A/N: This is story of my female Dalish elf Warden Lenya and what happen to her during the events on Dragon Age: Origins and maybe even on Awakening and beyond. There will be f/f romance in this story so if that's something that bothers you, this is not a story for you.
This is my first Dragon Age: Origins FanFic and also first ever fanfic I uploaded on FanFiction. net. Huge thanks to my dear friend Faelan for her support and for putting up with me when I ask her to read all my stories and chapters before they are even finished.
Dragon Age and everything you recognize is owned by Bioware. Lenya and the stuff you don't is mine.
Rated to M
Updated, August 19th, 2013: Fixed grammatical errors and other errors
On the road to Ostagar
While Lenya sat and stared at the fire the shemlen had made, she could only wonder how her life had changed. All because of that small decision, she and Tamlen had made, to go and check the cave those scared shems had found.
She furiously wiped off the lonely tear that had formed in her eye when the thought of Tamlen crossed her mind. She would not show weakness in front of that shem. Warden or not.
To his credit the shem stayed away from her and let her sit alone in her thoughts. Out of respect or because she'd threatened him with her sword. She didn't care as long as he let her alone.
Trying not to think about poor Tamlen she brought Merrill in her mind. Telling goodbye to her had been the hardest thing she'd ever done. Letting out a deep sigh, she brought the last kiss with Merrill to her mind. Their relationship had been a secret. Only Tamlen and probably Marethari, very little escaped the Keeper, had known about it.
Everyone else had always assumed that she'd had her eyes on Tamlen and they'd been happy to let them think that.
"Poor Tamlen..." Lenya whispered, "You will never find your dream girl from the gathering of the clans now," She talked to the fire and was oblivious to the tears that ran down her cheeks.
"Did you say something?" The shem asked and appeared to the circle of light the fire had created.
"No!" Lenya snarled, "I did not say anything to you shem," She added furiously.
"You should save that fury to the time when you need it," The shem said, "Like when we have to keep a very harsh pace so the taint within you does not kill you before we even get to the Ostagar."
"You just worry of your own strength shem," Lenya retorted. She really didn't need some stinking shem telling her how to move fast.
"Would you like to train with those weapons of yours while we both are awake anyway?" The shem asked then, dropping the subject of travel, "It might take your mind of from the recent events."
"And what makes you think I want to take my mind off from them shem?" She asked angrily. Why was this shem bothering her now?
"My mistake then, Lenya," The shem said and disappeared into the shadows again. He was skilled on that, she gave him that. Probably almost as good as the best hunters of the Dalish.
Muttering curses in her own language she readied her bedroll and within seconds she fell asleep.
And was awakened by her own scream and the fact that the shem was shaking her. She reacted on pure instinct and tried to hit the man, but he dodged her fist easily and stepped away from her, giving her more space.
"I'm sorry to have startled you, but you were screaming so loud that I think they might have heard you in Ostagar," The shem said.
"The dream was so vivid," She muttered, "Tamlen was shouting help in the cave and I just left him there to die and saved myself," She continued speaking to herself. Not caring that the shem was standing right there, "Seeing his accusing stare was too much to bear. He was saying that how did I dare to survive when he died."
"There was nothing you could have done to save your friend," The shem said, "Even if we'd found him from the cave it would have been too late to save him. It was pure miracle that your keeper could halt the taints progression in you enough that we can get you to the Ostagar and to the cure."
"Yes, you said that to me already in the ruins," Lenya said, "Do all shems have such a poor memory?" She asked nastily.
"No, just me," Shem replied smiling. Despite herself Lenya chuckled at the man.
"Thank you, Duncan," She said finally. She might be a shem, but he was also very respectful of what she needed so he earned some trust from her.
"You're welcome, Lenya," Duncan nodded smiling, "Shall we get going or do you want to eat something first?"
"I can eat while we walk," Lenya replied, "I want some distance between me and this place," She would never admit it to a shem, but after her nightmare this place was creeping the hell out of her.
It took nearly a week for them to get to the Ostagar. Lenya kept waking them up in the morning by screaming her lungs out and each morning they left without eating a breakfast. If that annoyed Duncan he did not say anything about it to her.
