Expect more of Leliana and the royal family soon. Onto our first story...
The Boy In The Tower | Spaced20
I did not know how he survived.
Every single guard had been massacred, limbs torn from torsos and blood spilling across the stone floors in an ocean of dark red.
It was impossible.
He was impossible.
I look at him, my mouth open in what must be a embarrassingly idiotic look.
He's just standing there. Surrounded by darkspawn corpses.
Just. Standing. There.
Andraste's hairpins this is mad. Just…. mad.
The Maker himself must have shielded this little boy from the 'spawn's biting blades and gnashing teeth.
"Are you alright?" I ask eventually, having started my recovery from seeing the impossible.
He does not reply, but fixes me with simple eyes, a small bemused smile on his thick lips.
"We need to get you out of here. You understand, boy?" I tell him, waiting for a nod, a word, something... I am not acknowledged.
I do not stop to think that this blessed child is probably safer within the thick stone walls of Fort Drakon, rather than in the fire filled streets outside.
I grab his arm and begin to pull him along. He doesn't resist, and his short legs seem to automatically begin to work quickly to keep up with my longer ones.
"What is your name?" I ask the boy.
I receive no reply, just another forlorn look from those puppy dog eyes. Maker, the madness of this day…
Another deafening roar of protest from somewhere above my head, animalistic and vengeful, and a flicker of... fear? crosses the dwarven boy's face.
I do not stop to consider the immortal beast that made such a sound as we begin to descend one of the circular staircases. The sounds of war are filling the cathedral-like reaches of the tower. The sound of steel against shield; of steel against exposed flesh. The roars of victory and the howls of agony seep together to create an unbearable scream of carnage.
We run on. The boy is keeping his pace well, unburdened by armour that curses my own mobility. How could he possibly have survived? He's clad in nothing but the simple wool tunic all of the town's civilians wear.
We reach the colossal entrance hall of the Fort, and an almighty quake that causes the very floor to shake and the ceiling itself to howl in protest sends me into a stupor as my senses are overwhelmed by the exodus of noise.
"Maker!" I yell over the din, trying desperately to keep my footing as the ground shakes. "What in all of Thedas is happening?"
The boy yells in what I can only think is horror.
The ceiling is cracking - huge slabs of falling concrete, each enough to crush an ogre, are falling all around us. I pull the gibbering boy into a corner and shield him with my own body, my armour protecting the boy, as best as I can. I clench my teeth and seal my eyes shut, flinching from the sound of every falling boulder as it crashes down to the floor.
After what feels like an age, the racket ceases. The ground is still and the walls are stable.
I can hear something else.
I can hear cheering in the distance.
"Is it over?" I ask my young comrade dumbly, and he shrugs.
Has the beast fallen? Is this Maker-abandoned ordeal finally over?
I grab his hand and pull the dusty boy to his feet.
"Come," I say, picking my way over the rubble. "We should see what has come to pass."
I hear someone speak behind me, in a voice that cannot possibly be called human. It is so quiet that it takes me a moment of consideration to understand the words. "Farewell, Urthemiel... my dearest sister."
I look around, concern on my face, but see nothing but the boy. It must have been my imagination. It has been a very long and trying day.
I smile and grab the boy's hand, guiding him over the fallen masonry.
"Come my friend!" I say heartily.
I am sure I imagine what I hear as I turn round to guide him across the burning remains of Denerim, again seemingly from the boy's lips, "We are Three now. No more must fall to this taint."
After a moment, the boy grins up at me.