Disclaimer: I own nothing of the Dragon Age universe but my games and strategy guides. This is just me making a mess in the sandbox.

His knees hit the floor of the Landsmeet chamber seconds before his fingers go limp and his shield slides from his grasp. There's a moment where his mind screams get up but his body says we're too old for this and he can't find the strength to move except to drag his helmet off.

Loghain seriously thought he could beat the boy, having barely remembered catching a glimpse of the too-familiar face at Ostagar. He'd been trailing along at Duncan's heels like a lost puppy since the Wardens arrival and then escorting the Cousland girl around days later. There had been a softness about him there, something he shared with Cailan, and the boy's too easy joking demeanor had him playing him off as nothing to worry about.

The man he'd just fought – just lost to – is nothing like that boy. And all he can think is that this is the son Maric should have had in Cailan.

A year of fighting Maker only knows what while he mostly sat in Denerim and tried to hold things together has hardened the boy that was. His sword never hesitated in its strikes and Loghain's head still rings from where the Grey Warden shield clashed against his helmet earlier. Even before the fight started, he could tell there was something different about the boy as he stood next to the Cousland girl. There was something harder in his face, the lines drawn starker and hazel eyes gleaming in a way that said I have seen, fought, and killed things that would chill your soul.

He was a fool to think he could win.

Coughing, Loghain lifts his head to look up at Alistair, meeting that harsh gaze without pause. And suddenly he isn't in the Landsmeet chamber but in Orlesian occupied Ferelden, in the King's office, in the Circle Tower, in the Deep Roads, and so many other places. In that instant the boy is replaced with Maric and he can't help but feel his old friend's disappointment in every bone.

Why? the shade seems to ask and he can't find an answer. A year later he isn't even sure what his reasons for not coming at the lightning of the beacon even were.

And there is nothing he can say that will make betraying his king, his son-in-law, his friend's flesh-and-blood, Rowan's son right.

"No!" screams out his daughter's voice then and Loghain realizes that Alistair has his sword raised, ready to bring down in a two-handed blow that will take off his head. Part of him wants to rise and comfort her, another wants to grab his sword up from where it's fallen to defend himself, and the other just wants everything to be over. He barely hears the other Warden, the one Rendon Howe (Maker does he regret dealing with that man) locked in his dungeon, suggest to make him a Warden.

What he does hear all too clearly is Alistair's angry growl and Karre Cousland's harsh little intake of breath before she spits out the word, "Never."

Anora is shouting now, screaming that they cannot kill one of Ferelden's greatest heroes, and the girl – the little spritely thing who doesn't look like she could wield the sword and dagger she wears slung across her back – shouts her down by not shouting at all.

"I will admit that Loghain Mac Tir is one of our greatest heroes," are the girl's first words and Loghain can't help but admire her. She is bad-tempered, crude, and nothing of what a girl of her breeding should be…but she has all of Bryce's ability to speak and have people listen. It's no wonder that she has gained what allies he knows about and more. "We, however, cannot forget what he has done to Ferelden in this past year. I was at Ostagar, one of the very ones sent to light the beacon that would give this man the signal to attack."

The girl's eyes are on him now and he can feel them burn with the same intensity as the boy's.

"He never came," she continues, accusation snarling underneath her calm tone. "No, instead he turned and left. Hundreds of brave men and women died because of his actions. The Commander of the Grey, Duncan, died. Our own king, Cailan Theirin, died."

There is silence in the room for the first time as she stalks towards him with her teeth bared in a snarl and Loghain's mind can't help but compare her to a mabari. As she moves to circle the tableau struck by him and Alistair (who still has his sword patiently raised), she keeps talking, laying out his crimes again for all to hear.

Hmph, as if he does not know all his crimes well enough.

"In his actions since, Teyrn Loghain has attacked the men and women of the Bannorn. He blackmailed a mage into poisoning Arl Eamon. Tevinter slavers were allowed into the Denerim alienage and given free reign."

The girl paused and stops in front of him, fingers twitching as if she wants to gut him herself and not give the boy the satisfaction.

"Most damningly, he allowed Arl Howe to decimate the teyrnir of Highever as well as to claim the title of Teyrn and Arl of Denerim while turning a blind eye to his actions against the people he swears he cares most about."

She spun towards the Warden then, violence in every line. "I will never call him a brother-in-arms after what he has done, Riordan." Then she looked towards Anora and Loghain saw his daughter's hopes dashed on words as sharp as the sword still hovering above his head. "Being a hero of the Rebellion does not erase that he started a civil war with his actions."

And he smiles at his daughter, trying to reassure her but failing miserably from the tears that he can see welling in her eyes.

There is more talking around him that he doesn't quite comprehend and then the girl nods to Alistair. Loghain lifts his gaze to the boy again and he has but one thought as he watches the hazel gaze harden, the armored hands tightening around the hilt of the blade as the boy hisses, "For Duncan and my brother."

Perhaps it is best I die at the hand of a boy you would have been proud to claim as yours, Maric.

Then the sword swings downward and he thinks Anora screams but there's only a moment of pain before the darkness falls blessedly fast.