Alistair is 6'0”, with an athletic build. His hair is sandy blonde, kept cropped short from years of wearing a helmet and generally combed by fingers unless a member of the palace staff gets to him first.
His eyes are hazel, capable of either a mischievous gleam or a soulful gaze that would put any mabari to shame. His face is handsome and open, with a naturally guileless look that he has learned to use to good effect in his time as King. He smiles readily, but since taking the throne, a more serious expression is frequently seen. He is broad shouldered and strongly built from a lifetime of wearing armor, and his body bears any number of scars from his battles.
In regards to clothing, he is rather indifferent, preferring to trust the tastes of his staff (though he drew a firm line at hose). They, in turn, try not to afflict him with too much in the way of frills and fripperies, outfitting him in simple but elegant garb in the blues and reds that he prefers. Two items are with him always: his mother’s amulet, a silver flame of Andraste set in crystal that has been shattered and meticulously glued back together; and the tiny vial of darkspawn blood that he received at his Joining. The amulet was found by Aedan during the liberation of Redcliffe castle, and is strung on a sturdy gold chain, while the vial hangs from a simple cord of black silk. Both are worn around his neck, generally beneath his clothes.
He carries Duncan's Shield: a heavy, silverite shield emblazoned with the blue and white gryphon of the Grey Wardens. He also bears Maric’s Blade: the silverite longsword that belonged to his father. The blade is etched with lyrium runes that shimmer when it is drawn. These items give him some sense of connection to the father that he never knew and the mentor whose loss he still feels keenly. While Cailan’s armor was recovered from Ostagar, Alistair could not bring himself to wear it; besides feeling inappropriate, the gilded plate was a bit too flashy for his tastes (all right…way too flashy). The armor he wears most often these days was a gift from King Bhelen: a full set of steel plate. An embossed dragon’s head adorns the breastplate, and each piece is ornately engraved and etched with lyrium. He has also kept the simple iron splintmail that he was wearing during the tourney from which Duncan recruited him, as well as during his Joining. He sees to its maintenance himself, and will occasionally wear it when sparring instead of his finer armors.
Born to a serving maid in Redcliffe Castle who died shortly afterward, Alistair was raised by servants under the supervision of Arl Eamon Guerrin. Rumors abounded that he was the Arl’s bastard, and soon after Eamon’s marriage to an Orlesian beauty, her jealousy over the rumors led the Arl to place the young boy in the Chantry, to eventually be trained as a templar. Before his departure, Eamon told Alistair the truth of his parentage: he was the son of none other than King Maric, a fact that the Arl stressed that he must never reveal. The revelation was not well received by Alistair; their parting was a stormy one, and he would not speak with Eamon again for many years.
In the Chantry, he found himself in the company of other boys and girls: bastards, orphans, younger children of minor nobles who had no other inheritance and the offspring of particularly devout parents from all levels of society. Neither well-liked nor particularly disliked by his peers, Alistair soon developed a reputation as a prankster, taking refuge behind jokes and irreverence. While he had little interest in the religious aspects of his templar training, the mental discipline and the martial training appealed to him. Less appealing was the Chantry’s use of lyrium to control the templars. He was required, along with the other novices, to witness the punishment of a templar who had committed the crime of falling in love with a mage under his supervision. The agony of the man’s withdrawl from lyrium left Alistair thoroughly shaken, and he vowed to himself never to use the stuff. It is unlikely that he could have kept that resolution once he had taken his final vows of service, but before that could happen, a tournament was held to honor the visiting Commander of the Grey Wardens. Duncan’s eye was drawn to the young man who, while not the best of the fighters present, was undeniably competent and possessing a keen sense of honor and fairness, losing a bout by surrendering his shield after ‘taking’ his opponent’s arm.
There was strong resistance to the idea of the Grey Wardens recruiting a novice templar who might well reveal Chantry secrets, and Duncan was forced to invoke the Right of Conscription. For the first time, Alistair found himself in a place where he was truly wanted and valued, and the sense of brotherhood following his Joining was unlike anything he had ever known. It was a feeling that was tragically short lived. Barely six months passed between his Joining and the battle at Ostagar, which left him bereft of Duncan, the man he had looked to as a father, his half-brother Cailan, and every one of his other fellow Wardens save one: Aedan Cousland, the newest recruit.
In the months that followed, the two young Wardens and their odd assortment of companions did the seemingly impossible: convince elves, dwarves and mages to honor ancient treaties and unite under Grey Warden command to combat the Blight. During that time, he and Aedan grew as close as brothers, but Alistair was considerably less fond of Morrigan, the mysterious apostate who captured his fellow Warden’s heart. During these months, he also slowly came to terms with the fact that, as Maric’s sole living offspring, he was the most logical successor to Cailan. The knowledge was far from welcome, and he almost welcomed the prospect of a heroic death slaying the Archdemon. To this day, he will claim that his antagonism towards Morrigan stems from her forcing him to take the throne by denying him the chance to die when she performed the Dark Ritual with Aedan. In truth, it was seeing how much his best friend was wounded by the witch’s disappearance that angered him the most, and still does.
He was almost grateful that it was Aedan’s blow that slew the Archdemon, as the Hero of Ferelden took much of the attention of the adoring populace, even during Alistair’s coronation. At the same time, however, there was a certain wistful envy of his brother Warden; to Alistair, Aedan had forged his own path, while he remained ensnared by the circumstances of his birth, his worth determined solely by his parentage.
In the years since, Alistair has dedicated himself to the formidable task of learning the duties that normally would have been taught from childhood. While this has claimed a large portion of his attention, he remains aware of his friends going about their lives, having what seem to him to be heroic and grand adventures, while he remains constrained by the bounds of propriety and prudence, guarded zealously by those who would not see Ferelden again robbed of its King. While he has largely accepted this as what must be, a part of him still hungers for the chance to prove himself unequivocally, if to no one else but himself.
His loyalty and gratitude to Eamon Guerrin was increasingly tested when his old guardian, in the office of Royal Chancellor, continually kept him in the dark, feeding him a steady diet of 'when you're ready' while making all major decisions with a cadre of his old guard cronies. Friction between them grew as Alistair began to assert himself as King; he felt guilty when Eamon suffered a stroke that left him incapacitated, but that evaporated when he discovered that Eamon had located his sister Goldanna's three surviving children and had them spirited out of Ferelden to keep Alistair from finding out about them. That grim knowledge shredded the final frayed bonds between them, and after Eamon's death, he was resolved to let no one else manipulate him as the Arl had.
At least part of his desire for a family was fulfilled when Leliana located the children in a Chantry orphanage in Jader. Elena, Bran and Arwen were brought to Denerim, and have adjusted to life in the palace. Eamon's attempts to match him with a pretty, biddable wife had left him despairing of ever finding a suitable Queen, and he refused to engage in casual dalliances, refusing to risk another royal bastard, regardless of how slim the odds. His friendship with Constance Yorath, begun after the Teyrna was widowed took a surprising (for both of them) turn when he asked her to marry him, and she accepted. To him, it was a logical move, giving Ferelden a strong Queen and him a partner who had the experience and political acumen that he lacked, as well as an heir of noble blood in her son by Thomas Howe, Peter. The fact that lt likely had Eamon's spirit screaming in the Fade was just a happy bonus.