I recently finished the main story on Dragon Age: Origins. And as anyone can tell you, it's a pretty amazing game. It's unlike any other game I have ever played. It's more like reading a book to me. When I first started playing I knew nothing about the game. I figured it was simply another RPG whereby I could "kill stuff and break things" to my heart's content. And then I found her. The single most exciting and mysterious person I will never meet, Morrigan. I was hooked. I had never heard of romance in a video game. Not like this, anyway. And as I played something happened. The "kill stuff and break things" urge diminished and I found myself more and more interacting with the other characters in the game. I developed an empathy and connection towards them. Something else I had never experienced in a video game. I started to notice that while Bioware had provided the means, I was essentially making my own game, writing my own story.
While I can go on and on about my experience, I will try to keep this as brief as possible. It is sufficient to say that the ending floored me. I honestly thought the ending was absolutely horrible. Anyone who romanced Morrigan has met the same fate. The ending was so bad that it ruined the game for me. I felt cheated. So Dragon Age: Origins is either the absolute best I game I have ever played, or the worst. And since there are whole threads on forums across the internet discussing that very topic I won't get into it here. I've even seen a support group for it. All I can say on the subject is that the people at Bioware unwittingly recreated similar events from my own life, a bad time in my life. Someone who meant everything to me just up and left with no word or explanation.
I had to do something. I don't know if I trust Bioware to give me the closure I am seeking. I'm almost afraid of the next Dragon Age game because of this. Origins, while cryptic, had a certain finality to it that I found disturbing. That couldn't be all there was to The Warden and his golden-eyed witch. So I continued the story. My story. And yes, it mainly consists of the relationship between the Grey Warden and his Witch of the Wilds. What follows is my interpretation of events that take place following the Battle at Denerim based soley on how my character proceeded through the game and what I see happening next.. And while his name is used, it is used sparingly. I did this for two reasons: first, because in the game the main character is only referenced as "The Warden" and I was trying to be true to the style. And secondly, because that way it's easier for others to be able to insert their own character into the story if they wish. I tried to write the story as if I was still playing the game and hopefully it will have that feel. Some places will be familiar, others are new and of my own invention. And while I never explicitly detail events from within the game, some things are mentioned. So if you have not played the game to it's conclusion, be warned.
Dragon Age: Origins-
Orbs of Arastani
His sword had never failed him. Not it all the battles he'd ever fought before. Not against the terrors in the village of Redcliffe, nor in the bowels of the Earth along the Deep Roads fighting the horrendous creatures known as darkspawn. His sword had never failed him. It seemed almost to be a magical gift, The Warden thought. He and his sword were one. There was a sort of effortless symmetry between blade and man as they cut their way from foe to foe in a macabre ballet. His sword had never failed him. Not until today. Today. For the first time. His sword failed him. And it cost a good man his life.
It had been several weeks since the armies of the darkspawn had been defeated, the archdemon destroyed by The Grey Warden, and the blight eradicated from the scarred face of Ferelden. The new king, Alistair Thierin, was busy organizing the rebuilding of his kingdom's ravaged lands. Bandits were rampantly preying upon the poor souls who managed to flee the blight before it destroyed their homes and towns. Alistair had dispatched The Warden to the southeastern part of Ferelden, to a small village named Frostcreek. The bandits were especially active in that region since it became a gathering point for refugees escaping the darkspawn; some from as far away as the city of Denerim far to the north.
Tents and small, hastily erected, shacks littered the countryside just beyond the village. The smell coming from the many refugee camps was that of fear and hopelessness. The ground was trampled and muddy from the constant trodding of both beast and man. The village, once considered a quaint getaway haven for some of Ferelden's wealthiest nobles, was now nothing more than an infested slum. Conditions were far worse than any of the elven alienages that were in many of Ferelden's larger cities.
The many hundred small fires burning in the camps began to cast a soft glow as night began to stretch it's dark fingers across the land. There was an odd serenity to the scene, The Warden thought as he sat on his sturdy wooden chair and looked out from his small cloth and leather tent.
