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.


12. The Rebel Mage

He had been gone for over a week when the storm brought him back.

Helena and Jaleth were tending to the roses when the Tower started coming alive again, something was finally happening.

Rumour had it Cullen had gotten home late last night and that he had brought an unwilling 'guest.' It seemed that his Templar gut had been right about the Darkspawn attack, and that it hadn't been a Darkspawn attack at all.

Jaleth only saw him at supper, he looked tired and he had obtained a new scar on his lip. He was talking to the other Templar that accompanied them a week before. Devon looked at Cullen as if he was the Maker incarnate.

Jaleth sat herself down at the table opposite of him, where Wynne was pretending not to listen in, and doing a poor job of it.

"You know for someone trying not to look conspicuous, you're looking awfully conspicuous dear Wynne."

Wynne smiled back at her as she stole a piece of bread from the older mage's plate.

"Anyway, what have we got?"

"Oh you know," Wynne sighed, "demons and abominations mixed with a tiny hint of blood magic."

"Ah, a regular Sunday evening," Jaleth snorted.

She broke of a piece of her newly acquired bread and looked at the Templar in front of her.

"Is it just me of is every Templar in this Tower god damn paranoid?"

"Well, apparently he brought a blood mage back to the Tower. So call him paranoid, but his gut was right."

She knew this, she had sensed the magic in the air as well. She just hadn't confirmed it.

"You heard all that just now?"

"Oh no dear, Cullen is very professional, he has been discussing the weather throughout dinner," Wynne smiled.

"But I might have tricked Irving into telling me one or two things."

"So?" Jaleth said as she leaned in. "Is it one of the Circle mages?"

"I do not know. I heard he was wearing Tevinter robes so I doubt it."

They were done talking, which usually meant there was a shit storm about to arise.

Cullen's face relaxed when he noticed her, but it snapped right back into Templar mode when the table filled itself with more of his friends. She had not seen him after she recovered from the Ogre attack.

"So..." the shit storm started.

"Have you considered what we talked about earlier?"

It had been a week, but there was no need to elaborate. She knew exactly what Wynne was talking about.

Jaleth lay down her cuttlery and looked down at her plate before answering Wynne's eyes.

"I can't even bring myself to informing the First Enchanter, let alone the King."

"The King who happens to be its father," Wynne whispered.

Jaleth poured herself some water, ignoring the mage in front of her. She could be so god damn headstrong, so god damn nosy.

"Yes, which makes it even worse."

Jaleth had trouble controlling her voice, but she did and she took pride in it.

"What do you think will happen when you are no longer able to hide that belly underneath your robes hm?"

"I am a Grey Warden, I'll just conscript the baby and that will be the end of it."

Wynne looked awfully contained when she wiped the corners of her mouth with her napkin.

"That's not even remotely funny."

Jaleth kept chewing on the same piece of meat over and over again, avoiding Wynne's eyes so that she could pretend they had disappeared and she would never have to deal with them again.

"I'll tell you what happens. They will take that baby away from you, like they did with mine."

Jaleth nearly choked on the bread that had suddenly become really dry and stuck and... Maker, Wynne had sex once.

The look on Wynne's face made her realize this was the exact effect she was going for. Jaleth all bewildered, with flushed cheeks and all her witty answers stuck halfway down her throat, preventing her from making an arse out of herself.

"I don't even know whether it was a boy or a girl," Wynne continued, "Greagoir snatched it away before it drew its first breath."

The silence that settled on their table was in huge contrast with the noise coming from Cullen's table. Maker were those Templars in a good mood.

She did not notice the way he looked at her as she went for Wynne's hand and took it in her own.

"I'm sorry Wynne, I don't know what to say."

Wynne quickly stroked Jaleth's index finger with her own before retracting her hand.

"It's not your fault child."

Jaleth was no longer hungry. She poked her food with her fork, discovering strange patterns when the cauliflower mixed with the gravy.

Wynne started collecting her dishes.

"I never told this to anyone," she said, "so I'd appreciate it if you kept it to yourself."

"Of course," Jaleth nodded, "of course."

She got up, balanced the pile of dishes and kissed Jaleth on the forehead.

"I did not mean to lecture you."

Jaleth nodded and watched her leave.

