Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Unless otherwise stated:
- All stories are written by me, after ideas by Pham Ngoc Trinh,
- All poems and songs written by Pham Ngoc Trinh
- Art and guest writers will be always properly credited. If I forgot to credit someone, please let me know.
- For a list of the collaborators and guest artists, see here
- This is a non-profit blog and all the work displayed here belong to their authors and permission to use it has been requested. If you want to use any of it, please contact the authors first and always credit and link back. You will find links to the authors personal pages under all their works so you can reach them there. If the art is mine, you can contact me here.


PROLOGUE: Blood ties

0. A beginning (Un comienzo - Spanish only)
2. Dirty bread and twins - By Eoin O'Mahony
5. Caged
6. Changes
7. Stray Cats
8. Hunting relics √ - Quest, story by Pau Norontaus, RP log turned to prose by Zara Arletis
9. A pint of Ale
10. Winterbollocks on the run - Quest, story and text by Pau Norontaus, revised by me

INTERLUDE: On her own √ - By Alexia Symeonidou

3. Rescue grace √ - Quest, story and text by Zara Arletis
4. Elven beauty
? Quest Missing mementos - RP Log, pending to turn to prose
? Quests best served Cold and Alienage Salvation? - RP Log, pending to turn to prose
? Subquest bathtime?  - RP Log, pending to turn to prose
6. Shadows (mild NSFW)
7. Three words
? Subquest Mari's revenge? - RP Log, pending to turn to prose
8. Aceptation
? Quest Bear hunt?  - RP Log, pending to turn to prose

INTERLUDE: Whip - By Pham Ngoc Trinh

? Quest Meeting Adri?
1. Scars (NSFW)
2. The Wedding at the Peak √ . Quest, story by Zara Arletis, prose by Linnéa Wäborg and me
* Part I: The Lady's appetites 
* Part II: Unexpected visitors
* Part III 
* Part  IV
?Subquest: Kyle runs  - RP Log, pending to turn to prose
?Subquest: Tegnarsales/Marujeo/George sad night - RP Log, pending to turn to prose
5. The Hearts of the Children - Quest, story by Zara Arletis

INTERLUDE: Green eyes

?Subquest: Stay in Orlais and Satinalia  - RP Log, pending to turn to prose
?Quest: A prince for Ambrose  - RP Log, pending to turn to prose
2.  Guests
3.  What you wish for - Quest, story by Francesco Lombardi
?Subquest: Stay in Highever – Reencounter with Darn & Zara  - RP Log, pending to turn to prose
*Subquest: Meeting Tahl  - RP Log, pending to turn to prose
4.  Fever 
*Quest: Around in Circles - RP Log, pending to turn to prose

INTERLUDE: Innocent brotherhood - By Revan-Sama


*Day 1: Breaking the bed
*Day 2: Rogues are done from behind
*Day 3: Hot Bath Time
*Day 4: The Beast Inside
*Day 5: Little Red Riding Elf  - By Pham Ngoc Trinh
*Day 6: Between the sword and the wall
*Day 7: Bittersweet (inconcluded)
*Bonus: Playful kitties

INTERLUDE: Hunt down and stalking  - By Revan-Sama

2. Subquest: Ivan and gathering the outfits - RP Log, pending to turn to prose
?Quest: What is past  - RP Log, pending to turn to prose
?Subquest: Punishment and shadows 2 (mismo archivo)- RP Log, pending to turn to prose
3. Subquest: Tegnar leaves/Stealing Comfort/The quest for papadorf  - RP Log, pending to turn to prose
4. A new start
5. On their way
6. Story: Wedding preparatives √
7. Subquest: Wedding  - RP Log, pending to turn to prose
*Epilogue: Honeymoon √

INTERLUDE: Bloody Night - By Revan-Sama

1. The power of love/lust(NSFW)
2. An Eye for An Eye - Quest, story and prose by me
*Subquest: Nadette’s baby  - RP Log, pending to turn to prose
*Subquest: Drunken with Friese and Melly  - RP Log, pending to turn to prose
3. Haunted
?Subquest: To Tevinter  - RP Log, pending to turn to prose
4. Quest: Redemption  - RP Log, pending to turn to prose
*Subquest: Beautiful news  - RP Log, pending to turn to prose
6. Subquest: Miscarriage news  - RP Log, pending to turn to prose
7. Quest: Long time no see you  - RP Log, pending to turn to prose
*Subquest: Farewells  - RP Log, pending to turn to prose
8. Fading dreams

