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Constance Theirin

Queen of Ferelden
Noble
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53
#1
((OOC: Solace 18, 9:35, Afternoon, @Alistair Theirin))

Constance’s days became exceedingly busier the closer they came to the day of the wedding. She had personally wanted to see to many of the arrangements. The day needed to be an extraordinary one. Not just for her and all she had managed to accomplish but also for the people of Ferelden. The celebrations would be as much for them as the Royal couple.

Party arrangements were not all that she needed to see to, however. One item on her ever-growing checklist could be ignored no longer. She needed to pick someone to server as Teyrn-Regent of Gwaren once she was wed. She would not be able to see to the teyrnir; not in the way that Gwaren deserved to be tended to. Alistair had said he would make Peter his heir but until such was finalized by the Landsmeet, Gwaren would be his inheritance and Constance intended to see to its fostering.

There were many nobles in Ferelden that might serve in such a role as regent. Were Nathaniel not tied to the Grey Wardens, Constance might have considered him. Nathaniel’s devotion to his nephew was without question. He was also one of those men shackled by his honor. He would not take advantage of the seat. Nathaniel was tied to the Wardens be that same twist of honorable twine that would have made him a good choice, however.

Quinton Yorath was bound by no such twine.

Her contact with him had been minimal since she informed him of her engagement to the King. Less contact had seemed wise given all that was at risk. He had been… What Quinton had been no longer mattered. The Crown was Constance’s future and Quinton could play no part in that. He could, however, play a part in Peter’s and serve as Teryn-Regent.

Quinton was a man with many secrets. His love for Gwaren was not one, though. He cared a great deal about Gwaren. He cared a great deal about himself. Both would be served well with Quinton were to take over the seat.

The choice was not without complications. Her involvement with her dead husband’s bastard brother was not known to Alistair. They would need to discuss Quinton, but their past relationship was not something she was prepared to reveal, not yet.

Gently she rapped upon the door to Alistair’s office to warn of her entry. He had just finished a series of appointments and she knew him inside.
 
Last edited:

Alistair Theirin

King of Ferelden
Canon Character
Noble
Grey Warden
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Posts
90
#2
Calenhad was sitting on the corner of Alistair’s desk, licking his balls.

In the interest of clarity, it should be noted that Calenhad was the name that Bran had given to the fifth of the five kittens that Constance had procured for Elena to choose from after his niece had expressed the desire for a kitten. She had indeed chosen one, but before the merchant could whisk the other four away to be the companions of elderly ladies elsewhere, Bran and Arwen had latched onto one each and picked out yet another for Peter. Which had left Alistair with one gangly orange fuzzball and three sets of pleading eyes, and he’d given in, figuring five kittens couldn’t be any harder to care for than four.

He’d been right … sort of. In much the same way that five grenades didn’t cause much more damage than four. The merchant’s suggestion of boxes of sand set at strategic locations for them to make their toilet in had headed off the worst potential for disaster, but seeing kittens halfway up velvet draperies, clawing expensive Antivan carpets and tearing through the venerable corridors of the palace had become commonplace. And Calenhad was growing from a lanky adolescent into what promised to be a decidedly large tom, with a very prominent set of family jewels that seemed to require an inordinate amount of cleaning -

Oh, who was he kidding? If Alistair could reach, he’d be spending a lot more time in the bathing chamber, particularly now.

Keeping his libido on a leash had been trying back when Eamon and the Royal Etiquette Brigade had been throwing one willing woman after another after him, but his own determination not to repeat the mistakes of his father and brother had bolstered his will (along with a number of cold baths). But he was engaged now, and to a very attractive and intelligent woman, and his resolve to wait until his wedding night, which had seemed quite reasonable - noble even - in the afterglow of having his proposal accepted, was being tested on a daily basis by proximity to his betrothed.

Constance had never questioned his choice, had in fact been supportive of it, but she had a hundred little ways to test his resolve, some of them inadvertent, others much less so. The sway of her hips when she walked, the brush of her arm or hip against him as they strolled together, the lingering trace of her fingers against his hand, the curve of her lips into a knowing smile. All of it was a seemingly endless series of jolts to his groin, and cold baths hadn’t been cutting it for some time now. She knew the effect that she was having on him, never pushed it too far, but the gentle gleam of amusement in her blue eyes alternately exasperated and exhilarated him, with the occasional bolt of sheer terror thrown in for variety.

