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.


1. The Prince, the Witch and the Wardog

"I am proud of you child," Wynne said, patting the back of her companion's hand. The expression in her eyes was composed of something other then pride alone, it was a mixture of pride and some form of pity. Jaleth thought she even picked up a hint of an 'I told you so,' even though Wynne did her very best to hide it.

The two mages had been sitting in the window-still for a while now, regarding the festivities in silence, each for their own reasons, while they watched their friends dance and smile.

"I..I don't know.."

Jaleth seemed to trip over her own tongue every time she tried to speak, which was new. She never had much problem talking to her army, or some politician but tonight there was something in the air that made words get stuck somewhere in the back of the Warden's throat every time she tried opening her mouth.

For Wynne it was not hard to guess what was going on inside her head though. She had been there when Alistair clumsily presented the rose he had picked in Lothering, and she had been watching when the drama had started to unfold.

A lot had changed since then and the man who was placed in the centre of attention today, bore no resemblance to the blushing half prince she had met at the Circle Tower three years ago.

Jaleth's eyes were firmly set on the newly appointed king and his bride, and they had been lingering on the pair for some time now. They looked radiant, like royals.

Her trust in Alistair had not been misplaced. Sure, she had been there to help him stay on his horse when he got his first riding lessons, or to comfort him after Leliana tried teaching him the etiquette of the royal court, she had been there to spar with him every time he got frustrated, but he got through it with grace and she had fallen even more in love with him, until the day he fell into her room with a mug of ale in his hand, announcing her that they should fall out of love for he was to be married to someone else.

She had sent the mug crashing against the stone wall, told the King to piss off and had been crying by herself for the rest of the night. But that was then and this was now, and right now she could not get her eyes off of him, no matter how much she tried.

She was actually staring at them by the time Wynne picked up on it. The young mage had never been the subtle kind, but then again, neither had Wynne so it was probably just a Circle thing.

The Warden lowered her head when she noticed the older mage's eyes resting on her. She could not get her mind off the things Alistair had said to just after the Landsmeet, she could not drive the tormented expression on his face out of her mind. The way he had not stumbled over his words for once, the determination in his voice when he told her their relationship had come to an end.

Love did not simply disappear because he told her to make it so.

"I guess you saw this coming when you gave me that lecture at camp," Jaleth mumbled.

Wynne's serene smile slowly disappeared. She placed her hand on top of Jaleth's again.

"As did you my dear."

A gush of cool night air came setting in through the window, picking up the tips of Jaleth's brown hair while she turned her eyes toward the dance floor again. Alistair was a terrible dancer but it seemed Leliana taught him a few tricks before the wedding and he put them to practice quite well. Jaleth watched his concentrated expression, his lips counting the steps in silence.

"Letting was...the right thing to do..."

Wynne hadn't seen her this insecure before but perhaps it had been easier during the blight, to fit a role, a different role, the role of the warrior woman. Perhaps her lack of social skills had something to do with the wine they were serving tonight.

Jaleth bit her lip as Wynne pulled her hand back and started fixing her dress.

"Is that a statement or a question child?"

A silence settle down between them. Jaleth thanked the Maker that they were comfortable enough in each other's presence not to break it. She closed her eyes as she listened to the voices around her. The place was packed. It seemed like all of Ferelden had come together to celebrate the joyous union between the new King and his young Queen. She could hear them congratulating each other with the beautiful bride from Highever.

Arl Eamon must be pleased. The old man had been pestering Alistair about a bride ever since he took his brother's throne, and he made it very clear it was not going to be a circle mage. It was not that the Arl did not like Jaleth, there had been a time that he had been quite fond of her, until he noticed the way Alistair looked at her when he thought nobody was watching, the silent smiles they shared while all the others were concentrating on their plates or their battle plans.

"I feel ridiculous in this dress," Jaleth replied when she finally opened her eyes again.

