Sleeping with my past tonight. (solo) (Complete)

24th Drakonis 9.35

The city of chains. 

Never had Lessa seen a city so aptly named. If it wasn't the despairing grey stone walls that rose out of the Waking Sea like stone jailers when you came into the Harbour, it was the massive bronze statues on either side. She knew that whilst the Twins as they were called, might look decorative and a remnant to Kirkwalls Tevinter past, there was a massive chain that could be pulled up cutting any access and egress from the city. 

Lessa had returned to the Vigil in the end but not with Henri, she had gone to merely change her clothes into something more civilian. From what she had learnt in the three and a half years she had been with the Wardens, you didn't advertise you were a Grey Warden in a city that was, to all intent and purposes run by the Templars. It was a nice enough day but as Lessa lent on the deck and watched the ship pull in. she couldn't help but feel imprisoned by the city, even by looking at it. Then again that was what it had been. You couldn't miss the Gallows as you came into the harbour. It was a Mage circle now, but in days of old it was a prison for the slaves who came here at the orders of thier Tevinter overlords. Given what had happened to her recently, she was not so sure she would be so charitable to mages at the moment, any mage for that matter and no one told her that the nightmares would be so vivid. She only thought that she had to worry about dreams of Archdemons and the like. The last few nights she had woken in cold sweats her dreams full of mages and blood flying from thier fingers as they drew it from thier victims. She shook her head to clear her thoughts and took out the slip of paper that Leliana had given her so many weeks ago from her pocket. 

Hearing the gangplank come down Alessandra picked up her sword and shield and made her way down the gangplank. Grey Warden wages wouldn't have covered the coast of a sea voyage so she had offered her services as a guard for the crew. Pirates and the Waking Sea seemed to go hand in hand and seeing as there were a few well to do sorts on here, they would have been ripe pickings for any pirates. The captain had only been too happy with that arrangement and she had brought her own food so she wouldn't be straining the ships resources or anything. 

She descended the plank and made her way with the throng in to the city. although this really wasn't the proper city, this was Lowtown. She'd need somewhere to stay, preferably where she could get a meal and have no one bother her. She needed to not only think about what she was going to say to the woman, but how she was going to approach it. Leliana had said her mother was called Camilla and worked at the Blooming Rose, that was in High Town if she recalled from the map she had looked at before leaving.  Not that she really wanted to jump to conclusions but with a name like the Blooming Rose, she sure as frack didn't think it was a ale house, or at least just an ale house. 

Lessa walked steadily along the throng until she saw a charming Inn with man hanging upside down. Well, she supposed this was a better place than any and it was close to the Harbour,  she had the coin for a few days and besides she would take the deep roads back if she had to. It wasn't that Alessandra didn't have money, she just didn't bring it out unless she had to. She wasn't rich by any stretch of the imagination, but she had been saving for a wedding and all the things that went with it. Now that was a moot point and she only really used the coin when she was in the Crown and Lion, or if she was really desperate for a drink the Belching Pig and you had to be really desperate to drink in there. That being said you didn't bring a purse full of coin to a city like Kirkwall, well any city really but that would just advertise yourself to every cutpurse in ever alley. 

They might run if they figured she was a Grey Warden, some of the myths really were amusing, kill a Warden and they become a darkspawn and eat you and your children was one of the more outrageous ones she had heard. Heaving a sigh Alessandra Howard went into the Hanged Man and booked a room for a couple of days. She was certain it wouldn't take that long. 


Lessa had no idea how tired she actually was until she just collapsed on the single bed and closed her eyes. Sure as a Grey Warden she didn't need as much sleep as the average human, but damn the last few weeks had taken it out of her. First her battle with that thing alongside moody and grumpy, then the jaunt into the deep with Alistair and meeting her father (again with grumpy)  and that business with those fracking blood mages, it must have taken more out of her than she thought. 

Once she had washed and changed she made her way down into the bar and sat at a table in the corner, away from the crowd. She got some looks but it was obvious she wanted to be alone, still didn't stop some heads turning in her direction. The sort of looks that you got if you walked into a village pub and you'd never been there before.  People were curious but not that curious that they wanted to interrupt her meal. Lessa didn't think that she gave off that stay away vibe, but she was pleased for the solitude. Once more she took out the slip of paper that Leliana gave her and sat staring at it for a long while. 

