Disclaimer: I do not own Dragon Age: Origins, or anything else associated with the Dragon Age franchise. BioWare owns it, more or less. And I am in no way affiliated with BioWare. So please don't sue me; trust me, you wouldn't get any real money out of it.

Interlude: Players of Destiny

Dear Alistair,

Hello. This is your father, Alistair. I know I haven't written to you before, or even visited you, but...I just had to say...

I'm sorry.

That...is all I can say, really. I've been a horrible father to you, Alistair, and I'm sorry about that. I am truly sorry about how I have shunned you.

There are many things that I have done in my life, that I regret, and I do believe that handing you off to my brother-in-law has been one of the greatest mistakes that I have ever made. You were my son, Alistair; I should have done better for you. My brother promised to take care of you, I know, and I have no doubt that he's been a great guardian for you, Alistair. He was always so positive about you in his letters, and he always said how he loved you like a son. Still, I can't help but feel that perhaps..there was another way. Maybe a good friend of mine could have taken you in, instead...maybe he would have been a better guardian for you...

But I'm getting ahead of myself, aren't I? I suppose you're wondering why you're hearing from me at all. It wouldn't surprise me if my brother had told you that contact with me wouldn't...end well, for any of us. And I wouldn't blame him for telling you that. Still...

I suppose I couldn't help myself. No one knows I'm writing this letter, not even...my best friend. I just couldn't let him, or your guardian, or anyone else talk me out of this. I had to do this. There...was no other thing I could do, really.

In the end, I could only let my good friend Duncan know; I can trust him, I know I can. He's a good man, Alistair. You can trust him, too. He won't let anyone know of our...communications. He'd rather die than betray either of us, you have my word on that.

Anyway, I'm still not telling you why I'm writing this letter, aren't I? I suppose I'm just trying to stall for more time, but...you deserve to know, my son. It's important.

Your guardian recently informed me that you were...a Mage, Alistair. And that you've been taken to the Fereldan Circle of Magi for training. I'm not sure how to feel about that, honestly. It's...quite a lot to take in. All I can think right now is that you have more in common with your mother than I thought you did. And perhaps, that is not such a bad thing...

At any rate, I know this must be a tough time for you, Alistair. You must miss your guardian terribly. You must miss Redcliffe, as well. Being stuck in Kinloch Hold is no doubt a harsh adjustment for you to make, Alistair. But I'm confident you can do it. Many within our family have faced hardships before, but we've always persevered. And I'm confident you will, as well. It's in our blood, and even if you have been told to...ignore your heritage, the fact is that you are still my son, and still a member of my family.

Sorry. I shall haven't really given you a real explanation yet, have I? Sorry. I tend to...ramble. It's a nervous habit of mine. I really need to break it, one of these days.

I know that I have never sought you out before, Alistair. And I deeply regret that. Just because you aren't...acknowledged as one of my children, you are still my son. I should have realized that a long, long time ago. But I have now, at least. That's no real consolation, I know, but...maybe one day I'll be able to make up for it.

And I'm still rambling, aren't I? Alright, I'll cut to the chase, then. I...I want to reconnect with you, Alistair. I want to get to know you. You are my son, and I want to start treating you that way. In an ideal world, I'd send for you to come to Denerim straight away. But I'm afraid that's not possible, for a number of reasons.

Still, I won't allow that to hinder me. If we can't meet in person, then I'll simply have to settle for writing to you. If...that's alright with you, of course. Ultimately, this is your decision, Alistair. You can just burn this letter after you read it, if you want. I'd understand. I just want to let you know, Alistair, that...well, that I care for you. And that I want to truly become your father. If you'll allow me.

This can't be an easy decision for you, and I'm sorry to put you under such a burden. You must have a good amount of stress to deal with already, since you arrived at the Circle. But I'm sure you can handle it.

When you have reached a decision, you can give Duncan your reply. You don't even have to write me a letter, if it's going to be a...one-word answer. Just...whatever you decide, give your reply to Duncan before he leaves the Circle.

That's it for now, then. Whether or not I end up hearing from you, Alistair, I just want you to know that I love you, and that I'm sorry for shunning you. It was a mistake, and I'd be more than happy to rectify that now. If you want me to.

Goodbye, Alistair. I await your reply, whatever it may be. May the Maker watch over you, my son.

Ever yours,

Your Father, M.

King Maric Theirin sighed, and put down his quill.

So it was done. After many false starts and rejected drafts, his letter to Alistair was complete, at last. And thus, a new chapter in his life could begin. Or at least, he hoped so.

