Who Are You [Complete]

((4th Drakonis 9.35 with ))

The Shack was where she had been told it was, although by now it was nothing more than a ruin, claimed by nature and the elements. After what had happened in the Deep Roads Lessa needed to get out of Vigils Keep for a while. Lessa sat in the saddle of her horse for a moment. Just looking at the rundown building. Sister Vanessa had told her that she had been found in a rundown shack between Denerim and Dragons Peak by a travelling merchant. She had gone to Denerim to see the woman who had raised her and whose name she had taken a second name but Grey Wardens were not exactly as popular as they were when the Blight was at its height. 

Of course the sister had been pleased to see her, but when Lessa had confided in her that she wanted to try and find out who she was and where she had come from, the disfigured woman had warned her to leave alone, that she might not like what she discovered. Lessa had waved it off. she didnt much like being a Grey Warden but she had no choice in the matter about that, she was sure she could deal with whatever she may discover. Truth was she might not actually discover anything but, all her childhood she had fantasied that she was the daughter of noble and her mother had been a servant put in the family way and had given her to the chantry as a means to give her a life she couldn't give her.  It wasn't that dissimilar from the other fantasies those who had been left here as babes had. Lessa no more believed those fantasies now then she believed the Grey Warden Alistair had more than one brain cell, still she had badgered Vanessa enough so that she told her where she had been found. She had wanted to find the merchant and his wife but Vanessa said they had died in the blight. 

So after a few hours of looking she had finally come across the place that matched what her guardian had told her. Heaving a heavy sigh she dismounted and made her way into the ruin. Her boots crunching on broken twigs and actually had to climb over a tree trunk that had fallen through the roof. Lessa didn't know what she was going to find here. nothing if she was honest, but at least she knew where she had been abandoned hell she wasn't even sure if she was a native of Dragons Peak or even Gwaren further south.  Setting her pack down she took out a ration pack and a bit of meat and nibbled on it thoughtfully. Her hand moved to the necklace around her neck. She lifted it into her hand and studied it. a faded tear drop made of obsidian, apparently found wrapped around her wrist. The Revered Mother had given it to her when she was 10 and she had to get the leather ring it was on replaced over the years but other than that it was another mystery. 

Heaving a sigh she put her rations back, finished the strip of meat and got up "Well, this was a waste of time really." She murmured to herself. "Maker what was i thinking?" She was going to go back outside when something caught her eye. walking over to the corner she crouched down and moved her gauntlet over the fallen leaves and dirt to see a child's rattle. Nothing fancy and it was damaged over time but it was a rattle never the less.  Could this have been left with her when the merchant and his wife found her? Standing to her full height. she looked around her again, looked down at the rattle and picking up her pack she walked back outside to find someplace to camp for the night.  She'd return to the Vigil at first light but for tonight, she just wanted to be with her thoughts. She looked up and could see the towering foreboding Peaks where legends say a Dragon resided. a beast that gave the mountains thier name. Taking her horses reigns, she clicked her tongue and walked him to a small glade near the hovel and set up a camp there. Set a trap for a rabbit and sat waiting. her thoughts her own. 
When she had accepted the role of Left Hand, Leliana had known that she would travel extensively, though few would ever recall having glimpsed her. Yet even she had to marvel at the distances she had covered in recent weeks, having flitted between Ferelden and the Marches as she followed up on various fragments of information. Her most recent business involved a meeting in the northern reaches of the Brecilian but it had been worth the effort. Now, she travelled on foot along overgrown paths, known only to the few people who lived in this area, intent on boarding a ship from Denerim. She was overdue in Orlais.

Yet the flicker of a camp fire caught her eye. Travellers were uncommon in this area and Leliana paused in her step, her natural curiosity piqued. Only someone who had made the deliberate decision to travel this way would camp here. This was not a place for those who simply roamed. 

Moving closer, Leliana shrouded herself in shadows, giving nothing away of her presence. In the light of the fire, she glimpsed one of the Grey Wardens who served in Vigil's Keep. Oh! A promise she had made in Kirkwall tumbled through her head upon recognising the woman. The Maker did indeed work in mysterious ways. She had not thought that she would be able to keep her word for another few months at least.