Nightmares started to get better though and the guilt of being alive while Tamlen was not, started to ease a bit as well. Most likely those two things were connected.
Duncan had repeated his offer for training every night and on third evening she'd accepted it and she was grateful that she'd done so. Like Duncan had said it kept her from thinking the events too much. Mainly Tamlen. Merrill she did want to think about. Maybe even more than was healthy.
"There it is," Duncan said and pointed at the huge tower in the distance, "Ostagar."
Lenya stopped and studied the tower. "It looks like it's in ruins," Then she rubbed her temples. She was getting a headache again. Duncan said it was the taint starting to gain more ground in her again. Apparently he could feel it in her somehow. Which was creeping the hell out of her, after he'd told her about it. She did not want any shem feeling things from her. Let alone a male shem.
"That's because it is mostly in ruins," Duncan said, "Kings army has occupied some of the intact buildings like lower levels of the Tower of Ishal, but main part of the army is camping outside."
"So you are taking me into a camp where majority of it's occupants sees me as a servant," Lenya muttered to herself, "Wonderful."
"In there you are not just an elf, Lenya. You are a Grey Warden as well," Duncan said.
"Only if you cut my ears off and paint a sign on my forehead saying I am a Grey Warden," Lenya said, her voice dripping sarcasm, "You shems always see only what you like to see. No matter what."
Duncan shook his head and sighed. Which made Lenya grin to herself. Duncan was not bad for a shem, but she had no idea why he kept trying to tell her that majority of the shems were not as bad as she thought them to be. His continued efforts just made Lenya tease him about it relentlessly.
"Never mind," Duncan said, "Let's go, so we can get your Joining underway."
"What's this Joining?" Lenya asked while they walked towards the tower.
"It's a brief ritual every Grey Warden goes through and it is the cure I promised your keeper we have," Duncan explained.
"If I have to dance naked under the moonlight I'll just want you to know that I rather die on the taint than do that," Lenya said and Duncan burst out laughing.
"Nothing like that I assure you," He said still laughing, "It does require killing darkspawn though."
"Good!" Lenya said and her eyes lit up with furious anger, "Those blasted things are why I am walking into the camp full of stinking shems so it's about time I get to kill the filthy things."
Duncan wisely stayed quiet. He was wondering though, did the furious Dalish woman mean the darkspawn or the humans when she talked about filthy things. He hoped it was the darkspawn.
After their meeting with the shem king, Duncan left her, standing alone at the start of the bridge.
She walked to the edge of the bridge and let her eyes wander on the mountains in the distance. Air felt cool against her skin. Cool and soothing somehow.
So, calling the king a fool, even if he wasn't present, was not a good thing to do. Even though she got the impression that Duncan himself thought the king to be a fool as well. Apparently it was more important that he supported the Grey Wardens than that he possessed brains.
She hoped that whoever this Loghain, that Duncan had mentioned, was owned the brains.
It would be just her luck to get cured of one thing and die because shemlen stupidity.
"I guess it's time for me to go and find this Alistair," She said aloud and started to walk over the bridge.
When she arrived to the other end of the bridge, a shem wearing an armor started to talk to her and offered to give her directions. His respectful tone got Lenya off guard and she had to check if her mouth was hanging open.
After asking the guard few questions about the place and people there she continued further in to the camp.
She was not ready to give up disbelief for Duncan's words, that the people here were not seeing her as elven just because one man treated her with respect, but it did make her think.
"Greetings, young lady. You're Duncan's new recruit are you not?" An old woman in robes said to her when she was walking past her, "He's not man easily impressed."
Why was this woman talking to her? - Lenya thought and stopped, "Yes?" She offered questioningly.
"I am Wynne. One the mages brought here to help fight the darkspawn," The old woman introduced herself.
"I'm Lenya and I guess I'm also brought here to fight the darkspawn," She said while trying to figure the woman out. Mainly she wanted to know, why was she talking to her.
"Darkspawn, they say it was the sin of men that brought the darkspawn upon us," Wynne continued, "At least that's what the chantry says."
