Thank you all for those that have reviewed. Thank you to all that have read. Thank you to all that have waited for this. The very last chapter. Ladies and Gentlemen, Rumors is not officially done!
I own nothing, rated M.
"Nothing you have done so far has prepared you for what you will face now." Excuse me? What do you think I have been doing? Making pretty patterned robes for the freaking Templars? No offense Cullen. Maker's toe fungus Riordan! Any other bits of optimism I should gleam from you? "May the Maker watch over you," he says.
I give him a blank look, because as we can all tell the Maker had been keeping such an attentive gaze on me. Need I remind you I am covered in darkspawn blood and about to charge head long into battle with a fading Demon? Not a cute fluffy kitten, a fading Arch Demon. You know the Arch Demon right? With the claws and the teeth that go crunch with my bones?
I listen to my companions bid me goodbye, because it seems everyone thinks I am going to die. And, let's be honest here, I have thought it a time or ten myself.
Because well… Arch Demon… versus itty bitty mage.
It's not exactly the best odds I have ever had.
I do my dead level best not to cry, and I succeed. Though I am slightly bothered that Morrigan telling me to live 'gloriously' nearly undoes me. Stupid, wonderful, and mean Witch of the Wilds.
But please, Liliana, shut up. I am rushing to die here and I would like very much not to die of old age waiting for you to finish whatever speech you are giving here.
I nod as the last of my friends, because that is what almost all of them have become, bid me farewell and those I have chosen to take follow me into the depths of Denerim.
"Kill those Godless Bastards," a solider shouts as I pass by. Uh… they do have a God. I'm not trying to be difficult, but the Arch Demon was at one point a God. I am just saying.
"Maker watch over you!" Whoa now, let's not go there again. I think I'm alright to just do this one on my own. Thank you though.
I step past the gate and all I can think is that this is the end.
I'm going to die. I'm going to die. I'm going to die. I'm going to die. I'm going to die. I'm going to die. I'm going to die. I'm going to die.
"My dear Warden," Zevran interrupts with amusement, "that is not the best incantation for morale."
Oops. I was saying that out loud, wasn't I? I chuckled nervously as Morrigan frowns at me. Oh, like you're thinking any different? I bet 'She's going to die' has crossed your mind at least once.
Actually, it had better have only been once. I got you laid by a King. A King, I say!
I am running through the city and all I hear are the screams of people dying. This is odd, because I do not see any people. I mean no one. I see Hurlocks, Genlocks, and … a crap ton of Ogres.
Where the Fade did they all come from?
Wait… that's right. Broodmothers. I shudder at the memory. So disgusting.
I fumble for the horns to call reinforcements, because damn it all I saved their asses and they are going to come die for me right now. It sounds worse than it actually is. I'm just asking them to lay down their lives so that I can fight a huge freaking Dragon that is flying around in the sky for no apparent reason.
This looks like a job for Dwarves. They rush around me, and we battle our way through the marketplace. Sten does a fantastic job of protecting my hide, and if I didn't know better I would think he was enjoying this.
I take that back, the look of glee on his face tells me he is enjoying this. And, I thought I had problems.
It takes us almost all the way through the market place to find the first General. Distasteful little thing that he is… I mean none of them are attractive by any stretch of the imagination.
Andraste's ass! I take an arrow in the shoulder and careen backwards with the force of the attack. I stop when I hit something solid. I look up to the snarling face of an Ogre.
Uh… hello there?
Zevran is scaling up his back before I have time to recover, and slashing the thing in the throat. I have to say, assassins are sexy. He gives me a wink and I can't help but laugh. Even covered in this foul smelling stuff and possibly knocking on Death's door, the elf still finds time to flirt. You really do have to commend him for tenacity.
The General falls with a guttural death cry and as quick as taking four steps, the Second one is there taking his place. I shake my head and wonder if I was given a concussion at some point because Maker be damned if it doesn't still sound like people are screaming! I turn around in a circle just to check again. Nope. No people.
It is a simple trick to kill the second General before we are racing off through the Alienage. We are trampling over filth and debris when a voice calls out to me.