"May I join you?" She emerged from the shadows as smoothly as a soul might pass through the Veil to the Maker's side. "I had not thought I would have the opportunity for company until I drew closer to Denerim." It was prudent to garner the circumstances under which the young woman had come to this place before Leliana addressed the private matter to which she was privileged.
"May I join you?"



The woman's voice startled the Grey Warden, and that was no mean feat. There weren't that many that could sneak up on a Grey Warden. Once Lessa regained her composure, She motioned to a seat across from her and poked the rabbits she was cooking. She could have said piss off but that would be rude, and this part of the Kings Highway was not the safest place to camp out for the night, whatever else she was Lessa was not a rude woman.



"I had not thought I would have the opportunity for company until I drew closer to Denerim." The woman explained as she settled.



Lessa rubbed her nose and peered at the woman a little closer. "I know you i think." She queried "Weren't you one of Couslands party at the defence of Denerim?"



She may not know who the woman was in her own right, she was too busy fighting at the gates of the prison to take much notice of who was around her and wether or not they were part of the famous companions, but she was certain the woman across from her was one of them, she just didn't know her name.



Lessa poked the rabbits again and taking a metal plate from her pack she cut some off and handed Leliana a plate and offered her a bottle of ale. "No one in thier right minds would camp this close to Ostagar." Lessa muttered "You know the stories of it being haunted by the souls of the dead and all that?" Lessa glanced back in the general direction of the ruins, her thoughts lost to the day for a moment. Sometimes just sometimes she would wake in a cold sweat as her mind replayed that day. even the Battle of Denerim, as brutal as it was had nothing on Ostagar. That was just when the world opened its eyes to the brutality of the Darkspawn. She had left Denerim with ten people that she had served in the guard with, at the end of it only her and Silas survived from their small unit, and last she had heard of Silas he had joined Arl Howes group, Silas had lost his mind to go and serve with that monster what became of him after Howe died she had no idea, rumours said that he had joined up with some bandits that preyed on merchants or travellers, if that was the case then he better pray to the Maker she never met him,.



She cleared her mind and carved some meat off for herself and used the tip of her dagger to eat it. "You can stay as long as you like," Lessa said being hospitable "I am not much company I'm afraid, came looking for answers and got none." She picked her ale up and swigged it "What brings you out this way if you don't mind me asking?"
Having been invited to take a seat closer to the fire, Leliana sat down, the flickering of the flames casting strange shadows over her face. She pushed her cowl back a little to further emphasise that she meant no harm.

The woman squinted a little, rubbing at her nose. "I know you i think. Weren't you one of Couslands party at the defence of Denerim?"

It had been some time since Leliana had been remembered in that particular manner. Now she was either known in connection with Most Holy or not at all; just as she preferred it.

"I fought alongside the Hero of Ferelden, yes," she confirmed, though she did not specifically reference Aedan. In her opinion, there was one other who was far more deserving of the title, not least because he had never ever considered himself worthy of it. "My name is Leliana."

While Lessa busied herself with cutting the hot meat, Leliana withdrew a few of her own rations, offering the dried nuts and berries in return. She accepted the ale which the Warden generously held out to her.

"No one in thier right minds would camp this close to Ostagar." The woman remarked, almost dourly. "You know the stories of it being haunted by the souls of the dead and all that?" She cast a glance in the direction of the ancient ruins, retreating into her thoughts. Leliana allowed her the time to refurface from what were clearly dark memories. No one who had survived Ostagar could have anything otherwise. 

Once the young woman returned to the present, she focused on eating her portion of the rabbit. "You can stay as long as you like," she offered, to which Leliana inclined her head in grateful acceptance. "I am not much company I'm afraid, came looking for answers and got none." She took a mouthful of ale. "What brings you out this way if you don't mind me asking?"

"I had business in the Brecilian," Leliana answered honestly. For all that she could spin extravagant lies, she had found that the truth held its own power to deceive. People created their own reality from the truth. "Before that, I was in Kirkwall." She studied the woman from beneath her lashes, judging to what extent the young woman did or did know of her past. "You have the look of a woman I befriended there," she remarked as casually as though asking the weather. "She was Fereldan although she had since made Kirkwall her home. Her name is Camilla."
"I fought alongside the Hero of Ferelden, yes, My name is Leliana."

