Title: A Bard's Love Author: Guyver89 Game: Dragon Age Origins characters/pairing- The Warden, Leliana Disclaimer- DAO (c) BioWare
Dragon Age: A Bard's Love
Chapter O2 Blood and Loss
"I have to ask something Cogdale." Helena asserted moving in front of him to walk backwards at the same pace as him. Cogdale raised an eyebrow to her inquiry. "Of what?" Cogdale asked. "Are you actually invoking The Right of Conscription on me?" She said tilting her head. Her hair swaying to her shoulder her head leaned towards. Cogdale only shook his head with a grin. "No but it was a nice idea by Leliana huh?" Cogdale said. Helena smugly nodded her head in agreement and then returned to the left of Leliana. They would be reaching the city soon. The smoke stacks from the buildings were visible now wind blew it over their heads sometimes blocking the sunlight from their line of sight. Cogdale kept on returning back to the Templars in his mind. Each time becoming more and more diluted from the truth. He lied to himself to ease his worries and what repercussions would be dealt on him and Leliana. He wondered if Leliana was doing the same thing.
Another thought dawned on him though. A pleasant thought to say the least. For the past 2 or 3 weeks he hadn't heard the word "Darkspawn" uttered by anyone. He realized how much that eased his worry. How his old life was in some way returning. Life back when the thought of another blight was ridiculous seeing as the 4th had happened 400 years before. The Grey Wardens were right to try and prepare but Ferelden didn't listen. Thousands of lives lost when they could've been saved. He didn't tread on the thought long though returning to the Templars yet again. Stein was definitely a criminal in disguise but did that give them the permission to kill the rest of the initiates? It was in self-defense. It was in protecting Leliana; He had every right to shove his sword into the poor excuse for The Maker's right hand. The fact Knight-Captain Stein spoke poor King's Tongue annoyed him even more. As if they snatched him off of Denerim's alleyways and shoved a Templar's platemail on him. If that were the case The Order would have to answer for its actions.
"Bodahn is shacked up at the tavern we were at before." Garrden said walking oddly to entertain his short attention span. Cogdale watched his feet twist and turn around each other. The movements made him dizzy and lose his balance while walking. "Woah! Cogdale you okay?" Leliana asked catching him before he found his face against the road. Cogdale could only laugh at his clumsiness. "Yeah I'm perfectly fine I just lost my feet." Leliana laughed with him lifting him back up onto his feet. "I forgot how light this armor was." Cogdale said playing around with it again.
"Don't fiddle with it you!" Leliana said smacking his hand that was grabbing one of the belts keeping his cuirass on his chest. Cogdale shook his hand in surprise and for a comedy effect. "Ow woman!" Cogdale said with a smile. Leliana raspberried him, getting closer for a kiss. "You humans." Garrden sighed speeding up his walk to get ahead of them. All 3 of them shrugged to his disapproval of the kiss. "How long have you two been together?" Helena boldly asked; showing signs she wasn't as shy with them like she used to be. Cogdale and Leliana looked at her puzzled. Both of them didn't really know when it actually started. One could say it started in Lothering and the other could say the night inside the Brecilian forest. Then Leliana looked at Cogdale with a clueless face.
"Um… we're really not sure." Cogdale answered scratching the back of his head. "We've been friends for nearly 2 years." Leliana continued. Helena seemed confused by their confusion. "You guys don't know when you guys fell in love with each other?" "Well I fell in love Leliana the first night we talked… how the stars were paintings of stories the Maker found dear to him." Cogdale said blushing. "I know it sounds fishy but I'd never truly kissed a girl, courted a girl or even been in a relationship with one until Leliana." Cogdale blurted out. Leliana blushed as well. "How sweet awww." Helena exclaimed putting her hands on her cheeks. She then looked at Leliana waiting for her answer. Leliana scrambled to compose herself to answer the question. "Um… I think I fell in love with Cogdale when he gave me his family signet pendant." She said pulling the necklace out of her armor to let Helena look at it. "My word that is beautiful." Helena said her jaw dropped. "Or I could've fallen in love with him back when he first kissed me by surprise." Nudging Cogdale for the act. "I like to think it's the latter but you decide." Leliana said. Helena smiled deciding in her thoughts.