The sound of men walking in heavy armor towards his tent alerted The Warden. Three men by his count. Two walking side-by-side and a third following slightly behind. The Warden had spent the last several days without sleep, fighting what seemed to him like every bandit that ever rode upon Ferelden. But that was pale compared to the man who approached him now. The Warden knew this was the final and unavoidable showdown he'd been regretting for several weeks.
"I knew I'd find you sulking about in here." Alistair said as he entered the tent, his two guards waiting outside.
"Your majesty," replied The Warden.
"Agh! You know I hate it when you call me that," Alistair quipped. "Maker's breath! I swear the only reason you put me on the throne was so you could torture me!"
"You know that isn't true, Alistair." The Warden said.
"I know. But you have to admit that you do like it, though. The torturing me part that is."
The Warden looked up at Alistair and smiled. The man everyone else thought of as the king of Ferelden was The Warden's most trusted friend and ally during the last dark months of the blight. They had a special connection that few men ever understand. The kind of connection that only comes from facing death together on numerous occasions and always finding a way to come out the victor.
"I only have a few moments," Alistair's said, his tone becoming serious, "I just wanted to see if you were ok. I heard about what happened to Finneas."
The Warden's gaze immediately dropped at the mention of the name. "Finneas was a good man." was all he uttered.
"It wasn't your fault, you know."
"How, Alistair? How was it not my fault?" The Warden said, as he raised his head to meet Alistair's gaze. "You weren't there. I was the one who lead the attack on the bandit's camp. It was my responsibility." The Warden's focus again returned to the ground, "It was my mistake that cost Finneas his life."
"True, I wasn't there. But I know you," Alistair said as he sat in the chair next to The Warden, "And I know you are my most capable commander." Alistair paused for a moment to consider his next words. Something that he had never been too particularly good at before, but prayed just this once he would get it right, "You've seen men fall in battle before. And Finneas is no different. He died protecting what he loved. He died a good death."
"It doesn't feel the same." The Warden said softly.
"I know you've been under a great deal of pressure. We all have. The blight may be over but our work is just beginning. We've got bandits and plague to contend with as well as rebuilding villages all across Ferelden. Orzamar is requesting help to deal with yet another darkspawn attack. They're making a push up through the deep roads. Then there's the little task of rebuilding the Grey Wardens..."
"I know, Alistair." The Warden said as he met the king's gaze, "I'll be alright. You know you'll have my best."
"No," Alistair replied, "I won't have your best. I haven't had your best in some time." Alistair rose from his chair and stood, staring out the front of the tent as if thinking about things long in the past, "I thought that maybe you'd forget by now, that you would at least be better. I had hoped, anyway."
The king turned around and faced his friend, "Don't you think I know that you scour the refugee camps and comb whats left of the towns searching for something, anything, that might lead you to her?"
The Warden of course knew that Alistair was right. While he may have survived the final, climatic clash with the archdemon, something inside him died that night as well. For it was not long after the battle that she left, just as promised, never to be seen or heard from again. And The Warden had felt incomplete ever since. He had spent long hours searching for any morsel of information that might lead to her whereabouts. But time and again all he found was a cold trail. She had even given him an enchanted ring that created a link between them, but it rarely worked anymore. And even when it did all he knew was that she was thinking of him and maybe that she missed him. But he wasn't sure.
"You know I've done what I could to help you find her. We've searched the Korcari Wilds for days and found nothing but Flemeth's abandoned hut. I've sent men out to hunt down even the smallest rumor or clue. But I can't do it anymore, Dwemer. I just don't have the men or the resources. They are desperately needed here."
"I know," The Warden said, "and your help is greatly appreciated, Alistair."
"Look, your head hasn't been right since we drove the last of the darkspawn from Denerim. I need you. People aren't looking to me as much as they are you. To them you are a savior. The Hero of Denerim is what they call you. You give people hope when they think they haven't anything left at all. I need your help to rebuild Ferelden. We all do." Alistair explained, "She doesn't want to be found. She told you so herself but that's something you'll never accept. I know that now," Alistair paused and took a breath as if to summon up the courage, "which is why I am removing you as head of my armies in the southeast. Ban Thailenari will be taking your place effective immediately."