INTERLUDE: First Romance

?Subquest: Farewell to Maya  - RP Log, pending to turn to prose
*Story: Remembrances
?Subquest: A fair day  - RP Log, pending to turn to prose
?Quest: A caged Sparrow  - RP Log, pending to turn to prose
?Subquest: Back at the Mabari -  RP Log, pending to turn to prose
?Quest: Rage awakened  - RP Log, pending to turn to prose
?Subquest: Meeting Deme and Lorelei  - RP Log, pending to turn to prose
?Subquest: A party  - RP Log, pending to turn to prose
*Story: After hours (WIP)
*Story: Jealousy (NSFW)
*Story: The Lost one
?Subquest: Reencounters and amendings/The cat unvealed  - RP Log, pending to turn to prose

INTERLUDE: Ferdinand- Collab. with Nguyen Bao Ngoc

?Quest: Breaking Security  - RP Log, pending to turn to prose
Several subquests?  - RP Log, pending to turn to prose
?Quest: The lost book  - RP Log, pending to turn to prose
Quest: There’s no place like home  - RP Log, pending to turn to prose
?Quest: Bad habits  - RP Log, pending to turn to prose
?Quest: (no official title) Lady's rescue - RP Log, pending to turn to prose
?Quest: A bloody keepsake  - RP Log, pending to turn to prose
?Quest: The hound and the flower  - RP Log, pending to turn to prose
*Story: A birthday party
?Subquest: Second Satinalia  - RP Log, pending to turn to prose
?Quest: Of things stolen  - RP Log, pending to turn to prose
?Quest: In Peace, Sacrifice  - RP Log, pending to turn to prose

INTERLUDE: The Highever's saga?

1. Wedding anniversary
2. Antivan sailors(Mild NSFW)
3. Quest: In dark places - RP Log, pending to turn to prose (intro)
4. The Fog - Collab. with Nguyen Bao Ngoc and Pham Ngoc Trinh
5. A Tale of Three Elves - Collab. with Nguyen Bao Ngoc and Pham Ngoc Trinh
6. The Gatekeeper - Collab. with Nguyen Bao Ngoc and Pham Ngoc Trinh
?Quest: Of things gone - RP Log, pending to turn to prose (intro) (epilogue
7. Fireflies
*Quest: Trick or Meat - RP Log, pending to turn to prose (intro)
 ?Subquest: Third Satinalia



* Story:  Ghosts from the past
?Quest/story: A lost daughter
* Story: A pirate's life (WIP)

?Quest: HAZMAT (Vols. 1, 2 & 3) - RP Log, pending to turn to prose
?Quest: Gem's Doppleganger (Don't remember the title) - RP Log, pending to turn to prose
?Quest: West hills Wagon Weirdness/Cover your Ears - RP Log, pending to turn to prose
*Story: Voice (WIP)


* Story: A funeral for Lady Mallory (WIP)
* Story: His First Kill (WIP)
* Story: Rotten Twins (WIP) 

INTERLUDE: Manly or Ruin Innocence - By Revan-Sama


1. Pregnancy √ (must update)
2. Celebrating the news (WIP)
3. The Arrival
4. Leaving the nest (WIP)
5. Twenty years after  - NSFW


- About the authors
- Dramatis personae
- Chronology - According to the official Bioware one
- IMDB list of playbys
- Family trees 

Other stories 
Not part of the storyline, but relevant to it, since they involve people who have been in Mari's life.
None of them are mine, these are links to the original posts of their authors:
- A day in the life of a templar (To know better Ser August, and also his concern about the twins)
- Ser August's intro (what he was doing the day Mari was arrested)
- Leaving the Nest (Lorelei's arrival)
- Little Frog (Lauren's backstory)
- Alone (Gem's backstory)
- The picnic (Gem and Jake's fluffyness)
- It's my fault (Gem's regret about "Of things gone"'s Quest) 
- Twenty Years (Ben and Saphire's first encounter)

Alternate universes:
- Another life
- A second chance 
- The Vampire Universe 

Monday, November 11, 2013

About the authors (WIP)

Sonia Carreras: The person behind this blog. Spanish. Older than you imagine. Happyly married and with one extraordinaire son. Roleplayer since 1990, met her husband in an RPG game. Joined Deviantart in 2008, but started using it only after the videogame Dragon Age: Origins stole her soul. Co-founder of  The Merry Mabari Roleplaying group in Deviant Art and that was which stole her life. Plays Mari and the very neglected Veronica. Other characters she created are Mari's parents (Edanhor and Lynn, as well as Raphael) and the honest templar Ser Campbell. Puts in words Mari and Kyle's stories because she's so devoted to this pair it is almost unhealthy.

Pham Ngoc Trinh: the brain in the shadows. More talented that she will ever admit. Vietnamese. Could be Sonia's daughter. Met her in The Merry Mabari Roleplaying group, where her character Kyle was romanced to death by Sonia's character without previous warning. Plays Kyle and Tahl there, but also Ryan Cousland (her canon warden in the original computer game), Lirya, Lindy, Seth and many other supporting characters. Also creator of most of the stories, including Kyle's awesomely complex background and many clever AUs. Loves angst. Maybe too much.

