The story is written from Shianni's POV, and goes through her grief at the death of her cousin.
They brought back her body in a wooden casket. Her lifeless body barely visible through all the mourning flowers that were laid down in such thick quantity. I suppose that was to show just what she meant to people. To her friends. Ferelden too, I suppose. That great cousin of mine became The Hero.
Even as great as they said she was over her body, it didn't save her. She died ending the war with the darkspawn. To end a tale of tragedy throughout her country, her life ended in one. I guess in a way her life was never anything but sorrow. It's sad. She was such a great person that I can't help but marvel at what she might have become had she never been born as an elf in the slums of Denerim. Maybe those hardships toughened her into becoming great. I don't know. I just know that I wish she weren't gone.
As children we used to play silly games were we pretend to be great warriors and then we tackled each other into the ground. Normally the play-fights would end with Soris looking frantic or her father coming out and gently scolding us for messing up our already dirty clothes. Some days we acted as though we were fine ladies, always eleven one's though. She always got bitter about that, according to her elves should have every equal right as a humans did. Judging by how her human companions acted in her funeral, I am pretty sure I can judge that she finally overcame her bitterness.
I miss those childish, often foolish games. They were fun, lighthearted and took all our minds off whatever terrible slight of justice had happened that day. Of course, she always was the better actor then I.
I miss the way she knew how best to use someone's talents. Her one true hatred in life was waste, she once confided to me at night. Every life had a purpose, and according to her, the purpose of life was to find that purpose. She found hers. She became a Grey Warden and saved a country. Along the way solving Maker knows how many problems in Thedas.
I miss the smile that she always saved for the desperate. Whenever that thing appeared Soris and I knew that we'd be sent like minions to help her save that person's day. In a way her generosity to those lower then her knew no limits and her ability to get things done never learned how to stop. She never quit going forward. She had that same smile when she killed Vaughen and went my shell-shocked self. One that wasn't really there to be kind, instead it was there to show a person that she would do as she promised.
I even miss the older, stubborner and charismatic person she grew up to be. Even if at the time I called her a pain.
I miss… her. Really, I could mention a hundred things that I will never see again, and already desperately want to. Why did she have to die?
Her companions felt her charm too. I can tell that by the way their shoulder's drooped when they buried her husk. The body that lacked that perfect gleam she used to have.
The man, or I suppose I should say King Alistair spoke at the funeral. Not long because his voice became shaky and chocked with tears that he dared to show to his court. He didn't let his kingly image overturn the emotion that shook in every part of him. Even as of now I am left unsure of what my cousin and his relationship was. I hope, whatever it was, that it brought her happiness in her hard road.
Leliana, the lovely minstrel sung a ballad she herself wrote. A beautiful piece it was. A sad song that managed to convey life and chance despite the sorrow written in it. All the emotion that the human woman experienced must have been in that song, because it almost felt alive. A being of its own. A wonderful tribute to my cousin.
Zevran, the tattooed elf, stayed stoic while they surrounded the body in earth but afterwards I saw him weep. That blonde head of his shook in grief, and he wanted no one to see it. He heard me though, and asked me what she was like as a child. When I explained what a terror and what a blessing she had been, he laughed. Zevran agreed on both accounts.
The elderly mage looked tired and weary. Like an old woman who had seen so much death and suffering that last one was too much. It may have looked it, but the mage held firm. My cousin's death deeply affected her, I could tell by the wilting in her shoulders and the blank eyes. After she murmured a few words over the body, the woman tried to console others who grieved.
Sten looked positively frightening. A massive pillar of strength and ability that only stood and looked at my cousin for the longest time. Then in a startling move he bowed, and said a single word in foreign. I have not yet learned what it meant, but it must have been important to the Quanri because of the look on his face was one of true respect.
Oghren, grieved in a different way. He got drunk, stone drunk, and nearly killed a noble for insulting my cousin. After all she had done for every person in the kingdom, the fact that she was born elf still mattered to them. Oghren spent several days boasting of his friend. Explaining to the detail, all that she was. And more.
Shale, the golem wrote a poem. A badly written, even worse rhymed one that asked why soft, squishy things that were mildly all right to be with shouldn't be allowed to die. While I might have been insulted the first time I heard it, I believe that it actually does grieve for my cousin. Just in a odd way.
Even that dog mourned. Howling sadly as they buried her. Poor mutt.
All that love directed to her and all that compassion that enveloped her when she was alive turned out to be for nothing. She still died. Despite it all she still turned up cold.
