Disclaimer: Dragon Age Origins/Awakening belongs to Bioware and EA Games
AN: This is the sequel to Serenity, in which Dannon Mahariel explained to Zevran that he found his serenity and home at Vigil's Keep. In this installment, the POV is mostly on the young woman Dannon has an interest in. Also, this story is another answer to the Cheeky Monkeys challenge of A New Home…^_^
In order to understand the events in this story, please read Release and then Serenity.
You Are My Home
A dark haired young woman watched the Warden-Commander go through his training exercises, thoroughly amazed at how skilled the elf was. He reminded her of an elf she knew of back in Kirkwall, but that elf hated mages and did not like her much. This elf, a Dalish from the look of his facial tattoo, known as vallaslin among his people, actually embraced those who had magic. He found them to be useful and was not scared of them at all.
She admired the way Dannon moved, his skill with the two enchanted blades graceful as well as deadly. She then saw another elf approach the Commander and this newcomer appeared to annoy the Dalish for a moment. The young mage sighed dreamily and waved down at Dannon. She then blushed as he waved back at her, a smile on his handsome face.
"Bethany, there you are," a male exclaimed as he rushed over to the young woman. He was out of breath but there was a smile on his face. "You got a letter from Kirkwall. I had someone put it in your room."
Bethany gave the young man a bright smile. He was a mage, like her, and had been recruited into the Wardens just a few months ago. Someone said that he had never left the Tower before, until he met Warden-Commander Dannon Mahariel.
"Thank you, Finn." She gave the other mage a quick hug before heading towards the door. "Remember, the library at the usual time. I'll make sure to bring some parchment."
Finn grinned and returned the friendly hug. "Of course, I'll be there. I'll bring the book on proper Tevinter grammar, and oh! I'll also bring the books about…"
The raven-haired mage laughed at the other's enthusiasm about books. "Just bring the one we've been working on." She shook her head in amusement and left the ramparts and headed to her room. As she entered the small space, she glanced around the austere room. It wasn't much, but it had a plush bed, a wardrobe that held a couple of normal mage robes and her Warden-issue robes, a small desk and chair, and a cushioned chair in front of the fireplace.
She looked around the room and spotted the letter Finn was talking about on the desk and she immediately started to read. It was from her mother, Leandra.
I hope that this letter finds you safe and well. Your sister recently purchased my childhood home for us to live in from the money she received from the Deep Roads expedition. I wish you were here with us, my dear daughter. It is the home that I've always dreamed of my family living in ever since we left Lothering.
Cameron has been busy helping that Warden apostate in his clinic in Darktown. I worry for her safety, but you and I both know that she can take care of herself. She is a warrior through and through. Remember when your father managed to convince Ser Bryant to train her in the Templar arts? With all of the blood mage activity that seems to infest Kirkwall lately, I'm glad for that training of hers.
I really do wish you were still here, Bethany. There are so many nice young men that I would love for you to meet. But that is just a foolish old woman's wish, to want to have her children married and happy and giving me grandchildren. I do have to ask this. Are YOU happy? Have you found someone to make you happy? Is the place you are now home to you?
Please write me soon, love. I miss you dearly, as does Cameron.
Your loving mother,
Bethany sighed as she read the letter over a few more times before placing it aside. Was she happy? She was unsure about that. Contracting the Blight during the expedition was not something they had planned. She felt cheated out of a life she wanted to make for herself. Sometimes resented her elder sister for making her go with that Warden named Stroud. It was not fair that the darkspawn had taken Carver's life, so must they take hers as well?
She closed her honey brown eyes and let a tear roll down her cheek. She missed her family very much, even Gamlen. A sob managed to escape her mouth as more tears ran down her face. She might have found friends here within the ranks of the Grey Wardens, but she still did not feel as if this place was home for her. Even if she had come to care deeply for a certain man…
"Bethany? Are you all right?" a voice called out, startling the young mage out of her tearful trance. She turned around and blushed. It was Dannon, clad in his leather breeches from his earlier training and was still topless. His pale skin was taut over lean, defined muscles leading down to a deep v into his breeches, which was slung low on his narrow hips. His white hair was out of its usual braid and hung loosely down past his slender, yet muscular, shoulders.
"I…I'm fine, C-Commander," Bethany stammered, tearing her eyes away and trying not to look at his chiseled features. She remembered when she first saw Fenris, she had thought he was very handsome for an elf. In her mind, the former slave had nothing on the Warden-Commander. She closed her eyes again, hoping that her face was not red from blushing.
