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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10. The Heir

 

She woke up in the middle of the night with a terrible headache. Or at least she thought it was the middle of the night, because the room she was in was pitch black. It smelled of oils, wet dogs and healing magic. As her eyes slowly started to adjust to the dark, she recognised her own furniture. She was back home at the Tower.

Jaleth tried raising herself against the pillow but the pain in her head was tremendously discouraging and she couldn't help but let out a soft moan.

Something in the room stirred when she made the noise.

She could see a match being stricken and watched a man's face appear in the glow of a candle's soft shimmer.

It was a handsome face and she remembered it from a dream she had earlier.

It was Cullen.

"Try not to move too much," he said as he placed his hand on her forehead. He looked at her with worried eyes and then looked away.

"The fever's down," he said to someone in the ill lit room.

"Get Wynne."

His hand remained on her forehead a little too long and she tried imprinting the weight of it in her head. He smelled nice. She felt this desperate urge to touch him. He probably wouldn't let her, Greagoir would get mad.

"You can let go now Cullen, I am me, there's no demon trying to get out."

"It was a precaution Jaleth," he mumbled as he slowly retracted his hand.

"How long was I out?"

"Try not to speak," he said while a blush settled on his cheeks, like he suddenly realized how close they were "you've been unconscious for a long time."

Now that he mentioned it, Jaleth did feel a bit groggy.

She smiled as he felt a wet nose pressing against her hand.

"Hello boy."

Dog barked but did so only once, as he would do in the morning acknowledging that she had woken up and it was time for breakfast. Dinner would be more like it in this case.

The Mabari whimpered when she ran her fingers through the hair on his head, as if he wanted to tell her never to leave again.

The world slowly seemed to be getting back into focus.

"What happened?" she asked, turning to Cullen again. The pain in her chest gave a clear indication that something bad had been going on.

"You tried to safe Theron," Cullen answered. He was still standing next to her with the candle in his hand.

"Tried?"

Cullen nodded slowly. "He died."

He paused in order to give her a minute to process the information. A heavy frown took over the upper part of her face.

"There was an Ogre there you see..."

"I remember Theron," she said, cutting him off, her eyes staring into the distance.

"Theron's dead Jaleth."

"But I could have saved him."

She seemed not to notice him. Seemed to look at the world with her eyes closed.

Cullen put the candle at the bed stand.

"Yes, and you would have, if the Ogre hadn't charged into you, knocking you out cold until now."

"My body is fine," she said. And it was, she could see it in his eyes as the blanket slipped and revealed parts of her skin. If it hadn't been fine it wouldn't have made him blush again.

She couldn't focus, his lips were too damn distracting.

"You didn't seem to have any severe injuries, but when we couldn't wake you, we decided to abort the mission and go home."

"Well, I am awake now."

"Yes, you are."

He sounded proud when he said it.

"It takes more than an Ogre to knock me on my arse," she smiled, noticing the worried frown on his face, which was totally endearing and very unprofessional.

"Takes more than an arch demon even," he added.

His smile did something to Jaleth's insides.

Please leave before I explode.

"How are the others?"

"Except for Theron, they are all playing cards in the mess hall I presume."

The door opened with a familiar shriek and she watched Wynne approach with determined steps.

Cullen gave the senior mage a polite nod.

"She seems to be doing better," Wynne said.

"She's fully conscious," Cullen added.

"I will get her something to eat."

Wynne nodded and started conducting tests straight away.

Jaleth felt safe now the older mage was there. Her presence had the effect a mother has on a distressed baby and allowed Jaleth's tense muscles to relax a little.

"You had us quite worried there child."

The tone in Wynne's voice made Jaleth want to apologize, but she didn't.

"How long was I out?"

"Too long."

"You know, you sound angry. Am I in trouble?"

She didn't reply, she just checked Jaleth's pulse and felt her forehead.

"When you were out..." the older mage sighed, "I saw something and it can not be unseen and I am afraid that if I don't say anything, I will regret it later."

Jaleth carefully raised herself against the pillow as Wynne started focussing her will.

"What are you talking about?" Wynne moved her hands over Jaleth's ribs. "I felt life in your belly, now please be quiet, I need to concentrate."

The words that had just left Wynne's mouth hurt harder than any Ogre would.

She had just found the cause of the morning sickness.

It was not like she hadn't already known it. She had suspected it ever since she woke up vomiting every morning.

This was horrible, and not alone was it horrible, it was impossible as well, but there it was and it would not go away and now Wynne had found out and confirmed her suspicions and everything had gone from bad to worse in over a second.

Having someone confirm what she already knew out loud, gave an entirely different dimension to it.

She had fucked up.

She was pregnant.

"The baby's fine," Wynne said as she moved her hands over Jaleth's stomach.

Jaleth averted her face and stared at the wall.

She remembered it as if it were yesterday. It had been raining outside and he had been riding all day to be with her at night. It was the same week he had met her, the bloody QueenHe had told her about the marriage Eamon had arranged and they had made love for the last time.

