Disclaimer: I do not own Dragon Age, or any of the characters. I am not making a profit nor am I an employee of Bioware so I'm not part of the writing team *sob.* All I own is...well, what I own in real life. The plot is my idea, and if you have a need to criticize then I urge you to make your points clearly and concisely, so I may learn from my mistakes. Please don't hate for the sake of hating. It wastes your time writing, and my time reading those kind of reviews.
The dwarves were dying, Thorin of No Clan and No Name mused to himself. Time had lost all meaning down in the dark, but he was able to watch and observe his people from a distance. Harrowmont and Bhelen still sent expeditions out into the Deep Roads, some looking for him and others looking for Branka, and he was often able to sneak in close to steal food, supplies, arms and armor to replace his broken equipment, and learn the news.
It had been so long, but it seemed that Harrowmont was keeping good on his promise to spend the rest of his days preventing Bhelen from profiting from his 'deeds.' When he heard Enderin Aeducan had returned to the stone, Thorin couldn't bring himself to care. Not when his own father couldn't bring himself to care enough to give his son a trial for the charge of fratricide, or intercede when Bhelen went against tradition by denying him the right to face his accuser, whom ironically was Bhelen himself.
Thorin sat up from his camp-fire and stretched, feeling his back and shoulders pop. It had been weeks since the King's death and news that the Grey Wardens were visiting Orzammar was now all the latest expeditions were talking about. The rumors of the Leader of the Grey, a woman he never learned the name of, fighting in the name of Harrowmont in a proving being the chief among them.
That bit of news had him risking cover long enough to chuckle over Bhelen seeming inability to get the support of the Wardens still amused him.
The sound of feet on rocks caught his attention, his hand instantly going to the sword Pyral gave him before his exile into the Deep Roads. It sounded like another patrol. A very tall patrol. His eyes narrowed at his first sight of what appeared to be the Grey Wardens and...Oghren.
Their leader, or at least the person taking point, was a human woman in light scale armor, the type of animal scales he didn't recognize but they looked strong, equipped with what looked like an elven longbow and a pair of daggers at her side. Walking beside her was easily the largest surface animal he had ever seen. What did they call them again...marbury...marblesy...mabarsi...something. There was also another human in chantry plate-mail, carrying a sword and shield. Sweet Ancestors, please keep don't let him go on and on about this supposed 'maker.' Hmm...there were three human women, two were younger and he swore he could stare at them all day, and one so old she was barely worth looking at. Unless you counted the staff she carried that showed she was a mage.
They also had an elf carrying some daggers and- Thorin closed his eyes, shook his head and reopened them. They had a golem. He didn't recognize it from the Shaperate, so they simply had to have found a new one. Shrugging to himself, he figured he'd give them a shout and see what they wanted. "Hail Wardens," he shouted, hoping he was right that they were, in fact, grey wardens.
A few of them jumped in surprise, the pretty red-head drew and aimed a bow in his direction and the elf had his daggers out and was in a fighting stance nearly faster than the eye could blink.
"Who's there?" the woman in the lead called out. Thorin stepped a bit closer. Oghren's eyes widened.
"Sweet Nug-Humpers...you're still alive?"
"No, I died a long time ago and I'm here to eat your corpse. Can't you tell I'm a darkspawn ghoul?" The human in the chantry plate mail smirked while the woman next to him rolled her eyes.
Oghren turned back to the group. "Word has it that you can only survive down here by eating dead darkspawn, and he's been down here for over a year."
A year...that's how long it's been?
The black-haired woman who seemed desperate to show off her cleavage raised an eyebrow at him. "And how, pray tell, is he still sane?"
Thorin theatrically bowed to her. "And that dear lady, is a secret kept by nearly every single expedition that has been sent out of Orzammar in the past year. No commander worth their stone would ever admit their supplies keep getting stolen from, and they can't catch the thief. No matter how many suspects they execute."
The woman in charge bent down to look at him at eye level. "And who are you supposed to be?"
Oghren answered for her. "He's King Enderin's second brat. A little over a year ago, the eldest son, Trian, was killed and this one was exiled from Orzammar."
"Without a trial, I might add. I've also been erased from the memories. So you may know me as Thorin No-Name of No-House."
The male human raised an eyebrow, before looking at another being who just came in through the cavern, obviously bringing up the rear. The newcomer was the largest person Thorin had ever seen, wielding a giant sword that would cover two dwarves standing on top of each other in height. "Well...did you kill your brother?"