She felt a gentle touch on her cheeks and reopened her eyes. The Commander had gotten closer and was wiping a tear away from her face. "No, you aren't fine, emm'asha," Dannon replied softly, concern showing in his stormy blue eyes "But I will not force you into telling what is wrong. I will wait for you as long as it takes." He gently caressed her cheek and appeared to reluctantly take a step back. He smiled tenderly at her and left her room, closing the door behind him.
Bethany had felt her heart race when the elf had caressed her cheek and she knew that she had to have been blushing brightly. She touched her cheek and gazed wistfully at her closed door. She felt her face burn even more when she realized what he had said, that he would wait for her as long as it would take. Did that mean he cares for her? And what did emm'asha mean? Finn! Finn would know, she thought as she gathered her thoughts, and parchment. She then rushed out of her room and headed for the Keep's library.
A few months went by quickly as Bethany learned what it truly meant to be a Grey Warden. The training she received was hard, rigorous, but ultimately worth it. She felt like she had more confidence in her abilities, and in herself. She also worked with Finn in learning new spells, mostly Force magic. She hasn't mastered the spells just yet, but it was fun blowing people away with a telekinetic burst.
During this time, the dark haired mage got to know many of the Wardens that live at Vigil's Keep. Finn was recruited a few months before she was and he was the sole human mage for the Wardens until her arrival. The other was a former First to a Dalish clan, Velanna. The prickly elf was hard to talk to because of her disdain of humans, Wardens or otherwise.
One Warden who definitely became a friend was Sigrun. The perky dwarf seemed like a ray of sunshine and attached herself to the young mage. Bethany appreciated having the dwarf around and it felt nice to have a friend who wouldn't judge her for being a mage. The two talked endlessly about anything and everything, including the man the mage had an infatuation with.
"Bethany, have you told him yet?" Sigrun asked as the two walked back from a trip to Amaranthine.
The black haired young woman shook her head. "No…I don't know how to tell him. I like him a lot, and I think he likes me too, but I just can't."
The dwarf looked at her friend for a moment. "You're still a virgin, aren't you?"
Bethany sputtered for a moment, her warm brown eyes going wide. "Wh-what? Why do you ask that?"
The former member of the Legion of the Dead laughed, her eyes twinkling with amusement. "Oh don't worry. The Commander wouldn't turn you away because you aren't experienced." She laughed a little more as Bethany's face became a bright red. "I think he likes you anyway."
This bit of information caught the young woman's attention. "You…you really think so? How do you know?"
Sigrun tapped her chin with her forefinger, seemingly deep in thought, as they approached the gates to Vigil's Keep. "Well, for one thing, he smiles more whenever you're around. After the Blight and during the darkspawn uprising, the Commander hardly ever smiled. It was as if something was weighing him down, sort like a melancholy mood. A few months ago, he went after a lead about a former apostate companion of his during the Blight. When he came back, he had Finn with him as a recruit but his mood seemed less somber, but I found out he was heartbroken. And then you arrived with that sourpuss, Stroud. He started getting better the more he talked with you."
The two were silent as they passed the gates of the Keep and entered the main courtyard. Sigrun waved at Herren and Master Wade and went over to them for a moment, leaving Bethany to her thoughts. She glanced around and sighed. It had been hard getting used to being a Grey Warden, but she knew it could have been worse if she did not have Sigrun and the Warden-Commander to talk to. She did not think that the Dalish Commander would be so well spoken and she found that she loved having intelligent conversations with him. She felt like she was at home whenever she was around him. She was so lost in her thoughts that she jumped when Sigrun waved a hand in front of her.
"Copper for your thoughts?" the dwarf asked, a knowing grin on her face.
Bethany blushed again and glanced away, her eyes stopping at a familiar figure standing near the portcullis that led inside the castle. Dannon was speaking with Nathaniel Howe, a tall dark haired rogue whose family used to run the arling before it was awarded to the Grey Wardens. The elven Commander saw her and a smile lit up his face as he waved at her and Sigrun. He said some words to the tall rogue and made her way over to the two women.
"Aneth ara, Bethany, Sigrun," the white haired elf greeted as he smiled warmly at the two. "I'm glad that the two of you made if safely back to the Keep. There were reports of bandits on the road between here and Amaranthine."
Before Bethany could reply, Sigrun stepped in and waved her hand in a dismissive manner. "Oh it was nothing," the dwarven woman replied. "One Firestorm spell from Bethany here and most of those men ran off, screaming like little girls. I took care of two them with my daggers. However, there were two more that I didn't get to see. Bethany spotted them and bam! She used a Force blast and knocked them away from me. And then watching her fry those two bandits with a Fireball was awesome!"
