Author's Note: This is another story snippit that compliments Horrors and Joys...and well all of the other stories. Had I realized I would be just a Zev lover like this, I would have just made a "Zevran Story Snippit" story for all these mini ideas. Oh well, live and learn :)
Zevran and the others hung back, allowing Kila and Shianni some room to talk. It was hard to miss the desperation in Shianni's eyes as she turned to her cousin, trying to figure out where to even start,. "Oh cousin…there is so much to tell, so much has happened since your wedding day…"
Although Zevran had been trying to afford them some space, his keen ears picked this all up easily, "A wedding?" he asked, "Well it seems there is a secret side to you after all."
"It…didn't end well, and we can talk about it later," Kila threw over her shoulder…
That was days ago. Now they were sitting at camp, using wine and jokes to try and forget the day's troubles. As the night wore on, people inevitably moved away from the main fire, finding comfort in personal conversations, or simply in solitude.
Quietly, he approached Kila as she settled in near her tent, "So my dear Ki, about this wedding? It is later after all." Zevran had his usual casual grin splayed across his face. They had bigger problems facing them, and he was not sure if this was a good topic to even broach, but his curiosity would not rest. He had confessed his sins to her had he not? It was only fair.
Her eyes skimmed over his features, visually tracing the hair that had fallen from behind his ear, the tattoo proudly framing his cheek. It was hard to remember that he was one of the few who didn't yet know her story. He probably didn't even realize that up until shortly before he arrived, she couldn't stand her human counterparts simply for being human. And yet, of all of them, he was the one with the most right to know. Absently she placed her hand over his as she allowed her gaze to move up to the starry sky. It would be a different story this night, not spat out venomously like before.
With a soft sigh, she began, "I never got married. But I was betrothed. I don't know if you know much about our customs but in Alienages it is more common for us to marry outside of our own community than within it. Our marriages are arranged, and the community that is losing a member is to be provided with a dowry in return. It is an unspoken rule, but generally the more…favourable the dowry offered the more…favourable the elf received." She carefully picked through her words. Favourable worked. "Our elders arrange it and often we don't even meet our match until the day of the wedding. I was no different. His name was Nelaros and he was…"she fell quiet for a moment, "I was so afraid. I pretended to be tough and uninterested in getting married, but truthfully I was afraid. Until I met him. My father must have had a very favourable dowry; he was such a dream. He was sweet, and handsome, and as nervous as I was." A gentle chuckle escaped her, "I was lucky. "
"And then…the Arl of Denerim's son…Vaughn…" Her gaze dropped down to the ground, although she remained calm, "He was one of the people who regard our kind as lowly creatures. Pets, I believed he called us. We had problems with him before, but never like this…after being rebuffed by Shianni earlier in the day, um…with a bottle to the head, he and his friends returned during my ceremony. Hardly surprising really, I think it was his way of putting us in our place. He took a few of us from the wedding party. Nelaros tried to stop him but…well I don't know what happened, I was struck over the head and didn't come to until we were already at his estate."
A slight pause, a deep breath, "Some of us died for resisting, and the other girls were taken away from me – I was left in the room with the guards." A smile actually emerged on the corners of her mouth, "My cousin, Soris, appeared out of nowhere to save the day. Together we fought our way through the estate when I discovered Nelaros had come with him. Can you imagine? Of all the elves I could be betrothed to, I manage to have one of the few who would actually take up arms? One who might actually be okay with my fiendish, troublemaker ways?" she said jokingly, but then softer she continued, "I knew at that moment how lucky I truly was." Finally she stopped short, blinking her eyes several times as she turned away from Zevran.
Zevran deeply regretted asking. It was so difficult to hear the dulled pain in her voice and be powerless to do anything. Had he known, he never would have brought it up. But such a fool was he, how could it not have been a bad story? If things had worked out, her husband would have been with her, his mere absence spelled tragedy. Fool. "My Ki, you don't have to…" he tried to interject to spare her…to spare him.
"I watched as they struck him down. I didn't get there fast enough." Kila's voice was distant and had a slight waiver, "He died to save me. In turn, spurned on by my rage, I tried to save my friends but I wasn't even fast enough for that…Shianni…had already been brutalized before I arrived. I couldn't even save her that pain. But at least no more of my people died there."
Zevran's eyebrows creased in despair, "I…I am sorry…I don't know what to say." He wanted to crack a joke, lighten the mood somehow, but it was impossible. He bore a hole into the ground with his eyes instead as he held her hand tighter.
Finally turning back to him, she smiled again. Not a smile of happiness, but of acceptance, "I did. They died like the monsters they were. And for that, only conscription to the Grey Wardens spared me death in the dungeons. It seems, no matter how things had turned out, my life was forfeit that day." And uncomfortable silence settled over the pair for what seemed an eternity.
"Zevran," she started, and he looked up at her, "You once told me that you were looking for death when you came to find me. Well I confess, when you found me I was looking for the same. If it hadn't been for my companions…my friends…that day, I am sure I would have found it." My friends. It was odd to call humans friends but to deny the truth is foolish, "You also said that what you found that day was a new life, a new beginning. I didn't realize it at the time but…I also found the same."
He felt the warmth spread in him from her smile. How did she manage to do that, sweep it all away with merely a smile? A marvel. She rested her head on his shoulder as he closed his arm tightly around her. With gentle sighs, a new silence fell over the pair while the fire gently crackled in the background.