G is for Guile Part Two – Dragon Age Reginald Cousland Fan Fiction

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I had bathed, shaved, and set my armor aside for the crisp silks and supple leathers of the noble born. It had been a very, very long time since I had worn such clothing, and I felt like some trickster pagan god. The feel of it against my skin took me back nearly a year, when I was a lay about youngest son with little in the way of prospects and even smaller fears. It was Fergus who would take over Highever and I would while my time away however I saw fit. Before my Conscription, I would have said those idle hours would have been filled with fine mead and a woman in my arms or bed.
That is not to say I lacked education or was incompetent, for I learned my parent’s lessons. I merely grew bored with it all nearly immediately, and never would have imagined I would be the last Cousland rather than Oren or some other child of Fergus’. Maker keep your soul, my brother. You are gone, but not forgotten.*

The clothes were at once familiar and oddly alien after so long spent under the trappings of armor. Upon my meeting with Anora, however, it was the protection I would need adorn myself with rather than blades and stiff leathers. We were about to dance, the peasant queen and I. Our ballroom was built of political bricks and our steps would be made of wordplay, but that is the way of the nobility.
Running a comb through my hair, I examined myself in the mirror, and the man who looked back at me with the dark rust colored hair and green eyes seems much older than the one who I remember. Has it been so long since I have seen myself thus? No, but the toils of the Blight have changed all of us; Alistair, Morrigan, Leliana, Zevran. Even Sten and Shale have altered, and the only one who has been more or less untouched has been Wynne, ever full of advice and lectures. She means well, but she is a mage. For all her age, she does not know court, how to turn sweet words into an insult to a rich widow’s face, or insult a young nobleman with kindness. Those are things which Alistair must learn, and something which I shall teach him, for I do not mean for Anora to take the throne.
It is no more personal than how she tried to dispose of Alistair and myself. Both of us, in our way, are a threat to her rule. I do not know if I could ever hope to drum up a Landmeet’s support for myself against Loghain, but just watch me kill an Archdemon and try it if it came to that. I am, no matter how reluctantly, my father’s son, with purer noble blood than runs in her veins.

Immaculate and looking my best, which is exceptionally dashing if I do say so myself, I prepared to face the lioness in her den. I allow her to choose the tone of the waltz as I place one arm at my waist and the other behind my back to bow deeply in recognition of her station.
“I am glad you came to see me,” she begins. Demurely, she twists one of her fingers as she stares at me with startling blue eyes.

She is a beauty, there is no doubt of that, but some of the most beautiful flowers have the most poisoned roots. I am in a position to know a great deal about poisons, because what Zevran and Morrigan had not taught me, I have learned on my own.

“First, let me say that I knew your family. Eleanor in particular was dear to me, and what Howe did was … unforgivable. How fitting he died at your hands.”

“Indeed, and your condolences are appreciated.” I knew better than to take them at face value, but it was possible she meant them. “Shall we sit?” I ask her graciously and stand beside her chair as an obedient subject of the realm, cordial smile fixed in place. We have begun. “I understand you wished to speak to me.” Only once she has gracefully situated herself, giving me a generously coy smile do I situate myself to face her,

“I will be blunt.” She kept her posture rigid and proud, giving the projection of a woman who was accustomed to having her way while I relax enough to rest my ankle on the opposite knee. I am nonchalant, allowing the reputation she has heard about me to appear unchanged. I am was the Cousland frustration, the boy nearly thrown into matched marriages because of my flighty ways with women, and never one to take anything seriously. She tries to keep my attention with the piercing intensity of her gaze and I watch back, letting an almost bored demeanor slip over my face.
“Your voice will be important in days to come, and it is to you that Arl Eamon listens. It is with good reason. My father must be stopped, but once that is done, Ferelden will need a good ruler. I will welcome your support for my throne.”

If it was already your throne, then she would hardly need my support would she? The threat Alistair posed had been recognized, then. I shrugged. “You give me far too much credit. I am no longer able to hold my father’s title or lands. Surely you know this.” I had no illusions she did not, because it was common knowledge about the Wardens, and part of their reputations for taking in pariahs. “I am merely someone who is trying to put a halt to the Blight as quickly as possible. Perhaps they shall transfer me off somewhere warm after all this is over, presuming I survive.” Allowing my tone to hit certain notes she suspected me of not being half as certain as I sounded that I would come out breathing. It was true that I might perish, but we had cheated Death thus far, and it would not catch us easily.

“Indeed, you are protecting us from the darkspawn as you must,” she threw in just the right calculation of praise for me, tossing the lazy mabari a bone. “And I will do as I must for the good of our country. Alistair seems like a kind, well meaning man and no doubt he is biddable enough. These are admirable qualities if not kingly ones.”

She must have some inkling to how close Alistair and I are, but there was no hiding that. We were in council together, and have been raising armies. To the outside, likely to her father, they must have been asking precisely what we intended to do with an army of dwarves, slathering, hairy monsters, Eamon’s men and templars. Loghain’s men were many, but they had been wearing themselves thin squabbling in a civil war and ripping the already ragged country apart at its seams.
He would be able to turn that against me at the Landsmeet if he was smart, and I was not going to underestimate the strategical brilliance of my enemy. I had pulled together proof of his crimes, but he would undoubtedly hope to do the same to me. There were a good many things which he could readily use as ammunition toward Alistair and I, which was why I wanted Anora to bite the hand who had fed her so many years, and add her voice to ours.

