Disclaimer: I do not own Loghain, or the Couslands, or anything else in the Dragon Age universe and unfortunately it is unlikely that I ever shall.
This story is an idea I have been toying with in my mind for a while now, and finally decided to put to paper. It is not a first draft, but neither is it complete. Throughout the following chapters, there may be non-canonical material, but my intent is to keep it to a minimum. I will use it when it is necessary to make the story and characters flow better in my version of the fiction, but I will not make any changes that are game/world breaking. I am consistently researching and fact checking, but if you find errors that you believe to be unintentional, please let me know. As always, I appreciate comments and constructive criticism.
Part 1: My Hero
Chapter 1: First Impressions
Loghain sighed, glaring grimly at the man sitting across from him. The Teryn of Highever held his ground, knowing what Loghain was trying to do. He was trying to do what was necessary – as he had always done – but the two men disagreed quite heavily on what exactly that was. They had been discussing, arguing, and –briefly – fighting about policy for several hours, and no one had the courage to come in and tell them to quit. There were very few people who were brave enough to tell the Hero of River Dane that he was being stubborn and they were equally wary of offending the lord they lived with and served.
They heard a soft angry grunt, and whimper as someone hit the door outside the chamber. The two Teryns were jolted from their argument and turned their heads. The sound repeated, followed by the angry mumbling of what sounded like a little girl. Teryn Loghain stood, right eyebrow raised in curiosity, and stalked to the door. He took hold of the brass ring on the heavy, sturdy Fereldan crafted door and pulled it open. It took him a couple of seconds of staring before he noticed the warmly garbed child hanging from the ring on the outside of the door. An angry, determined face looked up at him and melted into delighted curiosity.
She let go, landing clumsily, and slowly looked the man up and down, "Thank you for opening the door."
The word sounded more like "doe" coming from this little girl, who the Teryn knew was barely 4 years old, not much younger than his own little girl.
Loghain bowed his head shallowly – but bowed his head nonetheless, something he would almost certainly not do for an adult, "You're welcome, my lady. Is there something else I can help you with?"
She was studying him, he realized, and then she looked past him to her father briefly before looking him in the eye, "You look familiar."
Loghain raised his eyebrow again; a faint smile graced his stern countenance, "Do I? I haven't been to Castle Highever in some time."
The girl furrowed her brow, and looked back to her father, biting her lip. Loghain almost laughed, he had seen that look in the faces of many men, and quite a few women, but he had never seen it in someone so young. She looked back at him again, studying his face, his armor, his sword and his faint smile widened to a knowing grin as she gasped and her eyes widened.
"You! You're … you're Loghain," she backed up taking a good long look at the towering man in front of her, "You are!" A look of awe, almost reverence, lit up her face and her smile of recognition was radiant, as was the adventurous glint in her eye, waving an imaginary sword in the air she proclaimed, "Teryn Loghain, master swordsman and archer, King's best friend, the Hero of the River Dane! Daddy tells such amazing stories about you! You led a band of elves, terrorizing the vile usurper's army in the night," Loghain noted with satisfaction that she spoke of the usurper the way a child would mention a monster in a children's story, "Your strategies saved the army from the brink of destruction. You saved King Maric at West Hill, brought him back from the dead to save the Rebel Army at Gwaren." Her listing paused as she ran out of breath, but it was clear that this was the most exciting minute of her life thus far, "You're amazing!" She hugged him – his leg actually, she was much too short to properly hug him.
Loghain – much to Bryce Cousland's surprise – didn't pry her away from him immediately, and instead tousled her hair fondly and chuckled, "I am … flattered … by your praise and glad that you know the stories of the rebellion."
The little girl let go and almost fell over backwards, her balance wasn't very good, "My daddy tells me all about it. He says the worst crime we could commit is to forget what our freedom cost."
Loghain looked back to Teryn Cousland, regarding him less hostilely than he had, "I," the Teryn paused, he wasn't good at apologies, "suppose I overreacted to your difference in opinion. I still disagree with you, but I was wrong to think it stemmed from any lack of loyalty."
Highever's lord nodded, "It's forgotten already. I have always held you in the highest regard. Please, stay the night at least, before you head back to Gwaren. I have had a bed made up for you, and you'll get a good meal before you leave."
"I appreciate your hospitality," Loghain nodded and regarded the little girl, who seemed confused, "I'm afraid I must take your leave, my lady, I have important business to attend to back home." He bowed his head in deference to her again, and stalked quietly from the hall.
"Good bye!" She called after him.
He paused outside, pushing himself against the wall to remain unnoticed, and listened to the exchange between Father and Daughter.
"Elissa, I was busy. Didn't your mother tell you I wasn't to be disturbed?"
"Of course she did, but I didn't care. She also told me I had to go bed soon, and you promised me a story," her tone accused her father of forgetting his promise.
"I … did. I am sorry, I lost track of time."
The little voice brightened substantially, "It's ok, daddy. I'm not mad at you for forgetting."
"I'm mad at you for not letting me meet Loghain sooner."
There was an exasperated sigh, "Is there any way I can make it up to you?"
Loghain imagined the girl's excited grin as she demanded, "Tell me a story. A good story."
There was a pause, and then Cousland was walking to the door and Loghain quickly disappeared, heading for the guest quarters. As he made his retreat, he heard the beginnings of the story – which wasn't a story at all to Loghain, it was a memory. It was the day he and Maric had found the Rebel army. The day he came up with the plan that had saved the army and set him on the path which lead to him saving Fereldan. The day he had met Rowan. He shook away the thought and hurried on to the warm bed that awaited him.
His thoughts wandered as he slowly removed his armor and weaponry. He had been unusually lighthearted when the girl had interrupted his arguments. She was demanding – and too talkative – but she was young, and her energy and awed respect was refreshing to him. Most young children were terrified of him. He recalled her list of his deeds, and was pained to recall the misdeed's that were thankfully missing from it. He placed his armor on the rack on the far side of the room and placed his sword on the table by his bed. He doubted there would be trouble, but he still felt uncomfortable if his sword was out of reach. He sat down, recalling the fire that had simmered with frustration as she searched him for a clue to his identity, recalling the determination and the scrutiny. There was intelligence there. It was hindered by her age and inexperience, but he knew someday she would be a formidable woman. There was something about that little girl that intrigued him.
He let it go with a scoff and a sigh, and lay down. He barely pulled the covers over him before he was asleep.