A/N: This is intended as a series of unrelated scenes set around the campfire, drawing inspiration from various things in Dragon Age. There may be some spoilers so fair warning. Also my sense of humour is somewhat bent and I hope nobody takes this too seriously.
I heard the footsteps of the human as he approached from behind, the creaking of his dusty leather boots, the metallic clicks of his chainmail. By human standards, I'm sure he thought he wasn't making a great deal of noise. But my elven senses are far more sharply tuned to my surroundings than those of most humans.
Also, growing up in Denerim's alienage had honed my senses and skills to a knife edge. The alienage can be harsh and unforgiving - the humans who still believe themselves to be our superiors are quite fond of grabbing lone elven maidens from the streets and...doing things to them. So, from an early age, my senses became quite attuned to anything amiss. Like now.
I sat with my back to the rest of the camp and carried on sharpening my blades with a whetstone. Skreet skreet skreet. From behind me, I heard the crackling of flames from the campfire, heard voices in muted conversation. The footsteps drew nearer and I laid aside the whetstone, placing a hand on the hilt of the longsword I took from the corpse of a human back in Denerim.
I allowed my travelling companion to close to within a few yards before I rose to my feet, spun and drew the sword in a series of flud movements. The tip of the blade poked a rather startled Alastair gently in the throat. He stopped dead in his tracks and his mouth fell open but no sounds came out.
"You know what your problem is, Alastair?" I asked him in a bored sounding tone as though I made a habit of holding people at sword point. Alastair's throat worked as his mouth opened and closed. "When you move, you make about as much noise as a large uncoordinated cow stumbling into things," I finished.
"Kalli!" Alastair finally found his voice and it was quite a few octaves higher than normal. I smiled sweetly at him. "Have you gone insane?!" he continued. His face had gone quite pale in the firelight and a few beads of sweat formed on his forehead. I relented and removed the blade; he gasped in relief and almost collapsed.
Sheathing the blade, I resumed my seat, turning my attention back to the whetstone. "Insane?" I mused. "No, at least not very. But back to you and your stumbling around making more noise than a herd of cattle."
"Oh, so it's an entire herd, now?" Alastair grumbled and sat on the ground a short distance away.
I nodded, "Oh yes. Honestly, I'm surprised we're all still alive, the way you go about announcing our presence where ever we go. Sound carries, Alastair," I said, observing him from the corner of my eye. He looked hurt, poor man.
I sighed to myself. It was obvious even to me with my relatively limited experience in dealing with humans that the man harboured some affection for me. I saw the way he kept looking at me when he thought I wasn't aware of it. Heard the way his voice changed when he addressed me compared to the way it sounded when he addressed our companions. I believe humans have a term for Alastair's condition: smitten.
Sadly for Alastair, any affection he harboured towards me would never be reciprocated. For Alastair is male and I have always found myself attracted to the fairer sex. It's something about myself that I've never been able to understand, why I feel the way I do about some people but not others but it is part of who and what I am.
"But you did not come over here to have a blade thrust into your face, I trust?" I said as I placed the whetstone inside a small pouch on my belt and sheathed the dagger. Alastair nodded cautiously.
"It's that dwarf," he said and waved an arm at the far side of the camp. The dwarf in question, Oghren was staggering around cursing at the sky and reeling from side to side as he moved. He was very obviously drunk. He was also not in possession of his pants and, in the firelight, my keen gaze allowed me a much clearer view of his parts than I would have wished.
The view was all manner of disturbing. Yet oddly compelling. I averted my gaze and turned back to Alastair, "What about the dwarf?" I asked. Alastair's eyebrows shot upwards and his eyes went wide.
"What about the dwarf?" he repeated, stunned. He waved his arm at Oghren again, as though to emphasise his concerns, "He's DRUNK!" Alastair all but screamed. I raised an eyebrow, somewhat surprised by this outburst. Hadn't Alastair himself related to me a story, not two days past about drinking competitions among the Grey Wardens? Competitions after which Alastair had awoken beneath a table because he'd had too much to drink?
"Yes," I nodded, feeling a lock of black hair spill over my forehead. Absently, I pushed it behind an ear. "Yes, he is drunk. Your point?"
"He's not wearing any pants!" Alastair carried on, looking somewhat uncomfortable.
I nodded, beginning to grasp the situation. "And seeing him without pants makes you feel like less of a man due to the sheer size of his..." I trailed off, nodding at Alastair's codpiece. The poor dear turned scarlet.
"What? What, no! Not at all! Nothing like that!" he protested, face turning a deeper red. I began to fear that his face would catch fire. Which would amuse Morrigan no end. Alastair took several breaths. "I meant to say that I merely wished to protect your ah, sensibilities in the face of such a...display."
"Of manliness," I said and nodded. "Thank you for your concern, Alastair. I shall endeavour to make sure that Oghren keeps his pants on in future."
Alastair looked relieved until I opened my mouth again, "Unless you'd like to have a word with him? You know, man to man?"
"I'd rather not, thank you," Alastair replied stiffly.
I smiled at his discomfort before turning serious again. "I can understand him getting drunk all the time," I nodded at Oghren who by now was engaged in a tug of war with the mabari war hound over a bone the dog had found. "What with him losing his wife and all," I continued, voice low so as to not be overheard. "We did kill her after all."
Alastair frowned, "As I recall, it was you who killed Branka."
This is true. The tip of my dagger found the gap between Branka's pauldron and breastplate and well...she didn't get back up after that. I think that had more to do with the deathroot poison I'd smeared on the blade than the blade itself.
"That's right," I turned back to Alastair, "I did kill her because as I recall, by that point, you were slumped on the floor of the cave about to have the brains dashed from your head by a walking lump of rock!"
Before Alastair could defend himself against this accusation, I hastened to add, "And the only reason you're even still alive is because Leliana blindsided that golem and slayed it from behind!" Oh the thought of that comely young human girl sent my heart racing in ways I'd not felt for some time. She was everything a person could want in a potential mate: beautiful and deadly.
As my thoughts turned towards Leliana, so too did my gaze. She sat by the row of tents, knees drawn up to her chest as she gazed up at the stars. It was a clear night and the stars burned brightly high above us all. Perhaps she felt my gaze upon her for her face turned towards mine and, for a brief moment, our eyes met across the flickering campfire. A small smile flit across her lovely face and I felt my own lips twitch upward in answer before we both looked away.
My mouth was suddenly dry and my heart beat rapidly in my breast as though I'd just fought a battle. I became aware of Alastair staring at me. I confess that, for a few moments, I'd completely forgotten he'd been there at all, and I felt all manner of awkward.
What was wrong with me? Why was I allowing my feelings for this woman to grow when we had such a monumental task set before us? Kill the archdemon and halt the blight? Meanwhile, I, the person meant to pull together support from across Ferelden was wondering around imagining a certain red-haired human girl as she bathed naked in a lake! Madness!
And I had just the thing to take my mind off it.
I rose to my feet and Alastair followed suit. "Come on," I said, voice brisk, "Let us go speak to Oghren and get him to put his pants back on!"