"What?" The Warden blurted out in disbelief as he lept from his chair, "Alistair, you can't be serious!"
"I am serious," Alistair said as he placed his hand on The Warden's shoulder, "We both know you're distracted and I need your full focus now more than ever."
"What are you saying, Alistair?" The Warden asked
"I never actually thought I'd find myself actually saying this...but..." Alistair hesitated, then reluctantly continued, "go, my friend. Search for her. You're no good to me or anyone else like this. Go find Morrigan."
"I can't do that! There is too much to be done here in Ferelden for me to just leave."
"Thailenari is a good commander and the men respect him. Far be it from me to tell anyone, especially you, what's right and wrong. But I know that you need to do this, even if you don't. We'll manage without you." Alistair said, a small glint appearing in his eyes, "Call it a repayment for you're making me king."
"You're never going to let me live that down are you?"
The Warden had just finished stuffing his pack with all the essential items he would need and was placing it on the cot when Alistair arrived.
"Oh, look." Alistair said, "Another drab-gray morning. It's getting to be my favorite color, you know."
"Good morning to you, too." The Warden replied
"I see your packed so I guess that means you're off then. Any idea where to?"
"I heard Leliana went west, towards the village of Terwir. She might be helping to re-establish the Chantry there. I figure that's a good place to start."The Warden said as he tossed his pack over his shoulder.
"Leliana? Why her?" the king asked, puzzled.
"I saw her and Morrigan talking in camp the night before Denerim. It's a long shot, but it's all I've got right now."
"And if you do find Morrigan? What then? What do you even expect?"
"I'm not sure. But you were right. I need to at least try to find her." The Warden said as the two men walked out of the tent and headed for the small dirt and mud path that led out of the encampment.
"This is as far as I can go, my friend. I can help you when you save the world, but saving yourself...that you get to do on your own." Alistair said, holding out his hand towards The Warden.
"Thank you for everything, Alistair." The Warden replied as the two men clasped forearms and parted.
"I know this was my idea, but try not to be too long about it. Remember, Ferelden needs it's Hero of Denerim back soon...and in one piece. And tell Morrigan that she owes me one. Bloody witch never liked me anyway." Alistair quipped only half-sarcastically.
"She liked you well enough."
"Oh, really?" Alistair asked, surprised, "And what makes you say that?"
"She didn't slit your throat while you slept." The Warden answered with a wry grin.
"How very comforting." Alistair said with more than a bit of uneasiness is his voice..
It took The Warden three weeks to track down the bard named Leliana in western Ferelden. But he had finally located her just south of the village of Haven. He had been told that a flame-haired priest from Orlais had set up a temporary chantry to serve the refugee camps in the area. He would be there by nightfall and hoped his path would lead to some answers.
The Warden walked into the camp at dusk. The camp itself was like those found all across Ferelden; filled with miserable people with hopeless looks on their faces for as far as the eye can see. His source had told him that Leliana could be found near the center of the camp by the main bonfire
He was still wearing his helm so that people wouldn't recognize him and fawn over the Hero of Denerim, or at least that's what told himself. In reality he was ashamed. Ashamed of his own selfish needs. His gaze never met that of another person, man or child, as he made his way to the center of the camp. These people suffered and it was his duty as a Grey Warden to help. And yet he willingly neglected that duty for his own gain.
"Damn you, Morrigan." He muttered to himself.
There was a large bonfire in the center of the camp that stayed lit through all hours. Beside which was a large circular white tent that was sparingly decorated with a variety of religious symbols. And while it was not a large or grand chantry, it seemed to serve the needs of those in the camp. There was even a chantry board posted just outside the entrance to the tent that listed several jobs the chantry had to offer.
The Warden pulled back the tent flap and entered removing his helm as he did so. In the dim candlelight he could make out two figures in priests clothes. And while all priests in Ferelden are female, he was certain neither of these were Leliana.
One of the priests turned to face The Warden, saying, "I'm sorry but the revered mother is away at the moment attending to an urgent matter elsewhere in the camp. Is there something I might be able to help you with?"