"You!" Uh-oh, conversations that start like this never go well for me. "It's you!" yes, we have already established it's me. Where are you going with this? "The Maker sure gave you the gift of good timing, didn't he?"
Huh. I have never been accused of that before…
"There's a large group of Darkspawn approaching," that's not really news… "and the gates won't hold!" Of course they won't. Because the gates holding would be a good happenstance and such things do not happen to someone whom the Maker purposefully seems to seek out to use as his own personal whipping girl. "We need your help!"
Oh, get in line.
What do you think I am doing right now? I just slaughter like 300 dark spawn by myself! Then I ran all the way over here, and I still have to fight a freaking Demon on top of Fort Drakkon. And, I'm AFRAID OF HEIGHTS! Excuse me for taking a second to breathe here, Princess.
You know what? Fine.
"I need you to fight with me," I state.
"Fight?" Yes, fight. That thing you do when facing a hoard that wants to kill you. "B-but," why is there always a but? "We've no armor," I got shoved out into the fading Wilds with a robe and a 'good luck', "and only simple weapons!"
Yeah… and I have to slay an Arch demon. My heart bleeds for you. Really. Especially when I see the very nice bow on your back and the quiver full of arrows.
"We'll be slaughtered!" She cries at me.
Shianni that was her name! Did I like her? I tilt my head and think for a moment. Well, you could be slaughtered but that is a risk I am willing to take.
"You can fight like elves or die helpless. Your choice." I state impassively. I have to be honest, I am just about out of sympathy by this point. Not to harp a point here, but I just killed 300 some odd dark spawn by myself… I'm pretty sure your group can manage for fifteen minutes.
The male elf next to her seems to have gotten into a fervor. "I say we fight!"
See? Was that so bloody hard?!
Shianni gives him a sad look. "Yes, if we can hold them back, it will give others a chance to escape." Oh stop acting like a martyr. You're being helped by a Grey Warden. All we do is kill dark spawn. And, creating lasting chaos by shaping the world as we see fit… but I digress. "Tell us what to do and we will fight as long as we can." You bet.
I give them those fifteen minutes.
Hm… a wave a dark spawn is approaching. Let us do this logically.
"Defend the gate," I snap out in a commanding voice that impresses even myself. "Keep them from getting through."
"You heard what the lady said! Come on!" Finally, someone understands how things go around here.
But once again, why is the Second newest Grey Warden recruit and creation mage leading everyone into battle?
Anyone at all?
The two elves turn around and the male elf exclaims "They're upon us!"
Wait. They are upon us and not one of the thirteen or so people standing by the damn gate thought to say 'hey look out!' I look at Sten and Zevran who shrug at me. I glower. This is freaking ridiculous. How did anyone survive before I came along?
I charge down toward the gate with agitation and dread coursing through me. This is going to suck. I fumble for the next horn to summon my 'army' of elves.
What? I'm already being assisted by city elves, and the Dalish will be able to offer some suppressive fire against the…
Wow… that is a long line of dark spawn.
I drop into the lull of battle once again. Heal. Heal. Glyph. Arcane Missile. This battle seems to be never ending and causes me to pop a few potions as wave after wave funnel toward the gates. It occurs to me as we fight that my group is really vocal. Between the self-praise and taunting they just cannot seem to keep quite.
Awesome. I can see the General as he charges toward me. I whip out my sword as he grows closer, With a bit of dramatic flair I cut the beast in twain. I then gag when some of his entrails stick to my sword. I start to try and wipe some of it off on the near-by grass. However, it defies me and still clings.
Maker. Do I even want to know what they eat in order to accomplish that? No. No, I do not.
I signal the others to follow me as we race down the same bridge the dark spawn had crossed in order to get into Fort Drakkon. I am almost through the gate when, as if by some unknown force, I am propelled back into running across the bridge when the Arch Demon takes an almost too perfect opportunity to destroy the bridge behind us.
I didn't even apparently sense the thing coming because there were just 'too many' dark spawn all around us and the Arch Demon doesn't seem to really want to kill me because it just takes off right back into the sky. It didn't even stop to attack me or try to aim, it would seem.
Seems perfectly normal to me as any of the rest of this has.
I stare dramatically at the burning remnants of part of the bridge behind me. I could do with some dramatic music right about now.
