future queen of ferelden

Pain - Alistair x Cousland

i.

The healers finally let him in, watching with bated breath as he rushes into the room, only to stop short, his eyes widening as he takes it in. She lays in the middle of a bed of blood, staring unseeing at the ceiling above her, arms limply hanging at her side as tears glide down pale cheeks.

Alistair think she looks like a broken doll, so beautiful and precious, but riddled with fractures and cracks, so fine at first, but spreading quickly, widening with every pain, with every time she’s laid in her own blood like this.

He walks to his wife’s side and takes her hand, but she doesn’t turn to him, merely blinking in response as he sits gingerly on the edge of the bed. “Elissa?” he asks softly, reaching over to cup her cheek, tears rushing to his own eyes as a sob cuts through the jagged silence of the room.

“Oh love.” He whispers, drawing her into his arms as she sobs into his tunic, screaming in absolute pain until she’s hoarse, unable to speak without sounding like she’d been strangled. His tunic is wet by the time she collapses from exhaustion, letting the servants strip the bed and put new sheets on, changing her nightgown as well.

Alistair watches as she sleeps, sees the trembling of her fingers as she dreams, the tears that slip from her eyes even now. The pain and guilt of not being able to have his child followed her no matter where she went, if she was unconscious or conscious. He knew she blamed herself for everything, for not being able to give the one thing he wanted most.

He looks down at her thin form, much thinner than should be normal, all sharp angles and bones, skin stretched over her cheeks, which were now a sickly white, no longer the rosy colour they were before. Her eyes are the worst, sunken in with dark circles around them, always bloodshot and red from crying, that was what made him feel the most guilty, that she cried and felt pain like no other, that she kept trying even after he’d said she’d kill herself trying to give him a child.

The pressure from the Landsmeet is too much for her sometimes, they want an heir, and they’ve begun trying to force him to take other women. She tells him its okay, but it’s something he’d never be able to do to her. He loves her more than life itself, and its children with her, or no children at all. He’d resigned himself to the fact that the taint would restrict their ability to have children.

ii.

Elissa however, had not.

The pain still lingers as she slides from bed, wincing at the dull ache between her thighs, at the dried blood that still lingers. She breaks each time she loses a child, and this child had been the most formed, she’d held him for all of two seconds before the healers had taken him away to be buried. She’d never see him grow, turn into a young man with all of hers and Alistairs features.

She always wondered how they’d look, would they have red hair like her? Or blonde locks like their fathers? She always imagined one of them would get the ‘Theirin nose’ as Alistair called it. She imagined little three year olds stumbling at their feet, chasing her Mabari around the Castle grounds, giggling as they tripped.

She wiped at tears that had formed and pulled her old leathers from behind a panel in her wardrobe, pulling them on and strapping her daggers to her back. This would never end if she did not see it through, she had lost too much to continue on like this, she knew that the loss of their children weighed on Alistair as well, it caused him never ending pain to see her so grief-stricken.

She couldn’t continue doing this to him, couldn’t live a short, tainted life beside him, both of them would be taken from the world too early, with no one to carry their memory on. She wished desperately to walk into old age hand in hand with her love, with children and grandchildren smiling as they departed together.

Elissa hadn’t known when she’d become a Grey Warden that she’d find love, let alone find it with the future King of Ferelden. She’d become Queen only to remain at his side, she could never imagined being parted from him, even when they first set out, they’d been all the other had in the world, and from there they formed a miraculously tight bond, never away from each other for more than a few days.

That’s why she knew what she was about to do would hurt them more than she could possibly imagine.

The reports from her spies had been coming in from the west for years now, always eluding to something more, but they could never get close enough to gain something concrete, something solid she could work on.

Now they finally had, and they needed a Grey Warden to unlock it, to build upon that foundation. Elissa vowed she wasn’t coming home until she had found a cure for the taint, until she and Alistair could be together into old age, and that she could give him as many children as he wanted.

She left him a long letter, her hand cramping by the time she’d finished the six pages of I love you’s and I’m sorry’s she’d written into the reasons why she was leaving.

She left it on his desk, pulling her cloak up high on her head as she snuck provisions from the kitchens, hugging her Mabari goodbye with tears in her eyes. “Take care of him.” She’d whispered, pressing a kiss to his snout before she’d turned from her whining best friend, jumping up onto her charger and rushing out the gates.

Elissa heard the warning bells and the shouts of guards long into the night. Even as far into the forest as she was.