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A Life Most Ordinary And Wonderful [Closed]

Alistair Theirin

King of Ferelden
Canon Character
Noble
Grey Warden
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
112
#21
Nicolette was an attentive and empathetic audience, reaching out to offer a light squeeze on his arm as he spoke of the Crow dungeon and the pathetic wretch he had found there. The bright sun in the cloudless sky overhead, the cool breeze touched with the scent of the sea, the noise from the laborers on the docks and the cheers from the deck below signifying a victor in the contest all helped to anchor him in the present as he revisited the memories of darkness, gloom and the frustration of discovering that his father had been held in Velabanchel, but was there no longer.

“What would she have wanted with him?” the minstrel wondered aloud when he told her who had taken Maric. “Did the Crows explain why they kept him prisoner for so long in the first place?”

“Never did find that out,” he said, shaking his head. “If I had to guess, I’d say they planned to hold him for ransom, but other people had other ideas. We went to the Tellari Swamp looking for Yavanna - that was her name, by the way,” he added, “and ran smack into a high dragon.” It was easy to summon a droll expression now, but he’d nearly shit his royal trousers at the time. With no mage to heal them, fighting it would have been suicide. “I thought that it might have been Yavanna - Flemeth could change into a dragon - but then, she popped out of the bushes and called it off.” That had been very nearly as frightening as the dragon; Flemeth hadn’t had that kind of power (as far as he knew, anyway).

“And that’s when things started getting really weird,” he went on with a wry smile. “She took us to a place in the middle of the swamp: the Silent Grove. It was a … a sanctuary for dragons, to keep them from being destroyed by men.” Not something he would have ever considered necessary, but at least it was in Antiva, not Ferelden. “She told me that Flemeth had saved Maric’s life a long time ago, and in return, when his children were old enough to rule, he was to come to Yavanna. I don’t know if that was what he was trying to do when the Crows captured him, but she said that someone - she didn’t know who - had taken him from her, and she didn’t know if he was still alive.”

He pursed his lips and blew out a sigh. “So … foiled again,” he told Nicolette with a wan smile. “She tried to convince me to give up the search, and when I wouldn’t, she just walked away. We thought about trying to chase her down, but the pet dragon was a bit of a problem.” He snorted. “I hope that Arwen never gets that idea.” She certainly wouldn’t be hearing it from him, at least, not for a few more years.

“So, there we were, with no idea where to go next,” he continued, rolling his eyes. “And then, when we were leaving the swamp, we were ambushed by Claudio and his lackeys.” He smiled thinly. “He’d let us go hoping that we could lead him to the Grove, and we did a smashing job of that. Of course, he wasn’t going to turn down the chance to get his hands on another Fereldan king, and since we were outnumbered ten to one or so, I made a deal: he could take me if my companions went free.” Claudio had figured that Isabela would cut and run to save her own skin; Alistair had hoped that she would do otherwise, but there had been no knowing. She and Varric had both been injured in the initial attack; fighting on had not been an option.
 

Nicolette O'Hara

Prominent member
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
227
#22
Nicolette had not been sure what Alistair meant to tell her when he asked her for privacy. Not in her wildest imaginings could she have predicted it; Crow princes and travels across the sea, a monarch long thought dead proved living under capture, and now - a witch in command of a high dragon. Nicolette would have asked for more of a description of the beast, but one look at Alistair’s expression guarded her against making him relive it. Echoes of fear flickered in his eyes.

“And that’s when things started getting really weird.” He smiled wryly at her, perhaps predicting her thoughts - had things not already been weird enough? Apparently not. The witch protected the dragons from men. “She told me that Flemeth had saved Maric’s life a long time ago, and in return, when his children were old enough to rule, he was to come to Yavanna.” But why? “I don’t know if that’s what he was trying to do when the Crows captured him, but she said that someone - she didn’t know who - had taken him from her, and she didn’t know if he was still alive.”

That must have been frustrating. To come within a hair of his goal, and denied it again...Nicolette paused her internal monologue as her face creased with sympathy. She had more questions, but let him speak on. Only to then develop an instant dislike of a man she had never met, as Claudio had reappeared on the scene and tried to capture Alistair. "Of course, he wasn’t going to turn down the chance to get his hands on another Fereldan king, and since we were outnumbered ten to one or so, I made a deal; he could take me if my companions went free.”

