From the Ashes We Rise

This is a Dragon Age: Origins fanfic. Warden Amell tries to rebuild her life at the Tower after Alistair got married. Main characters in this story are the mage origin warden, Alistair and Cullen.

Rating M for language and sexual content.

This is my first big fic so all constructive criticism is welcome because I am planning on doing a rewrite.

Dragon Age belongs to Bioware, the artwork I use as a preview is not mine either but I would love to know who the artist is.

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7. Helena

 

Helena seemed like a nice kid, a bit impatient, but nice. She reminded Jaleth of herself at that age. She had the same curiosity, the same hunger for knowledge.

Dog seemed to like her too. There were days Jaleth would be looking for him for ages, always to find him at Helena's feet, with his muzzle covered in a half chewed cookie she had given him.

The child was gorgeous. The new recruits seemed to notice this as well. She could silence a room by just walking in. Templar hormones were not high on the list of Jaleth's worries though. Helena was sixteen when she started her training. She was bright, but had less time to prepare for her Harrowing than most other children and she was behind on her training. This was frustrating the girl, seeing children half her age casting spells she was just starting to learn about. Jaleth could feel her frustration and it worried her.

"So, have you settled in a little?" Jaleth asked, taking the opportunity to build in a little break from studying for a minute. She filled her pupil's glass with water and pulled a handkerchief from her pocket. It contained a chocolate cookie Mrs Hannigan had baked them earlier that week.

"I have m'am, I think." She straightened her robes. "I mean I still miss my parents, I guess."

"I could tell you that this feeling will lessen once the years pass, but that will not help you now," Jaleth answered. "It is okay to miss your parents, you were with them for longer than most children with the talent for magic." She had not intended it to sound so envious, but her voice had stabbed her in the back before she could silence herself. Of course the kid had to pick up on it.

"I guess I was one of the lucky ones m'am."

"Jaleth."

"Pardon?"

"Call me Jaleth."

"Oh sure."

The girl went back to work as Jaleth shifted her weight. These wooden chairs were killing her. Her arse was slowly falling asleep.

It had been ages since she thought about her own parents. She realized she had stopped missing them somewhere along the way. There were times when she couldn't even remember there faces, no matter how hard she tried. It was a strange thing, not being able to picture the people who loved you once, and whom you loved back. It had been an awfully long time since she had seen them though. Her memories had been reduced to fragments, smells, sentences, the inside of her mother's long skirts, the sounds of her father's violin.

Jaleth noticed the lack of concentration that had settled into her apprentice's eyes. She had stirred something inside the girl when she started talking about her family.

"My sister was a mage too," Helena said. She was still eyeing her book, but the words were dancing in front of her eyes and it was impossible to think of anything other than her family. There would be no point in continuing to read about fire spells any more.

"So I guess I have a talented family," she smiled.

"Talented, or just unfortunate."

"You don't see our magic as a gift?"

She hadn't and neither had her parents. Her mother was all too happy to hand her over to the chantry by the slightest signs of magical talent. Her father had been an entirely different story though. He had fought for his daughter on many occasions. He had bought her some time outside the Tower's walls, time that came with a high price.

"Well don't get me wrong here, I like setting things on fire," Jaleth smiled, 'but I don't like accidentally setting things on fire."

"But you would never hurt an innocent," Helena replied.

"Well, no, not on purpose."

Her eyes drifted off, as did Helena's. The girl never really thought of it that way. Her abilities had mostly seemed exciting...until now.

"That's... kind of depressing," she answered.

"And here you were, thinking life in the tower would be all roses and violins."

They laughed as Cullen moved behind them, Jaleth could hear the sound of heavy armour rearranging. He had been so silent up until now that she had forgotten about him being there. It was this annoying habit he had.

"How did you end up here?" Helena asked.

"Well the same way you did I suppose. The Templars waltz into your house, lift you from your bed and take you away from everything you know, your mother, your father, your friends."

