his muscles tried to clasp onto them. The surge of pain was so bad that he fell numb to it.
But he couldn't devote all of his attention to the useless limb. He limped over to his blade and picked it up with the only arm he had left. He was very clumsy with his left arm in swordsmanship. Oddly enough his attacker had let him compose himself instead of brutally beating him to death as he had expected. Well enough he stood back up, blood shedding off his arm in many streams leaving small and numerous puddles. The figure knocked the air out of him within a blink of an eye. Rushing him and choking him to the point of blacking out.
His frustration only made the scene even more humiliating; squirming in the foe's grasp. Choking on his own spit and blood. His vision blurred. Feeling his enemy's nails dig into his neck was unnerving. As his world darkened around him his vision slowly corrected itself. He soon saw who his attacker was. It had changed from the silhouette he saw from before. This time the figure had a feminine figure, which explained the nails in his throat. But previously the creature was in the form of an ogre. He vaguely remembered it crushing his bones while it pounded him into the dirt.
"You're mine silly warden." The woman said he noticed an orlesian accent with it.
A gasp for air woke Cogdale up out of his nightmare.
"Oh! You're finally awake! I was getting worried you were squirming around for quite a while" a woman said out of Cogdale's line of sight. He turned to see Elle sitting next to his bed. "I read the journal from front to back. Amazing journey you had here." Elle said poking the journal with her finger repetitively. "What happened?" Cogdale asked sitting up. "You screamed and then passed out when you were at the altar." Elle said transferring herself from the chair to the bedside.
"What?" Cogdale said rubbing his brow furiously. "You passed out a while ago out at the altar. Leliana and I carried you to your bed to rest. She is quite worried about you." She said as she itching her nose with 2 fingers. She sighed in relief when the itch went away. "Where is Leliana?" Cogdale asked trying to get out of bed. He noticed he was still in his clothing that he was wearing however long ago. The pillows he laid upon were drenched in his sweat.
"Leliana was asked to appear at Highever's Chantry. She won't be returning for about another day." Elle said playfully drawing the path from Highever Castle down to the city in the air. Why would Leliana be asked to the chantry? Cogdale could only ponder the thought for a second as it was interrupted by a young mage entering the room. "I was asked to come see if I can heal this man?" she said looking at Elle for confirmation. The mage appeared to be young. Her oddly white colored hair was shaggy and some locks were braided together but not many. She also had a very bitter look on her face. As though she was forced to make her presence known to the Cousland.
"Yes mage see if you can get my friend here out of bed could you?" Elle said patting Cogdale's legs. Elle got off the bed, to Cogdale's relief and left the room. The mage walked to Cogdale's side of the bed and knelt down. "Where are you hurt?" she asked gazing at Cogdale's body to see if she could identify the problem herself. "No where, I'm a grey warden I just had a nightmare is all." Cogdale said reassuring the mage.
"A warden! I don't mean to intrude ser but are you by chance the Hero of Ferelden?" She asked her greenish brown eyes wide and at attention.
Cogdale sighed he couldn't deny it; the only wardens that were in Denerim were him and Alistair who just so happens to be the new king. "Yes I am." Cogdale shifted himself to sit up on the side of his bed. " Can I ask you another question?" she waited as a puppy face appeared. Cogdale couldn't deny such a pretty girl her answer. "Okay ask away, I have nothing better to do. Not to mean that this truth or dare spat between us is nothing." Cogdale mumbled.
"Truth or dare?! Oh I love playing that!" She squealed clapping her hands politely.
"Ahem, The question
umm" Cogdale stumbled not knowing the mage's name. "Oh I apologize Warden my name is Helena." She said. "Helena aye?" Cogdale snickered. "Enough enough, anyways my question is
did you ever meet a mage in the circle by the name of Anders?" She looked away from Cogdale embarrassed by her question. "No I didn't the circle was nearly destroyed by the abominations. He either wasn't there or
he was an abomination." Cogdale cleared his throat knowing this Anders she spoke of was someone dear to her.
"I'm sorry if it wasn't what you expected." Cogdale apologized. "No no that's a good thing." She smiled and left the room with a skip to her step. Something Cogdale wasn't expecting that at all. As he got out of bed, he realized that he was covered in his own sweat. He hadn't felt this filthy since leaving the deep roads. Luckily he knew that Highever Castle had a bath although it wasn't regularly cleaned out. It didn't matter; any water would help him remove the feeling of greasiness off of his back. He shuttered when he felt his clothing was soggy. Without hesitation Cogdale threw his shirt off and sped walk to the baths.
Leaving his room for the 2nd time today, instead of the light from a sunrise beating his face. He was given the scolding red of the dusk. It hadn't been raining for hours now and the smell of the soggy moss could be counted for being nauseating or relaxing. Lucky for him the baths were very close to where his room was. Guards were guarding the baths oddly enough.
"Hold ser, The Teyrna is taking a bath, you'll have to wait." Cogdale rolled his eyes and began to walk back to his room so he could wait the Teyrna away. But the guard's cold gauntlets stopped his advancement to the room. "Hold on ser, it seems the Teyrna would like for you to join her. Any funny business though and I'll end you myself." The guard sneered. Cogdale shrugged the guard's hand and entered. The baths had been renovated to have large red carpets drape from every wall with the Cousland Heraldry on them. He had no problems with the simple design of the 2 branches with leafs on them. Definitely better then the Howes' Bear symbol. But nothing could beat his family's heraldry. 2 snakes twisting together with a shield in the middle a redundant design as the image would be placed on shields of the knights of the Caenolyn's but it was definitely more pleasing to the eye then the Couslands' or Howes'
He searched for the Teyrna while covering his eyes with his hands, not wanting to accidentally catch a glimpse of her naked. For several seconds there was no sound, not even a swish of the water. "Hello Cogdale" a giggle jumped behind him. He turned around to see the Teyrna fully clothed only moving her hand through the water.