With the wedding only days away, the prospect of an end to his torment was a new kind of torment that he hadn’t experienced before. He dealt with it by immersing himself in his own duties, leaving the bulk of the wedding planning to Constance; running a kingdom provided more than enough distractions during the day: continuing resistance to his efforts to improve the way elves were treated in Ferelden, the continued efforts to establish embassies and intelligence abroad, the continued search to fill the vacanct seats in Denerim and Gwaren, the continued efforts to deal with families left homeless and farmland left barren by the Blight … everything was a work in progress.

He’d started his morning by sparring with the Kingsguard after breakfast - a surefire way to burn off energy - followed by a (cold) bath, then a light snack, yet another final fitting of his wedding garb, lunch, followed by two hours of meetings with minor nobles vying - with varying degrees of subtlety - for the vacant titles of Arl of Denerim and Teyrn-Regent of Gwaren under cover of more mundane business. He had managed to ease Lord Trestlebridge out the door twenty minutes earlier, and Calenhad, who had been curled up in a patch of sun on a rug beneath the window, had decided that a change of location was in order, evading Alistair’s attempt to scratch his ears in favor of sitting out of reach and showing off his superior flexibility. Leaving him to it, Alistair dropped his eyes to the list of nobles (the name Trestlebridge had been nowhere on it), then looked up with a harried expression at a light knock on the door. His next appointment wasn’t scheduled for another hour, and he’d been considering slipping down to the kitchen for a snack.

“Come in,” he called, forcing amiability into his voice. His expression smoothed into a smile of genuine welcome when it was Constance who entered. “Good afternoon,” he greeted her, rising and stepping around the desk to kiss her cheek lightly. The contact and the sweet scent of her perfume was enough to set his senses to thrumming. “What brings you here?” he asked, running through the proper arrangement of silverware at a state dinner in the back of his mind as a distraction from more carnal concerns. “Not that you're not welcome at any time, but did I forget about an appointment for the wedding?”
 

Constance Theirin

Queen of Ferelden
Noble
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53
#3
An invitation to enter yelled through the door, Constance opened the door to find a smiling Alistair awaiting her. He had a good smile; one that formed easily as was coming with attractive men she noticed.

His handsomeness had never been in question. The Theirin blood was strong in Alistair after all. Maric had been a dashing man that more than one young girl fantasized about. And Cailan? Many did not need to fantasize about him. He was more than willing to let them have a taste were they willing.

“Good afternoon,” Alistair offered before leaving his seat to approach her. The gentle press of his lips against her cheek was one she leaned into, just a hair. Unlike Cailan, Alistair had allowed no one a taste. That privilege would be one only afforded to Constance. That did not mean she was not one to tease, just a little, while they both waited for their wedding night. Watching him squirm through his best efforts not to had been quite the joy for her since their engagement.

“What brings you here?” he asked as he pulled away. “Not that you're not welcome at any time, but did I forget about an appointment for the wedding?”

“Yes,” a smile lit her expression, “Your tights fitting is soon.” Tights had been the one thing Alistair requested not be part of the wedding. Constance let the comment float in the air for only a brief moment before adding, “No, we do not have an appointment.”

She drifted further into the room, the silk hem of her blue gown lightly brushing against the floor as she moved to claim a chair opposite the hearth rather than a chair opposite the King’s desk. “I wish to discuss Gwaren and the Teyrn-Regent position. We will be expected to name someone before the wedding and as that time nears…”

Before she proposed the person she thought best suited for the position, she had a question for Alistair. “What are your thoughts on the matter? Do you have someone in mind?"
 

Alistair Theirin

King of Ferelden
Canon Character
Noble
Grey Warden
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Posts
90
#4
Her smile as she accepted his kiss warmed him, but warned him, as well, in the moment before she replied:

“Your tights fitting is soon.”

“Particolored, striped or checked?” he replied without missing a beat. She could still catch him off guard at times, but he didn’t mind because it delighted her so much, and because it only happened in private. She never tried to make him look the fool in public. On the matter of tights, however, he was confident that she was teasing him, the hose were ludicrous enough looking on their own, but the Orlesians also insisted that they be in the most garish patterns and eye-searing colors imaginable. No, thank you. This dog lord would stick with plain old pants fancied up with a snazzy gold braid down the outer seam..