Guest writers:

Pau Norontaus: Co-Founder of The Merri Mabari Role Playing group (and host of of the livestream where the idea was conceived) and creator of most of the original graphic resources, including the logo. Played Mihitu. GMed some of the first quests, like "Relic Hunt" and "Winterbollocks on the run".

Zara Arletis: Player of the character of same name, and of the mage Idris, one of the earliest friends of the couple in the game. GMed many stories, some of them personal quests like "Wedding at the Peak" or "The heart of the children". Also turned some of them to prose. A creator in pure form.

Francesco Lombardi:

Nerea Sempere and Toñi Gil:

Eoin O'Mahoney:

Alexia Symenidou:

Nguyen Bao Ngoc:


Other players:










Other people whose art you can find around:


D Clua

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Dramatis personae (WIP)

I don't really know if my characters sre Mary Sues or not. In my mind, they have strong and very definited personalities, but I may have not been able to transmit it properly in my texts. Sure they have had tragical events in their pasts, but that's usual in the world they live. They're not chosen ones except for the people close to them, and definitely they have many flaws, that I hope balance their extraordinary lives.

Anyway they're here because I love them. If you read their stories and love them too, I will feel proud and be grateful to you and to your patience. If you read them and think they're lifeless characters, Mary Sues in the worst of the meanings, or you just don't like them... Well, I will be terribly sorry, but you don't need to return here. Nobody will force you.

To know them better, here's a short bio of all of them:

The actors we'd love to see playing them if they ever made a movie...

Kyle Mallory: The hero of the story, even if he doesn't consider himself so. Found near Highever as a newborn, close to the corpses of his murdered parents, by the elf Lirya Faelivrin, he was raisen at the Highever alienage as if he were her child, even if he was human.
To know him better:

His character sheet
An early meme
An interview at the RPG group
A lot of questions to know him better
Character Compendictionary
Inspiration meme

Marilyn Lyn/Mallory: his beloved wife. We will live the story through her eyes. A hotheaded, ginger elf who started as a filfthy street rat to a decent married woman. Always with adventure thirst.
To know her better:

Her character sheet
Interview at the roleplaying group
Some questions answered
Character compendictionary, ext. version
Newest meme
Couple meme (includes Kyle)
Inspiration meme

Evelyn Lyn

Adrienne Soreil

Haakan Kaatergard

Lauren Berde

Tegnar Gromril

George Ackerman

Gem Blackmore


Edanhor Blank

Ryan Cousland

Lirya Faelivrin

Tahl Abernica

Lindy Kent


Lynnette and Raphael Lyn

Ser August Hilaire



Lorelei Renard


Zara Arletis

Darn Arletis



Friese "Frollo"



Knight Captain Campbell

Jake and Jude

Other waiters and people at the tavern



The Soreils

The Kattergards

The Ohanaspawn

The Berde's

The Ackermans


The supporting cast crew. Some of them have changed, and there are more to add...

Saturday, October 26, 2013

To eternity

Cuando yo me vaya, no quiero que llores, quédate en silencio, sin decir palabras, y vive recuerdos, reconforta el alma. Cuando yo me duerma, respeta mi sueño, por algo me duermo; por algo me he ido.Si sientes mi ausencia, no pronuncies nada, y casi en el aire, con paso muy fino, búscame en mi casa, búscame en mis libros, búscame en mis cartas, y entre los papeles que he escrito apurado.Ponte mis camisas, mi sweater, mi saco y puedes usar todos mis zapatos. Te presto mi cuarto, mi almohada, mi cama, y cuando haga frío, ponte mis bufandas. Te puedes comer todo el chocolate y beberte el vino que dejé guardado.Escucha ese tema que a mí me gustaba, usa mi perfume y riega mis plantas. Si tapan mi cuerpo, no me tengas lástima, corre hacia el espacio, libera tu alma, palpa la poesía, la música, el canto y deja que el viento juegue con tu cara. Besa bien la tierra, toma toda el agua y aprende el idioma vivo de los pájaros. Si me extrañas mucho, disimula el acto, búscame en los niños, el café, la radio y en el sitio ése donde me ocultaba.No pronuncies nunca la palabra muerte. A veces es más triste vivir olvidado que morir mil veces y ser recordado. Cuando yo me duerma, no me lleves flores a una tumba amarga, grita con la fuerza de toda tu entraña que el mundo está vivo y sigue su marcha.La llama encendida no se va a apagar por el simple hecho de que no esté más.Los hombres que “viven” no se mueren nunca, se duermen de a ratos, de a ratos pequeños, y el sueño infinito es sólo una excusa. Cuando yo me vaya, extiende tu mano, y estarás conmigo sellada en contacto, y aunque no me veas, y aunque no me palpes, sabrás que por siempre estaré a tu lado. Entonces, ese día, sonriente y vibrante, sabrás que volví para no marcharme.*

