"I'm going to be sick," Alistair moaned.
"Oh for Maker's sake, not this again," Lyra said, exasperated. It was the morning of Alistair's coronation, and he was dressed in a fantastic suit of golden armor with a dragon emblazoned on the front. A white silk cape flowed from his shoulders with the symbol of the Theirins stitched onto the back, and Duncan's shield had been battered and polished back into perfect shape, the Grey Warden griffin gleaming in the sunlight.
"You've been acting the king for weeks, Alistair...things won't be different after today. Today it just becomes official." She kissed his nose. "What are you afraid of?"
"Nothing, I guess," he said quietly. "I wish they were crowning you, too. That's a lot of eyes on me up there."
"They're crowning me at the wedding," Lyra reminded him. "Personally, I thought we should get married first, and then hold the coronation, but I was voted down on that one."
"Eamon, and tradition, or some such nonsense," Alistair said, taking her hands in his own. "Oh well... In two more weeks, we'll be married," he said with a grin, leaning his forehead on hers, and she smiled blissfully at the words.
"That will be the happiest day of my life," she affirmed, and kissed him.
In the end, Alistair was worried over nothing. The ceremony went off without a hitch, and every noble in Denerim pledged fealty to their new king - including Anora. Lyra privately planned on asking Alistair to send guards back to Gwaren with her, to monitor her activities. Afterward, there was a parade through the town, and Denerim cheered lustily as Alistair walked and waved and smiled with his retinue behind him. Lyra walked beside him, dressed in a soft pink gown. A crown of pink roses wreathed her hair, and her hand was tucked into his elbow. Leliana had done her hair again, and in her pink dress Alistair had pronounced her a veritable princess.
They settled into a routine after that, and Alistair took to ruling better than anyone had expected...he was eager to learn the ropes, and Eamon coached him every day in law and governance. Lyra sat in as much as she could, but she was called away often for dress fittings and plans for the wedding that was fast approaching. Isolde was in her element, and the main hall of the castle was being overhauled for the event.
The morning of the wedding dawned bright and beautiful, and Lyra rose from her bed, incredibly excited. At Leliana's insistance, she and Alistair had slept apart for the last week, exchanging chaste kisses before bedtime and looking at each other longingly before the doors closed. Lyra sat at the vanity table and began to brush her hair and lay out her jewels.
Leliana appeared shortly, carrying breakfast on a tray. "No seeing Alistair today...not until the ceremony," she said in a sing-song voice, and Lyra rolled her eyes and dug into the food. Her appetite had not decreased, and if anything seemed as if it had grown a little. She finished breakfast, and Leliana was starting on her hair when Lyra's stomach clenched oddly. Beads of sweat broke out on her forehead, and she pulled in a deep breath. She hadn't felt that way since...
"Leliana!" she said urgently, and lurched to her feet and ran for her weapons. "There are Darkspawn in the castle!"
"What?" Leliana asked, puzzled. "Of course there aren't. Why would you think that?"
"Because... I-" she closed her eyes, appearing to be concentrating, and then she dropped her sword with a clang and sprinted to the chamberpot, where she noisily lost her breakfast. Leliana was beside her in an instant, and then fetched a cloth dampened from the basin to wipe Lyra's face with.
"I get nauseous when I sense Darkspawn," Lyra said weakly when she had finished, and blotted her mouth, and then accepted the cup of water Leliana handed her. She eased herself off of her knees and sat on the floor, swishing out her mouth and spitting, and then sipping slowly. The queasy feeling passed, and her brows furrowed.
"It's strange, though..." she murmured.
"What is?" Leliana asked, concern on her face.
"It's gone now. I was always able to control it before...I mean, I would feel it, but it never actually made me get sick..."
"Maybe it was something you ate? I can almost guarantee you, there aren't any Darkspawn in the castle," Leliana said, and Lyra shrugged.
"Well, it's passed now," she said, and stood up, then knelt again as another wave overcame her.
"Should I get Wynne?" Leliana asked worriedly when Lyra had finished, and Lyra nodded weakly.
"Maybe that's best," she said, and leaned her head back against the wall. Of all the days to have the stomach flu.
Wynne arrived shortly. Lyra had moved to the bed and was sitting quietly, sipping a little more water.
