• Hello Guest, the Post-Trespasser timeline is open to all characters now. If you want to play your DA:O/DA2 timeline characters in the Post-Trespasser timeline, please check out the thread below. It will give you all the information you need to get up and running in no time:

    Getting your DA:O/DA2 Character ready for Post-Trespasser!

For The Birds [Solo, Complete]

Alistair Theirin

King of Ferelden
Canon Character
Noble
Grey Warden
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
97
#1
[Bloomingtide 11, 33 Dragon; late morning; The Royal Palace]

Alistair eased the door closed in his wake, and stood in silence for a long moment, waiting for the hammering of his heart to settle. Visiting Eamon was not an easy thing, but it was an obligation that he had refused to ignore or delegate. He had loved the man like a father, hated him with an abandoned son's bitter fury and felt every conceivable emotion in between, but Eamon Guerrin had always loomed larger than life in his mind, despite his advancing age: canny and at home in the murky waters of politics, where Alistair still frequently felt that he was navigating with poorly drawn charts.

The stroke had nearly killed him, and it might have been kinder if it had done so outright. He could no longer walk, no longer speak, could not even manage to lift a spoon to his lips. He was lifted, fed, changed like an infant when he soiled himself, and yet his mind was clear, trapped in the ruin of his body. It showed in his eyes, bright with anguish, frustration or humiliation whenever he tried to speak, to feed himself and failed in such simple tasks. He had largely stopped trying, and now frequently displayed a child's petulance with his caregivers, and anger with Alistair when he visited. They had established a rough form of communication, with a single tap of Eamon's index finger indicating 'yes' to a question, and two taps meaning 'no', but when the Arl became agitated – as had just happened – even that minimal control deserted him.

Which, of course made Isolde angry, not that it was much of a change from her usual attitude toward Alistair. She blamed him for Eamon's stroke, for 'flitting off' and leaving the weight of the kingdom on his aging shoulders, for being such a poor excuse for a King that Eamon had been required to do the bulk of his job.

He could have enlightened her, but what would be gained by it? Her devotion to her husband had been beyond exemplary. She had fought to bring him back from the brink of death once; it had been her tenacious belief that had set them on the trail that had ended with Andraste's ashes. She had broached that possibility early on this time, and he had sent a discreet missive to Brother Genitivi, but the Chantry maintained strict control on access to the reliquary now, and had ruled that the ashes of the Maker's bride could not be handed out as a sovereign specific, regardless of the rank of the applicant.

Which Alistair figured would last right up to the point that the Divine fell deathly ill in Val Royeaux, but he had to agree that giving access to some, but not others, would generate a conflict that could very well turn bloody. Isolde had accepted the ruling of the Chantry, but it hadn't made her attitude toward him any warmer. Let her hate him, then. It wasn't as though he had to marry her. She and her husband would be maintained here at the palace, where Eamon could be given the best possible care for as long as he required it. Alistair owed him that much.

Even if what he really wanted to do at the moment was beat the man until he talked.

He glanced down at the balled up scrap of parchment in his fist. He didn't need to uncrumple it; the few lines written there had burned themselves into his mind since he had found it among some of Eamon's other papers while he was looking for the original proposal of the trade agreement with the Free Marches.

The items have been moved to Jader. Someone in Orlais will surely find a use for them, and with the owner dead, they bear no markings to tie them to their point of origin. I repeat my warning that the safest course would be for them to disappear completely, and am willing to discuss terms, should you change your mind.

No names, no dates, but it had been with papers that were dated just before he had left on his abortive attempt to travel the kingdom, just before Eamon's stroke. Right around the time that Eamon had told him that there had been no news of Goldanna or her children. The note was vague enough to be safe, incriminating no one, confirming nothing, but it had still made his stomach churn.

It could be nothing. It could be just some random piece of trash that Eamon had picked up. It could have nothing to do with his sister; maybe the Arl of Redcliffe had a profitable side business fencing stolen goods in Orlais.

He would have preferred that to what his gut was telling him was true.

...with the owner dead...

Goldanna was dead. His sister was dead. In the Blight, or at Eamon's command? As much as he wanted to believe that the latter could never be true, it had become obvious soon after his coronation that, for all the Arl's outrage about Loghain's perfidy, it had not been his actions that had been the cause for objection, but rather, those at whom they had been directed. One man's traitor was another man's patriot, and it was the ends that were important; any means could be justified in the name of king and country.

