Power in Stories

“There's power in stories, though. That's all history is: the best tales. The ones that last. Might as well be mine.” – Varric Tethras

The King’s Sons – 9:30 Dragon, Pursuit

As he worked to saddle the horses, Bernard frowned as he tightened the girth of Alistair’s gelding. There had been a twinge between his shoulder blades for days that hadn’t gone away and he’d been taking the second watch instead of the first lately to try to figure out why. Now he was beginning to truly expect that they were being pursued by someone.

Looking over at where the younger man was scuffing up the spot where their fire had been, he bent to make sure the girth was tight while peering at a spot at the edge of their camp. He was no woodsman, of course, but even he could tell when ground had been disturbed and someone had trod right there at some point during the night.

Whoever was hunting them was good, very good.

He wondered, however, what their intentions were. If they were an assassin sent by Loghain, they surely would have struck by now, having had plenty of opportunities to kill both of them.

Shaking his head, Bernard called out, “Alistair, bring our saddlebags over here.” He turned to finish working on his own saddle so when the young man approached, he stepped towards him to take his own saddlebags and breathed, “Keeping moving normally, lad, but be wary now. We’re being hunted.”

To the boy’s credit, he only had a momentary pause then Alistair grinned and pulled the saddlebags from where he’d tossed them over his shoulder. As he handed them off, he commented, “You’re going to break your horse’s back with this lot.”

“Nonsense,” scoffed Bernard as he took the offered item and flung it over his mare’s back. She snorted and shifted at the weight but settled to picking at the grass as he tied the bags down to the saddle. “She’s a hardy Fereldan lass.”

Alistair shook his head in faked amusement, hazel eyes blazing with one question: what do we do?

Smacking his mare’s shoulder to draw another snort out of her, Bernard handed the boy the reins of his gelding and said, “Mount up, lad. I want to ride a little further south into the forest before we head in another direction.” As Alistair took the reins, he briefly squeezed his wrist and hissed, “We’ll be alright.”

He turned towards his mare then only to find himself eye-to-eye with the point of an arrow. Inhaling sharply, Bernard reached back to grab at Alistair’s arm as he realized they were surrounded by a group of hard-eyed Dalish hunters. While he’d been worrying about the one pursuer, they’d apparently been hunted by another.

And this one he was even less sure about the intentions of.

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