A/N: Hello everyone! Please note that this is the second part of From Warriors to Wardens. If you haven't already read it, please read part 1, The Meeting, first. Enjoy!

"You know what the worst part about this impending darkspawn invasion is?"

"Enlighten me" Julien said.

"That after a week of waiting here, the darkspawn have yet to show up and invade!"

Nicolas cut the straw doll with his sword, causing one of the arms to fall to the ground. He kicked at the straw, then sheathed the weapon and sighed. The temporary camp outside the Val Mort garrison was not much different from the garrison in Fortalan, not really. They were lodging in tents rather than stone buildings and in the middle of the camp, right in front of the Captain's tent, a small square had been left empty and was now used for anything from training to gathering the company. The only thing that was truly different was that the few comforts available to a soldier, such as a hot bath once in a while or an extensive library, were – though within a short distance – not for them to use.

They had been camped in this field for a week now, seventy-five men tired and dusty after the five day march to reach Val Mort from Fortalan. There were another three hundred or so men from other garrisons in other cities, all of them rushed there to aid in defending the great city of Val Mort from the darkspawn threat. They had expected to arrive to battle, or in worst case a battle lost, but not this. Waiting.

Nicolas snorted and kicked at the straw again.

"They are coming closer" Julien pointed out as he drew the sharpening steel along the length of his greatsword. "There will be a battle. Perhaps sooner than you think."

"I don't want a battle" Nicolas protested. "Sure, I want to fight. Better than just sitting around like this. But I don't want a battle."

"Well, you're in for one" Alec pointed out who joined them on the patch of trampled grass. "I just heard one of the lieutenants say that there are Grey Wardens coming – I think this will be bigger than anyone guessed."

"The Grey Wardens?" Nicolas echoed.

"You have heard of them, surely?" Alec sneered.

"Of course I have" Nicolas retorted. "But when have they actually done something, I mean, recently? Their glory is all in the past."

"Perhaps." It was Julien who made the single-word contribution.

"Oh come on! At least consider it some change and excitement to just hanging around, waiting for the darkspawn to come" Alec said before leaving them for better companionship.

Julien paused in the sharpening of his weapon. His voice was low when he spoke.

"I have some good news though" he said.

"What? Oh please do share, I need some good news, lest I die from boredom!" Nicolas exclaimed theatrically, his hand itching for his sword and relieving the straw doll of its other arm as well, or maybe its head.

"Unless the darkspawn find our party, I am on leave after the afternoon patrol."

Nicolas felt the grin on his face widen in a milli-moment.

"I'll see you after dinner then?" he asked, unable to entirely keep the enthusiasm from his voice, trying to keep it down though he was.


And there it was. A sweet, soft smile just barely visible, gone in the blink of an eye, and Nicolas could find nothing more to complain about.