Chapter 51: Aftermath
A month had passed since the end of the siege of Denerim; a moth had passed since the fall of the Archdemon under the blade of Solona Amell.
The fortunes of Ferelden had changed much in that time, as had the fortunes of Solona's companions.
Oghren was held in high esteem for his defense of the Denerim gates, he had even been offered an officers commission in the Ferelden army, now under the command of Fergus Cousland. Oghren accepted, though he doubted he would ever be a good little soldier. His son was born just before Satinalia; he had just enough time to make Felsi his wife before their child came. The dwarf was beside himself, how would he ever be able to be a good Father to the little nugget…
He had no idea.
Sten elected to return home to Par Vollen, he was not sure how well his report would be received by his Arishok. He intended to advise the Qunari leaders that Ferelden would not be easy prey when the time came to add it to the Qun.
He wondered if they would see him contaminated from his time among the bas, if they would decide to execute him for that contamination.
If so, he would accept it, it would be the wisdom of the Qun.
It would be a long trip home for the Qunari; fortunately he would not be alone, at least for part of the way.
Wynne had decided to travel, she could not say how much time she had left, how long the spirit of faith that sustained her would last, but she intended to make the best of it. Shale had agreed to accompany her; the two of them intended to go to Tevinter, Shale wished to explore the possibility of her becoming mortal again.
If the squishy little mage could do so much, how much more could Shale do if she was mortal?
She wished to explore that, if it was possible for her to become mortal again, she wanted to know.
Leliana returned to the Chantry, Revered Mother Dorothea wished the Urn of Sacred Ashes defended, she put Leliana in charge of this, the bard assembled a hand-picked company of Templars and priests, their mission, to defend the ashes until it was time to inform the faithful of its location, the hope it would bring Thedas was immeasurable.
Kallian did not join the Grey Wardens, Elissa asked her to serve as bodyguard for the Royal Family. Fergus had been so grateful to the elf's work protecting his sister during the Blight, he had decided to name her the Champion of Highever, it was the first time that an elf had ever been given that honor.
Kallian was saddened that she would not be able to spend much time with her lover, she and Leliana would try to hold onto what they had, but…with so much responsibilities laid on both their shoulders, the elf feared that their love may not last.
Alistair honored Shianni for her aid in the defense of Denerim, he actually named the red-haired elf the Bann of the Alienages, for the first time in Ferelden, the elves would have a voice in the landsmeet.
The nobles were not happy with this, but Shianni dared any of them to question the hero King's edict.
None of them did.
Alistair's coronation took place a week after the battle, the palace district had suffered during the siege, but it was important that the people see that the darkspawn had failed, Ferelden survived. The line of Kings remained unbroken.
Alistair and Elissa married a week before Satinalia, all of the nation rejoiced, the Warden King and his Rebel Queen were at last united. Alistair chose Arl Eamon for his chancellor, neither he nor Isolde wished to return to Redcliffe after what had happened with Connor, Teagan would rule in his stead.
It was Eamon who received the first Orlesian wardens when they arrived to investigate the defeat of the Archdemon. They retrieved the severed head of Urthemiel and took possession of Riordan's body, it had been decided that the Orlesian warden would be buried in the tomb of heroes beneath Weisshaupt fortress, for without his sacrifice the victory over the archdemon may not have been possible.
Twelve of the Orlesians remained behind to reinforce the Ferelden garrison, they would report to Solona when she returned …
If she returned.
The warden mage vanished shortly after the battle; the only one to accompany her had been Zevran. The elven assassin sent a letter to Alistair; it assured the King that Solona was well, but that she needed to tend to her injuries, injuries that required the aid of the mage Avernus.
Alistair did not like to think of Solona being under the old blood mage's care, but there was little he could do about. Solona had requested that he not follow her, Alistair intended to obey her orders.
Besides he had other matters to contend with, namely his new wife.
He and Elissa had begun sharing a bed shortly after the battle of Denerim, two days before the birth of the New Year; Alistair received news from her that shook him to his very core…
Elissa…his queen….was with child.