She had told him to leave and never return to her in the way he had that night. He had done exactly that.

She didn't know which was worse, the fact that she had his child inside of her or the fact that Wynne knew about it.

She would have to find a way to get rid of it.

Get rid of it...

Like it was a piece of old furniture or a coat that fell out of fashion. The thought alone made her stomach turn.

It was his, there was no doubt about it, she had not slept with any one but him.

"There."

When Wynne opened her eyes again the girl in the bed was as pale as a corpse.

Her mind had shut down and with it the tears started falling.

Wynne handed her a handkerchief.

"I know it isn't any of my business, but it is Alistair's right?"

There would be no point in lying, Wynne always saw through her when she even tried to lie, so she decided to stall instead. Jaleth fixed her face, wiping away the tears on her cheeks.

"Who else could it be."

Wynne handed her a glass of water, which she took hesitantly.

The older mage wiped back Jaleth's hair as a mother does when her child comes home from playing in the dirt.

"If the baby lives, which I think is very unlikely with two tainted parents, but if it does, you'll have to tell him my dear."

Jaleth hadn't thought about that. She expected the child to be carried out like a normal child. Getting pregnant was said to be impossible,so the fact that the baby was conceived at all made her think it would come to full term. This child wasn't normal though. It would probably be disfigured, or it would die in the belly, or as soon as she gave birth to it.

Fuck.

She composed herself again, acting the same part she played when she gave her speech to the king's army before marching into Denerim. This role suited her best and she reclaimed some of the calmness in her voice. Underneath the blanket her hand was shaking though, and she couldn't, for the life of her, get it under control again.

"He must never know," she said.

A silence settled upon the two women. Wynne did not seem convinced.

She wanted Wynne to say something, but the woman was silent as the grave.

"You know him Wynne, he will do what's right. He will get into trouble because of this child."

Wynne seemed to consider it, but changed her mind again just before opening her mouth.

"Listen to me Jaleth. This child will never know its parents if you decide to keep it a secret from him. The chantry will take away the baby as soon as you give birth to it."

Jaleth hadn't counted on that either. She was no longer under supervision of the chantry, was she? She was a grey warden now. If the child would survive the nine months in the womb, it was hers to raise however she saw fit right? But perhaps handing the child over to the chantry was the only right thing to do for her baby.

"The chantry can give it a better life than I can. This child deserves better than being the bastard child of a mage."

"And a king," Wynne added.

"And a king," repeated Jaleth. She hid her face in her hand.

She no longer felt the physical pain in her chest any more. It had been replaced by a different kind of pain.

"For Andraste's sake," she cried.

The door swung open and that was it, the end of the conversation.

Cullen walked in with a tray of food. When he saw the two women in front of him, he realized his mistake.

"I'm sorry," he said, "I can come back. I should have knocked anyway."

Wynne got up.

"She has no new internal injuries," she reported to Cullen. "I am going back to bed if that is all right with you."

"Of course Wynne, I'll keep an eye on her."

He put the tray on the night stand and fetched a chair. Cullen sat down next to the bed.

"How are you feeling?"

"Like an Ogre chewed me up."

She tried to smile as he poured some milk in her tea.

"You know you made quite an impression on my men by risking your own life to save one of theirs right?"

She rearranged the blankets.

"I was under the impression that we were all on the same team."

He scratched the back of his neck and started to blush.

"You know what I mean."

She did and it annoyed the shit out of her. Some things would never change, no matter how hard you tried.

"Listen," he sighed, "you can't change the way people think."

He handed her the tea. There was steam coming from the cup.

"You can only change the way you deal with their opinion."

The room went silent while she drank her tea. It was good to feel her belly warm up.

"Anyway, I'm not here for a templars versus mages discussion."

"Well that's a relief," she smiled.

She placed her cup on the night stand and looked at him.

"So why are you still here, exactly?"

"I think you know."

"Enlighten me."

"The pile of corpses," he said.

That had not been on her mind exactly.

"Think about it, there had been a battle before the Darkspawn arrived, yet there were no signs of them being there. No footprints, no discarded weaponry, no..."

"Darkspawn corpses," they said simultaneously.

"There was a whiff of magic in the air," Cullen said. He looked at her to corroborate it.

She just shrugged. She wasn't going to rat out her own kind, she wasn't the type.

"It was probably just me, shifting back into my human form."

"It wasn't you."

It had been blood magic he had sensed and he was pretty damn sure she wasn't a maleficar.

"Well then who was it?"

"I don't know."

They didn't speak for a while. He just sat there and watched her finishing her tea.

"It is probably best if you'd get some sleep," he said.

Cullen fetched the empty tea cup from the night stand and bid her good night.

Just before he closed the door behind him he seemed to change his mind and he turned around in the doorway.

"I...well...I'm glad you're okay."

He closed the door as her heart fell out of her chest, falling to the floor and dissolving in a million little pieces.

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