Disclaimer: Dragon Age belongs to Bioware and EA Games

AN: This was written for the Secret Santa Fic Exchange over at the Cheeky Monkeys forum. My recipient was Lakhiz...Hope it was liked...^_^

A Dwarven Tradition

"Sten, will you do it?"



"Pretty please?"

"Pashaara! Warden, is this really necessary?"

"It's a tradition among the dwarves in Orzammar when a young dwarf reaches the age of twenty. That's actually rather rare for someone like me since a duster usually becomes part of the Carta. And well…they usually don't live very long."

"And what does that have to do with me, Warden?"

"Well, you're the tallest and strongest one here…"

"I am not. Shale is, Warden."

"But she is made of stone! At least with you, you wouldn't intentionally hurt me."

A low growl was heard from the warrior.

"Uh…Sten, you really wouldn't hurt me…right?"

"Of course not, kadan. You are now being ridiculous."

"So, will you do it?"

"I have already given you my answer, kadan."

"So, that just means I need another way to convince you." The casteless dwarven Warden stepped away from the tall Qunari and ran over to the other dwarf in their ragtag group. The Sten watched their leader talk animatedly with the drunken Oghren, her frost blue eyes lighting up with mirth every now and then. Oghren started laughing loudly and slapped the Warden on her back. The redheaded dwarf belched loudly and sauntered over to the Sten with the Warden following behind him.

"So, the Warden here says that you won't do it," Oghren remarked, taking a huge swig from his beard flask.

Sten shifted his weight from one foot to another. "I do not see the point of this activity, dwarf."

"It would make her happy, that's one thing," the dwarven warrior replied, taking yet another drink. "And she said that her birthday is coming. Do you know how old the blighter is now?"

The Qunari just shook his head. "She then should have told the other Warden about this."

Oghren laughed hard, his free hand clutching his armored stomach. "The pike-twirler? Ancestors…he may explore our leader's 'Deep Roads', but he's as weak as a newborn bronto trying to stand up for the first time."

"Oghren!" the Warden cried out, smacking the other dwarf upside his head.

Sten gave Alistair a curious glance and noticed that the tall human's face was bright red. It was apparent that he had heard the dwarf's words. He sighed and crossed his arms over his chest, feeling somewhat annoyed. However, he owed the Warden greatly. She had gallivanted around the Ferelden countryside, asking some people but mostly threatening them into finding where his sword was located. Asala was finally discovered to be in the possession of Dwyn, the dwarf in Redcliffe. He then turned his attention back to the Warden and the drunken dwarf.

"She'll be twenty years old in three days, Sten," Oghren replied gruffly, his eyes looking fondly at the Warden. She thought that he was of some worth and he would do anything to keep her happy. She was like a little sister to the warrior. "It would mean a lot to the blighter if you did this for her."

Sten watched the female dwarf walk over to Alistair, pulling on his arm to get the man's attention. The ex-Templar smiled at the Warden and playfully pulled on one of her silver blonde pigtails. She hit the human on the arm and watched as her paramour pretended to be in severe pain. When the Warden laughed, it was a sound that one would not have associated with the brash dwarf. She was loud almost all of the time, and she never let anyone get to her. If someone told her that she couldn't do something, she would go out and prove them wrong.

The giant glanced down at Oghren and sighed. "I will do as she asks, dwarf."

The red haired warrior grinned at the Qunari, slapping him hard in the arm. "Great!" he belched, causing Sten to wrinkle his nose in disgust. "But don't tell the Warden that yer gonna do it. It'll be better if it's a surprise. Just make sure that we camp somewhere with a lake or something nearby."

"I will endeavor to do so," Sten answered solemnly. He returned his gaze at the young Warden and Alistair, the corners of his mouth going up ever so slightly.

It was now a day after the Warden's twentieth birthday and the group finally managed to find a decent campsite. They had been attacked by shrieks two nights ago and it left them all unsettled. The golem, Shale, told everyone in the new campsite that she would keep watch the entire night since she doesn't need any sleep.

Sten glanced over at Oghren and the dwarf gave him a discreet nod. The Qunari warrior never would have thought that the drunken dwarf would have been able to keep quiet on their plans. They had managed to rope Zevran and Leliana into keeping the Warden occupied while they set up their plans. The four of them decided not to tell Alistair since he just can't seem to keep a secret from the Warden. Besides, as Zevran explained, it would be more fun to watch the human's reaction to the Warden's birthday surprise. Now, it was time to set their plan in motion…

Leliana approached the Warden and smiled at her. "I'm so sorry that I did not get to say happy birthday to you," she said softly, her eyes shining brightly at the young dwarf. "Quinn, may I brush your hair? I have some lovely ribbons that would be exquisite against your hair."

The Warden nodded and smiled, following the bard into her tent. While the two were occupied, Sten, Zevran and Oghren went to the lake they camped close to and put a few things together, leaving Alistair to wonder what the heck was going on. He just shrugged and tended to the pot of stew cooking over the fire.

A few minutes later, Leliana pulled the Warden out of her tent, the dwarf looking rather embarrassed. She was wearing black linen trousers with a dark blue leather vest for her top and nothing else. Her short silvery blond hair was pulled back into just one ponytail with a deep red ribbon holding it together. She whispered furiously at the bard, but the redhead just laughed musically and shook her head.

Just as the Warden, Quinn Brosca, approached Alistair at the campfire, Sten suddenly grabbed the dwarf and flung her over his shoulder. He was, for once, not in his heavy plate armor. Instead, he wore his leather trousers, gambeson and boots. The giant hid a smirk on his bronze features as he hauled the Warden over to the lake.

"What are you doing?" Quinn shrieked as she kicked and flailed around to no avail. The Sten had a strong grip on her.

"What you had asked me to do," Sten answered stoically as he approached the lake's edge. He then nodded at Zevran, who was already in the water, and Oghren. The dwarf was holding a couple of towels, grinning like mad.

Seeing the two conspirators ready, Sten let the Warden down onto her feet for a moment. Before she could do anything, Sten grabbed her hands and then started swinging her around. After a couple of turns, he released the Warden and tossed her far into the lake. She was shrieking with delight as she hit the water, a loud splash sounding out.

Alistair had followed the Qunari warrior and had seen what happened, his mouth open wide. Leliana giggled and pushed on his chin to close his mouth. She giggled more when she saw the ex-Templar's bewildered expression. He finally turned his hazel gaze at the bard, confusion evident on his face when he realized that Quinn wasn't mad…in fact, she sounded extremely happy.

"It's a dwarven tradition on a dwarf's twentieth year, Alistair," Leliana replied, answering Alistair's unspoken question. "It's called dwarf tossing."

AN: Well...I thought that this was marginally funny. Sometimes, I don't want to know what this brain of mine comes up with...XD