Lenya let out sound that was mostly disgust, "Chantry says a lot of things. Like kill everyone who doesn't believe in their Maker," By the Creators she would slap this old bat silly if she would try to shove the Maker nonsense in her way.
Obviously the woman was much wiser than that since she just ignored Lenya's comment about the Maker, "It might be allegory. There to teach us to watch our actions."
"I'll just kill every damn darkspawn I see. Someone else can sort out why in the name of the Creators they are here," Lenya muttered.
"Very sensible attitude. It has served me well in the past," Wynne says, "But I'm sure Duncan has more for you to do than talk to me."
What? - Lenya thought. She wouldn't even talked to the old bat if she'd not started to talk to her in the first place. Shems were obviously insane and incapable of making sense. She continued to walk towards where this Alistair was supposed to be.
"You there, elf! Where's my armor?" Someone was yelling at her. That sounded more like how she'd imagined shems talking. Like she was some servant, "And why are you dressed like that?" A man took hold of her arm and tried to pull her to his way.
"Because I'm not your damn servant you ignorant little shem," Lenya said turning to face the man who was talking to her, "And unless you want to lose that hand of yours you will let my arm go," She emphasized her words by unsheathing her dagger and placing it under the man's chin with one fluid motion. The man released her arm like it was on fire, "Now, be a good little boy and tell me where I can find a Grey Warden called Alistair."
The man tried not to swallow in fear of Lenya's dagger cutting his throat, but he managed to point in one direction, "Now back away slowly and start treating your servants better," Lenya said while removing her dagger from his throat. Very slowly the man backed away from her and when he was back at his own place she saw how he sighed in relief.
"Well, you're not what I thought you'd be," Another voice said on her right. When she turned to look there, she noticed another shem studying her.
"What's that supposed to mean?" She asked and sheathed her dagger.
"Nothing, just me and Ser Knight waging a little bet of what the third recruit would be," The man replied, "Not an elf. Yet here you are," Oddly enough his words didn't bother Lenya. There was something in the man that felt honest to her. Like he wasn't judging her based on her race. That was of course absurd notion since he was a shem.
Lenya didn't stop his ramblings except to answer few questions he asked. Other than that he seemed quite happy to hear his own voice. He introduced himself as Daveth and then he said he was going to see Duncan because she was now here.
"What an odd man," Lenya shook her head after Daveth had left. Still baffled about it, she continued her way to this Alistair. Hoping that no one else would interrupt her again.
First thing she heard while getting closer to the place where this Alistair was supposed to be, was very annoyed male voice complaining about how the mages where there by the kings order and that the one he was talking should stop harassing him. Then she heard another voice that sounded amused.
"Yes, I was harassing you by delivering a message," Then she saw the speaker. It was a blond haired young man with an amused expression on his face.
"Your glibness does you no credit," The other man, most likely a mage since he was wearing same kind of robe that old bat had been wearing, said.
"Here I thought we were getting along so well. I was even going to name one of my children after you... the grumpy one," Younger man said his voice still amused.
"Enough, I will speak to the woman if I must! Get out of my way fool," The mage said and stormed off.
The younger man followed him with his eyes and then seemed to notice Lenya, "You know, one good thing about the blight is how it brings people together," He said to her.
Lenya stared at him for a bit, "You are a very strange human." She said finally. That was an damn understatement, but asking if he was dropped in his head as a child was not perhaps the most diplomatic way to start talking. Even to a shem.
"You're not the first person to tell me that," The man said smiling and then he seemed to focus on her, "Wait, we haven't met, have we? I don't suppose you happen to be another mage?" He then asked curiously.
"Would that make your day worse?" Lenya asked lifting her brow.
"Hardly, I just like to know my chances of being turned in to a toad at any given moment," The man replied and then he stopped and focused even more to her. It started to get bit uncomfortable how the man kept staring at her more intently, "Wait, I do know who you are. You are Duncan's new recruit, the Dalish," He said suddenly, "I should have recognized you right away. I apologize," He continued.
"How could you recognize me?" Lenya asked looking puzzled.