"When did it start?" Wynne asked professionally, and her hands began to glow as she scanned Lyra's body.
"Just a little while ago. I ate breakfast, and then it just...came over me," Lyra said. Wynne's hands paused as they hovered near her stomach, her eyes closed as she sensed what the problem might be. The glow faded from her hands, and she looked at Lyra in wonder.
"My dear...you are not sick. You are expecting," Wynne said softly, a smile spreading over her face, and Lyra's eyes flew open wide. She looked down at her belly, and then back up at the Mage.
"You mean, I'm..." Goosebumps raised on her skin, and her heart began to race. Wynne's face broke out in a wide smile, and she chuckled.
"I told you," she scolded, and made Lyra lay back on the bed, her hands beginning to glow again. She drew Lyra's tunic upward to reveal her belly, and Leliana gripped Lyra's hands excitedly, her eyes shining. She looked as if she wanted to squeal aloud, and Lyra felt her head spinning.
"Get Alistair," she said weakly.
"You're not supposed to see him-"
"Get him, Leli!" Lyra cried, and Leliana jumped up and ran from the room. Wynne chuckled, and began to press her glowing hands lightly on Lyra's abdomen.
"You're about six weeks along," Wynne said. "Let me think...that would put the date of conception at...2nd Justinian." Lyra's brows furrowed as she tried to think back six weeks. She and Alistair had always had a healthy sex life, so it wasn't as if one particular date stood out in her mind. She voiced another protest, still having trouble believing the truth of what Wynne said.
"But, Wardens can't-"
"Believe me, my dear, I can tell - Warden or no, you're very firmly pregnant," Wynne said, her eyes sparkling. Lyra shook her head, having trouble thinking. Even after the news of Alistair's mother, she hadn't really believed it might be possible...not with both of them being Wardens.
Alistair came running through the door and to Lyra's side. "What is it? Leliana told me it was an emergency..." He was dressed in his shirt and pants, but his sleeves were undone and his shirt was untucked, and he was barefoot. He picked up Lyra's hand and looked at her with concern. Lyra opened her mouth, and then shut it again, embarrassed, and looked at Wynne.
"Alistair...you are going to be a father," Wynne said softly.
Alistair's eyes opened wide, and then he pulled back, a look of 'ha, ha, you've had your laugh' on his face, and then Lyra gripped his hand harder. His brows furrowed in confusion as he focused on his bride-to-be.
"It's true," Lyra whispered. "I'm...pregnant." She laughed a little, and Alistair's eyes grew incredulous.
"But-" he said, looking at Wynne, who began to chuckle at the look on his face. Alistair looked rather as if he'd just seen another Archdemon.
"I just went through this with Lyra," Wynne said with mirth. "Believe me...it's true. She's six weeks along."
"Six weeks..." Alistair said weakly. He lowered himself down onto the bed beside Lyra, continuing to hold her fingers in his. He ran a hand over his hair.
"She'll deliver in Drakonis...I can figure the day more closely as it approaches," Wynne said, doing a quick mental calculation. "These things are never certain, but knowing the conception date helps."
"The conception date?" Alistair asked, looking dazed.
"Ah..." he said, and then his brows furrowed, remembering. "That was the day the horde changed course for Denerim...the night we woke everyone up."
Lyra blushed, thinking of the way they had made love until dawn, getting in only about an hour of sleep before waking up and marching all day.
"Yes...it was the night that Riordan told us about the Archdemon, and the reason why there are Grey Wardens," she said softly. Her hand gripped Alistair's more closely, and she kissed his knuckle, her mood marred by the memory of his near death.
"That still bothers me," Wynne said, frowning. "I heard back from Irving...he said he used to have a book that discussed some theory about the Archdemon, but he never found it again after Uldred and the abominations. I suppose it was destroyed..." she stepped away, still thinking.
Alistair thought of something. "What was it Morrigan wanted to talk to you about that night, Lyra? You never told me," he said, and stroked his fingers along her cheek.
"Oh, it was silly, really. She told me she'd overheard our conversation with Riordan, and said that she thought we might need help sleeping, so she gave me a potion to drink."
"Oh. Is that why you brought the wine," Alistair said, and grinned. "Sneaky. And here I thought you were being romantic."
"Wine?" Lyra said, her brows creasing. "What are you talking about?"
