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A King's Fate, A Son's Choice [Closed]

Alistair Theirin

King of Ferelden
Canon Character
Noble
Grey Warden
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
90
#1
((Cloudreach 12; 9:38; Constance Theirin ))

After Zevran left, Alistair sank into a chair by the fire, his heart still racing, head spinning, but the manic determination that had powered him through several circuits of the tiny room fading a bit as the enormity of what he was considering sank in. He had sneaked out of the palace often enough … still did it, in fact, but this -

He couldn’t just do it, couldn’t just leave without telling anyone, no matter how much he had been tempted to leave with Zev right then. He had responsibilities, and not just to the kingdom.

Pushing himself out of the chair, he went to the door. “Would you please ask Her Majesty to come to the study, please?” 'The study' sounded innocuous enough, but Leliana and Linette had established that it was the room in the palace most protected from unwanted ears: thick walls, ceiling and floor, with secured rooms on either side, above and below. No balcony, and it was on the second floor, so no listening in the bushes outside the windows. It had been further secured by adding double panes to said windows and a layer of cork to the walls (concealed beneath tasteful wallpaper that had been Leli's touch; Lin would have left it as-is). They conducted enough routine business in the room to obscure its utility, but Constance would know that being summoned there meant a need for secrecy.

Donal nodded, his eyes asking the question; he knew something was up. “I’ll tell you later,” Alistair promised. His Guard-Captain would likely be coming with him, if for no other reason than that he’d have to be tied up to make him stay behind, but Alistair wasn’t about to let him in on what was going to be a tightly held secret before confiding in his wife. He’d learned that much in three years of marriage.

Donal left, and Alistair returned to his chair. He suspected that Constance would not be pleased with what he intended to do, but he hoped that she would understand why he had to, not just as a son, but as Ferelden’s King.

He had to know.

((OOC - This thread will reference events from the DA comic series, The Silent Grove, Those Who Speak & Until We Sleep. The actual threads covering the events in the Thedas:Timelines ‘verse will take place at another time, and may end up diverging somewhat from DA canon. This thread is simply intended to anchor the core events in the timeline leading into the Inquisition period))
 

Constance Theirin

Queen of Ferelden
Noble
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
53
#2
The rose bushes Constance had transported from Gwaren to Denerim shortly after Alistair’s proposal flourished. The gardens of Castle Cousland were fragrant with the scent of Damask, sweet briar, and tea roses. A small bit of Gwaren to be found in her new home. And Denerim had become her home not only because that was where she rested her head each night. Constance’s marriage to Alistair had turned out far better than she could have hoped.

He kept his promises to her. Their marriage was a partnership. They ruled together. He had not needed to keep that promise. He was King, after all. Theirs was not a love match; no sweet words of undying love ever escaped Constance’s lips. But he had and her affection for him grew. She loved him in her way even if she was not in love with him, nor did she ever think she would be.

Much like the roses within the gardens, the children also grew and bloomed. A break from his lessons, Peter ran about the gardens, ducking between the taller bushes to hide from Bran. Only the laughter he was unable to contain gave way his location.

A true smile blessed Constance’s mouth at the child’s play. She had never intended to give Peter siblings but she was happy he had them now. They were the best type of siblings; the type that did not interfere with his position.

“Your Majesty,” came a voice behind her, drawing her attention away from the playing children.

Constance well recognized the voice and turned to face Donal. He did not make it a habit of interrupting her time within the gardens unless necessary.

“His Majesty has requested your presence in his study.”

Yes, the study. The study that Alistair had seen constructed for private conversations. She knew the room well. Thankfully, Leliana had suggested the paper that now covered the cork walls within the room. Prior to the papers placement, Constance was sure she saw the outline of a penis drawn atop the cork.

With a dip of the head, she offered, “Of course,” and left the children to be watched by their nannies and guards.