"Thank you, but I wasn't looking for the revered mother. I was wondering if you might have a priest here by the name of..."
"Dwemer!" Came a shout from behind The Warden. And before he could prepare himself she was upon him, wrapping her arms around him in a big squeezing hug.
"Leliana!" The Warden exclaimed.
"You will address her as 'revered mother' and by nothing else," one of the priests commanded.
"He can call me whatever he wants." Leliana shot back in her thick Orlaisian accent.
"What? You're the revered mother?" The Warden could hardly believe it. Sure, Leliana had always put a great deal of trust into her faith. But he still had a hard time picturing her as a revered mother of the Chantry. "How...?"
"Is it that surprising that I'm the revered mother?" Leliana replied in mock anger.
"No...No, I suppose not..." The Warden stammered.
"Revered mother, who is this man?" one of the priests asked.
The Warden placed his finger to his lips making the shush gesture, his back turned so that only Leliana could see him.
"This is a dear friend of mine from Denerim who I haven't seen in a long time. Now if you'll please excuse us." Leliana said as she and The Warden walked out of the tent.
The pair made their way to the bonfire. A bench made from scrap pieces of wood offered them the only place to sit. Leliana was the same as The Warden last remembered her, which seemed like years ago even though it had only been a few months. She was just as giddy and talkative as ever.
There was a time when he would only half-listen to the many tales that she told around the campfire. But that night he listened intently to every word she said. He had forgotten how to enjoy the simple things, and she was reminding him. Just like she always did.
"After the blight there was a shortage of available priests to offer services to those who had lost everything. I was chosen to head this chantry because of my role in aiding the Grey Wardens at the Battle of Denerim." Leliana explained, "I guess I have you to thank for that."
"You don't need to thank me. We wouldn't have been able to do what we did at Denerim if it weren't for your help." The Warden said.
"But you didn't come all this way to hear about me. You've had the same look all night. I know that look. You have something on your mind." Leliana always did have a way of seeing right through him.
"Is it that obvious?" The Warden asked.
"Considering you look like hell, and there's a rumor that the Hero of Denerim hasn't left his tent in weeks..."Leliana pondered, "then it can only be one thing."
"And what would that be?"
"Morrigan," Leliana answered, "You're looking for Morrigan aren't you?"
"I don't know how much help I can be, but I will try. What do you need?"
"I need you to tell me what Morrigan said to you the night before she left." The Warden asked, "That night in camp I thought I saw you two talking. If she told you anything or gave you some sort of clue as to where she might be going..."
"I am sorry. But she did not tell me her any of her plans. I did not find out that she was even leaving until afterward." Leliana said, "but I will tell you what she said to me and maybe that might help." Leliana paused briefly as if realizing something, "Come to think of it, she was acting rather odd that night."
"Odd? How so?"
"It's hard to explain. But she seemed different. Almost like she was worried about something. Not about her concern for you. But something else. I'm not sure what it was. Let me tell you what happened and maybe that will explain it."
Leliana's feet were killing her. They had been marching relentlessly for two days in order to face the darkspawn horde at Denerim. The next day would bring the final clash against the archdemon. But for now, she relaxed by the warmth of the fire. Leliana was not unaccustomed to war. To the contrary. She was a formidable opponent on the battlefield. And she knew that thinking about the battle to come was fruitless. Until that time she would rest and focus herself.
"Leliana?" someone said from behind her. She turned to see Morrigan standing just at the edge of the fire's glow. Morrigan normally stayed by her own fire, away from the others, even when The Warden was in camp. Most often making him come to her. And she rarely spoke to anyone but him, unless she was being cruel and manipulative. "I would have a moment to speak with you."
"Morrigan, I really don't have the time..."
"Please." Morrigan said softly.
That one word cut through the bard quicker than any steel. Never before did Leliana hear Morrigan utter it. And worst of all, the earnestness in her voice told Leliana that she meant it.
"Is something wrong?" Leliana asked the mage, genuinely curious.
"If one more person asks me that I swear I shall set their hair on fire!" Morrigan fumed, instantly returning to form. "However, 'tis not what I wish to discuss."
