A/N: And now, a little taste of something in the works...


Prologue

The claustrophobia is not new. He's lived with it for eons. What makes him nervous, why he can't sleep away the centuries, is that he can hear them. He can hear them whispering; he can hear them scratching, chipping away.

They're coming for him.

There's nowhere to escape - whether it was meant to be this way or if they've all just been victims of a terrible coincidence, he can't be sure. In turns he is terrified, as a creature such as himself should never be, and resigned; they will come for him, he will be corrupted by their very touch, and he will lose himself. He will no longer be what he was, no longer remember his true self.

It's still far away, but the scratching, the chattering, the digging...it keeps him awake sometimes.

... [and a bit from a later chapter]

Gretchen took the pot from the oven and poured a steaming liquid into two mugs.

"Are you sure I can't help...?" Marian said a little helplessly.

Gretchen shook her head, stirring a pinch of something into each of the mugs and stirring. "I'm fine. Here," she thrust the mugs in their hands.

Marian sipped and managed just barely not to cough, eyes streaming. It was hot, spiced cider—very strong cider. She would have to be careful. A whole mug of this and she'd be dancing the Remigold in her smalls on the roof. She caught Anders's knowing grin behind his mug and kicked him lightly underneath the table.

"So how long are you staying?" Theodor asked, massaging his wife's shoulders. "You are staying, aren't you? You must—we have so much to catch up on. Papa will want to know of you, how you've been."

Anders and Marian shared a look. "We... have no fixed plans, as of yet. But we were planning on staying in the village-"

Gretchen waved it off. "There's plenty of room here for family."

Anders hesitated, his fingers tightening on his mug. "I don't know if it's wise for me to stay—"

He broke off as a shuffling footstep stopped at the door. Marian looked up to see an old man with a cane stand in the entrance to the kitchen, his eyes sliding past her to lock in on Anders.

Anders rose so quickly that it startled Marian.

"Papa," he addressed the man in a quiet voice, hands clenching at his sides.


A/N: Yes, we are writing the sequel. There will be more fun hijinks with the Ferelden Wardens (including Warden-Commander Alistair), fun times with Bethany, Nathaniel, Varric, Sigrun and many other familiar faces; and, as you can see above, a little detour into Anders's past. All that and more (an actual planned out PLOT!) will be coming. You can keep a story alert on this story if you like, and when we finally start uploading chapters of the sequel, I'll put something here to let you all know.