Cullen cleared his throat and that was the end of it. The chantry never did like it when mages talked about them in a slightly less propagandic way.

"'Mom and dad kept me from the chantry," Helena sighed. "I had started showing signs long before I got here, but after the Templars dragged my sister off to the Tower they way they did, my parents swore they would not let them take another child. My parents were hanged for this."

Jaleth leaned forward. "I am sorry, what?"

"My parents were hanged."

"By the chantry?"

"No, by their friends."

"Andraste's arse," Jaleth sighed. She decided to drop it when the girl lowered her eyes on her book again.

"Is your sister attached to the Circle of Ferelden as well?"

"She was taken to the Circle before I was born," Helena replied. "But there was no one here with my last name when I arrived. For all I know she never even made it to the Tower."

Or past her Harrowing, or past the demons Uldred unleashed on them before they lost their minds.

"Anyway, I like your dog," Helena mumbled.

Jaleth glanced over her shoulder, looking at Dog who was taking a nap in front of the fire place. His life had gotten infinitely better after the Blight. There were children here with cookies, warm fires and no Darkspawn jumping down his throat whenever he went for a pee on his own. At least one could take a piss in peace here.

"So do I," Jaleth replied. "He has been a good friend and sometimes I forget that he's a war dog." She stared into the fire. "He nearly bit Alistair's hand off once."

"Alistair," Helena repeated. "You mean King Alistair, right?"

Jaleth gave her a quick nod. She had not spoken of him for a long time, even pronouncing his name felt strange right now. He had been there though, inside of her, one more ghost from the past to carry around with her.

"It must have been so exciting for you to travel with the King."

"Oh yes, very," Jaleth snorted.

"It wasn't?"

"Well he wasn't very kingly back then. We had to sort of drag him to his throne."

She remembered the talk they had had a night before the Landsmeet. She knew he would never forgive her and he hadn't, or not really anyway.

"How are we doing on that fire spell?" Jaleth said, pointing at the book underneath Helena's fingers.

"You don't want to talk about him do you?"

"No, no not really."

Helena had an excited spark in her eyes but she realized she was stepping into uncharted territory.

"You loved him, didn't you?" Jaleth noticed the rearranging of heavy armour again, this time followed by a little cough. She glanced at Cullen, but his expression was hid away behind the steel of his helmet. What was wrong with him today?

"I did, yes, very much so."

"Show me your fingers," Jaleth said.

Helena places her hands in front of her eyes and wiggled them.

"Now watch mine," Jaleth said.

A little ball of fire started forming into her hands, very slowly and very controlled, Helena was drawn to it like a moth to a flame.

"Teach me," Helena said, staring at the fireball in front of her.

"I will. After you finish this chapter."

A crafty smile settled on her lips.

"I can't concentrate any more Jaleth, we've been at it for ages."

"That's because I want you to pass your Harrowing."

"Ah yes, the mysterious Harrowing you won't tell me anything about. Such fun."

"Don't joke about it."

The look on her face shut the younger mage up. They never talked about the Harrowing, or not about what the Harrowing actually involved. She knew it was some sort of examination, to test her abilities, but every time she tried asking Jaleth about it, it was hushed up like it was some sort of big secret and they would get into trouble even mentioning the word itself.

She submerged herself into her book again, but all was lost.

"He must have done something really bad to you," Helena tried again.

Jaleth sighed, shifting her weight on the wooden chair, really not in the mood to discuss her love life with a sixteen year old, or with any one really.

"I... am a mage."

"Well yes, and a very good one at that," Helena added.

"Mages are not supposed to have titles, you know this."

"Yes but he is the King and he loved you back, so I don't see..."

"He was a Templar, I was a mage, he became King, I was still a mage. What do you think would have happened to Ferelden if a bastard king married an evil sorceress?"

"But you're not an..."

"It does not matter. Now read your book."

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