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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18. The Indifferent Teenager Act

 

The minute Jaleth walked into the library, she wished she had just stayed upstairs, doing what pregnant women were supposed to be doing, knitting baby socks or something.

But here she was, and so was Helena and they were going to talk about this before Jaleth would get seriously worked up and random people started tasting pieces of her wrath. The last time that happened she almost turned the King of Ferelden into an ice popsicle.

Alistair.

His arms were still around her every time she closed her eyes, his voice the only thing pulling her back from her frenzy.

Snap out of it Jaleth.

She focused on her student again, who was in the company of yet some more students, most of them the regular crowd she hung out with. Jaleth cursed herself for still not remembering their names.

She only remembered Charles, the chubby kid with the blue eyes, but that was because he followed Helena around everywhere she went.

Helena was busy trying to hide behind her hair as soon as she caught sight of Jaleth, which could only mean so much. She probably looked forward to this talk as much as Jaleth did.

There was a little raincloud hanging over both their heads now.

Jaleth cleared her throat and made her way to Helena's table.

"Helena, could I have a word please?"

"Why?"

Why? Gods, this was going to be fun.

Jaleth looked at the students surrounding Helena. They were pretending to be awfully occupied with the various books they were reading, none of them studying books, most of them very poorly written novels.

One boy, a skinny little thing with the greenest eyes, avoided Jaleth's gaze a little too late and nearly choked on the cookie he was devouring. Jaleth tried suppressing a smile as she turned to Helena again.

"In private please."

The girl sighed exessively, not hiding the burden Jaleth supossedly put on her shoulders by showing up just a couple of minutes before lunch hour, demanding things of her and scaring the shit out of her friends by merely frowning.

"I really need to study... m'am."

"You're reading an adventure novel."

She looked at the book in front of her, damning the cover for giving her away.

"Yes, that's what I thought," Jaleth sighed, "walk with me please."

It wasn't a request.

Helena closed the book with a little too much force, got up and exchanged some frustrated looks with her friends. There was no point waging a war against an pregnant woman, especially an angry pregnant woman. One would probably have better luck staring a hungry Ogre down.

So in the end Helena left without much of a fuss and several pairs of nosy eyes prying at her back. If there was one thing apprentices loved, it was the opportunity to gossip. This was one of those opportunities, and it was a rather good one truth be told.

"Is it true you applied for the Right of Tranquility?" Jaleth asked as they moved just out of ears reach of the nosy students they had left behind.

"You don't beat around the bush much do you?" Helena mumbled, playing with the fabric of her robes.

"What were you thinking girl?"

She shrugged, suddenly very fascinated by the shadows the both of them were casting on the steps.

"You're talented as hell, why would you ask to be made tranquil?"

Jaleth tried making eye contact but Helena kept her gaze fixed on the stairs. Stuborn stuborn girl.

"Why would any one ask to be made tranquil?"

She shrugged again.

"This indifferent teenager act doesn't really suit you Helena."

The girl finally looked up when they reached the next floor. They stopped walking.

"I talked to Owain again, and he seems content with the state he is in."

"What kind of horse shit explanation is that? Owain can't even remember what his life was like before."

Helena was silent, which gave Jaleth some room to manoeuvre, if only the pain in her stomach would subside. She managed to keep from gasping when the stinging got worse.

"You have no idea what you are getting yourself into. They will strip you off your emotions, your ability to feel, to love, to think the things you want to think. You are stripped of everything that makes you you."

Jaleth's face cramped for a second but Helena did not notice it as tears started making their way down the girl's cheeks.

"Listen to yourself," Helena sobbed. "What are those things you talk off? Emotions, feelings, love. These things are abstract to me, they are things we read about in books. We are mages. We are not supposed to feel things, we are supposed to have trained minds so that we can contain ourselves when we wind ourselves up too much so our Templar watch dogs won't have to put us down. We're not allowed to have feelings, especially the interesting ones."

She paused, sat down in the window sill and waited for some Templars to pass them by. Privacy was a rare thing to come by at the Tower, especially when you were a mage.

"This is no life," she whispered, "this is a prison in which we are allowed to eat, shit, read Chantry approved books and die."

"Helena..."

She wiped away her tears with her sleeve.

"I didn't mean to disappoint you so."

"This isn't about me girl, this is about you and the fact that you're throwing your life away."

"Have you not been listening to a word I just said?" Helena sobbed.

Jaleth brushed the girl's hair out of her face.

"Why didn't you come to me first instead of going to the Knight Commander anyway? We could have talked about it."

"What good does talking do? We are talking right now and nothing you said made me change my mind. I'd rather die than live my life on this side of the walls."

Jaleth was at a loss for words.

"The world outside isn't what it's cracked up to be either," she mumbled.

Helena's tears had dried up. Her tutor's silence had shown some cracks in her defenses. Helena smelled a victory.

"That's not the point Jaleth. I want to experience that for myself, I want to make my own mistakes. We should at least be allowed to fail out there, we should be given the chance to succeed. Instead they lock us away in here, because of things we 'might' do." She wet her lips. "Most of us don't even want to use their magic, most of us just want to be able to make their own decisions. Have a life, a family. I would gladly give up my magic for that."

The rant was over and silence settled on their shoulders like a warm blanket.

"I am so proud of you," Jaleth said.

"Sorry?"

"You heard me."

"I don't understand."

"I am proud of you. I just don't agree with your solution to a problem that has troubled our kind for ages."

"Tranquility is the only thing I can decide for myself," Helena mumbled, "the only thing the Chantry can't oppose. At least I have the illussion of free will when it comes to that subject."

"The Right is invented by the Chantry dear. If you want to change your life, change it, but don't turn to the Rite as a quick fix. Life doesn't deal in quick fixes."

This time it was Helena's turn to be silent, her logic was indeed a bit flawed.

"Perhaps."

"Please just think about it, is all I ask. If you decide to go through with it, I will support you in any way I can. I just..." she brushed a hair off of Helena's shoulder, "...just think about it okay?"

The girl nodded, slowly, hesitantly, but it was still a step in the right direction.

"Thank you," Jaleth replied.

Helena looked down at her feet in silence.

"Can I go back to studying now?" she asked, pointing at the adventure novel in her hands with a shy smile.

"Yes, but only because I have nothing else to torture you with," Jaleth grinned.

Helena said her goodbyes and started walking down the stairs again.

"And hey kid..."

"Yeah?"

"You could never disappoint me."

She watched the girl smile and walk away until a sharp sting in her belly made her gasp for air.

Her job was done, there was no reason not to return to her room and start knitting those god damn baby socks.

If only her room was just around the corner and not up some stairs, tucked away in the back.

She managed to keep her face from falling apart every time she passed someone by, but by the time she reached her quarters she was panting heavily. She closed the door and glided down to the floor against the wood, her heart beating so loud that it silenced the voices in her head.

A warm feeling started spreading through her loins. When she looked down she saw the stain it left in her robes. It was dark and red and spreading quickly. She tried to stop it.

"Get up Jaleth."

She picked herself up, slowly, leaning against the woodwork of the door, trying to cast a small healing spell, but failing. Fixing yourself was always harder than fixing others.

Her hand was covered in blood, smears of it covering the doorknob as she tried turning it.

It took her several attempts to open te door again, but when she got to the hallway she had composed herself as good as she was able, the cramps in her belly worsening by the minute until she collapsed against an end table.

"Brann," she said, addressing the first Templar that caught her eye, "Brann, I think I need some help."

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