A/N: Alistair/Fem!Mahariel centric drabbles. Friendship? Romance? Neither? Eh, make of it what you will. I have no idea where it's going or if it will even be a cohesive story of any kind, or if it's just my muse have random hissy fits because of my refusal to write a full length DA:O fic. I'll try my best to keep them in some sort of order at the very least. There's no real description of this Dalish, so picture her how you will. I've never written a fic in present tense, but I'm trying to get back into the mindset of mod writing, so this whole story will read like this first chapter. Reviews are always welcome, of course.

Disclaimer: I don't own Dragon Age: Origins, Alistair, any other NPC/place/plot device/etc. I suppose I should take responsibility for this nameless, faceless Dalish elf.

"We don't have time for this." The Dalish woman steps over the dying, gore-covered soldier, her mind set on leading them deeper into the Wilds. "Let's go."

"'Don't have time'?" She stops and peers back over her shoulder at Alistair's disbelieving expression. He has not moved to follow her, and the other two shemlen, the Grey Warden recruits like her, are looking questioningly from her to Alistair and back again. The man on the ground moans, too weak to ask for help again. It would be mercy to put him out of his misery, she thinks as she fingers the hilt of her skinning knife. Alistair crosses his arms over his chest. "Are you late for an appointment or something?"

No, she bitterly berates him in her mind, I'm only dying, burning up from the inside out from this tainted sickness while you fools seek every excuse to stand around and delay our tasks. Don't worry – I hardly expect a shem to give a damn about the suffering of any of my kind.

But instead, she bites off, "Do what you must, then, but make it quick." She paces restlessly, her eyes flickering across the thick underbrush along the path.

The Creators know you would never do the same for a wounded elf.

Alistair gives her a reproachful, perhaps even confused glance, but kneels to bandage the lone survivor. As soon as the soldier limps off back toward the camp, one of the other recruits, the tall, stupid one who calls himself a knight, begins to rant and whine about the unfairness of putting them in danger. What does the idiot think it means to become a Grey Warden? It makes her want to do them all a favor and put an arrow through his eye.

"You sound like a coward to me," she snaps when he finally stops wagging his lips for more than a heartbeat.

The fool stammers some excuse, and Alistair supports him with some weak claim of fear being natural. Do they not even know the difference between caution and cowardice? "Few relish the thought of meeting darkspawn up close," he adds, as though hoping to coax some sort of confession from her. "I know I don't."

She remembers the beasts she faced only days before, the ones who slowed her desperate search for Tamlen. Rationally she knows that those few lost moments could never make up for the two days she had lain abed, being cared for and healed while Tamlen surely suffered alone, but the more adamant parts of her scream for vengeance.

She has true cause to hate the darkspawn. Whereas these others see some grand picture of saving the world from a Blight, to her it is a personal debt that the beasts must repay. If the only way to get satisfaction for the loss of her missing companion is to slay as many darkspawn as she can for the rest of her life, then she will do so with a smile upon her face. Tamlen deserves that much from her. He would do the same in her place, she knows this.

"I, for one, look forward to killing them," she informs them, her malice and hatred seeping through her words.

Alistair's eyebrows lift and his tone drips with false sweetness. "Bloodthirstiness is such a charming feature. Did you know that?"

She barks out a harsh laugh before she can stop herself, her boots carrying her away from the staring shemlen men. "There is nothing I could do or say that would possibly make your people believe any worse of the Dalish than they do now."

The other recruit, the dark haired thief, chuckles and falls into step with the others behind her. "Aye, true enough that. You should've sacrificed at least one of us to your pagan gods by now."

She fights back a smirk. It is possible that she might have liked this man, were he not human and obnoxiously lecherous. She is definitely not willing to show him that she finds him entertaining.

"Tempting," she murmurs with a narrow-eyed glance at the balding knight, a look that does not go unnoticed by the only true Grey Warden present.

Alistair regards her with something akin to suspicion and perhaps just a drop or curiosity, but she does not care what he thinks of her. The darkspawn sickness churns in her veins, burning beneath her skin like a festering wound and pushing all thoughts aside. She sends a silent prayer to Elgar'nan that she will survive these trials and get her chance to rain much-deserved vengeance down upon the darkspawn.