She would not support Alistair, and that would have been far too much to hope for. If I could convince her to turn on her father, we might have a chance, however. We spoke of my fellow Warden, and how his qualities might be fine, but how he truly did not wish to be king. Anora sang her own praises of how she had loved Cailan, but it had been she who had run the country while her dear, deeply mourned husband preferred the field. “Oh,” she casually threw down the gauntlet, “there are those who would follow Alistair because of his Theirin blood, but the others would see this as Eamon grabbing for power.”

Or myself? My face remained pleasantly smiling as I tilted my head toward her, “you do have a point,” I decided slowly. “Alistair is a fine Warden, and that is the mantle we both took up willingly. The country did prosper well enough under Cailan.” I was beginning to sound bored again, as if I were distracted by the smell of food coming from the kitchens. “Forgive me. Meals are too few and far between for us. I am being rude, we were speaking of Alistair being a Theirin. I did not realize his heritage was so well know.”

“Cailan knew of Alistair, but Eamon kept him out of the courts as Maric desired.” She clasped her hands daintily in her lap, and her guard was easing. She drove her point home about my bedraggled, bastard friend. “Who else but Eamon would Alistair turn to for help? Eventually the nobility would fall into the days of constantly warring each other. Alistair’s weakness would destroy everything Maric built. I, on the other hand, am a great queen, and as beloved to my people as I care for them. Ferelden needs an experienced ruler to see it through the Blight and then after. That isn’t Alistair.”
There lay her fatal flaw and her hubris, because so long as I had breath in my body, I would help him. Alistair might have been brought up with the hounds his young life, but he was intelligent. The one flaw in him was his willingness to trust too readily, but I would not send him to the throne alone nor unprepared. With the right tools and education I knew he could and would surely not just manage, but thrive as king of Ferelden. Anora was a brilliant politician full of honey lies, deceptions, and cunning. She could play the games very well, but I asked about her father, and listened to her describe his terrible sight on only one goal to keep out the Orlesians, mixing it with his humble farmer’s origins, and an event from her childhood. Loghain had bundled up a rosebush into his saddlebags and took it personally to his wife. He was not, she seemed to be telling me, a monster, only misunderstood.

What would she do for her father? Would she betray him for her own power and gain? That was the most crucial question of all, and I had to make the bait so tasty that she would not want to betray us. I needed her voice at that critical point in time to turn the tide against some of the nobility who were still sitting on the fence. We had done our own bits of helping and undermining as we collected evidence, but I needed Anora.

“I loved my father, too,” I told her without having to feign the heartache, “so I can only imagine how much it pains you. Surely he has his reasons for all of what he has been doing, and seeks to protect us from Orlais.” It always came down to that, and I cast my line. “Truly, I would see him disposed, unharmed if possible.” I outright lied because I did not leave my enemies standing where I could help it. She had no way of knowing that, not completely. “He has served his land faithfully for many years, and I had the honor of meeting him once.” That was just before his regicide, actually, at Ostagar. “Would you propose an alliance, then, between us to help save your father from himself?” I wanted to offer power as well as possible lack of harm to her father, but he had dug his own grave. I would not greatly mind putting him in it, even if his decisions to pull his troops at Ostagar was a sound military one. Cailan was not precisely the brightest man I had ever met, so evidently Alistair had inherited someone else’s common sense.

She brightened and nodded slowly, clearly pleased that I had finally come round to that assumption. “That is exactly what I am proposing. When the time comes, you support my bid at the Landsmeet to remain on the throne. You will be seen as my father’s enemy, yet you will be in support of his daughter. You will be seen as supporting the interests of Ferelden to solely those of the Grey Wardens. In return, I add my voice to yours, and together we can do what alone we cannot. Do you see?”

She proceeded to tell me how Highever would be restored to me as part of the bargain, but she could not resist tossing in a slur that the promise of a strong queen was better than that of a weak king if Alistair would give me the same. Her words might be iron clad, but she was not nearly so stable upon the golden chair as she would like me to believe. Good. This was excellent indeed, but I pretended to agree with her with a whole heart. I had to nudge it a bit deeper to insure she was serious enough to clench it. “What if I were there beside you? You are in mourning, so forgive me, but these matters,” I sighed heavily, “they do not wait. I am Bryce Cousland’s son, and my father was well liked of the people, too. He ever supported Cailan.” Even, I reminded her with words unsaid, when my father could have been king, himself. It was why he was killed, ultimately, but he had chosen to support the Theirin line.

“Tempting,” Anora had the grace to consider it for a few seconds as she rolled the word off her tongue, “that is true.” She was trying to decide just how crafty I was and if I had delivered that as a veiled threat, reminder, or if I was blundering around like a three legged, blind dog in the dark. I stared back at her with my best beguiling smile and gave her nothing. “You are of noble blood, even if you are a Grey Warden. It would be unprecedented, but.. A man like you could make a fine prince and consort.” She began to smile fetchingly at me, “is that what you are proposing? My hand for your support?”

