Bioware's universe just exploring the other planets.
Moira checked her reflection in the mirror. She smoothed her auburn hair and made the finishing touches on the braid wound around her head. She took a critical look at her face and frowned at the scars on her cheek and neck.
Nothing to be done for those. She thought before turning and reaching for her weapons.
Her leather armor creaked as she belted her short swords across her back, running a hand over the numerous places she had small daggers hidden. It was an old routine made difficult by the close quarters of her cabin on the Cloud Dancer. Bending to unwrap a sealed package that revealed a thick winter cloak she shook it out and smiled when she saw the griffons embroidered along its edges. The white and silver griffons almost looked as though they moved on the grey cloth when it was in motion. Combined with the color of the wolf pelts that lined the inside it was a striking piece of work, worth every sovereign she had paid for it.
She grinned to herself as she donned the cloak thinking of the impression she was about to make on the city of Antiva. Maybe not the city, just one person in the city. She clasped the cloak closed with a broach that was a special gift from a long-time friend of hers before picking up her pack and heading up to the deck.
She spotted the Captain supervising the crew as they unloaded their cargo. The air was sharp and cold in the early morning light and she could see steam rising from the men straining on the ropes as they maneuvered crates from the hold. She strode over, small puffs of steam leaving her lips in the chill of the morning air. One of the crew saw her and said something to the man issuing orders. Captain Galin turned and watched her approach, small and lithe as she was, he knew her appearance was something of a deception. The way she looked now hid from the casual glance just what she was.
He though back momentarily, mind running over the events at the beginning of his association with the Warden. He'd picked up this assignment when he'd been docked in Amaranthine unloading goods from the Free Marches. A young elf had approached him with a message.
"Ser?" the elf started, "I have a message for you." The boy held out his message.
"Who's it from?" Galin had asked of the boy.
"I was only told to give this to you Ser. Please take it, I have others to deliver." Galin had taken it, looked at the seal and handed the boy a silver.
Three hours later he was waiting in a pub called The Misty Lady where visitors and travelers often stayed on their way through Amaranthine. He took the note out again and reread it, wondering if he'd made a mistake.
Why would the Warden Commander want to see me? He wondered if the note were a joke from one of the other captains but the dual griffons on the note's seal said otherwise. He ran a calloused hand over his weathered face and itched his beard.
He'd finished half his tankard of ale when he heard the chair next to him scrap on the floor. "Captain Galin I presume." He startled momentarily, having not really heard her approach.
Moira had been paying the harbormaster for months to keep her apprised of any ships heading to Antiva on an indirect route. She'd gotten the missive two days ago letting her know about the route of the Cloud Dancer and her captain. The harbormaster had also included a description of the burly old captain.
An accurate one at that. She had thought upon entering the pub and spotting Galin.
He turned to find an attractive elven woman sitting next to him. The Warden Commander was not what he was expecting. He had heard rumors of her and from the description was expecting a woman ten feet tall with dragon's scale for skin. He regarded her a moment. Fair skin with delicate features like many of her kind. Red brown hair bound closely to the nape of her neck. Her aqua eyes rested below thin light red eyebrows. In them was a look he knew well. He looked into her eyes and shivered slightly. He'd seen many soldiers in his travels with that same look, hard, cold and detached. It was the look you saw in someone who'd seen a lot of war and death. Maker knew there had been a lot of that in Ferelden. The only other thing that marred her beauty were the scars on her jaw, neck, and when he looked lower, upper chest. He squirmed uncomfortably in his chair when he realized what those scars were. It was her all right, he didn't know of anyone else who had been mauled by a dragon and lived.
"That I am Ladyship. How may I be of service?" He had asked her. He'd set his tankard aside and tried to not look nervous.
She had leaned forward, resting her elbows on the table and taking a drink from her cup. "I wish to book passage on your vessel Captain."
"Your Ladyship can't be serious. I'm a merchant vessel. I don't think her Ladyship would find the accommodations comfortable. I also have a full hold and will be making many stops, surely you wish to travel directly to your destination." He wasn't sure why she'd be asking for passage on his ship. She wasn't just Warden Commander; she was the Hero of Ferelden and, until recently Arlessa of Amaranthine. Surely, she could find passage on a more important and more luxurious ship.
"You'd be surprised at what I find comfortable Captain." She'd stated, "I want to go to Antiva. The stops are unimportant."