"Cogdale told me you escaped The Circle because the one you loved did before you? If you would care to enlighten me about your story Helena." Leliana said while leaning against Cogdale while they continued to walk to Highever. Garrden was several meters up ahead of them at this point. Trying to block out their conversation by humming to himself and kicking small rocks off the road with force. Cogdale didn't like the arrogant elf but he was well off with that blade. His swordsmanship matched Cogdale's from what Cogdale could tell. Having him on their side in a fight would be and is helpful. "Well it is a long story. I'd rather tell you it when we have time to rest and sit down." Helena said looking down at her feet. "Alright, but make that a promise Helena." Leliana said pointing at her. "Alright." Helena said with embarrassment. "HAY! Highever is right here!!" Garrden shouted pointing down the hill he was on top of. They sprinted up the hill to see if Garrden wasn't yanking their chain. Garrden wasn't joking. Cogdale noticed some landmarks he saw when they went up to the castle the couple days ago.
There was Highever; the city lost most of the snow that buried it earlier. The cobbled roads that twist and turned through the city looked brand new from being polished by the rain. Some of the rooftops had melting snow on top of them. Made the vista of taller structures seem like mountaintops. The fog and snow several days ago had blinded Cogdale and Leliana from the ocean that was very near Highever before. There were no beaches but a cliff leading off into vicious waters. But the sound of waves smashing against the cliffs was loud and apart of Highever's mystique to visitors. Cogdale was accustomed to it, being near it since childhood. But Leliana had her eyes closed and was taking in the sounds of nature. Helena had her staff out and was twirling it. Seemed she had practiced for several years, as she never fumbled it once. "So how did the Teyrna find you?" Cogdale asked her. Helena then threw the staff in the air and caught it to stop her little play. "She was escaping north, heading towards Denerim when our paths intertwined." Helena said pointing north from where they were standing. The hills to the north rolled like waves of the ocean it was so close to.
" It was about three or four days travelling randomly with a road after I got out of the lake with my broken shoulder." She said poking her right shoulder. " I had little mana left to heal my shoulder. Whenever I had enough and the time to I would sit down and spend it healing my ruined shoulder." Helena said her hands glowing with a healing spell to show an example. "Well.. One day I was healing as usual when her group found me. It was her, a dwarf, and remaining guard she had. She offered to help me if I would follow her." Helena paused to look at Cogdale for a second. "Well and here I am now." She said abruptly ending the story. "So you followed her?" Cogdale asked her a little annoyed by her hazy account of how she ended up where she was.
"Well… I wouldn't be here if I didn't now would I?" She said frustrated. "Cogdale she doesn't want to talk about it, please just understand her and what she's gone through." Leliana said trying to wade him off of the topic. Cogdale calmed his nerves and breathed in a big breath of cold air. "If you wouldn't mind lets go find Bodahn and Sandal please!" Garrden said descending down the hill to the entrance of Highever. They followed the sand haired elf. The city guard only tightened their stance in salute to Cogdale recognizing him as a vassal. Cogdale ignored them. Still following Garrden through the crowds of people through the market street the group became a little bewildered bumping into people. It was easier for Garrden being smaller then most as well most humans in Highever ignored the elves in the first place. He glided through the crowds with ease while the 3 of them were being held up in economic traffic. Cogdale made sure they didn't get lost though and held Leliana's hand as a link. Cogdale could only assume Leliana did the same for Helena. After the struggle of navigating the sea of Highever's citizens they finally escaped exhausted from not being trampled on. Garrden waited for them on the other end laughing on how clumsy they were trying to get through.
"You humans hah!" he laughed holding his stomach from bursting. "Very funny elf now come on let's get to the tavern. "We already are here." He said pointing to his left. There was the Tavern entrance from before. There were several new vomit stains that had made it home. Along with 1 complete drunk lying in a pile of barrels. "Lets hope Bodahn is at the entrance I don't want to smell this place for too long." Cogdale said putting his helmet on so no one would at least recognize his face. The Tavern was empty. No soul in Cogdale's line of sight. He saw the dancing table he got up on to vow his vassalage several days ago. How abnormal it was to see a tavern empty. Taverns always had residents even on holy days for Andraste and the Maker. "Bodahn!?" Cogdale called out for the old energetic dwarf, no response. Something definitely wasn't right at all. Unsheathing his blade Cogdale readied himself for an ambush. He had been too gullible too many times to let it slide now. "Get ready for anything." Cogdale said looking back at the girls and Garrden. They did as he said and readied their weapons.
