W/N - A little humor, a little magic, a little love and a little plot foreshadowing. I took inspiration from all of you out there in trying out some new plot and character points. This wraps up Loghain's Push and we're on to the Landsmeet.
Again, a deep and heartfelt thanks to roxfox, Josie, Ygrain, EE and Kaarlo for your support.
"Good morning, fat lumpy boulder," Morrigan said with an almost flirty nod to the golem.
"Good morning, skinny shrieky witch," Shale answered, her eyes and gemstones glowing a calm blue hue.
"Dumb as a bag of rocks."
Then, the two started to laugh as Morrigan walked past. Over the months, the two had reached a tense alliance or perhaps it was…frenemies, yes, that's what she decided to call it. Initial threats to squish Morrigan into red paste were met with midnight plant growth spells, inducing a mossy rash on the big golem. Watching the hunk of stone scratching like a Mabari hound was priceless. This, in turn was met with some weird golem power that trapped the witch in the form of a spider for two days. It took another week to get the webs out of her tent and sleeping bag.
Morrigan sighed and then chuckled. It was almost as fun as taunting Zevran. Well, sometimes, the elf was just too easy. She remembered the last time she got him, she walked by him dripping wet, her underclothes clinging to her body. "T'is just so hot," she said obviously. "I'm so wet and there is no one to dry me off."
Zevran's eyes bulged and he glanced both ways before getting up to follow her. "Are you taking volunteers now? I knew you would come around."
The witch walked into her tent, swinging her hips and then tossed her small clothes out the door. To her dying day, she would never forget how the elf's lecherous grin changed to terror when he strutted in to see a grizzly bear. The poor man's hair stood on end all day after that. "Got some griz?" was the joke in camp for a week.
Ah, she cracked herself up sometimes. Just then, a little blonde blur appeared in the hall and ran into her. "Ooof. Child, you should watch where you're going."
Amethyne looked up with her big eyes. "I'm sorry, Morrigan. I was playing hide and seek with Cyrano."
"The Warden's hound? Oh great, is he going to come barreling into me too?"
"Uh, I think he is-" Amethyne said as the sound of scrabbling paws on tile grew into a large dog. In a moment, there was a tangle of fur, arms and feathers on the floor.
"Gah! Stop licking my face, mutt! And get off of me! I have a right mind to turn you into-"
The girl burst into giggling gales, pointing at Cyrano slobbering on Morrigan. "Oh, you should have seen your face. Good doggy, come here." The hound leapt off of the witch and sat quietly next to Amethyne. The dog was bigger than she was.
Morrigan stood and wiped her face. "Yuck. Oh, you think that's funny, huh? Hrmph, well, I suppose it was. Anyhow, I was going to the kitchens. Perhaps you and mutt would care for a bite?"
"We would love one."
"Good, I, for one, am sick of Alistair's gray stew surprise and Oghren's dragon piss doesn't agree with me."
"Oghren's a funny one. He smells weird though."
The witch snickered. "You're very perceptive, child. He has so much alcohol in him I shudder to think what would happen if he approached a fire too close. Then again, he would make a wonderful grenade."
Amethyne laughed. "You're funny too, Morrigan."
Morrigan paused for a moment. A child's laughter…. She could not remember laughing as a girl. She looked down to see the necklace that Master Mikhail had made for Amethyne. The meteoric metal nearly glowed with power and its jewels reflected the light in a million different hues. Morrigan thought of a gem encrusted brush that she once had, twirling it in her small hands, admiring its beauty. Then, she remembered the brush shattered beneath Flemeth's foot and the back of her mother's hand. There were often welts and red cheeks, but no laughter.
"I…um…thank you. T'is a gift."
They rounded the corner and entered Redcliffe's kitchens, the sounds and smells of a feast cooking whetting their appetites. Morrigan's eye was drawn to a large, bronze-skinned Qunari standing by the ovens, wearing an apron. He pulled out a tray of cookies and set a bowl of frosting in front of him. The witch put her hands together as if her prayers were answered. "Oh, how precious. Here, watch this." With a wave of her hand, the cookies began to float and then spun in the air around his head.
Sten stepped back, his eyes huge with surprise. "Katara, bas!" he cried and swatted a cookie with his spatula.
Morrigan willed the cookies back onto the tray. No use wasting all that good baking. "Oh, Qunari, you made my day."
The big man turned and raised the corner of his lip. "Vashedan. It's you, witch. I'll have you know that baking is an honorable profession in Seheron. I've decided to name these…warrior cakes," he said as he looked down at his apron and slid it off to reveal his bare chest, flexing his muscles.
"Oh yes…very warrior like. The pink frosting gave it away."