"Duncan sent a word. He spoke quite highly of you," The man replied.
Wait, what? Lenya thought. When in the name of the Creators did Duncan manage to send messages? They'd not seen anyone while traveling, but now that she thought about it, the king had also said that the other Wardens had told him about her.
"Allow me to introduce myself: I'm Alistair, the new Grey Warden, though I guess you knew that," He said. Well, at least she'd found the correct shem - Lenya thought - That was something, "As the junior member of our order I will be accompanying you when you prepare for the Joining."
He didn't just say he was accompanying her, did he? Lenya thought. As if he needed a shem man following her around, "I can't prepare on my own?" She asked almost spitting the words out.
"I know," The man, Alistair, said smiling, even though she was probably staring at him less than kindly, "I felt the same way when I did this. Unfortunately they don't give us much choice," He continued and Lenya sighed. It was not his fault so beating him would be pointless and she doubted she could go beat Duncan. The old shem was damn skilled with his two weapons.
"You know... it just occurred to me that there has never been many women in the Grey Wardens. I wonder why is that," Alistair continued to talk.
"You want more women in the Wardens, do you?" Lenya asked and gave him a stare. Usually when men said something like that they were not thinking with their heads.
"Would that be so bad?" Alistair asked and then he noticed her stare, "Not that I'm some drooling lecher or anything. Don't look at me like that," He fumbled in his words and then did something Lenya had not expected. He blushed.
"That's kind of cute," Lenya grinned, "Is the blushing a Grey Warden thing?" She asked and burst out laughing when Alistair turned even more brightly red than he already had been.
Lenya heard him muttering something about an evil woman which made her grin even wider. Having him following her might be fun after all. He was not like Daveth who obviously had checked her out the moment he saw her. He was more like Tamlen had been before he knew she liked women not men. Awkward, bumbling and not to mention rambling a lot. She liked to listen ramblings. Specially Merrill's ramblings.
Thought of Tamlen darkened her mood immediately and the shem must have picked that up since his face turned cautious, "So, I'm curious. Have you ever actually encountered darkspawn before?"
"Yes, just recently," Her voice dropped below zero and her eyes started to shine with fury again. She could literally feel it. So could Alistair since he seemed to visibly shudder.
"I've only fought them once up close. And that was before the battles here started... Which Duncan has kept me out of so far," Alistair said and it was clear that he was trying to ignore the murderous fury Lenya had started to radiate, "Tell me, did you find them as monstrous as I did?"
How should she know how monstrous he'd found them. Shems were baffling, "Hideous. Dangerous, but killable," She replied. Very killable. Her slight frame started to shake when she thought about killing all the damn filthy creatures that had ruined her life.
"You'll be at an advantage then. Most new recruits have never even seen darkspawn," Alistair said and took cautious step away from her. He was actually scared of her. How nice, "Anyhow, when ever you are ready lets head to Duncan. I imagine that he's eager to get things started."
"You don't have to accompany me, do you?" Lenya asked hopefully, but she already saw the answer on the young man's posture. So she was sighing in defeat before Alistair answered.
"Don't worry, I try not to embarrass you," He said. Lenya really doubted he would succeed in that, but she let it go and headed back where she'd come for. Alistair seemed all too happy to follow her.
Alistair had never seen a Dalish elf before and his first one seemed to be at least a little crazy. She seemed polite and mostly diplomatic, but when he'd mentioned darkspawn, her whole being had changed into a barely contained fury.
He was glad that she'd not been like that when he'd made an fool out of himself with the Warden women issue.
He was answering her questions while they walked and he noticed right away that she didn't have very high opinion of humans and that she was quite practical. That he noticed when he was telling how Duncan had recruited him. She just said that maybe Duncan thought he was useful. He answered that a little bit more bite than he'd intended, but she didn't seem to care.
When they were walking past the camp trader he noticed that the trader was watching his companion with scared eyes and clearly hoping she would not go closer.
"Why is that merchant watching you like that?" Alistair asked when they were past the trader.
"Because he was yelling at me like I was some servant of his and because I threatened to cut his hand off if he don't take his hand off me," She replied shrugging her shoulders like that was perfectly normal thing to do.
