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Perfect Day [Solo - Complete]

Nathaniel Howe

Warden Commander of Ferelden
Canon Character
Grey Warden
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
((OOC: Cloudreach 15, 9:35, Late-Morning, Fort Drakon, Denerim))

Sunlight bathed the courtyard where public executions were held in temperate warmth. A blue bird day, only a few gauzy clouds marred an otherwise perfect blue horizon. A perfect day, Nathaniel overheard someone within the crowd of onlookers mutter to the friend at their side.

He did not agree.

Two men stood upon the gallows awaiting punishment for their crimes. Those men had confessed to killing Fiona. The King had been true to his word. He oversaw their trial personally and when the men confessed, they were sentenced to death. Their punishment was to be meted out immediately.

Nathaniel was offered a special spot to stand and watch the executions. He declined. He stood off to the side, identify obscured beneath the shelter of a plain grey cloak that concealed both his face and armor. Another face in the crowd, he blended in with the common people's of Ferelden filling the courtyard. Nathaniel did not need the hungry eyes of the crowd upon him as well. The day was not about him, even if it was his name day. The day was about Fiona.

Rolf and Emmitt Tyburn were not impressive looking men. The smaller of the brothers, Emmitt, had mop of red curls atop his head and crystal blue eyes that looked out at the crowd in fear. Rolf stood at his brother's side. A good half foot taller than his brother, Rolf looked nothing like his Emmitt. Dark hair, cut short against his scalp covered his head and he regarded the crowd with no apprehension at all, merely acceptance.

Nathaniel wanted to hate those men, to forever imprint in his mind the very image of them there upon the gallows. They robbed more than a woman's coin purse that day; they robbed Nathaniel of the only person that had ever brought true happiness, or as close of a semblance he thought he might ever experience, into his life.

His thumb dragged against the green satin ribbon wrapped about two fingers of his left hand. There was more in his life than just Fiona, for certain. He had his duty to the Grey Wardens and his family. A man needed to be more than just his duty, though. Duty in and of itself as a purpose for living was not a life, not really. Fiona gave him a purpose outside of his obligations. She tethered him to the world and made his life about more than just his job or family's redemption. No longer did he go through the motions of living, but he actually lived.

He could not hate Rolf and Emmitt Tyburn, however. His hatred was reserved only for himself. If he had only been open with her... If he had simply given in and allowed her the one thing she asked of him... He kept his secrets from her because he had to. How could he expect those under his command to follow his rules if he did not follow them himself?

Nathaniel did what was right for the order and himself, and not necessarily what had been good for the woman he loved. He lied by omission at first and then deliberately later. He told her what he thought she needed to hear; he told her what he thought she needed to hear so that she did not leave him. And in the end, she left him all the same.

Fiona's death was as much his fault as the two men that stood to hang for the crime. Nathaniel's punishment would be a life steeped in guilt. Rolf and Emmitt's would be much more immediate.

The executioner climbed the stairwell to the gallows. The conversational din of the crowd rose in volume. Emmitt trembled at his brother's side. Nathaniel could not make out what Rolf muttered to his brother, but whatever words were spoken, they stilled the smaller man's shaking though the terror never quite left his eyes.

A noose went about Emmitt's neck first and then Rolf's. Constable Marek stepped forward and the crowd grew quiet. "Rolf Tyburn and Emmitt Tyburn have confessed to the murder of Arlessa Fiona Howe and sentenced to death by His Royal Majesty, Alistair Theirin." He turned to Rolf and Emmitt. "Do either of the accused have any final words before the punishment is carried out?"

Emmitt looked as if he might wish to speak, but then Rolf spoke for them both. "No. Be on with it."

A tinge of respect grew for Rolf. The older of the two brothers made no effort to talk himself out of his position. He accepted his guilt and would take his punishment.

For a moment, Nathaniel considered throwing off his cloak, letting the crowd see him for who he was and saying words he knew Cauthrien would not approve of: I invoke the right of conscription. He could save the men to give them a chance to redeem their actions, to prove they were better than the petty thieves that stabbed a woman in a moment of panic. And if they died during the Joining, all the better. Death by joining was a far more insidious death than a hangman's noose.

Nathaniel said no such words, however, and kept his promise. These men would not die by his hand.

Constable Marek left the gallows. Only the executioner and the convicted remained. With an effortless pull of a lever, the door beneath Rolf and Emmitt's feet dropped as did the men. The hanged were lucky if their neck broke upon the initial drop. Neither Rolf nor Emmitt received such mercy. Slowly the rope about their necks began to strangle the men. Both Emmitt and Rolf struggled against the noose as if they might free themselves somehow.

They did not.

Emmitt stilled first followed a minute later by Rolf.

Nathaniel stood there as the crowd began to disperse, their bloodlust sated for now. Justice had been served and Nathaniel felt no relief, but he had not expected to. Their execution would not bring Fiona back nor make him feel any better about the part he played in her death.

When the majority of the crowd had left and men started the task of removing the dead from the gallows, Nathaniel left his position on the side of the gallows and walked toward Constable Marek. Pushing aside the hood to his cloak, he revealed himself to the man. "Mi'lord, I did not know that you were here. I would have--," Marek started.

Nathaniel stopped Marek, raising his hand to silence the man. In his other hand, he held a small coin purse filled with enough coin for a modest Chantry funeral for both brothers. "See that they are given a proper funeral."

Marek took the coin, expression a bit shocked. "Yes, Arl Howe. Of course. I am--"

Nathaniel did not want the man's apologies for what happened to Fiona and did remain to hear them. Hands pulled the hood back into place and he turned his back to Marek and the gallows.

Nathaniel did not look back. Duties at the warden compound could await him no longer.
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