All Things Considered

Author's Note: So this is my Origins story. My husband and I both ran the Noble origin, me with Maddie and he with Cogburn. We talked a lot about how alike our characters were in some ways and how different they were in others. I started this story intending it to be about Maddie and Alistair. But my husband got the bright idea that our characters could be twins so I had to start adding Cogburn in and it got very long. There's a lot of dialogue from the game, but also a lot of original stuff as there are things I really thought should be said. Anyway I hope you enjoy.

Cogburn & Maddie

We'll take the midnight road right to the devil's door
And even the white angels of Eden with their flamin' swords
Won't be able to stop us from hitting town in this dirty old Ford

Well it don't take no nerve when you got nothing to guard
I got tombstones in my eyes and I'm running real hard
My baby was a lover and the world just blew her away

Highever was a maze of organized chaos, knights and archers preparing for the journey south, servants scurrying to and fro organizing supplies for the army, the courtyard and halls swarmed with activity. Men at arms still manned the walls and watched the road, waiting for the approaching force of the allies from Vigils Keep and Amaranthine.

In the thick of it all was a slender girl with silvery blonde hair and grey eyes that sparkled with excitement as she sparred with a young man half a foot taller than she, his head shaved clean. He had dark brown eyes and brows, striking against skin tanned a slightly darker shade than his companion's near white flesh. Both the young people wore identical leather armor, daggers in their hands as they sparred. Graceful and quick they dodged and ducked, weaving in and out of various obstacles as they sparred.

The tip of a dagger lightly tapped the girls arm and she growled as a trickle of blood marred the porcelain skin. Dancing lightly from toe to toe she spun, ducked and came up behind her opponent, aiming a kick at the back of his knee. He went tumbling forward, the fall suddenly controlled into a roll and popped back up on his feet to spin and face her.

The grin that flashed across his face was like lightening in its intensity and speed, and provoked a flickering smile over the girl's lips. Both sets of muscles tensed as they prepared to attack and defend once more, and abruptly relaxed as shouting from the keep door reached them.

"Maddie! Cogburn! Your father wants you in the Great Hall!" A guard they'd known all their lives bellowed the summons.

Daggers were sheathed, blood wiped clean and faces washed as quickly as possible. A summons from Bryce Cousland was nothing to ignore, especially if he was waiting in the Hall. The Teyrn of Highever did not often use the Great Hall to meet his children, which meant that there was also an ally or guest present, or it was official business of Highever or both.

"Race you there little brother." Maddie shot a grin at her twin.

"Your legs are so short I may as well walk while you run little sister." Cogburn retorted with a smirk. "I'll bet you five copper that Howe's men are delayed yet again."

"No bet." Maddie rolled her eyes.

Not long after they'd entered the great hall the two younger Cousland children left it, taking in the news they'd been given. Howe's army was indeed delayed. Fergus Cousland, their older brother and Heir to the Teyrnir would be taking the Highever army to Ostagar. Bryce Cousland would follow with Howe and his men when they arrived in the morning. In the meantime the two of them would be in charge of Highever. They were, among other things, to give aid to the Grey Warden Duncan as he sought potential recruits.

Both the twins had a great deal to think about, the Grey Wardens especially, given that Duncan had said they would both make excellent recruits. Their father had pointed out that he did not wish all his children to go to war, and Duncan had conceded the point.

Then word came that their Mabari war hound Rooster had gotten into the pantry and the cook was about to have a fit. Maddie rolled her eyes as Cogburn mentioned a need to check on something near the treasury and they split in different directions.

"Giant rats." Cogburn repeated, not certain he believed her.

"It was disgusting." Maddie wrinkled her nose. "Rooster had a great time, though I don't envy Nan or the servants cleaning up in there."

"How did they get in?" Cogburn wondered as they turned the corner and saw their mother and some guests.

"If I knew that I'd tell Nan so they could block up the way." Maddie sighed. "Maybe through the servant's entrance back in the pantry; but we can't exactly block that up."

"No." Cogburn shook his head. "We'd better let Mother know it's taken care of and get on with finding Fergus."

Maddie looked at Cogburn as her twin watched the elven lady in waiting walk away with the young lord Dairren. Lady Landra's son and her lady in waiting were going to relax in the study while Landra rested in her room. After a moment Cogburn turned to regard his twin, not quite concealing the wicked gleam in his eyes.

"Mother said we need to follow Father's orders. That means you need to go and give Fergus Father's instructions." He informed her with a smile.

Maddie shook her head. "No, we're supposed to go together like Father said."

Her twin rolled his eyes. "Yes so we can complete each others sentences. No. I'm sorry sister; I must go do what I must do. And that involves going to the study right now."

Her tone was exasperated. "You mean being a slut."

Cogburn looked at her in mock astonishment. "Have a care with such vulgar terms, that's not the proper way a Cousland acts."

"No the proper way a Cousland acts is the follow the orders we were given." Maddie's voice was acidic.

In contrast Cogburn sounded extremely relaxed and reasonable. "Which is what you are going to do; I am going to be a hospitable host to one of our guests."

His twin shook her head. "No I already dealt with Rooster, technically you should dealt with Fergus."

Cogburn grinned at her. "Well I could send you to deal with, Iona was it?" His twin nodded, amazed that in less than five minutes Cogburn had forgotten the girls name. "But you seem to lack a certain charm that would be needed here."

"Yes, and I'm lacking certain other parts as well." She watched her brother start to walk away. "No, Cogburn, you have to come with me, Father gave us both orders."

He called over his shoulder. "I won't be long; I'm not planning to do her in the study."

"And what am I supposed to do, wait for you to work your magic?" Maddie rubbed the top of Rooster's head.

Her twin continued walking. "It'll take less than five minutes, guaranteed."

Maddie called after him. "You know they say women are sluts. They're wrong. Men are sluts."

Cogburn laughed; "Agreed."

Maddie was amazed that Cogburn, true to his word, somehow arranged an assignation with the elven girl in less than five minutes. In the time he'd allotted Cogburn returned with a cocky grin and a "Told ya, Want me to send her your way when I'm done?"

Maddie rolled her eyes. "Mother wouldn't have too much of a fit." She considered the situation for a moment as they walked. "You know if there's another pregnancy scare Father and Mother will skin you."

"One timeā€¦" Cogburn muttered.

"Two." Maddie corrected him.

He shook his head. "You needn't worry about that when it comes to Iona."

"Oh? You've ascertained whether or not she's fertile?" Maddie nearly rolled her eyes again.

"I have a good grasp on such delicate subjects." Before his twin could reply Cogburn continued. "Focus Maddie, we're almost at Fergus' door."

Maddie rolled her eyes again. "I'm the one with trouble focusing?"

He just smiled.


Author's Note: I would love to have this reviewed as I really delight in feedback. But the whole purpose here is to enjoy yourself so don't review if you don't really want to. Just have fun. Like me!