Therisa enters with that bitter drink. She leaves it over the table and smiles at me. 
“Here it is, mother. Your medicine. Be careful, it’s still hot”
As  if I couldn’t see the fumes getting out of the boiling water. I look at  it, then back at my daughter. I have raised quite a litter of shems, I think with a bitter smile, and I’m proud of them. Shane and Therisa, with their rounded ears, will have a better life than any elf in the alienage will. Round ears. Nobody would say they’re not shems. But Therisa’s red hair is like mine used to be, and her green eyes… her green eyes are Kyle’s… Kyle, my love. Where are you?
“Where's your father?”, I ask suddenly. Therisa’s face darkens.
"He's gone, mom. You always forget. Two years ago"
She’s  right. I always forget. Yes. My mind is merciful, because I don't want to remember the terrible loneliness of these two years without him. And the day I lost him. The memories come back like lighting, and like lighting they strike my head and almost make me fall. He was ill, so ill the last months! His bleeding cough, that cough he never completely healed, had become worse, and it was draining his strength day after day. He fought against it, being in the bed was not his style, but the healers insisted. But he always yelled back at them “If you can’t cure it, stop making my suffering longer!”, and I tried to calm him, because, selfishly, I didn’t want him to go yet.
And one night I heard him roar, and I opened my eyes to see a couple of catlike ones blink, and a panther shape jumping through the window. I got up as fast as my old body allowed me, and I still could see him, also clumsily… an old, wasted big cat, walking heavily to the forest. I ran out of the house, and wandered in the woods, an old crazy elf lady, until a blood trail confirmed my worst fears, and led me to his wounded, dying body. His old naked body, human again, still beautiful despite the years and the scars and the disease, beautiful for me at least, because his beauty never faded before my eyes. His chest was still moving, crossed by outrageous traces of a swipe, and I guessed he had escaped to have a last fight with a bear, a wolf or another beast… to avoid a painful, slow death in the bed.
I rushed to him, and grabbed his head. He still could see me, a very last sparkle of life in his eyes. There were no words. I took his last breath with a kiss, which tasted like blood, goodbye, bitterness and eternal loneliness. Last thing I stole, last thing I kept from him… Funny to think, all started with a stolen kiss… all finished with one too.
Therisa and her husband found me hugging his corpse, that I had covered with my cloak. There were no questions. Just understanding looks, and a comforting pair of hands on my shoulders leading me back home, my eyes full of tears, my heart broken… my bed empty…
Why did I have to ask, to bring the painful memories back? He must be happy, peaceful now, making up for the lost time with Lindy. Thanks the Maker I forget recent things easily, while I remember better the old ones. Like the first time I met him. How he kissed my hand, making me blush for the very first time in my life. That big, handsome, clumsy knight who ignored the fact that I was a filthy elf covered in mud and called me “My lady…”
My hands shake. I have become much weaker these two years without him, as if my body was in a hurry to join him. Part of the drink I’m trying to bring to my lips falls, and Therisa rushes to help me. I wave her away, and she sighs and leaves the room.
“Take care, mom. The night is cold. I’ll come to fetch the empty bowl later”
I  just grunt. I don't mind if this drink is spoiled. It's bitter. More bitter than ale. The ale he used to invite me to… How he comforted me when I got drunk and started to cry. Then he convinced me cider was healthier. Cider… sweeter, and hangovers weren’t so bad. I even stopped crying, but that was because by his side I was happy. What reasons did I  have to cry? He’s always been the only one to stand by my side. Never needed anyone else, never will. Without him, I am nothing.
I  shiver and rub my forehead, trying to remember what was I thinking about. I feel tired, I should go to bed. But I don't want to go to bed. It's cold without him. Where's he? He must be training… I don’t like to sleep alone. The demons will come for me. But there are no demons anymore. They’re gone. Even so I still miss him when he's not here. I miss even the way his cough has become worse lately… He shouldn’t go out  to train. He’s not young anymore. The cold… the cough will kill him. I’ll tell him when he comes back…
Suddenly  I realize again he’s not coming back. He’s dead. I always forget. And my heart aches like all the times I remember. And it burns so painfully I  make the damn drink fall while I try to get up to reach the bed, but my  legs can’t stand my weight anymore, and I fall. It is funny, because I’ve always been so thin, so skinny… He always teased me, said he had to  make me fat, and he actually did it… Twice, I smirk, with his two shem kids inside my tummy, but then I recovered my thin shape after the birth… And how he loved my tiny breasts and my now wrinkled ass… Still pinches it sometimes… the pervert. I smile faintly at the memory. He will never change... Therisa says now I am even skinnier, but I’m not hungry anymore… Who cares? I’m an old woman… Nobody likes an old skinny elf…
I see someone. Dark hair, handsome, young. Must be Shane. I try to focus my old eyes to see him better. What are you doing here my son? I though you were travelling, brave, adventuring like your father liked to do. But not… This knight… those green eyes, and the magnificent falcon on his shoulder… Can it be?  
“Kyle?” I mumble, and I realize I’m lying on the floor. When did I fall?. “My love?”
He  takes my hand, my old, wrinkled hand, on his young, strong one, and helps me to get up. But… my hand is not old anymore. What kind of witchcraft is this? I’m probably dreaming, but I don’t care. My love is here.
"I thought you'd be with Lindy", I say softly, because I can’t believe he’s here for me.
"She  stopped waiting for me when she healed my eye, remember?", he smiles, and his smile warms my heart and enlightens my soul, and suddenly I feel  no pain anymore. “I come for you, love”
"You've been waiting for me?", I ask astonished. “Those two years?”
I  see by the corner of my eye a shape lying on the floor, and a part of me knows it’s my useless shell… something I need to leave behind, if I want to join the man I love where we do belong: together. Poor Therisa, I  think with a lucid part of my mind. This will break her heart. But I don’t care. He’s here. We’re together again.
“Watching you. Waiting for you”, he nods. “Always”
So  that’s why I always felt him near, I think. Why my mind always rejected  to accept he was gone. Why I always had the feeling he was still by my side and why I always woke up thinking I had been walking with him on dreams. I embrace him, and I shiver when I feel again his hands stroking  my hair, which I’m sure it is red again.
“Thanks… for coming for me” I whisper. “I wish you had come earlier…”
"And  miss how well you were doing without me?" he teases. "But no. I was not  allowed to do it. I had to wait until it was time”, he says, serious.
"Until  my heart broke", I say sad, grabbing his hand and putting it over my chest. He grins, even if the feeling is not the same. Our flesh is not there, our souls will tangle in a different way. But the memories perdure, and that makes me grin too.
“I  would have waited all eternity for you", he finally says, leaning to kiss me. Now I feel complete. As if I had joined a part of me I missed. Probably he feels the same. And before he guides me out of this realm, he looks at me again and touches my cheek lovingly.
"And now eternity awaits for us", I still hear him say.