The noble gesture would be no less than Nicolette would expect from Alistair. Although she had pieced together in their first meeting that he was a king, he had a naturally chivalrous attitude to those around him. He was, in essence and in full, a good man. “How did you get out of that? And also...do you believe Yavanna was telling the truth, that she did not know who had Maric?”

Nicolette would guess this Flemeth character was behind it. Was it not her who had told Maric to go to Yavanna in the first place?
 

Alistair Theirin

King of Ferelden
Canon Character
Noble
Grey Warden
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
112
#23
Not for the first time, Alistair wished that Leliana was here and not in Val Royeaux, serving as Left Hand to the new Divine. He knew the reasons; she had told him years before of the debt that she owed to the woman who had once been called Revered Mother Dorothea, and Divine Justinia V could ask for no better adviser and guardian. But the King of Ferelden missed her counsel, and Alistair missed his dear friend. She would have been invaluable in the search for Maric; she and Zevran made a potent team. And had she been here now, she would have enjoyed hearing his tale, prompting him with questions to recall the little details that had eluded his memory at first telling

By her own admission, Nicolette was not fond of combat and danger, but she was as attentive an audience as Leliana would have been, and her eyes had widened at hearing of Claudio’s ambush and the bargain that Alistair had struck to save his companions.

“How did you get out of that?” she asked him wonderingly. “And also...do you believe Yavanna was telling the truth, that she did not know who had Maric?”

“I believed her,” Alistair confirmed. “Witches - the ones I’ve known, anyway -” Three, by the last count, which was three more than he preferred. “They hate not knowing something, and even more than that, they hate admitting they don’t know it.” Some of the best points he’d scored on Morrigan had taken advantage of that trait. Childish? Undoubtedly, but in the middle of a Blight, you took your diversions where you could. “She didn’t know … but Claudio did, and being a proper villain, once he had me where he wanted me, he started getting chatty. Which didn’t really bode well for my long term prospects, but I figured that as long as he was talking, I would listen. Seems he was the one who’d taken Maric, on orders from his master, and he figured I’d be considered another good catch.

“Fortunately - for me, anyway - my companions found their way back to Yavanna, who healed them up. For her own reasons.” He smiled thinly. “Which didn’t extend to actually helping them rescue me. They did it anyway … actually got the jump on Claudio’s goons. Unfortunately, Claudio got killed in the fight before he could tell me the name of the one giving his marching orders.” He’d been angry at the time, but not too much; they’d been trying to save his life, after all, and the bastard had been about to kill Isabela when Zevran’s revelation that he had been the one to kill her husband Luis, who had evidently been a close friend of the Talon, had given the pirate enough of an opening to turn the tables on her opponent.

“But it turns out that witches are good for more than acting superior and making vague statements,” he went on. “Yavanna arrived - after all the fighting was done, of course.” Lying bitch that Morrigan had been, she had at least never shirked away from battle. “She called Claudio’s spirit back from beyond the Veil - and it was every bit as creepy as it sounds, in case you're wondering. Told him if he didn’t answer her questions, she’d leave him tied to his corpse in that swamp forever.” He snorted. “That did the trick, and he told her the name of his master: Aurelian Titus, a Tevinter magister.” He felt his lips curl as he spoke; simply saying the name again left a bad taste in his mouth.
 

Nicolette O'Hara

Prominent member
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
227
#24
Even if there had been a risk of Nicolette repeating the tale to anybody else, she was not sure she would have been able to. Her powers of recollection were not up to capturing every twist and turn of the tale so far. But she had no intention of breaking Alistair’s trust, and in any case she wa a little preoccupied with trying to stop her eyes from popping out of her skull. The witch who had apparently been the cause of all the problems in the first place had shown a good side - or at least, found it worth her while to save Alistair’s companions - allowing them to rescue him, but alas, leaving him without closure. At that, Nicolette squeezed Alistair’s arm in sympathy. It was all she could really offer.

“Yavanna arrived - after all the fighting was done, of course. She called Claudio’s spirit back from beyond the Veil-” Nicolette could not quite keep herself from looking horrified - “and it was every bit as creepy as it sounds, in case you’re wondering. Told him if he didn’t answer her questions, she’d leave him tied to his corpse in that swamp forever.” Nicolette shuddered. Although it sounded as though Claudio would have deserved it, it still would have been a horrifying fate. “That did the trick, and he told her the name of his master: Aurelian Titus, a Tevinter magister.”