"What is it, then?"
Morrigan turned her gaze away from Leliana, "I wish...only to talk." Morrigan's normally smooth and eloquent demeanor vanished. This too was new.
"You want to talk to me? What are you up to?" Now Leliana was completely puzzled. Morrigan could be more cruel and cunning than any person she had ever met. And Leliana was more often than not the favorite target of the witch's. Morrigan never even called Leliana by her name, simply referring to the bard as "that girl".
"I am...not good at these sorts of things. I've never had reason to be before." Morrigan said as she looked into the flames. Her radiant, golden eyes glowing in the light. "'Tis no secret that we've not been close, you and I."
"Is there a point to all of this, Morrigan?"
"Please. This is important." the witch said, pausing for a moment to regain her composure,. "You were both right about me. I was being...selfish." Leliana could hardly believe her own ears. Did she just hear Morrigan admit to being selfish? "He cares for you very much. He trusts you. I...I just wanted to tell you that I do not mind your friendship with him."
"Why are you telling me all of this?" Leliana asked, unable to grasp the witch's game.
"I have been cruel to both you and your comrades. My comrades. I was jealous of your friendship with The Warden and displayed myself in all sorts of terrible ways. But tomorrow he will need you. He will need all of his friends. You make him stronger."
"He makes us stronger, too.." Leliana said, "That's how friendship works."
"I have never had friends so I would not know." Morrigan said softly, "'Tis all I wished to say." The witch turned and walked slowly back into the night, back to her own self-imposed exile.
"And that was it." Leliana said, "We never spoke again after that." The Sun was starting to rise and the first faint light of day was beginning to trickle in. The bonfire from the night before had been reduced to smoldering ashes. They had talked all night and The Warden hadn't felt this good in a long time. He and Leliana had had many such talks in the time they had known one another, but this was perhaps the most important, he thought.
"I could tell she was genuinely worried about you. Whatever you believe her motives were, Dwemer, you have to know she truly cared." Leliana said with that comforting look that only she could give. It had been too long since he had seen it. "Maybe it's best that you don't find her. I did not get the impression she wanted you coming after her anyway."
"So everyone keeps reminding me. But what am I supposed to do, Leliana?" The Warden asked as he stood from the bench. "She's all I think about. Night after night she haunts my dreams. I see her in everything. In everyone."
"There is a saying in Orlais: No matter how beautiful the rose, you have to let go eventually or the thorns will make you bleed." Leliana's gaze meeting his as she spoke. "You are a very dear friend to me. We have helped each other face many hurdles. But I can't help you with this. Only you can decide whether you want to bleed or let go."
The Warden had been heading north, toward Orzammar, when he received word from Wynne requesting that he meet her at Circle Tower. So The Warden set off eastward. Towards Lake Calenhad, a journey of several days.
Circle Tower was still in good condition as this was one of the areas least affected by the blight. Circle Tower's scars might not have been visible on the outside, but they ran deep. The last time The Warden was at Lake Caldenhad, the tower was dealing with turmoil from within. Turmoil that claimed the lives of many mages and threatened to collapse the Circle of Magi itself. He had killed the demon responsible, having to make a journey to the fade to do so.
As The Warden approached the tower he noticed several well-armored guards standing at the entrance to the base of the tower. The royal coat of arms proudly displayed on their breast-plates. "Alistair..." The Warden muttered to himself as he made his way toward the heavy wooden doors. The guards eyed him suspiciously as he opened the door and went inside.
"It's about time you got here." Of course it was Alistair who greeted him first.
"Sorry to keep you waiting." The Warden responded with the typical sarcasm that had always been a part of their banter. "I didn't even know you'd be here." he said as he reached out his arm to greet the king.
"We found something. Something that might be useful in your search."
"What is it?"
"We found a map." Alistair said with a wide smile, "It's an old map. Maybe a thousand years or more. At least that's what Wynne thinks."
"Wow. An old map." The Warden's reply thick with sarcasm. "So in case I need to ever know where the roads used to be."
"Will you be serious for a minute? The map's enchanted."
"Enchanted? How so?"
