I wanted to show her the world. When my sister was younger, I would take her on adventures behind our house. The two of us would explore the woods that bordered our yard and pretend we were somewhere else. We would invent new lives for ourselves. Each day brought a different journey and the forest around us was more just the dock before we sailed off into our imaginations than actual trees.
Just a few minutes into the forest and our house would be gone. This was another world, our world, and we explored every inch of it. As her big brother, I would take her to each area and point out each previous discovery I had made. She would laugh at the funny looking tree I had found or act scared as I recounted a tale of coming across a snake. We had great fun just beyond our backyard.
As we have both gotten older, my sister and I have stopped talking to each other. She chose one path in life and I another. She spends her time studying the facts of the past while I still live in the fictional worlds, delighted by all the small moments of mystery. We have drifted apart and I thought I had lost that version of my sister until I found her again in Dragon Age: Origin – Awakening.
I was growing bored of the politics in the DLC. The intrigue and courtly duties of running a Keep were tedious and mind numbing. Instead of the action that I had seen in Dragon Age: Origins, I was a Warden-Commander in name only. I was a servant to the petty disputes and stuck fetching both coin and goods for every merchant I might come across. I was enjoying some of the dialogue, but there was very little adventuring going on as I went from killing an archdemon in Origins to then being a glorified secretary for the squabbling lords and ladies of a small arling. The life of a Warden was supposed to be one of action, adventure and romance.
Sigrun was fighting for her life when we found her. She had run from a battle with overwhelming numbers. After killing her team, the Darkspawn had chased her through dark tunnels and cramped spaces until she somehow found her way to the surface. We stepped in to save her and she thanked us by telling us about her journey to where we stood at the gateway between the surface world and that of the Dwarfs and Darkspawn.
She was a member of the Legion of the Dead and was, as far as her own people were concerned, already deceased. With her whole squad wiped out, she had nowhere else to go and no one to go back to in the Dwaven cities. I knew what to do. I invited her to join us. I could always use another warrior.
We began to travel together across the land of Amaranthine. Over time, I found myself wanting to include her in my party more often, even if a quest had nothing to do with her. I was settling back into the role of taking someone from place to place and pointing out how each area was interesting. As we went, she would comment about the vast expanses or the smell of trees. I delighted again in showing off a new world to another person.
She became an unofficial part of my team and then, as soon as I could, I made it official too. She became a Grey Warden and took on a new responsibility. By taking part in the ritual and becoming one of us, she joined our ranks. I thought then I had shown her a new purpose and given her a new life.
We spoke more and more about the world and its wonders, but our time was coming to an end and some part of me knew it. As the final battle drew closer, I would look over to her to see how she felt about our times together and she would smile. Despite the blood spilled and battles fought, she seemed happy.
I should have known she would leave. We defeated the threat and saved the people, but it was not enough for her. I wanted to show her more of the world. If we could leave this small area, I knew where adventures were to be had just off the map. There was much more to experience. There were more places to visit. I wanted to show her other lands and other people.
She did not leave a note. One morning, she just left. I had thought she would give up the responsibilities of a member of the Legion of the Dead and would stay with the living. I thought she would be a member of my team and live this new life with us. I now know she had different plans.
When it was all over, I tried to explain to my sister how I remembered our time together through this character. My sister was patient. She listened to my story of what happened and my adventure. Then, she smiled and shook her head. She was done with the fictional worlds and the imaginary journeys. That life was over for her.
She reminded me that the forest from our youth was gone. She said it was impressive only because we did not know any better. She had no interest in going back to that or of seeing these new virtual places either. She would let me go back, but not come with me. She did not want to see this new world.