“No, we do not have an appointment,” Constance clarified, moving to settle in one of the padded chairs before the fireplace, giving no hint that she even noticed Calenhad, who had barely paused in his testicular devotions to regard her with lazy green eyes before dropping his head, sticking a hind leg straight in the air and going right back at it. Alistair swatted at him in passing; the cat easily evaded him, leaping nimbly from the desk and taking shelter behind it. Which put him out of sight, which was what Alistair had really been after.

“I wish to discuss Gwaren and the Teyrn-Regent position,” she told him as he seated himself in the second chair. It was a bit too warm yet for a fire in the fireplace, but sitting behind the desk while she sat in front of it set a tone that he was not interested in. He had proposed to Constance as a Queen and co-ruler; regardless of the fact that they had not yet wed, he had no intention of treating her as anything but his equal. “We will be expected to name someone before the wedding and as that time nears…” She trailed off, blue eyes regarding him briefly before she continued. “What are your thoughts on the matter? Do you have someone in mind?"

“I do not,” he admitted readily, if somewhat ruefully. “Beyond the idea that it should be someone from the region.” Eamon had remained suspicious of the people of the southern Teyrnir even after Loghain’s execution and Anora’s banishment, and for over a year, Alistair had allowed his old mentor to be the power behind the throne, dictating Alistair’s every decree and policy on the grounds that the new King was too inexperienced to be permitted to rule. Gwaren had largely been treated as a conquered territory, rather than a true part of Ferelden. Not until Eamon’s stroke had Alistair made the decision to name a Gwaren native as successor to Loghain: Bann Roderick Yorath and his betrothed, Bann Constance Carringstone. Even then, the demands of learning to truly rule, rather than simply knowing which fork was for the salad and which for the fish and signing whatever was put before him, had kept Alistair from giving the southern lands any but the most cursory attention. It was a deficiency that he intended to remedy, but pretending a familiarity that he did not possess would serve no one well, including himself.

“It was my intention to ask you for a recommendation,” he told her. Apart from the fact that it was a sound decision on the political front, acknowledging her superior knowledge on the matter would please her, and Alistair didn’t need Wynne standing at his elbow to remind him that women liked to be treated as something more than ornamentation … this woman, in particular.
 

Constance Theirin

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#5
“I do not,” Alistair confessed. “Beyond the idea that it should be someone from the region.”

The admission was not together surprising to Constance. While Alistair had taken great effort to get more familiar with Gwaren, there was still much about the area he did not understand nor could. Gwaren had not been a priority after the Blight. Eamon’s influence she knew now.

“It was my intention to ask you for a recommendation,” he added.

Constance’s gaze trailed the features of Alistair’s face, considering him for a pause. Their marriage was not to be a love match. His reasons for asking her were what they were, political in nature. Her reasons for accepting were what they were, not only political in nature but also seeing to the future of her son. Still, even with all the agreements made in advance, there was an air of uncertainty to the pairing.

What a man said to get a woman to agree to wed him and what he did once such agreement was procured were not always the same. She had seen as much with Thomas. Their marriage had been one of their father’s orchestration. But before the wedding, Thomas spoke of love and a happy lifetime together. Young and more naive than she would ever allow herself to be again, Constance believed Thomas.

The true reality of her situation had been a hard lesson to learn.

So far, Alistair had proven true to his word. He spoke of wanting a partner, not just someone to adorn his arm. His deferment to her here only reinforced as much.

“There are many that would vie for such an honor,” she began. Many had called on her since the announcement of her engagement. Many she entertained by saw wanting in one way or another. Many save one.

“There is someone I have in mind.” Her connection to him was— Before Alistair’s proposal, she saw herself walking a dangerous into a dusty sunset shadowed by the familiarity of the past. Her engagement to Alistair saved her from potentially repeating prior mistakes. Further entanglements with Quinton would have lead to nothing but misery. Brother was very much like brother.

That truth made him the best person to become Regent, though, and Constance finally made her suggestion. “Quinton Yorath, Roderick’s half-brother would be my recommendation. He has deep ties in Gwaren and cares a great deal to see the teyrnir flourish."
 