Lessa made a silent argh as the penny dropped, she glanced skyward wondering what brought one of the Divines closest advisors here, but hers was not to ask and frankly it was none of her business. Chantry business, as the Warden Commander had said on more than one occasion, is not Warden business 

"You're senior warden Therins friend. I've seen you at the Keep."  From what she had heard about Cousland over the years, she wondered why anyone would call him friend. Well someone did she supposed. As companions of the Hero of Ferelden went, Alistair was not that bad, bit skittish and clumsy and, not that great on serious conversastions but he was ok compared to the man who led them, apparently. 

"I had business in the Brecilian,"

Lessa snorted a little, she had gone through the Brecillian on one or two occassions, if one of the Dalish had the Taint and she had been asked to go with another Warden to bring them back to the keep or join them there and then. She had also kept to the true paths and not veered off. There were talking trees in that forest and magic, strange ancient magic and she shuddered at the thought "That must have been nice for you." Lessa muttered "The Brecillian is not my idea of fun, pretty and all that but not where i would want to spend too much time.

"Before that, I was in Kirkwall. You have the look of a woman I befriended there," Leliana remarked in an off the cuff casual manner,  "She was Fereldan although she had since made Kirkwall her home. Her name is Camilla."

Lessa gave her a blank look. The name meant nothing to her. She could have gone to Kirkwall after Ostagar, Andrastes Knicker lice, she had the opportunity, how many deserted Ostagar and headed for the nearest port out of Ferelden? She could have gone, but she had responsibilities in Denerim, a man who had loved her and friends who had not gone to Ostagar. Besides from what she had heard about the City of Chains from friends who had returned from there, it was not exactly the warm welcome those fleeing from the Blight had hoped for. 

"I'm sorry, Leliana i don't know anyone called Camilla, they do say us Dog Lords look alike though." Lessa shrugged "Maybe she was born over there," She jerked her thumb in the direction of the peaks "The Revered Mother at the Denerim Orphanage believed that was where i was born. Not where i was found but where i was born. I was found over there." She pointed to the shack
The mention of the woman whom Leliana knew was the birth mother of this Grey Warden produced no reaction from Lessa. "I'm sorry, Leliana i don't know anyone called Camilla, they do say us Dog Lords look alike though." She gave a small shrug. "Maybe she was born over there," she accompanied the words with a jerk of her thumb, indicating the silhouette of Dragon's Peak. "The Revered Mother at the Denerim Orphanage believed that was where i was born. Not where i was found but where i was born. I was found over there." This time, she pointed to the dilapidated shack which was falling in on itself not far from the campsite.

The information matched what Leliana had heard from Camilla herself. She was certain that this was her long-lost daughter, but how to share that knowledge without causing undue distress? Chewing lightly on her lip, Leliana considered the problem as a puzzle, much like she worked out how to make use of the titbits she learned through her network. Very rarely did a perfect solution present itself in its entirety. She had to create opportunities for the truth to be revealed; this was no different.

"Found?" Leliana repeated, her voice feigning surprise. "How old were you when you were found?" She leaned forward, resting her chin on her upturned palm. Her interest was not pretence. No matter whether she was a mere Bard or the mighty Left Hand, she adored stories. "This is quite so distance for a baby or even young child to be brought." She deliberately did not press further so that Lessa did not feel pressured to share more than she was comfortable.
"Found? How old were you when you were found? This is quite so distance for a baby or even young child to be brought.

Lessa raised her gaze to see Leliana sitting with her chin on her palm and what looked to be an interested expression on her face. Part of Lessa couldn't believe that the fabled Leliana was here, sitting here with her at her campfire and she looked so damn comfortable, and why wouldn't she, she did spend nigh on a year with the Hero of Fereldan and others trying to save Fereldan. Lessa moved from the tree trunk she had been sitting on and to the leafy floor her back resting against the trunk. She took her gauntlets off and rested them beside her and her helm to reveal a mass of raven black hair with a natural white fringe that framed her stunning features. Her hazel eyes rested on the fire for a moment, and she wasn't sure if Leliana was being polite or genuinely interested. What did it matter if she told her the tale? it wasn't as if it was big secret, and it wasn't as if she was the first child to ever be left in the wilderness. There were others in the Orphanage that had suffered a similar start to life. 

