Becoming - Chapter 7

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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 7: Distractions

The early summer sun beat down on Alistair's bare back as he sparred with the straw dummy in the training ring. His armor had been shed as the heat increased and lay in a pile in the dirt. Maker, did no breeze ever reach this far into the city? Sweat poured off him, stinging his eyes and making the grip on the hilt of his sword uncertain, but his mood begged for some kind of diversion. Anything to keep him from thinking of...that. What Duncan had told him.

Sparring with the dummy wasn't working, in that regard. His body moved in the repetitive, comfortable actions automatically, leaving his mind to wander, and think, and surmise, and fume.

With a grunt, he ran the dummy through, and straightened. It also didn't help that he'd heard that Cailan had returned from whatever diplomatic voyage he'd been on. He couldn't walk around a corner without wondering if he'd bump into his half-brother. Rationally, he knew it wasn't bloody likely that the King would be traipsing about the Grey Warden compound, but Alistair held no illusions about being the most rational of men.

What he needed was just to get out. Away. Not far, and not for long; he had a duty, and he understood duty all too well. But a break would be welcome.

The water in the barrel at the edge of the training ring was warm from the heat of the day, less than refreshing, but it washed away some of the sweat and grime. He shrugged into his undershirt and armor, and strapped his sword and shield to his back. Then he headed to the dining room. He'd discovered that there were always one or two Grey Wardens eating at any given hour of the day. He'd wondered at that, until the hunger pangs gripped him in the middle of the night on his second day after the Joining. By Andraste, he'd never felt so famished in his life, even during the growth spurts of his adolescent years. He'd rushed into the larder, grabbed whatever food he could find, and began stuffing his face indiscriminately. He didn't look up until someone cleared their throat, and just about died from embarrassment to see a handful of Wardens staring at him.

Then they'd laughed and clapped him on the back, and that was one more thing that made him one of them.

Gregor, the Anders with the massive beard, and Jon, a slim twig of a man, waved him over as he entered the dining room. Unsurprisingly, a tankard of ale sat in front of Gregor, half-empty. The man's constitution was legendary. One day, they'd get him drunk. One day.

"Hey, Alistair," Jon greeted him, smiling. "You look like something crawled up your arse."

Alistair smirked and shook his head. "You have quite the way with words, Jon."

"That he does," Gregor rumbled. "But he speaks the truth. What's the problem, lad?"

"I need to get out for a bit."

"A mite stir-crazy, yes?" Jon's smile grew. "You have coin?"

"A bit," Alistair admitted. "Fifty silvers or so."

"Excellent." The skinny man's eyes twinkled.

"Jon," Gregor started, but the smaller man held up a hand to silence him.

"Try the Pearl, lad. South of the Market District. There's a right amount of fun to be had there, I tell you."

"It's a tavern? With entertainment and whatnot?" That could be good, he decided.

"Oh, aye, lots of entertainment." Jon chuckled.

"All right, then." Alistair grinned. "Thanks."

Gregor groaned. "Just...don't ask for a surprise, boy."

Alistair's brows drew down, puzzled. "Okay. No surprises. Got it."

"Have fun!" Jon called as Alistair left the dining room.


The gates district of Denerim had nothing on the Market District. He froze at the entrance, half-tempted to seek refuge in the Chantry next to him. So many people. So much noise. It was so different, and yet...fascinating. He thought he might have been here once before--he vaguely recalled a trip to Arl Eamon's Denerim estate when he was very young--but everything seemed new to his eyes. He took a step forward, and another, and let the experience wash over him. People brushed past on all sides. After a moment, the cacophony began to separate into distinct sounds: merchants attempting to entice passersby; customers' voices raised in righteous indignation over prices; children's laughter as they raced about the common area; and the low hum of the Chant emanating from the squat Chantry behind him.

Wonderful. Absolutely wonderful.

He wandered around the market for awhile, pausing at stalls that captured his attention. There was the jeweller's, with rings and pendants and necklaces that made him think of his mother's amulet, the one he'd thrown at the wall in a fury when Eamon had announced he was to be sent to the Chantry. The only thing he had of his mother's, and he'd shattered it in a fit of childish rage. Idiot.

He moved on. A weaponsmith's stall caught his eye next, a rack of swords that glittered in the midday sun. With a smile, the smith gave him permission to heft one of the blades. Well-balanced, much better than the hand-me-down weapon he'd used for years--but too far out of his price range. With an apologetic shake of his head, Alistair returned the sword back to its place and decided it was time to find the tavern Jon had mentioned.