"Where the hell is everybody. It's not like some mabari let one in here or something." Garrden whispered. Helena and Leliana held their breath from laughing. Cogdale noticed the dry blood of the Templars still coated his blade. It felt like ages slowly encroaching into the middle of the tavern. The eeriness of the tavern ran parallel with when Cogdale had to traverse the fade when the sloth demon subdued him and his friends. "Perhaps it isn't an attack or ambush?" Helena softly said under her breath. "Never can be too careful mage." Garrden said trying to twirl his blades just like Helena did with her staff. Still nothing came after the silence. Perhaps the tavern was closed? But that would be a first for a tavern in Highever. "Leliana." Cogdale said trying to get her attention. She was making her way to the back of the tavern but stopped. "Yes?" she murmured.
"What do you think?" Cogdale asked. "I think there is no one here. Probably the tavern is closed." She answered back placing her blades on their holsters on her back. Everyone mellowed out and did the same and met up in the middle. "So where would Bodahn be then Garrden?" Cogdale said forcefully walking up to Garrden to intimidate the foolish elf. Garrden looked around slowly and shrugged. " I have no idea." He said making his way to the tavern exit. Cogdale rolled his eyes and signaled everyone to follow. "Wait!" Helena confidently ordered. All of them stopped and looked back at her. "What?" Leliana asked turning around. "I thought I had sensed something when we entered here." She said talking to herself. "What are you talking about mage?" Garrden asked bothered by her sudden and inept way of telling them to stop.
"I sense blood magic. Or at least it has been used here." Helena said her eyes bled from her reaction. "You're a blood mage!" Leliana took several steps back in shock. "No! no! I'm not! I admit I dipped my fingers in it a bit but that's all." Helena said desperately tried to defend herself. "I've read that even the most novice of blood magic may sense it being used." Garrden said including himself into the moment. "As have I" Cogdale said not taking sides on the fence of the age old prejudice struggle. "I knew we should've let her be taken by the Templars!" Garrden suddenly shouted. "Garrden you didn't even know why we stopped them in the first place don't go picking sides on a fight you don't even know about." Leliana shouted at the elf scaring him half to death. Helena at this point was in tears from the sudden admittance to the forbidden art. "Helena it's alright, you are a good person! I know in the long run love can't be an excuse for using blood magic but lets use it for right now." Cogdale said trying to comfort her. His approach to her was interrupted suddenly as he was hit by a blood spell cracking him against the tavern's walls. "There! Over by the back of the room!" Helena pointed her staff sending bolts into the darkness. Leliana jumped up on a table and ripped her bow off her back and rapidly started firing arrows in the same direction. More blood magic returned fire back at them forcing them to kick some of the tables in the way of the spells even though they did little to stop the violent spells.
Helena began to conjure up a fire spell behind her table "Leliana keep them down for me!" Helena yelled as she continued to flow her mana into the ball of fire. Cogdale watched as Leliana front flipped over her overturned table on top of another and fired off more from her quiver not knowing if they were reaching their target. "Helena do you know how many there are?" Leliana ask jump back behind her previous table. Helena only shook her head. Cogdale had gotten back onto his feet and swung his sword to his side and rushed the darkness. "Cogdale!" Leliana exclaimed noticing him rush blindly into the dark.
"I'm pushing us forward!" Cogdale shouted grabbing a table by its post and using it as a shield. The force of him sprinting down the row of tables with a table in hand caused all the others to be knocked over. Looking back he saw Helena, Leliana and Garrden right behind him. Helena was still building up the fire spell as they entered the darkness. This time Cogdale was in the shins by another wave of sharp blood. It knocked him to his knees but the blood mage was close as he dropped the table when he fell and it had hit him. "He is close! Get him!" Cogdale shouted holding his bruised shins in pain. They didn't pause to see if he was alright as Helena released the inferno upon the doorway that had been plaguing them with blood. The explosion lit up the area instantly. Now they could see clearly who the culprit of this horrible ambush was. It was an abomination. There was little to recognize of who it once was. The masses of flesh protruding from its shoulders were seeping down its skin and flowing into its eyes. The mage had given into a demon.
"Leliana just as we practiced!" Cogdale said getting back up no matter how painful it was to put weight on his legs. Leliana began to jump and flip her way towards the abomination, distracted by Garrden who was throwing his knives into its flesh. The creature roared in anger by the pain it was being dealt. Leliana with one last backflip off a table landed on the enormous shoulders of the abomination. It struggled to get her off but to no avail. Leliana forked her twin daggers into 2 bulbous pustules and then pulled back on them making the possessed mage fall backwards into the wall behind it. Taking the time that it was immobile Cogdale readied his blade at the abomination to his stomach and sprinted towards the monster and jousted the nevarran sword into the creature's bowels and then yanked it up and out its head.