Lessa fiddled with her ale and then took a swig of her ale. "I was found by a travelling merchant and his wife, and from what i learnt i was a couple months old." Lessa glanced at the shack once more "I was found by a travelling Merchant and his wife and, from what Sister Vanessa and Brother Bernhard told me, the wife nursed me until they go to Denerim and handed me over to the Orphanage." Lessa scratched her nose and raised one knee, resting her arm on her knee, the bottle dangling loosely in her hand. "I am afraid its not as exciting as the things you have done. Maybe i was born on the road and left here, or maybe she came here and rested and after having me for a couple months decided i was not what she wanted. Who can say?"

Lessa lifted her shoulder in a shrug and swallowed some ale and ate some meat She allowed a wistful smile to cross her face as she recalled her childhood and the silly fantasies her and her friends had. 

"I sometimes thought i was the daughter a of serving woman and a noble, but," She added with slight hint of amusement "We all know that doesn't happen, i mean just ask Alistair." she chuckled a little "When i got older i realised that the truth was i was probably the daughter of a prostitute or down and out woman who didn't wan the trouble of raising a child. Maybe she left me here so i would be found and if that was the case then i thank her for it at least, or maybe she left me to become food for the wolves and if that was the case, then i think i would prefer to think about the first scenario." Lessa looked across to the shack "I had a mother figure in Sister Vanessa and a father figure in brother Bernard, he was a templar at one point, he was always looking out for me, he taught me to fight and tired to get me to join the Order, " She lifted the necklace and looked at it "This was wrapped around my wrist apparently, and for some reason Brother Bernard always seemed to look at it, i must admit its unusual but I've worn it since i was a young girl. Consider it a good luck charm, it saw me through the Orphanage, saw me through Ostagar and saw me through being tainted. Kinda feel naked without it." Lessa glanced at the sky to see the moon begin to rise "Sister Vanessa was burnt in the orphanage when the darkspawn tore through Denerim, she is now mother Vanessa and is still at the Orphanage, it was one of the first buildings the Queen wanted rebuilt, and why not, there were an awful lot of orphans in Denerim after that. Bernard died in the initial assault protecting the Chantry as he was always want to do. The man I loved died at Drakkon Prison and in 9.31 i was joined to the order after getting the taint. So like i said, nothing particularly exciting."  Lessa stretched a little and canted her head a bit, "What did you do after it all ended?

Once Lessa made herself more comfortable, she began her tale amidst sips of ale. "I was found by a travelling merchant and his wife, and from what i learnt i was a couple months old." She looked towards the ruined shack again. "I was found by a travelling Merchant and his wife and, from what Sister Vanessa and Brother Bernhard told me, the wife nursed me until they go to Denerim and handed me over to the Orphanage." She shifted position as she became caught up in her recollections. "I am afraid its not as exciting as the things you have done. Maybe i was born on the road and left here, or maybe she came here and rested and after having me for a couple months decided i was not what she wanted. Who can say?" She gave a small shrug before taking a break for some food and drink.

Finally though, she returned to her explanation. "I sometimes thought i was the daughter a of serving woman and a noble, but," amusement coloured her words, "we all know that doesn't happen, i mean just ask Alistair." A soft chuckle escaped from her. "When i got older i realised that the truth was i was probably the daughter of a prostitute or down and out woman who didn't wan the trouble of raising a child. Maybe she left me here so i would be found and if that was the case then i thank her for it at least, or maybe she left me to become food for the wolves and if that was the case, then i think i would prefer to think about the first scenario." Her eyes drifted back to the ramshackle building. "I had a mother figure in Sister Vanessa and a father figure in brother Bernard, he was a templar at one point, he was always looking out for me, he taught me to fight and tired to get me to join the Order." Her hand crept to her necklace, fingers playing with the trinket. "This was wrapped around my wrist apparently, and for some reason Brother Bernard always seemed to look at it, i must admit its unusual but I've worn it since i was a young girl. Consider it a good luck charm, it saw me through the Orphanage, saw me through Ostagar and saw me through being tainted. Kinda feel naked without it." She lifted her eyes skyward to the rising moon. "Sister Vanessa was burnt in the orphanage when the darkspawn tore through Denerim, she is now mother Vanessa and is still at the Orphanage, it was one of the first buildings the Queen wanted rebuilt, and why not, there were an awful lot of orphans in Denerim after that. Bernard died in the initial assault protecting the Chantry as he was always want to do. The man I loved died at Drakkon Prison and in 9.31 i was joined to the order after getting the taint. So like i said, nothing particularly exciting." She stretched before looking to Leliana, angling her head slightly in her curiosity. "What did you do after it all ended?"