* When I am gone, I don’t want you to cry, just stay silent, say no words, and live your memories, comfort the soul. When I am asleep, respect my sleep, there’s a reason why I sleep, there’s a reason why I’m gone. If you feel my absence, pronounce nothing, and almost in the air, with a slight step, look for me in my home, look for me in my books, look for me in my letters and in the papers I wrote in a hurry. Wear my shirts, my sweater, my sack and you can use all my shoes. I lend you my room, my pillow, my bed, and when it is cold, wear my scarfs. You can eat all the chocolate and drink the wine I stored. Listen to that theme I liked, use my perfume and water my plants. If they cover my body, don’t be sorry, run towards the space, free your soul, touch the poetry, the music, the songs, and let the wind play with your face. Kiss the earth, take all the water and learn the living language of the birds. If you miss me too much, conceal the act, look for me in the children, the cofee, the radio and that place I used to hide. Never pronounce the word death. Sometimes it is sadder to live forgotten than to die a thousand times and being remembered. When I’m asleep, don’t bring flowers to a bitter grave, shout with all the strenght of your guts that the world is alive and continues spinning. The lit flame won’t quench just because I am no more. Men who “live” never die, they sleep from time to time, short times, and the infinite sleep is just an excuse. When I am gone, lend your hand and you’ll be with me, sealed in contact, and even if you don’t see me, and even if you don’t touch me, you’ll know I will always be by your side. Then, that day, smiling and radiant, you’ll know I came back not to leave again.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Arrival

I'm still awaken when I hear the call and that's maybe which saves my life.

This last month I have had it hard to get asleep. Not that I don't feel like sleeping, because I could do it even standing on my feet, but now my tummy is so heavy I can't find a good position and when I do, often a kick from the creature inside me brings me back to vigil. So tonight I had been sewing and preparing some things for the little one and when I realized I was not going to sleep, I sneaked to the kitchen to find some smoked herrings to have a late dinner.

Kyle laughs at my appetite for strange things but I tell him that next time he should try and be the one to get pregnant. Funny enough I can't stand the sight of my beloved apple pies but salty and sour things are always catching my attention. And since tonight he's on duty, nothing prevents me from getting to the kitchen at a late hour and eat what I prefer. At least, he can't complain. Now I have hips. And breasts. And a big big belly with a pointy button.