“I would rather be king,” I informed her with a bit of a childish sulk, playing my part to the fullest and a reputation which I knew proceeded me. I was never the responsible Cousland son. “They are the ones who get the real prestige and never have to do much, particularly if you wish to do the ruling.”
“I am tired of ruling in my husband’s name. If I marry again, it will not be as a figurehead,” she informed me firmly with a bristle. I had struck a nerve, and knew then she was likely attached enough to her power that even her father would not stand in her way from seizing or keeping it. “If being a consort is not enough, then marry Alistair. Perhaps he will bend over more easily than I.”

Well, that certainly showed her breeding by talking like one of the wenches at the Pearl, and was utterly beneath her station. If ever I had any thoughts of actually supporting her claim, that had sunk it for well and good. “You would look better in the wedding dress,” I informed her with mild wit. “What would I have to do as prince consort?”

“You would be my adviser,” she placated me, tasting victory as she batted her lashes demurely at me. No doubt it was the same ploy Eamon had described Cailan collapsing with watery knees too, and I pretended to be more than a bit dazzled. “You would spend your time almost however you want. When we attend court and functions, you would be with me.”

“I presume that will also include making heirs, yes?” I did have a reputation to maintain, and she was a beautiful woman, so I grinned as innocently as I could manage.

“Yes,” she managed a dainty blush on her cheeks for for effect, as she reached up to rub her neck behind the tight braids and look away as if she were a fresh maiden rather than a widowed matron. “That would be part of the arrangement as well. Of course.”

“You are very beautiful, Your Majesty, so what man of sound mind could ever say no?” I rose from my seat and extended my hand. She clasped it and I raised her knuckles to my lips to kiss them.

“Very well,” she agreed as she accepted the minor token of affection with a pert smile, rising to meet me eye to eye. “It is too good of an opportunity to pass up. Once I am coronated, I will take your hand as my consort. I trust you’ll keep your end of the bargain…. So we have a deal then. Now, I suppose comes the task of dealing with my father. That will be no small feat, but I am certain you already know this. I imagine you have much to do. Is there anything else you needed from me?”

“No,” I told her after pretending to mull it over and asked if there was anything she needed, ready to seem dutiful and obedient.

I truly hoped this would go well because that king killer poison was ridiculously difficult to put together.

(Author’s Note: I know Fergus isn’t dead. Reginald, however, did not know that until he saw his brother at the very end of the game.)

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* Dragon Age Origins, Dragon Age 2, the Toolset and all its characters belong to Bioware and their respective owners. This blog is dedicated to their work with fiction, tutorials, and things to share with other fans.

You may not copy and share this anywhere else online or offline without my written permission. This includes Tumblr, Twitter, magazines, books, collections, blogs, etc. Fergus, Anora, Morrigan, Zevran and the Cousland surname and setting belong to Bioware. Reginald and the story belong to me.

My Least Favorite Dragon Age Character and Why

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Although I definitely won’t be tackling the post-a-day challenge, this was inspired by your least favorite character and your favorite character.

I don’t think I could come up with something Dragon Age related every day of the month, but this made me to stand back and have a look at my own favorite and non favorite characters. Warning, ranting Whuffie ahead. Proceed with caution if you are easily offended.

My least favorite character was even more difficult to choose than the most, because there weren’t many who I truly disliked in either game. There were those who I don’t think we’re meant to like (such as Rendon Howe) but for the most part I liked at least something about them. Top of my list would be Isolde, whose very nasal voice and sobbing made me want to reach through the screen and throttle her, but she wasn’t a particularly important character who you spent much time around. If she lives or dies doesn’t have much impact either way since Eamon tends to brush it off and push on toward Landsmeet.

Tallis came to mind for being a Mary Sue, but I have to go with Anora. She is a beautiful, intelligent, independent, strong and capable women who was the ruling force behind Cailan. On the surface, she’s everything a powerful female character can be admired for, but as I got to know her and her motivations more clearly, I lost that respect.Photo

As it was once said on Deep Space Nine about the Cardassian tailor. “Why tell the truth when a lie will do?”

Anora is a politician, and to gain her ends she will lie to your face, stab you in the back, and try to get you killed. She allies herself with Arl Howe, and there are several instances in-game where it’s said she was never really a prisoner at all. If you recruit Loghain he speaks of how it must have amused her to get the Warden to come running to the rescue. She will outright admit to it by telling the Warden she had to see where his/her loyalties really lay. Arl Howe was one of the best villains in the game who was a clear cut “bad guy” and murdered the Cousland family if you’re a human noble. Anora was allied with this man while telling the Cousland Warden how sorry she is for what happened to your family, and how fitting it was that Howe died at your hands.

She betrays you and gets you thrown into prison, hoping that will be the end of you (and possibly Alistair in the bargain if he happens to be in the party.) She admits to a “terrible mistake” but with her past record I doubt it was due to conscience as much as it is to the fact she thinks the Warden will be useful to her in the Landsmeet. This part is speculation, but she blatantly lies if you tell her you will not support her in favor of Alistair. She gives a speech about stopping her father at any cost then saying she will support your decision. When Landsmeet comes, she betrays the Warden yet again with another attempt at getting them killed.

