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Jump In! We're Going To Redcliffe! [Closed]

Alistair Theirin

King of Ferelden
Canon Character
Noble
Grey Warden
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#1
((Early Drakonis, 9:41 Dragon; Highever, then the Bannorn; Fergus Cousland ))

Alistair had been truly angry only a handful of times in his life: when Eamon had left him at the Chantry as a boy; discovering Aedan’s deception with Morrigan; finding out that Vaughan Kendalls had raped Shianni and Maker only knew how many other women in the Alienage that he was charged with protecting; learning that Eamon had concealed Goldanna’s death, spirited her children out of Ferelden and arranged to have them killed rather it be revealed that the King had commoner relations; tracking down his father in the clutches of a Tevinter magister that had been bleeding him drop by drop for a decade.

This eclipsed them all.

There was a very personal rage: seeing his uncle’s haunted eyes as he spoke of being ensnared by blood magic for the second time in his life, watching Kiley’s features contort in pain as the healers mended her broken bones; the fear and confusion of their children, driven from the place of their birth. Then there was the colder fury of a king whose lands and people had come under attack from a foreign power. He had accepted that there was little that he could do directly about the rifts and that the most prudent course was to support this Inquisition - as ominous as the name sounded - so long as they weren’t demonstrating any inclination toward conquest.

But this …

Tevinters. In Ferelden. Again.

NOT. Happening.

He’d pulled seventy armed and mounted fighters from Denerim. Grand Cleric Elemena had been at the Conclave, and with no word since the explosion, presumed dead. A handful of templars skulked around the chantry like dispirited dogs; it hadn’t been difficult to convince them to join up. The words ‘Tevinter’ and ‘blood mage’ had brought an eager fire back into their eyes.

Eighty now. Riding hard and ready for blood.

Just one more stop.

“Your Majesty!” the lookout at the gates looked to either side and signaled as Alistair thundered up the final approach with Donal, Hicks, Hudson and Vasquez. Ari bore the royal banner, but the bows didn’t lower until he was close enough for them to see his face. Ten years on, old memories lingered in Highever; it was the reason he’d left the bulk of his forces at the bottom of the rise. “The Teyrn wasn’t expecting you -”

“Just get him out here!” Alistair roared, reining Maximillian to a halt. “I’m not stopping long!”

“Redcliffe, sire?” he wanted to know; a restless murmur ran along the wall in the wake of the query. Teagan had stopped at Highever long enough to leave word of what had happened before continuing to Denerim.

“And if he’s not out here in ten minutes, I’m leaving without the lot of you!” Alistair promised.

That did the trick.
 

Fergus Cousland

Teyrn of Highever
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#2
Fergus was in his study, going over the information he had on the craziness that was happening all through the bannorn. The rifts, the darkspawn sightings not far from Highever, and then there was the problem with Redcliffe. With everything that was going on at home, Fergus knew he should be going down there to free Redcliffe from the presence of the Tevinters. Why were they even here. As if Ferelden hadn't seen enough problems over the past few years.

Perhaps they were just in a time of turmoil. Perhaps a peaceful existence wasn't possible.

Then again, maybe some of the blame could be put on his brother who made a deal with the devil to live, when he should have died. Fergus gritted his teeth and dropped the piece of paper he had lost focus on. He went to take a drink of his bourbon, when a rapid knocking came at the door.

"Come in." It sounded important, something else to add to his troubles.

"Your Lordship, the King has arrived. He... he seems to be going to Redcliffe and wants you with him." The page was out of breath from running, and didn't say anything else while he gulped for breath.

Fergus was on his feet immediately. He wouldn't have time to gather everything. He looked at the young man. "Have my squire get my horse saddled, along with my armor. When you've done that, go to the Knight Captain and tell him to get 50 good men ready to march."

With the hurrying there was only one thing he would do besides sling his shield on his back and grab his sword. Say goodbye to Breanna and his children. It was a quick farewell, and he was out the door. Men were already getting in formation, giving over to the orders of the King's men. The whole castle was a buzz of activity as he lifted himself into his saddle, grunting a little at the aches in his bones. It had been a long time since he had been on such a march, and he hoped he was fit enough for it.