Maric never really dreamed an opportunity like this would ever present itself. Long ago, he had accepted that cutting all ties with his bastard child would be for the best, so that Orlesian agents wouldn't catch wind of him, so that Cailan's claim to the throne couldn't be challenged, and most importantly, so the memory of dear Rowan wouldn't be tarnished.

But now...things were different. Very, very different. Alistair was a Mage now. And that changed everything.

Now...there was no chance of Alistair being any threat to his son. True, there was still the dangers of Orlais finding out about him, or of the Landsmeet being informed of him, but Maric knew there was little chance of that ever happening. Eamon would never allow that to happen to his nephew.

At any rate, Alistair had been revealed to be a Mage, and now ignoring him wasn't his only option.

Ironically enough, Alistair was the safest and freest he would ever be in this world, within that gilded cage of Kinloch Hold. Since he was now a Mage, any claim his bastard child once had to the throne of Fereldan was now null and void, which meant that Alistair wasn't a threat to Cailan at all, anymore. Which meant that Maric could finally correct a deep wrong he had committed by shunning that poor boy.

It was interesting, sometimes, just how strange this world of theirs worked. But Maric wasn't about to look a gift-horse in the mouth; at least he was now able to start exchanges with his boy!

True, he still wasn't able to acknowledge Alistair as his own son. No, that was still impossible for a variety of reasons, and it would be political suicide to do such a thing now, given the boy's newfound abilities. Unfortunate, but there was still a silver lining in this situation.

At least they could talk now; if just in secret.

Sure, it was terrible that Alistair would be subjected to the laws of the Chantry and the Templars...Maric didn't like that fact at all. Considering how chummy the Chantry had been with Orlais invading and occupying Fereldan for well over a century, Maric was no fan of them. Individual priests, he certainly liked better and could tolerate. But the Chantry as a whole? Fereldan could hardly trust them any more than it trusted Orlais.

And the Templars weren't much better. Maric shuddered to think of such lumbering brutes watching over his son. Still, it could be worse. And at any rate, he would keep a close eye on all the reports the Knight-Commander of the Fereldan Circle sent to the Grand Cleric. If those Templars did anything to his son...bastard or not...there would be hell to pay.

Again, though, Alistair being a Mage opened up many new opportunities for the both of them! Not only could they reconnect as father and son—Maric knew it was possible that Alistair might reject him, after all these years of silence, but he tried not to think too much about that potential outcome—but when Alistair was of age, he could even come to Denerim to serve as Court Mage! Now that would be wonderful.

And...it was naïve to believe, too. Even if he was faced with the constant threat of Chantry supervision and Templar zealousness in the Circle, at least Alistair had a chance at safety there. In Denerim...not so much. One would only have to look at the boy to notice a resemblance between him and Cailan, no doubt, and if the wrong people connected the dots...

...Well, Maric tried not to think of that too much, either. After all, that was the worst case scenario. Perhaps if they were lucky, and if they were careful enough, such an ugly event would not come to pass.

Still, he was getting ahead of himself. At this point, it was all up to Alistair. He had finished the letter; all that needed to be done now was send it to him, and wait for a reply.

A short time later, and the deed was done. The letter to Alistair was safe and sound with Duncan, and the Warden-Commander was now riding off to the Fereldan Circle. It would take some time before Duncan came back with any reply from his son, but Maric was more than willing to wait. Oddly enough, it wouldn't be the first time he waited for a nerve-wracking reply from an estranged family member.

The King of Fereldan retreated back to his private study in the palace, but stopped short when he saw that someone was already in the room.

"And Loghain's Puppet-King arrives at last. Good; I was tiring of waiting for you." Declared a voice that Maric had long forgotten. The King gave her a cautious, measuring look before slowly closing the door behind him.

"Flemeth. What an unexpected...surprise."

The Witch of the Wilds looked far different since he had last seen her; now, she no longer looked like the haggard old woman he had meet long ago. She was sporting a strange and peculiar set of armor, and had an overall hawkish and war-like appearance. If he wasn't already alarmed by her visit, her new looks would certainly have concerned him.

"Well, I do try to surprise those around me. Go beyond the expectations, as it were. Ah, but where are my manners? It is most good to see you again, my dear Puppet-King. It has been a long, long time since we last met. You have changed a great deal, I see; no longer are you that simple bumpkin I met in the Wilds. Now you are a simple bumpkin that is a King!" Flemeth cackled, and Maric fought not to shiver in response.

