AN - I'm pretty much sure I never wrote anything as stupid as this is. And considering I wrote Qunari Issues and Chantry Influence, this is saying a lot. So this piece of weird, completely moronic text is to be blamed on ChampTheWonderSnail (again) and Suilven (who's a better enabler than I thought). I hope someone bypasses the stupidity and manages to laugh a little with this.
Everything is going according to plan. His voice was steady and strong, every comment delivered in the soothing tone he borrowed heavily from his big brother. His stance, that one was his father's. Aedan is so careful with his every word, with his every gesture, that he can almost feel his family there; right by his side and waiting patiently until the victory is his. He focuses on that presence when the duel begins and he faces off to the man who saved their country long before. Even when the blade in his hands gets heavier. Even when his breathing slowly begins to quicken and he is just so damned tired.
Then, Loghain falls on his knees and the heavy clang of his longsword against the floor signals the end of his fight.
Thank the Maker. Andraste help him, it's over.
Aedan barely hears Riordan's words and gives no importance to what little he catches. This was the man who supported Howe; this was the one who sold people like they were animals, the one who fled while others fought. There is no way, absolutely no way he is allowing him to leave that room without paying for all those lives.
His hands grasp his sword more tightly and begin to raise it for that last strike when.
"Please, have compassion. The dark side was too powerful."
Someone else holds them down before he can complete the movement.
It is his fellow Grey Warden, despair in his eyes and features, a pleading tone in his voice that Aedan has only heard when asking not to be made a King. But that was understandable and this seriously isn't.
"He didn't know better!"
"Alistair," he begins patiently – which is a bad attempt not to say 'the fade's wrong with you, man?' "What are you talking about? This is Loghain. He tried to get us killed. He called us traitors. He got Duncan killed."
"Duncan?" The blonde man parrots.
Perhaps one of Loghain's blows hit him while Aedan was distracted. It might have been one of the strong ones, pure silverite shield in face. Maker, where's Wynne when he needs her?
"The man who got you out of the Chantry?" He tries again. "Your friend? Your mentor? Duncan?"
"My mentor?" Alistair's face scrunches comically, a finger tapping absently against his temple. "Oh! You mean Obi-Wan!"
"He taught me how to be a Jedi. To fight with a blade, a lightsaber and use mind tricks. Didn't I show you before? Look!"
If it was scrunched before, Aedan has no idea to describe what this is. Alistair is furrowing his forehead, drawing his eyebrows together, nose upwards and lips pursed as if…
"…do you need to go to the bathroom?"
"No, fool." Hearing this from Alistair in his current state of mind just doesn't sit well with any part of the younger Cousland. "I'm mentally controlling you!"
Right... "At any rate. Could I get back to killing the guy who has been making our lives miserable for the past year?"
And when Aedan thinks nothing else can surprise him.
"My father just didn't know any better. Have mercy."
Well, things do surprise him.
"Your father?" Aedan can't help but repeat. "What are you talking about? I thought your father was Maric!"
Alistair's hands fly to his waist and his face gets a little closer than he would have been comfortable with on a daily basis. "What? What do you mean with Maric and Loghain having a very public and obvious affair which gave origin to me, what filthy awful lies. Don't you dare to repeat such falsities which are extremely false and untrue and must be forgotten never mind their veracity."
He isn't daring to do pretty much anything in that moment. Inclusively think. It's hurting a little every time Aedan tries to, really. However, it does make what happens next much easier to deal with. His greatsword drops just a little, leans a bit more to the side and then down, until there's this… splat sound. Just before a head rolls by his feet and the Landsmeet collectively swallows a gasp.
Loghain was accidentally killed. By him. Accidentally, after all those months planning and dreaming about revenge. It was a complete and total accident.
Aedan very nearly apologizes for his slip of hand – which is stupid, Alistair isn't Loghain's son, why is he bawling like that, Maker help him? – only he gets no chance to.
Because Anora and Alistair.
"It's alright, sister. It will be alright. Everyone is with him on the other side."
