Make sure these get into their hands, Uncle. I want…there are things I want them to know.
Teagan stared numbly down at the trio of letters in his hands, each folded and sealed with the mark of Cailan’s signet ring. The ring itself rode in one of his pockets and seemed so much heavier than it actually was.
It was the last thing his nephew had handed him.
Bowing his head, he wiped hurriedly at his eyes then twisted to put the letters carefully into one of the pouches on his belt. As he did so, the dwarf exited the tent, her face ashen. Her green eyes lifted to meet his and she bobbed her head in acknowledgement before saying, “He’s gone.”
Teagan stared at her for a moment then managed a weary nod. He then noticed her looking curiously around their almost deserted camp, empty but for them and a handful of men and women who were preparing breakfast. “I asked for volunteers to build a pyre,” he said quietly. “I ended up with more hands than we have axes for.”
She opened her mouth for a moment then closed it, shaking her head before she moved to stand next to him. They merely stood there for a moment before she asked, “What are your plans now?”
“We’ll head to Rainesfere and settle the survivors who aren’t of Redcliffe. Then we’ll head on to there with the rest.” He paused before adding, “You both are welcome to continue traveling with us.”
“Have to see what the boss says about that, long legs.” She then frowned before saying, “Suppose I’ll go give them another pair of hands. Seems the least I could do.” Before he could say anything in response, she was gone, leaving him standing alone once again.
Wearily Teagan turned and entered the tent, finding Jarriad still there. The elf was leaning over Cailan’s body, carefully folding his arms across the chest to hide the final wound to the heart that had killed him. After a moment he stepped back and said, “If we have any leather gloves, the men who carry the cot to the pyre will need them. I’d rather they avoid coming into contact with the taint as much as possible.”
“Noted,” said Teagan quietly, idly recalling he’d seen a few pairs floating around camp. He stepped up next to the other man then asked, “What are your plans, Jarriad?”
The white-haired elf frowned for a moment before answering. “Our mission is the same as it ever was. We must end the Blight. No matter what respect I may have once held for TerynLoghain, I will not let his current choices sway what must be done.”
Jarriad just smiled bitterly. “I was one of his Night Elves,” he explained. “During the war.”
Teagan arched his eyebrows in surprise, having not expected that. “How did you end up in the Wardens?” he asked.
“I killed a man. Self-defense but humans don’t make that destinction with elves, not even ones who are war heroes. Duncan conscripted me while I was rotting in a cell in Gwaren.” The elf then shook himself and said, “That’s the past, however, Bann Teagan. Now we have the future to worry about.”
“Very true. I plan to go to Rainesfere and then continue to Redcliffe to speak with my brother. You Wardens are welcome to travel with us.”
Jarried frowned before saying, “You tread upon dangerous grounds, ser. Asking us to travel with you will likely bring a death sentence upon you.”
Teagan shrugged and turned his gaze to his nephew’s body, staring at it for a long moment. Then he slowly shifted his eyes back to Jarriad and said in a voice as cold as steel, “With what I intend to do, two Wardens traveling with us for a time will be nothing in comparison to the sentence I will bring upon my own head.”