Alistair Theirin

King of Ferelden
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Grey Warden
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#6
Blue eyes searched Alistair’s face, the emotion behind them unreadable. He wondered sometimes if she expected him to change. From all appearances, her marriage to Roderick Yorath had been a union of equals, but Rendon Howe would have countenanced no such marriage for his son, and by all accounts, Thomas Howe had been a bastard and a drunk. The walls that his widow still held around herself were the surest indication of what kind of husband he had been.

Alistair would not be that man. Accepting that he might never have the romance that had once seemed a paramount need had been difficult, but having made the decision that Ferelden - and he - needed a strong and capable Queen, he was determined to see it through. And if he could earn Constance’s respect, her trust, perhaps something beyond the friendship that they now shared could grow with time.

But that was only part of the reason why he was seeking her counsel on this decision, and not even the largest part. She knew the nobility of Gwaren far better than he did, knew who was capable and who was simply ambitious, who might be accepted and who would be considered an insult.

“There are many that would vie for such an honor,” she remarked now. “There is someone I have in mind.” That did not surprise him, but her next words did. “Quinton Yorath, Roderick’s half-brother would be my recommendation. He has deep ties in Gwaren and cares a great deal to see the teyrnir flourish."

Alistair blinked. “Will Gwaren accept a bastard as teyrn?” he asked, then blinked again and gave her a bemused smile. “I guess there’s some precedent now, isn’t there?” he asked sheepishly. “And from what I’ve heard, there’s a definite family resemblance. That helps.” He tapped the Theirin nose and winked, then grew more serious.

“It must have been hard on you when he first appeared,” he observed cautiously. All reports indicated that the man had kept a low profile and concealed his parentage until after Roderick Yorath’s death, presenting himself to Constance at the Teyrn’s funeral. “What is he like?”
 

Constance Theirin

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#7
Not the name Alistair expected evidenced by his undisguised shock. “Will Gwaren accept a bastard as teyrn?” One of Constance’s brow arched at the question. Had he— He had and realized as much immediately. “I guess there’s some precedent now, isn’t there? And from what I’ve heard, there’s a definite family resemblance. That helps.”

The gentle brush of his finger against his own nose was, no doubt, meant to indicate the likeness he shared with both half-brother and father. The likeness had helped in Alistair’s case. It was easy for people to look upon him and see a Theirin. Such made the illegitimacy of his birth an easier pill to swallow. And with Quinton? The likeness he shared with Roderick most certainly played into Constance’s suggestion, though not in the ways Alistair might have assumed.

Joking aside, Alistair took on a more somber air. “It must have been hard on you when he first appeared. What is he like?”

“I first met him at Roderick’s memorial,” Constance noted. A wan smile lined her lips. “I will not lie and say his particular likeness was not shocking to behold. No one would look upon Quinton and not think him a Yorath.” That alone did not mark him as Roderick’s brother, though, and she added, “He has a Yorath’s ambitions as well.”

The moment presented Constance with a decision to make. Reveal the exact extent of her relationship with Quinton now and not.

Alistair knew himself marrying no virgin. Constance had been married twice before, after all. To find out she engaged in relations outside of wedlock; something he had quite purposefully avoided might recolor his opinion of her. He did not strike as someone so quick to anger that he might end their engagement upon learning his wife to be slept with another man. Alistair and she were not yet married. There was always that risk, though. Men were fickle creatures when it came to anything that might threaten what they deemed their own.

Not telling him, though, could have worse consequences later down the line. She might be Queen, but trust would be eroded. Trust lost was often hard to re-earn. Better the tarnish now or later?

Now, she reasoned.

A thoughtful but not untroubled expression pursed her lips as she scooted forward just enough in her seat as to reach across to Alistair and take his hand in hers. “I must confess something to you that I do not know how you will take hearing.” Anxious anticipation sped the beat of her heart as diving into unknowns often did. “Quinton and I, we were,” a whisper of a pause filled the space between her words, “involved. I ended things with him some time ago."
 

Alistair Theirin

King of Ferelden
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Noble
Grey Warden
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90
#8
Gwaren - and Ferelden - might have reconsidered their aversion to bastards, provided they were the right bastards, but it still surprised him a bit that Constance seemed to have done the same. She had never been blatant about it, but she was old blood Fereldan nobility and wore it proudly. A king sired on the other side of the sheets might be one thing, but he had observed the faintest tightening about her mouth and eyes when the subject of other nobles’ bastards came up. Was it because Quinton was her dead husband’s half brother? Had Roderick known him at all?