His name. It made him want to vomit.

There had to be limits, boundaries that could not be crossed, regardless of the cause. Killing innocents – children - was one of those that seemed obvious, but the writer of the note obviously did not feel so constrained. Items. Things to be gotten out of the way, disposed of before they became inconvenient. Had he – or she – managed to change Eamon's mind?

Alistair had asked him today, and the reaction he'd gotten had erased the half-formed hope that he was spooking at shadows. As soon as he'd seen the note, Eamon's eyes had gone wide and he'd begun to struggle, trying to vocalize. Nothing that Alistair had said had been enough to calm him sufficiently to be able to obtain simple yes-no answers. And then Isolde had arrived and begun berating him for upsetting her husband.

He could have told her that her husband had likely committed an act that he would be within his rights to punish by execution, and that even if he recovered, he would no longer be an adviser to the crown. There had been a time in his life when shutting off her ceaseless carpings had been one of his cherished daydreams, but now that he had the ability, he felt only a weary sympathy. She had known nothing of what Eamon was doing; he was sure of that. The Arl had been as old-fashioned in his views toward women as he had in so many other areas. His pretty Orlesian wife was there to warm his bed, bear his children, be gracious to his guests and inspire envy in his peers. It would never have occurred to him to share such plans with her; nor, in Isolde's case, would it have been prudent to do so.

“Is everything all right, Your Majesty?” one of the maids asked worriedly.

“Yes,” he lied smoothly. He was getting better at it; he still wouldn't be able to fool, say, Zevran or Leliana, but he could at least put the palace staff at ease, even when he was ready to climb the walls. “The Arl is just having a bad day of it.” What was he thinking now? Was he afraid? Angry? Alistair wasn't overly surprised to discover that he didn't really care. He had clashed with Eamon and made peace more times than he could count, but this...

Alistair could not view it as anything but a betrayal, and while he was content for now to let the man's crippled body serve as his prison, if Goldanna's death was revealed to be of his devising, or if her children were anything but safe, the king might rethink that leniency.

Unaware of his bleak thoughts, the maid clucked sympathetically. “The poor man. It's a terrible thing, to be in such a state.”

He nodded, managing a noncommittal reply as he walked away. Maker, but he wished he could talk to Mal! The Arl of Denerim had come to be one of the few that Alistair trusted unequivocally, but he had returned to Edgewater for his sister's wedding and wasn't due back for a few more days yet.

Aedan ... had enough troubles of his own at the moment. Alistair was expecting a letter from Wiesshaupt any day now, requesting his aid in delivering Aedan up, and had been trying to devise a diplomatic way to tell the First Warden to go fuck himself. He might not agree with Aedan's decision, but it had meant not losing his best friend and brother. These other Wardens hadn't been there, hadn't even arrived until the Blight was long over with, leaving the two of them to muddle through it on their own, which as far as Alistair was concerned gave them zero rights to question how it had been done. He would deal with that letter when it came. If it came. Right now, he had a letter of his own to write.
 
Last edited:

Alistair Theirin

King of Ferelden
Canon Character
Noble
Grey Warden
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
97
#2
He entered the library, moving among the stacks until he reached the small door that was all but hidden behind a set of floor-to-ceiling shelves. His secret room was no longer a secret, he was sure; he held no illusions as to his skills in sneaking, but the palace staff – bless them – humored him and pretended not to see his comings and goings from the library, leaving the little room for him to keep clean. Donal was the only one who ever disturbed him when he was within.

A single window, high on the wall, let in light through leaded glass, and oil lamps provided light at night. He had removed the dining table and wine cabinet, enlisting Donal's aid to accomplish the task, as well as bringing in new furniture, and the room was his. His, as in Alistair ... not the King of Ferelden. Duncan's shield hung on the wall. His old armor and sword stood on a rack in one corner. Shelves held the stone dragon that Aedan had given him and the golden figurine that Zevran and Leliana had lifted from the Chantry, and books: not the dry tomes on politics and military strategy that he had to study, but histories of the Grey Wardens; the journals of his father that he had discovered among Cailan's belongings; a book on wine and cheese matchings; the Adventures of the Black Fox; a few others.