"I'll let Wynne explain that part. Mainly because I didn't understand it when she explained it to me." Alistair said as they started up the long flight stairs that lead to the top of the tower.
"Where did it come from?" The Warden questioned.
"We're not really sure were it originated. It was located locked inside a chest in an ruined temple in the eastern Bracilian Forest. Near the coast. I might tell you about it sometime. It's really quite an amazing story." Alistiar explained as they climbed the stairs, "How we got it isn't as important right now as what it does."
Upon reaching the end of the staircase, The Warden and Alistair were greeted by an apprentice mage. She was a young woman with blonde hair that was intricately braided and rolled into two small buns as was the fashion for most Fereldan woman. "I am Nirfil, Enchanter Wynne is expecting you. Please come with me."
Nirfil led the two men down a long, arched corridor. At the end was a single metal door. Nirfil gracefully opened the door and gestured the men inside. The Warden entered the room and was greeted by tables covered in books, scrolls, and all other sorts of arcane texts. Large bookshelves lined the room in rows. This was no doubt the Circle library.
"Do you remember what you were doing the last time we were in this room?" Alistair asked The Warden.
Yes, I do. It's nice to see they cleaned it up since we were here last." The Warden's voice once again brimming with sarcasm. Of course The Warden remembered this room. This was the room where he and Morrigan had shared their first kiss. It was a brief and unexpected thing, but The Warden cherished the memory as one of his favorites.
"Dwemer, so good to see you." A woman said as she raised her head from behind one of the stacks of books that lay on the table she toiled at.. She was an older woman, with flowing white hair and an ornate robe that proclaimed her as an Enchanter. This was Wynne. She had been living in the tower most of her life when The Warden first met her. While their first meeting didn't go well, The Warden in time came to rely on Wynne's wisdom and quiet strength. She provided invaluable assistance in helping The Warden gather the armies Ferelden needed to face the blight.
"Come here and see what I've found out about the map." she said, gesturing the two men closer with her hand.
As the two neared the table, Wynne began to carefully unroll what looked like a large piece of parchment onto the table. "This map is over two thousand years old." Wynne said, "predating even the Tevinter Imperium. From a time far before the first Age."
Wynne continued to explain that the map was from an ancient city-state in western Thedas that had long since faded into history and that it's purpose was to locate things which could not be located otherwise. Whatever those things might be. Magical lyrium had been folded into the paper and added to the ink as the map was made giving it enchanted properties.
"So how do we use it?" asked The Warden as he stared intently at the many small runes drawn onto the surface of the map.
"There's the crux," Wynne answered, "You can only find the object that seeks to be found. If the desired location was never intended to be revealed then the magic of the map will be prevented from working."
The Warden was sure that in her heart Morrigan wanted him to find her. It was the only thing that kept him going all these long months of searching.
"We will also need several components for the spell to work properly. Most are simple enough ingredients but will take some time prepare. But I need something that binds you and Morrigan together. Something that is hers but something that is yours as well." Wynne said as he thumbed through several tombs of knowledge to double-check herself. "I'll need to use the ring she gave you, warden. But know this: whatever answers the map gives or doesn't give you, the ring will be destroyed when the spell is cast."
"So we get one shot at this. Just like always" Alistair said with a half-grin.
"How long before everything is ready?" The Warden inquired.
"Tonight, when the sky is in full darkness. Halfway between nightfall and dawn, only then can the spell be cast and the enchantment invoked. That is when we will proceed." Wynne said with a seriousness in her voice that made The Warden uneasy. He had never allowed himself to get his hopes up before. But those same hopes that had been crushed and hidden away for so long began to creep out, despite The Warden's best efforts.
"In the meantime, warden, we have not seen each other in some time and it would be good to talk." the Enchanter's voice was almost motherly at times. Wynne had indeed become a sort of mother figure to The Warden. They first met not long after the death of his real mother at the hands of Lord Howe's men.
They walked along the corridors of the tower until they came to an unassuming wooden door. This was Wynne's office. It was were she could be found when not in the tower library or teaching apprentices the fundamentals of the magic talents that they possesed.
