Disclaimer: I don't own anything you recognize from the game.
Author's Note: Well, this idea has been buzzing around in my head for several days and it demands to be written. First of all, the set off point for this story is inspired by Nightwish11606's work. So a huge thanks and shoutout to Nightwish!
Just a couple of things to say about this chapter. It isn't going to be like the other chapters I write and is more just a set up for the story. All events discussed here will probably be looked back upon in greater detail later on. For timeline purposes it is set during the blight, before Orzammar and after everything else. I have no idea if this is going to work (I have a strange feeling it won't) but I can't ignore this forever. Regardless, I hope you enjoy it.
Chapter 1 – Where Paths Diverge
Darkness. That is all that surrounds this place. The shadows and the voices that whisper from within.
"We have waited long. You said salvation was coming." A voice which altered its pitch rapidly. From high and almost screechy to a deep low bass.
"It is. Do not worry. That which we desire shall soon descend." A crystal clear voice that is best compared to a calm river.
"You have said that for long." A voice so unimaginably beautiful that its celeste tones would have brought tears to your eyes.
"She is correct, what we desire is coming." This voice may not be described. It is both too majestic and too terrible.
"When?" A deep and agitated voice.
"It begins now, calm yourself." The clear voice replied.
"You should not be so patronizing." A voice best compared to glass grating on ice. Cold and sharp.
"My knowledge far supersedes that of all here except one." The clear voice now perhaps slightly annoyed. "Just have a little more patience."
"We accept and we shall wait. But soon, all shall feel our rage." A voice that is best compared to heat and blazing fury.
"Rage is not a part of what we do. We do as we feel is right."
The clear voice speaks once more, a little on edge perhaps. "Your voice unnerves even us, you know."
Denerim was pleasant at this time of year. The usual crowds milled around the market place, stopping at merchants to purchase or sell wares. Shouts of bartering, the occasional drunk argument in a bar all added to the character of the great city. The recent political upheavals hadn't had as much of an effect on the exterior as one might have expected. The alienage was closed off of course but no reasonable people ever went there. Alisa Surana was apparently not reasonable but her endless protests found a brick wall of refusal from the guard at the gate. Eventually she marched away fuming, her ragtag band following her.
They made a most unusual sight. An elven mage, an apostate witch, a templar, a chantry sister who was a trained spy, a qunari warrior, an elf assassin and an old circle mage. They drew stares but they were used to that by this time. This was Denerim though and no one paid mind to awkward things if they could help it. Why stare at armed strangers when you could have a more enjoyable time at the pearl. That organization, needless to say, did brilliant business at nearly all times. Everyone should have been enjoying themselves.
Everyone except a certain witch who didn't socialize particularly well. She glanced around sourly at the silly people running helter skelter like headless chickens. She sighed and looked at her own group. She thought the templar an idiot, the elf assassin a sex crazed maniac, the old circle mage to be a preachy, submissive coward. She didn't care about the qunari much and he didn't seem to care much for her. The warden was one person for whom she had respect and whom she considered a… friend. As much as that concept was alien to her, she felt she had found it. She caught herself looking at Alisa in a certain way and quickly shook that away. But what if Alisa felt that way too? She told herself it was impossible and dragged her mind.
And then there was a certain annoying chantry sister who she had the utmost disdain for at one time. That perhaps changed to cold indifference when she discovered that the innocent Chantry sister was a not so innocent spy. She would grudgingly admit that her respect for the bard had grown a bit after that. And curse Leliana to damnation for thinking that made them friends or something. She grumbled indistinctly as the Orlesian flashed some jewelry at her. Well, it was somewhat pretty and with Alisa they rarely got time to relax.
But the warden had finally given them some time to get themselves back together. She probably took that decision when they looked dead on their feet. Denerim was the perfect place to restock and take a short break as long as they kept away from Loghain's watchful eye.
Why was the bard even trying to drag her into this? They had argued for hours yesterday about their somewhat… differing views about religion. They had eventually been pulled apart. Morrigan had spoken to the warden after that for a time, Alisa being the only person whom she could hold long comfortable conversation with.
"Why must you pester me so?" The witch eventually snapped lightly at the bard who continued to smile. That was much to Morrigan's annoyance.
"I just want to apologize for yesterday's… disagreement. I took it too far." She said gently holding up a silver brooch.
The witch stared blankly at Leliana and then shook her head, finally accepting the little gift.
"I apologize as well." She muttered as she turned away. She could practically feel the bard grinning triumphantly.
"That's a pretty brooch Morrigan." Alisa said smiling; apparently she had cooled off after her disagreement with the guard. "Where'd you get it?"
"Leliana got it for me." The witch mumbled.
Alisa quirked an eyebrow in surprise.
"When did you two become friends?" She asked in confusion.