The kiss had thrown her off balance. It had been a conspirators kiss. There was nothing Jaleth could do which Wynne hadn't already done, in another lifetime, but in the same Tower. And that was the sad truth. Every Circle mage lead the same life, made the same mistakes. If the Blight hadn't come along, Jaleth would never have had the year outdoors, the freedom to choose, the love she had experienced. Love in the Tower was something reduced to silent smiles at the library table and hasty sex in dark corners. It was something that wasn't supposed to happen.

Wynne disappeared around the corner and it struck Jaleth that the woman was getting old. It was in subtle movements of her hands, a slight limp in her leg, the weariness in her eyes.

The fade spirit wouldn't be able to sustain her much longer.

"How's your head?"

His voice pulled her back to the present. He was standing next to her with an empty plate in his hands.

"Much better, thank you."

If there weren't any rules against it, she'd invited him to sit down.

"Well, I'm glad you're all right. When I saw that Ogre charge at you... Well I'm just glad you're all right."

Silence as he stared at his plate, looking apologetic for not finishing it entirely.

"So I heard you were right," Jaleth tried, "about the attack on the recruits I mean."

"Well, we found a..."

Cullen's words got stuck in the back of his throat when the scream of a child filled the mess hall. He dropped the plate on the table and instinctively went for his sword. As he turned around to see where the noise was coming from, he felt Jaleth's hand on his sword hand.

"Let's try to avoid blood shedding."

They looked at the screaming child, the girl was being lifted at her throat and the source of the violent outbreak was another child, barely a teenager. His eyes were black as the night and he seemed to have no trouble choking the girl with his right hand, which had an unnatural amount of strength in it.

The boy was clearly possessed.

Cullen tightened the grip around his sword as he looked down at Jaleth.

"Please, Cullen."

He was thrown of balance. If Jaleth hadn't been there he had struck the boy down already, but the desperation in her eyes made him hesitate. He ordered his men down.

"You, Devon, get everyone out of here. Brann, get the First Enchanter."

She thanked him and closed the distance between her and the children as she started focussing her will. The girl's screams were getting muffled.

Jaleth send out little waves of healing magic before she cast her paralysis spell. The possessed boy's grip loosened as the girl fell to the floor.

Cullen was there in a blink. He secured the boy as Jaleth knelt down to attend to the girl.

She was in bad shape, barely breathing and her neck filled with marks that his hand had left.

"This child needs to be dealt with," Cullen said, "before your spell wears off."

"No," Jaleth demanded as the other Templars started closing in on the kid.

"Do not touch the boy, he doesn't need to die."

"He's possessed Amell."

"Yes, and I'm telling you he doesn't need to die."

The girl slowly regained consciousness and Jaleth didn't have the heart to turn her away as she climbed onto her lap. She took the girl in her arms and felt the child's embrace as something otherworldly. Jaleth was the girl's entire universe and it choked the life out of her.

"Hush sweetheart, you're safe now."

Cullen watched her as she rocked the girl back and forth, kissing her head, stroking her hair. She looked like the mother she would never be able to be.

"What's your name sweetness?"

"Sofia," the child sobbed.

"Sofia, can you tell me what just happened?"

Jaleth felt the girl relax under her touch, it was a nice feeling, like her actions actually meant something.

"I... I don't know. Tommie had been acting strange all morning, ever since he woke up. And now, when I didn't want to share my pudding, he just snapped and grabbed me by the throat."

Jaleth kissed the girl's hair as she watched Cullen watch her, the sword still in his hand, one eye on the boy who was still contained by the paralysis spell.

"Listen to me Sofia, that was not Tommie just there. Tommie is your friend, he would never hurt you. Remember that when he wakes up from all this. Can you do that for me?"

The girl dried her tears with her sleeve.

"I... I suppose so ma'am."

"Good girl."

Jaleth and Sofia got up as Irving walked in, with Greagoir and Wynne at his tail.

"What's the meaning of this?" Greagoir said, waving a hand at the paralysed boy. "Why haven't you dealt with him?"

"Because I asked Cullen not to," Jaleth said, handing the child over to Wynne.

She watched Wynne take Sofia away from the mess hall as she stepped toward the boy. Greagoir was stuck in his ways and she was afraid he might kill the child himself.

She turned towards Irving.

"First Enchanter, do you remember Connor?"

"Of course child."

"We could do the same for this boy couldn't we?"

"With the proper amount of mages and lyrium, yes, I can't see why not."

"Because we risk too much," Greagoir interfered. "I can't have abominations running through the Tower again. What if this demon brings his friends and all hell breaks loose again? How do you know you can contain it anyway?"