Photo While this is all very clever and true to many-a politician, I don’t find the qualities endearing. If you make her queen at the end of the game, she makes a good one. This isn’t a surprise considering how well she plays the game of politics. However, I find her a generally despicable person who is interested in keeping her power base secure above all else, including human life.

For that, I have to nominate her my least favorite character of all.

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* Dragon Age Origins, Dragon Age 2, the Toolset and all its characters belong to Bioware and their respective owners. This blog is dedicated to their work with fiction, tutorials, and things to share with other fans.

The actual content of this blog, however, is created by me. Please do not copy it in whole or part without a link back. You don’t need my permission to paraphrase, share links, or borrow any of my content. After all, it’s dedicated to Dragon Age. You can borrow it word per word or right off the page if you give me credit by linking back to my blog. It only takes a second, it’s appreciated, and that’s all I ask.

Lying in the Bed You Make – Complete Alistair Dragon Age Origins Fan Fiction

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By E. Garner

(Based on Alistair with his personality hardened.)

Alistair gave up on sleep, and he should have wanted to pull the supple, svelte body of a beautiful woman against his own after sharing his bed with her. She was the first woman who he had fully undressed for and caste aside both clothing and armor to spend the night with. Marriages were consummated on the wedding night by tradition, and he’d known that before taking the soft female hand into his at the alter. After all the elaborate parties, elegant bows from the nobility dipped, the curtsies and the flutter of fancy silks finally settled, he had dreaded what would happen after they left for private chambers. He had done his best to put on his cheerful smile, and almost wished for those fancy Orlesian masks they were so famed for while he was circulating with the guests. At least they would have hidden what he was really thinking and feeling with a lot less effort. He’d walked down the aisle of the throne room with a sensual woman to whom he was bound for the rest of his life in sacred tradition by the Chantry, but he wasn’t giddy nerves for the biggest day in his life. That was how it should have been, but the only thing pinching his guts was dread contempt.

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She was the daughter of the man who had been directly responsible for butchering Duncan and the entire Ferelden company of the Grey Wardens. One man’s paranoia, power, and decisions had almost brought the entire country right down to its knees. Had it not been for a small group of people and one golem, Loghain would have destroyed Ferelden with his petty civil war while the Archdemon stomped the country into a cesspool of corruption. He’d tried, Maker knew, Loghain had tried time and again to finish what he started in getting rid of both the Grey Wardens and the bastard son of King Maric. There had been assassination attempts, cities papered with wanted posters, bounties offered, and then busily sold his own people into slavery, poisoned Eamon, and orchestrated the murder of his own son-in-law.

Alistair didn’t doubt there were other crimes no one knew about during the year of the Blight which Loghain had committed, but Theron, damn him, had let the traitor live. The “Hero of Ferelden” had betrayed Alistair along with everything and every citizen in Ferelden by doing it. Void take the heathen Dalish bastard, and he’d even managed to keep from dying when Riordan had told them specifically that one of them would have to absorb the soul of the Archdemon. The Orlesian Wardens had arrived with questions, but Theron had taken his bows, consented to be paraded through the streets so everyone could shower him with praise for his great accomplishments, then vanished.

The new Hero stuck around just long enough to betray Alistair’s loyal friendship and ruin his life forever.

Sitting on the edge of his bed with a sweat damp sheet thrown over his lap, the newest king of Ferelden leaned forward with his elbows on his knees. Squeezing his eyes closed, he dug his fingers into his short hair, clamping his back teeth together in a vice grip. Theron had been his best friend once, and Alistair spilled blood over half the country following him. He had trusted him with naive youth, even when Alistair began to learn to stand up for himself. They were the last of the Grey Wardens, and the Dalish elf had been Alistair’s final link back to a past which included Duncan. All the friendship and love of a brother had curdled in the moment the elf had impassively argued that Loghain would be imprisoned for his crimes and Alistair was to wed the snake of a daughter which he’d spawned. No one wondered how many tears the same charming woman had shed for her last husband. Cailan was lain on a pyre by Alistair’s own hands, mourned by a small group of people which did not include his own wife. She had been too busy plotting and helping her father try and kill anyone with Theirin blood because Alistair was a threat to her control of the throne.

She’d gotten her wish, hadn’t she? She was still the queen, but by the Maker, he was king. Although she might have been able to lead Cailan around with a crooked finger and a bat of her big blue eyes, she would never do that to him. When he looked at her, all he could see was the hypocrite who had nearly destroyed Ferelden with his mad paranoia. Instead of a charming smile which won the hearts of the nobility as she coyly took her small steps with conservative sways of her hips in the tight dresses she liked so much, he saw Duncan dying bleeding, broken, and bold against the Ogre which they had found his swords embedded into.

The woman who he’d bedded was never someone who he could love or even particularly like, and the first time was supposed to be something special. He’d held off when he’d had opportunities throughout his life. There had even a been a few times during the Blight, but he’d wanted it to be right. It was supposed to be with the perfect time, with the perfect person, but Theron had taken that away from him, too, hadn’t he?

