Becoming - Chapter 6

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Literature Text

Title: Becoming
Author: Freckles04
Game: Dragon Age: Origins
Character: Alistair
Disclaimer: Originally posted on BSN and The world of Dragon Age belongs to Bioware, and many thanks to them for encouraging community creations.

Chapter 6: Brotherhood

He met the rest of the Wardens at dinner the next day.

Duncan led him and Garth into the dining hall, to soaring applause and raucous catcalls. Ale flowed freely, as did the fine foods, and Alistair soon found himself singing a song he didn't know at the top of his lungs, to much encouragement and laughter. Even Duncan smiled widely, clearly amused by the ease with which Alistair settled into the group.

Maybe it was the half-dozen mugs of ale, but for the first time in his life, Alistair felt accepted. Welcome. Like maybe...maybe he'd found his place. He didn't feel like a misfit here. He might be a bastard, and a prince, and an almost-templar, but none of that mattered. He'd taken the Joining, and he'd survived. He was one of them.

It was an amazing feeling.

Over the next few days, he fell into an easy routine of sparring and drills in the morning, and chores in the afternoon. Thankfully his chores did not include scrubbing pots or mucking out stalls. Mostly they were administrative, learning about the Grey Wardens and their place in Ferelden, the history of the order, and the country itself. Education without religious flavoring was a new experience, one he greatly enjoyed.

On the third night after his Joining, the nightmare returned. Slightly different, but no less horrible.

He woke, bathed in icy sweat, to find Duncan sitting at his bedside. He gave Alistair a moment to collect his thoughts, then rose. "Come. We have much to discuss."

Alistair traded his night clothes for shirt and pants and followed the Commander to his office. Duncan offered him tea, which was really kind of odd, since he had the impression that the discussion they were about to have was big, and tea just didn't seem to be strong enough to go with it. But he accepted the mug and let the hot liquid soothe away the remnants of the dream.

Duncan settled himself behind his desk. "Being a Grey Warden means being able to sense the darkspawn. You know that already."

"Yes, you've said that before." Alistair took a sip of his tea. "Is that what the dreams are?"

"Exactly so. When we sleep, our natural mental barriers fade, letting the presence of the darkspawn into our minds without any filters," Duncan said. "Our minds then take that information, process it into something we recognize--a dream--and thus we experience these types of nightmares."

"Lovely." Alistair rubbed a hand over his face. "So I'm going to be haunted by these--these nightmares forever?"

"No, not forever, I'm afraid." Duncan held Alistair's gaze, and Alistair couldn't read the other man's eyes. "A Grey Warden's lifespan is limited by the taint. Your body fights the corruption, but eventually it will lose the battle."

"Eventually..." Alistair stared at him, the meaning of Duncan's words slowly seeping into his brain. "What do you mean, 'eventually'?"

"Grey Wardens live for roughly thirty years after their Joining," Duncan explained, his voice quiet. "Some more, some less. Over their lives, most Grey Wardens learn to block the darkspawn dreams, but when they return--and they inevitably do--the Grey Warden knows that his Calling is upon him. Tradition dictates that he journey for one last grand battle against the darkspawn in the Deep Roads."

"Wait." A smile played over Alistair's lips and he placed the half-empty mug on the Commander's desk. "You're joking. This is some kind of initiation thing, right? Scare the junior member so you can laugh and point?"

Duncan shook his head. "No, lad."

Alistair stared at him for a moment more, then launched to his feet. He strode away from the desk, a half-dozen steps, before turning to face Duncan once more. "You're saying--" His throat closed, choking off his words. "You're saying that I'm going to die? Maker's breath."

Duncan stood and walked around his desk to approach him. "Alistair--"

"How could you do this? I--I trusted you. And now you reveal that the wonderful concoction I drank, that could have killed me, is going to kill me anyway?" His fists tensed at his sides. He wanted to smash something--anything--to release this fear and anger and horrible, horrible sense of betrayal.

"Alistair." Duncan laid his hand on his shoulder. "Everyone--mage, templar, noble, commoner--dies. Any one of us could fall in battle against the darkspawn. As a templar, you would have faced death each time you hunted a mage. It doesn't matter who we are--death is assured. It isn't important how you die, but how you live."

Alistair shrugged off Duncan's hand and backed away. "Pretty it up however you like, Duncan. The fact remains that I am going to die. And you're the one who killed me."

He turned and strode out of the room without a backward glance.
Alistair, bastard prince and former templar, embarks on a new life as a Grey Warden.

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kitiaramajere's avatar
pretty much my reaction first time, lol.
Freckles04's avatar
Yeah, I thought Alistair saying he was "angry" in game was probably an understatement. :)