Author: Kirabaros PM
Oliver Twist in Dragon Age fashion. A one shot of Alistair & Alriana telling of how they became who they are today. Inspired in part by the story that Ashalle tells Mahariel about her parents as well as Alistair's story. General fluff.Rated: Fiction T - English - Friendship - Alistair & Mahariel - Words: 1,944 - Favs: 2 - Published: 06-01-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7042330
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The fire was burning in the camp and gave a comforting feel as Alriana stared into it fingering the pendant that she had worn since the day she had recovered from that day in the ruins. It had been a long day considering that not only had she and her group of companions managed to defeat a sloth demon but they had managed to save the Circle of Magi from the Right of Annulment. Alriana smiled at the memory of the look on that one Templar's face as he made a fool of himself by arguing with the head Templar about putting down the magi. Nothing got her more upset than injustice or a sentence without trial.
That was not the reason for her being so thoughtful. Rather it was what she learned about how mages were found, taken and trained. Wynne had explained it through her story about the Templars coming for her and taking her to the Tower. In a way it reminded her about how she was taken from her clan by Duncan. It only served to remind her how she was alone, a feeling that she wanted to be rid of completely.
"A copper for your thoughts."
Alriana stopped her musings and turned towards the owner of that voice. Seeing her companion she gave a warm smile. "Do you have a copper to give me?"
Alistair grinned and pulled a copper out of his pouch and held it up for Alriana to see. It was a personal joke they shared ever since she asked him the same question after they escaped from Ostagar. When she first asked the question, she had held the copper out to him. He had no idea how to respond until she flipped the copper to him and said, "Well? Tell me."
Alistair had told her how he felt about losing Duncan and she had listening. It was the first in a series of conversations and each one had endeared her to him more. They traded the same copper every time either one wanted to know if the other was all right. Now it was his turn as he held the copper up. Alriana smiled again and motioned for Alistair to have a seat. Ever since she had met Alistair, she had felt drawn to him; a feeling she was never sure of and surely thought was sacrilegious considering that she was an elf and a Dalish to boot. Yet he never treated her like an inferior but as an equal and it made her feel like she could take on the horde single handed. The feeling had grown since then and she felt that he was one that she could count on but she held back.
"Well, are you going to tell me?" Alistair looked at Alriana as if she were debating what to say. He flipped her the copper which she deftly caught. He had noticed that she had been unusually quiet since they left the Circle of Magi, always deep in thought and fingering the strange pendant he noticed her wearing, and sometimes with the pendant she received at her Joining.
Alriana did not realize she was still fingering her father's pendant as she turned the copper over in her fingers. She looked at it and laughed. It was the same copper that she had first given to Alistair. They had been trading it back and forth every time they sensed the other needed to talk. It was a testament to how close they had become. She replied, "I was just thinking. About the family I never knew."
"I thought your clan was your family. Aren't the Dalish close knit in their clans?" Alistair was puzzled. He only knew the bare minimum about the Dalish and most of it was nothing but tall tales about how they were barbarians.
Alriana shrugged her shoulders and replied, "The clan is my family but like any child I had a mother and father."
"Never knew them. They died a long time ago." Alriana returned her gaze to the fire. "The Dalish, well my clan never spoke of them around me lest it poisoned my heart with sorrow."
Alistair watched his companion, unsure of what to say. So she lost her family too. He then remembered how she had listened to him go on about Duncan and his sorrow. The least he could do was listen to her. "Um…you want to tell me about them?"
Alriana glanced at Alistair and saw that he truly was interested. She sometimes still had a hard time that he did not condemn her for being an elf but that kindness was a rare thing for her. The part of her that held back told her not to say anything but her need to talk and the calm she felt around Alistair overrode any objections. "Only if I give a copper for your thoughts."
"Well it seems the only way to get the two of us to talk now doesn't it?"
Alriana chuckled and leaned against his shoulder feeling the warmth and comfort, unaware at the blush that was creeping on Alistair's face. She stared at the fire and began to talk, "Well my mother was a hunter, considered one of the finest and my father was the Keeper before Keeper Marethari. They loved each other but my mother was from another clan and her elders did not approve of the match."
"Sounds similar to what the nobles do for matchmaking," Alistair muttered.