I'm coming back from the kitchen when I hear the cries. Somebody is attacking the castle.

My first thought flies to Kyle. As I said, he's on duty tonight so he will be in the middle of the combat. I know he can take care of himself but anyway, I feel a chill in my back. As if his son had thought the same, I feel a kick inside my tummy again. I caress it and whisper some words. I don't know if he or she can hear me, but the kicking stops. He's due to come in a couple of weeks, and in this moment, it is not a reassuring idea.

My second thought, then, is to survive. I guess it is the logical outcome, now I have again somebody to protect. The castle is supposed to be safe, but if the enemy is inside, it can also be a trap. I know there must be secret passages somewhere, but I'm not leaving without Kyle. I come back to the room we share here, even if we have our home at the alienage. When he has to spend the night in the castle, Ryan agreed to set a room for me so I wasn't away from him, specially when the due date was near. I've already overcome the fear to sleep alone, since technically I'm not alone anymore, but I want him to be here when the baby arrives, because this makes me more afraid than all the dangers we're defeated together.

I look around for a place to hide and I see the wardrobe. Old memories come to me while I ponder the safety of hiding into it again. I can lock it from inside, and if it is a simple attack, I'm sure they will have more interesting places to loot that a simple wardrobe in a servant's room. And anyway, I can't think of a better place, so I jump into it. For once I'm happy I keep some long dresses in it, because I can hide behind them and not been noticed. I curl under a blanket and pray to wathever can hear me that they don't find me. I melt on the shadows, and I remember that night.

A sudden pain crosses my abdomen and I know what it means. "Oh, no!" I think. "Not now!".

Don't breath, because they can hear you. Don't sweat, because they can smell you.

But mom, you didn't have a creature kicking inside you when you taught us to do that. How can I stay silent, if he wants to get out? How can I not sweat, if I'm using all my strenght to control the pain?.


The tall, darkhaired warrior hears the shouts and turns to his redhaired companion.

"An attack? How timely", he smirks. "Just tonight that Fergus depparted with most of the men".

The redhaired one looks around.

"Seems they're already inside. Someone has betrayed us".

The tall one stops suddenly. He looks back, and his green eyes seem to pierce the dark. "Mari", he whispers. His companion hears it.

"She's here, isn't she? Go for her. Kyle. I'll help in the Main Hall".

"No, Rory", Kyle shakes his head. "My duty is here. And I'm sure she can take care of herself".

But his friend knows his heart is broken in two.

"Nobody will blame you if you save her before joining the battle, bro. She's not only your wife, she'll be soon the mother of your son".

"Even so. Don't make it harder, Rory. I'm not leaving my post".

Ser Roland Gilmore shakes his redhaired head and curses his companion's stubborness between his teeth. On their way to the Main Hall they find some people fighting, some people dying, some people dead. Kyle recognizes the crest on some of the dead warriors uniforms and spits one name. "Howe". And they rush, fighting when necessary, to where they feel they're needed.

The Main Hall is a battlefield because the Howe men which were already in the castle have opened the main gates wide to allow their army in. Kyle and Rory rush to the battle trying to reach the gates and block them. The Teyrn is fighting with their men to secure them.

"Have you seen the Teryina and my son?", he asks, when he sees the young warriors approaching.

"No, milord", Rory admits. "I thought they'd be here with you"

"I told them to meet me here, but the situation is getting to hard for them. One of you should go to find them and lead them to the pantry's secret passage".

"It's you who should go", Kyle says. "Our duty is defending the castle".

"Look who talks", Rory mumbles, but suddenly an explosion makes all of them turn the attention to the door, where a mage has appeared. Kyle realizes the explosion has downed Lord Cousland and he rushes to assist him. The Teyrn is badly wounded, but there's no much that can be done during combat.

"You must go to the secret passage, milord", Kyle says to him while helping him to get up. "We'll tell the Lady and your son where you are if they come here".

Ser Bryce doesn't argue. His injuries are bad, but he's able to walk. Kyle helps him to the door and asks a couple of soldiers to assist him on his way. Then, he returns to the fight, under the disapproving look of his redhaired companion.

"You should have gone with him". But Kyle, stubborn as always, shakes his head. "He'll be safe", he says. "We need to wait here for Ryan and Lady Eleanor".

Ser Gilmore shakes his head and continues fighting. The mage is though to defeat and many man fall under his spells. Fortunatelly for them, a group of men get into the Hall through one of the side doors. They include a man, slightly older than them, a dog, and a mature woman in a fighting attire. The man greets them between sword blows, and soon together they kill the mage.