He'd looked surprised at that. His mind started working. It would be good to gain favor with the Grey Wardens. Their numbers had grown considerably in the nearly ten years since the defeat of the Archdemon and they were known to have the crown's favor and, more importantly, coin. This could be a perfect opportunity to open up his trade even more. Galin stroked his beard thoughtfully as he realized the opportunity trading directly with the Wardens could be.
"Warden business then?" He asked.
"Yes and no." She answered. She took another drink and waited.
Galin decided on how much to charge and if he wanted to pry further into her business. "Ten sovereigns, a cabin to yourself and a deal that you'll look to contract with me for supplies, imports and basic transportation."
She looked surprised for a moment before offering a retort. "Six sovereigns, my own cabin and we'll consider this trip a trial as to how efficient your operation is." She had not expected that he'd try to solicit her business.
We'll see, we'll see if he can deal in discretion as well. She often sent Wardens with correspondence and on business to the north and west. She also traded for certain materials out of the Free Marches, Antiva, Seheron, and other places. If his prices were right and his operation sound, she'd consider it.
Galin raised his eyebrows, not really surprised that she'd haggle with him. "Done," He said, "I run a tight ship, as you'll see." He held out his hand to seal the agreement.
She took it, "One thing though, I don't want to be addressed as 'Ladyship' or 'Warden Commander'. Just 'Warden' will do." She had smiled at him then and he had noticed how fine lines had appeared around her eyes. It made him think that she didn't smile nearly often enough.
"Whatever you wish Warden. I'll keep the crew busy as to not bother you." He replied.
Ah, a secret mission it is then. She will see that we can handle those too.
She had stood, "Good. Tomorrow then." And left.
Galin had sat for a time contemplating and finishing his ale before heading back to the docks.
And now, after several weeks at sea they sat in the port city of Antiva.
"Warden." He nodded to the dock. "Ready to depart?" He looked her over once before frowning. Her armor was top quality, what he could see of the hilts of her swords also spoke of wealth. And that cloak looked to be worth a small fortune.
"If I may be so bold Warden, you may wish to reconsider that cloak, lots of pickpockets and thieves in the city. A lone target is a tempting one."
Antiva city was considered the wealthiest city in all of Thedas and the only one without an army to protect her. It was the center of trade for most, if not all of Thedas and it was home to the Antivan Crows, an elite organization of thieves and assassins so feared their reputation alone protected the city. They were well known to be the driving political influence throughout Antiva and not to be taken lightly by anyone looking to do more than simply pass through their territory.
Galin had some reservations that even a Grey Warden would be a match alone against a Crow on the streets of Antiva city.
"I thank you for your concern Captain but I think I can handle myself." Moira scanned the docks briefly, taking in the men working but she didn't see anyone who stood out. She turned her full attention on Galin. "Where can I find a place named 'Roihden's Gold'?"
Galin sputtered a moment. "Are you sure that's the name of the place you're looking for?"
"Yes," she looked at him quizzically, "Is there something wrong?"
"Ah, no" he paused, "it's just that Roihden's Gold is a brothel, top notch too. I mean, many wealthy clients will stay there sometimes but, um, it's not an inn." He looked flustered when she broke into a laugh.
"Well that sounds about right Captain. Point the way if you please." Moira tried to hide her amusement.
Galin proceeded to give her a list of directions to her destination. He'd been careful not to pry when she'd left his ship before, but his curiosity was beginning to get the better of him. When he finished he took the plunge and asked, "What's your business there?"
She regarded him closely, "Meeting an old friend Captain."
Galin nearly choked when he saw her cloak clasp. Old friend indeed. He thought.
One of the many stories about the Warden Commander was her involvement with the Antivan Crows. There were rumors that she had taken contracts from the Crows in the days leading up to the most well known Landsmeet in Ferelden history. It was also known that one of the companions who aided her during the worst of the Blight was a Crow, a very important Crow now.
If I had to guess, the same one who gave her that clasp. He involuntarily looked around.
His worry over her safety disappeared as he said; "I'll be here loading for a week or so before heading back towards Ferelden."
"I should be done by then Captain. We can discuss the particulars of you handling our trade on the return trip." With that she headed down the gangplank.
Galin watched her go, pleased with himself for making a good impression on the Warden Commander.