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Letter To Orzammar [Correspondence, Complete]


Warden-Constable of Ferelden
Staff member
Canon Character
Grey Warden
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
((12 Firstfall, 9:35))

Cauthrien sat at her desk, blank parchment before her, quill and ink at hand. She knew well enough the kind of address expected when writing to a king, particularly one as prickly about his status as the dwarven king was reputed to be. King Bhelen had never quite shaken the rumors regarding the fates of his elder siblings, and had been ruthless with regards to the house of his former rival, Pyral Harrowmont, killing them to the last man. He had dissolved the Assembly when they objected to his reforms of dwarven society. The casteless supported him wholeheartedly, but the Warrior and Noble castes resented the changes, even as the dwarven economy grew stronger and the darkspawn had been pushed farther back in the Deep Roads than the oldest records could tell. He had survived multiple attempts at assassination and ruled Orzammar with an iron fist. Definitely not one to be approached carelessly.

Dipping quill into ink, she began to write.

Unto His Royal Majesty, King Bhelen Aeducan, the Grey Wardens of Ferelden send greetings.

It is our hope that this missive finds you and your kingdom well.

We have recently encountered circumstances that lead us to ask for the assistance of the oldest allies of the Wardens. Darkspawn have broke through the surface twice in recent weeks within Denerim. Their numbers to date have been small, but there have been deaths at each incursion, and King Alistair is understandably concerned.

We have probed the areas where the darkspawn gained access, and the tunnels beneath Denerim seem to connect to the Deep Roads. We have been advised that it would be possible to block lower tunnels with careful use of explosives and thereby prevent the darkspawn from reaching the surface tunnels beneath the city. We do not, however, possess maps of the tunnels that would allow us to pick a safe chokepoint to block.

It seemed possible that such maps might lie within the Shaperate, and while they will be several centuries old, we would be more than willing to update them with the findings of our own explorations.

We would ask that you allow us to send a delegation of Grey Wardens to retrieve the maps, if they do exist.

We look forward to your response.

Respectfully submitted,

Cauthrien Maclean
Warden-Constable of Ferelden

She allowed the ink to dry, then folded and sealed it, pressing the griffon signet into the soft wax. The messenger would travel by ship to Jader, then overland to Orzammar, cutting more than a week off of the trip made by horseback … as long as the ship wasn’t caught in one of the storms that seemed to lie in wait like a predator on the Waking Sea at this time of year. A calculated risk, but better odds than showing up on the doorstep uninvited.

Pushing away from the desk, she stood and went in search of Joffrey and his messenger.
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Warden-Constable of Ferelden
Staff member
Canon Character
Grey Warden
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
((25 Firstfall, 9:35))

“I spoke with a dwarf of the Warrior caste who told me tales of sacrifice and honor and glory found in the Deep Roads beyond Orzammar and a realization struck. Whereas we on the surface mark four darkspawn Blights, four distinct periods during which the darkspawn have assaulted us only to be driven back by the Grey Wardens, the dwarves have experienced precisely one: the original one, stretching back to the rise of the first Archdemon, unbroken by peace or respite.”


Cauthrien lifted her eyes from Brother Genitivi’s book at Joffrey’s voice, which had been accompanied by a light knock at her open door.

“This just arrived, ser.” He held up a sealed letter, adding in response to her questioning look, “It bears the Aeducan seal.” His original career as a scribe had familiarized him with the heraldry of the noble houses of Ferelden, and he had quickly expanded that knowledge after becoming the steward of the Denerim compound.

“That was fast,” she remarked, closing the book and setting it aside.

“Carl tells me that the ship just missed a storm both going and coming,” Joffrey replied, approaching and passing her the missive, “and that he was given this response within a day of delivering your letter.”

So … a combination of favorable weather and a quick response. The King could have left their messenger to cool his heels for a few days. Punctuality, or pressing need? Only one way to find out. She broke the seal, unfolded the letter and read:

Unto the Grey Wardens does King Bhelen Aeducan, first of his name, send most cordial greetings!