"Ryan! You're safe!", Ser Gilmore greets the man.

"What has happened?", Ryan asks.

"Howe has betrayed us. His men are besieging the castle", he replies.

"Where's Bryce?", asks the woman. "I though he'd be here"

"He went to the pantry", Rory says. "He said you should join him there, there is a secret passage you can use"

Ryan shakes his head. "What about you?"

"We'll stay here guarding the doors. The more we resist, the more time you'll have to escape"

Suddenly Ryan notices the tall warrior besides Rory.

"What are you doing here, Kyle? Go and fetch your wife!"

"My place is here, Ryan. I'm on duty tonight"

"Your place, my ass!" shouts Ryan. "Your wife is pregnant! Go and save her!"

Rory nods. "That's what I say to him, but he's too stubborn"

"She can take care of herself", Kyle says, not very convinced. "And you'll need all the help I can provide"

"One man won't make any difference, Kyle. Go with them".

"But… they surely wouldn't harm her? She's pregnant!" 

Lady Cousland steps ahead and slaps him in the face even if she has to tiptoe to do that. Her eyes are full of tears.

"Those bastards killed little Oren, Kyle. What do you think they'd to to a pregnant elf?? Go and save her! If you rush, you may meet us at the pantry's passage"

Kyle touches his cheek still shocked by the woman's reaction and slowly, seems to understand. She's not safe. Wherever she is, she, and her baby, will die, or even worse, if the Howe men find her. And when he realizes it, he understands there's only one thing he can do.

Kyle runs out of the Hall, almost forgetting there are still enemies to be defeated, charging against and running over them on his way to the side door. Runs to the servants quarters, saying under his breath a single name, "Mari", like a prayer, and reminding that other night, the night he arrived too late.


I'm silent, mother, I'm silent. But my baby doesn't agree, and he's kicking, and moving, and sometimes I feel he's going to tear my flesh appart to get out of my body himself, because the space is now small for him, and he needs to breathe. I bite my lips to avoid screaming, and I think I'm drooling when I feel a taste of iron and I realize it's my own blood runing down my chin.

I try not to move, but the pain is growing, and I need to change my position from time to time to be able to cope with it. I'm covered in clothes and blankets, so if anybody opens the wardrobe there's a chance that they don't look further… Men never are interested on women's clothes, specially if they're poor servant's ones.

I hear noises in the room and I freeze. I had not used the bed, so I hope they think this is an empty room and not take a lot of time searching it. I hold my breath. I hear voices.

"Nothing here?"

"No. A pity, I wouldn't have minded to find a couple of elven bitches"

"You always thinking the same"

"Yeah. Sure. What do you think I signed for? The pay? The adventure?"

The voices laugh. I count two…. No, three men. Scavengers. Probably searching for loot now this part of the castle is silent. Don't even think, Mari. Your thoughts can betray you. A sigh, a sudden movement. Anything.

And the sudden movement happens, because I feel another stab of pain in my belly when a contraction arrives. I have felt some before but none as strong as this one and I know what this mean: the baby is coming. It is too soon, it is not the moment, but he has felt my fear and wants to run away too. It surprises me and I moan. And I know it has been a mistake, becaue the voices out there are now silent.

I stop breathing again, while I hear only the beating of my heart. Finally, I hear steps. Coming towards the wardrobe. I'm lost and I know it. Me and my baby. I didn't bring a knife with me. But I won't surrender without fighting. Just wait, my little one. Let me fight for you, and you'll have time to see the world after that.

I locked the wardrobe from the inside, like that last time, but I know it won't be a nuissance for those men. The handle moves, the door rattle. The man curses under his breath, and a second one says "Move away". A loud thud, and the blade of a two handed sword shines through an open hole in the wardrobe's doors. I cover my head with the blankets, but these are not children ghosts. That won't make them go away.

A few hits after, and a hand gets into the wardrobe looking for the bar which blocks it. I step back trying not to be touched, but I know it will be useless. But before the doors are opened, the hand disappears and I hear again fighting sounds. I take a chance and peer through the hole.

And I sigh of relief and thank the maker.

Here he is… My Kyle, my knight in shining armor, fighting his way to me through those bastards. I have the feeling that going out is safe now and I finish the work the hand did… falling shamelessly to the floor because after all this time into the wardrobe, my legs don't support me anymore. I crawl to a safe place, and when I see one of the soldiers down on the floor, I get his sword and point out with it, just to let anyone know that coming to get me can be dangerous… or at least, painful. Kyle just fights. I can see his rage and as always I feel a mix of fear and pride. He's a killing machine… and he's doing it for me.