"You know...you came back from talking with Morrigan, and we had a drink, and then..." he tilted his head from side to side, a suggestive look on his face.
"No..." Lyra shook her head, puzzled. "I drank the potion in Morrigan's room, and then I came back to our room. You were asleep and I ended up waking you."
"That's definitely not what happened," Alistair said, his own brows creasing. "You came in, we...did, and then later on, we...did, again."
Leliana and Wynne were listening quietly, and Wynne had a hard, inquisitive look on her face as they spoke.
"Alistair, we made love only once that night. I remember-"
"No, it was twice. I remember."
"Why would you remember differently?" Leliana interrupted.
"More importantly, what was in the bottle that Lyra drank?" Wynne said.
Leliana's eyes widened. "And the wine..." she breathed.
"Start from the beginning. I need to know what you both remember," Wynne said. Haltingly, their faces flushing red, Lyra and Alistair detailed what had gone that night, each from their own perspective. Lyra was alarmed as she heard Alistair speaking...his account didn't come close to matching up with hers. It was like a whole chunk of her night was missing. She told her story next, and Alistair's face grew perterbed as well.
"What does this mean?" Alistair muttered.
Wynne nodded to herself. "This is conjecture, but I believe we can put it together...Morrigan is the key to all of this. She called Lyra away, and that is when your stories begin to differ. Do you remember when Morrigan healed Kestrel of the Taint?"
"Of course," Lyra said. "I was very grateful."
"Let us assume for a moment that Morrigan could use this same formula to suppress the Taint in Wardens...not remove it, but suppress it, perhaps long enough for a fertility spell to take hold?"
Lyra's eyes widened. It made sense!
"But what about the disconnect in our stories?" Alistair demanded. "Why should I remember two...instances, and Lyra only one?"
Wynne ignored him, musing on another point. "Where did Morrigan learn this knowledge, I wonder? Do you suppose it was in Flemeth's books? The three black books we retrieved from the Wilds the day Lyra killed Flemeth?"
"Perhaps. She had another one as well," Leliana said. "I...well, I took it from the Mage's tower. It looked just like the others-"
"Oh dear Maker," Wynne gasped. "A black book? You stole the book from Irving's office?"
"Well, yes," Leliana said uncomfortably. "But we thought it looked like something Morrigan could use..."
"It's all coming back now...Maker, I don't know why I didn't see it before," Wynne said, her voice faint. "That book was a tome of very, very powerful, old magic...but it was encoded. It wasn't even really readable, except for a small part of it. Morrigan must have been able to decode it with the aid of Flemeth's grimoires..."
"What was the small part about?" Alistair asked, his voice wary.
Wynne's brows furrowed. "I'm trying to recall...there was talk of an old god, and the way it-" she cut off, her face paling. They waited tensely for her to finish. "And the way it's spirit could be summoned into the body of a human being. A ritual...between a Grey Warden, and a knowledgeable witch," she finished.
"What kind of ritual?" Alistair asked suspiciously.
Lyra remembered her own words to him... "She's not going to kill you, she told me so. She needs you for something...but she won't tell me what it is."
"She needs me for something? Oh, great. Fan-bloody-tastic. She'll probably use me in some dark ritual while I'm sleeping."
And Morrigan's words... "I have been given a duty by my mother that I do not find at all tasteful. It involves Alistair. But the man is incorrigible, and the thought that I must perform this duty is beyond my ability to tolerate."
"It can't be that you have to kill him, because you'd have done it already."
"As I said, you would not understand."
"What were the details of the ritual, Wynne?" she said weakly. She had a feeling she knew.
Wynne's mouth twisted. "I do not rememeber specifics...but the Grey Warden had to...impregnate...the witch."
"What?" Alistair yelped. "That's crazy!"
"That's black magic, young man," Wynne said sternly. "And now I think the rest of the puzzle is falling into place..."
She detailed her theory. Morrigan had drugged Lyra to somehow make her forget the next few hours, and meanwhile, she had glamoured herself to take on Lyra's appearance, going next to Alistair, drugging him as well, then having her way with him. Alistair went vaguely green upon hearing this. Wynne continued - after Morrigan had left, Lyra had returned, and their subsequent activity had conceived a child.
"But it still doesn't answer the question of fertility," Lyra insisted.