The entire nation was jubilant with the news; Alistair had feared that he would not have been able to give Elissa a child, the taint in his blood being what it was…
Elissa however was ecstatic, she was going to be a mother, her family…their family was going to continue.
It was the eve of the New Year, when the King and Queen received a visitor; they had just about been ready to retire for the eve, when an elven servant knocked at their door.
Solona of the Grey Wardens had arrived, and she needed to talk to them.
The new rulers of Ferelden dressed quickly, they were both curious about what had kept the mage so secluded this past month.
They had no idea that what she was about to tell them would change their lives…forever.
Alistair was the first to arrive in the throne room. Solona waited quietly near the thrones. The mage looked…haggard, dark circles surrounded her eyes, and she seemed to have lost a lot of weight.
She smiled wanly at him, he could not hide the concern he felt for her at that moment.
For just a moment he found himself travelled back in time, back to their first meeting at Ostagar over a year ago, he the junior grey warden, and she the nervous recruit, a recruit that had never experienced life outside of the tower until that moment. She met him was the same shy smile she had worn then.
Elissa arrived a few minutes later, it was far less easy for her to be here than Alistair, she had been suffering from morning sickness the last few days; it was keeping her up at night.
Solona nodded to the queen.
"I understand congratulations are in order," the mage asked.
Alistair blushed slightly, he had feared that Lona would be angry at the news, she seemed distracted, not to mention exhausted.
He could not help but wonder what had happened to her this last month.
"Thank you Warden," Elissa said with a smile, "to be honest…we…we were not even sure that we would be able to have a child, Alistair being a warden and all."
Yes…Solona understood that very well. Alistair had warned her how difficult it was for a warden to reproduce.
It seemed Alistair had proved those warden scholars wrong…for the second time.
The mage frowned, part of her did not want to tell Alistair and Elissa the reason she was here, sadly she had no choice.
It was best if it was just done.
"I require your aid," Solona said with a sad smile, "it may not be pleasant, but it is necessary."
"After everything that you have done for Ferelden how could we refuse," Elissa asked.
"Anything for you…you know that," Alistair reminded her.
The mage frowned, this was no small favor she asked, but she needed to do this.
"Zev," she called out, "can you come in here please?"
The Assassin entered, he held something in his arms, a small bundle.
Solona smiled softly at the two of them.
She could already hear the sound of cooing.
"Is he all right," she asked the elf.
"The little bambino is fine Lona," Zevran smiled, "I think he likes me, fell asleep just after we arrived," The former crow smirked, "he must trust me."
"We will have to work on that," Solona quipped.
"Yes… that would be a good idea, I think," the elf laughed.
"Solona," Elissa sounded surprised, "You…you have a baby."
The mage nodded sadly, she took her son from Zevran's arms, the infant opened his eyes and burbled at her, Solona rocked him softly, soothing him back to sleep.
A single tear fell down her face.
The King and Queen approached the two of them, Alistair could not believe what Solona was doing with a baby, as a warden, it would be very difficult for her to raise such a child.
"May I?" Elissa asked.
Solona nodded holding her child out to the new Queen.
Elissa cradled the babe in her arms; he briefly opened his eyes and smiled at her.
The young queen smiled, he was beautiful…fine black hair, blues eyes, and …and there was something very familiar about his face, something about his nose.
She could not place it.
"He is the reason I need your help," the mage informed them.
"Where did you find him," Alistair asked?
Solona winced; here it was, the moment of truth.
She mustered her courage…here we go.
"I…I didn't get him anywhere Alistair," she informed her former lover, "His name…his name is Lucian, and…and he…he is ours."
Alistair did a double take, "What…what did you say?"
"I said he is ours Alistair," she repeated, "yours and mine…he….he is our son."
Elissa gasped, Alistair turned very pale, Solona feared that he might pass out.
"But…but how," Alistair stammered, "We haven't been together in almost three months, and…and you weren't with child during the battle with the Archdemon?"
"But I was," the mage cringed, "I think he was conceived right after you broke me out of Fort Drakon."