"It's one boy Sir. If we take him to the Harrowing chamber, post a couple of Templars outside the door, it would almost be like an ordinary Harrowing."

She saw the hesitation on his face. The old man seemed to be listening.

"I will go into the fade and if I fail to save the boy, you can strike us both down."

Two birds with one stone.

Greagoir looked at the boy and than back at Irving.

"Can it be done?"

"It's hard, but yes, this doesn't have to end in blood. Jaleth has done this before and if she volunteers to go into the fade again, than I think we should at least try."

"Look at him," Cullen sighed, "he's just a kid for Andraste's sake."


He could not believe he was doing this for a second time, watching her like this made his mind go back to her Harrowing. He had never been more scared to lose her than he had been back then.

Sure, she was a proper mage now, but then again, so was Uldred.

She looked like she was sleeping, but the speed with which her eyes moved behind the closed lids indicated that she was fighting a hell of a battle.

He was surprised Greagoir had listened to her. Not that the old man was deaf for reason, but the fact that he took this risk with the attack still fresh on their minds. Cullen admired his decision.

"Is this what a Harrowing is like?" Devon whispered.

Cullen nodded without taking his eyes of her.

How many times had he feared for her life now? It was becoming a habit.

"Instead of engaging in chit chat you should keep an eye on that kid over there Devon."

Devon burned up as he mumbled an apologetic 'yes sir.'

It had been over an hour now and by the look on Greagoir's face time was ticking.

He had felt the demon's influence when he had carried the boy up to the Harrowing chamber. Jaleth had cast another paralysis spell but he could still feel the spirit fighting his touch. The boy had been unconscious the entire time.

She had looked him in the eye before she went limb. He was the last person she saw before entering the Fade. He wondered why she had done that, why she had looked at him, instead of Wynne or Irving, her own people, people she trusted and admired.

It had been a desperate look. Not in a very obvious kind of way, but her eyes had said goodbye to him. The feeling that she had looked insecure haunted him ever since her body went numb and had slowly hit the floor when Devon had released her on the cold stones.

She'd better come back.

He watched Wynne holding her hand, caressing it as she struggled with the demon. It looked like Wynne was pouring her own strength into Jaleth's body by merely touching her.

"She should wake up about now, right?" Devon asked, knowing he would be reprimanded again but unable to control his curiosity.

"I don't know, it's not like I ever witnessed an exorcism before," Cullen snapped.

Devon was about to ask him another question as the boy on the floor let out a loud gasp and opened his eyes. His eyes bright and blue as they had been before the demon had taken over.

Cullen draw his sword as Irving investigated the boy for any hints of corruption.

They all held their breath as the old man got up with a smile on his face.

"The demon is gone."

There was a collective sigh as the boy stared at the room filled with mages and Templars, the smell of lyrium tickling his nostrils and the sight of a sleeping lady on the floor raising his brows.

"I'm hungry First Enchanter."

The old man let out a smile. "Devon, if you would be so kind to escort this lad to the kitchen, I am sure Brunhilde could fix him something to eat."

Cullen did not share the relief of the First Enchanter as he noticed Jaleth was still on the floor with her eyes closed.

Wynne was still holding on to her hand as the rest of the people in the room made sure the child was fine.

He knelt down at where Jaleth was fighting, the sound of his heavy armour, alarming Wynne of his presence. She seemed relieved it was Cullen.

"She will make it boy, this is like a walk in the park for her," Wynne said in a low voice.

"Now hide that worried frown before Greagoir sees you."

He looked at Wynne but she just looked at her companion on the floor.

It went silent after the boy was escorted out of the Harrowing chamber. Only a handful of Templars remained.

"Wynne, she is taking too long," Greagoir mumbled.

"Just give her a moment," Wynne said, not taking her eyes of off the mage on the floor.

"She's almost there."

Cullen hoped, for all their sakes, that she was right.

He watched her face for signs but found nothing. He just noticed Wynne's hand turning purple because Jaleth seemed to be squeezing it a lot.

"She's waking up," Wynne said, letting go of her hand.

The sound of unsheathing swords made Cullen go for his own blade, but before he had it entirely out of his scabbard, he could put it back again. There was no hint of corruption in her eyes. They were as green as before the ritual had started.

"God damn abomination," Jaleth growled as she pushed herself off the floor.

"God damn abomination," Wynne smiled.

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