Everything in his life past Landsmeet was a bitter cheat, but he had been put into the position of king, so he’d be a good one, even if it was just to spite the traitor’s daughter who he’d been forced to marry. Tomorrow she was getting her own bedroom, and he was going to start by taking the master bedroom because he was now the king. She could go wherever she wanted, but it was going to be his first step at asserting authority around her. He refused to just roll over and let her do whatever she wanted, even if it meant fighting with her. As long as she stayed out of his sight when he went to sleep, she could have whatever room she wanted, but he was tossing her out of what was likely the same place she and Cailan had been together.

Creepy, and he would get all of her clothes, combs and whatever things women needed out beginning tomorrow, then rearrange the furniture. He’d do it with his own hands because not only did it not occur to him that servants would be willing, but it would also give him satisfaction. By his own labor he was taking control of something, not matter how small, and proving to her he wouldn’t be an obedient dog brought to heel because she was used to being the one in charge. The bedroom was going to be his, and he planned on keeping her out of it as much as possible.

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Digging his fingernails sharply into his scalp, his heart silently broke and sank into a miserable cavern in his chest. If he hadn’t become so stubborn and come to terms with his responsibility he would have just drank himself into a stupor to wait for his Calling. Unfortunately, he didn’t have that luxury because the people of Ferelden had survived the Blight, and they needed a good king. Anora had betrayed the country multiple times already with her patriarch accomplice, tried to let Alistair rot in prison, and he wasn’t going to give her the satisfaction of allowing her free reign to rule while he gallivanted around in shiny armor to play hero. He already was a hero, damn them, because he’d been there when the Archdemon fell. There was nothing left for him to prove to himself or anyone else except that he could be a good king. It was going to happen, even if he didn’t know much about governing, and he’d already started gathering people up who could help him. Fergus Cousland and his family had supported his half brother, and Alistair had a good feeling they wouldn’t change. Eamon and Teagan were behind him, and he would learn anything he needed to know. He would do whatever it took to be the king which the people needed, because he already knew his … wife … was not trustworthy.

Wife.

He’d told Theron he didn’t want to rush into anything as far as relationships went so that the first time would be something really good and memorable. Although it was the latter, it was something he would have rather obliterated from his memory and been with a whore in the pearl instead of Anora. At least that would have been honest. Being married was supposed to make two people happy to spend the rest of their lives together, but he would only know constant knots of stress alongside consistent struggling for an upper hand in the kingdom. Pain in his bottom lip made him realize he was biting it, and he stood up abruptly, no longer able to stand the sight of her.

“Where are you going?” Anora sat up on her side of the bed, pulling the sheet up modestly under her chin while leaving the outside curves of her breasts and hips strategically on display so they were tempting and teasing. Her hair was down from its usual braids and fanned out around her shoulders as she demurely looked up from beneath the spill, inviting him, but also vying to control him by offering him the pleasures between husband and wife.

Alistair glared coldly at his less than blushing bride, and barely bit off how much she disgusted him. “To the kitchens,” he told her curtly, grabbing his clothes from the floor and putting on his pants. He wanted to fight with her, just to get the stewing anger in his gut into the open, and tell her to get out of his bed. The sheets were going to the laundry before he slept on them again, too, because they stank of her perfume. It would wait until he wasn’t so tired and after he scrubbed himself for a half hour in a bath. Touching his mouth, he could still taste her lip color and it made his stomach turn over on itself like he was about to choke up a dry heave.

She’d been skilled enough compared to his inexperience, and the entire night had been a confusing, sickening swirl. He’d been awkward, not wanting to even lay with her, but that’s what married people did, particularly when they wanted heirs. She would be the mother of his child, if he could give her one, but considering the mess they had been in during consummation, he was going to have a difficult time with that. She had a good idea on how to beguile his body, which shouldn’t have surprised him the way she was so good at manipulating everything else, but it hadn’t been easy. There was no excitement or allure, even when she was obviously cooly aware of her own beauty and feminine prowess to entice a man. Everything about her was perfect the way she moved, brushing her lips against him and pressed her body into his. It was all hollow. His contempt for her and Loghain had spread into loathing himself for rutting with her like a stallion thrown out into pasture. That’s really all it was; being bred like a prize animal for an heir to the throne. He’d allowed himself to let Theron do that to him, too, and he hated the ‘Hero of Ferelden’ as much as Alistair hated himself when he was as close to Anora as any single human being could get to another. He’d managed to shut it all out long enough that he’d felt amazing for a few seconds as his body did what it had to do when trying to create a child, but he’d wanted to vomit at the same time. It had been laborious rather than pleasant and he would have rather plowed a field in the middle of the day or spent a night playing cards in a tavern.

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He had no idea if she’d enjoyed herself or not, although he’d made a half hearted attempt in the frame of mind that they were both trapped in something neither really wanted. He might have softened, even become friends with her, eventually, if she didn’t fight him for the power of the throne. He had thought there might be hope for some kind of amicable future until she moaned out a name that wasn’t his. If it had been deliberate or not, he was sure that he’d never know, but she’d called him Cailan. After that, he knew there could never be a peaceful reckoning.