"We can't go threatening people," Alistair pointed out to her.
"Then he should keep his hand to himself and not think I'm a servant just because I have pointy ears," She said and Alistair could hear the disgust in her voice, "I am one of the People, not some flat eared servant you shems have in your cities doing all the works you are too high and mighty to do yourself," And now her voice was pretty much dripping venom.
Alistair was still digesting her words when he saw a sure disaster about to happen. Chantry priestess started to talk with the Dalish. Who looked at the woman like she was a darkspawn. He hastened his steps and got to her just as she was saying, "And if you don't, He destroys your home and kills your brothers and sisters?"
"I will not talk politics here. Take your hatred somewhere else," The priestess said angrily.
"Nice talking with you," The Dalish woman said sarcastically, "I'm sure your god is happy of your fervor in smiting the unbelievers," After that she just left the fuming priestess standing there, "Good thing I don't have a clan anymore so she can't go and destroy it," She muttered while walking. Just loud enough that Alistair could hear her.
Then he noticed that Ser Jory had started to talk with her and he stayed out of his sight so he could hear what they talked about.
"Greetings. You must be the third recruit we've heard about," Ser Jory was saying.
"You've heard about me?" The Dalish asked.
"Not a great deal. We've been waiting for your arrival though," Ser Jory replied, "I wasn't aware elves could join the Grey Wardens. Those camped outside are all humans," He continued, making Alistair wince.
"Do you have problem with that?" The Dalish asked and her voice became threatening. Now that Alistair heard that voice, he didn't blame the trader for his wild eyed fear towards her. She was really intimidating for someone so delicate.
"No," Ser Jory shook his head, clearly taken aback by her voice. He didn't blame him either, "Clearly, Grey wardens pick their recruits on their merits," He continued, "I hope we're both lucky to eventually join the Wardens," Alistair hoped that also. Poor sods, "Is it not thrilling to be given that chance?" Ser Jory asked then.
Answer she gave him was not what Alistair had been expecting though. He didn't know why he'd expected her to have same attitude towards joining the Wardens as he'd had, "I wouldn't be here if I had choice in the matter," She said making Alistair curious. How had Duncan got her to come with him. Right of Conscription did not bind the Dalish as far as he knew. He doubted the Dalish did give a damn about human king granting rights to Wardens to conscript. If Dalish had some other agreement with the Wardens he didn't know about it.
While thinking about that, he'd missed the rest of the conversation and saw Jory leaving towards Duncan's tent.
"Are you going to stand there long?" Alistair heard her voice asking behind him. How did she do that? When he turned around he saw she was already heading towards the pyre where Duncan was standing.
"Ah, Lenya, you found Alistair, did you?" Alistair heard Duncan asking from the Dalish woman. As well as her puzzled answer, "Obviously," Which made Duncan chuckle at her, "Good. I assume you are ready to begin preparations," He was looking at the Dalish while he spoke. Not the other two recruits. That was curious. Duncan must see something extraordinary in the furious Dalish woman. Something that the other two were lacking. He didn't have time to wonder that more because Duncan turned to him next, "Assuming, of course, that you are quite finished riling up the mages, Alistair," Uh-oh - Alistair thought. How did he manage find about that already?
"What can I say? The revered mother ambushed me. The way she wields guilt they should stick her in the army," Alistair tried to lighten the truth, but he already saw that it didn't work on Duncan. The Dalish, Lenya, on the other hand was looking at him not even trying to hide her amusement of his predicament. Lenya, what a lovely name for the barely contained fury, she was - his mind absentmindedly wondered while the other part was getting ready to apologize of his behavior.
"She forced you to sass the mage, did she?" Duncan asked and he was right, "We cannot afford to antagonize anyone, Alistair. We don't need to give anyone more ammunition against us," Oh, if the earth would just swallow him now. Lenya was still looking at him amused. Even Daveth and Jory did that to a some extent, but their reaction didn't bother him at all. It was the little Dalish woman with deep blue eyes that seemed to radiate danger that made him feel small.