A breath of laughter spilled from Leliana, her eyes sparkling in the flickering light of the fire. "Many things," she replied, knowing it was no answer at all. "There was much to do and not nearly enough people to do it all." She lifted the lip of the bottle to her lips, taking a deliberately slow slip.

What Lessa had shared reflected much of what Camilla had said, albeit from the opposite perspective. Yet it was clear that unless Leliana provided some information, it was unlikely that the young woman would ever piece together the many fragments of her past. So although she would not rob Camilla of her opportunity to - maybe - meet with her grown daughter and explain it all fully, she would share the more pertinent details of what she knew.

"I did not misspeak earlier," she began, quiet but firm. It would not do for Lessa to believe she did not believe her own words. "You do have the look of a woman I met in Kirkwall. She provided some information for me and asked for a favour in return. I was surprised but pleased that I could agree to it: she wished me to take news to Vigil's Keep of her existence to her daughter. To you." She watched Lessa closely for a few moments, allowing the news to sink in. "I do not know how she knew that you have become a Grey Warden but she knew something of your life over the last few years. That is how I knew I could find you, though I admit I did not expect to find you here."
"Many things There was much to do and not nearly enough people to do it all." Leliana  lifted the lip of the bottle to her lips, taking a deliberately slow slip.and  Lessa knew a cryptic answer when she heard it. She also knew enough to not pursue that avenue, if the Left Hand of the Divine wanted to keep her journeys to herself then that was her business and Lessa didn't poke in other peoples business, wasn't her job anymore. 

It was what Leliana said next that, had Alessandra not been sitting on the ground, she would most certainly have fallen off the stump she had been sitting on. 


"I did not misspeak earlier,"  Lelis voice was calm, stern but calm and that would have anyone's attention. "You do have the look of a woman I met in Kirkwall. She provided some information for me and asked for a favour in return. I was surprised but pleased that I could agree to it: she wished me to take news to Vigil's Keep of her existence to her daughter. To you." The way the Left Hand looked at her, made Lessa think she was being scrutinised, and she wondered if everyone that came into contact with this lady got that feeling. "I do not know how she knew that you have become a Grey Warden but she knew something of your life over the last few years. That is how I knew I could find you, though I admit I did not expect to find you here."

Lessa didn't say anything, not for a moment, her thoughts her own, but as she picked up her ale she felt her hands begin to tremble a little. "Kirkwall," She muttered "She's in Kirkwall" It wasn't a question, more voicing what Leliana had said as if to settle it in her mind "She went to Kirkwall and knows about me, but didn't come back for me...not sure how i feel about that."  She was glad she had survived the Blight and all that, anyone who survived that deserved to live, still it was a bit of a hard pill to swallow. Her hand moved to her necklace once more, as if she was drawing comfort from it. 

It was a long silence as Lessa allowed the information to sink in. She began to wonder just how much this woman did know about her life, and if the Chantry had, not told her everything, Mother Vanessa did warn her that no good would come of this, and what did it matter if she knew who her mother was or not? unless her father was someone of importance...She stopped those thoughts, if she carried on thinking like that than she was going to drive herself insane. 

