erects pyre

What Lies Behind the Throne Chapter 12/?? Part One

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- Sorry for the long delay between the last chapter and this one. I won’t go into it, suffice to say, updates should resume as normal and stay steady until the - end of the fic. I hope!

- As always, I have endless gratitude and love for my beta readers, @razerathane and @bluvixen who are both far smarter than me. 

- Chapter rating: Mature [nsfw]

- Chapter summary: Two weeks since the news of Maric and Cailan’s demise reached Alistair and he remains in staunch denial, until proof reaches his hands. Shaken by the news, the grieving Prince suffers in silence while Roselyn feels powerless and unable to offer adequate support. A memorial service for the city of Denerim looms over them and Alistair must give a speech. They find comfort in each other, even if it’s momentarily, and get ready to face the coming storm.

Two weeks later.
Month: Mid-Harvestmere

The deaths of Maric and Cailan were kept hidden from the people of Ferelden until the urns carrying their ashes were delivered to the palace almost a week later. They arrived with as little ceremony as possible so not to draw attention, transported by four Orlesian chevaliers on white steeds. Alistair greeted them in the palace with Teagan and Roselyn and received the urns with as much grace as he could muster. Roselyn could see that the moment Alistair was given the urns everything suddenly became far more real.

In the week since the news was delivered Alistair remained in staunch denial. Teagan made the mistake of calling him ‘Your Majesty’ once or twice and was silenced with a sharp glare and an uncharacteristic bark of aggression. He carried on as if nothing had happened and when asked about the whereabouts of the King and Prince, he lied. He told courtiers, petitioners, and nobles alike that there was foul weather and the crossing was too risky.  He assured them, and Roselyn suspected himself, they would soon be back. Behind closed doors he weakly joked that it was a terrible prank planned and perfectly executed. He told himself and Roselyn over and over that the King and his brother would arrive at the palace in a week or two and laugh themselves sick at the terror they had subjected him to.

He considered it a cruel jest but would be pleased to see them. But when the urns were delivered into his hands, the joking stopped and the air of reticent denial seemed to dispel from around him.

The urns were as unremarkable as their arrival. Made of dark obsidian, they were plain to look at but shone in the light. Practical and simple in design, each with a lid and handles on both sides so they could be carried. They were not heavy, and the chevaliers kept them in a wooden box lined with deep blue velvet to keep their cargo safe. Alistair insisted the chevaliers remain in Denerim to rest for a night or two before they departed for Orlais again. They reluctantly agreed, more due to Alistair’s desperate insistence than anything else.

On Alistair’s confirmation, Teagan wrote out several missives and gave them to messengers to distribute to the Arls of Ferelden who would feed the information down to the Banns under their care. The message was brief and to the point:

“Now is a time of great sadness and loss. Our beloved King Maric and crown Prince Cailan perished in the waters off the Orlesian coast this past 20th Harvestmere, and all the souls aboard the Queen Rowan with them. The Empress Celene is working with us at this time to return as many of those who died to their native land so they can receive proper burials and rites.

As we mourn together at this time, you are invited by Prince Alistair to come to Denerim and share in the grief and sadness no doubt felt by all of Ferelden. Nightly vigils will be held, and a week hence there will be a public funeral for our lost King, Prince, and those we lost with them.

Please inform this grave news to all. Have the heralds inform the people of Ferelden so they may mourn with us.”

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