Alriana noted the tone of voice Alistair used and filed it away for later inspection. She continued, "Well because my parents loved each other, they had to meet in secret. I like to think that I get my will and courage from them since they defied the elders to be together."
No. It's all you. Alistair looked at Alriana leaning against him. "So what happened?" Immediately he felt like an idiot for saying that as he saw her eyes cloud. "I'm sorry…I'm such a bumbling idiot." He was getting ready to beat a hasty retreat.
Alriana was surprised at the feeling she felt when she grabbed his arm. She wanted him to stay and she replied softly, "You haven't earned your copper's worth."
Alistair was just as surprised as she was when she grabbed his arm. Even though it was a joke between them, he could sense the double meaning in her words. She wanted him to stay. Truth be told, he wanted to stay too. He settled back in his place and she leaned into the crook of his arm. Being daring, he wrapped his arm around her shoulders and she snuggled in more and laid her head on his shoulder. She then continued, "One day bandits attacked them after finding them in the forest. They were outnumbered but they fought back. My father bought time for my mother to escape and he paid for it with his life. As for my mother…she held on long enough to give birth to me and then she… well she couldn't carry one without my father."
Alistair did not say anything at first but he felt the need to say something. He did not know why he said the next few words but he did out of some sense of shared sorrow, "Well I'm a bastard…the fatherless kind. My mother was a serving girl at Redcliffe and she died giving birth to me. When she died Arl Eamon took me in and put a roof over my head."
Alriana looked up at Alistair. Much of what they shared over the last few weeks pertained mostly to what happened at Ostagar or the nightmares from the darkspawn. This was the first time that he willingly gave up information about himself. She found herself curious to know more even though she was irked about the term he used to describe himself. "Your father?" she prompted.
"I only know who I was told my father was but it doesn't matter. He died a long time ago. The Arl raised me until I was ten and then I was shipped off to the Chantry. Truth be told, I was seen as an embarrassment to the arlessa even though the rumors about me being the arl's son weren't true. I remember I had an amulet with the symbol of Andraste on it. It was the only thing I had of my mother's. The day I was sent away, I was so angry I threw it at the wall and it shattered. The arl would come and visit but over time, he just… stopped coming."
Alriana listened as he shared his tale. In many ways they were alike even though they had obvious differences. "Funny how we are different yet so alike."
"What do you mean?"
"We may be of different races, have a different upbringing but in the end, we are alike. Pain and sorrow know no such distinctions. The experiences may be different but it's still the same."
Alistair thought a moment. She was right about pain and sorrow. It may be dealt out differently but it still had the same effect. "Could be victims of circumstance," he muttered. His musings were interrupted when a copper was flipped towards him and he made a move to catch it in his free hand.
"Your copper for your thoughts," Alriana looked up and smiled as she gently said the words. She shifted to stretch and found herself playing with her pendant again. A word came to mind and she remembered when she first heard the word uttered by a flat ear who returned to his people. "Orphans."
"Orphans. That best described us I think. I first heard the term used by a flat ear who returned. I had no idea what it meant until it was explained to me."
"Well that's a step up from being a bastard."
"I hate that shem term. It's just as demeaning as knife ear." Alriana spoke with such vehemence that it startled her. Shemlen had a nasty way of demeaning their own as well as demeaning other races. "You are not a bastard. You're a person."
Alistair had been startled at her outburst. At times he was perplexed that she would get angry over particular words like now while other words never got a rise out of her. The fact that she hated that particular title that applied to him was rather bewildering. In her own way she was saying he was more than some word that had been applied to him. "Then we're not orphans either."
"What would you call us then?"
"Uh…" Alistair was at a loss for words. He wanted to say "friends" but that did not seem adequate. She was more than that to him and he wondered what he was to her. There was one word that seemed to fit. He voiced it uncertainly, "Family."
Alriana looked at him through her hazel green eyes and then replied, "Good choice."
"Glad to see I haven't lost my touch."
Alriana laughed at the idiocy of the statement. Alistair always made her laugh and seemed to lighten the heaviness she felt in her heart. She had no idea what she would have done if he had not been there. She looked at him and noticed him staring at her and appeared deep in thought. She asked, "Copper for your thoughts?"
"I thought it was my turn to ask that."
"Well then please ser, I'd like to hear more."