Now Tevinter magisters were involved, because of course they were. Nicolette rubbed her temple, sorting the facts of the story into order in her head, expression baffled. “So - it was actually a Tevinter magister who had your father taken, and demanded no ransom? And Yavanna wanted him for her own purposes?” By the Skies, what had Maric been involved in? Winning a rebellion against a vast empire would surely be enough for most people for one lifetime.

“So - then what? Did you go to confront him?”
 

Alistair Theirin

King of Ferelden
Canon Character
Noble
Grey Warden
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
112
#25
Nicolette was looking almost dazed at this point, and Alistair couldn’t really blame her. Even the insanity they had waded through during the Blight had not prepared him for what he had encountered in those few weeks.

“So - it was actually a Tevinter magister who had your father taken, and demanded no ransom?”
she asked, massaging her temples. “And Yavanna wanted him for her own purposes?”

“Pretty much, yeah,” he confirmed with a rueful grimace, then leaned over the side. “Could we get some water up here, please?” he called down. His mouth was getting dry from talking, and he worried that the sun overhead might be discomforting his audience.

“So - then what?” she wanted to know. “Did you go to confront him?”

“Eventually,” he confirmed, “but first, Yavanna led us back to the Silent Grove and took me - just me - into the inner sanctum of the temple. She called it the Hall of Sleepers.” He was silent for a moment, staring out to sea, his gaze much further away. “It was enormous,” he said quietly. “The walls all glowed blue … like being underwater, almost. And there were giant eggs all around, and dragons - bigger than any I’d seen before - looked like they were sleeping, and the one we’d seen before, awake and watching us. She said they’d been there for centuries, held by magic to keep them from being killed by men.”

His brow furrowed lightly. “She said that when Maric came, he woke one of them: the Queen of dragons. She said that was why Titus took him, because of the power in his blood. In my blood.” He still didn’t understand it. Not really.

“Water!” Ari scrambled up the shrouding with a skin. He took it from her and offered it to Nicolette before tending his own thirst. They’d drawn it fresh: the water was cool and refreshing, with none of the flat taste that came from sitting in a skin for a few hours. He drank gratefully, then tipped a bit on top of his head, enjoying the cool trails rolling down his scalp. One of those things kings weren’t supposed to do, and he gave his companion an unrepentant and mischievous grin before sobering once more and passing the waterskin back to her.

“She wanted me to wake the rest, said if I did, that I could bring back my father and he’d be king, just like I wanted. She lied.” His lip curled slightly, his eyes gone flat. “Witches always lie. They play games with words and dance around the truth until they tie it all in knots. Anything to get what they want.” He shook his head, trying to dispel the darkness he could hear in his voice, knowing that he wasn't just talking about Yavnna now. He didn’t want to frighten Nicolette, but he did want to be honest with her. He took the waterskin back and drank deeply once more, taking time before he spoke again.

“I killed her,” he said simply. “She was so sure that she had me, that I’d dance to her tune, that she didn’t think twice about letting me close to her. She took my father, Ferelden’s king … everything that went wrong during the Blight was because of that. I ran her through with my sword … then I left.”

He met Nicolette’s eyes, letting his puzzlement show. “I thought sure we’d have to fight the dragon that was awake, but it just watched me leave.”

He bit his lip, afraid to ask, needing to know. “Did I do the right thing?” He’d been sure at the time, cold anger infusing him with the certainty of self-righteousness, but with time and distance, doubt had grown.
 

Nicolette O'Hara

Prominent member
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
227
#26
Alistair called for water. Nicolette had barely realised she was getting thirsty after the stretch of time in the sun, she’d been so absorbed by what he was saying. And she was not the one doing all the talking. There was more - something in Maric’s blood, and therefore Alistair’s, had caused a dragon to wake up. That was something that would appear immensely valuable to some people, and terrifyingly dangerous to others. Little wonder that Alistair did not wish it to become general knowledge.

Water was brought, and Alistair was finding his way to the end of the tale. Yavanna revealed her purpose. “She wanted me to wake the rest, said if I did, that I could bring back my father and he’d be king, just like I wanted.” At least to Nicolette, Alistair had always been open about how uneasy he was with the role life had pushed on him, and she could imagine how tempting the offer might have been. Except it did not appear to have tempted Alistair at all. With contempt, he dismissed the possibility that she might have been telling the truth. “She lied. Witches always lie. They play games with words and dance around the truth until they tie it all in knots. Anything to get what they want.”