As per her wish, apparently, the new king declared that the alienage would have a Bann. He personally asked me to be it. I don't know how to take it. It should be her in that spot.
She was the clever one, the smart one, the quick one… the everything one. I never managed to be anything in comparison. Yet I am the alive one who can still speak for the elves, and she is the one buried and forever locked in silence.
She saved me from horror twice. Once after I was raped, she killed a Bann without fearing the punishment. Then months later she saved the entire alienage from desolation by darkspawn. Never she did she hesitate, not even when two ogres charged at her. Instead with deadly competence she buried her sword into their skins. All I could give her was a ring. A single piece of metal, and that was last I saw of her. Smiling at me, then turning and running into more danger.
I never became her savior. I don't think she ever had one, she always did the constant saving. She saved me. She saved her father from slavery. She saved the world. When she died, no one saved her.
Soris wants me to take the position as Bann of the Alienage. According to him, this is what our cousin would have wanted. There is a single problem with that. Death has claimed her. The dead cannot speak. She has no way of expressing her wish.
How much is a dead woman worth?
Alive, my cousin was worth all our lives, she was worth her weight doubled in gold. A word from her I never hesitated to follow, after all she stayed the savior. The Hero, and people are supposed to follow the hero.
But when that Hero is dead, how much weight does their word have? If someone tells me to follow their wish, how do I know that they would have wanted that? Even beyond invisible words, and how much is their body worth dead.
Death claims the intelligence, wit, and all thoughts in a person's head. Is the husk even important? How much is their reparation worth? Enough to grow into a killing rage.
When alive my cousin loved, and was loved. Does that love reach beyond the grave? Is that still how much she is worth? Even though she is dead, is she still worth all that love to be sent to her? Does it still matter if feeling linger still?
She still has a reputation even though she is underground. All those who cared for her protect that reputation. We call it her honor, does that mean all she is worth now is few words holding up her reputation?
I miss my cousin so much that I feel empty. When she left the alienage the first time at least I could pretend she would come back one day. Even though in reality I knew her path would take her away from home. Such a cousin I grew up with, I knew that she could never stay in the confining chains of our alienage, and I turned out to be right.
A planner, a thinker, a fighter, a leader, a friend. Gone in the flash that marked her life, and disappeared into the words of a story. Even now her character has been changed, thorough tales across the country of what my cousin did. Yet every word seems to draw further from what she was. Yet even I cannot put that down in ink, for others to turkey see.
Pathetic, really. I sit in my home, and write out my fears, and my despair all to avoid a single question. Should I take the title of Bann? Logic tells me yes. Other tell me that I should say yes. Yet I still grieve for her too much.
How can I take her place, knowing that I will be as good as her? All I can do is try, I suppose but for the elves trying is not good enough. Only success will be of any help. She could have done it, my cousin could.
Eventually, I must go on. Eventually, I suppose I will wake up one day and I don't notice as much. For now though I ache, and spend my waking hours thinking of her. Is she worth all that time now that her grave is covered by dirt and flowers? I just on't know. I know however that I truly cared and loved my cousin. I never truly appreciated it until she rescued me from danger.
We played the most marvelous games as children, then as quasi-adults made the most ridiculous plots an elf could ever conceive. Now my cousin is no longer here to be the leader everyone needs, and the friend every wants.
The thing she always wanted to be was an example. I think I should honor that now that I really consider it. Her strength did not wither away once her body lost life. Instead it spread to friends, and acquaintance. Spread and multiplied even, like a chain reaction hopping from person to person, overtime getting stronger. Always stronger and never weaker.
The one true thing that identified her was the vitality beating in her. That much vitality could not have died with her, it was far too strong.
I have made my decision now, and I'll put it down here in order to finalize it. I will accept the position of Bann. For her, to become like her.
I shall stop here, and keep the grief, and in others here. Should anyone read this know that my cousin was remarkable in may ways but now is the time to take her work and have others expand on it. I don't wish for my sorrow to end, I merely wish for the ache to fade so I may do things.
That is what I will do. Forward is the only way, my cousin is now only words and, results of her actions, and the strength she gave to every person she touched in life. I will not squander that strength, that vitality she passed on with her.
Good-bye precious cousin of mine. I hope that the pain of life did not hurt you overly much, and dull the precious years you had to live. My heart wishes for you still be here, but you cannot be. I love you. Rest easy in death knowing that nothing you accomplished ever was in vain. Good-bye.
Hopefully everyone who read the story, enjoyed it. My first Dragon Age story so I would really appreciate if people would review this :).