Ill be using the same name for my Warden as my other story, but they are not the same person.
This can't be happening. This can't be happening. This can't be happening. This can't be… Over and over Helen repeated her mantra, as the darkspawn dragged her away from the camp. She began to sob quietly as the Hurlocks holding her arms spoke in the guttural tongue the creatures used.
The day had started like any other, riding in the wagon that was filled with Orleasian tea leaves to be taken to Denerim to sell. About halfway through the trip, while in some woods that Helen would have gladly avoided if there were any other way, things had taken a decided turn for the worse.
The man-at-arms to her left was the first to go. The Genlock arrow went straight through his neck, and it wasn't until she felt the man slump against her that she even knew anything was wrong. Suddenly the air was filled with the unholy cries that preceded Shrieks, and sure enough within moments the monsters were crawling up her wagon, clawing at the other soldier in the back of the wagon. The monsters had grabbed her then, pulling her out of the drivers seat before she could even bring the knife hidden in her dress to bear.
Helen brought sharply back to the present when the cool grass that was sliding beneath her turned to stone, and the sunlight sky was blocked out by rock above. It took her a moment in her disoriented state to realize that she had been dragged into a cave. An indeterminate amount of time later, the dragging finally stopped, as she was thrown in a cell.
Crawling up onto her knees, she watched through the bars as a one-eyed Hurlock, this one in colored chainmail instead of the yellow plate other darkspawn wore, did something she though was impossible: it talked.
"What should we be doing with the human girl?" It took Helen a moment to realize it wasn't asking her, but merely thinking aloud. "Should we be making it a broodmother?" Any color whatsoever left in Helen's face drained at that. She had heard tales of such things, but never put much stock into any of them, thinking they were nonsense made to scare children and milkmaids.
"No, Halfsight" Came another raspy voice, the tone which Helen now associated with darkspawn. "The Commander has forbade the making of Broodmothers, and he was appointed by the Architect to be leading us." As it approached closer, it was easy to make out the fact that this one too wore the chainmail
"I was not speaking to you Messenger." Halfsight roared, apparently angered by the intrusion of this other darkspawn in his fun. "I am Jailer! I am deciding what to do with prisoners!"
"If Commander finds out you are disobeying him, you will be paying with your life.!" Messenger yelled back.
"And who would be telling him? You, Messenger? You were always being a faithful pet to him." The one-eyed darkspawn sneered. It only took a moment, but in a flash the Messenger had a mace and shield out while Halfsight had drawn his axe.
"I am loyal to the Architect, and to the Commander! Know who you are following Halfsight!" Both darkspawn stared at each other, neither one willing to let up. The conflict only came to an end with the slamming of a door further down the hallway. Any hostility shown between the two seemed to evaporate as they stood at attention for the coming of, what Helen supposed was, their leader. Preparing herself for the largest, most intimidating darkspawn she had seen yet, she was floored when and elf walked up to her cage.
Quirking his head to the side slightly, he glanced her over. "May I ask why there is a young woman in my jail?" He asked politely, turning toward the two darkspawn.
"The un-learned found her. She was riding our roads." Halfsight said, glaring at the girl as if she had made some great personal insult towards him.
"They are not being our roads!" Messenger yelled at Halfsight "We invade no longer! We are being at peace, Halfsight!"
The elf interrupted before another argument could flare up. " She is not armed, or atleast not openly so. And I can handle anyone using holdout weapons with little effort. I sense no taint in her, so she is obviously not a Warden, just someone unlucky enough to need to use the road near our home." He seemed to think something over for a moment. "Let her out, I would wish to speak with her."
"But Commander, she might-" Halfsight was silence by a glare from the elf, before relenting to open the gate.
Stepping inside, he offered a hand to the bedraggled girl, who shied away at first, then accepted. Hauling her gently to her feet, the gave a polite bow. "Greeting, my name is Arabus, former Grey Warden, former Grey Warden Commander, former Royal Advisor, slayer of the Archdemon, Bloodmage, and current second-in-command of all Enlightened darkspawn, working under the supervision of the Architect."
Helen gaped at the man as he rattled off his titles. Ex-Grey Warden? How does one become an ex-Warden aside from high treason…. Helens eyes shot open as she stumbled backwards. "Your…you're the Warden who didn't kill the darkspawn! The one who started fighting for them!"
"I'm afraid, good lady, that your are only partially correct. I did infact, kill a great many darkspawn. It is just that one particular group, this one, wanted peace. After all of the fighting, I was more than happy to give it to them. But enough of this, I am sure you are incredibly tired. We can finish this discussion when you are rested up. Messenger," The darkspawn came speedily to their side, "Make sure that miss…"
"Helen" The girl said, as she brushed the now dirt encrusted blond hair out of her face.
"Make sure that miss Helen will be comfortable in the guest room. I would be extremely grateful." Nodding, Messenger ran off. "For obvious reasons, I do not get many guests, so I'm afraid the room might have fallen into a state of disrepair." The elf explained. As they reached a offshoot room, Arabus opened the door. Inside was a cave with a natural hot spring in the center. "I'm sure that you would prefer to get clean. I will have someone set some clothes and a towel out for you. There will be someone outside the door. When you are finished and wish to retire for today, you may speak with him, and he will bring it to my attention."
She watched as he walked off, the cave-like hallway turning into an underground building past the doorway he just exited through, complete with vaulted ceiling and tiled floors. After checking all nooks and crannies for darkspawn. She stripped down and sat in the water. Despite her distrust for the situation, she simply could not refuse a bath.
Standing up she turned to see a pile of robes and a towel on the ground. The fact that the darkspawn had brought her clothes was surprising enough, but what made her stomach clench was something completely different: she had not heard them. She had had her head above water the entire time, and not once did she even suspect of something else being in the room with her. Had they wanted to harm her… Snapping out of her reverie, she marched to the door and pulled it open with what she hoped was authority. The chainmailed darkspawn glanced at her and asked if she was ready for sleep. When she nodded, He told her to wait and went in search of his Commander.
When the elf returned, he smiled at her. "Excellent to se you feeling better, miss Helen. I take it you are quite tired?" After once again nodding, she was led to a rather spacious room in the building portion of the cave.
As she walked in the doorway, she suddenly spun around to face him. "Why are you being so kind to me? I have no money, and nothing to barter with. And I will not be a bed warmer for you."
After all the things that had been said and done, this got a reaction from the commander. "Madam, I am a gentleman. And whether it is so uncivilized where you come from that you expect these things, or that you suspect simply because I am an outlaw that I have no morals, I will not tolerate such slanders on my honor." He stated, before closing the door firmly in her face. Confusion running wild in her head, Helen stumbled to the bed, and was asleep before she hit the covers.
Longest single chapter I've ever written!