Author: tklivory PM
Sometimes you can find it shining even in the midst of death and tragedy...Rated: Fiction K - English - Drama/Fantasy - Leliana & Alistair - Words: 631 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 4 - Published: 11-02-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7517260
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It had been altered many years ago, in thanks for kindness rendered. An apostate, fleeing the implacable Templars, had happened upon the nascent town that hadn't even decided upon a name yet, and found shelter with a sympathetic shemlen who had lost a child to the Templars and the Tower, and thus had no reason to aid his pursuers. In gratitude, the elvish mage magicked the shem's favorite rosebush so that the blooms it produced would not fade as others did, but remain fresh and new and lovely.
For many years, the shemlen enjoyed her beautiful roses, when one day of a sudden they withered and fell from the bush, leaving it bare and thorny and lifeless. With a certainty she could not explain, the woman knew that the kind elven mage she had helped was dead, murdered by those who thought they knew best. When the Chantry offered her a tidy sum for her land so they could build a headquarters in what was now known as Lothering, she quietly accepted and went west to Redcliffe.
The sisters tried to get rid of the rosebush, and were surprised when they discovered its roots went too deep to be pulled from the earth. The Chantry was built nevertheless, with the bush relegated to a forgotten corner of the vast gardens, mourning the loss of its mother and father.
When the Orlesian bard came to Lothering, running from herself and from her past, she felt a strange sense of kindred with the withered plant, almost as if she could sense the sadness that emanated from it. She found herself checking on the rosebush frequently during her stay there, singing quietly to it during her hours of contemplation in the Chantry gardens, lavishing upon it attention that she could not elsewise dedicate. And, eventually, when it sensed her distress of an evening, caused by a particularly bleak but enlightening nightmare, it called forth the last reserves it possessed and produced one final bloom: a rose of such beauty that it turned any lingering despair she possessed into hope.
Yet it was not the bard who plucked this last offering, but a man who happened to be passing by, his heart in turmoil. He had lost everything of meaning in his life, all that had given him purpose since he had been rescued from a life of servitude to the Chantry, and in his confused state his feet instinctively turned towards the place that had for most of his life meant 'home'. There, in a deserted corner of the neglected garden behind the Chantry proper, he found the twisted and gnarled bush, empty of life save for one single red rose that glistened softly in the moonlight.
The man contemplated the sight for a few moments, struck to the core by how much it reminded him of his life. He had nothing - no comrades, no family, no future - save one last hope: a fellow Grey Warden that he had known for only a few short days. Yet, even amongst all that had happened, despite the pain of his own life, he could recall with exactitude the color of her eyes, the confidence of her stance, and the sorrow on her face. He wasn't alone in death and tragedy, he realized.
Nor was he alone.
Acting on impulse, he reached out to take the rose, cradling it gently in hands more accustomed to destruction than creation. Its delicate scent filled the air around him, granting him a small measure of peace in the midst of the impending darkness. As he left the garden, he carefully tucked it into his belongings. It wasn't much, but it was a sign of hope.
The Grey Wardens would need all the hope they could get.