My name is Zevran Arainai. I am an elf, the son of a Dalish whore. I am also an assassin, a thief, and a free man. The fact that I'm still alive to be all of those things I owe to one woman, quite possibly the only woman I have ever truly loved. I can't say it started out that way, though…

When the Warden I had been hired to attack shot an arrow that knocked me unconscious, I could never have foreseen that the very same woman would soon follow with another through my heart—in a more metaphorical sense, of course. To be perfectly honest, I never expected to wake up at all.

And yet when I did, two of the most beautiful redheaded women I had ever seen were standing over me. Unfortunately, they were flanked by a rather angry-looking man in heavy armor and what I could have sworn was a hornless Qunari.

The girl in front had somewhat brighter red hair swept sharply back into a bun and tattoos that marked her as one of the Dalish. She was the one to speak to me first, and I could tell she was the leader. Understandably, she was not pleased with my failed attempt to kill her, and her voice was steely as she demanded, "I have some questions for you before you join your friends, flat-ear."

"Ouch," I complained, but of course still keeping my tone as flirtatious as possible. That was usually the best defense when disarmed, after all. "I'm not entirely sure what that means, but it doesn't sound at all comfortable."

To expedite my interrogation, I confessed my identity. The Dalish girl didn't recognize the Crows, but the human one did and explained in a rather lovely Orlesian accent. I thought my full disclosure plan was going quite well until I gave them the name of the man who had hired me and both the Dalish and the armored human bristled.

"Loghain sent you," the Dalish girl snarled, her fingers tightening on her longbow.

"Shouldn't really come as a surprise," the man grumbled.

The Dalish girl's eyes narrowed, and I admired their bright blue hue just in case it might be the last thing I saw. But once I denied any loyalty to the man, her expression softened a little more, and when I went on into how the Crows had bought me as a child, she began to look almost sorry for me. Normally I would detest that, but it did convince me there might be opportunity to stay alive after all.

And so I presented my case, though a small part of me wasn't sure why. No doubt the Crows would catch on eventually and descend in force, but perhaps there might be a little entertainment along the way. Maybe even redemption.

The Orlesian girl seemed ready to forgive me, but the Dalish was harder to read and I sensed that her opinion was likely the deciding factor. She was still suspicious and had some very smart questions, but the more I used the opportunity to flirt, the more the creases around her eyes softened.

However when she gave in and said I could follow her, the thick-necked human man looked ready to boil in his shiny metal suit. How touchy humans get when you try to kill them!

The Dalish though was more pragmatic, and seemed to talk sense into her comrade. Well, if adopting a failed assassin into your traveling group can be considered "sense," anyway.

"Thank you for that," I said with a smile as I got to my feet.

"Don't thank me too much," she said, securing her bow onto her back and fixing me with a fierce look. "I promise you that if you make me regret this, I'll make you regret not dying here."

"I don't doubt it," I purred, unable to keep from smirking. I do so love women with tenacity. "Now, to whom do I owe the pleasure?"

She eyed me for a moment, then relented. "Lurai Mahariel."

I smiled. "A beautiful name for a beautiful woman."

Lurai crossed her arms and glared me down. "I'm a Dalish hunter, flat-ear. I'm not some Antivan whore you can buy with a smile."

I chuckled. "Oh, trust me; a good Antivan whore is much more expensive than that."

"I can only imagine," she said dryly, and with a quirk of her eyebrow she was off to catch up with the others. I started after her, unable to keep the smile off my face. I had no idea that would be the beginning of the most incredible year of my life, but I did think in that moment that this adventure could be more fun than I had thought.