Amethyne was crying with laughter by this point and Sten narrowed an eye at them, getting her to stop instantly. "You, little girl, you may be a warrior one day if your mother wills it. If so, you will be great, perhaps even an arishok among your kind. To that end, I give you some of my warrior cakes."
The girl took the stack of cookies and popped one in her mouth with a smile. Then, the Qunari held one out for Cyrano, who snapped it up in one bite. "The warrior hound must have some too. These may be too powerful for the witch though."
Morrigan smirked. "Don't count on it," she said and a cookie flew into her hand.
Sten wrinkled his nose, but held up the bowl of frosting and the spatula. "It needs the warrior gloss and battle sprinkles," he said dryly as he spread pink goo on the cookie and then poured silver and white bits on it. "This is only for the strong."
She took a bite and her eyes opened wide. "Sten…t'is very tasty. You have a talent for such things."
"These things are foretold in the Qun. Take some to the Warden when you go. None for Alistair though. He is not worthy of battle sprinkles."
"No, he's not. I'll make sure the Warden gets them all."
Morrigan took a stack of cookies in a bag and then looked down to Amethyne, who had crumbs and frosting all over her face. The witch was not quite sure what to do, but instinct seemed to guide her. She knelt down and held part of her robe up, wiping the girl's face, revealing a big smile. Morrigan stopped, a warm feeling building in her chest. Damn that Oghren's and his dragon piss – it always gave her heartburn. But, this wasn't the same thing and it felt rather nice, actually. Was this how she should have been, a child with a big grin, laughing through hallways and forests? What would it have been like to have been a child who was loved? Her breath caught for a moment and she blinked, wiping away a single drop of water from her eye.
"Morrigan, are you okay?"
"T'is nothing, child…I mean, Amethyne. Just got a battle sprinkle caught in my throat. Here now, you and that mutt go and play and I'll take these warrior cakes to your mother."
"Mother will read to me later. I love Fried Mush and Nug."
"Not Leliana and Zevran's version, I hope."
"Huh? No, this is the one about the cute and adorable nug that lives in a castle."
"Oh good, the other version t'is not for children's ears," the witch said as she rubbed Amethyne's shoulders and then patted the girl on the nose with her finger. "Run along now. I'll see you for dinner."
Amethyne ran off with Cyrano in tow and Morrigan made her way up to the Warden's quarters. Just for fun, the witch morphed into a cat, holding the bag of cookies in her mouth and climbed up into the ceiling to enter the room from above. Why just use the front door – that was boring.
She perched on the ledge and made ready to leap down when she heard the Warden and Alistair arguing over some meaningless politics. Who would inherit the crown of Ferelden? Who would be their heir? Amethyne was legitimately adopted by the Warden, but the people might only accept Connor. Morrigan shrugged. Who cared?
The Warden threw up her hands and walked away from Alistair. It was about time she got rid of that schlubb. But then, who else was there? The two-headed elf who only followed the little head? The reeking dwarf? Perhaps the bard? At least the bard could sing.
Then, Alistair grabbed the Warden by the sleeve of her dress and spun her around, putting a golden rose in her hand. This was that little trinket that he had Sandal make from the flower that was picked in Lothering. The Warden's face softened and their lips met. Morrigan sighed. For as formidable as the woman was in battle, she had no taste in men. The witch turned to scurry away, but she found herself riveted to the spot. Alistair yanked on the knot in front of the Warden's dress and pulled the strings loose.
As she watched the emerald green skirt and bodice fall away, Morrigan expected that she would feel sick, but instead, she felt a tingle along her skin. The prince's hands brushed along the Warden's breasts and then the woman lay back onto the bed, softly biting her lower lip and gazing upward with sparkling eyes. She reached out her hand and pulled him down, pushing his head down between her thighs. The witch never knew that Alistair had it in him. The Warden threw her head back, curling her toes and digging her booted heels into his flanks as if he were her massive black stallion. He slid up and reached down between his legs to undo the cords of his pants. Morrigan's cat eyes widened.
An idea came to the witch like a bolt of lightning. It was all there, in Flemeth's Grimoire. The Blight…the Archdemon…a child. It could be an answer to everything. And, the child would not be raised as Flemeth raised Morrigan. There were other ways to raise a child. There were smiles…and laughter…and maybe even cookies. She looked one last time to see the Warden roll over on top of Alistair and brush the hair out of her eyes with a flip of her hand. For a moment, Morrigan imagined herself in the Warden's place and she felt a warm ache in her body. She turned and rubbed her whiskers on a wooden beam and then licked the back of her paws. With a growly meow, she picked up the bag of cookies and scampered off in search of a cold bath. Imagination had to become reality.