"So, if i wanted to get in touch with her, where do i send a message?" Lessa muttered looking at the bottle in her hand "Grey Wardens have an outpost in Kirkwall i am sure if, the need arose i could, travel out there to resupply."  her beautiful features morphed into a frown, "If nothing else then I'm doing what the Warden Commander expects."
Given the enormity of what Leliana had just revealed, it was unsurprising that Lessa required a moment to fully comprehend it all. "Kirkwall," she repeated, her hands trembling slightly. "She's in Kirkwall." A brief pause while the meaning of the words settled in her mind. "She went to Kirkwall and knows about me, but didn't come back for me...not sure how i feel about that." Her fingers curled around her necklace once more.

Since Leliana could offer no further explanation as to why Camilla had made the choices she had, she did not give voice to empty platitudes. Instead, she allowed Lessa to draw strength from the silence which settle over the pair of them, broken only by the soft sounds of the surrounding night.

"So, if i wanted to get in touch with her, where do i send a message?" Lessa stared down at the bottle she held. "Grey Wardens have an outpost in Kirkwall i am sure if, the need arose i could, travel out there to resupply." She began to frown. "If nothing else then I'm doing what the Warden Commander expects."

"I can give you the necessary details," Leliana assured her. "Be it by messenger or in person, you will be able to reach out if you so choose." Her gaze fell once more to the unusual necklace just as the light of the fire caught it in a particular way. Understanding, or at least insight, dawned on Leliana. 

"You said that the Chantry Brother held a special interest for your necklace?" she enquired, nodding towards the piece of jewellery. "I cannot tell you much beyond that I recognise the symbol as having importance to the Templars." She lifted her shoulders in a light shrug. "Perhaps that might be something you wish to follow up on before making contact with your birth mother."
"I can give you the necessary details,  Be it by messenger or in person, you will be able to reach out if you so choose."  Lessa nodded her thanks but remained quiet, her expression impassive as she took in what the other woman told her. However, it seemed that this was not going to be just one night for interesting revelations As Leliana's gaze also seemed to fall once more to Lessa's necklace and for some reason, some unfathomable reason she seemed to understand about it. 


"You said that the Chantry Brother held a special interest for your necklace?" she enquired, nodding towards the piece of jewellery.

"He was with me when the Revered Mother gave it to me," Lessa replied with a soft smile that seemed to break the normally stern features of the Grey Warden "Its a pretty thing and seems to have been my good luck charm all these years, but i can't honestly see what his fascination with it was" Truth be told Bernard had always seemed to make sure she wore it, and kept it somewhere safe or would look after it for her when it was her bath night. The Revered Mother was most strict on that, after lessons and play she had insisted the children were bathed.

However she did not expect Leliana to have an opinion on it. "I cannot tell you much beyond that I recognise the symbol as having importance to the Templars." Leliana  lifted her shoulders in a light shrug. "Perhaps that might be something you wish to follow up on before making contact with your birth mother."

A Templar? but the only Templars Lessa knew were....Oh maker. Her head dropped a minute and she rubbed the bridge of her nose with her thumb and forefinger a weary sigh escaped her lips. Alistair was a no go because apparently he hadn't been a Templar long enough to take his vows or his first draught, Duncan. so she had been told had recruited him right from the monastery …. well seeing who that special little snowflake was, not surprising really, and that just left....

"Oh Maker preserve me" She muttered and this time she downed her ale in one, 

Her suggestion was greeted with an odd reaction from Lessa. The young woman seemed to sag and she sighed heavily, pinching the bridge of her nose. "Oh Maker preserve me," she said beneath her breath, gulping down the remainder of her ale.

A soft trill of musical laughter fell from Leliana's lips. "An interesting response," she observed, her eyes twinkling. To what extent Lessa had connections with the Templar Order, Leliana had no cause to know. Yet she could make an informed guess as to whom the young woman was thinking in that moment. There was but one fully trained Templar amongst the Fereldan Grey Wardens - and very vocal about it, too. "However, he may be your only option for the immediate future." There was continued unrest between the Chantry and the Grey Wardens at the moment; Leliana doubted that they would welcome an enquiry, no matter how far removed to the issue of lyrium.

Setting down her bottle, Leliana made to stand. "The night is clear," she remarked, lifting her face to the darkened sky. "I think I will press on. I am glad to have met you, Lessa." She looked down to smile at the woman, warm and welcome. "I will be sure to say 'hello' the next time I visit Vigil's Keep."