A question bubbled up in the back of Nicolette’s head, but it was not one she planned to ask. Alistair’s bitterness spoke of previous experience, and as far as Nicolette knew, there was only one other witch with whom he had had acquaintance. The elusive and mysterious Morrigan.

“So...what did you do?”

“I killed her.” Nicolette could not help flinching a little. She knew why Alistair had done it, agreed that it had been the right thing to do. But even after all this time, the decision to kill was not something she could ever imagine taking lightly. Thank Skies, it had never fallen to her. “She was so sure that she had me, that I’d dance to her tune, that she didn’t think twice about letting me close to her. She took my father, Ferelden’s king … everything that went wrong during the Blight was because of that. I ran her through with my sword … then I left. I thought sure we’d have to fight the dragon that was awake, but it just watched me leave.”

Puzzlement, and not a little fear, were writ large on Alistair’s face as he turned his gaze directly on her. “Did I do the right thing?”

While it was bizarre that somebody so influential was asking her for her thoughts on his actions, Nicolette suddenly felt back on settled ground. She did not even need to think before she answered, folding her fingers over his and stroking the back of his hand as gently as her mother had used to do when soothing her from a nightmare.

“I believe you did.” In his place...well, it would have sickened her to do it, but she could well have done it all the same. “Dragons make for magnificent tales, but one alone can kill hundreds and cause misery for thousands. To wake all of them would have brought more pain to Thedas than many could have withstood. And - Yavanna has clearly been the source of many years of pain. While the scars may remain, she cannot cause further injury to you now.”

There was more boisterous shouting from below. The children were clearly having fun with the crew and Elena was deep in conversation with Dax, who appeared to be demonstrating the purpose of each rope attached to the foremast. Nicolette smiled, before turning her attention back on Alistair. “You have been through much, Alistair. More than your good heart deserves. I am immensely glad that you do have a source of joy in your life.”
 

Alistair Theirin

King of Ferelden
Canon Character
Noble
Grey Warden
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
112
#27
The cold rage and iron-hard conviction that had given strength to Alistair’s sword hand had begun to waver almost as soon as Yavanna had crumpled at his feet with her life’s blood gushing from the wound he had inflicted. It was the first time in his life that he had killed anyone that was not actively seeking to kill him, and even knowing the role that she had played in Maric’s disappearance and the threat that she posed should she succeed in waking the remaining dragons, the doubts had gnawed at him more each day.

Nicolette was a gentle soul; he saw her wince at his blunt confession, even though he had deliberately avoided any real detail. But she was honest, too, and sufficiently distanced from everything that had happened to be objective. Varric, Isabela, Donal, Constance: all of them had spoken in support of his actions, but he had never dared actually voice the question until now.

He did not have to wait for her answer. “I believe you did,” she said without hesitation, reaching out to touch his arm in reassurance. “Dragons make for magnificent tales, but one alone can kill hundreds and cause misery for thousands. To wake all of them would have brought more pain to Thedas than many could have withstood. And - Yavanna has clearly been the source of many years of pain. While the scars may remain, she cannot cause further injury to you now.”

“Or anyone else.” There had definitely been no lack of selfish motivation in his action, that hadn’t been the whole of it. “Thank you,” he told her, feeling a slight tightness in his throat, even as the bands about his chest loosened fully for the first time in weeks. “I needed to hear that from someone who wasn’t as close to the situation.”

Shouts and laughter from the deck drew both of their eyes downward, and if there was a better anodyne to the dark subject matter than the sight of his children at play, he had no idea what it might be.

“You have been through much, Alistair.” Nicolette smiled warmly as she turned back to him. “More than your good heart deserves. I am immensely glad that you do have a source of joy in your life.”

“More than I ever thought to have,” he replied sincerely. As a Grey Warden, he’d believed that he’d never have children. As King of Ferelden, he’d resigned himself to a loveless political marriage. He’d been granted not one child but four, and the fact that he’d sired none of them mattered not a whit. Even his marriage to Constance, while he could not describe it as joyful, was a source of quiet satisfaction. He’d married on his own terms and had never regretted it. “It seems that you have, too,” he observed. “I’m happy for you.” She had seemed content enough on her own when they had first met in Denerim, but seeing her among the crew of this ship, and the way that she and its captain regarded each other, in particular, there was a glow to her that hadn’t been there before.