In the center of the room, he had placed an overstuffed leather armchair and ottoman, and this had become his favorite place to read ... and doze. A small table beside the chair was large enough to hold a lamp, a glass of wine or mug of ale and whatever snacks he had liberated from the kitchen; he had learned to clean up after himself after discovering that a mouse had helped itself to the corners of several pages of the Black Fox along with some leftover slices of cheese.

Against the wall, beneath the window, was the only custom made piece: a combination work bench and writing desk that he had commissioned from an artisan in a shop next to the Wonders of Thedas. The man could work wood like it was clay, shaping it to his will, and his wares included everything from simple toys to ornately carved furniture. Alistair had spent most of an afternoon wandering the shop and watching Master Edwin at work; by far the most fascinating items had been the puzzle boxes, and a brief consultation with Edwin had resulted in the desk that had been delivered last month. The top appeared to be a single, heavy block of wood over eight inches thick, its surface littered with wood chips, a pair of carving knives and a block of poplar that had begun to take the shape – if one looked really hard – of a mabari: Nu, to be precise, rump in the air and head down in a playful pose.

In addition to the commission, the king had purchased a set of carving tools and private lessons: Edwin came one afternoon a week, and was merciless in his evaluation of his student's efforts. Alistair had never had a hobby before, never had time for one, but this shaping of wood to his will, imperfect though it was yet, had appealed to him, and still did. On a shelf to one side sat his earlier efforts: a walking stick with a gnarled, bearded face at the top; a lopsided spoon; an uneven chain; a simple jointed stick man. He was getting better, and tried to spend some time at it each day, but that was not why he was here now.

Alistair pulled out the chair that sat before the desk and seated himself, reaching down to grasp the left front leg. A twist of his wrist turned the leg outward, dropping a wooden peg into his waiting right hand. He grasped it and turned the wooden wheel that had been set flush into the bottom of the desk until a hidden catch released with a muffled click. Returning the leg to its original position, he lifted both hands to the edge of the drawer that had been hidden in the front of the desk, drawing it out. Within were only an inkwell, quill and parchment, a candle and sealing wax; he'd given some thought to starting a journal of his own, and if he did, it would be secreted here; he wasn't quite so naïve as to trust completely in the honesty of the palace staff. He wasn't entirely sure that keeping a journal was a wise idea, however.

Among Maric's journals, he had found one that Cailan had evidently started soon after taking the throne and lost interest in within a matter of weeks. Alistair had burned it, wondering why in the Void Anora hadn't; maybe his half-brother wasn't the self-absorbed, semiliterate dolt that his writings (if that was what they could be termed) made him appear, and it certainly didn't seem fair to have the man judged on something in which he so plainly (and painfully) had no ability. Alistair wasn't at all certain that his own successor would be as merciful to him, and he wasn't ready to leave a written record of his fumbling attempts at being a monarch.

Withdrawing ink and quill, he trimmed down a piece of parchment and closed the drawer. Reaching back, he lifted a hidden panel from the rear and folded it over the workbench and its contents, giving him a smooth, slanted writing space. Uncapping the ink, he dipped the quill and began to write. After several words, he paused, crumpled up the parchment and cut another. Three tries later, he leaned back from the desk with a sigh, reading over his final product.

Do you remember our conversation the last time you were here? I believe that I have found something pertaining to what we discussed, and am including it with this note. If you are able to investigate, I will be in your debt.

James


It sounded dreadfully formal, but he hoped that Leliana would understand his need to avoid giving clues to any other eyes that might see this. He was actually rather pleased with his efforts at circumspection. Adding Leliana's name to the outside of the note, he gave the ink a few moments to dry, then tucked it into his belt pouch along with the one he'd found in Eamon's papers. He gathered up his crumpled drafts for disposal, returned everything to the drawer and the desk to its workbench configuration and left the room.
 

Alistair Theirin

King of Ferelden
Canon Character
Noble
Grey Warden
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
97
#3
The pigeon loft was in the highest tower of the castle, manned night and day by a man who seemed only slightly younger than the tower itself. He had inherited the job from his father, and was in turn teaching it to a pair of nephews and their sons.

The circular room was floor to ceiling cages, their occupants strutting and cooing within, flapping wings sending feathers of varying sizes drifting on the air, along with the distinct scent of bird shit (though the room itself was kept clean). A lone cot sat against one wall; Master Collins' living quarters were located on the floor below this, and his nephews and their families lived in the city.