He headed south, out of the Market District. He could feel eyes on him as he made his way through the various alleys and back paths, but he saw no one threatening. Perhaps the watchers decided his sword and shield meant he would be more trouble than he was worth.

The Pearl was a well-kept establishment, at least from the outside. It looked clean, at any rate, the paint on its walls fresh, the shutters on its windows straight and prim. It even had a pair of flower pots on either side of the front door. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Alistair stepped inside, wondering if the entertainment Jon had spoken of would be a band of minstrels, or perhaps a troupe of dancers. That would be fun.

His feet froze on the other side of the threshold.

Breasts. Everywhere he looked, breasts. Dear Maker above. What was this place?

One of the owners of breasts sauntered up to him. She wore robes of some kind, dipping low enough in the front to leave little to the imagination. Dark, curly hair cascaded over one shoulder, moulding suggestively to her ample curves. A fingertip swept along his arm and she smiled, a welcoming, sultry smile of which he'd never seen the like.

Could one's head explode from a smile?

"Hello, handsome," she purred. "I've not seen you here before. New in town?"

"I, uh." Alistair swallowed. His brain stuck out its tongue at him and meandered off, while to pay attention. "I'm new, yes. To Denerim. Not to Ferelden, because I've, uh, lived here my entire life. Not here here, of course, because I'm new, but..."

"Aren't you a sweetheart?" Her smile was a little warmer now, reaching her eyes. "And what brings you to Denerim?"

"Grey Wardens." He cleared his throat. "That is, I'm a Grey Warden."

"Oh." The sound was drawn out on a low sigh. "I've heard...things...about the Wardens."

"Really?" Alistair closed his eyes as his voice squeaked. Maker. "What kinds of things?"

"That legendary," she said, leaning in. Her breath seared his cheek. "That you can go all night. That one woman is never, ever enough."

He was going to die. Right now, here. He was going to be struck down by the Maker for his sins. Okay, so, he hadn't done anything yet, but the Maker knew His children's minds, and there was no doubt where Alistair's was. At any moment, lightning was going to arc from the heavens.

"Ruby, who's this handsome lad you're fawning over?" A second woman, blonde, blue-eyed, swayed over to them. Her robes were just as revealing as Ruby's, showcasing porcelain skin with a smattering of freckles that dipped between...

"This, my lovely Opal, is a Grey Warden come to the Pearl for a bit of fun. Shall we see if the tales are true?"

"Oh, my. The ones about their appetites? Yes..." Opal's summer-sky eyes swept up and down. A perfectly pink tongue darted out to wet her lips. "Let's."

Yes. Dead. If the Maker didn't kill him, his heart would soon stop. No doubt.

"Girls, girls." A third woman approached, this one dressed a bit more demurely than the two currently hanging off Alistair's arms. She grinned crookedly, one eyebrow arched. "I appreciate your eagerness, but I do have a business to run. Welcome to the Pearl, lad, Denerim's finest house of...adventures. Can I interest you in either of these fine ladies? Or, perhaps..." Her smile grew. "Both?"

"I, uh." You're a gentleman. This is not what good Chantry boys do--

Yes, but he wasn't in the Chantry anymore, was he? And this would definitely be a distraction.

"How much?" Maker forgive me.

"For you, lad, because I'm just as interested to see if the tales of Grey Wardens are true..." The proprietor winked. "Thirty silver for one, fifty for the two."

Thank the Maker he didn't try to haggle for that sword. He reached for his coin purse...

It wasn't there.

"What the..." He patted his armor, but no, he wouldn't have stashed it elsewhere. "I was pickpocketed!"

"Blast it," Ruby said, pushing away from him.

"Next time, lad." The proprietor shook her head and walked away.

Opal leaned in and brushed her lips to his cheek. "Too bad," she whispered. "Come back, though, and look me up."

Alistair watched the two women sashay away in search of other patrons. He turned, sighing, and left the Pearl. Outside, he looked up at the clouds wafting across the clear blue sky.

"I get it, I get it," he muttered. "Thank you for holding off on the lightning."
Alistair, bastard prince and former templar, embarks on a new life as a Grey Warden.

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Freckles04's avatar
Glad you liked it!
Freckles04's avatar
And that would be why Alistair is still a virgin. Hehehe.