"Come, and sit" Wynne said as she pushed a pile of books off of one of the chairs that was in the small and cluttered room. "Don't mind the clutter. I have something I need to talk with you about. Something I need to tell you."
"What is it?" The Warden questioned.
"It's something I promised I would never tell you. But it's also something I should have told you long ago."
"I don't understand, Wynne. What are you trying to say?"
"I'm saying that I was the last to see Morrigan. I saw her as she made her way out of the castle at Denerim."
"What?" The Warden asked, shocked. "Why didn't you ever tell me this before? Did you talk to her? What did she say?"
"She made me promise to never tell you what I saw or what was said. But I'm too old for secrets now. Too old for games. And you...you were in love." Wynne's eyes seemed to drift off into the distance. To another time and place. A sentimental place that the old mage hadn't been to in years. Wynne had initially been the strongest voice against his joining with the witch, but in time she became warmed by the couple as they grew towards each other. She would become the only member of his party to speak out in his defense on the matter.
"Why do they always have to have a celebration after a battle?" Wynne asked herself as she quietly made her way from the main hall, which was still a bloody mess from the battle, to the servants entrance on the side of the main building. It would be quiet there; no gleeful revelers to contend with.
Wynne understood that these people were celebrating their very existence, that Ferelden had come to the brink of the abyss only to be saved by the efforts of one man. But there were many wounded and killed. They made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of their families and homes. Where was their celebration? But such is the way of things. So let them have their celebration tonight, she thought. The mess will still be here tomorrow. And it will remind them of what they've lost.
The old mage sat in the western garden of the palace in denerim. She looked up at the stars, which were frequently covered by smoke, and wondered if the Maker even noticed. Wynne stayed there in the garden for some time. She contemplated many things.
Some time had passed at she thought to retire. She was still a capable mage and one of the most competent healers in all Ferelden. But even she would tire. And there was still so much left to do. There was always need of her.
As she began to rise from the marble bench on which she sat, she heard soft footsteps. As if someone was walking barefoot across the stone floor and they were about to exit the main building into the garden where she was. "Darkspawn." The old sage said to herself as she grasped her staff and began to channel it's power. "Shal'Karhum!" she said aloud and the tip of the staff burst into a bright blue light that lit the garden as if it were day, revealing the "darkspawn".
"Morrigan?" Wynne asked, "Is that you? Where are you going?"
"I am taking my leave of you. All of you." the witch hissed.
"Did something happen?"
"'Tis not your concern, old woman. Suffice to say that the day has been saved and the battle has been won. My services are no longer required, therefore, my presence is no longer required." Morrigan hissed again. This time with an even more serpentine venom, as she quickly made her way past Wynne and towards the garden gate that led out of the palace.
"Does he know?"
Morrigan stopped at the mere mention of him, her feet suddenly frozen to the cold stone.. "Yes...and no. He knows only that I am leaving, though, not when. I would prefer to avoid any …..awkward goodbyes."
"Did he ask you to leave?" Wynne asked, puzzled.
"Then why are you leaving? You and The Warden have obviously become very close. Why would you leave now?"
"Why can you not mind your own business, old woman?" the witch had once again found the strength to pry her defiant feet into motion.
"He loves you." the old sage said, "I know you would never allow him to tell you such a thing, but he does."
Morrigan's feet betrayed her once more. Her head dropped, eyes closed. "Is this what it feels like? I have no experience at such things. I thought that it might be. I had hoped."
"He'll look for you. He'll move the Earth to find you."
"I know. But in that endeavor he shall fail. He must fail. For us both."
"Do you really believe the man who gathered the armies of Ferelden to face the darkspawn in a matter of mere months; who, with his own blade, drove life from the archdemon itself," Wynne said, with a distinct air of certainty, "and who took a vile creature from the wilds and taught her what friendship compassion and love were...can't find you?"
"He cannot save me. No matter how much he might wish it. No matter how much...how much I might wish it." Morrigan spoke softly as she turned to face the elder mage. "I cannot change what I am. He cannot change what I am." Morrigan paused briefly, she had finally found the strength to move her feet once more. "I would trust that you make no comment to him about our...talk?"