Meeting David had been a revelation. it also opened more questions than answers. If he had given Camilla the means to go to a home and be relatively comfortable then why did she not take it? Which then led to a whole dark road series of questions that had no answers. Getting up she picked her sword up and her shield and walked out of the Hanged Man. Lessa was never one for patience on something like this and, after stopping a guardsman she asked which way to the Blooming Rose. He looked her up and down and arched an eyebrow and Lessa rolled her eyes in a perfect copy of Henri when he did it and for once it didn't make her feel bad. 

"Do i look like i need to pay for sex?" She asked the guard and arched an eyebrow. 

He shook his head and hurriedly pointed her in the direction. So she would need to go over a bridge and then another bridge, it was apparently near the market district. Well, that made sense. Lessa thanked him and went on her way. 

~*~*~

Hightown was a huge difference to Lowtown. The houses here just screamed money. This had been where the Vints had called home feasting on boar or expensive canopies and wine, whilst the poor slobs they enslaved were lucky if they had three square meals a day. Most of the cities across Thedas had, at one time or another come under Tevine occupation, face it the Tevinter Imperium did cover most of the known world at the time. Even Orlais, which made her smirk a bit. yes best not tell an Orlesian that one.  Or maybe she would the next time she crossed swords with an Orleasian Warden, some of them were so stuck up it was unreal. They were all Wardens at the end of the day shouldn't matter where you came from but it did apparently. Orlais had the largest Warden force outside of the Anderfels, everyone knew that, and by the Maker did they like to remind you of it. The Anders tended to keep themselves to themselves and if it wasn't for the occasionally missive that came down from the First Warden through whatever intermediary then you might well think they had forgotten everyone else. The again the First Warden was only interested in the Ferelden Wardens because Orric was an Arl, something unheard of and frowned upon in normal circles.  Lessa was about to head towards the red light district when she abruptly turned and made her way towards the Chantry. She really did need some peace of mind and Makers Breath the only place she would get it, is the place that she generally avoided.

The Kirkwall Cathedral was beautiful. there was no doubt about it, and yes she knew that it was called the Chantry but what the hell else would you call a building this big with a Grand Cleric in residence. Lessa took a deep breath and walked inside, half expecting the Maker to hit her with a bolt of lightning for not being a good Church goer. Truth was she had not been in a Chantry building since the blight. 

"If Revered Mother Vanessa could see me now." She said to herself and found herself a seat and lowered her head. What did she ask for? strength to face the woman that has abandoned her a two and half decades ago? or help calm her mind from the nightmares? She would have to work with the mages again at somepoint and she couldn't be snapping at them, but she wasn't absolutely sure she wouldn't want to run them through if they used blood magic, Every Warden knew that when it came to fighting the blight and the spawn, then anything was permitted. Even Lessa knew that was going to be open to abuse and that was going to bring the Chantry on thier heads one day, the chantry and thier super soldiers. One day the Wardens luck was going to run out. Hopefully she would long be ashes by that time if it ever happened. 

The world needed the Wardens because only the Wardens could kill an Archdemon but one day when the last two archdemons had woken up and not destroyed the world, that mandate was going to be null and void. Unless of course they had more little archdemon babies. She shook her head "What the hell" She muttered to herself and raised her gaze to the massive statue of the maker that dominated the central Dias, behind where the Grand Cleric would speak her sermons. 

How did they know the Maker was human? He might have been an Elf, or a dwarf? he might even have been a dragon? How did they even know he was a he? wouldn't that put the cat amongst the pigeons if the Maker turned out to a woman, she shook her head and made an apology to the statue and deciding that this was doing no good she got up, went and lit a candle and walked out before she really did get struck by a bolt of lightening. 

Lessa took a lazy walk through Hightown and eventually found herself outside the Blooming Rose. Well, either her mother was a serving wench or she was a whore or, and this seemed more likely, she was both. suppressing a nervous giggle and wished Alistair was with her. He would have made this more, enjoyable in his own clumsy way.  Taking a breath she walked inside. 


