The Most Unlikely Grey Warden, Ever!

Chapter 1 "The Grey Warden dies here!"

Ilina was particularly excited when the traveler asked for help. After days of darkspawn, darkspawn, bandits and darkspawn, she was ready to see real people; friendly people. People who said "thank you" and not "Grarrrr" or "We're collecting a toll". Finally, a chance to save someone, she thought as they followed the woman. And this was why Ilina wasn't thinking ambush, when they were lead into the cleft of a nearby hill with one exit. She was thinking Oh, doesn't this look like some huge giant scooped the side of this hill with his tongue? And when she saw the elf at the apex of the gap, she wasn't thinking assassin, she was thinking Oh, I wonder how he gets his hair to look so soft.

Then suddenly a tree was falling out of nowhere, narrowly missing her, and Alistair was screaming "trap" and she wasn't thinking about tactics. Instead she was glaring at Alistair and thinking, and I bet he still makes me lead after this.

"The Grey Warden dies here!" the elf pronounced and Ilina was incensed - for Alistair's sake. Previously unseen assassins began appearing on all sides of her small band, popping out of bushes and from behind carts.

Ilina began to count them, slowly, from her position near the fallen tree.

Alistair let out a war cry and ran full-bore into the head assassin and two henchmen.

Ilina lost count and glared at Alistair's back.

Leliana called out to the maker and readied her bow, pinning one away from Alistair.

Ilina threw out a heal to Alistair, who'd been grazed by an arrow, and lost count.

Hildegard attacked like the ferocious war dog she was, and Ilina wasn't sure if she should count the one Hildegard had in her teeth, so she lost count.

Then the arrow zinged by her ear, and Ilina gave up counting. Alistair suddenly began barking orders and her shoulders sagged in relief.

When at least two of the assassins headed straight for her, her eyes grew wide and it was all she could do to scramble up and run behind Alistair.

Somehow she managed to keep everyone healed between dodging arrows, screaming and pointing at Alistair's back, "Aiee! Him! Him, not me! Big Grey Warden, heavy armor."

When it was all over, she acknowledged everything except the disbelieving stares of Alistair and Leliana. Hildegard just whined and licked her palm. Well what did they want? She was a healer and a mage. Getting poked by daggers was decidedly less painful for those lugging about great shiny silver metal armor. She was just about to list those facts aloud when a low moan rose up from the leader of the ambush. Walking over to where he lay prone, Ilina cocked her head. When he looked up, she lost all train of thought.

Tummy flip.

Did he say something?

"…or rather not wake up at all, as the case may be. But I see you haven't killed me yet."

Ilina stared. Brown eyes - or hazel, maybe.

"Ow!" She looked accusingly at Alistair who'd poked her in the ribs. "What?"

He nodded towards the elf on the ground.

"What am I … Oh, fine!" Can't find my way out of a paper bag, but I'm supposed to interrogate an assassin, she thought. "I have some questions," Like what happens if I just kissed the tips of those pointy little ears.

"Oh so I'm to be interrogated, am I? Let me save you the trouble. My name is Zevran - Zev to my friends. I am a member of the Antivan Crows, brought here for the sole purpose of slaying any surviving Grey Wardens. Which I have failed at, sadly."

Zevran, she thought, with the most amazing hazel eyes and the most gorge--- and he was brought to do what?

"Well I'm rather happy you failed!" she said, indignant.

"So would I be, in your shoes!" He actually grinned.

Our four men killed his entire assassin crew, and he must be concluding that we're going to kill him, as well; yet he grins. Brave or suicidal?, she wondered as she considered him. "Who hired you?"

"A rather taciturn fellow in the capital; his name was Loghain, I believe."

She looked at Alistair, alarmed. He was glaring at the Crow.

"And now if you're done interrogating me, I have a proposal for you." He was no doubt about to ask for his life. She should stop him really, since she had no intention of killing him. But…proposal? This she had to hear.

"I'm listening. Make it quick," she said, trying to look tough.

She granted he made a great case for joining their merry little band. Lockpicking, stealth and …oh, bed-warming. Not that she was thinking about the bed-warming. No. Lockpicking! That was what they needed. Stealth and lockpicking.

"You must think I'm royally stupid," she scoffed.

"I think you're royally tough to kill and utterly gorgeous."

Did he say gorgeous? She felt a giggle build up in her throat. Shhh, she rebuked, Grey Wardens do not giggle! Of course, Grey Wardens also don't hide behind trees pointing at other members of their party to avoid attack, either, she noted. They also probably didn't carry on full conversations in their head for so long that they miss an entire conversation, causing the every member of their party, and one elf assassin, to stare at them expectantly… like now, for instance. Drat, what did she miss?

"There are worse things in life than serving the whims of a deadly sex goddess." And then the giggle burst forth. She covered it (successfully, too, she thought) with a cough.

"Very well, I accept your offer."

Alistair did not take that well. But if Alistair didn't like it then Alistair could suck an egg because Alistair didn't want to take charge so he just left it all up to her! And what kind of look did the Antivan just give to Leliana? she fumed. Well, Leliana could just go wait at the camp.

She put her hand out and helped Zevran to his feet.

Zevran laid his hand against his chest and bowed slightly. "I hereby pledge my oath of loyalty to you, until such a time as you choose to release me from it. I am your man, without reservations…this I swear."

Ilina nodded regally in response, turned and tripped over a branch, landing face first into the tree she'd avoided earlier.