Here lies everything
The world I wanted at my feet
My victory's complete
So hail to the king
Arise and sing
Alistair stands atop the fort, distantly aware of the armies surrounding him cheering. Behind him, the corpse of the archdemon is still warm, and a handful of warriors under orders from the fallen Riordan begin the laborious task of draining the dragon's blood into vats for the future Grey Wardens. Mages who can still stand are casting healing spells on the injured, and fighters mourn the fallen with pride – today, no loss was in vain. Oghren is swigging from a hipflask, Morrigan is already gone, and Wynne is directing the healers, leaning heavily on her staff. But Alistair, the king of Ferelden, has eyes only for the body that lies at his feet.
She could be sleeping, but for the bloodstained lips and glassy eyes. Her hair is splayed around her like a bastardised halo, all knots and tangles. He is sure her arms were never that thin. Tight in her grasp, the sword still drips onto the stone slabs. She is pale skin and too-still limbs, and she has made him the last of the Ferelden Grey Wardens. One day he may even forgive her. He gently reaches down to close her eyelids, and wonders if anyone will mourn the second death, his death, on that rooftop.
His rule is fair and just, but tough. Nobles whisper in corners about that gaze of his – like steel that has seen too much war and bloodshed, they say. He cares not for the rumours. He weds Anora, out of a sense of duty, but she iss quick to find him changed, not as manipulatable as Cailan. She is soon with child, a fact that pleases the country, but if anyone notices their loveless glances, nothing is said.
Promises are kept – troops are on rotation to Orzammar every half-year, to help win back the Deep Roads, and within five cycles of the seasons the dwarves have gained back three important thaigs. The Dalish send ambassadors to educate their city brethren, and every week another group leave the Alienage to join them. It is not a life for everyone, though, and Bann Shianni looks after those who stay with pride and humility.
Wynne passes beyond the Fade within the season, and Alistair is by her side, along with Oghren. She is given a ceremonial burial, and people notice the real emotion that captures the king, the first real emotion they have seen since the passionate speech he gave at the funeral of the Grey Warden who ended the Blight.
Grey Warden. A title that is slipping into memory like a dream. Like the griffons.
And then one bright morning, on the prince's 21st birthday, the king leaves the city. The announcement that rings from the castle later that evening speaks of the death of King Alistair, and the crowning of King Duncan, to be arranged after the proper period of mourning.
And two weeks later, in the Deep Roads below Orzammar, a Grey Warden whose eyes are colder than the sword in his hand prepares for the end.