Thorin leaned back against the wall. "Why? Does it matter if I did or if I didn't? It's been over a year and no one seems to care so far."
"Actually that isn't true." The leader said. "We came across some documents in Jarvia's hide-out that makes it clear that Bhelen hired the carta for something a little over a year ago. Your name was listed. Lord Harrowmont asked us to see if we could find you while we were already down here. You may be proven inn-"
"Innocent? Really? That's your evidence?" Thorin rolled his eyes. "It was already established that casteless were hired when I was convicted. Their bodies were strewn around Trian's corpse, after all...along with his men. As far as the Assembly could be concerned with that evidence, it could simply mean Bhelen hired them to protect Trian."
The elf grinned. "Did he?"
Thorin shrugged. "Whether he did, or didn't is not the concern of surfacers. Besides, you have yet to tell me your names. The legion of the dead has more manners than you surfacers."
"Hmm...oh!" The human woman exclaimed. "I should know better. My name is Eliza Cousland. This is my second Alistair," she pointed to the human in Chantry armor, "this is the assassin Zevran," she said pointing to the elf. Smart of the Grey Wardens, keeping an assassin on hand. You never know when someone needs assassinating. At least the Wardens keep the tools to handle their political enemies on hand. "This is the former chantry sister and a bard, Leliana. This is the apostate Morrigan, Circle Enchanter Wynne. This is my mabari Fluffy." Mabari, right, that's what they're called. The dog gave a loud bark, and Thorin swore that the dog was saying 'hi' in its own way. "And this is the Qunari, Sten."
"And I already know Oghren, a finer warrior I've never met, well, after Gorim of course." Oghren seemed to beam up with pride for a bit. "Then Branka abandoned him and it all went downhill from there." Oghren grumbled something about nugs and buns or something at that.
Eliza stood up and looked out into the tunnels. "Now that we've found you, we might be able to end Orzammar's succession." Thorin rolled his eyes and grunted. Eliza glanced at him. "You're the elder brother. Could we just go back and put your name forward for the throne as the rightful heir? If you're still alive, Bhelen loses his right to the throne and Harrowmont would support your claim."
Thorin grunted. "You surfacers must have a backwards political system if you think that way." Eliza gasped while Morrigan chuckled. "I don't know how things are done on the surface, but the throne isn't carried by the blood. Only the Assembly has the right to choose a king. The reining ruler can suggest the next ruler by naming his heir, but after his death, that heir may never end up on the throne if the Assembly doesn't will it. The heir would then take up duties as head of the family, but not the throne.
"If you went back to Orzammar and put my name forward, your deep mushrooms would hit the lava river really fast and the resulting smell of gasses would choke all involved for several reasons. One, I'm an exile without house or clan. I have no official claim to the throne because legally, I don't exist. Two, all you'd have is a three-way fight for the throne instead of a two-way fight, and the fight would be that much longer. Say Harrowmont abdicated in my favor, then what? Bhelen would win by a landslide because Harrowmont's supporters wouldn't fall in line. It's not like I have any assets with which to bribe them with. Unless..." Thorin trailed off.
"Unless I had the blessing of a living ancestor. A paragon."
Zevran nodded. "I see. So if you were able to get a paragon to vouch for you, you may take the throne and we wouldn't have to deal with either of the other two?"
Thorin shrugged. "Possibly. It would have to come with something grandiose as well. Like, ending a blight or something. Or having a Blood Proving in place of the trial I never got. It would likely be me verse Bhelen, and only one of us would come out of that alive, and his word would be taken for law over what that proving was about."
Eliza kicked a nearby rock down a tunnel and shouted out loud. "Gah! Why are there so many loopholes to jump through? All I would like is to go present the treaty, call on the promise of support for a blight, and be back at the camp before the week's end to have a congratulatory feast."
Zevran rubbed her back, and Thorin amused to notice that her second's hand moved to his sword as he got closer to them. "We have a saying in Antiva. Life happens, and when it does, death follows." Eliza raised an eyebrow at him.
"I thought the saying was 'Death happens?'" The elf shrugged and muttered something in her ear that Thorin couldn't catch. Thorin turned to the dark-haired witch.
"Is the tension between those three always so tangible?"
"You have no idea..." she muttered.
Oghren, unlike the surfacers, was smiling. "So no matter who we support, we have to find Branka. And then everything will be all better."
Thorin bit his tongue. He didn't want to deal with Branka again, but then again...that vow he swore to Gorim before his exile.
"You won't need to find her. I know exactly where she and what remains of her house are."