All he can hear is the screams of the dying as he walks down the aisle of the Chantry building. Even the ringing of metal on stone as his feet lead him to the altar are drowned out by the suffering masses, the cries of the weak and the children's sobs. The sun has passed the middle of the sky, and his mind must turn once again to preparations for the night that is to come, and the monsters from the lake. He is not sure that they will survive another night.
And then Tomas comes to him, bringing in three people and a creature of stone – a golem, straight out of legends – and all he can hear is the silence of bated breath as everyone stares. The leader speaks in clipped short sentences, not a word wasted and a voice roughened by the losses at Ostagar. Alistair – little Alistair, the boy who was sent away – has a soft smile and tired eyes, but Teagan is glad of his presence. The golem – Shale, he remembers – rumbles whenever it speaks. The vibrations shake his rib cage, and he feels the words more than he hears them. And with them stands a Chasind woman, disinterested in the plight of their town, but seemingly honour-bound to her leader.
Together, they sound like hope.
He manages to step through the gates of the castle, metal dull against the wooden bridge, before he is taken under the demon's influence. On the steps, the boy-vessel awaits him, mouth twisted into an unnatural smile. In the safety of his mind, Teagan wonders how on earth Connor was so swayed.
The demon hears him.
He is plunged into a whistling world, strange shapes and swathes of mist all around, and the faintest echoes of voices. He finds himself suddenly face to face with a creature. It must be a demon, he rationalises, but the primal parts of his brain make themselves heard. Divine. Gorgeous. Want.
"You understand now, yes?" she asks, and her voice is rich and erotic to his ears. "I presented the boy with his desires – the desire to save his father. All I asked for in exchange was to gain my desires. To live in your world."
Teagan opens his mouth to respond, but his tongue is dry and his throat is tight. The demon smiles, a wave of her hands – and he is confined to his mind again, a silent observer as the boy-vessel toys with his body. He is made to watch as Connor directs him, an acrobat in a circus. It sounds impossibly lonely.
His first deep breath after the battle sounds like heaven, but it hurts his chest and he struggles to his feet. In the aftermath, the scrapes of metal against stone as the men drag out their fallen comrades is harsh. The bloodmage is brought forward, and Isolde's truths are laid out for all to witness. Under the circumstances, Teagan finds he cannot blame her too badly, but the outsiders have a different view on the situation. The discussion soon turns to solutions.
"Blood magic." The words in themselves are powerful, but the man's leaden tone adds a heavy weight to them. Alistair rejects the idea immediately, and the Bann is inclined to agree, but Isolde offers herself forward, an air of something like atonement for her part in the whole affair.
The leader of their little group thinks for a long time. The options are all steeped in disadvantages, but no single person is willing to take the plunge and make the choice, instead all turning to this figure who wielded authority like a weapon.
The resulting brief nod of the head to Alistair confirms that they will go and seek the mages' counsel. Their feet ring out again as they head for the door, Alistair already talking to the knights about suitable defences. Beside Teagan, Isolde lets out a soft sob, falling to her knees. It sounds like regret.
The battle rages around him, hard cries and painful deaths underpinning the clash of steel against steel. Teagan almost relishes it, the slicing of inhuman flesh as he protects his soldiers, defends his homeland. This is no desperate defence, this is war as it is meant to be fought – with seasoned warriors and a plan. He cuts down another darkspawn.
The beam of light hits him before the boom of the explosion on the top of the tower, and all turn to witness. The darkspawn begin to flee, and though they are killed as they run, the tide thoroughly turned, he wonders if they will all die on blades today. Around him, men begin to smile, to laugh, to cheer. The cry of the hundreds of Redcliffe's finest rings out around the courtyard for a brief moment before the rush of the sound overpowers them all, silencing their revelry.
He can hear the anguished screeches of the dying Archdemon, and someone else crying out. It sounds like victory.
The sound of Eamon entering the room is familiar. He still smiles slightly whenever he hears it – over the past few months since his recovery, the Bann of Rainsfere did not expect it to sound so relieving, but it truly was. Nowadays, however, it was to become a less-heard commodity, a good thing in itself – he was no longer needed to help Redcliffe, the king was well and truly on his feet, and he would be preparing to leave the city to return home.
"Teagan." The warmth in his voice, affection for the brother that stayed the course, echoes in the words. "You've done so much for the arling. Truly, you've grown into your own there. I'd... I'd like for you to take the people of Redcliffe as your own." There is a tone of thanks there, almost disbelieving – though he always sounds like that now, in the dawning days of the bastard king. "I shall remain in the city as the king's advisor, and the nobles will no doubt approve of the fact that I will no longer have a conflict of interests. Meanwhile, our father's lands stay protected by men of Guerrein blood. I'm sure he would be proud of us – of you," he corrects, before taking a deep breath. "Don't worry, Arl Teagan -" a smile in his voice "- I'll take care of everything." Footsteps ring out and fade, and then there is nothing but silence in that hall, the soft but definite thud of the door closing as the royal guard leaves with him.
Arl Teagan. It sounds like a door opening.
The Arl of Amaranthine sends a letter congratulating him, and then the correspondence stops. Whispers of darkspawn filter through the country. The state of the world is shown in hushed tones and guarded questions, and Teagan thinks that his nephew must be feeling the weight of those words particularly heavily.
Denerim rumbles on, of course – the everyday noises of commerce and politics can almost be heard in the letters from Eamon, who has settled into his new role with unsurprising ease. Each proclamation has the distinct echo of his hand somewhere, though a few are fiercely independent – the land lain aside for the elves is something Teagan knows Eamon would have argued over, opinions shrouded in diplomatic words.
The clash of metal against metal rings across the world again, and finally there is word from Vigil's Keep – talking darkspawn and dissent amongst the nobles, but the Wardens sing out proud and the people's voices rejoice at their victories. The Arl promises to visit, and Teagan smiles as he drops the parchment onto his desk, the sound of the seal resting against the wood barely audible as he gazes out the window. It sounds like relief.