This collection of letters represents my 'take' on Awakening and will include plot spoilers.
I have written quite a few stories featuring Aedan and his companions. The first is called 'The Hero of Ferelden' which started with the slaying of the Archdemon and followed Aedan's adventures for nearly a year afterwards. Among other things he went to Amaranthine and began to rebuild the Grey Wardens. The darkspawn attacks started to reoccur during that time and rumours of talking darkspawn circulated.
My second post-origins story, 'Gifts', tells the tale of Alistair's wedding and occurs approximately one year after 'Hero', two years after the Blight. In journeying to Denerim Aedan encounters a tainted village, which would have been the work of the architect, not that they knew this at the time. Aedan's eldest (adopted) son became tainted and underwent the Joining to become Ferelden's youngest Grey Warden.
So, in my version of Ferelden, the events of Awakening happen next, immediately upon Aedan's return to Amaranthine. I hope the contents of these letters adequately explain the differences between my story and the official one. We'll all end up in the same place…
I write with dire news. Vigil's Keep has been all but overrun with darkspawn. We returned from Denerim just last night to be met with the news that many of our order perished, including the soldiers of Amaranthine.
You will remember I mentioned that we had all felt the taint here in a vague way. That village we burned must be connected. I blame myself for not investigating further and sooner. The darkspawn were beneath us all this time. The old cellars of this keep have been breached and there is the possibility of an entrance to the Deep Roads. I will keep you apprised of any further discoveries.
Though I thank the Maker so many of us were in Denerim for your wedding, and therefore spared, we have lost all but two of our new recruits. They died fighting darkspawn before we made them Wardens.
That the keep still stands is due to a pair of dwarven brothers seneschal Varel contracted to make repairs. One has caused more damage, the other vows to fix it. We are sadly lacking in funds and with the countryside so ravaged I dare not collect the usual tithe. However, I need men more than gold, Brother, any you can spare. I will hold the darkspawn here, away from Denerim, until I find their source.
We found an apostate mage within the keep, details in attached report. Could you possibly intervene with the Grand Cleric? I invoked the Right of Conscription to keep him from templar hands.
My regards to Brenna and my hope that all is well with you,
I miss you already, though I've only been gone from your side for two days. Though I long to hold you again, and to kiss my children, I must ask you to delay your visit. I am sure Alistair has shared with you the news in his own letter, so I will not reiterate the horror here, only urge you to stay in Denerim and stay close to my Brother so that I know you are both safe.
I think perhaps you saved a man's life tonight. Your kindness and virtue has taught me to be merciful just as Philippe has taught me to think before I act. I have not your way with words, my lovely bard, but I will tell you what happened.
An intruder was caught trying to make off a few of the meager treasures we hold here at Vigil's Keep. I can see you raising your eyebrows! Believe me when I say my own nearly left my head at the news. What fool would dare to steal from the Grey Wardens? You would never, not in a thousand years, guess who languished in the Keep's dungeon. Well, perhaps you would, you're cleverer than I…
It was Nathaniel Howe. The last person I expected, certainly. I looked at his face and I saw Rendon Howe. I couldn't breathe! The guards gave me odd looks and one even asked if I were well. Thank the Maker I took Philippe down there with me. That man is my backbone as you are my heart.
Fergus and Nate were such friends in the past, best friends really. I found it hard to remember my brother's friend and not see the man that killed my family, Fergus's family, but I did it, and I listened to his story and it made me sad. We have all lost so much, Nate has lost his family too. I had to tell him about Delilah. After that I let him go. I heard your voice in my head, Leli, I heard you say 'try to be merciful' and I let him go. The seneschal thinks I have lost my mental capacity, but if they will insist on calling me Commander and asking me to make all these decisions then they will have to learn to live with them.
I have to end this letter now. I don't want to, I feel as if I am talking to you and you know I would do that all day if I could. But my list grows long and the day grows short. Thank you for listening to me and for being you.
My heart is always yours,