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30 Days of DA: Tales of the Wardens

Day Six: Your Warden's story

I have three Wardens.

Most recent is my in-progress m!Surana (he's about to trigger the Landsmeet after wrapping up a couple of chores in Denerim). He's a bit of a generalist, an idealist at heart but getting more and more sour with each compromise he has to make, and completely obsessed with Zevran. I like him, but I never felt like I got to know him very well -- he was created in part so that I could see some different outcomes (other romances, siding with Branka, recruiting the secret Companion -- although I don't know if i'll be able to go through with that one -- etc.). Too much meta-gaming.

My first Warden, played jointly with T, was an f!Cousland warrior, sword and shield specialty, romanced Alistair. Although I can write her into almost any future, and have, her canon ending is as Warden-Commander, Alistair at her side, Anora ruling alone. But since she was a joint project who also sometimes made decisions for gameplay reasons, I have a harder time feeling a strong connection with her.

And then we have my second Warden, the only one so far that I've really role-played, and the one I consider my canon Warden for most purposes: Sereda Aeducan. She is "my" Warden, and this is her story.

Sereda Aeducan, daughter of King Endrin Aeducan, was your typical favored second child: her father doted on her, her older brother hated her and saw her as a threat, and her little brother got on with her well enough; she didn't think about him much. Sereda's main goal in life was to gain her own command -- she's trained as a rogue, relying on twin blades and stealth for combat, though she is a fair archer as well -- lead sorties into the Deep Roads to protect her people from darkspawn, help her father negotiate treaties and agreements, and influence policy towards fairness whenever possible. In her heart of hearts, she would have liked the throne, but she knew that her father would never give it to her, so she set that desire aside. Gorim, her second, was her best friend, and she loved him, but not the way he loved her, and she had to let him down gently more than once. She expected her father would make a political marriage for her eventually, and that was just fine with her; she took the occasional lover, but for the most part was content to focus on her military and political service.

And then everything got turned upside down when Bhelen informed her of Trian's plot to kill her. Though she had no reason not to believe him, she decided to wait, not take any action until she had the opportunity to speak to Trian, make him see reason. Sereda is a great believer in the power of diplomacy, and can talk almost anyone into almost anything. But the events in Aeducan thaig raced beyond her control, and before she knows it, she is a disgraced exile who has lost everything that was ever important to her: her name, her position, her command, her father, her best friend. All she had left was a sword, given to her by Lord Harrowmont, her own sense of honor, and a wild hope that she might find Duncan in the Deep Roads. Becoming a Grey Warden would not only save her life but give her a sense of purpose -- if she couldn't protect her people from darkspawn, at least she could protect others on the surface.

Of course she was successful at finding Duncan and with him went on to Ostegar, where she met the next person who would change her life forever: Alistair. At first, Sereda thought Alistair was a little goofy, not taking the darkspawn or the threat of the Blight seriously enough -- to dwarves, darkspawn are serious business. But after that first battle, when it was just the two of them, they started to get closer, and the romance soon followed. He gave her the rose on the way to the Circle, the first kiss was not long after, and when she proposed a night in her tent, he accepted right away. She was head-over-heels, his good humor and support making the quest that much more bearable.

For the most part, Sereda got along with the rest of the party -- she became good friends with Leliana, flirted shamelessly with Zevran (but turned him down when he propositioned her, because she knew Alistair was unlikely to understand), was fascinated by Shale, connected with Sten over their outsider status. She never quite came to trust Morrigan, and she was slower to warm to Oghren and Wynne: Wynne because of the meddling in the relationship with Alistair, Oghren because he reminded Sereda of the worst aspects of the dwarf military. In the end, though, she was at least friendly with everyone.

In general, Sereda was a fan of taking the third option, of sparing innocents and siding with the underdogs: she saved both Connor and Isolde, spared the mages, freed the werewolves from their curse, sided with Caridin over Branka, and killed Kolgrim and protected the Sacred Ashes, even if the worship of Andraste bewilders her a bit. She really didn't care for the Chantry and could never fathom why the surfacers allow it to have so much power.

The one exception, of course, was upon their return to Orzammar; she couldn't forgive Bhelen's treachery, and so she put Harrowmont on the throne without hesitation. Although she did briefly consider renouncing her role with the Wardens and taking the throne herself.* But after a bit of wrestling with her conscience, she decided that she didn't feel right leaving Alistair to handle the Blight alone. So she crowned Harrowmont, landed the killing blow on Bhelen in the ensuing melee, and vowed to wash her hands of the place forever.

Then came the Landsmeet, and the negotiations with Anora, on which Sereda took the lead. She also proposed the marriage between Anora and Alistair. In fact, it seemed such an obvious solution to the problem that she was faintly surprised that no one else brought it up first. It took some convincing on both sides, but eventually she got them both to agree. However, she also saw no reason to give Alistair up; one for politics and one for love is a time-honored arrangement in Orzammar, and she was quite insistent on this point. Thanks to her nose for politics, Sereda was able to bring almost the entire Landsmeet onto the Warden's side, and then she executed Loghain without giving any serious consideration to Riordan's proposal. Like Bhelen, Loghain was a traitor and a kinslayer; like Bhelen, he did not deserve the opportunity to redeem himself.

After some slight hesitation, Sereda encouraged Alistair to participate in the Dark Ritual, and he agreed; everything proceeded from there as one would expect. Soon after, she went on to become Warden-Commander at Amaranthine, where she grew closer to Oghren and became best friends with Nathaniel Howe -- he was the second she had been missing since losing Gorim, and without the awkward emotional imbalance. Being one to trust the instincts of dwarven masons, she built up the Keep enough to survive the siege, so she succeeded in saving both the Keep and the city. With some misgivings, she allied herself with the Architect, being curious about the possibility of stopping the darkspawn and providing some respite to Orzammar.

After the danger was over, she went back home to that city and spent a year or so settling her affairs: setting up a household, arranging for a deshyr to serve as her proxy in the Assembly, naming Bhelen's bastard son by a casteless woman her heir to much scandal within the city. Once that was done, she returned to the Keep and took back up the mantle of Warden-Commander, where she served with distinction for many years. She and Alistair maintained their relationship through it all, strong and caring despite the distance and their other duties. All in all, I'd call that a happy ending, or happy enough.

If you made it through all that, I salute you. ;) As my canon Warden, Sereda is also my favorite to write about. I've posted several stories about her, with and without Alistair, on AO3, and I expect there will be more to come.

*I really wish the game had provided a nod to this option for a Dwarf Noble. Of course there's no way they could actually go through with taking the throne -- it would totally break the story -- but it would have been a nice touch of realism for an Aeducan to be able to at least allude to it.

Complete list of questions

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