As Whore houses went, the Blooming Rose was actually quite large and amenable. She had been in the Pearl in Denerim a couple of times in the line of her Duty as a guardswoman, correction former guardswoman, but even the Pearl had nothing on this. A comfy seating area for guests to be greeted and conversed with by the ladies and gents of the establishment. A bar and other rooms for the more, wealthier patrons. 

Alessandra gazed at the walls to see paintings by famous artists on the walls, and as her gaze lifted up she could see the chandeliers adding to the opulence of the place. The Madame was certainly not running a two up two down brothel that you found in the poorer districts of Amaranthine or on her port, that much was obvious. 

"Do you have an appointment?" 

Lessa's attention was drawn to the woman at the stand, an appointment book nested open on the flat surface. "No," Lessa swallowed "No appointment, I was just looking for someone actually. I was told i could find Camilla here." 

"really? and who told you that?" The woman before her looked well to do, make up but Lessa doubted she was one of the working girls. She seemed to wear a permeant sneer on her lips. 

"Leliana" Lessa replied "Look i just want to talk to her, nothing more." 

"Shame, woman as good looking as you would rake in a fortune," The woman went back to her book. Lessa didn't bother answering that, sure when she needed that itch scratching she sought out company, but she would never pay for it. the occasional fling with a warden was fine enough, those who weren't wardens tended to get skittish and thought they would catch the taint. As if but there it was. 

"Does she work here or not?" The young dog lord sighed rapidly loosing her patience. 

Tutting the woman went over to the bar and spoke to one of the men behind it. He pointed to a side room. "She's in there, she's free at the moment, who are you exactly"

"Her daughter" Lessa replied tersely. 

"She never said she had a daughter." 

"Obviously." Lessa looked at the door "Can i?"

"Sure, but no trouble. Mistress Camilla of the darkest desires will be needed soon." 

Lessa uttered a sound that might have been a scoff and made her way to the door, hesitated for a moment, then knocked twice and walked in when she was called. 

"You'll have to tell me who you are, i have no appointments booked for another hour but i am sure i can accommodate you"

Lessa heard the woman's voice from the washroom. The room itself was richly decored, a large bed dominated the room and, much to her amusement, some chains were on the far wall. a whip sat in the corner and it was apparent that Camilla was into far more than a rough and tumble. Again she was aware that the Pearl had a room for that, but in all honesty that was not her thing. she had no time for it and she certainly was not going to call another man or woman master or mistress and act like a Mabari. No offence Barkspawn, she added as a thought to herself. 

The accent was Fereldan and Lessa supposed that many of the refugees who came here during the Blight might well have found employment in this line of work, and why not? it was coin and it gave them a roof or a meal for a night although to work here, well she supposed either Camilla knew someone who knew someone or she had impressed the Madame or the Owner or both. 

"Are you mute?" The woman called again "I asked who you are and what you wanted."

"My name, is Alessandra." Lessa stayed by the wall "You sent Sister Leliana with a message for me, well here i am." Lessa looked around "and i am pretty sure doing any sex act with your daughter is frowned on." 

The wash bowl crashed to the floor. 


Camilla hurrdily picked up her wash bowel and grabbing a gown wrapped it around her naked form and, after a few moments ventured into her room to see the tall raven haired beauty with the tell tale malen streak along her fringe that framed her face. She was here, Maker, she had no idea that Leliana would find her, and now she was here....well Camilla never expected her to just turn up, all she wanted was for Leliana to let her know she was alive. This...well it had been a while. 

"You look like your father." Was all she could think to say as she pulled her gown tighter round her. 

Lessa looked at her and saw the same coloured hair, she had that with her father too except she had also inherited his malen fringe. She had her fathers eyes but they were a curious mix of her mother and fathers eyes too. "Funny, he said i looked like you." Lessa countered and remained where she was. 

The way Camilla remained where she was could be shock at what she didn't think would actually happen or, she didn't want her here. Either way Lessa wasn't leaving until she had answers. "Think you owe me an explanation or two." Lessa finally said. 

Camilla was attractive but had a severity to her and there were those that said Lessa could have that, not that she was a severe woman unless she was fighting or arguing with someone. 

"I only asked Leliana to let you know i was alive." Camilla regained her composure and sat at her dresser readying her make up "I certainly did not expect you to turn up." 