Wynne shrugged. "Who says the drug she gave you was only to make you forget? She could have made sure you would conceive, and she could have made sure Alistair would make it happen - for the both of you."
Alistair dropped his head into his hands. "I always wanted to be a father...but this is insane," he murmured, his voice breaking.
Lyra remembered Morrigan's kiss right before they had separated on the day of the battle. Her mind conjured the next image without much difficulty, and she swallowed as she tried to blot it from her mind. Morrigan and Alistair...being intimate. Even if the witch had worn her own face, it made her shudder. She refused to apply the term making love to it...it had been sex, pure and simple, like animals rutting for the sake of continuing the species. And from Alistair's description, it sounded as if he had been drugged to ensure he would take her quickly and sleep soundly afterward. Thank the Maker for Grey Warden stamina, she thought wryly, and yanked her thoughts firmly back on track. "But what does this have to do with the old god?" Lyra asked, her voice strained.
Wynne continued. "This is where it gets interesting. Upon the death of the Archdemon, rather than the Archdemon's soul being drawn into Alistair and destroying him, I believe it was drawn into Morrigan, into the spark of life within her. If I'm right, Morrigan will birth an old god in Drakonis, on the same day as you, Lyra."
"Are you sure it's not...me?" Lyra asked, almost afraid, but needing to know the answer.
"Your child is perfectly normal...I can tell, my dear," Wynne said reassuringly. "And if all Morrigan had desired was the birth of an old god, why go to the trouble of doing what she did? She could have ensured you would carry the child...no. I think Morrigan wanted this particular child for herself."
Alistair groaned again, rising to his feet to pace back and forth. "I thought we could just settle down to a nice, quiet kingdom, without trouble, without Darkspawn, without...witchy, strange...weird...Maker! What are we supposed to do about this?"
"Nothing," Lyra said firmly, and all heads swiveled to look at her.
"What do you mean, nothing?" Alistair cried. "What if she comes after us? What if it's born another Archdemon, but this time it's in human form? What if-"
"What if you had died that day, Alistair?" Lyra shot back. "What if Morrigan had not done this? She saved your life!"
"I..." Alistair said weakly, and dropped back down on the bed.
"And for that, I bless her...a thousand times," Lyra said with feeling. She took Alistair's hand and pressed it to her face. "If you had truly been dead...it wouldn't have been an hour before I'd have joined you," she murmured, and his brow creased in pain.
"Don't talk like that-"
"Don't tell me you wouldn't have been just as tempted. I'll call you a liar and not regret it," Lyra said.
He was forced to admit that she was right...they were two halves of a whole, greater than the sum of their parts.
"And now she's given us this gift, as well...she's giving us a family," Lyra said, and Alistair's hand tightened on her own. He nodded, slowly.
The music began, and Lyra took Fergus' arm.
"Are you ready?" he murmured.
She nodded, an eager smile gracing her face. "Thank you for this, Fergus," she whispered as they began the slow procession down the aisle.
"Father's not here...it falls naturally to me," he whispered back. "I was going to ask if you really wanted to go through with it...but it's the most obvious thing about you, Ly. You love him?"
"More than anything," Lyra said softly, and then thought of their small miracle. Almost anything, she thought delightedly to herself. They had agreed to keep it a secret for today...next month was soon enough to spread the news.
"It shows," Fergus said. "You're glowing."
Lyra began to snicker. She pulled her laughter back in and composed her face, lest she look less than a queen before all of the nobles.
The hall was beautiful...fresh flowers were festooned from the ceiling in garlands at least a hundred feet long, and every window in the hall was thrown open, allowing sunlight to pour into the room. Theirin and Cousland colors were draped decoratively around the chamber as well, and the whole air was festive and bright.
The music swelled, and the nobles rose from their seats, bowing as she and Fergus passed. A sea of faces smiled at her, and she smiled back, her heart pounding with excitement. Isolde smiled gently, and Conor waved at her, excited...he was dressed in robes cut to fit his small frame, and she saw First Enchanter Irving standing close to the boy. On the other side, their traveling companions stood together... Wynne, Leliana, Sten, Zevran, and Oghren, and Kestrel as well. All had happy smiles on their faces. Ser Gilmore bowed to her, and she smiled at her childhood friend...a pretty lass stood at his side, her hand clasped with his, and she wondered who it might be. At the end of the aisle, atop the stairs, stood Alistair...and he was glowing, as well. His face was radiant with happiness, and he looked as if he might burst with excitement.