He trotted his horse out to where the King waited, giving a bow from the saddle, "Your Majesty, welcome to Highever. I take it by the expediency we're marching now."

Fergus looked at the train of men moving down the hill to join the forces waiting for the King to return. "Word is, we're going to Redcliffe?"
 

Alistair Theirin

King of Ferelden
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Noble
Grey Warden
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123
#3
Judging from the sudden buzz and clatter of activity that arose from behind the high granite walls, Alistair’s words were being taken seriously. He wasn’t intending to hold hard to his ten-minute limit, but by his reckoning, it wasn’t much beyond that when the portcullis lifted and Fergus emerged at the head of a column of mounted fighters.

"Your Majesty, welcome to Highever,” the Teyrn greeted him, bowing in the saddle with the ease of one trained in such a maneuver from childhood. Alistair had tried it a few times before settling on a dignified nod as a better alternative to looking like one of those bobbing birds that children played with. “I take it by the expediency we're marching now."

“We’d be marching yesterday if I could have arranged it,” Alistair replied, smiling; despite his grim mood, it was always good to see Fergus, particularly now, when rifts and demons had made any travel hazardous. “Breanna and the children are well, I take it?” If they weren’t, no power under the sun would have pried Fergus from Highever, and Alistair would not have faulted him. He’d lost parents, wife, and child, even his arrogant ass of a brother. He more than deserved the happiness he had found.

"Word is, we're going to Redcliffe?" It wasn’t really a question, and the steely eagerness in the brown eyes mirrored his own feelings perfectly.

“We are,” he confirmed. “Teagan and Kiley are … as well as can be expected. The physical injuries have been treated, anyway. The rest …” He trailed off, jaw tightening. Teagan had been in agony watching them ride out: hungry to take part in reclaiming his home, but his mind still too scarred by being ravaged by blood magic for the second time in his life. “They’re safe,” he concluded, “and I plan on bringing them that ‘Vint’s head on a plate. I grabbed every templar left in Denerim; ought to be enough to counter any magic they try to throw at us.”

He turned his attention to the column that was still streaming beneath the portcullis. “How many are staying?” he asked. “There’s a chance that Redcliffe might just be an opening move.” He felt like a bit of an ass for bringing it up; if any man would know the risks of leaving the home front undefended, it would be Fergus Cousland, but the insanity that had descended upon Ferelden since the explosion at the Conclave had everyone on edge, ready to lash out at something. He’d left better than half of his own forces in Denerim, with Cauthrien keeping the Grey Wardens ready to assist if needed because, in addition to the ‘Vints, there were still the demons to worry about. And the rogue templars and mages. And the bandits.

It was almost enough to make him miss the darkspawn.
 

Fergus Cousland

Teyrn of Highever
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#4
We’d be marching yesterday if I could have arranged it,” came the king's reply. Fergus would have marched already himself had the rifts and other dangers not spread themselves through the country. “Breanna and the children are well, I take it?

"They are, your Majesty. They send along their good wishes and pray for our safety in this endeavor." It was hard to leave them. The last time Fergus had marched out like this, he had came back to a Highever that was forever changed. This time, however, he was leaving 100 men behind, thanks to the Bannorn sending men for training.

When the King mentioned Teagan and Kiley, Fergus face grew grim. He'd heard what they had went through during their ordeal. He would have gladly kept them here with them, but Denerim was likely the safest place in all of Ferelden. When Alistair mentioned bringing all the templars in Denerim, he looked down the hill. At least these were loyal to the crown. He had heard horror stories of those who had gone awry.

"I am glad they are on the mend," he said of Teagan and Kiley, "Once the roads are safe enough, we will have to come visit them. And a head on a plate sounds like a fine gift for them both, considering what they went through."

How many are staying?” the King asked. “There’s a chance that Redcliffe might just be an opening move.”