"My Teyrna! I apologize for barging in but I think I need to wash myself clean, I haven't had a good bath in months." He said with a fake laugh to try to bring the awkwardness down. Elle only smiled looking at Cogdale's physique. Cogdale frowned at odds on why she hadn't responded. He gasped when he realized she was staring at his body. He tore down one of the carpets and covered himself.
"Oh don't fret Cogdale I'm not that kinda woman, I have my eyes on men higher then you." She said as she exited the baths. Cogdale could only smirk knowing whom she was talking about. How she knew Alistair at all was a mystery. For all she knew Alistair was as ugly as an ogre's behind. But maybe that didn't matter. Elle Cousland and Anora Mac Tir seem to have a mean and ugly past with each other. Could be only for status he could only assume. Alistair wouldn't object with a woman with her beauty though.
"I'll leave you to your bath." She said with a smile. The guards followed when she left as they always do. Cogdale jumped into the baths without hesitation something he regretted. The bottom of the baths seemed deeper back when he was younger but he was smaller then. Waves of pain jetted up his legs as they slammed against the hard rock at the bottom. He clenched his teeth holding a scream. When the pain subsided the relaxing water took over. It gave him the opportunity to think why the apparitions of his family were haunting him. Why were they
upset with him? He avenged them by tearing out Rendon Howe's beating heart with his blade. Was that not enough?
Cogdale sighed and rubbed his forehead to clear his thoughts. He needn't to think of such things when this was his time to relax. Time to be quiet and not have anxiety over life. He deserved some quiet time. He wanted it to be with Leliana but the Chantry had her busy at the moment. He didn't want to contest the Chantry either. Cogdale had been a devout Andrastian all of his life. It was the glue to everything in his life. Why question that what keeps your life sane and not polluted by demons and maleficar right? Leliana more faithful to her relationship with him then the Chantry right? If Cogdale were in her shoes he would deny any request the chantry would ask.
Submerging himself under the water he drowned out the sound of the birds and whispers of passer bys. Closing his eyes to the warm water images of his adventures flashed before him. Duncan, The wilds, The Joining, Lothering, Leliana, Redcliffe and the dead, The Circle of Magi, The Dalish and the Lycans, Haven and the Ashes, Orzammar and the Anvil, and the events leading up to the Final battle of Denerim. How those events affected him and how they made him who he is now. Would it be wrong to say he missed that? Having so many friends together at camp in the night. How they had the campfire get togethers and told stories whether they be scary ones of the fade or Oghren's gas, or even the love stories that Leliana nearly sang to them. He missed it; he felt a little empty without his friends.
As he rose out of the water he was greeted by the mage he met earlier; Helena. She was sitting sideways on the ledge of the bath twiddling with her fingers. Something Leliana would constantly do when she was nervous. "Helena what is it?" Cogdale said spitting the bath water that was in his mouth.
" she hesitated with the question she brought. "Please call me Cogdale, I hate being referred to as "The Warden" it drives me nuts." She jumped when he asked her that. "I'm sorry Cogdale I just haven't met one before and the stories they tell
" "Say we are 12 feet tall and ride in on Griffons?" Cogdale asked interrupting her.
" she looked away embarrassed believing those children tales. "You seem like the type of person who can keep a secret right?" She asked biting her lip. Cogdale nodded he wasn't a loud mouth if that was what she was worrying about. Leliana on the other hand.
"I'm an apostate, I've been working here in Highever Castle for the past 2 months helping the people of Highever and rebuilding in some cases." She took a breath as she spoke quick and precise. "I do this to hide from the Templars, but from what I've been hearing from rumors is that they are planning to send a group of them up to Highever to great the new Teyrna." Cogdale got out of the bath and sat next to her. She covered her eyes noticing Cogdale's body was completely naked.
He did his best to cover up what would be considered inappropriate of the moment. "And?" Cogdale said after covering up.
"And they have my phylactery, they'll find me and make me a tranquil, something far worse than death for any mage." Cogdale was starting to get what she was asking him. "They're coming soon, perhaps even tomorrow I have no idea when so I ask you
. Would you please take me on your travels where ever you are going?" Helena asked with disparity in her breath. Cogdale could only think back to several minutes ago on missing all of his friends. Perhaps it was time to bring the numbers back up? But what he had originally planned was to be with Leliana, alone for the rest of their travels. But
they would need a mage to help them in case something might ever happen to them.
"Tell you what Helena, if you promise that you won't go spewing out that we are who we are." He said signifying with quotation movements of his fingers. "Then I'll gladly save you from your own tranquility, odd as that sounds." He said laughing. She smiled and went to hug him but stopped realizing he was wet and
strong. "I'll take a thank you." Cogdale said drying himself off with the rag that was resting on the edge of the bath. "Thank you Cogdale. I'll get all my things." She squealed jumping off the edge and running out of the room. Cogdale smiled and finished drying himself off. He rushed to his room to put on some clothes. He searched the room for some clothes; something dry but he couldn't find anything. Not even in the closets. Until he noticed some clothes on a chair with a piece of torn paper on top of them.
He picked the piece of paper up "Enjoy this I helped" was all that read on the note. He viewed the clothing. It was dark blue and violet made of silk and something so soft it put feathers to shame. Something only an orlesian could do. Cogdale gleefully put the clothing on and jumped on the bed with a great big sigh. The sun had disappeared it was night outside. Everyone had gone quiet and so Cogdale fell asleep awkwardly on his bed away from the sweat he left before. He never figured out why he had such horrible visions but they didn't happen after he fell asleep. So it must have been not having enough rest perhaps he would never know.