“I first met him at Roderick’s memorial,” Constance clarified with a rueful smile. “I will not lie and say his particular likeness was not shocking to behold. No one would look upon Quinton and not think him a Yorath.” The slightest pause before she added pointedly. “He has a Yorath’s ambitions as well.”

“But not the subtlety, apparently,” Alistair mused, frowning. “I’d heard of his appearance at the memorial.” Every gossip in the kingdom had been in an ecstasy of scandal at the brazen effrontery of the man. He was either possessed of a unique brand of cunning or more bumbling than Alistair had ever been … which would be a significant, if less than auspicious, accomplishment. “Did Roderick know him, or of him?" It seemed unlikely; there had not been a whisper of his Yorath blood prior to the memorial. Roderick would have challenged the legitimacy of his claim to the Yorath name, had he known.

Constance was regarding him with an expression that he did not often see on her face. “I must confess something to you that I do not know how you will take hearing.” That sounded ominous, and when she went on, “Quinton and I, we were,” his jaw had come unhinged before she got out, “involved.” The disquiet on her features was matched by determination. “I ended things with him some time ago.”

That was something he hadn’t been expecting to hear at all, and it took a moment for him to get his mouth shut and formulate an eloquent reply:

“Oh.”

All right, less than eloquent ... or even coherent, but definitely better than what made it out next:

“After I proposed?” He was raising a forestalling hand before the words had fully left his mouth. “I’m sorry, that’s no question to ask.” He knew why she was marrying him, and it wasn’t for love. A king would definitely trump a bann as a long term prospect. “I mean, I knew in theory that you -” Was he about to insinuate that she was a slut? Oh, no no no. Reword that fast and now, old boy. “You’re an adult, and who you take to your bed is your own business. I just - didn’t know about it, and I was fine with that -” Fine with thinking that the only people that she’d be comparing his upcoming performance in their marriage bed to were dead. “And I know that you won’t -” Won’t risk her new status by banging a bann ... or teyrn-regent? “I mean -”

He gave up, dropping his flaming face into the palm of his hand with a growl of frustration. After a moment, he peeked out from between two fingers. “I’m a little new at this,” he informed her tersely, a bit of self deprecating humor edging in as he went on, “If you think this is bad, you should have heard my first attempt at a state address.” She likely had, come to think of it. “I’ll get better,” he promised, taking some comfort in the knowledge that it was true. He had learned to be a Grey Warden, had learned to be a King, had learned to be an uncle. He could learn to be a husband.

But this wasn’t about his marriage, and he pulled himself back on task, lifting his head and rubbing his palms briskly on his pants. “Right. So. That’s not why you’re recommending him as regent.” Not a question. Constance wasn’t one to be blinded by sentiment - though taking her dead husband’s look-alike brother suggested that she wasn’t so immune as he had thought. “You trust him?” A little more of a question, though not a strong one. She would know what he was really asking: why did she trust him? “Misthaven has done well under his leadership,” he mused. Reports from the Gwaren region consistently placed the small bannorn at or near the top in terms of productivity, occasionally rivaling even the larger holdings.
 

Constance Theirin

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#9
“Oh.”

A lot could be read into such a simple utterance.

Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. It changes everything.

Oh, good to know.

Constance did not try to read more into the simple sound that required and remained quiet as she awaited Alistair to expand upon his thoughts which he most certainly did in a fashion she had known to be quite him.

“After I proposed?” Before she could reply, he held up a hand to bade her not to answer. “I’m sorry, that’s no question to ask. I mean, I knew in theory that you - You’re an adult, and who you take to your bed is your own business. I just - didn’t know about it, and I was fine with that - And I know that you won’t - I mean -”

'Oh, I do not know quite what to say’ it was then.

Some might have consider the drop of Alistair’s face into his hands and the manner in which he fanned his fingers apart to peer at Constance childish. Others might even it deem it endearing. Constance fell somewhere in between and looked upon the King with a poised countenance it took her many years to master.

“I’m a little new at this,” he confessed, “If you think this is bad, you should have heard my first attempt at a state address.”

