Disclaimer: Dragon Age Origins is the property of Bioware and EA Games.
AN: Yes, another story, but this time it's set in the game of Dragon Age, my first in this category. I love the character Riordan and I think he should have had more game time than what was shown. The title of this story is from a song by the group Within Temptation. The song also, in a way, outlines the future feelings between Riordan and the female elven mage.
This story will have an eventual Riordan/FemElfMage pairing, but that will take a while to develop. Also, this story will be set after Origins and during Awakenings. With Riordan still alive, I suppose that this will be an AU. The M rating is for the future.
See Who I Am
The pain was so penetrating…
He slowly opened his eyes, trying to get them adjusted to the dim light that was barely shining down on his body. He groaned audibly as he tried to sit up, his body protesting by sending jolts of pain through his form. Sluggishly, he managed to prop himself up by his elbows and gazed up at the sky. He still felt the pull of the Archdemon, knowing that the creature was still alive.
"How am I still alive?" Riordan mused out loud, shakily getting back up on his feet. He hissed loudly when pain shot through his left leg as he put weight on it. No matter, there were still darkspawn lurking about that he needed to kill, broken leg or not. He knew he was close to his Calling, and that dying while fighting these evil creatures was an honest and honorable way to go. He looked around to see if his sword was nearby and did not see it. He sighed for a moment as he glanced upwards.
"So, that is how I am still alive," the Warden from Jader muttered, seeing a few awnings and a clothesline that were obviously destroyed, breaking his fall. The pain from his broken leg made him nearly cry out in pain with every step that he took. However, he did not as he thought it was a sign of weakness to whoever might have seen him.
After what seemed like an eternity, Riordan finally found at least a couple of daggers he could use to defend himself with. As soon as he had them in his possession, he felt the taint of darkspawn close to him. He followed the sensation and a grim countenance appeared on his face. This was what he was put on the mortal coil for, to destroy the darkspawn whenever and wherever they may be. His dark hair whipped about his face as he attacked the evil creatures despite the immense pain of his broken leg. To keep his attention on the attacking darkspawn and not on the throbbing ache of his broken leg, mentally he kept chanting the Grey Warden Oath.
In Peace, Vigilance…
He ducked out of the way of a hurlock trying to slice him with a two-handed sword and stabbed the creature in the neck. It shrieked as the last of its blood sprayed the Orlesian Warden. Riordan swiftly turned around and blocked a blow from a genlock rogue. The sound of metal upon metal was grating on the man's ears as he tried to stab the evil thing with his found daggers.
In War, Victory…
Riordan knew that he truly wasn't in his best form while fighting these darkspawn, but he was fighting at his best despite his injuries. In his mind, he was picturing what these things could and would do to him if he just relented, just relaxed. However, the Warden was not one to rest on his laurels like a dying man waiting for his death. He roared out a battle cry as he found more strength to keep on going, to keep on killing darkspawn.
He kicked the genlock with his good leg and proceeded to behead the creature. Using the momentum he got from killing the small darkspawn, he attacked two more genlocks, sweeping his daggers. He managed to stun one of them long enough to slice the creature's throat and then parried the other genlock's axe with the dagger being held by his left hand. He attacked with the right-handed dagger, but was only able to give the creature a shallow cut on its face.
Screeching in pain and anger the genlock physically attacked Riordan, pushing the much taller man down onto the ground. Riordan could not help the shout of pain when he landed on his broken leg. He used his good leg to kick the legs out from underneath the genlock. It squealed in surprise and then it gurgled as Riordan pounced on the thing and repeatedly stabbed it in the neck and chest.
Satisfied that it was dead, Riordan glanced at the darkspawn he just killed and saw that there was a perfectly good sword still in its scabbard. He slowly went over to it, the pain in his leg throbbing even more. He picked it up and strapped it to his back and kept the daggers as well.
That was when he felt through his tainted blood that the other two wardens in Ferelden were nearby. He glanced up and realized that the soon-to-be-king Alistair and the other warden, a female elven mage named Gwendolynne Surana, were atop the tower of Fort Drakon.
No! Riordan thought desperately as he tried his best to reach the fort as quickly as he was able to. I'm the eldest of the Wardens here! I should make the final blow to kill the Archdemon!
In Death, Sacrifice…
He encountered a couple of hurlocks and he managed to slice the arm off of one of them before the other hurlock slashed at him in the thigh of his good leg and made a gash in the right side of his abdomen. He screamed out but was able to kill it before falling onto the ground, finally unable to get back up.
Riordan managed to rollover onto his back, staring up at the top of the tower. He knew that one of the other two wardens killed the archdemon when he felt the dying screams of the tainted dragon and a strange light pass through him. He saw the light spread out from the top of the tower and at that moment, he knew that he could finally rest in peace. It's just that one thing bothered him, one thing that he just couldn't let go…
"Maker…I know…(cough)…this is selfish…but please…(cough cough)…let Warden Surana survive…"
At first, all Riordan heard were murmurs, but he couldn't open his eyes. He also tried to speak, but he just couldn't open his mouth. So he just resigned himself to try and listen to the vague voices that seemed to be nearby.
"Maker's breath! He's still alive!"
"Hurry, this man needs a healer!"