Tainted blood burst from the abomination's skull as all 4 of them took cover. Several seconds later the corpse exploded. Its blood putting out any fires that had been started by Helena's spell. "Maker's trousers." Helena panted. Cogdale flicked his blade to wipe all of the blood of it onto the floor. "Now how in Andraste's might did this happen? Where are all the patrons?" Cogdale asked universally to everyone taking off his helmet. "It had nothing to do with us." Helena said spitting out some of the blood that spilled into her mouth onto the floor. "How do you know?" Leliana asked wiping off blood from her face. "He was just an apostate who fell to a demon that is all." Helena insisted.
"I'll take your word on it" Cogdale said. Some Highever guard finally entered the tavern realizing they were conveniently to late for combat. "Just in time gentlemen." Garrden jokingly said. "What happened here? Where is everybody?" a guard asked. "An abomination, it appears that everyone is… dead or they escaped." Cogdale said patting the guard's shoulder as he walked by. "Hey! Stop!" the guard ordered pulling his sword out. "Seriously ser, please don't test my patience." Cogdale said aggravated. The guard slowly sheathed his blade back and saluted Cogdale, letting them go. "Lets go we'll have to find another way out of Highever…" Cogdale said exiting the tavern. A crowd had formed around the entrance of the tavern. Guards holding them off. The crowd got louder when the group left the doorway. "Messere!" a familiar posh voice shouted out as they entered the street. It was Bodahn with Sandal waving them over. Bodahn had a half eaten apple in his hand as they converged with each other. "Bodahn! We thought you were in the tavern…" Leliana said looking at Garrden. "Oh no I would never let ma boy enter one of those foul establishments." Bodahn said throwing his apple into a pocket of snow left over. "Well should we be knocking off then?" Bodahn said his arms held out wide open to any answer. "Yes" they all said in unison. "Aye, the caravan is just around the corner here." Bodahn pointed walking around said corner. They rushed the wagons and jumped on. All of them wanting to get the hell out of Highever as soon as possible for their own reasons. Garrden, more obvious then others. It took a few moments but Bodahn and Sandal saddled up and shoved the oxen off. Cogdale couldn't believe how much he missed sitting on the wagon now. Leliana found herself in her natural place next to Cogdale. Helena lay on top of the wagon where Alistair used to sit. Garrden sat near Bodahn and Sandal trying to talk to them.
"Orlais?" Cogdale asked with a sigh. Leliana didn't answer only touching his bottom lip with her fingers. Cogdale only could take that as a "shhh" from her. He didn't mind though a little peace and quiet would be nice. The past couple of hours had been unwanted. But at least he finished what he promised. He saved Helena from being turned tranquil even though Templar blood was on their hands. It was childish of him to think that slaying that abomination equaled things out between him and the Maker, or Leliana. When he got the time, he would have to apologize to her for everything he had gotten her into. How he broke his promises to her. But for now he could rest his head on a couple of supplies with his girl on his lap.
i was jumping high when i saw this in my inbox! u can't even understand how much i love ur story o.o it gets better and better everythime i read it XD i even went back to read the end of ur "first ABL" story XD i love it, soooo much.. I CAN'T WAIT TO READ THE NEXT CHAPTER!
oh btw if u want to know how i like anders best then this is the best example i can give u, because this is my favorite anders fanfiction [link] and the reason why i like this one so much is because she REALLY makes anders be like how i see him and like i want him to be, it's soo perfect! D: i have read this fanfiction 3 times XD and if u would be able to catch thoose really smexy and funny sides of anders as she have done, then ur fanfiction will be greater then the greatest fanfiction ever XD and no i don't ask u to read it but u don't have to look far into it to understand what i mean XD
well it's good that he at least is a little like my old lovely anders..!^^ <3 oh no! D: he will be Anders/Justice? o.o" hopefully ur story will come up with a way to get justice out of anders e.e that would be awesome :'D XD
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`anmari has been spreading her infectious positivity throughout our community for over 6 years. Throughout this time Ana has been at the core of all things devious, passionately developing an eclectic gallery, helping organise devmeets, participating in chat events and also recently completed dedicating her time as a Community Volunteer. We are absolutely delighted to bestow the Deviousness Award for May 2013 to `anmari, congratulations! Read More