The trip from gardens to the study was a short one and Constance found herself within the protected confines of the room shortly. “You asked for me, Alistair?” she asked as she shut the door behind her.
 

Alistair Theirin

King of Ferelden
Canon Character
Noble
Grey Warden
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
90
#3
Alistair couldn’t stay seated for long, the agitation rippling beneath his skin pulling him out of the chair to pace the confines of the room, his thoughts tumbling over themselves in a churn of emotion that he hadn’t experienced in years. He paused at the window, pulling aside the heavy brocade drapes to watch Peter, Bran and Arwen at play in the gardens. The double-paned windows blocked the sounds of their laughter, but he could hear it anyway, imprinted upon his heart as it had long been.

Had Maric ever watched him like this at Redcliffe? The father he had never met had nonetheless molded his life profoundly … more so even than the man who had raised him. Maric Theirin had sired a bastard who had grown up unwanted; that bastard had refused to chance siring a bastard of his own, keeping himself away from the dalliances that might have led him to the love of his life. That bastard had found himself wearing a crown that he had never sought, by virtue of nothing more than possessing Maric Theirin’s blood, had chosen a marriage of political advantage, to be the king he thought his father would have wanted him to be … and found a different kind of love.

It was nothing giddy. Constance didn’t swoon or blush when he looked at her (he didn’t even blush often these days, though he didn’t try to fight it on the rare occasions that she surprised him, because it pleased her). They were partners and friends: equals in marriage and in rulership, and even those who had been most vociferous in their doubts of his choice admitted that Ferelden was the better for it. And having that made the gentle warmth of the something more which had grown between them enough for Alistair. They argued, yes, but they talked through it in time; he had learned to be more pragmatic and calculating … Quinton Yorath had been a gamble that had paid handsome dividends. And while ‘soft’ was never going to be an adjective used to describe Constance Carringstone Theirin, she had come to accept that at times, his preferred benevolent approach was the most effective.

What he was considering now would be the greatest test of their marriage to date, and could well end up being his greatest mistake … and his last. The Kingdom would be left in capable hands, with an heir to inherit the crown when he came of age, but if Alistair died on what he knew was a long shot, at best, he would be leaving four children fatherless. Could he risk doing that?

Could he not do it?

He dragged his fingers through his hair, a gesture that he’d finally pruned from his public repertoire, turned as the door opened behind him to admit Constance.

“You asked for me, Alistair?” She was as calm as always, which made one of them. He was counting on that calmness to steady the maelstrom in his head and heart.

“I did. Please, sit.” He forced himself to return to the chairs, waiting for her to seat herself before dropping into one, trying to find something to say that wouldn’t sound as utterly crazy as he knew it was going to.

“I had a visitor,” he began. “It was Zevran.” She would not have known; the assassin occasionally sauntered in through the front gates for the sake of variety - and the satisfaction of being seen to do so - but this time, he had arrived and left in secret. “He heard a rumor in Antiva … a rumor of a rumor, really, but he checked it out, you know Zevran, he’s like a cat, he -” He was babbling. Alistair scrubbed his hands over his face, feeling the tremor in them, and cut straight to the heart of the matter:

“Maric may still be alive.”
 

Constance Theirin

Queen of Ferelden
Noble
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
53
#4
“I did. Please, sit.” The tension rode high in Alistair’s form as he pushed himself down into a seat after Constance took hers.

Curiosity furrowed her brow and deepened the lines cornering her eyes. Something was troubling Alistair; something she knew he would reveal at his own pace. Long since she had learned not to pressure Alistair to speak before he was ready.

She did not have to wait long. Alistair began, “I had a visitor. It was Zevran.” Typically the castle was a aflutter with excitement when Zevran called upon the Palace. His mere presence was often enough to cause a frenetic type of energy to electrify the halls and servants. There had been no such signs of a visit in the last day, however. Whatever brought the assassin to the palace must have been a serious and secretive manner. He had not wanted attention.