They are hugging.
"You got to forgive Aedan. It was an accident, he was going to forgive him, sister. It's all right."
"Warden?" A welcome voice rises above the shrill cries of both harpy and his temporarily crazy brother. "It is over. We can leave."
Aedan doesn't quite latch himself to Zevran and flees but it's a very close call.
When the Warden wakes in the morning, it is with pain all over his body. The battle left injuries behind that the aftermath hasn't quite managed to erase and Aedan feels each and every one as he raises from the bedroll. They feel so painful, so real, that it's obvious the odd images passing through his mind are like the exact opposite. A dream. An odd, extremely weird dream.
"Maker, thank the Maker," he whispers softly, resting his head on his hands as if to ground himself. "Andraste help me, I'm never eating that stew again. No matter how much Alistair begs me to."
Pain or not, the man feels rejuvenated. It is no wonder that, when he dresses and leaves his tent, it is with a smile on his lips; ready to face both friends and the new day. He finds none of them, though. All the tents are closed, including Sten's who prefers to wake and leave for his ablutions before any other turns on its bed. In fact, the only companion who kept by the camp is Oghren, the usual jug of ale in his hands and already well past drunk never mind the early hour.
"Oghren, did you just beeped?"
The dwarf shakes his head carefully, which is amazing considering how inebriated he looks, before opening his lips.
"Grey Warden, you are my only hope." That would be an incredibly female voice.
Aedan edges away very slowly, walks to the very edge of the camp and, without a hint of shame, he flees all over again. Sparing no look to the short male, its change of voice, its shining eyes and especially not to odd beacon light coming out of them.
He needs sense and something real. And there is only one being he knows that never stopped making sense. One being that is obscure and powerful, that haunts his dreams and awakened moments alike and that is logical. Aedan grips that part of the taint that connects them as he runs, calls, screams for the being to just come and tell him that the world hasn't turned upside down while he was distracted. Because he needs to make sure. He does.
The nobleman doesn't have to wait long for a reply. Little over five minutes is all that takes for his form to be shadowed by a much larger one, darker and familiar as the air in his lungs.
He has to control himself very hard not to hug the Archdemon; scales, teeth and claws included.
Strangely, the God appears to have a similar wish.
"Warden, why is everyone calling me Death Star?"
"I have no bloody idea!" Maker, logic. There is a logical being left with him.
Urthemiel stomps the floor in badly disguised anxiety. "My darkspawn?" He growls to the small human. "They keep trying to find a weakened exit in me so they can correct a construction malfunction. Two days ago, they tried to cover my … evacuation conduct."
The huge dragon sighs.
"Must you be so crude, Warden?"
"Considering it's currently keeping me from jumping off a bridge?" Aedan comments blandly. "Yes."
"And yesterday? This one wanted to pilot me from within. Said he was properly trained to do so and would calibrate my laser cannons properly."
"And what did you do?"
Maybe he shouldn't ask.
"I ate it."
"Anyway, can we get on with this before they bring more metal to repair me with?"
"Fine by me."
Aedan unsheathes his sword in a fluid movement as the Archdemon prepares himself. Both look at the sun at the same time, smile at each other and things appear to be perfect. Logical. Grey Warden and Archdemon, one last agreement - erh, battle - before the end of everything. Urthemiel allows himself to fall on the blade with a blissful sigh. Neither Warden nor God fight while they are sucked into nothingness.
After all, Aedan thinks sensibly in that very last second, nothing can be worse than this.
"I must say, Flemeth. Collective hallucinations might be the oddest and most effective way to finish a Blight I have ever seen."
There is a loud whine right after his words. Avernus sighs, turning his head a little to back of his Tower. There, shackled, is a large furry creature. A silver furry creature, a snarl on her lips and sharp teeth ready to snap him in half if he gives her a chance to.
Which is why he doesn't.
Apparently Wookies are serious business and this particular Warden didn't live this long by being stupid.
"Next time though? Work on making them slightly less real."