"We didn't." Morrigan said firmly. "She just did it to apologize for yesterday."
Alisa nodded and then fell into stride with the witch, speaking comfortably. Often Morrigan found herself lost in the warden's green eyes. Maybe it was that conversation on that day that made the witch decide she wanted Alisa as a lover. Maybe it was just the culmination of events over a long journey. But, for better or worse, it was to be a fateful moment.
Back at camp, the witch stared from her tent at the few figures who mulled around the dying campfire. Sten, the qunari, kept watch. Alisa sat on a log by the campfire as Morrigan could see Leliana kneading the warden's shoulders. She looked away as jealousy pierced her heart. She knew it for a fact. Leliana wanted Alisa too. And she wouldn't let the bard take the elf away.
The witch had never wanted something this badly. The rare few times she had been possessed by a desire this strong had been either for objects or power. Like the mirror Flemeth had taken away from her and smashed upon the ground. No, she would have Alisa one way or another.
This decision can perhaps be added into a series of fateful moments. Perhaps it was merely a series of choices although some would have claimed it was destiny. But since some things cannot be changed and because the past is the past, these two views are often, for all practicality, the same. What can be but does not become is sometimes the strongest driving force for present actions. The fact that two futures could be but only one is does not take away the convenience of saying it was destined. In some matters, free will and fate are one and the same. Do you understand?
The next several days were relatively calm as they journeyed towards the Frostback Mountains and the dwarven kingdom of Orzammar. The cold was setting in and it was starting to get to them all. Morrigan had gone out of her way to speak to Alisa over the past few days, to try and flirt with her but always she was unable to spill her feelings. Leliana tried speaking with her often but what had become cold indifference had once again become utter disdain.
The witch would not lie; she felt threatened by the bard who was also spending a great deal of time with Alisa. She grew more and more worried as the warden often spoke to her about the bard. She began to feel as though she was but a friend to the warden but Leliana was the one the warden wanted. She would have to remedy that, one way or another.
That was when she finally came to the decision of using the hallucinogenic poison she had been preparing. Mix it with an aphrodisiac and then… what? By now she could tell that Alisa was incredibly attached to the bard and she would have to show the warden that Leliana wanted someone else. She never intended for things to go in the direction that they went but often our judgment of the future is clouded.
And so it came to be that Morrigan slipped her little mixture into Leliana's food one night. The combination was perfect and the effect was lethally efficient. As the witch would have guessed, the bard did spend the night Zevran who needed no aphrodisiacs. He would be sorry later, for he hadn't known that Leliana was not acting of her own volition.
Morrigan made sure Alisa heard, she made sure Alisa knew. The bard clambered out of the tent shocked and she shouted at Zevran as they attempted to put together what had happened. This, Morrigan made sure the warden didn't hear. Leliana needed some time to herself and she left to think in the forest. Alisa followed her, the young elf mage's mind boiling over with emotion. The witch watched from the shadow of the trees.
"Had fun with Zevran?" Alisa said coldly, startling the distracted bard. Perhaps she did not mean to be so cold, perhaps she couldn't help it. Maybe, if she knew where things were going, she would have acted differently. But often our judgment of the future is clouded.
"Alisa, wh-" The bard tried to reply.
"I don't want to hear it." The warden said bitterly. 'Why did you even act interested if all you wanted was a night of pleasure?" She was screaming now. It was most unlike her actually. Perhaps it was merely emotion. Or perhaps it was fate that things should go this way.
"Please-" Leliana appealed but the warden merely shook her head.
"I don't want to hear it. Just… don't speak to me." Alisa said bitterly as she stalked back to camp, perhaps holding back a few tears. The bard may have followed but the witch stepped out to face her.
"You did a horrible thing to her." Morrigan spat violently. Perhaps this confrontation was not a good idea in hindsight. But we cannot change the past.
"Don't you see Morrigan… something was wrong, I wasn't myself! I didn't know what was happening!" The bard cried out.
"Shut up you whore!" The witch shouted. "She's better off without you anyway. She needs someone who actually cares for her."
Leliana was sobbing now and what Morrigan felt at this moment is a tale for later.
"B-but I don't… I thought you were a friend… what…" The bard mumbled indistinctly as the witch followed the warden back to camp. Leliana sobbed quietly against a tree until she finally guessed what might have happened.
And so it came to pass that Leliana left the camp and the warden's group later that night. She heard the sounds of Morrigan and Alisa talking but she shut them out. She left the camp sobbing and heartbroken. Why did she leave though? That is a question this tale has yet to answer.
And this is where the future that may have been, no longer was. But when one door is closed, several open. Some brighter, some darker. What could have been is no longer important. All that matters now is what happened after that.
So far this story has perhaps been interesting at best and perhaps highly rushed. But you see, our time is not forever. And what comes after this matters much more. This is where the tale becomes exceptional.