"You're right Duncan, I apologize," Alistair said and kept his eyes away from the Dalish.
Duncan nodded at him and then explained what was required from them in the wilds. It was again Lenya who asked questions to clarify what was needed. It was kind of fascinating to see how Daveth and Jory both just waited her to take the lead.
"Take good care of your charges, Alistair. Return quickly and safely," Duncan said to him, snapping him out of his thoughts concerning the Dalish woman.
"We will," Alistair said.
"Then may the Maker watch over your path," Duncan said. Alistair heard a resigned sigh from the Dalish. She was probably getting more than enough of the Maker already, "I will see you when you return."
The Dalish was walking towards the kennels and both male recruits were following her like a pair of puppies.
"She's quite a handful isn't she," Duncan said when those three were out of hearing range.
"You could say that," Alistair nodded, "She threatened to cut the traders hand off."
"I heard," Duncan nodded, "Can't really blame her. She doesn't have very high opinion of humans to begin with and the trader did try to treat her like a servant. You don't do that to a Dalish elf."
"I heard her tell Jory that she's not here by choice," Alistair said and looked at the direction Lenya had gone.
"No, she's not," Duncan said and his voice turned sad, "She and her friend got tainted by the darkspawn taint and without her Keeper she would have already died because of it. I know you can feel the taint in her," Duncan explained and Alistair nodded. He'd felt it as soon as he'd seen her, but until now he'd not known what it was he'd felt, "She really don't have any other options. Either she goes through the Joining or the taint kills her or worse."
"Are you sure it was wise to bring someone here who doesn't want to be a Grey Warden?" Alistair asked worriedly. He'd already seen that Lenya didn't have any respect to the chantry and very little to humans.
"She is very honorable and extremely loyal to those who can win her trust. I think she started to trust me a little while we were traveling together, but nowhere near enough for her to talk to me about anything even remotely personal. Her Keeper also told me that she is very independent, but really good at organizing things. Hunts to be more specific," Duncan explained, "She is also an exceptional fighter."
"I noticed that you treated her like a leader of the recruits," Alistair pointed out.
"That's because she is," Duncan said, "Jory and Daveth both expected her to take the lead. Even without knowing it. She projects very confident aura of leadership around her even without her knowing it."
"I noticed that," Alistair nodded, "I also have a feeling that she thinks I'm an idiot," He confessed.
"Don't worry Alistair. She thinks all humans are," Duncan chuckled, "Up until you earn her trust."
"I doubt I will ever earn enough of her trust, for her not to think I'm an idiot," He sighed, "She already thinks I'm a drooling lecher or something."
"Alistair," Duncan sighed, but his eyes were sparkling with amusement, "You better go now before she decides to leave you here and go alone in the wilds."
"Right," Alistair said and waved goodbye to Duncan before turning to follow the recruits.
When he got closer to the kennels he heard something he didn't quite understand. Lenya was talking to someone with a gentle voice, "There you go, lethallin," He heard her saying and then he saw her patting a huge mabari like it was a small lap dog. Mabari had a muzzle on, but that didn't make it any more dangerous looking.
"She just went in there and put that muzzle on to that dog," Ser Jory said and his eyes were wide, "She is crazy isn't she?" He asked.
"No she's not, Ser knight," Daveth said, "Anyone could see that she's skilled with animals."
"He speaks truly," The kennel master said, "I've rarely seen such skill from someone who's not handled mabari before."
"Now you let that nice shem there to treat you and I see if I can find the flower he needs from the wilds to make you all better," Lenya didn't pay any attention to the men who seemed to be in awe of her actions. She was gently stroking the animal, "Who's a good boy?" She patted the dog one more time before getting out of the pen and nodded at the kennel master before heading to the gate that lead out to the wilds.
"We better follow her," Alistair said and followed the little Dalish woman who was now talking to an Ash warrior.
A/N: That's Chapter 1 and introduction to Lenya.
I use the in game dialogs as a base of those conversations that happen in the game, but changing them occasionally to suit Lenya better or how I saw the scene in my head.
Reviews and constructive criticism is welcome.