He could barely stand the sight of her any more than he could face his own reflection in the mirror as he pulled a tunic over his head and left his bedroom in bare feet. She didn’t follow him, and he didn’t expect that she would. Her father’s daughter, she was arrogant and proud, so she would expect him to come crawling back. If he didn’t, then she’d imperiously ignore him and continue to rule while he took up meaningless space in the palace. He was glad to shut the door behind him, because neither of those two things would happen as long as he was alive.

The personal guard standing at the door startled him, and he looked over his shoulder unconsciously. Had they heard …? Color flushed up over his face and he had to fight to keep his eyes straight ahead of him and march down to the kitchen.

The nobility was going to want an heir, and he didn’t know if that was possible because of his Joining. It was going to be even more difficult after what he’d just experienced, because they would have to keep trying when he had no interest.

Tomorrow.

Things will start changing tomorrow.
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* Dragon Age Origins, Alistair, Anora and the setting belong to Bioware. This is a work of fan fiction and no infringement is intended.

You may not reproduce, copy, sell, borrow, or print my work anywhere without written permission. This includes compilations, the internet, other blogs, web sites and anywhere else.

Who Do I Put On the Throne? Alistair, Anora, Both or Myself? Dragon Age Origins

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I get a lot of traffic here for people asking variations of the following questions:

Should I make Alistair king?
Should I make Anora queen?
Should I marry Anora to Alistair?
Should I marry the Warden to Anora / Alistair? (How to actually do that is covered over here)
What happens if I make _______ king / queen?

The last question I can’t answer because there are too many variables for me to cover all endings, but I hope this post will shed some light on the others.

To begin, there is no right or wrong decision on who you put on the throne. Yes, it’s going to change how your game ends, but there is no magical choice which is the good ending and another which gives you a bad ending. Dragon Age is a Role Playing game, so part of the game is choices you make.

The only Wardens heavily impacted by this are a female Warden who loves Alistair or possibly a Cousland (human noble origin story.)

To help yourself decide, here are some things to take into account.

Do you like Alistair?
If you do, then talk to him. He’ll normally have an opinion at the Landsmeet itself if he doesn’t directly name himself king. Listen to what he has to say and decide what your Warden would do. If you don’t like him, then you can consider ruling through him as a puppet or can go as far as having him executed. Problem solved and you get Loghain.

Do you love Alistair?
If you’re in a romance, be aware that making Alistair the king runs the risk of your Warden losing him if you’re not playing a Cousland. You can only keep him in a romance if you make some specific dialog choices. If you do, he’ll keep your warden on the side if he marries Anora or will continue relations with her as a lover if he doesn’t marry or marries someone else. You can read more about that here.

Obviously if the Warden loves him, she should be taking his future and feelings into consideration. You should also think about hers, along with the risk of losing the relationship.

Do you think Alistair would make a good king?
Perhaps you think he’s a great guy and drinking buddy. Maybe you think he’s a sweet lover, or a determined man who has a good heart. You may think he’s interested in ruling for the good of his people, or maybe you think he’s a whiny moron. Whatever the case, decide if you think he’s going to be good for the country or if you care about that. Talk to him at your camp if he’s not in your party. Find out what he thinks about things and who he is. If you like him, pay attention to his ambient dialog chats with the other party members. If his personality is hardened or not will give him different opinions when you speak to him.

You can put Anora on the throne and Alistair will remain with you as a Grey Warden (as long as you don’t recruit Loghain.) Take that into account, as well.

Do you think Anora would make a good queen?
Talk to Anora in Eamon’s estate after you rescue her. Get to know her and her motivations. Do you see her as a strong, brilliant, independent woman who is better suited than Alistair? Or is she a conniving bitch out for her own gains ready to backstab you (or anyone else) the moment you’re in her way? Even if you think the last, maybe that’s a good trait in a queen, but it’s up to you to decide what you think.

Do you want to rule with Alistair or Anora?
You can only do this playing a Cousland (human noble Origin), but you can marry the king or queen. Male wardens can marry Anora, females can marry Alistair.

Obviously if you’re a female who wants to be queen you need to put Alistair on the throne and vise versa if you’re a man with Anora.

Do you care what Arl Eamon thinks?
Perhaps you just want him for his troopes and think he’s a doddery old man with an agenda of his own. Maybe you think he’s a kind hearted soul with a fantastic grasp of the politics of Ferelden. Talk to him, too, and get his opinions on Alistair, Anora, and their possible marriage. Decide if it’s good or bad advice.

Would Alistair and Anora be a good combo?
Again, take into account your Warden’s situation. Do you care if Alistair is going to be happy? Do you think he might be happy with Anora? Do you want to risk a break-up if your Warden loves him? Do you want to spare his life but still recruit Loghain, even if it can cost a friendship / lover? All of these questions (and more) come into play if you decide to marry them. You can ask them their opinion of this as well, so listen to what they have to say about it. Arl Eamon will also discuss it with you.

