A is for Athenril

There are people who say it isn't the name her mother gave her, and there are people who don't say it but doubt it with every breath they take. If she were other than who she is, she thinks she might doubt it, too. In a world of dead drops, counterfeit coin, unstable alliances and unshakable alliances, a name should be something donned and discarded both.

But Athenril is the name her mother gave her, and she keeps it close. It isn't just that the name is lovely, that it rolls from the tongue and fills her with an odd, private sense of joy. There's pride there, too. Pride that comes from living far from home, both physical and metaphorical. The Alienage she was born in is in Ostwick, another pathetic port town with far fewer apostates and blood mages, far less martial rule. And beyond that, in the cadence of the few stories her mother could weave for her, there's a home.

Halamshiral and Arlathan. She knows the names like she knows her own, and they feel the same on her lips. Her mother was no Dalish, and Athenril, even when she was a girl and got her arm branded in blue, has never wanted to be such. Her tattoo is not the same as the blood writing as the other elves, the ones who live outside the problems and outside of any one single home, always in search of a way back. She envies them, sometimes. They have their freedom, after a sort.

But she has her freedom, too, in every time a contact addresses a letter to A, in every time she sees herself in a glass and smirks. She is Athenril, the name her mother gave her and the woman her mother formed. It's a name she has never known or sought the meaning of. It's a name she doesn't care to.

Because it will always mean home, and striving, work and dignity. She has it all in those eight letters, and every time she says or writes it, hears or reads it, her back grows a little straighter.