I shrug and trot into the Fort.
… So… Sandal is a dark spawn slaying God. I have to admit, I did not see that one coming. I mean the poor dear has the intelligence of toast. I know my face shows my shock as I stare at what can only be described as the piles of dead dark spawn all around the room.
My companions are struck as speechless by this as I am. I scratch my head for a moment, then open and close my mouth several times. I blink at Sandal in a little bit of awe.
I'm still a magical goddess mind you, but this is impressive.
He looks up at me with those big eyes and says "Enchantment?"
I have to be honest; enchantments were the last thing on my mind. The first was how is the fade did you do this?
Alright, forget it. I'm just going to ask.
"You're surrounded by dark spawn corpses! What happened here?" I give him a confused look, which I just cannot help.
Seriously. What the fade?
"Boom." He says with a little glee.
Um… alright. What does 'boom' have to do with any of th-?
Well, I'll be damned.
"So…," I start awkwardly because really, what do you say at a moment like this? "Do you have any of your father's wares for sale?"
What? I never claimed to be the nurturing type.
I lighten my load and got up the stairs behind him. There is one more floor of these creatures to clear and then I am standing in front of the door that separates me from the top of the fort. Mentally I am preparing myself. How bad could it really be?
Oh. Sweet. Lyrium.
The thing is huge.
Okay, this was fun guys. If you need me I'll be somewhere in Tevinter. I have heard its nice there. Send me a card sometime. Okay? Okay.
Did… did it just stomp out the men fighting it? Is that a corpse that is roasting while still standing?
I have an idea. I say we just let him have Denerim. No one really liked the place all that much anyway and-
And, you bastards are going to make me fight it.
Have I ever mentioned that I hate you? Well, right now, I do.
Purple fire? The thing spits pretty colored flames at us? I don't know whether that is intriguing or insulting… and holy fuck its coming this way!
I start running like the frightened little mage I am.
Is that a Ballista? Fade's bells! It is a Ballista. I order my companions to cover me, and to help me reload. I call forth the human army to distract the Arch Demon. Sorry about that. But, hey, this is war and what not.
I clear my throat and fire the first shot, the recoil threatening to send me flying off the edge of the Fort. I grit my teeth and order Zevran to reload the blasted thing and we go again. Over and over I fire at the beast as the army keeps it busy. The men are dying, and shouts fill the air. All I can really hear besides the roar of the beast, is the pounding of my own heart.
I may be just a little frightened.
It seems to take forever, the Tainted god roaring in outrage and pain. I, the Warden and hope of all here, firing at it over and over again. Until finally, with a breath that catches in my lungs, it falls to the stone. I am moving before I realize it. I stand, staring at the vile thing in horror and determination.
It is literally now or never. It is a lot of pressure, let me tell you, to know the whole world needs you to kill this thing when all you want to do is run away an hide. I puff a few ragged breaths and see a sword lying embedded in the back of a dark spawn.
Narrowing my eyes, I run for it. Half out of my mind, still unsure if that Morrigan sex-time stuff is actually going to work.
Maker, you know I have never asked you for all that much considering the shit you put me through, please let it have worked.
I yank the sword from the corpse and charge the Arch Demon.
Have I mentioned this fucking thing is HUGE? I skid in a puddle of blood and try not to think too hard of who it came from. The sword bites into the flesh of my enemy and I cleave it apart. It howls in agony.
Yeah, how does it feel you jackass?
Its colossal head flops just a few feet away from me. Damn, you are one ugly son of a bitch. The blood drips from my fingers as I walk toward it. I am breathing hard. I am terrified, but I know I cannot falter now.
And to think I used to complain about the Harrowing!
With a cry of rage and fear I plunge the sword into the Arch Demon's skull, because that is how a mage takes care of things.
Holy Andraste's immortal, and likely charcoaled, tits! There is an explosion of light and did I mention…
THIS FREAKING HURTS!
By the Fade! Oh Hurlock nuts! I start twitching as pain explodes through my thoughts, and I feel the Arch demon passing into me. It's creepy and I want a bath. The presence slithers around inside of me. Yeah, it's about as appealing as it sounds really. I mean, come on, it makes sense why the Grey Wardens never make this part of the recruiting speech.