Flemeth, laughing. That...wasn't a good sign.

"What are you doing here?" He asked at length, as he carefully edged back to the door. Summoning the palace guardsmen was just one swift shout away...

"What am I doing here? Hm, now isn't that an interesting question? What are we all doing here, I wonder? Many do not know of their purpose in life; just what are we all doing here in this world? No doubt that is a question that has hounded many a scholar over the centuries." Flemeth gave a vicious smile and took a step toward him, causing Maric to reached behind him and curl a hand over the door knob.

"But that is not what you meant to ask, was it?" Flemeth continued, "You are wondering what the purpose of this impromptu visit is. Well, I shall tell you, my dear Puppet-King. Do you remember what I had you promise me long ago, in the Wilds?"

Maric blinked, and gave a hesitant nod. "Yes...I do, Flemeth. You...you asked me to give my third-born child, when I conceived one, to the Grey Wardens, when he became of age."

"Good! The Puppet-King seems to remember the important things, at least." Flemeth chuckled again, and she stared into his eyes. "Yes, that was the promise. I am merely here to remind you of it, least you had forgotten about it. But I am glad that I was proven wrong."

Maric gave the Witch a puzzled look, and his grip on the knob slackened. "I...do not understand. I...I have no third child, Flemeth. There is only Cailan and...and Alistair. They're the only children I have."

"Oh, the Puppet-King does not know? Oh my, he doesn't! Now isn't that amusing! Has the Puppet-King a poor memory of all the whores he has slept with? You do have a third child, Maric." Flemeth laughed shrilly, and sneered at him.

"W-What..." Maric lost all train of thought, and stared at the Witch of the Wilds in shock.

Flemeth chuckled once more, and shook her head. "Oh yes, you do, my Puppet-King. Before Alistair, and after Cailan, you had another child. One you do not know about, apparently! Well, I suppose it doesn't matter in the end. The destiny of this second child is largely uneventful. Even if he dies an untimely death, the part he plays in events yet to come can be easily fulfilled by another."

Maric took in short, shaky breaths, and started to feel light-headed. He grasped for something to say, and blurted out the first thing that came to mind,

"Why...why do you want Alistair to become a Grey Warden?"

"Why?" Flemeth echoed with a smile. She stepped closer to the King, and peered into his face.

"The lands of Thedas are coming closer and closer to world-changing events, and Alistair is the key to it all. As a Grey Warden, Alistair will play a major role in it all. His is a life that will shake the very foundations of Thedas. He shall be a force not seen since Andraste herself. And I intend to see that he fulfill his coming destiny whatever the cost; and Alistair becoming a Grey Warden is pivotal to all of this." Flemeth stated, all traces of humor and mischief gone from her voice. She peered deep into his eyes as she spoke, and Maric felt like he was staring back into the very Void itself.

Abruptly, Flemeth moved away from him and turned, walking over to a nearby bookcase.

"That is why Alistair must become a Grey Warden, my dear Puppet-King. That is why I allowed you to live in the Wilds, as well."

Maric lurched forward and quickly balanced himself against a nearby desk. This...this was becoming far too much for him. His head was pounding against all these revelations, of how Alistair was some sort of Destiny Child, and how he had another son that he didn't even know about—

"When the boy becomes of age, you will send the Warden-Commander after him, once more. I am sure your dear, reliable Duncan will be more than happy to recruit him; if not for you, then as a favor to dear Fiona. Until then, please do remember our promise. You have done your part in remembering it so far; it would be a great shame if your memory failed you now." Flemeth turned back to him and smirked, striding to him yet again.

Maric brought a hand to sooth his raging head-ache, his eyes shut tight as he tried to digest all this incredible information.

"...Very well. I will...stay true to our bargain, Flemeth. I suppose I don't have a choice, do I? I...can I ask...will you hurt Alistair with this promise? Is he going to suffer because..."

Maric trailed off, and looked over to the Witch, but discovered she was no longer there. His eyes drifted over to the door, which was now ajar. With a weary sigh, the King shuffled over to a nearby chair and all but collapsed onto it.

"Oh, Alistair...what have I done?"

I apologize for the long wait for this chapter. I took a bit of a break before getting started on this, but it's up now, at least.

Also, I know that the contents of Flemeth's promise to Maric was further expanded on in the Silent Grove comic, or whatever it's called. But for the purposes of the plot, I will not have the events of that EU material added into the canon of this fanfic.

Thank you all for reading, and I hope you all review! I appreciate the thoughts of my readers, good or bad.