Universe Four: Prince Alistair Theirin is the younger, bastard brother of Prince Calian. And today, he meets his future bride: Elissa Cousland, the Teyrn's daughter.

A/N: I don't think Alistair would actually be as emo as he is in this fic, if only because I think Maric and Calian wouldn't let him. However, if you ever recruit Loghain, he tells you that Alistair "would have been miserable, constantly overshadowed by Calian and treated with scorn by the nobles [for his bastard status]. At least with Eamon he had a childhood." I wanted to play with that idea so here's a fic.

The Teyrn's Daughter

He never asked to be born a bastard. It's not like he got up one morning and begged his royal father to impregnate a woman other than his wife. To make matters worse, Lady Rowan had died shortly before Alistair's birth, making Maric really look like a bastard to the public. In fact, Maric almost didn't claim Alistair, almost sent him away to live with Eamon. But when the King took one look into his son's hazel eyes, it was it. He was done for. Alistair would have to stay.

And really, he didn't have anything to complain about. He loved his father and his brother, and he had a good home, the best training and education a boy could ask for.

It was just…sometimes, at these sort of gatherings of the Ferelden nobility, some of the nobles would look at him, like he didn't belong there, like he was nothing. Maric's little mistake, like he wasn't a person outside of his illegitimate status. Most days, Teyrn Loghain was the primarily offender, staring at Alistair as though he mocked everything the Teyrn loved about the nation.

Tonight, it was Arl Howe of Amarathine.

Which was why Alistair found himself in the stables of Castle Cousland, brooding, not caring that he was three hours late to his own betrothal ceremony.

At least until she found him.

"Ow! You hit me!"

"You were moping." A young lady not quite out of girlhood shrugged, as if she didn't care that she just whacked the prince of Ferelden across the back of the head. "If I wanted to marry a boy who mopes, I would just marry one of the Howe brothers and be done with it. I'm not marrying a grump."

"Marrying a—oh." He scrunched up his face like a mabari pup's. "You're Lady Cousland."

The girl performed a perfect curtsy. "Prince Alistair. Kind of you not to show up to our betrothal arrangement ceremony."

Alistair winced. "I—oh. Father must be angry."

"Actually, he's rather worried. The entire castle is in an uproar trying to find you."

For some reason, her comment stung. Alistair struggled to keep the anger off his face. "Why bother? It's not like I matter, anyway. Just a bastar—"

She hit him again.

"OW! Why would you--?"

She glared at him. "I already told you, I'm not marrying a grump. Snap out of it."

"I—I'm sorry, my Lady."

"Don't bother." She brushed him off, flowering out her heavy skirts so that she could sit beside him. "You can call me Elissa."

Elissa. Elissa. It was a simple name, but pretty. He liked it. "Right, that was the name. Sorry, Elissa."

She shrugged as if it didn't matter. "Personally, I'm rather glad you didn't show up. It gives me a chance to get out of these shoes."

She lifted her skirts just high enough so that he could see her shoes and the top of her shins. The shoes were tall, uncomfortable looking and frilly. Orlesian made, no doubt. "Ouch." He winced in sympathy, suddenly rather glad that he was male. "Those look painful."

"Tell me about it." She rolled her eyes, sliding the Orlesian monstrosities off of her pale feet. "Ahhh…much better."

He noticed, briefly, that she had pretty toes. They were painted a sky blue.

"So why are you moping about, anyway?" She asked, leaning back into the pile of hay, either unaware or uncaring that her beautiful dress would soon be covered in straw.

"I—no, it's stupid."

She rolled her eyes. "Tell me anyway."

Who was he to argue? "I was just thinking about how pointless all of this is. It's not like I'm ever going to inherit the throne anyway, not while Calian's alive."

She raised an eyebrow. "…And?"

"You don't get it, do you?" He grumbled, a little disappointed that she just didn't get it. For some reason, he wanted her to understand, even if no one else did. "All my life I've been treated differently, just because Lady Rowan wasn't my mother. All the nobles glare at me with scorn just because I'm a bastard. I didn't choose this!"

Then he felt it, a small hand curved gently against his own. "I don't look at you with scorn."

Suddenly, he was all too aware of how close she was and it became difficult to breathe. Her hand was on his, and he could feel her breath on his face and she wasn't wearing shoes and if he leaned forward any at all they would kiss and holy Maker, how do you kiss a girl? What do you do with your hands and what if he was no good at it and what if she hated him forever and—

"There you are!" Calian called from the doorway. Alistair felt as though he might've jumped three feet in the air. "He's in here, Father, with—oh, hello Lady Elissa."

Elissa's face turned scarlet as she fluffed out her skirts, hiding her toes. "Hello, Prince Calian."

"Brother," Calian asked, tall and lean and powerful, something Alistair always envied. "What are you doing in the hay?"

Alistair climbed out, blushing furiously as he stumbled to his feet. "Nothing! Nothing at all. Why do you ask?"

Just then, King Maric came barreling through the door. Alistair barely had time to think before his father wrapped his arms around him, hugging him tightly. "Thank the Maker you're all right! I was worried something had happened to you!"

Alistair flushed. "Sorry, Father, I just—"

"What do you think you're doing, anyway?" Maric barked. "You've got hay and straw all over you, and we were suppose to have the ceremony hours ago. Do you want to embarrass the entire family? Oh, I hope Bryce and Eleanor aren't horribly offended—"

"We aren't." A cheery voice responded, and in walked Teyrn Cousland with a smile on his face. "The important thing is everyone is okay." He turned to his daughter and his smile fell. "Pup? Where are your shoes? And why do you have straw in your hair?"

Elissa's face, if anything, turned redder when she faced her father. "S-sorry, Father."

But the Teyrn just chuckled. "Go to bed, Pup. Perhaps we'll try this again in the morning?"

As Elissa brushed past him, sky blue toes dancing across the floor, Alistair made a vow to stop moping. After all, she didn't want a grumpy husband. And for some strange reason, he wanted nothing more than to be whatever she wanted.


A/N: This is probably done. Probably. Hope you enjoyed it.