There are many, many different things which will influence Alistair by the time you get to this point. His Approval rate, if he’s hardened or not, and some of your dialog choices will all come into play. The only “right” way of doing this, in my opinion, is to do what you think your Warden would in the situation.

I’ve played it every possible way by now except with low approval. My Wardens have married Alistair, they’ve married Anora. They’ve stayed with Alistair as a Grey Warden and put Anora on the throne. They’ve had Alistair marry Anora, and they’ve recruited Loghain. It’s all varied depending on who my Warden was, the relationship to Alistair, and what their agendas were.

So take a breath, make a choice and jump in!

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* Dragon Age Origins, the Toolset and all its characters belong to Bioware and their respective owners. This blog is dedicated to their work with fiction, tutorials, and things to share with other fans.

The actual content of this blog, however, is created by me. Please do not copy it in whole or part without a link back. You don’t need my permission to paraphrase, share links, or borrow any of my content. After all, it’s dedicated to Dragon Age. You can borrow it word per word or right off the page if you give me credit by linking back to my blog. It only takes a second, it’s appreciated, and that’s all I ask.

Dragon Age Origins Marrying Alistair / Anora Game Tips Updated 2-8-10

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If you’re trying to decide who to put on the throne, you might find this post helpful.

I decided this was long enough that I’d make it a post of it’s own.

Updated 11-21-10: Added information on persuading Anora and Alistair to marry before the Landsmeet (very bottom of the page.) Also found out there may be a bug involved for the Male Warden on the XBoX and PS3. According to the WIKI the whole quest may be bugged for a male Warden to become king, but I have no way of testing this. If I ever have the chance, I’ll see for myself.

I put the PC version to the test, myself, and I was able to become king and keep Alistair so long as his personality wasn’t hardened (see below for full details.)

All of this happens at the Landsmeet where you fight with Loghain one way or another. Depending on how you play, that can end up being a huge brawl as everyone in the room fights on two sides, then a one on one fight, or just the one on one fight. Either way, you have to fight him at least once.

This assumes you’ve completed your quests correctly, and already gained the support of the people at the Landsmeet. If it’s done just right, everyone but one person will side with the Warden.

Marrying to be the princess / prince consort is only possible if you play the Human Noble Origin and you’re [Name of Warden] Cousland unless you use a mod. I’ve never used this. I have no idea if it works with the 1.04 patch (or in general). One does exists, however here. In all cases you need Persuasion. Mine is always 5 so I don’t know exactly how high it can be for a minimum.

Playing a Woman

To marry Alistair:

He doesn’t have to be at Love status with the Warden. I tested this with him being 100+ Friendly and my Warden involved with Zevran. Alistair’s dialog is different as friends, but the process was the same.

If his personality isn’t hardened you won’t have problems with either marriage no matter what sex you play as long as you have Persuasion. Follow the same steps, but it’s actually easier.

It can be tricky to get the right dialog if his personality is hardened.

Here’s what to do to make sure it will happen for you:

- Deliver the death blow to Loghain yourself.

- Alistair will hesitate on you and say that nothing has been decided, yet.

- Select “I’ll rule beside him” at the Landsmeet. (Here is where you need persuasion.)

If you don’t want him to break the relationship but you aren’t getting married (or you’re a mage/dwarf/elf) here’s what to do:

His personality must first be hardened. Although I haven’t tried it with the human noble, I assume that this also works for her if she doesn’t marry him.

When he comes in with the dreaded “We need to talk” speech make sure you select the option: “A king can do whatever he wants.” He’s always agreed to any of the options pushing him to stay, even without persuading. Persuasion may be necessary if your Approval is lower. Mine has always been 100 when I’ve done this because they were involved.

He’ll keep her on the side if he marries Anora. If he doesn’t marry Anora, it’s left open ended if he marries the Warden, takes a different wife and the Warden remains his mistress, or never marries at all. (The game doesn’t come out and say.) You also never actually find out what happens to Anora. She’s last seen locked in the tower in that case, so we’ll have to draw our own conclusions.

If you need to know about hardening Alistair’s personality you can read about it on the WIKI.

Playing a Man:

The male Warden has an extra problem over the female. Certain dialog choices must be made when talking to Anora to set things in motion.

- Either do not harden Alistair’s personality or side with Loghain by making him a Warden. This is Alistair’s crisis point so he will leave the party if you side with Loghain (unless you marry Alistair and Anora, but that would defeat the whole purpose.) Strip Alistair of his equipment or put junk on him because he’ll be taking it with him when he goes. (Same for any of the characters if they leave your group.)

- Tell Anora you’ll support her at the Landsmeet.

- Use your Persuasion to tell her you’ll need more than just her generic offer and she must marry him for his voice in the Landsmeet.

- Under no circumstance mention killing Loghain.

- Don’t kill Loghain at the Landsmeet. Let Alistair do it or side with Loghain.

If Alistair’s personality is hardened you’ll run into a problem, even if you do everything perfectly.

When the Landsmeet comes Anora will turn on her father if you play the dialog choices correctly. If you’re in doubt, then try this:

- Get Anora out of Howe’s estate.

- She’ll give you the lead on the Alienage.

- Don’t talk to Anora right away.