"I know exactly what you mean. Maker, I can barely breath in this corset."

Wynne shifted her weight as she let out a small sigh. The two women shared a glance as Dog shoved his head underneath Jaleth's hand. She scratched his head.

"Well we have gained some weight since we stopped camping along the road," Jaleth said, smiling, "Speaking of such, have you seen the wedding cake?"

"Actually, I have not. Oghren bellied down most of the thing before I had the chance to..."

Dog started barking his happy bark as Alistair approached the two mages. Jaleth hadn't even noticed the music had changed.

They rose to their feet to greet their King as Jaleth's mabari happily wagged his tail at 'the ex-templar who never shared his cheese.' Her cheeks started flushing as he stopped within arm's reach.

Of course he had to look absolutely stunning in that royal armour of his. He was wearing Cailan's armour, as Maric had done before them. She was still impressed every time she saw the lion's head on the breastplate. Alistair looked like a king, like his father, according to some old men who had gone to war with him against the Orlesians many years ago.

She had not seen him until the ceremony started. Jaleth was pretty skilled at coming up with all kinds of excuses that prevented them from meeting up. But here he was, the King of Ferelden, standing in front of her and there was no way out of this one, except maybe...fainting...or dying. But that would be a tat dramatic perhaps.

"Congratulations Alistair, your bride... looks wonderful," Jaleth muttered.

She had been rehearsing the sentence in her head ever since the ceremony started but had been avoiding to actually let it leave her mouth. He thanked her politely, the awkwardness that filled the space between them could be read at the other side of the hall.

Wynne cleared her throat in order to break the silence. "I have to leave you two alone for a minute," she muttered. "Zevran seems to be seducing my chambermaid." She gave them a warm smile and squeezed Jaleth's hand just before disappearing.

"Thanks for that Wynne, subtlety still isn't one of your virtues I see," Alistair smiled after her.

He brushed a hand through his golden hair, swallowing harder then intended. Jaleth noticed the ring she had given him once was no longer there, it had been replaced by the piece of jewellery he now shared with a complete stranger.

Of course they wouldn't be strangers for long.

She looked at him as if she expected him to speak. Which he felt obliged to after that.

"So uhm, Wynne told me you are going back to the circle. I am.. I don't know what to say. I was under the impression that you didn't like it much over there and I was hoping you would stay and..."

His hazel eyes were looking to find something familiar in her facial expression, something that was there no longer. The wall she had erected between them had put him off balance. He had no control over his emotions at all. He was rambling and blushing and being his usual self and it would all have been quite endearing under different circumstances but right now, it was just too much for her to handle.

She pressed a finger against his lips. "Don't forget to breath handsome."

The familiarity in her touch brought a warm feeling to his chest and she acknowledged it too by stepping away from him.

"Right..." he said as she widened the distance between them. "I just..."

"We spoke about this before Alistair," she interrupted him, trying to ignore the way he curved his lips, or the way his eyes brightened when they spoke. Alistair recognized a thunderstorm rant when he saw one. "The circle can use all the help it can get at the moment... I mean... it was my home after all and it got destroyed and... I don't know." She wanted to kick herself, it was like she was back at the Tower again and Greagoir had just caught her with her hand in the cookie jar.

"It's not like I am going to stay there forever..." she played with the fabric of her dress, "just for the time being. Who knows what will happen after that."

So much for the thunderstorm rant, which had been more like a summer's breeze and not like a rant at all.

He had not seen this side of her before, being all apologetic, and a bit defensive even. She seemed to be blushing.

"Duty calls right?" She was waiting for him to say something but he was too fixed on the movement of her lips. The silence that followed gave him the impression it was his turn to talk. "Duty," he repeated. "Right...I guess I deserved that."

"I didn't mean..." she sighed, "You'll do great Alistair, I think you'll be a great king and you've got Eamon to help you." There, that was it, she had said it all. She could take her bow now and leave the stage. If only Alistair would cooperate, which he didn't.