Your missive was greeted with great interest and much regret by myself and the Shapers. The maps that you seek do not reside within Orzammar’s Shaperate. However, the Shapers believe that the location of the repository of the maps of the old Dwarven Empire does lie within the Shaperate, and have begun to search the Memories to find it.

The recovery of such maps would be of great benefit to us both. If you are able to locate them, we will gladly trade access to the knowledge they provide for updated information from your expeditions. In addition to closing off the tunnels within the cities, it is our hope to reclaim routes beneath Ferelden and Orlais that will allow for freer flow of trade between the Dwarva and other nations.

The Grey Wardens will be, as always, honored guests in Orzammar. We look forward to your arrival.

King Bhelen Aeducan

“So,” Joffrey mused after she slid the letter to him to read, his lips thinned into a disapproving line. “He wants the Grey Wardens to do the work while he reaps the benefits?”

“It’s more complicated than that,” she told him. “The surface world knows the darkspawn as an occasional threat that worsens to a Blight every few centuries. They are a daily fact of life to the dwarves, held back by the Legion of the Dead and the Warrior caste. That fight likely doesn’t leave a lot of time for exploration. We may find whatever thaig the maps are located in, but they will be the ones that have to hold it after we are gone. And trade routes underground would be welcome when the snow is piling up.” It would also provide a more secure way to transport the lyrium, a fact that the canny ruler had left unspoken.

“You’ll be going, then?” he asked her.

“I will,” she replied with a nod. “I’ll leave Muriel in charge here. With Mysaria and Sofia, we’ll have two healer mages along, and Cordelia -”

“Do you think she’s ready?” he asked, his brow furrowed with concern.

“She’ll have to be,” Cauthrien replied somberly. “She’s more than competent with her spells; I’ll take Roland along to stay close to her, just in case she forgets that her staff is good for more than magical focus. And Lucien.” She frowned. “I need to get back to my lessons with him. We need more Wardens with templar skills.”

“You’ve been a bit short of time,” he reminded her, but she shook her head.

“I need to make time,” she said with a sigh. “If we run up against multiple emissaries down there, Lucien may not be able to counter them all.” One well placed fireball in the close confines of a tunnel could end a fight before it began.

He nodded, his expression grave. “Who else?”

“Well, where Mysa goes, Aerion goes,” Cauthrien observed wryly. Not that having the big man along was a bad idea by any stretch. “And Siali and Niamh.” The younger Warden had been working hard to overcome the injury she had sustained the previous month; her confidence was more slow in coming back, but Cauthrien was satisfied with the progress she had seen.

“That’s two sets of lovers you’re taking along,” Joffrey observed, and she snorted. Not much got past the steward’s attention. “Might be a recipe for trouble.”

“I need to know if they can set aside their emotions for their duty,” she replied simply, “and they need to know that they have to. I’ll have some time on the way there to observe; I’ll leave one or more of them behind in Orzammar if I have to.” She didn’t think it would be necessary. Mysaria and Aerion had been together long enough to know what was required of them, Siali as solid as they came, and Niamh earnest in her desire to fulfill her duties as a Warden.

“When will you leave?” he asked, accepting her judgment on the matter.

She considered briefly. “Two days.” Everyone had been informed of the likelihood of the expedition; final preparations would not take long, and the sooner they were on the road before winter deepened, the better.

He nodded. “I’ll advise Tobias and Cressa to begin pulling together travel rations,” he told her as he left.

Better from them than from the sour-faced battle axe that manned the kitchens at Vigil’s Keep. She took up quill again, scribbling out a quick note on a small square of parchment:

Response received. Leaving the 27th. Coming to you first.


She rolled it up, tucked it into a waxed cylinder and headed for the small pigeon loft in the northwest corner of the compound. She trusted few messages to be delivered in this manner, but Nathaniel would understand the meaning behind the terse missive, and it was really the only way to give him any advance notice before they turned up on his doorstep.