"I think of the King as much as he thinks at all."
|Residence||Amaranthine, Highever, Denerim (depending on the time of the storyline)|
|Occupation||Arl and full time pain in the ass to the Warden & Co.|
|Gear||High quality studded leather rogue armor, twin swords, most anything money can buy until he stretches himself too thin by the time he's trying to convinced Loghain to kill Anora and pin the crime on Eamon.|
|Behind the Mask|
|Face Claim||Voiced by Tim Curry|
Bryce Cousland’s blood seeped over the stone, trickling down into the cracks of the kitchen floor. Women were screaming shrilly behind him somewhere as his men rampaged through the halls of Highever, but the men did need their spoils. A few forced wenches who were tied to the former Teyrn would keep his lot out of the ale or pillaging other spoils. He’d have to go through their belongings with trusted soldiers to make sure they weren’t liberating wealth from the castle which now belonged to him. Anything found on their person like Cousland jewels, weapons, or other things from the castle would be punishable with a whipping or worse. “You might have had the decency,” he sneered to Bryce’s corpse, “not to die in the kitchen.” Folding his arms across his chest, he stopped just outside of the cooling puddle of the last part of his old “friend’s” life. “We’re going to have the Maker’s own time getting all that blood off the floor, and people aren’t going to want to eat with you smeared everywhere. You always were inconsiderate, though, weren’t you?” his smile was reptilian cold and turned his eyes hard as flint. “Not to mention a fool.” At least it was to Rendon’s benefit, because Bryce might have been king, and been better at it than that idiot brat of Maric’s. It was difficult enough with Cousland blocking his schemes at every turn with that damnable look of determination Howe had come to resent and despise. Bryce was too submissive, and in the end, it had cost him everything. The Antivian whore he called a sister-in-law was going to the corpse pile, as was her little brat-spawn boy. Those wouldn’t live to raise a banner in their precious grandfather’s name. Fergus would be dealt with in due course when Loghain’s plan came to fruition at Ostagar. Quite the fighter, but he’d never survive the hordes of Darkspawn which would come swarming over that ruin. That would be the end of the Wardens, too, more the pity, but better to get rid of them than to have them throw open the doors to the Orlesians.
Ferelden didn’t need the Grey Wardens and certainly not the Orlesians for this “Blight” their moon calf moron of a king had decided to fight. Everyone with any shred of education knew it was no true Blight, and the militia, lead by Loghain and his daughter, would easily stop the darkspawn. His soon to be widowed daughter, and perhaps Thomas or Nathaniel could be convinced to marry her. That would put another step into solidifying the Howe position of power in Ferelden, making their blood mingle for the next heir to the throne. A real heir, and not the fabled bastard son of Maric, if he even existed.
The fires were being slapped out with wet blankets out by the less distracted soldiers who weren’t beating servants for the fun of it, or starting to interrogate what was left of the people who served Highever. The smoke was getting worse in the halls because of it, but it wouldn’t do to have any more of the castle with blackened stone and burned wooden supports. Ultimately, that would be a problem, as would replacing the wooden doors. The body of Aedon still needed to be accounted for, and Eleanor might have answers to where that little aggravation of a son had gotten off to. She’d been quite the problem before they’d managed to break into the room and she’d killed a almost impressive amount of his people. Pity, but of course casualties had to be expected in a coup such as the one Rendon had just made. She was not to be touched on his order for what little life she had left in her, and he ordered brusquely, “stop those fools from looting long enough to drag that,” he gestured to Bryce, “out for what’s left of his men to see. I want them to witness exactly what their ‘beloved’ Teyrn is, now, broken and dead. There will be no one to save or help them now. Break them,” he ordered icily, “and do something about all that cursed smoke,” he snorted as he waved a hand in front of his face and strode down one of the corridors into the Cousland bedroom for the littlest brat. He’d chosen that particular room for Eleanor for a reason, specifically to remind her of her dismal failure. With her wounds, she wouldn’t last long, and he had just a few more things he needed from her.
Giving a haughty jerk of his head to the men flanking the door to keep the bound Cousland matriarch in her place, he unbolted the door from the outside and strode in. Eleanor was bound by wrist and ankle, and even had she the strength to run, she never would have been able to. “So,” he began with a morbid glee, “we finally see who is the better man. It seems you’ve lost Eleanor, and all your precious little brats are dead, or soon will be. Fergus, you must know, does not have a chance.”
Eleanor mustered her reserves to lift her head and glare defiantly at Howe. “Bryce was ten times the man you are, if I would even call you a man! Fergus will evade you yet, you despicable traitor! My sons are not so easily slaughtered!”
“Like your grandson,” Rendon asked, satisfied as she winced and he could see the unshed tears locked behind her glassy eyes. “Typical Antivian breeding. He didn’t so much as try to run, I understand. He just stood there like a scared rabbit and let someone cut him down. Typical.”
“The king will see justice done,” Eleanor spat, then coughed up bubbles of blood past her smeared lip make up. Death was coming for her, and now that her beloved Bryce was gone, her eldest with Duncan, she welcomed it.
“I have a mage you know,” Rendon told her with deceptive conversation in his voice, “if you tell me where Aedon is, I could have magical healing fix your wounds. You could live, and if you would swear fealty to me, I would spare Aedon’s life, too.” That, of course, was a lie, but he hoped she was desperate enough to believe him.
She was not. “Never,” she turned her face away from him long enough to make the ultimate unladylike gesture. Spitting toward him, she was standing and staring at her journey to the Maker, so she didn’t care about propriety or manners right then. Howe deserved that and all the more. “He is beyond your reach.”
“Bitch,” Rendon exploded and slapped her across the face with a loud pop sound which bounced from the walls. “Where is he!” Unfortunately, his effort was wasted, and the last of Eleanor’s life was given up. Without her will to live, she faded and collapsed like the last leaves of fall. Pity. He’d wanted to make her kiss his feet before she died, but no matter. If he met Aedon again, however unlikely that would be, Rendon would be sure to tell him that was how it had happened.