When the last of the three men in the room falls lifeless on the ground, Kyle turns his head and looks at the pityful mess of hair and sweat and clothes I am. He's covered in blood and I pray that it is not his, and for a moment I smile… . He thinks I'm crazy when I say I find him sexy that way, but his green eyes shining through his enemies blood always makes me feel excited. But my smile changes into a grimace as soon as another contraction makes me fold in two.

Kyle realizes my pain and reacts swiftly, taking me in his arms and craddling me like a baby. He softly kisses my face, my tears, my sweat, and I realize I have been crying. I hold onto his neck and whisper

"The baby. It's coming".

I see his eyes widening with terror.

"You can't bear him here".

"Tell me something I don't know", I scowl while feeling another contraction.

"There's a secret passage", he says. "Can you make it to the pantry?"

"Is here another option?". I get up with my remaining strenght, and I lean on Kyle's reassuring armored presence to walk, as fast as we can, to the near kitchen. At least the servant's dependences are close enough to trust we won't have more unpleasant encounters.

We arrive to the pantry, Kyle carrying me like a baby, because the contractions are so painful I can hardly walk. The door is blocked from inside and I feel a moment of panic, but he just leaves me sitting against the wall and charges with all his strenght. He still surprises me, when he leaves the rage take control, he can do things I can't imagine. After a few blows, the door falls down… and a blade points directly to his heart.

"Lady Eleanor!", he shouts. "It's me, Kyle!".

The woman lowers her sword.

"Kyle? Maker's breath, I almost kill you! I thought you were one of Howe's men!"

"I'm here with Mari. Please, let us use the secret passage!"

Lady Cousland nods. "Ryan has already gone, with that Grey Warden… If you rush maybe you can reach them…"

I walk slowly to meet them. Each step is painful, the baby is demanding to go out, but I resist as much as I can. Lady Eleanor gasps.

"Is she…?"

"Lady Eleanor, please", I beg. "Help us… the baby… all this has rushed everything"

The Teryna covers her mouth and makes me enter the pantry. Kyle is trying to put the door again in place, to give us a bit more time. I see a body in the ground. It's the Teyrn, Ser Bryce. He's dead.

Lady Eleanor follows my glance and lowers her head. No words are needed, though I can whisper "I'm sorry" before another contraction takes my breath away. Suddenly, I feel something wet between my legs and I gasp. "Oh, no!"

The Teryna has seen it too. "Andraste's sake!! The baby's coming now!"

She hurries and opens the secret passage for us. "Hurry, go out there. You can't bear him here!"

"Lady Eleanor", I beg. "I'm afraid. It… it hurts so much!". I wish Lauren was here. I'm sure she would know what to do.

Lady Eleanor seems torn. "You're so young… and Kyle won't be of much help, will he?". Kyle shakes his head, ashamed. This is too much for him. He can face an entire army of enemies, but the miracle of life is still an enigma to him.

What a couple we are. I can't say a word, I'm bitting my lips trying to control the pain, and Kyle just doesn't know what to say, because he's never been the talkative type. I just beg at Lady Eleanor with my eyes. She looks at her husband's corpse and mumbles "Bryce"…

"He's already dead, milady", Kyle finally manages to say. "And I'm sure he will prefer to see you alive than dying alone…"

She's got tears in her eyes. She looks from her dead husband to me, and I can understand her pain… If Kyle was dead, I'd have it hard to leave him behind too. But me, now, I have something else to fight for. And she knows it, because she's a mother too. She finally makes her mind up.

"All right. I'm not going to let your baby die. I… I can't do anything for Bryce, but I can do it for you… like… like when little Oren was born…"

She kisses her dead husband's lips one last time, while whispering "Forgive me", and gets up. Kyle is nervous blocking the door; after having knocked it down, it won't resist another attack from outside. Lady Cousland takes me by my shoulders and leads me to the passage. Kyle rushes behind us and blocks it from inside. We were lucky Ryan didn't block it when he used it, I guess he still hoped we would arrive. We walk some meters, but I can't resist anymore. I can feel the baby making his path through my hips. I need to sit down. I need to help him out.


After a few eternal minutes in which I swear Kyle wouldn't lay his hands on me ever again, I hear a baby's cry and I know everything is over. Lady Eleanor hands me a small figure wrapped in the dirty blanket I've been dragging around since I got out of the wardrobe, and suddenly all my pain, all my concerns, disappear when I see his tiny face, his dark hair and his rounded ears… Rounded ears. He's a shem. Funny enough, that's my very first thought, but I don't mind. I know nothing will matter now, nothing except this baby's happiness.

"He's a boy", Kyle says, all pride in his voice.

"He's a miracle", Lady Eleanor adds, smiling for the first time, and while looking at him, such a tiny sparkle of life amongst all this death and darkness, I can't but agree. A miracle, indeed.