“This is taking longer than I thought it would,” he offered apologetically. The events of weeks flickered by in moments behind his eyes, but actually putting memory to word felt as though it might take nearly as long as the experience itself. All the same, he couldn’t suppress a mischievous little grin as he added, “Would you like to hear how we sneaked into a Tevinter ball or just skip straight to the part where we got captured by Qunari?” Even having been through it all, he could scarcely believe it, and if he’d been listening to someone else tell the tale, he’d have called ‘bullshit’ by now.
 

Nicolette O'Hara

Prominent member
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
227
#28
The tension that had been gathering on Alistair’s face eased as Nicolette tried to reassure him. Without having experienced it herself, she could not truly give a verdict on whether or not what he had done was right in the grander scheme of things, she believed it was right for him. Enough so that it overrode her usual abhorrence towards any solution that involved death. It appeared that her distance was actually a positive in this instance, as well.

“Thank you. I needed to hear that from somebody who wasn’t as close to the situation.”

Their conversation was interrupted by the shouts from below, and Nicolette offered her own perspective on the current moment; that Alistair deserved the relative tranquillity of family life, especially when weighed against the concerns of governing a kingdom.

“More than I ever thought to have.” Alistair turned his attention to her. “It seems you have, too. I’m happy for you.”

Nicolette smiled with the easy warmth that came when Celeste was the topic of discussion. “I’ve always been somewhat of a romantic,” she admitted, although that was unlikely to be a surprise to anybody who had known her longer than five minutes. “But my life has always been so transient I thought it increasingly unlikely I would ever meet somebody who I would not have to sacrifice a little freedom for. Celeste is...almost like somebody out of one of my tales. She’s as wild and brave and bold as the sea she loves, and I’ve yet to see her fail to help somebody who needs it. She has an endless capacity for mischief that I keep finding myself getting tangled in, as well,” Nicolette added, her chuckle making it clear that this was in no way a drawback. She looked down, searching for Celeste’s blonde locks amongst the crew on deck. “And to see her at the helm, guiding the ship towards the horizon, the sun setting her eyes sparkling...there is nothing in Thedas like it.”

She did not often talk so freely about Celeste. But she felt comfortable enough around Alistair to do so. Even though he was the king, she’d first met him in disguise as a sweet-faced guard, and that initial impression had never quite worn off.

Alistair had not drawn her up here to wax lyrical about her captain, however, and there was more to the story. “This is taking longer than I thought it would.” He grinned. “Would you like to hear how we sneaked into a Tevinter ball or just skip straight to the part where we got captured by Qunari?”

Nicolette laughed delightedly; he had likely already guessed her answer. “Oh, I definitely need to hear about this Tevinter ball. Did you adopt a daring disguise?"
 

Alistair Theirin

King of Ferelden
Canon Character
Noble
Grey Warden
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
112
#29
It was plain to Alistair that Nicolette was fond of her crewmates, but it was the ship’s captain that the minstrel spoke glowingly of in response to his mention of the joy in her own life, her expression so suffused with adoration that he couldn’t help but smile. The mischief part worried him a bit, given the fact that he had essentially approved an apprenticeship for his niece with the woman. But when all was said and done, what he wanted most was for Elena to be happy, and everyone on this ship seemed to fit that bill. They were a family, of sorts; he could see it in the way that they interacted with each other, and he wanted that for her, too: to know something of the camaraderie that he had found during the Blight. At the palace, in court, there would always be too many whose interest in her lay only in who her uncle was. This bunch wouldn’t be like that.

“I’m glad that you found each other,” he told her before turning the talk back to his adventures abroad. It seemed only polite to offer her the option of the abridged version, but he was not overly surprised when she declined with a laugh.

“Oh, I definitely need to hear about this Tevinter ball,” she exclaimed. “Did you adopt a daring disguise?"

“Orlesian doublet and tights,” he confirmed, pulling a suitably droll expression. “Absolutely nobody recognized me … at least, not at first.” Thank the Maker. He’d never live it down if word got out. “Vints throw parties that make Orlesians look restrained,” he informed her. “It’s all opulence and excess: gilt bunting draped over everything that’s standing still, crystal chandeliers, champagne fountains, everyone decked out in silk and ruffles - and every one of them a mage.” The casual power zinging through the air had raked over his senses like fingernails on a blackboard. That it explained much of what had happened didn’t really make him feel any better.