"I will tell him nothing. But know this, Morrigan: You nor he can change what he is either."
The witch silently nodded. Somehow she found the strength to move her feet once more. And she was determined not to let them stop this time. Not until she had reached the gate, opened the latch, and walked out of his life.
"And then she was gone." Wynne finished as she and The Warden sat in her office in Circle Tower. "I told her I wouldn't tell you. But I broke that oath. I do not do such things easily, or without reason."
"What do you mean?" The Warden found himself more and more puzzled by the old mage's words.
Wynne gathered her thoughts briefly, then began to speak. "I didn't find out about the ritual between you and she until after Morrigan had left. And, as you know, I was opposed to the idea. While I cannot ever condone the use of blood magic, that is not my primary concern." Wynne placed her hand on top of The Warden's, squeezing slightly. "It is your destiny to kill the archdemon. You merely postponed the inevitable. I am certain of this. I have no doubt that you will find your Morrigan for her destiny is entwined with yours. I believe she nows this as well as I. I believe that is why she left. She knows that someday you will have to face the archdemon again. And to defeat it, you must destroy yourself."
"What would you have me do, then?" The Warden asked as he stood from his chair.
"Come, the preparations should be nearing completion and the time is almost upon us. We must be going."
A large stone altar lie in the middle of this otherwise ordinary room. Upon the altar the map had been unfurled and placed. Five white candles had been lit and placed around the map. On each corner of the altar rested a small jar of oil. The Warden was unsure what kind of oil had been placed in the jars, but it's aroma suggested he was better off not knowing.
Wynne stood behind the altar. Her arms were raised in the air, her staff in one hand. She was reciting ancient incantations. Incantations that had not been heard on Ferelden in over two thousand years.
To The Warden's side, as always, was Alistair. "And what if this doesn't work. What then?" he whispered towards The Warden.
The Warden simply looked at his friend and smiled.
"Ah...right." was all Alistair could say, only half-understanding.
Wynne grabbed a torch from its place on the wall. She went to each of the jars of oil and lit them. The oil burned brightly and cast off a faint green smoke and stunk of burning hair. After each of the jars had been lit, Wynne replaced the torch to its spot and returned to her place behind that altar.
"The ring!" Wynne said firmly, holding out her hand.
The Warden slid the ring from his finger. It was the first time he'd removed it since she first gave it to him. He wore it always and it was his most cherished possession. It had even saved his life once. When he had been imprisoned for the murder of Lord Howe. Visions of the night she had given him the ring now filled his head. Memories were all he had left of her. He gripped the memory tightly, determined never to let it go. He slowly and reluctantly placed the ring in the palm of Wynne's outstretched hand. Alistair, for once, had nothing to say.
"Let him who seeks that which cannot be found be shown the way! Let the path the does not exist guide the him!" Wynne said aloud as she tossed the ring in the air. The ring exploded in a flash of red and green light, leaving an aura that floated back down to the map and disappeared within it..
"Now we wait." the old sage said as she walked from behind the altar to stand next Alistair.
The Warden stood in his spot, transfixed. He gazed at the map hoping that something, anything would be revealed to him. But as the seconds passed nothing happened.
"I knew this wasn't going to work." Alistair mumbled out the side of his mouth.
But soon The Warden thought he saw the map starting to come to life. The faded ink became rich and colorful once more. He felt the ground beneath his feet tremble. A bolt of energy exploded from the map and slammed into The Warden, knocking him to the ground. Then all was silent.
"Dwemer!" Alistair shouted as he rushed to aid The Warden.
"What happened?" The Warden asked as the king helped him to his feet.
"I'm not sure." Alistair answered. "It looked as though something knocked you down. But I didn't see anything."
"What The Warden saw was for him and him alone." explained Wynne. "If that which he seeks truly wants to be found."
Images began flooding The Warden's head. Places he'd seen and been to, and others he had no knowledge of. People he knew and many others he didn't. Then in a sudden flash the fog lifted and the haze cleared from his vision.
"What is it?" Alistair asked, concern in his voice.
"I know where she is."