- Speak to the nobles in the Gnawed Noble Tavern, and wrap up your various quests.

- Take care of the Alienage.

- Return to Eamon’s estate.

- Save your game.

- Talk to Anora.

- Talk to Eamon and tell him about the slavery.

- Go to the Landsmeet.

That way if you made a mistake in your dialog with Anora, you won’t have to go back through as much to get the ending you want. If you have her convinced, she turns on her father in the Landsmeet.

Now the problem with a harder Alistair comes into play.

If you take the death blow on Loghain, Anora will not marry your Warden because he “murdered her father.” If Alistair does it, he’ll automatically declare himself king.

You don’t get the critical dialog tree where the Warden chooses between Alistair or Anora. It’s in that dialog where you can tell Alistair or Anora you’ll rule beside him/her. The female Warden can simply kill Loghain herself, but the male hasn’t that option if he wants to be king.

If his personality isn’t hardened, Alistair will waffle no matter who kills Loghain. You’ll get the dialog choices you need for marriage (male or female Warden.)

Even if you choose another person to be the champion, the death blow still has to be done by either Alistair or the Warden. (Both sexes.)

The male warden can also opt to side with Loghain which will make Anora accept him. That, of course, will give you Loghain in your party, but you lose Alistair for good.

If you want to keep Alistair in the party and become king yourself, the only way I’ve found to make it work is by not hardening Alistair’s personality.

Here’s exactly what I did to test this:

I told Alistair that I was his friend and he didn’t need Goldanna (this gives you the non-hardened version of Alistair.)

- I did the Alienage.
– Saved my game.
– Talked to Anora.
– Told her to marry my Warden for his support.
– Talked to Eamon.
– Went to Camp.
-Discussed the upcoming kingship with Alistair.
– I chose “Good, I’ve decided to support her at the Landsmeet.” He was relieved. (If he’s hardened, he’ll get a bit angry with you and give you some negative approval.)
– I went to the Landsmeet.
– I had Alistair kill Loghain by selecting “Alistair, you should do this.”
– Eamon asked me to settle the dispute.
– I talked to Anora and Alistair then said I was ready to decide.
– I got the all important dialog needed to keep Alistair in the group and become king.
Photo

Any Warden – Marry Anora to Alistair

Follow the same basic steps except…

- Speak to Eamon about Alistair and Anora marrying. He’ll be thrilled.

- Go to Anora and to Alistair and use Persuasion to convince them. I have had Alistair concede (hardened) without the conversations but I’ve also had him outright refuse. To play it safe, speak to them before the Landsmeet.

- If Alistair’s personality is hardened, make sure you take the killing blow on Loghain yourself or recruit him.

- You will get the same dialog tree as above. One of the options will be to have Anora and Alistair rule jointly. You will need Persuasion for this. Again, I don’t know the minimum because when I tested it with my Wardens, they both had 5.

- This is the only way you can have Alistair remain in the game and also have Loghain. Alistair will not be in your party if you have Loghain, but he won’t completely leave. If you’re playing a female Warden who he loves, he will not forgive her enough to remain with her as his mistress. In that instance, their relationship is over.

- This will go much smoother if you start persuading Alistair and Anora before the Landsmeet. Talk to Eamon and tell him you think they should rule jointly. You then go to each of them and convince them it’s a good idea.

The things Alistair endures for this blog.

As a test, I went back and used a respec Mod to remove all my Coercion / Persuasion Skills to find out what criteria was needed to get Alistair convinced to marry Anora.

It came down to Approval rather than Coercion. It might be possible to Persuade him with a high Coercion rate if your Approval is low. I didn’t test that. However, I was able to convince him to marry Anora without any Coercion at all.

At 100+ (Love) he agreed, although he wasn’t happy with it considering he was in love with the Warden. No Coercion used.

After feeding him many rotten onions, he gave the player numerous nasty looks and I dropped him down to +47 Neutral Approval. He still agreed without any Coercion.

More onions and one sick Warden later, he was at +12 Neutral Approval. At this point he did not agree to marriage with Anora. I think he also was trying to convince Zevran to assassinate my computer.

If you’re having a hard time getting him to agree, try giving him gifts to get his Approval up, or go through all his conversations if you haven’t already.

- Confirmed that if Alistair’s personality is hardened he will keep the Warden on the side if he marries Anora.

I used persuasion to convince Anora and Alistair to marry, took the death blow on Loghain myself, and selected they should rule jointly.

The “we need to talk” conversation was mostly the same with just some deviations to include Anora. With the choice “A king can do whatever he wants to” I got the same reaction as the play through where my Warden was a non-human noble (unable to marry him.)

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* Dragon Age Origins, the Toolset and all its characters belong to Bioware and their respective owners. This blog is dedicated to their work with fiction, tutorials, and things to share with other fans.

The actual content of this blog, however, is created by me. Please do not copy it in whole or part without a link back. You don’t need my permission to paraphrase, share links, or borrow any of my content. After all, it’s dedicated to Dragon Age. You can borrow it word per word or right off the page if you give me credit by linking back to my blog. It only takes a second, it’s appreciated, and that’s all I ask.