So this is just a little stubby chapter, but I wanted to have a happy ending to this little tale. Maybe Aine and Alistair will have more adventures someday. Like when the expansion pack is released. (heh) But until then, they get to ride off into the sunset together, figuratively anyway. Hope you enjoy it.
Aine would have thought that after all of it, after ending the Blight and everything else, she would never be nervous again. But as she stood staring at her reflection in the long mirror, it felt as if ten thousand darkspawn had taken up residence in her belly. The woman staring back at her in the glass was completely unrecognizable. Aine had grown so used to the image of herself in blood soaked leather armor, the twin hilts of her blades sticking up on either side of her head, her hair sensibly pulled away from her face in braids . . . but this person in the mirror?
She was dressed in gold. Her curls hung free around her face. There was a simple golden circlet on her forehead. No queen this one; Anora, the Queen of Ferelden, was locked in a tower until she swore fealty to the new King. And Aine didn't expect that time would come soon.
This woman in the mirror, in less than an hour, would be the princess consort, and wife of the King of Ferelden. King Alistair Theirin.
"It is time," a small voice called through the door. Aine slowly padded over and opened it. Callia, the elven maid Lady Isolde insisted Aine take into her service, stood outside the door with a broad grin on her face. "You look beautiful . . . your Majesty," Callia said softly.
"Thank you, but lets not start with the titles already, shall we?" Aine said. "I have at least an hour before I'm anything other than perhaps Lady Aine Cousland."
Callia shook her head, "No, Lady Aine, you do not. It is time. Now."
Aine shivered. "Excuse me while I go throw up, will you?"
Callia looked worried. "You do not want to marry the King?"
"I want to be married to Alistair, yes," Aine sighed. "But getting married to the King scares the life out of me."
"I did not know there was a difference," Callia twittered.
"Miles of difference," Aine said. "But I made that damned fool into a King, so I best not moan about it now."
Trying to keep her head on, Aine followed Callia down the hall to a set of closed doors just outside the throne room. The same doors Aine had burst through at the Landsmeet when she set Ferelden on its head. And when she, of all the mad things, proposed to the future King of Ferelden in front of a throng of shocked nobles. The castle chamberlain stood grinning at the door, along with two nervous looking guards.
"Are you ready, my lady?" he asked.
"No," Aine said honestly, "But let's get on with it anyway."
The chamberlain's grin widened. He nodded to the guards who each took a handle of the heavy double doors. Slowly, they pushed the doors open. The room looked far different than it did during the Landsmeet. The open space was filled with chairs, each one filled with nobles and more unexpected guests. Mages and Templars, dwarves and elves; Irving and Wynne, Zevran, Leliana.
And on the dais at the far end, standing in front of his golden throne, King Alistair Theirin, in his gold dragon armor and crown, looked as nervous as Aine felt. Aine stepped forward, crossing the threshold. She stopped as a murmur of voices washed over her. Taking a deep breath, she started forward. Arl Eamon appeared like magic as her side, offering her his arm.
"I know I am not your father," he said quietly. "But I am certain that Bryce Cousland would be a very proud and happy man if he was here. As are we all."
Aine kissed his cheek. "Thank you Eamon. Can you make sure I don't pass out and fall on my face?"
He chuckled. "I will. Now, let us go meet your King, before he faints, shall we?"
Aine didn't even realize her feet were moving. She felt as if she was floating down the thick red carpet laid between the rows of chairs. The throng came to their feet, all eyes on her. Wynne's eyes were damp, and a stoic looking Knight Commander Greagoir had his hand on the small of her back. Zevran winked. Leliana looked blissful. And her brother, Fergus, now Teryn Cousland, was smiling so broadly she thought his face might split open.
Aine felt a sudden pang that the closest friend she'd ever had, enigmatic and sometimes cruel, but always so damned wise, Morrigan was absent. Of course, by now, she was sure to be awkwardly large with Alistair's child. Holy Maker, Aine thought, and shuddered. Pushing the thought away, she absently noticed as Eamon kissed her feverish cheek and left her standing at the base of the stairs.
The Revered Mother beckoned to her, and she tried to focus on each, step, taking care not to step on the hem of her gown. She looked at her hand, grasping the folds of her dress, terrified that if she looked up, she'd never make it. Gently, the Revered Mother took her hand, and she felt it placed in Alistair's. His hands were clammy.
Aine looked up at him and met his eyes. A slow smile spread across his face, the corners of his eyes crinkling in that endearing way she could never resist. Suddenly, all the anxiety she felt melted away like ice at the end of winter. How could she have been nervous? This was why she'd fought so hard; that look in his eyes when he looked at her was the reason she had done it all. It was about sodding time she got a reward for all she'd suffered through.
She loved him. Nothing else mattered.
She knew the priestess said something, but she didn't hear a word of it. She was certain Alistair hadn't heard a word of it either. They just stared at each other and the rest of Thedas disappeared. It was as if they were the only two people left in the entire world, and Aine was perfectly content with that idea.
"Your Majesty," the Revered Mother said, and Aine snapped to attention at this bit. "You may now kiss your bride."
With a smile bright enough to light up the entire room, brighter than the light that sprung from her blade when she ended the Archdemon, Alistair leaned forward and kissed her, pulling her up into his arms so that only the tips of her toes touched the ground. The room burst out into roaring applause and cheers, but Aine didn't hear that either.
All she heard was the beating of her heart, and his. Their hearts now.
Now and forever.