Author's Note: This is my first fan fiction ever, so please, do not bludgeon it until it is unrecognizable. I will do my best to improve over time. Thank you for understanding.
Disclaimer: The Dragon Age name, logo, setting and characters are all property of Bioware Corporation. I have not, nor have I ever, claimed them as my own work. Matthew Cousland is my creation.
What if Morrigan didn't leave after the ritual was performed? What if she remained at her love's side, continued to help him, and raised a family with him, from Redcliff, to Denerim, to Vigil's Keep, and into the new Mage-Templar War? This is the tale of what might have been….
Matthew Cousland stepped out of Riorden's room, completely devastated by what he had just learned. He ran his hand through his flame-red hair, contemplating this new information; when the Archdemon, Uthemial, leader of the darkspawn hoard, and catalyst of this Blight, was slain, the soul of the now corrupted Old God would pass into the nearest souless spawn, and the dragon would be reborn in all its horrid glory and power.
This was why Grey Wardens, such as himself, were needed; having drank darkspawn blood, and taken their Taint into themselves, Wardens could sense the monsters, and could combat them more effectively. There was more, however; because they were affected by the Taint, the Archdemon's soul would be tricked into entering the Grey Warden why slew the dragon. But two such entities could not exist in the same body. Both souls were destroyed; the Archdemon destroyed utterly, the Blight ended, but at the cost of the life of the Warden who made the killing blow.
Matthew felt a hand on his shoulder. He looked up to see his good friend, Alistair. They had met at Ostagar, and it had taken all of 5 minutes for him to like him. The bastard son of the late King Maric, Alistair had been raised in the custody of Arl Eamon, before being sent to the Chantry to be trained as a Templar, the holy warriors that guarded the Chantries and contained the mages of the Circle of Magi.
Persecute, scapegoat, and slaughter the mages is more accurate. Matthew thought, his thoughts darkening still further. He had never believed the Chantry's tale of the Maker, the supposedly kind, benevolent god who condemned all life in this world for the actions of a few greedy individuals, not once, but Twice! As a result, he had developed a thorough dislike for Chantry, which had turned into fully-fledged hatred when he arrived at the Circle's Tower on Lake Calenhad, seeking aid against the Darkspawn. Demons had overrun the tower, but instead of trying to save the mages trapped in their prison, the knight- commander held his men back, awaiting permission to invoke the Rite of Annulment, which essentially allowed him to unleash genocide on the mages. Furious with such cowardice, Matthew and his companions had stormed through the tower, obliterating every demon and possessed mage they found. They had rescued numerous mages, including several children, First Enchanter Irving, and Senior Enchanter Wynne, who had left to accompany him against the Blight. All of these good people would have been killed if the Templers had done "the Maker's will".
Fortunately, Alistair had hated the Templers, and their divine mission, and had been overjoyed when Duncan, the senior Grey Warden of Fereldan, had conscripted him into the Wardens. He claimed it was the first time he felt that belonged anywhere. Since then, the two had become fast friends, and had gotten into innumerable miss-adventures, the greatest of which, so far, was organizing the Landsmeet and overthrowing regent Lohgain Mac Tir, the man who had abandoned King Cailan and his army at Ostagar, then tried to blame the Grey Wardens for his own treason.
Matthew had revealed Lohgain's crimes to the noble's of the Landsmeet, overthrew Lohgain and his daughter, Queen Anora, executed the former, imprisoned the latter, and put Alistair on his father's throne. Alistair had nearly begged Matthew not to do such a thing to him previously, but Matthew had discounted his ramblings; he knew Alistair was a good man, and despite what his friend claimed, a good leader. He had no doubt that Alistair would make an excellent King.
But then Riorden had told them the truth, and Matthew was faced with a horrible dilemma; he was the last of the Couslands, the noble family that had ruled the Teyrnir of Highever since before Ferelden was a single nation. His family had been slaughtered the year previous by Rendon Howe, the traitorous Arl of Amaranthine, at the start of the Blight. Matthew had tracked down and personally killed his father's former friend, but the enormous damage was done; he was the only survivor of Howe's attack, and his older brother, Fergus, whose wife and son had also been killed, was missing in the Korcari Wilds. If Matthew died killing the Archdemon, his family line would be ended forever.
But Matthew knew that if it came down to it, he must make the final blow. Alistair, like him, was the last of his line; he was the only living descendant of Calanhad, the man who had originally united Fereldan into a single country. If Alistair died, the entire nation could fall apart. It was Matthew's duty that, if Riorden failed to slay Uthemial, than he must do so.
"So," Alistair said, bringing Matthew back to reality. "This is it." "Yes." Matthew replied. "One way or the other, this will end." Alistair nodded. "Well, I guess you'd like to get some sleep before our march to the capital. I'll let you turn in; I'd like to get some cheese from the pantry anyway." This forced a laugh out of Matthew; how could he possibly think of food at a time like this!
"Alright then, good night, your Majesty." Alistair frowned. " I still haven't forgiven you for that, you know", he growled, and stormed off. Matthew chuckled; he knew Alistair would come around to being King of Fereldan, in time.
Again feeling the force of grim fate for what needed to be done, Matthew sighed, turned and entered his empty room.
Only thing was, it wasn't empty.