He would have shaken his head in confusion if he was able to. He did not think that he would still be alive. Why was he alive anyway? The gash in his stomach should have been fatal…but now he was feeling something rather warm…and comforting…
"There now…Wynne healed you as best she could…but I had to see for myself that you're still alive…"
"…-Are you sure he's really alive? He's been this way for over a week now…"
"By Andraste…someone go find Wynne, a healer, anyone! I think…"
That was when Riordan felt warm, so very warm…it was the same comforting warmth he had felt before. It made him feel like he was finally at home…
"I think he's waking up…"
"Easy, Gwen, you shouldn't get your hopes up…"
Riordan tried to open his eyes and was assaulted by how bright the light seemed to be. He groaned, moving a hand to cover his eyes. He thought he heard someone chuckle, but he wasn't too sure about that. That was when he felt a slender hand gently take his own away from his eyes. A warm, wet cloth was placed over his eyes, soothing him.
"You should take it slow, Riordan," a gentle female voice told him. "You've been unconscious for the better part of two weeks now."
Two weeks? That seemed to be an unbelievable amount of time to the Orlesian Warden. He opened his mouth to speak, but only a rasping sound could be heard.
That chuckle was heard again. "You must be parched. Let me take the cloth away from your eyes. Slowly open them so the light won't be so bright to you. And then I'll get you some cool water to drink."
As soon as he felt the wet cloth was removed from his eyes, Riordan slowly opened them. The light was still bright, but it was not as unbearable like before. It took a few moments for his eyes to adjust to the light, as different colored fuzzy blobs became clearer. He was soon able to see the fireplace, a small window that let some light in, and a dresser. He blinked a few times as his vision was getting better, the objects finally coming in clear. He then turned his head a bit and was slightly startled by the sight before him.
It was a lovely elven lass with silvery hair pulled back into a tight bun and a couple of tendrils of hair framing her delicate face. Her bright, lavender eyes watched his movements. She smiled softly at him as she brought over a cup filled with water.
"Here is the water I promised," she replied as she help Riordan take small sips from the cup. When it was empty, she placed the cup on the nightstand next to the bed. She pulled up a chair in order to sit by the bed, smoothing out her mage robes as she sat down.
"My thanks, lass," Riordan managed to say, the sound being somewhat raspy. He gave the elf a nod and struggled to sit up. As he settled himself against the headboard, he observed the woman sitting next to him. She was Gwendolynne Surana, elven mage and a Grey Warden, and was unlike any other woman he had met. Even for an elf, she was of slight stature but had a physical countenance that seemed to exude power and confidence.
"I'm sure that you have some questions, Riordan," Gwen stated matter-of-factly, her eyes never leaving his. She then held up a hand to stop the man from speaking. "Rest assured, the Archdemon is dead. Any remaining darkspawn in the city had been dealt since most fled back to the Deep Roads."
Riordan thought for a moment, his thumb and forefinger rubbing his chin. "Since you are alive, I assume that Alistair was the one to make the killing blow."
Gwen fidgeted for a moment, her eyes breaking contact with his. "No…His Majesty is alive." She then took in a deep breath as if steadying herself. "I was the one who killed the Archdemon."
Riordan narrowed his eyes at the young mage. "How is that possible? When an Archdemon is killed, the Warden who kills it dies as well."
The elf shrugged her shoulders and looked down at her hands. "Maybe you were wrong…maybe sometimes someone may actually survive from killing an Archdemon?" She sighed and turned to glance back at the human male. "Look, a miracle has happened and let's leave it at that, okay?"
"Fine…I'll leave it alone," Riordan answered. 'For now,' he mentally added. "So tell me, lass, how has Denerim faired the past two weeks?"
Gwen launched into a narrative, telling the bed-ridden man about how resilient the people of Denerim were. She told him some of the initiatives that Alistair implemented. One such initiative was to allow elves to become guards of the city. Of course that has been met with resistance by the nobles. However, it was explained that if the elves of the Alienage were given a chance to prove themselves, they would do so honorably.
Riordan listened to the young mage as she talked about the other events that have happened. Inwardly, he smiled at Gwen and was fascinated by her outlook on many things. Her voice was soothing and he soon found himself falling asleep…
Gwen pulled the thick blankets over the Orlesian Warden and sighed heavily. She looked up and gave the other person in the room a tentative smile. "You are a miracle worker, Wynne."
The elderly mage chuckled for a moment and smiled back. "He did not realize that I was in the room, child. Riordan still has a lot of healing to do." Using her magic, Wynne did one more checkup on the man and then placed a hand on Gwen's shoulder, squeezing gently.
"You do realize that Alistair needs to be apprised on Riordan's condition," Wynne stated.
Gwen sighed again and stood up, smoothing out her mage robes. "I suppose you're right," she muttered and made a face. "Let's get this over and done with."
AN: Not a bad start, I think… .:chuckles:. Anyway, I'd like to thank bioncafemme for allowing me to use her idea on how Riordan could have possibly survived the fall from the Archdemon. It's from a chapter of her staory, Blight Tales. AND a big thank you goes to jen4306 for helping me get this chapter started with her ideas and such. Thank you! ^_^
Can anyone tell that Gwen does not sound happy that she has to see Alistair?
Songs listened to during this chapter:
The Battle from the Gladiator soundtrack while writing out the fight scene between Riordan and the darkspawn.
See Who I Am by Within Temptation
Bless the Child by Nightwish