FERGUS ALEXANDER THEIRIN OCC THREAD l MAIN QUEST "THE EXPEDITION" l POSTING ORDER ONFergus stood silently at the center of the royal palace’s courtyard with his hands held formally behind his back, he was clad in a golden armor akin to the one worn by his uncle during the Battle at Ostagar. It was early morning and the sun was still hidden behind the horizon. Today was the day of his “expedition” and despite his serious expression and confident posture, the prince had his uncertainties. The Anderfels was for the most part, unexplored. It was an arid, harsh land with plenty of beasts willing to sink their fangs into a steel chest plate. The few cities they had in the area were known to be unfriendly to anyone who wasn’t an Anders or in other words a native, and their warriors were some of the finest, if not vicious in nature. But he had no choice but to go. The Blight was growing closer and closer each day and this journey was Ferelden’s only hope of surviving the onslaught. You’d think that due to the severity of the situation it’d warrant a series of caravans with rations and supplies, platoons of knights to protect it, and the official royal flag flying behind it all. Fergus certainly thought it was necessary but the Queen of Ferelden, his elder sister, did not. It would be foolish to commit so much resources to finding an order that abandoned them in their time of need was what she told him. Fergus swore it was as if she forgot that their parents had been a part of that very order. But with the darkspawn already occupying most of the Kocari Wilds, Fergus understood why she’d want to keep Ferelden guarded. So instead of a proper expedition, the prince had to be content with a small group of adventures willing to travel through the politically tense nations between Denerim and Weisshaupt. He created this group by sending out a series royal invitations throughout the nation. These letters hid none of the dangers that would come with the expedition but heavily emphasized the immense amounts of gold and glory one would receive granted they survive. The letters also included the immediate benefits of joining, the most striking probably being temporarily immunity to Templars. Fergus winced at the memory of him approaching the Chantry with that request. The exclusivity of these letters coupled with the riches promised within them caused quite a stir in his country however. Over the past few months they’ve become almost legendary in status— many blood thirsty, gold hungry warriors and rogues across the nation have been killing and stealing from one another just to get their hands on a single letter in hopes that this expedition is their ticket to a better life. This tactic, though morbid, allowed the prince to test the skills of his group before he would even meet them. Those who arrived here today, with their invitation in hand, were both capable of getting a letter but also keeping it safe from the many people who would kill them for it. Fergus knew full and well he was spilling his own countrymen’s blood but he also knew so many more will die if the Grey Wardens weren’t brought back to combat the blight. He was interrupted from his thoughts however when he heard the light sound of boots tapping against the stone behind him. Fergus turned knowing full and well who was approaching him. She was an elf, with fiery red locks and incredibly pale blue eyes. She was dressed in light armor and carried a fine blade at her hip. Valora. The prince smiled. “Do tell me you have the letter hidden on your body somewhere.” Fergus spoke lightly as if ignoring the fact they hadn’t properly spoken to each other for the past four years. They were close once but their duties drove a wedge in between what could have been. "No. I’ve just come to wish you luck.” Valora admitted, stopping as she arrived at the center of the courtyard with him. It seemed like ages to Fergus since they last dueled on these grounds. “I did receive your letter, but your sister would prefer I go to Orlais and see if I can drum up some support for your cause there.” Fergus offered her a half smile before he nodded. He was glad his sister saw reason, but couldn’t help but feel disappointed that Valora had decided not to join him. Now he just had to make sure that the elf couldn’t see that disappointment in his expression. “Well I appreciate it, Val. It means a lot.” Fergus replied softly, his lips forming a somber smile as he met her eyes. The elf held his gaze at for a moment before she offered him a slow nod while she turned around and began to walk away. “Just make sure you return alive, Fergus. Alexandria would never forgive herself if otherwise.” The duelist spoke without turning back. He watched her in silence as she disappeared back into the castle and he wished she hadn’t said anything to him at all. The last thing he needed to feel before setting off for the Anderfels was regret. He turned back to the rest of the courtyard and let out a long, dwindling sigh. He hoped that it wouldn’t take long before the group arrived. The sooner they left the better - for a wide variety of reasons.