Join the Grey Wardens. Drink dark spawn blood. Kill things. Get your soul molested by an ancient tainted God. All recruits welcome.
It's a wonder why people do not just line up for this job.
Where was I? Oh yes, I'm being bad touched by an Arch Demon as it fights to take over my body, and let's face it. That crap is not happening. It's just not. The mage says 'no'. It is lucky for me that fending off regular demons in the Fade turns out to actually a good life experience here.
Wow, talk about the things you'd never thought you would say…
The world fades to black, and I am locked in my own body fighting off a semi-all powerful being who thinks rather highly of itself. I've got to say, Arch Demons are a bit on the vain side. I'm not even joking, the damn thing was trying to convince me how 'powerful' I could be and how 'lovely' we could be.
I have no idea if you have ever seen an Arch Demon, but the blasted things are as ugly as sin. You think I'd trade all this for something that looks like the backside of a Broodmother? Have you even seen a Broodmother? The things as eight freaking tits and…
There I was locked in a battle of wills with the Darkspawn leader of doom, with it whispering the equivalent of sweet nothings in my head. Which, once again, was really rather disturbing but it was hard to communicate because it flashed mental images rather than spoke to me. I mean, yes, it did speak to me but I do not freaking know the language it was using and frankly I never studied runes that much anyway.
Creation mage here. If it didn't create some pretty spell that made people stop bleeding all over the floor, chances are I did not learn it.
I know I had a lot of time in the Circle. I mean a lot of time, but studying all the time was boring. Don't give me that look. I make no pretenses, I am not a saint. And, it's not like I knew I was going to be going toe to toe with something bent on destroying the world,
Though, in retrospect, with my astoundingly wonderful luck… it should have occurred to me.
And then… it was over. My continued refusals forced its presence away.
However, as the blackness recedes and I wake staring into the face of my worried companions, two things occur to me. One, I'm still alive. Yay! And, two… Morrigan slept with Alistair partially in vain.
The rest you know. I came down those steps in victory. The first thing I did was look for my dear Husband. Alistair is the King of Denirem, which now is healing from its destruction, and I said goodbye to my friends after a wonderful celebration held in honor of those that had fallen.
Not too bad for a Circle Mage, if I do say so myself.
Solona Amell, Leader of the Grey, Arlessa of Amaranthine, and Senior Mage of the Circle of Magi,; dropped the poor unfortunate Bard that had dared to try to sing the recounting of her adventures.
The robe clad woman, of impressive and striking bearing, stalked to back to her seat in what could only be called a 'huff'. She delicately folded her hands and placed her elbows on the table, where her husband, Ser Cullen, also sat.
"Now," she stated in a deceptively cheerful manner, "sing it again. Correctly this time."
Her frosty smile caused the Bard to whimper in fright. And, it did not hurt that small storm clouds had begun to form above his head threatening to strike him with lightening by the looks of it.
"Yes!" He half-squeaked in terror. His trembling hands picked up his lute once more and he gulped down the urge to sob. "Come hear a tale, a tale I tell…"
Anders blinked in wide-eyed shock at his leader. Her gaze pierced the poor entertainer without mercy. His mouth got the better of him before he could stop it.
"You know," he said to Cullen conspiratorially, "in the tower, I always thought she was a demure little thing."
Cullen, flushed red with embarrassment, found himself unable to reply and chose instead to signal for more ale. He had the sneaking suspicion he was going to need it.
Oghren slapped Anders on the back, laughing with a breath so bad it could fell a nug, and retorted "I may not have known the Warden as long as you, Sparkle fingers, but she sure as Orzammar never struck me as 'demure'." He dissolved into a fit of laugher.
They were all startled when Solona blasted an ice bolt near the man's feet with an angry hiss.
"Leliana is the whore-biscuit, not Morrigan," she reminded him warningly.
The Bard then chose the perfect time to faint.
"Thank goodness," Solona muttered to her companions with a grin on her face, "I thought he'd never shut up. He was a silly man, wasn't he pumpkin?"
She tickles the chin of a bright-eyed boy, cradled gently in his father's arms.