“Your Majesty!” The old fellow sprang to his feet as Alistair entered (telling himself that it was not unusual to be a bit out of breath after such a climb, damn it), and had to be supported by one of the younger men. He bore a distinct resemblance to the birds among whom his life had been spent: bright eyes, a prominent nose and tufts of hair on each side of his balding pate that looked rather like feathers. His nephews looked quite similar, though their hair was not as sparse yet.

“It's all right, Master Collins.” He'd been here before, but never alone; it was only in the last few months – since Eamon's stroke, if he were going to be honest – that he had been able to move through the halls of what was supposed to be his own home without an escort. “It's not an emergency, but I do have a message that needs to go to the Lothering chantry.” Leliana had said that she would be in Lothering about this time. Almost every noble kept a pigeon loft somewhere on their estate, as did all but the smallest of the chantries. It sometimes required a relay: sending a pigeon from point A to point B, where there would be another pigeon who could reach point C, but simple communications could be taken from one end of Ferelden to the other in a matter of days. “Do you have a bird that will go there?”

“Lothering?” The eyes lit up, and a toothless smile creased the wrinkled face. “Course I do! Andraste!” Alistair thought the name a simple exclamation until Collins turned to the banks of cages , retrieved a cooing, feathered handful and thrust it into his face. “Andraste can make it to Lothering in two days flat! She's a beauty, ain't she?”

“She's lovely,” Alistair assured him, biting down hard on the inside of his cheek to keep the guffaws in check while 'Andraste' regarded him with beady black eyes, mottled grey head bobbing as if she were looking for the perfect spot to peck. He wondered if Mother Pruneface had met her.

“I'll get her ready, Uncle,” one of his nephews said, slipping the bird from Collins' hands. “Do you have the message, Your Majesty?”

“There are two of them,” Alistair replied, withdrawing both and holding them out. “Is that too much?”

“It shouldn't be.” The man passed the bird to an even younger man who bore the same familial resemblance and took both notes, rolling them tightly and slipping them into a tiny case that he then sealed with wax and secured to Andraste's leg, dodging a spattering of pigeon droppings in the process.

“I'll take her.” Collins tottered over, claiming the pigeon and making his way to the balcony that encircled the tower. Alistair followed closely, ready to catch him should he tip over the parapet. The old man held the bird close, whispering something to it, then lifted his hands, releasing it in a flash of silvered feathers.

“Andraste will carry your message, Your Majesty, no fear,” he assured Alistair, watching her wing out of sight proudly.

“I'm sure she will,” the king replied, “and when you receive a reply, please have it brought to me immediately, day or night.”

Collins drew himself up, chest out. “I will see to it personally, Your Majesty!” he promised.

The thought of the old fellow navigating the stairs in the tower made Alistair's blood chill, but a discreet nod from one of the nephews indicated that they would deal with it when the time came. “I've every faith in you, Master Collins ... and Andraste, of course,” he added, waiting for the bolt from above to strike him down. Part of him still felt pompous and arrogant in making such statements, and more than a little unworthy when he saw how happy those few words made the old man.

But in spite of all the things that he disagreed with Eamon about, he had realized some time ago that the Arl was right about one thing: the devotion and loyalty of his subjects was not about Alistair Theirin the man, or anything he had done, but about king and country: abstract concepts for which Alistair was the flesh and blood visage. Maric had struggled with the same doubts; Cailan had embraced his role, but never really taken responsibility for the duties that accompanied the adulation. Words from one of their father's journals had finally put it into a perspective that the new king understood:

“They would die for me, not only because of who I am – because almost none of them truly know me – but because of who they are: Fereldans, blood and bone, rising to the call of Calenhad. For them, for those who have died and will yet die in answer to that call, I must hide the imperfect man beneath the crown and be what they need me to be: the heir of Calenhad, the King of Ferelden. It is the very least that I can do to repay such loyalty.”

Alistair still frequently did not feel like a king, but in the last few months, he felt that he was at least beginning to act like one and, perhaps at least as importantly, to appear to be what his people expected him to be, regardless of how he felt. He thanked Master Collins and his nephews: politely, but with the touch of friendliness that he had no real interest in losing (and that most people seemed to like anyway). His smile gave no hint of the nervous dread that was twisting in his stomach like a mass of snakes, but as he made his way down the stairs, he knew that he was going to have to come up with something to keep him busy over the next few days while he waited for a response.
 
Top