Constance had.

“I’ll get better.”

And he did after that first state address. He was sorely unfit to serve as King when he was crowned. His blood had been his only qualification. But, he had improved since those early days. His foot was still a chew toy he favored more often than someone with more formal training might, but he was growing into the role in a way she had not been quite sure he would when she first met him.

“Right. So. That’s not why you’re recommending him as regent.” Constance did not need to answer that nor did she. “You trust him?” he asked in a follow up. “Misthaven has done well under his leadership.”

Did Constance trust Quinton? Trust was an interesting thing. Very hard to earn and often foolishly given even then. She shook her head very lightly. “Yes and no. I do not trust the man, nor should you.” Her lips pulled into a whisper of a smile. “But, as I stated, he has a Yorath’s ambition and I do trust in that.” If another were to be placed in the position, she had no doubt Quinton would do what was necessary to undermine that person. Such scheming might cause instability in the region; something she did not wish to see.

That was not her only consideration, though. There was advantage to be had in allowing Quinton to believe their relationship earned him so measure of influence over her. Rather than share that with Alistair, however, she added, "And as you stated, Misthaven has done well under his leadership. I believe he will show the same level of care with Gwaren.”

Alistair had not demanded a response to his earlier question about when, but Constance provided one all the same. “Before you proposed. We have not been together since.” Nothing she said was a lie. They had not slept together since nor would they ever again.
 

Alistair Theirin

King of Ferelden
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Grey Warden
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90
#10
Constance waited patiently as Alistair extracted his booted foot from his mouth and managed to formulate a semi-intelligent question.

“Yes and no.” A couple of years ago, he would have been frustrated by such an oblique response, but now he understood what Constance was telling him, and her next words confirmed it. “I do not trust the man, nor should you.” A ghost of a smile touched her lips as she went on. “But, as I stated, he has a Yorath’s ambition and I do trust in that.”

Yes, he understood that all too well. Some men were guided by honor, some by greed, some by ambition. If you knew what motivated someone, you could anticipate their actions. Constance trusting in Quinton’s ambition meant that it was tempered by intellect and caution; his extended tenure out of the public eye in Misthaven, and that holding’s slow and steady rise in fortunes under his stewardship, indicated much the same.

"And as you stated, Misthaven has done well under his leadership,” Constance observed, “I believe he will show the same level of care with Gwaren.”

“It’s quite a jump in responsibility,” he remarked. “Some people will be annoyed.” This was said with no real concern, since he had figured out early on that someone was going to take offense at pretty much every decision he made. You figured out which opinions were worth listening to, but you also learned that sometimes, you had to trust your own judgment … which was sodding terrifying. But in this, he needed Constance’s perspective … and she believed that Quinton Yorath would be a good choice.

“Before you proposed,” she offered without prompting. “We have not been together since.”

He drew a deep breath and nodded gratefully, saying nothing, feeling relieved and feeling like a shit for feeling relieved and feeling other emotions that he’d never really grappled with before. Jealousy was definitely not something he liked, and he resolved that he was not going to let it muck things up right now. He could go beat up practice dummies in the yard later.

“What you’re saying makes sense,” he told her, then, “I want to meet with him first, just he and I, without him knowing that you have told me.” Would Alistair see the smug countenance of a man gloating in hiding such a secret from his king? One barely hiding his resentment over the interruption of his romantic (and, from what Constance had said , political) plans? One considering how to use what he knew as leverage? “And I want to know if he tries to blackmail you.” It seemed unlikely; ‘stupid’ had been nowhere in Constance’s description of Bann Yorath, but Loghain had underestimated Rendon Howe’s ambitions. Constance was in far greater control of her emotions than Loghain had been, but she had bedded her dead husband’s bastard brother out of more than just boredom.
 

Constance Theirin

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#11
“It’s quite a jump in responsibility,” Alistair noted. “Some people will be annoyed.” The possible annoyance appeared to bother Alistair very little.

“They always are,” Constance replied. Quinton’s rise had been a fast one. With such an ascent came an increasing growth in detractors as well. No easy task awaited him in trying to rule Gwaren for Peter. Constance had yet to find a task that Quinton was not up to.

As her thoughts trailed to such things, she offered a reply to Alistair’s earlier question informing him she had not been with Quinton since his proposal.