"But that was only three months ago," Alistair repeated, "he couldn't have been born that soon…"
"Not naturally no," Solona shrugged.
"So he was born unnaturally," Elissa asked, Solona had feared the Queen would be furious when she learned about Lucian, Solona was surprised to see the Queen so calm.
Maybe this would work out for the best after all.
"Allow me to explain," She said sadly.
She told them everything that had happened since she had left. When she had learned that she was with child, she had fled back to Soldier's peak to confer with the blood mage Avernus. By that the painful attacks she had suffered previously had returned, some of them worse than before. After being their less than two weeks, her belly had expanded to how it would look after six months of pregnancy.
At the time she had not understood what was happening, fortunately, Avernus was there to explain.
Solona's body had been changed, first by the joining and later, by Avernus's potion. She was stronger now, faster, more powerful in magic, but the taint was stronger in her as well. When she had become with child, her body did everything it could to protect the baby, her magic shielded it against the taint, but it also increased the speed of her pregnancy. Lucian's development had been highly accelerated. The process had been…hard on Solona, she had literally gone through nine months of pregnancy in just three.
Zevran frowned; he had worried greatly for Solona during that time. The mage would not admit it, but bringing the little bambino into the world had nearly killed her.
Avernus had aided her in stabilizing the birth. Solona had feared that the boys growth would continue to be greatly accelerated even after his birth, but it seemed that her fears were unfounded. Both she and Avernus had tested Lucian quite thoroughly; he was simply a normal, healthy human baby.
Solona had never been more pleased in all her life, but one true problem remained.
She could not keep him. She would not risk leaving him an orphan. She was still a Grey Warden, and the chance that she may still die in battle remained, plus she had made many enemies over the last year. If they knew she had a child, they would not hesitate to strike at her through Lucian.
The boy deserved better than that, he deserved to have a real life.
He deserved a Father and Mother who would love him.
Elissa listened quietly, her gray eyes never leaving the babe. Alistair was understandably nervous, he had only just been getting used to the idea of being a Father before the year was out, but now…
One thing was for certain, he would not abandon the boy, he was not his Father, Lucian deserved to grow up knowing that he had a Father who loved him.
Elissa's eyes turned cool and determined, she faced the mage without fear.
Solona braced herself for bad news.
"We will care for him," the Queen announced.
Solona sighed with relief.
"Lis," Alistair asked, "Are you sure, you are all right with this."
The Queen smiled.
"This was not planned Alistair, this boy deserved a chance at a normal life, as normal a life as growing up in the royal court can grant anyway. Also…he is of Theirin blood; he will be needed to help rebuild the line of Kings here in Ferelden. We shall have both an heir and a spare so to speak, our children will be raised as siblings."
"He may have magic," Solona warned them, "he is my child after all."
"If that day comes," Elissa nodded, "I would like you to train him, the circle may be right for some, but a child born from two grey wardens has clearly been marked by destiny. He will require a broader training than any the circle could provide."
Solona nodded, she could do that.
Solona approached the queen; she gazed lovingly into her son's eyes, the babes shifted in Elissa's arms.
Solona kissed two fingers and pressed them to the boys forehead, she…she would never forget him, never stop loving him, but it would always be from afar.
It was a heart wrenching prospect, but there it was.
She stepped away, while she still had the strength to do so.
"Where will you go know," Alistair asked her.
"To the Wardens in Amaranthine," she informed him, they have asked me to take up the job of Commander of the Grey. The darkspawn are raiding settlements along the coastlands. They are not retreating into the deep roads. I will teach them the error in that."
In that moment the Warden Solona was back, cold and efficient, a deadly fighter, the bane of the darkspawn.
But both Alistair and Elissa knew there was more to her than that…far, far more.
"Come Zev," she whispered, "it is time for us to be going."
The assassin fell in step behind her, in the morning they would begin their journey to Amaranthine.
The darkspawn would learn a dangerous lesson soon enough.
Solona was coming, and they should all be afraid.
NOT THE END
Author's Note: The rest of Solona's story will continue in Sensational Solona part 2, First chapter up soon.