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December 30, 2011
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King Alistair stood smiling as he looked around at the people gathered in the Assembly Hall.  He felt the weight of the crown on his brow but was no longer worried about living up to his father and brother's memory.  For the first time in his life, he felt as though he finally found the purpose he never knew he had been searching for.  Even though he had found solace during the time he spent training as a Templar and throughout his travels as a Grey Warden, there always seemed to be something missing even if he hadn't realize it at the time.  After the crowd continued cheering for several long minutes for their new king, Alistair raised his hands to quiet the jubilant crowd while his eyes searched among them for his fellow warden companion and lover.

"I would now like to ask that the woman who made this day possible to come forward.  It was her ability to unite nations to fight as one against the Blight and without her efforts we would not be standing here today.  I call upon the Hero of Ferelden to come forth."  Everyone in the hall looked around expectantly for the Grey Warden to step forward, their excited chatter a constant buzz as Alistair's voice echoed throughout the chamber.  

After a few moments, the chatter throughout the hall grew concerned as their hero failed to appear.  Zevran appeared behind Alistair without being noticed and quietly said something to him in hushed tones, his face unreadable.  Alistair's smile faltered for a moment as he listened to the elf, but he regained his composure quickly to address the crowd once more.  "It appears that our hero has been called away on urgent Grey Warden business, but I think a boon for her loyalty to myself and to Ferelden should be rewarded even in her absence.  First Enchanter Irving, please step forth."  The crowd parted for the elderly mage who stepped forward looking resplendent in ceremonial robes befitting the occasion.  Taking his place at the base of the stairs leading up to the throne, the First Enchanter bowed his head in a respectful gesture toward the new king of Ferelden.  Alistair nodded at the elderly mage, "The Warden was once a student of magic under your purview.  I grant the mages more freedom to travel and practice magic in Ferelden without the strict chantry oversight.  The mages are still held accountable to the laws of the Chantry and of Ferelden, but they will not be kept locked away in the Circle Tower like prisoners."  The First Enchanter bowed his head in acknowledgement as the Grand Cleric presiding over the coronation ceremony stood scowling in the background unnoticed by all save Zevran who was also keeping out of sight after relaying the message of Lena's sudden disappearance to Alistair.  

Alistair asked Zevran to wait until the official part of the ceremony was over.  As the gathered crowd started dispersing onto the streets to carry on with the merriment and festivities that followed a coronation, Alistair motioned for the Antivan elf to follow him out of the hall.  Zevran's feather light footsteps were starkly contrasted by Alistair's whose heavy armor sounded as each footstep fell heavily upon the stone floor.  Alistair reached the outer chamber to his office and waved off the servants there waiting until nobody was left other than he and the assassin.

Alistair's cheery demeanor fell away once they were alone and worry creased his brow as he turned towards the elf.  "I don't know why Lena left like that."  Alistair sounded hurt, "She didn't even say goodbye.  I don't understand it."

Zevran shook his head at Alistair's naïve nature.  The man had been raised in a Chantry and had no experience with women at all.  The Antivan was always more than happy to go over any sexually explicit advice he could and even offered helping both Wardens with experimenting outside their conventional methods.  Of course, they had adamantly refused all his help.  Fereldens were such prudes, it really was a shame.  Zevran was surprised that Alistair was taking him into his confidence; usually he conferred with Wynne or Leliana regarding women and matters of the heart.  Zevran simply shrugged, "She mentioned something about not liking goodbyes, but I suspect that Lena felt it would be easier to take her leave this way."

"Do you know where she is headed?  Did Lena say anything about…me?"  Alistair had put his feelings for Lena on hold since the Landsmeet ruled in favor of him as king.  Lena had been happy for him and even congratulated him.  Now that he finally had what they had worked so hard for, she had left him without saying anything.

"Lena only mentioned that she needed to be alone.  Nothing more."

"Right."  Alistair crossed the room and went behind a desk reaching into the drawer and pulling out a large heavy pouch.  "In that case, I want to hire you to follow her.  I need you to make sure she doesn't get herself killed.  If anyone can keep out of sight and keep her safe, it is you.  I won't lie and say that I have always trusted you, but I know you care for her.  If you are with her, I will feel better knowing that she is safe."  Alistair tossed the pouch on the desk in front of the assassin.  

Zevran looked from the gold back to Alistair and picked up the bag feeling its hefty weight.  "This is quite a sum to keep one person safe."  

Alistair stood watching the elf assess the amount of gold he currently held, "I would give my life for hers.  She is not to come to harm and I will pay whatever you need to see to that."

"Do you wish to have updates on her whereabouts or for me to keep tabs on her…activities?"  Zevran raised his eyebrows at Alistair at the possibility he had raised.  Alistair had once mistaken Lena's friendship with Zevran as something more and had grown jealous of the feelings he thought she had for the Crow.  When Alistair did find out that there was nothing going on, he had felt foolish for letting his imagination convince him otherwise.  

"No.  Lena left and I plan to respect her wishes.  Sending you to make sure she is safe is already something she will make me regret if she were to find out.  I hope that in time she will return to Denerim once things settle down and we have a chance to talk.  Right now I have a kingdom to rebuild and a responsibility to my people."  

"As you wish your Majesty."  Zevran bowed his head and took his leave.  Alistair sat alone with his thoughts hoping that at least with Zevran that Lena would be safe and would soon return to him.
Yay, I got this up sooner than I thought! The preview picture is a current WIP, but it is as complete as it will get before the new year. I just thought Alistair fit the first two parts a little better than Cullen. Don\'t worry though, Cullen will be out to play once more, but I will create a new picture of him (I used an old piece I had made awhile back) to go up as a preview.

Is it bad that I want to rush to all the juicy bits that are to come?

Part One:

Origins Story: and

Want more of this story? This is the next part:
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:iconmayeurdonz:
MayeurDonz Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2011  Hobbyist Artist
His expression looks a bit wooden, but the design to his uniform is great! You've really conveyed a culture through so simple a depiction of fabric. Nicely done!
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:iconrihouston:
RiHouston Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh! Thank you for your kind comment and thoughtful critique! Yes, expressions are still something I am learning to convey in my art. I envy all artists who convey complex emotions on the people they draw. I strive to learn more about technique everyday and hopefully my next chapter installment and the picture accompanying it will do better justice to the character it represents!
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:iconmayeurdonz:
MayeurDonz Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2011  Hobbyist Artist
Good luck with it! :)
But, certainly, you are a better "realistic" artist than I am. My comics show that I am more of a Cartoonist...
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:iconrihouston:
RiHouston Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks, I can always use good luck! I enjoyed both your drawing style and humor with your Bit Nippy comic. The pace you post submissions shames me. So, on that note, I will get back to work!
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:iconmayeurdonz:
MayeurDonz Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2011  Hobbyist Artist
Good for you! Commitment is all it takes to go far!
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:iconrihouston:
RiHouston Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
For me commitment isn't an issue; I need encouragement and guidance so I thank you for your kind thoughts! :)
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