The young mage blushed even brighter from the praise. "It was nothing…I couldn't let them hurt my best friend."
Dannon stared at Bethany with admiration and something else, something that went far deeper than just friendship. The young mage felt her mouth go dry from that look and unconsciously licked her lips. She noticed that his stormy blue eyes automatically glance at her mouth. Her heart started to beat rapidly, her mouth parting slightly in response.
The elf cleared his throat and reached back to run his hand along his braid, chuckling nervously. "Uh…well…I'm glad to see that you two are unharmed." He glanced at the dwarf and then at Bethany. "Your birthday is tomorrow, correct?"
Bethany nodded mutely and Sigrun elbowed her to at least say something. "Yes, Commander, it is. I'll be twenty years old tomorrow."
The Warden-Commander sighed and shook his head, a little amused. "What have I told you? Call me Dannon, emm'asha. You don't need to be so formal around me." He seemed to raise his hand towards the mage, but let it drop to his side instead. "In any case, I'm making sure that everyone will be here tomorrow. From the stories you've told me, you have never had a birthday party. Sigrun, did you get what I asked?"
The perky dwarf nodded and grinned, rocking back and forth on her heels. "You bet, Commander. It's with Master Wade now."
Dannon sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. "You too, Sigrun? Is Finn is the only one who calls me by name?" he grumbled.
Sigrun laughed and winked at Bethany before taking the elf by the arm and leading him towards the weapons smith. The dark haired mage watched the two talk with Wade and Herren, smiling softly. He had called her emm'asha again. He had been calling her that ever since that time when Dannon had touched her cheek months ago. She found out from Finn that it translates to 'my girl'. It made her feel warm inside, making her feel even more at home in the elf's presence. She watch him and Sigrun a little more before heading inside the castle. Just as she about to go up the stairwell that led to her room, the other elven Warden hissed to get her attention.
"There you are," Velanna whispered as she grabbed Bethany's arm, dragging her off to one side. "Have you learned the meaning of the words I told you to study? And do you understand what it means to my people?" When the young woman nodded, the former First sighed in relief.
"Why are you asking me this, Velanna?" Bethany asked, curiosity lacing her tone.
The elven woman chuckled softly and gave the mage a tiny smile. "The Commander has been through much in his life, lethallan. And don't look so surprised by my choice in words," Velanna huffed as she looked away in embarrassment. "I know I can be…abrasive…but…oh by the Creators!" The blonde elf stormed off, obviously annoyed that she had slipped up and admitted to calling the mage a friend. Before the Dalish woman disappeared from view, she turned around and stared determinedly at the dark haired mage.
"Just remember, you will know when to say those words to him, Bethany. Trust your heart in this."
Bethany smiled softly as she made her way back to her room. The festivities that began earlier that evening finally came to a close, leaving the apostate Warden feeling happy. She had never had a celebration for her birthday before and these Wardens threw one for her. The presents she received from her friends were thoughtful, especially the new enchanted gloves she got from Finn.
She still thought of her sister and mother back in Kirkwall, but that place never felt like a home to her. The young mage sighed softly and closed her eyes for a moment. It was too much to hope that maybe she would have gotten something from either of them; they of course knew when her birthday was. A tear started to fall down her cheek as she began remembering her twin. She missed her brother dearly, especially on their shared birthday.
Just as she was about to open the door to her room, Bethany felt someone place a hand on her shoulder. Slowly, she looked over her shoulder to find that Dannon had followed her from the main hall. He lifted his hand and gently wiped the tear from her cheek, a soft look in his blue eyes.
"It's the day of your birth, emm'asha," the elf gently remarked as he turned her around so they could see each other face to face. "It was delightful to see you so carefree tonight. It was the first time I had ever seen you so happy."
Bethany chewed her bottom lip, the action causing the elf to stare at her mouth. She looked away only to have him gently take her chin in his hand in order to look at her.
"Carver," the mage whispered. "Today would have been his birthday too."
Dannon nodded in understanding, but did not let go of her face. "He was your twin brother, correct? And you feel like you're forgetting him because you enjoyed yourself this day?" When the woman nodded, he kept talking. "Don't. You will never forget those who are your family, no matter the time and distance. I haven't seen my clan for years now and I do still miss them. But wallowing in memories and what could have been never does anyone any good."
"I know," Bethany whispered, looking deeply into the elf's eyes. "And thank you, Dannon, for everything."