"One hundred men left behind. Some are raw recruits. Others are here for continued training from the Bannorn. Those the Banns were willing to spare for now." He understood Alistair's concern. "I would not leave them undefended, considering what happened in Redcliffe, but I can't in good conscience not bring some men with us to fill out the ranks. It's the least I could do."

He let out a breath, watching his men go down the hill. "It should not take them long to fall in line. We're going to get Redcliffe back from these bastards."
 

Alistair Theirin

King of Ferelden
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Grey Warden
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#5
Ever since the Breach had opened, the security that had been so hard-won during the Blight and civil war had once again felt balanced on a knife’s edge. Every day, news had reached the palace about some holding in peril: from the demons, from the mages and templars, from raiders, and now from fucking ‘Vints. Alistair hadn’t received any dire tidings from Highever, but he didn’t fully relax until Fergus had confirmed that his family was well.

“They send along their good wishes and pray for our safety in this endeavor.”

“I’ll get you back here in one piece, never fear,” Alistair promised him. Teagan had mentioned stopping briefly at Highever before continuing on to Denerim; it couldn’t have been easy for Breanna to see her father and siblings in such condition, and she had to have some fears at sending her husband into the same danger. Fergus’ expression when the Arl’s name was mentioned indicated that it hadn’t been any treat for him, either.

"I am glad they are on the mend," he replied. "Once the roads are safe enough, we will have to come visit them. And a head on a plate sounds like a fine gift for them both, considering what they went through."

“It’s a good start, anyway,” Alistair said, “but I’m thinking they’ll appreciate the return of their home and lands more … preferably without too many bloodstains on the floors and walls.”

“I think that the Arlessa’s only objection to that would be that she wasn’t the one to spill the blood,” Donal suggested, smiling faintly, though his blue eyes were as flinty as the King’s mood.

“There is that,” Alistair conceded, “but let’s still try to draw them out of the castle before we dismember them.” He’d been feeling fairly confident about their odds leaving Denerim, and the addition of the forces from Highever only increased that, but only a fool thought only of the enemy he could see.

Fergus Cousland was no fool. "One hundred men left behind,” he confirmed at Alistair’s inquiry. “Some are raw recruits. Others are here for continued training from the Bannorn. Those the Banns were willing to spare for now."

Alistair nodded in satisfaction. “Don’t want anyone spread too thin. That should be enough to keep anyone from getting ideas.”

"I would not leave them undefended,” Fergus told him, “considering what happened in Redcliffe, but I can't in good conscience not bring some men with us to fill out the ranks. It's the least I could do."

“It’s more than enough,” the King assured him. “I’ve fought plenty of ‘Vints, and with the templars to pull their magical fangs, they’ll be no match for this many Dog Lords.” Appreciative chuckles rose up around them. Donal, Hicks, Hudson and Vasquez had their mabari loping alongside their horses (Ari’s Mungo weighed more than she did), and several more of the palace guard had gotten hounds of their own in the years since the first ones had been obtained. Caitlyn Glenmorgan was now the Royal Houndmaster, living at the palace, ensuring that all of them were trained as fully in obedience as they were in combat, and more than a dozen were with them on this trek.

Fergus loosed a slow, controlled breath, watching his own forces moving to join the main contingent. "It should not take them long to fall in line. We're going to get Redcliffe back from these bastards."

“That we are, my friend.” Alistair’s smile was wolfish with anticipation. “That we are. Let’s ride!”
 

Conrad Krause

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#6
Conrad had never ridden in the Anderfels; he’d been lucky to be allowed to ride on the back of an oxcart, and the rest of the time relied on his feet when he made his rounds. Early attempts to teach him in Highever had been nothing short of ludicrous, as his feet hung barely a foot above the ground when he sat astride even the tallest horse in the Teyrn’s stable.

He had protested when the Teyrn had purchased a larger mount, but had been persuaded by the logic that the time might come when his healing skills were needed urgently at a distance from the castle. The big chestnut gelding (whom Riane had insisted was named Apple) was good natured, if a bit on the lazy side, and Conrad had grown fond of him.