"I wasn't going to," Lessa folded her arms "until i met David and then decided to come and seek you out."

Camilla watched in her mirror as Lessa crossed to where a plush sofa was and sat on it, sitting back and crossing one leg over the other, her hand resting on the hilt of her sword lightly. "So come on then. Why not leave me in the Dragons peak Orphanage? Why did you leave me in a shack off the beaten track for the wolves to find me?" she didn't mention the merchant for now. 

Camilla turned in her seat and set her face powder down "Well obviously they didn't get you did they." She attempted some light humour but Lessa didnt appreciate the humour and remained dead pan "I knew you would be found Lessa,"

"Alessandra." Lessa corrected. 

"Alessandra." Camilla sighed "i knew you would be found, merchants use that road all the time, its the Kings Highway the main road from Gwaren to Denerim." 

"Lucky for you then." Lessa replied "a merchant and his wife did find me and took me to Denerim." 

"I know," Camilla flashed a smile but to lessa it looked all false. all this was false but if she was uncomfortable then Camilla would rightly be so too. Still the woman's indifference raked her nerves.  

Not everyone wanted to be confronted by the child they had abandoned, she got that and understood it to some degree, but even when they had been reunited with said child years later they were full of sorries and explanations. That wasn't what she was getting here, and yet, she had asked Leliana to find her. Wether it be circumstance or the Makers hand, she had found her. 

"I was in no position to raise a child Alessandra, i was 18 and i had no parents to turn to. Your father gave me that bauble and that was the last i saw of him, Some Templar" Camilla snorted. 

Lessa remained quiet for a moment and let the woman ramble on. How she needed to get out of Ferelden, start anew and she thought she did the best thing for her child. If she had raised her then they might have ended up in the same situation anyway, brothels like the Blooming Rose liked thier Girls to stay in and the Madame had no time for children to be running around the place when there was clients to see, especially if one of those children could be a child of said client, that was bad for business. 

"Besides you turned out alright." Camilla looked her up and down "The chantry look after thier orphans teach them to read, write and set them up for life."

"No." Lessa corrected "They look after us, teach us to read and write yes but come 16 if you haven't been chosen by the Templars or Seekers you are expected to either enter the Chantry or find your own way in life. After 16 we are adults in thier eyes." It was a moot point but one that Lessa needed to clear up, the Denerim Chantry had been good to her and she would never say otherwise, and she had been lucky in procuring a position within the guard when she had, but not all those she grew up with were so lucky. Three of them had come into thier magic and were taken to the Ferelden Circle that same night. Some joined the guard, others the chantry and some became Templars, but, there were those who ran away seeking adventure and life elsewhere, sometimes if they didn't have the wits to survive then they wouldn't last a month let alone a year. 

"You still turned out alright," Camilla went back to readying her face. 

"Ok so try that one again." Lessa finally said "the part about David giving you a bauble and disappearing." 

Camilla sighed and repeated what she said "The man didn't want to know Alessandra, Templars can be just as cruel as anyone else," 

"Hmm, See he tells it different." Lessa uncrossed her legs and sat forward clasping her hands together "this bauble he gave to you to take to his parents home in Gwaren. There you would have been looked after and given a life far different from the one you chose." 

"Wasn't for me." She didn't even skip a beat and not even try to cover her lie. 

"Might not have been for you but you could have taken me there!" Lessa narrowed her eyes "I owe the Orphanage a lot but to have had grandparents and a father who might have come visit when he was able? most of us dreamed of that and you had the chance to provide that and pissed it away in the wind cause it was easier for you to leave me in a crapped out shack and disappear, only to resurface and ask Leliana to let me know you were alive." Lessa shook her head "You're a piece of work you know that?" 

"I did what i wanted no one ever asked me what i wanted!"

"Sure could have left me in Gwaren though and to lie to Leliana? How did you keep track of me exactly? If you knew where i was all this time?" 