The Warden-Commander's eyes opened wide for a moment before a look of affection entered them. His fingers lightly traced along her jawline, caressing her skin and causing goosebumps to appear. "Emm'asha, I daresay that was the first time you called me by my name without being prompted to."
Suddenly, Bethany remembered what Velanna told her the day before. Shyly, she raised her hand and tenderly cupped Dannon's cheek. She smiled at him when a look of surprise crossed his face.
"Ma emm'arla," Bethany whispered, her heart beating rapidly now. She noticed that the elf breathed inward quickly and that he was visibly shaking.
"Do you understand what that means?" he asked, his blue eyes darkening with some emotion that the mage only dared to hope for. "Do you truly know what you're getting into by saying that?"
Bethany nodded and smiled warmly at Dannon. "Yes, I do. Finn and Velanna helped me. Finn helped me learn some elvish and Velanna…She wanted me to understand what I would be getting into. I just…I just can't see my life without you."
Dannon embraced the mage tightly, his face in the crook of her neck breathing in deeply. "Ma emma lath."
"Ma emma vhenan," the dark haired woman responded, her arms wrapping around the elf's neck.
Together, both of them said, "Ma emm'arla." Dannon suddenly kissed Bethany, the months of pent up passion and love was poured into that kiss. It caused the young woman's knees to go weak. Never in her wildest fantasies did she imagine a kiss from the Commander to be so passionate, so loving.
A few minutes later, Bethany broke the kiss. They were both breathing heavily, but they both had happy smiles. Dannon stroked the mage's hair, letting his fingers tangle in the silken tresses. His stormy blue eyes gazed lovingly into her warm brown ones, telling her not in words how much he loved her.
Reaching behind her, Bethany opened the door to her room and pulled the Warden inside. She led him to her bed and kissed him again. One of Dannon's hands lingered on her waist while the other was fingering the clasps that held the mage robe she was wearing together.
"Are you sure, emma lath?" he asked her, his voice going rough with desire.
The young mage took the hand that was on her robe's clasps away and slowly began to unfasten them. She looked intently into his eyes and nodded, desire and love showing in hers. "Yes, I am, Dannon. For the longest time, I tried so hard to make this place my home. I found friends here, but it wasn't enough. You are my home, Dannon. I love you and I can't see myself without you."
Dannon watched the woman finish undressing and the robes fell to her feet in a soft swoosh. He drank in her nude form before walking over to close the door. Pieces of his drakeskin armor fell off as he determinedly went back to Bethany. He was clad in only his smallclothes once he was by the woman's side and pulled her flush against his body.
"Ma vhenan'ara," he whispered huskily in Bethany's ear before devouring her in a kiss that showed her how much he loved her.
Hours later, a raven flew to the open window in the room. Its eyes searched the darkened room and spied two slumbering figures on the bed. Bethany had her head on Dannon's chest, her black hair a sharp contrast against the elf's pale skin. He had an arm around her in a possessive manner, both their legs intertwined with each other.
The raven appeared to grow and in its place stood a tall woman, her black hair pulled back in a bun and her golden eyes watching the scene before her. Her eyes seemed to be bright with unshed tears, but she was happy. Quietly, she drew the thin bed sheet to cover the nude forms of the new lovers.
"'Twas good thing that this happened," the woman whispered and looked about the room. She saw a small black box on the floor next to the Commander's discarded armor. She silently walked over and picked it up, opening it. Sighing softly at what she saw, she made sure that the two were deep in sleep. She then sent some magic into the ring inside of the box, enchanting the simple piece of jewelry. Once that was done, she placed the box back next to the armor and then walked over to the couple.
The woman said a few words in a strange language and watched as magic swirled into the air and into Dannon and Bethany. "'Tis a gift I leave thee," she whispered again. "You will find out what it is in the fullness of time. Goodbye, my love." She shifted back into the form of a raven and quietly flew out of the window and into the night sky.
AN: I hope that this is an acceptable sequel to Serenity. I thought that Bethany needed someone to love…^_^ I was thinking of writing out the scene with their lovemaking, but I decided against it. Bethany is a sweet and innocent girl and I thought that this way was the best way to go. I used the Dragon Age wiki to get the elvish wording. One phrase I used, ma emm'arla, is meant to be 'You are my home' from what I extrapolated from the wiki.
Emm'asha – my girl
Aneth ara – A social or friendly greeting
Lethallan – casual reference used for someone whom one is familiar. Lethallan is used for females.
Ma emm'arla – you are my home
Ma emma lath – you are my love
Ma emma vhenan – you are my heart
Emma lath – my love
Ma vhenan'ara – you are my heart's desire