Alistair felt the darkness receding and felt confused. He was aware of warmth and the wetness and salt of tears, as lips touched his own. He opened his eyes with a shuddering breath. Grace stared at him in astonishment; her eyes wide, tears still wet on her cheeks. He gently ran his fingers through her hair and smiled. "If this is the Fade I like it so far."
Grace's mind reeled in shock, joy and utter amazement. "You're alive." His fingers closed around her hand, bringing it to his lips. "You're alive." She whispered again as though this would make it seem more real. She helped him to sit up, her own pain now a distant throb.
Those that still lived were starting to gather, the Wardens stunned to see Alistair still breathing.
Grace caressed his cheek; traced the line of his jaw, felt his fingers entwined in hers and kissed him hungrily, thanking the Maker that somehow her husband had lived.
The Raven blinked its golden eyes, preening smugly. Everything was going exactly to plan.
Two months after the death of the Archdemon Fergus Cousland was officially crowned King of Ferelden. The ceremony was a lavish affair, the populous embracing their new King.
Aedan watched proudly as his brother accepted his new role.
Grace leaned against him gently, smiling. "Your brother will be a wonderful King."
Aedan grinned, his fingers interlocked with Leliana who smiled radiantly. "I think so too. Hopefully once we get to Amaranthine we will be able to track down that bastard Howe, Fergus has managed to get a few leads."
Grace squeezed his arm gently pulling him from darker thoughts.
"Well that's for another day." He stated hastily.
Grace moved back to Alistair who was holding his daughter in his arms. She was sleeping soundly, her tiny hand grasping his finger. He gazed at her adoringly. Grace smiled; not the family she had expected, but Aurora had captured her heart as much as she had captured her fathers. Alistair smiled as Grace wrapped her arm around his waist, leaning against him. Aurora woke, gurgling happily and stretching out her other hand towards Grace. She obliged and allowed her stepdaughter to hold her finger. She couldn't help the wish that this beautiful baby girl was theirs, but she was part of Alistair and that was enough for Grace.
The hall fell silent as Fergus held up his hand signalling he was about to speak. "My friends; many have paid a heavy price to defeat the blight and some made the greatest sacrifice, but I promise you all, that those sacrifices will not be forgotten. We will rebuild and become stronger for all we have experienced. We will endure." This was received by much clapping and cheering. He held up his hand again smiling. "However, there is one to whom we must accord a special honour. The one to kill the Archdemon survived and is with us still."
Alistair paled and glanced at Grace who was struggling to keep a straight face. "Grace." He muttered.
"Alistair Theirin, Grey Warden please will you join me."
Alistair groaned, but dutifully handed his daughter to Grace. Wincing apologetically at Duncan who he realised must be in on whatever was going to happen judging by the grin on his face. "You had something to do with this I know you did." He murmured to Grace who smiled sweetly. Alistair joined Fergus very aware of the King's grin.
"Ladies and gentlemen may I present the Hero of Ferelden."
The hall burst into an explosion of wild clapping and raucous cheers that lasted for long moments.
Alistair raised an eyebrow to the King. "The Hero of Ferelden?"
"Your wife's idea." Fergus said with a chuckle. "Though it is a most suitable title."
Alistair groaned, but managed to smile for his captive audience. "I suggest you for King and this is my thanks." He muttered under his breath.
Fergus laughed loudly, clasping his embarrassed friends arm and pulling him into a hug. "You have my eternal thanks my friend."