"You say that like it's a good thing," he whimpered. "The old man has been breathing down my neck ever since they put that silly looking crown on my head."

She knew, he had been doing the same thing with her, trying hard to breath her in the direction of Orlais, or Antiva, or some other god forsaken country, just as long as she wouldn't live in the same castle as Alistair did.

She tried to avoid his eyes, but he made it impossible for her to do so.

"And anyways," he continued, "I'd rather have your help, you know, just like old times, when I just followed you around, that was so much more fun." He took her hand, trying to make her understand the 'gravity' of the situation.

She felt her cheeks flush some more. They seemed very quick to betray her today.

"The King thing is a bit new to me you know," he continued, "and I guarantee you I will mess it up with my usual brilliant deft."

"I expect nothing less,' she smiled. "I'm sure I don't have to remind you what happened last time you led us to lunch."

He let go of her hand and gently brushed a finger along the end of her lips.

"Hm, is that a smirk, are you smirking at me?"

He had to stop touching her like that.

"I don't think Eamon will be very supportive if I stay,' she replied. "He raised hell to find you a bride and he made damn "sure that it would not be me."

"True," Alistair smiled, "but don't take that personal Amell, you know how he prefers blondes over brunettes."

He looked at her, his eyes warm and sad. All the things he had said to her after the Landsmeet and she was still here, at his side, at what was probably one of the not so good days in her life.

Her eyes were on fire as she started speaking again. This he recognised, it was the same fire she had in her eyes before battle.

"Things change Alistair, people change, priorities change. You are a King now, I am still a Circle mage, the Blight is over, the Darkspawn defeated. Go celebrate, get an heir, be happy."

His smile disappeared, he knew the woman in front of him only too well, if she had made up her mind, the Arch demon himself could not stop her.

"Let's not make this any more difficult than it already is my King. It is your wedding day after all, you might as well enjoy it a little."

He looked like a beat puppy. A small boy in a grown ups armour.

They fell silent until he let out a heavy sigh.

"You know how much it pains me to admit it, but you are right of course, you are always right."

She looked at him with sadness in her eyes. "You have a stubborn hairline," she remarked as she fixed his hair and only realized the intimacy behind this act when she noticed his cheeks turning red once again.

" uhm, when are you leaving?"

His voice brought her back to reality and she quickly pulled her hand back.

"Irving and Wynne will go back tot he Tower tomorrow so I figured I might as well tag along."

"Tomorrow?" His eyes widened. "Wow you are serious aren't you."

A lump settled down his throat. "Well than, since there is nothing I can do to stop you...would you honour me with one last dance?" He always had had a touch for the dramatic, it was part of his charm.

She conjured up half a smile, her enchanting one.

"You know I dance as bad as Oghren does when he's drunk."

"Ah yes, the happy dance. I think I can handle that, you are much lighter in the toe stepping department, especially when you are not wearing your heavy armour."

"I am a mage, I do not wear heavy armour."

The serious look on her face made him smile again.

"Exactly my point," he grinned as he took her by the hand before she could protest some more, quickly disappearing in a vast stream of people. It was exhilarating, the speed with which he swept her of her feet.

She closed her eyes as he pulled her close, not much harm in enjoying the company of a friend right? Her forehead rested against his chin and she could feel the warmth of his hand as it held hers. He had shaved off all his stub for today, it was weird not feeling it tickle against her skin.

It had been a long time since she had breathed in his scent. For a minute there she forgot to breath.

Jaleth noticed she wasn't the only one breathing in the moment. His body was definitely reacting to the proximity of hers. She could feel his grip tighten as he swallowed away the last of his hope. This was goodbye, they both knew it. There was nothing left to say, with so many things left unsaid.

"I will, however, turn you into a toad if you step on my toes," she smiled as she opened her eyes again.

He raised an eyebrow. "And I am sure you would, you wicked wicked woman."

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