Alistair's heart was racing as he looked at Lyra...she was wearing something white, he was pretty sure, and her hair was beautiful...Leliana always did beautiful work. But he was more focused on the fact that she was walking toward him, looking incredibly happy and excited. Her eyes were sparkling, and she simply took his breath away.
They reached the bottom of the steps, and Fergus let Lyra go, standing at the bottom of the stair as she made her way up to stand before Alistair.
"Hi," he whispered, and she giggled nervously.
"Hi," she whispered back.
The Revered Mother began to speak, and they tried to focus on the ceremony. It was simple...similar to the wedding they had witnessed in Redcliffe on Summerday, but dressed up to make it seem fancier than what it was...a ceremony intended to bind two people's lives together in the eyes of the Maker. Alistair knew that even if he'd been standing here with someone else, he was already bound to Lyra, and the rest was just details.
In the crowd, Oghren began sniffling.
"Oghren...are you crying?" Wynne murmured, and the dwarf shook his head.
"Somethin' in my eye..." he muttered.
"Who gives this woman to be wed?" the Revered Mother said.
"Highever gives this woman," Fergus said proudly, and stepped up the stairs to stand on Lyra's right, in the place where Bryce would have stood if he had lived to see her get married. Opposite him stood Arl Eamon...the representative for Alistair, in the place where Maric would have stood if he were alive.
The Revered Mother gave them a goblet to sip from, and then asked them to kneel, calling on the Maker to witness the union of the king of Ferelden and his chosen bride. Alistair and Lyra joined hands as she intoned the ancient words, and Alistair squeezed her fingers when she came to the part about caring for their children.
"Alistair Theirin, this is the bride you have chosen. Will you love her, honor her, protect her and keep her, and take no others, for as long as you both shall live?" the Revered Mother said, and Alistair nodded, his voice catching. "I will," he said.
"And you, Lyra Cousland...this is the husband you have chosen. Will you love him, honor him, protect him and keep him, and take no others, for as long as you both shall live?" the Revered Mother asked, and she squeezed his hand. "I will," she said strongly. A more heartfelt promise she had never made.
"Rise, children of the Maker, and go forth as husband and wife, king and queen, but always as man and woman in His sight," the Revered Mother said, and then her serious countenance faded, and she smiled grandly. "King Alistair... kiss your bride!"
He grinned, and swept her into his arms and kissed her, leaning her back slightly. She wrapped her arms around his neck and lost herself in his embrace, and below them the crowd cheered enthusiastically. Oghren burst into tears, and Wynne silently pressed a handkerchief into his hands. Kestrel barked delightedly, and Leliana's eyes shone with happiness. Beside her, Zevran's eyes were sparkling, and he slid his hand into Leliana's and held it gently. Sten was stoic, but he looked pleased, nonetheless.
In the rafters, a raven perched, watching silently. She didn't move, but kept her eyes on the royal couple as they finished their kiss and turned to wave to the people, who cheered all the more. She spread her wings, and flew up to an open window, winging her way out of Denerim and into the beyond, headed southwest, to the Wilds.
The future was calling.
A/N: And so comes the end of TDKS! And now, if you're still wanting more, there is a sequel - and as of this updated A/N, it's 36 chapters deep and still going! There are also other stories in the Lyraverse, such as "A Crow's Devotion", and many more in the planning. To see the complete list, check out my profile.
Many many thanks for reading. This was my first work, and my heart and soul went into it. It means tons that you've followed it through to the end, and I hope you'll consider leaving me a review!
I'm currently working (very slowly) on cleaning it up and rewriting it - you probably noticed the difference in certain title headings (those are the edited chapters). So for now, I encourage you to subscribe to this story, even though it's complete! When all the edits are done, I will be posting an "Epilogue" - most likely detailing Alistair and Lyra's wedding night. At that time, the story will also be fully edited, polished and shiny as a new penny. So I hope you'll give it another read at that time as well, so you can see all the awesome things that have been done to it. :-D
Many hugs and kisses, and as always, Maker's Blessing my friends!
xoxo Eve Hawke
a/n updated 5/9/13