Camila didn't answer and wouldn't, Alessandra didn't need to know all she knew was that Camilla had known about her all along. Lessa shook her head and got up "You are a Grey Warden, i can't believe you volunteered for it but again you've turned out alright"

Lessa uttered a cynical laugh "What you think i volunteered for this? No one in their right mind volunteer's to be a Grey Warden, hell some of us don't like using the conscription order!" Lessa picked her shield up "you span Leliana a tale for whatever reason i don't know and i don't care. She found me and relayed said tale. Come to think of it she probably did know it was a yarn worthy of the bards themselves. You never know with that lady. Maybe i should have stayed away but at least now i know what you are."

"Well now you can go on with your own life and leave me alone," Camilla got to her feet and held her head high "I never wanted a brat i certainly never wanted a brat of a templar and i wish the wolves had taken you. You are nothing to me." 

Lesa walked to the door and stopped "You know what, I know that in twenty years maybe thirty if i am lucky, i am going to be down in the deep roads, fighting darkspawn till i die in battle and, i made my peace with that and i will take the memories of those with me. My brothers and sisters of the guard and the order, even if i don't like the order much i know they will have my back no matter what personal views might be." she opened the door "You, when your body is old and withered and you loose your looks to age, you will be on the corner of a street somewhere turning tricks to relieve your glory days." Shaking her head she walked out and slammed the door shut behind her "Curse your maker damned arse" she muttered and walked out. 

Camilla started getting herself ready when her door knocked and the greeter came in "Daughter? You never said you had a daughter"

"I don't" Camilla got to her feet and grabbed her outfit for the night "I never wanted a child and i don't have a child. Now if you have finished gawping i need to get dressed." 


~*~*~*~

Lowtown had its charms and as Lessa came over the bridge she cocked her head a little. The smell of the harbour hit her full on. Death and despair carried on the waves of this city. Like all cities in the Free Marches, Kirkwall held onto her independence, she would not be tamed and she would not be cajoled, lessons the Orlesians learnt well and the Tevinter Magisters too she supposed. She heard the sounds of whores plying thier trades in some back alley and heard dogs bark, a scream here and there of some unfortunate caught in the hands of the gangs that called this place home. Hightown was what Kirkwall liked to portray to Thedas, the veneer of respectability with the Chantry, the seat of the viscount and the Gallows with her Templars.  The reality was, this, Lowtown was the real Kirkwall, those who would never make it further than the bridge to browse the markets. She made her way to the harbour and sat on the wall looking out at the inky waters reflecting the night. 

Revered Mother Vanessa had told her it might not be the fairy tale she was expecting, and damn if she wasn't right about that. Well at least she knew now, By her actions alone it seemed no matter what David had offered Camilla was never going to do it anyway. At least she didn't have to see Camilla again and come the day she made her way to the Makers side she would do so with those that were a family of sorts. She touched her necklace and a ghost of a smile crossed her lips, well she could also get to know her father a bit better. There was an outpost on the road between here and Wycomb she was sure of that she would resupply there and rest. Kirkwall had lost its charms for her. 

When she arrived at the outpost he Marcher Warden on duty looked her up and down "No armour sister?" 

"You don't go to Kirkwall in Warden armour brother." She replied and he snorted "It was for a personal matter i did not see the need to advertise the fact i am with the Order." 

"You'd do right, you need some rest?" 

"Just food. nothing more. i plan to head back to the Vigil on dawns light," 

The Warden nodded stopped and looked snapped his fingers "Going to the Vigil you say?" She nodded "If i organise passage for you could you take some of the recruits we've joined? The Orlesians are being all sniffy again." Lessa shrugged. 

"Sure, it might make the Warden Commander stop being a grouchy arse if i bring the new recruits in." 

"Thanks sister. Your name?" 

"Alessandra Howard." 

"I'll organise a bunk and supplies for you Alessandra and have one of the lads head to the docks to arrange passage." Lessa nodded, they'd do it as well always coin to be found when it was needed.

She would do the Marchers a favour, she saw no reason not to. If nothing else then Orric would have more wardens to bolster his numbers. She was not told about the recruits, where they came from or why they were joined, and frankly she didn't ask, everyone had a different story and it was not her business, they were Grey Wardens now, that was all that mattered, thier past was theirs, she didn't need to hear about it. By dawns early light she was on the Lady Adana, along with four other wardens all recruits and nattering about going to the mighty Vigil. Lessa lent on the deck edge and stared at the horizon. She didnt give Kirkwall a second look, her past was her past now she could get on with life.