“He heard a rumor in Antiva … a rumor of a rumor, really, but he checked it out, you know Zevran, he’s like a cat, he -” Alistair stopped there, biting down to rub a hand across his face. There was to be no more talk of Zevran but instead the rumor that brought the ghost of him to seek our Alistair. “Maric may still be alive.”

Yet again, Alistair had found a way to surprise Constance. Of all the things Zevran might have come to share, that never would have entered her mind as a possibility.

The shock showed within her expression, lips slightly parted as if she was struggling to swallow down the truth of such a simple statement. Five simple words. A vastly complicated set of potential consequences.

If he was alive, he would be King and not Alistair. If he was alive, why had he stayed hidden? If he was alive, where had he been since his disappearance? But the most troubling question that blazed within her mind did not involve Maric, not really. If he was alive, could Roderick be as well? Both men had been declared dead at sea; no bodies ever discovered.

Every ounce of self-control employed to not draw her hand upward to cup her mouth, she kept her hands clasped atop her lap. Her worry, her thoughts of Roderick had no place in the conversation, not yet. The news was understandably quite troubling to Alistair. Maric was a man that left his son a legacy to follow but no good memories to temper the weight of such duty.

“How is such a thing possible?” she asked after a time, her initial surprise fading into concern for her husband.
 

Alistair Theirin

King of Ferelden
Canon Character
Noble
Grey Warden
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
90
#5
The first time that Alistair had surprised Constance had been the night that he proposed to her. She had laughed then … not at him, but at the fact that she had been readying herself to give him advice on the type of woman he should marry when he had popped the question.

She wasn’t laughing now, but the fact that she allowed her surprise to show in her expression was indicative of the trust that had grown between them in the years since they had wed. Constance Carringstone Yorath Theirin had not been one to show weakness openly; had anyone else been giving this news, or even been present, her face would have remained inscrutable, impassive.

It was a trust Alistair had worked hard to earn. He never forgot that she had spent the earliest years of her womanhood as a pawn, first for her father, then for Rendon Howe: used without her consent, married to a drunken ruin of a man for political gain, her sole worth calculated by her ability to bear heirs. He wasn’t naive enough to think that his kindness would bring back the young woman she had been; her life to this point had been what had molded her into the strong queen that Alistair and Ferelden needed. But he had been quite aware that she was probably expecting him to renege on the promises he’d made: to make her his co-ruler, to remain faithful to her, to make her son his heir.

Keeping those promises had not been difficult on his part, particularly the one about Peter. Alistair couldn’t have loved the boy more if he’d been his own flesh and blood, and he - and Constance - were the only reasons that Alistair was even considering the course of action that was taking shape in his mind.

Constance quickly brought herself back under control, her hands folded together atop her skirt, her face smoothing from shock into a more composed mien, though the blue eyes remained worried as they regarded him.

“How is such a thing possible?” she asked him.

“I don’t know,” he admitted, shaking his head. “Neither did Zevran. The rumor that he heard was that Maric had been captured by the Crows and held in a secret prison: Velabanchel.” Alistair had never heard of the place, and according to Zevran, the very existence of the prison was kept shrouded in mystery, the location the most closely guarded secret of the Antivan Crows.

“He investigated,” Alistair went on, “and while he couldn’t take the evidence, he says that he saw documents that indicate that the rumor is true, but not why they would take him, or hold him for this long.” The ‘why’ of it was baffling … and worrisome. Had it been done at the behest of Anitiva’s rulers, either King Fulgeno II or the merchant princes who truly controlled the politics of the kingdom? If so, to what end? And if not, did they know and do nothing? Either scenario was a recipe for war if it was proved: a war that, even years after the Blight, Ferelden was ill equipped to enter. Yet, could it afford to ignore such an affront by another sovereign nation? These were questions that Alistair was trying not to think about right now, because he couldn't conceive of simply ignoring the information that Zevran had risked his life to obtain and bring to him.
 
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