Chasing Ghosts

Madeline Cousland, the long lost twin of Elissa Cousland was sent away to be raised by an aunt after she was born when it was assumed she would be crippled her entire life and now must struggle with being the sister of the Hero of Ferelden.

(A/N: This story if going to be told by many characters whose lives were affected by Elissa and how Madeline will eventually touch their lives as well. Just a warning...this could become Rated M in future chapters.)

Special thanks go to ShyWriter413 for her help and guidance.

Alistair's fingers held the tear strained parchment to his chest as he sipped a brandy.

"I have no right to be asking you this because I know my death will be not be easy for you my love. This is something I regret not telling you sooner because you of all people would have understood. I was only made aware of the existence of my twin sister when I sixteen years old. My father finally confessed the truth to me while drinking alone in his study one night. She was not expected to live because she was so small. And when she did live past a week, the physicians told my parents she would likely be crippled so she was sent away to live with my mother's sister. All I know is her name is Madeline Cousland, and that she lives my Aunt, Lydia Collins in Harpers Ford. As King of Ferelden, you will have the resources to be able to find her and help her if she needs it.

Alistair slammed the letter down on his desk and covered his eyes with his hand.

Teagan, Wynne, and Zevran were at the outskirts of Harper's Ford when they saw the darkspawn carcasses strewn about and people setting them aflame.

"I still do not understand why he wants to do this," Zevran said. "It's not going to bring her back."

"Oh for the love of the Maker then why did you even bother coming then?" Teagan glared.

"What can I say? I was bored." Zevran yawned.

"Alistair said Elissa's letter stated her parents' hiding her twin away was her greatest regret." Teagan said.

"She wanted him to check on her, to see if she was still alive, and restore the teyrnir to her if Fergus was not found." Wynne closed the book she was reading and put it in her pack.

"Harpers Ford reportedly also sustained very little damage and few causalities during the Blight." Teagan said. "He wants to see if those rumors are true and to inquire if they need any sort of aid."

"If this sister was crippled, then she is likely dead." Zevran took a sip from his flask then offered it to Wynne who politely declined.

"You are a beacon of optimism Zevran." Teagan said disgustedly.

The carriage and king's guard went past two relatively intact apple orchards and made its way to the town stopping near the square. From looking around, it looked as if the small farming town had survived the blight, relatively unscathed. Aside from a few burnt out buildings, everything else looked remarkably intact. The town was half the size of Redcliffe. There was a small chantry, a smithy, a market, tavern, stable, and they were spread around the cobblestone square. A small mill and stream was nestled behind the smithy. Teagan noted the bowmen on the roofs of some of the buildings as well as the ballista that were strategically placed around the area. There was even a man carrying a sack of potatoes into the market. People were going about their daily business while others were clearing out the debris from the burned out buildings.

Teagan helped Wynne out of the carriage and the walked to the man standing near the Chantry.

"May I help you?" He asked.

"Yes, we were wondering who is in charge here." Teagan said.

"And who might you be?"

"I am Arl Teagan of Redcliffe. The woman next to me is Wynne and that is Zevran. We are here on behalf of King Alistair."

"I'm Caleb," The man said holding out his hand which Teagan shook. "the mayor of this village.

"We heard Harpers Ford survived relatively unscathed during the Blight." Teagan looked impressed by this feat. "King Alistair sent us to see if you require any aid or monies."

"We are also looking for someone." Wynne added. "Could you point us to where Madeline Cousland resides?

"You want to see Bann Maddie?" He asked. "She's the one we owe our lives too. If she hadn't rallied us, we would all be dead now."

"I thought she was crippled." Zevran said

Suddenly he found himself on the ground with a blade on either side of his neck. "Does this look crippled to you?"

He looked up in stunned silence as Teagan and Wynne gasped.

Madeline Cousland released her blades, resheathed them then helped Zevran up.

"You have to pardon my manners." She bowed. "I overheard my name being mentioned and then the word crippled shortly after. It tends to make me…testy. But considering you're from Antiva I should have controlled myself better since your country does make the best brandy."

Teagan and Wynne could only stare in disbelief as Zevran grinned.

"Is something wrong?" Madeline arched an eyebrow. "Do I have a piece of venison stuck in my teeth?"

"You have to excuse them my lady. For in their minds, they are looking at a ghost."