Relief suffused the breath Alistair drew in as well as the dip of his head in a nod. “What you’re saying makes sense. I want to meet with him first, just he and I, without him knowing that you have told me.”

Such a request might have made some one else nervous. Constance, however, allowed her mouth to pull in a slow smile in both approval and amusement. To be a fly on the wall during such a conversation.

“And I want to know if he tries to blackmail you,” he added.

Her smile grew and was compliment with a small laugh. “Oh he won’t,” Constance said, fully confident. Beyond the futility of such an action, Quinton might find it insulting. “I will say nothing to him. I, too, am curious what he might say to you without knowing I have told you of our involvement.” Would Quinton suspect she might have made such a confession? Or would he believe her adverse to such a risk?

“Might I suggest you summon him with no indication as to what you wish to speak to him regarding?” The uncertainty of such a summons had the potential to set Quinton slightly on edge; a prospect that greatly entertained Constance.
 

Alistair Theirin

King of Ferelden
Canon Character
Noble
Grey Warden
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#12
Constance had many smiles, and Alistair had seen most of them by now. The serene smile that she wore most often in public. The polite smile that appeared when Maura Trestlebridge was droning on into infinity about the latest gossip. The ‘I’m going to give you the chance to figure out for yourself that was a stupid thing to say because bitchslapping you into the next Age is unladylike’ smile (yes, he’d seen that one, and let’s just leave it at that, eh?). The affectionate smile that was only for Peter. The broader smile of genuine amusement and the warm smile of true pleasure were more rare, but he’d had them directed at him with increasing frequency over the months since they had become friends, then betrothed.

But the smile of approval … that one was the rarest of all, and seeing it now warmed him, taking some of the edge off of the lingering unease of the notion that there was a living man that his soon-to-be wife could compare him with. He hadn’t reacted like a petulant child or a jealous schoolboy; he had responded as a king, and that knowledge bolstered him further.

Which was not to say that he didn’t feel a twinge at the confidence in her voice when she responded, “Oh he won’t,” to his suggestion that Yorath might try to blackmail his future queen if he thought that Alistair did not know of their past relationship. It hadn’t been a casual affair, then; she knew him well enough to be sure of his reaction. But then, if she had thought him to be that type, she would hardly have suggested him, would she?

“Might I suggest you summon him with no indication as to what you wish to speak to him regarding?”

“That sounds reasonable,” he agreed, beginning to warm to the notion. “Perhaps you could join us about halfway through, once I’ve made the offer?” Was this the Great Game that Leliana spoke so often of? If so, he could well understand the mixture of loathing and nostalgia that she seemed to regard it with. There was a dark fascination at the prospect of manipulating a rival like this, and he wished that the bard was here to offer him advice. But she wasn’t, so he was just going to have to go it with the ally that he had.

Leaving that for the moment, he moved on to one of the other decisions on his plate. “I’ve been thinking about Denerim, as well,” he began. “What would you think of Alfstanna Eremon as Arl?” The Bann of Waking Sea had been a staunch ally of the Grey Wardens against Loghain after they had rescued her templar brother from Howe’s dungeons. Irminric had largely recovered from the tortures that had been inflicted on him, but had never regained sufficient strength to rejoin the order. Alfstanna was a strong and canny leader who had the respect of her peers; perhaps she could break the curse that seemed to be on the Arling.

From Urien Kendalls to Rendon Howe to Vaughan Kendalls, the title of Arl of Denerim had gone from bad to worse to smarmy raping bastard. In the two and a half years since Vaughan had been hanged for treason (raping elves hadn’t been enough to outrage the Bannorn, but conspiring against the King had done the trick), three different Arls had come and gone, the longest lasting fourteen months. One had to resign due to poor health; another when an outbreak of plague decimated their family’s bannorn, killing the Bann and all likely heirs; the most recent had simply dropped dead while getting dressed one morning. Suspicious, to Alistair’s way of thinking, but the healers had turned up no evidence of poison and assured him that such things did indeed happen.

Unsurprisingly, the list of nobles interested in becoming the next Arl of Denerim was a short one. That Alfstanna was one of them had surprised him a bit, but perhaps she thought it was time to wipe the memory of Rendon Howe from the office once and for all. Alistair certainly wouldn't object.
 
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