Disclaimer: Dragon Age - I don't own it, or its characters.

The Queen's Lament

Her heart pounded in her chest. The Landsmeet was turning out to be a disaster. Her fists clenched, her fingernails dug into the palms of her hands leaving small crescent shapes in their wake. Had it all been a lie? Their love? Those nights of passion? Was it all for naught?

The Hero of River Dane lay dead at her feet, his blood pooling on the chamber floor. She glanced up at the sword that had delivered the killing blow. Anger threatened to overwhelm her. Her nostrils flared as she regarded the Warden. Anora had been promised that her father would be spared. The Warden returned her gaze, eyes filled with shock, anger, and remorse. No, the Warden had no part in her father's demise. It was the bastard's doing. The Warden should have known better, choosing the bastard to partake in the duel. She drew upon their previous night together, curled in each others' arms.

"Will you support my bid for the throne at the Landsmeet?" she'd asked softly, her fingers entwined with the Warden's.

Green eyes captured her, leaving her breathless. "You know I will, my queen. I wish for nothing but your happiness." Calloused fingers brushed over Anora's abdomen, causing her insides to flutter with desire. "I have always known you to be the more capable ruler."

"Then why are you forcing me to marry Maric's bastard? I can easily rule Ferelden on my own," Anora frowned, draping her leg across her lover's thighs.

The Warden sighed. "You know I believe that to be true, but the people will feel more secure with a king, even if he is simply a figurehead."

Anora couldn't help but chuckle mirthfully. "You may be a Warden, but you shall always have the mind of a Cousland." She turned her head to one side, almost afraid to ask the question that had been eating away at her. "What of my father? He has committed horrendous crimes…but I do not believe he is in his right mind…" She bit her lower lip.

Cousland smiled at Anora sympathetically. "I shall show him mercy, Anora. He was once a great man, and I will not let his actions during the Blight be the deciding factor in his fate."

Anora smiled widely, her heart swelling. "Have I told you how much I love you?" she murmured softly.

The Warden chuckled. "Not recently…only a thousand times in the past five years. Though I never tire of hearing it."

"It has always been you, my Warden Cousland. Forever and always…" Anora was silenced as she felt lips crashing against her own. Their coupling that night was filled with both lust and longing.

Eamon's voice snapped Anora back to the present. How she hated that man. "I believe it best that the Warden make the final decision as to who will take the throne," the wretched old man announced.

The Warden shot a furtive glance at Anora before responding. "Alistair and Anora shall rule together!"

A collective gasp was heard throughout the chambers. Anora's composure broke and she threw herself at the Warden. "No! I will not marry the snake that killed my father!"

The Warden held Anora's shoulders firmly, voice barely above a whisper. "Peace, my queen. 'Tis a marriage of convenience. You know what this means…"

Anora gazed up into her love's eyes imploringly. "Will we still…?"

Cousland's eyes warmed. "Of course. If you can forgive me, that is."

Anora bit her lower lip, a tear streaming down her cheek. "There is nothing to forgive. I know you didn't plan for this to happen." She leaned in, whispering into her lover's ear. "I will be waiting for you after the battle. You'd best be ready to please me thoroughly."

The Warden smirked and cocked an eyebrow. "When have I ever failed at that?"

Alistair cleared his throat and whispered to his comrade. "Right…now that that's over with, I do believe we have an archdemon to defeat?"

The pyre blazed, lighting the night sky. Anora watched it burn, completely numb. She'd listened as the king prattled on about glory, honour, and duty. Anora hated the words intensely. No one would ever know the Warden as well as she had. They had met as friends, and that friendship had developed into love. Their love had never abated, it had lived on throughout her marriage to Cailan. They snuck away during monthly court visits, stolen kisses, secret midnight sessions of love making. And now it had all come to an end.

All because of that blasted archdemon.

She continued to watch the flames lick at the Hero's body, and finally the tears came. She wept silently, so as not to draw attention to herself.

Eventually, the people rose and began to pay their respects to their saviour, one by one. Anora approached the charred pyre. Ashes were all that were left behind.

The queen placed a rose upon the remains. "They see you as nothing but an icon," she whispered to the ashes. "But I see you for who you truly are. To me, you will always be Elissa Cousland, the most beautiful woman in all of Thedas."