“We did meet a good magister, though. One,” he emphasized. “She was related to one of my companions by marriage. She knew a lot about Titus: he had no lands, and wasn’t from any of the magister families - ‘Altus’, they call them - but that he was feared because of his power, and because he knew things that no one else did. Not something I wanted to hear, mind you, but still good information to have.” Maevaris had been a valuable ally, but the uniqueness of the brassy yet principled woman had only solidified his antipathy for Tevinter society as a whole.

“Then Titus showed up … and I screwed up,” he admitted with a rueful grimace, scrubbing one hand over the back of his neck. Definitely not one of his finer moments, and only the fact that his impulsiveness had not gotten one of his companions killed or injured made the memory bearable. “As soon as I saw him standing there, oozing arrogance, I confronted him head-on, and he recognized me.” He tapped a finger on the famous Theirin schnoz. “It went to shit from there fairly fast: he tried to use blood magic, but I’ve kept up my templar skills over the years and shut him down.” He smiled thinly; the magister's shocked and suddenly fearful expression had been a beautiful sight. “He didn’t like that much. He set his lackeys on us and ran. We kicked their asses, kept one alive for questioning. Our friend covered for us while we got out - I guess things like that aren’t exactly uncommon in Tevinter - charming little country, in case I didn’t mention it - have you been there much?” She’d likely been all over Thedas on this ship.

“I’d at least had the luck to challenge Titus in an out of the way place, so we got away without any trouble,” he went on. “Unfortunately, the fellow that we took for questioning couldn’t - or wouldn’t - tell us much about where to find Titus. He finally slipped up and mentioned Seheron, but as soon as he realized it, he panicked, broke loose and jumped overboard. The sharks got to him before we could.” Alistair shrugged, his face set. He wouldn’t have killed the man, but there was no denying that the suicide leap into shark-infested waters had relieved them of a thorny dilemma. Not that he would likely have survived what happened next.

“Seheron’s a pretty big place, but we’d already come so far that we decided to give it a try … and that’s when we were captured by the Qunari.” Out of the frying pan and into the sodding fire. “Two of their dreadnoughts braced us and offered us a choice: surrender or be sunk.” He gave Nicolette a wry smile. “When they put it that way, it was hard to refuse.”
 

Nicolette O'Hara

Prominent member
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
227
#30
The image of Alistair stuffed into Orlesian finery had Nicolette giggling, and then he described the party. The decoration sounded opulent to the point of excess, and while Nicolette appreciated the occasional high society event, she had never attended as a guest, only as part of the entertainment. She was rather glad for that. The kitchens tended to be generous with the scraps they let the musicians take home, and she did not have to engage with the variety of small talk that seemed part and parcel of being nobility, while still enjoying the atmosphere. Celeste had also had enough of an affect on her that on the rare occasion she did accept a contract for a society party these days, she was usually more interested in what mischief could be created.

Also, she had been mistaken for a bard at an Orlesian party several years ago, and had almost ended up being stabbed with a poisoned knife, which had possibly soured her a little on such events.

What did sound intriguing was going to such a place in full knowledge that everybody there was a mage. She had been in a room with several mages on a few occasions before while doing work for the underground and even though they had been actively working to dampen their powers to avoid attention, Nicolette had still felt something in the air similar to the heavy sensation before a thunderstorm. She could not imagine being in a crowded ballroom with dozens of them who felt no need to check their abilities. It would have left her on edge even without being in Alistair’s situation, and from the sound of it he had not handled it all that well either. He confronted Titus head on and was recognised, but managed to survive the ensuing scuffle. “Our friend covered for us while we got out - I guess things like that aren’t exactly uncommon in Tevinter - charming little country, in case I didn’t mention it - have you been there much?”

Nicolette shook her head. “While tales of the country provide intrigue, I was advised very early on never to travel there alone, unless I wished to find out in exact monetary terms how much I was worth. And the Wicked Grace does not take to those waters.” She glanced down towards Gideon. “We prefer to avoid encountering qunari ships.”

With good reason. Alistair himself had run afoul of the fabled fleet. “Two of their dreadnoughts braced us and offered us a choice; surrender or be sunk. When they put it that way, it was hard to refuse.”

Antivan Crows to witches to dragons, then back to Crows again, Tevinter mages and now qunari. Nicolette met his wry smile of one of her own. “If one of my protagonists was encountering this much danger, I would find it a little far fetched. Are you sure you did not anger a god at some point? What did the qunari want with you?”
 
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