W/N - Thanks so much for the input to do some further backstory chapters between Ostagar and Haven. This piece fits into the Vengeance story just around the time of the Elric Maraigne chapter. Like Tea, Incense and the Sea, I'm going to do this first person. Many thanks to Roxfox, EE, Ygrain, Thug, and Hubs for their support and input. I also highly recomment Roxfox's and Ygrain's wonderful fics too. Let's look at Flemeth now. I always got a creepy kick out of how she would refer to herself in the third person. CODEX - Honey Pot - pot for human waste.
Other malarkey - running off those holiday calories. My new Iaito will likely be the Ise blade from the Token Mino site online. It is a custom weapon and I am looking at the Kiyomitsu Hamon (wavy pattern at the cutting edge) and Yagyu tsuba (guard), aqua handle wrap and brown saya (scabbard). Just as a memorial to be dead sword I'm going to write in someone's blade breaking traumatically.
Please enjoy and suggestions are most welcomed.
The Korcari Wilds - just prior to the Battle of Ostagar
My daughter's words of the progress of our little forest party give me hope. It is amusing to hear her speak of the scurrying and the scrabbling of these people, who call themselves Grey Wardens. I suppose that their cause is…I can't quite find the word for it for it falls short of just. I'd long since given up on that word. Still, their visit to my humble abode gave me pause. I was impressed by the female, the one called Alice. She seemed to know things beyond her years. She will be useful.
In contrast, Morrigan is so naïve and simplistic in her view of these things that fall beyond the borders of the Wilds. I wonder if it was a mistake to keep her so cloistered. She would hiss at me if I told her that she is just as much a prisoner as a Chantry sister is. She knows nothing of friendship. She knows nothing of men. I know she sneaks off into some of the surrounding villages and sometimes all the way up to that insignificant spot of dirt known as Lothering. I have to laugh. She thinks that Flemeth doesn't know.
If only Morrigan knew the truth, that disrespectful smile of hers would fly away like a bird. There are times that I want to care…want to actually think of her as a daughter, but I must remind myself that she is only a tool, no more than a pot or a kettle. She has kept her young body fit though and she is oh, so beautiful, much like Flemeth used to be…and shall be again.
As a chilly evening descends, I see a doe trot up to my squalid hut and I know that it is she. She paws her hoof on the ground and snorts, giving her ever-present subtle defiance of me. I watch as the doe's fur and skin ripple and undulate, rapidly changing into human skin and Chasind clothing. "Ah, Morrigan, did you have fun in the Wilds with your friends?" I ask, mocking her lack of companionship.
She rolls her eyes and sighs as always. She thinks that I don't expect this from her. Flemeth has seen this juvenile behavior for centuries from many daughters long before Morrigan was even a gleam in some Chasind man's eye. Flemeth knows her every move…her every thought before she even knows it herself. "Friends?" she says as if she is speaking of the contents of a honey pot. "Oh, mother, your comedy never ceases to amuse me."
I have to admit that I am curious. I am old and wise enough to know that my fate is tied to the fate of the Wardens. Should they fail, the whole of Thedas could be swallowed by the Blight. I have seen the gathering of Darkspawn in the rifts and valleys of the Wilds. They are like a tidal wave that will crash down upon Ferelden and drown its people. Even the one called Duncan doesn't know the full extent of the threat. I have no wish to die, which is why I am doing what I am doing. "Morrigan, if you wish to play some more, do it later. Tell me of the Wardens, dear," I say without the emotion tied to such a personal label.
She raises a knowing eyebrow – we both understand the joke. Somewhere, in the back of my mind, I wonder if she does know. But no, it is just my imagination. Morrigan is far too smug in her tiny world view to realize the truth. "Dear mother, you would be pleased to know that the army, or whatever they are, is ready for battle. There is talk of the Darkspawn attacking tonight."
So, I was right. The fate of nations will be decided soon. I really care not, but I do care if Flemeth survives. I will need to take a close look. "Ah, wonderful. Remain here, Morrigan. I will see to this myself now."
She forces a grin, the muscles in her face tensing in all the wrongs spots to be genuine. "Lovely. I'll have a sweet porridge awaiting your return. Lots of raisins, just as you like it."
I snort out a chuckle, which grows into a cackle, causing Morrigan to step back. It's well she should as I spread my arms and tap into the vast reservoir of power that is Flemeth. My body grows and feathers spring from my skin as my feet curl into talons. Morrigan steps back again, a hint of fear shadowing her face. I enjoy seeing her eyes bulge and her jaw drop as I tower over her now, wings unfurled. She knows nothing of true power.
With a cry I take to the air, stroking my wings downward to push the air behind me. I am free once more, soaring into the gathering darkness. Just past sunset I can see the fires in the distance, flickering torches that make for an orange ocean of flame. That may be the entire world soon if something is not done. I circle in the black sky, well above the prying eyes of both human and Darkspawn, watching and waiting. Time goes by and then the creatures of the Deep Roads attack and arrows pour into them. It is a scene that Flemeth knows well, war and death. This play never changes. The king's pikemen drive into the shattered horde and scatter them like leaves in a gale. But, it is not over. Flemeth knows this.
With the eyes of an eagle, I search the army for the ones I met earlier. They must survive. I need them. As the Darkspawn horde advances again, many times the force of the first attack, I realize that I cannot find them and I grow worried. I care not for this king or his minions…there will always be kings and minions, but I must have these Wardens. The new assault is met by waves of Mabari hounds. They are fierce and powerful beasts, but they will fail. Howls, snarls, shrieks and the braying of dogs echoes through the valley leading to Ostagar and I watch as the Darkspawn break through. Arrows fall like rain, but the horde presses on. Monstrous creatures hurl boulders into the ranks of men, scattering them like toys. A rock crashes into the king's guard, knocking his captain senseless.
Waves crash upon the wall of steel and wood, eroding it like a sand castle. The king rides in, brave as many kings are brave, skilled as many kings are skilled. This will not help him. Flemeth knows this. He is unhorsed as members of his guard fall around him. He falls back, hewing and slicing around him, leaving a mound of dead in his wake. He tries to reform his line and rally his troops, but they are dissolving like paper in a pool of water. Uncounted minutes pass and the king makes his way back to where the captain of his guard is reviving. Then, I see it, a scuffle on the nearby tower. I see a handful of people charging into a group of Darkspawn that includes a massive ogre. The brute sweeps two of the king's soldiers over the battlements of the tower, but Alice slices it across the throat and then drives the tip of her sword into its open mouth, silencing its scream. Good for her. She will help to ensure my survival. I bend one wing and dive towards the tower as a blazing beacon is lit.
As I close in, I can see a huge part of the king's army retreat without even having offered battle. Treachery perhaps? This was ever so in the hearts of men for as long as Flemeth has known them. I see the king fall, followed by the one called Duncan. His army breaks. I must hurry.
Darkspawn surge up onto the tower and the one called Alistair meets them, hewing two of them before they can gain a foothold. A black arrow flies and sinks into Alice's chest and she falls back, clutching at the wound, her helm clattering on the ground. Am I too late?
Alistair moves to protect the fallen girl, holding his shield over her as arrows thunk on it, perforating it like a pincushion. I swoop in, flapping my wings, swirling the air atop the tower. Darkspawn are blown away, some skidding across the stone, some falling over the tower's edge to their death below. I seize the two Wardens in my talons and soar off into the night. Alice is weak, she is bleeding, but she is alive. She will serve my purpose and I will be once again young and beautiful as I have been many times before. Flemeth knows this.