A note written in a spiky hand, in cypher, left with a sister in the Chantry in Denerim.
Dearest, dearest Lel. I can't tell yet whether I've fucked it up completely, or actually done something that will give great benefit to current and future generations. I think I've done right, I'm almost certain of it, and that also gives me pause, because pride and overconfidence go hand in hand, and the world can afford me to have neither.
The mess in Amaranthine was caused by two separate factions of darkspawn. I know, it surprised me too, because how can mindless creatures of such great appetite have any opinions over which to divide themselves? It turns out that some darkspawn -- well, one -- are sentient. The Architect was the first, so far as we can tell, a very old darkspawn with little memory of his past, but with great capacity for speech and an intense desire to free his fellow darkspawn, as well as himself, from their bondage to the Archdemon and its call.
He -- she -- it -- I'm not sure what to call this Architect, but said creature/person discovered that Warden blood will wake darkspawn to sentience. Some took this well and joined him, others -- particularly a Broodmother called The Mother, were driven mad by this freedom and the absence of the song of the Archdemon from which they apparently derive great beauty and comfort. I -- cannot say that I am surprised a Broodmother would be driven mad by awareness, because certainly they are driven mad already in becoming what they are. If I could end one thing about darkspawn, and one thing only, it would be this dependence on Broodmothers -- their existence entire, even.
Of course I'm avoiding telling you what needs saying, and you're probably looking at this letter impatiently, waiting for my better nature to overwhelm my fear of your judgement and disdain. So here you are. I have allied us with said Architect, in an effort to free both Wardens and darkspawn from the Calling, and to perhaps further find a way for darkspawn to be people as they ought to have been, both above and below the surface. It would be nice to think an end to all future Blights is possible, isn't it? And for some kind of redemption to be possible for everyone.
So I think I have this under control, and I am quite prepared to take final action if the situation calls for it. But I can't be the only person sitting on this knowledge, so that if I do fail, or miss the signs of too great a danger, someone on the outside will know, and be able to take care of it if I am not.
And our dear A, as much as he is my brother, is not currently as ruthless as one might need to be to take care of this. Maybe that day will come -- I'm not sure if I want it to.
Also, Weisshaupt has recalled me in order to discuss this latest incursion, and probably as well what exactly happened to end the Fifth Blight, and how I still live and breathe. If you wish speak in person, or to berate me, or to make sure I'm still me and not some unholy creature of taint and Fade and malice, you remember well which story of yours I liked best. I'll be there in three weeks.
With love, and affection, and great trust in your judgment,
This letter is tucked into a drawer at the Warden's desk, tucked in-between sheets of notes on ancient Elvhen magic, Arlathan, and Tevinter depredations.
Morrigan, my friend,
I miss you. Your caustic nature, your clear observations on other people's weaknesses and motivations, your push to make me second-guess my good opinion of all around me, your knowledge of magic that I don't quite understand --
I think you'd love speaking to my latest ally. Such history, such strange magics, such a chance of connection to ancient mysteries, including the source of the Blight and what it all means. I'd have a better hope of puzzling it all out if I could speak with you, and challenge my own opinions with yours.
I hope you and the baby are well. I want to try to find you, but I also fear that it would draw attention when you least need it. The birth should be soon, should it not? Please don't die. I won't have a hope of ever seeing you or the child if you do. And I'd like to.
Maybe I'll just keep an eye out for word of you, without sending searchers myself. The world is full of gossips. And maybe luck will bring us back together at least once more.
This letter is written in a fine, elaborate hand, and sealed in blue wax with the seal of the Warden-Commander of Ferelden.
My King and my Queen,
The darkspawn uprising at Amaranthine has been put down, and the surrounding countryside is more at peace than it was when you sent me here. Trade is fluorishing, and our tax burden next season will well be able to be returned to the same level it was pre-Howe's demise. The Warden ranks are growing, and I expect more new recruits soon. The repairs to the Vigil proceed apace, and we should be well-defended against raiders and bandits soon enough. Our troop levies will also be increased after this next season, so should our aid be required, we will be in position to give it.
Your loyal Arl,
Ysalwen Surana, Commander of the Grey in Ferelden and Arl of Amaranthine, first of her name
A second, less elaborate letter, written in a less ornate and much spikier hand, tucked into the courier's saddlebags unofficially --
I've made allies for us that will help keep darkspawn down, both here and in the rest of Ferelden. They'll assist Orzammar, too, but from the shadows. It's a bit of a mess, but I think it will be good in the long run. Lel will bring you more details, because much as I respect Anora -- hello, Anora's spies! Nice to chat with you! -- some things are for Warden eyes only, and perhaps one or two close associates. Weisshaupt is calling, and I'm going to go. I'll leave Nathaniel in charge while I'm away. Though he bears the Howe name, he's trustworthy, and will guard your people and your borders well.
I'll visit on my return, so you can yell at me to my face.
Attached to a box of cookies, sent to Par Vollen along with a posy of flowers and a breastplate made by Wade and Herren:
Sten, my honorable warrior friend and kadan,
I'm well. I have defeated my enemies and the enemies of my people, with your friend Liranan at my side. I'd like to visit, if there is a convenient time for such things. I trust I would be safe enough, were I to do so. It may be some months, however, as there is a great deal of business that will keep me occupied, both welcome and not. Look to Antiva if you'd like. Weisshaupt is doubtless too far for your Ben-Hassrath to want to deal with, unless it isn't.
Sataareth kadan hass-toh issala ebasit.
Sent along with an elaborate parasol and harness contraption, sized for a smaller-than-usual stone golem.
If you could pass this along to Shale, I would appreciate it. I've included a note for her, too, but given this courier looked like she'd have a heart attack if I sent her directly to our friend, this seemed like a far more sensible prospect. Next time someone with more fortitude, I promise.
How are you? The trouble in Amaranthine has mostly been settled, though some of my nobles did think to be rid of me through conspiracy. I miss your cool head and wise counsel, I'll tell you that, though Varel and my Mistress of the Exchequer, as they say in Orlais, are no slouches in the having an opinion department. I like them, and like better that they do not fear me, or fear disagreeing with me. It's more than I could have hoped for a year ago.
I wanted to ask you, too, what your thoughts are about the local schools we've started to establish for training young mages and Templars, as the Circle in Ferelden remains disbanded at my request. It is my hope that by growing and learning together, this next generation will fear each other less and respect each other more, at least as much as regular village children do by the time they are adults. If you have any other ideas, or if you run into anyone that you think would make a good teacher, please send them to Calenhad, me, or to Denerim. We need all that we can get. Greagoir is going to have kittens soon, I swear, and I definitely do not want him stepping down. He has too much trust from the remaining mages from Kinloch, despite everything. Someone new, sent by the Chantry in Orlais, might just inflame tensions rather than putting them to rest.
Here's hoping for continued peace and goodwill,
And tucked in with this note,
Several of my engineers have devised this unusual-looking contraption to keep both pigeon shit and pigeons themselves off of you. If you wear your lightning crystals, you can send a shock across the parasol structure to make them uncomfortable and hopefully train them to leave you alone entirely. And even if they prove too stupid for that, at least this way you'll have to wash the parasol rather than yourself. I know that gets tiresome.
Your flesh creature friend,
Given to a pirate captain with a prior association, along with a significant helping of gold, and taken to a dead drop on the border of Antiva and Rivain,
I'll be with you soon. Make sure to leave me some mice to play with. I find myself very hungry, of late.