The chaos unleashed by the explosion at the Conclave had proved the wisdom in the Teyrn’s foresight; Conrad had regularly accompanied the soldiers of Highever as they rode out to confront the demons that periodically cropped up. Fortunately, the rifts here were not so numerous as they were in the west, but the lack was filled by human demons: bandits and raiders who thought to take advantage of the chaos by preying on the desperate. He kept his saddlebags stocked with healing supplies, replenishing them after every foray, which was fortunate today, because he’d barely had time to don his armor when word had raced through the castle that the King had arrived at Highever, bound for Redcliffe, and would leave without them if they lingered.

He’d hesitated only for a moment, regarding Maker’s Mercy in its scabbard, leaned carefully in a corner of his room. He continued to care meticulously for the blade, and it was razor sharp. Heads would roll at Redcliffe, and rightly so. He had stabilized the broken bones of the Arlessa of Redcliffe, provided a potion to dull her pain, and another to her husband to calm his agitation. They and their children had been sent on to Denerim, but the pall remained over the castle, along with a righteous outrage and desire to avenge the atrocities committed by this Tevinter who had dared to invade Ferelden soil.

His past was widely known now, and if his skills were needed, he would provide them, but the greatsword that he carried was no less sharp, and would serve. Taking up the executioner’s blade again stirred a sense of disquiet in his breast that he could not easily explain, and he left it where it was.

He sat quietly astride Apple now as the Teyrn conferred with King Alistair. The Warden-King (out of respect to Warden-Commander Howe, he no longer used the term aloud, but he had never been able to completely stop thinking of the man as such) was no puppet as King Wilhelm had become, nor a tyrant. He had seemed good natured when Conrad had seen him on other occasions, but his face was set in hard lines now, and the sudden smile that creased his features was more predatory than pleasant.

“Let’s ride!”

Turning their horses, King and Teyrn rode down the road where a much larger force awaited their twoscore and ten. Conrad tapped his heels lightly into the barrel chest and made a clucking sound. Apple cast a reproachful eye backward at his rider, but obediently broke into a smooth canter that kept pace with the rest.
 

Fergus Cousland

Teyrn of Highever
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#7
It’s more than enough. I’ve fought plenty of ‘Vints, and with the templars to pull their magical fangs, they’ll be no match for this many Dog Lords.” Alistair offered and Fergus could appreciate the sound of amusement that rose up from the comment. It was true enough, that many templars should help them with the Tevinter's and also the mages currently living in Redcliffe if they decided to get in the way.

Fergus hoped it wouldn't come to that.

He caught the sight of Conrad falling in line with the rest of the soldiers, and felt reassured. The man was an excellent healer for not having magical skills. He had no doubt they would have need of his skills, as this would be no easy task.

That we are, my friend.” The king offered to his comment, “That we are. Let’s ride!

That's all it took to get the whole of them moving. The sound of hoof beats against packed earth helped steady his heartbeat. The nervousness about all of this coiled in his belly, despite being surrounded by templars.

They had made it to the North Road after a couple of hours and turned west towards Lake Calenhad. It was another hour on the road when they heard the sound of something awry. A crackling electric sound coming from the south of the road in the plains of the Bannorn. Fergus knew that sound and pulled his reins to slow his horse. "Your Majesty, we should proceed cautiously here."

As soon as he said it a piercing wail sounded and echoed all around them, the smell of sulfur suddenly assaulted his nose. Boris almost launched him off his back, but he quickly regained control. Black shapes floated towards the road, the wailing growing louder. In the distance the air was split, a tear in the veil, and a red fiery demon wandering and setting the field on fire.

"Damn tears are everywhere," Boris danced as Fergus fought to calm him. "Do you know how to close one?"

The one that had opened at Highever had been all he had ever wanted to see of one. They had gotten rid of the monsters, but the wound still remained.
 
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