They bring Andraste’s ashes back to Redcliff and to Arl Eamon’s bedside. They work their miracle, and the arl is cured of his poison and comes out of his coma. Though he is sad that he has lost his wife, he takes comfort knowing his son is with him. And that Alistair is alive and well. He puts forth that Alistair must come to the Landsmeet and press his claim to the throne, to unite Ferelden and force out Loghain. With great reluctance, Alistair accedes.
The arl and his brother begin to organize the Landsmeet, a calling of all the arls and banns of the land. The Grey Wardens depart westward once more, with their treaties, to approach the dwarves for their aid.
Alistair trailed behind his companions, mulling over his own thoughts. Valorien dropped back beside him. “I am sorry, Alistair,” he said. “I know you hoped the Arl’s plan wouldn’t involve you as claimant to the throne.”
The former Templar looked over at him. Instead of witty repartee’, he simply said, “Thank you.” He trod onward in silence a while. “Do you believe that? That the only way to unite Ferelden is with me as king?”
Valorien thought it over. “I do not know. For the Dalish… we do not hold bloodlines in such high regard. Anyone of talent may lead.” He shrugged. “But you humans… well.”
“It’s said that Ferelden will only remain in existance as long as a decendent of King Calenhad is on the throne. That just leaves me.” Alistair frowned.
“Do you believe so?”
“I believe I will make a godawful king.” He shook his head. “I still can’t believe this is happening. I can’t picture going before all the banns at the landsmeet and proclaiming myself king… being crowned… it’s like some unreal story that’s happening to someone else.”
“There is still a good chance you will be killed fighting the darkspawn.”
“Oh yes! Now you really know how to cheer a fellow up!”
They rounded a bend, pushing past some ferns overhanging the path. After a while Valorien said, “Do you remember the look on Kolgrim’s face when I told him I had poured the dragon’s blood on the Ashes?”
Alistair snorted. “I thought he was going to burst a blood vessel! He was livid! Yelling at us that his dragon hadn’t turned into a saint, and then you’re there with a straight face innocently going, ‘But I did pour the blood on the ashes. Can’t you tell?'” He roared in laughter. Beside him, the elf chuckled dryly. Alistair looked at him. “You are a good liar. Are you sure you didn’t lie to me when you said you wouldn’t lie to me?”
Valorien sighed. “Why would I lie to you?”
“To make me feel better. You know… ‘Good job, Alistair, getting yourself frozen stiff by that revenant so I could shoot it;’ ‘Nice work tackling those hurlocks;’ ‘Oh Alistair, I love your cooking; what a smashing job you did tonight;’ that sort of thing.”
After considering this a minute, Valorien replied, “You always do that. You do well, yet you are constantly self-deprecating of your abilities.”
“Oh.” Alistair chewed on that a bit. “Probably to forestall everyone else doing it.”
“Perhaps you should stop doing that.”
“All right.” He nodded. “I’m a mighty hero! With the prowess of my sword, I’ll single-handedly defeat the darkspawn, slay the Archdemon, and end the Blight. Then I’ll go on to rule Ferelden as a brave and bold leader. Women will swoon at my feet, and I’ll have all the wealth and power in the kingdom.”
“On second thought, never mind.”
“Just couldn’t wait to have the old humble Alistair back, hm?”
“Humility is a virtue,” the elf conceded.