Disclaimer: Dragon Age belongs to BioWare.
She peeked over the edge of the crate, small dirty hands griping the worn wood tightly. The noon day sun beat down on the wharf, making the pathways of the docks shimmer with heat. Even in the shadowy alcove where she hid, snugly wedged between two cargo crates, it was nearly unbearable.
But if they could stand it, then so could she.
When she had heard some of the older children talking animatedly about Demons, she passed it off as the usual rubbish. The adults in Darktown were always complaining about Blood Mages and Templars, and now some the older street rats had picked up on the annoying habit.
So she'd jumped, startled, when one of the boys had suddenly stood up and started yelling.
"I ain't ly'in! He was huge! A'n had horns! A'n was…well…BLUE!"
That caught her attention.
What kind of Demon was blue?
It came silently, stalking down her spine, fingering her ribs, before fiercely digging its claws into her gut.
Killer of all cats, fools and the occasional small child.
And she, unfortunately, was the later.
She was doomed before she'd even started.
And that is how, six hours ago, the small, sharp eyed child found herself slinking through filth infested streets, crammed full of what the other children liked to call "Badens". Luckily for her, she was too small, too young, and too poor to be bothered by the darker residents of Lowtown.
Navigating the streets wasn't a problem; a lifetime of weaving through adults and dodging kicks (more common than you'd think) had made her light on her feet. But for someone as small as herself, speed was the key to survival and sometimes slipping though crowds just didn't cut it, not when all she received was bruises for her trouble. So she sought quieter, less well known roads.
The roof tops of Kirkwall were hardly difficult to access and the alleys were some of the best places to hide. But though less traveled, they were far more dangerous. Thieves and cutthroats frequented these highways, so the girl quickly learned how to become invisible.
It was surprisingly easy; fading into the background. The shadows welcomed her. She never knew why, nor did she care to find out. It simply was and that was good enough for her.
Scaling up her favorite wall (overrun with flowering vines), she swung herself up onto the faded brown roof shingles before rolling to her feet. The air was clearer up here, if barely. Hot summer days and no wind often caused the smoke and pollution to hang like a dark cloud over the city.
She took a moment to orient herself, making the Gallows her focal point before heading in its direction.
She used to love coming to the Docks; all the exotic people and goods would make her go wide-eyed with wonder.
Then the Fereldans started arriving in Kirkwall, and the more experienced pickpockets quickly dubbed the Docks "off limits".
Only the older children worked the Docks now.
Hence the reason why only the older children (adults didn't count, those busy bodies) were talking about these "Demons".
She knew she would get punished if she was spotted here, but she wasn't worried; no one ever saw her and besides, if they did, it's not like they could catch her.
That's what she told herself, sliding behind a chimney to catch her breath. She crouched down, placing her hand on the tiles beneath her for support. Her eyes flitted back and forth over the docks, passing over ships and dockworkers quickly. She didn't know exactly what she was looking for, just that it would be somewhere at the Docks.
She scowled, forehead wrinkling and bottom lip protruding slightly.
Stupid people and their vague descriptions.
She snorted. That's what she gets for not paying closer attention to the conversations going on around her. Speaking of which…
"I swear! They're go'in t'kill us! Near pissed m'self when the one at ta gate glared at me!"
The dockworker, a shady little fellow with dark beady eyes, shuttered, nose twitching repeatedly over his tiny black mustache.
"He ain't glar'in at you. He was glar'in at everybody. Damn Qunari don't want no one go'in near th'er space. B'sides, if ya wernt so jumpy all th'time, he would'nt 'ave ev'n looked at ya!"
The other dockworker, a large man with wild golden hair and piercing blue eyes, emphasized this by smacking his companion over the head and nearly sending him face first into the dirt. The child on the roof had to stifle a giggle at the display. A lion and a rat playing.
Rat caught himself and rubbed the back of his head angrily.
"Well it ain't my fault! Damn creepy as shit if ya ask me! All em'ty eyes an' horns. T'ain't natural!"
Stepping over a pile of trash, Lion fingered the dagger at his side thoughtfully.
"Ya know wat d'ey remind me of? Dem paint'ins of demons at ta Chantry. Looked just like'em."
"Chantry?" the ratty man eyed his friend. "Since when do ya go to ta Chantry?"
Then he smiled, all teeth and mischief.
"Ya ain't don noth'in ta make ya ask fer forgivness 'ave ya?"
The bigger man recoiled, sputtering before barking out: "NO! I just like ta go ta church an' hear ta sermons! Ain't noth'in wrong with t'at!"
"Na na, especially if Sist'a Peny is giv'in ta sermons."
The tips of Lions ears turned red and he suddenly lunged for the smaller man.
"Shut it, you!"
Rat dodged, laughing, and then ran around the corner and out of sight, the lion of a man right on his heels. The young child giggled, oblivious to the meaning of most of the exchange, but finding it funny none the less. She stood up and hopped to the next roof.
She had a new word to think about.
It had taken her two hours, one fall and a few scrapes but she had finally found it.
The Qunari Demon's lair.
Well it wasn't really a lair. Just a closed off area of the Docks that everyone (adults and street rats, weird) avoided. It was just as run down as the compounds around it, but had a huge (to her eyes) make shift gate blocking the entrance and red banners hanging on either side.
It was the banners that had initially caught her attention and drew her to this part of the Docks. They were red and tattered, with a white diamond of lines in the center. It wasn't pretty, like some of the other banners she had seen, but it wasn't bad either.
The next thing she had noticed (though why she hadn't seen him first is a mystery) was the enormous man standing guard at the gate.
At least she thought he was a man.
He was tall, taller than anyone she had ever seen. His hair, falling to his shoulders, was pure white. Beginning at the edge of his hairline, then curling upwards over his head, were horns that blackened towards the tips. His torso was bare, save for the red makings that ran down his face and chest.
But what really had her nearly falling off the roof in excitement was his skin.
It was blue.
She lay flat on her belly, head cradled in her hands and feet kicking in the air behind her. A cool breeze, small though it was, blew past her. The roof that she rested on was close enough to see the Qunari compound, but not much else. She yawned and continued studying the area separating her from the object of her fixation.
It was strange: the space between her and the compound. There was no cover. No shadows. Nothing. Just a barren wasteland of empty roofs.
The city was a labyrinth of alleys, walkways and roof tops. An empty space like this shouldn't be able to exist.
But it did, and that had the child's instincts tingling.
She had tried going around, but it was the same everywhere. It's almost like they didn't want people to get in.
Grownups were so odd.
She tilted her head and looked down. The logical rout would be the main road leading down to the pier; it ran right past were she wanted to go. But seeing as she shouldn't be here in the first place…. that wouldn't work.
So she was stuck.
For the moment anyway.
It wasn't that getting across the expanse in front of her was impossible, because it was possible; it was getting across it without being seen that would be difficult.
She rolled over onto her back, head hanging over the roof's edge and blinked at the new view. Maybe she could figure it out upside down.
It was a game she liked to play: What is the quickest, easiest route, without being seen? A puzzle within a puzzle.
She'd always liked puzzles.
She moved her head to the right and as her perception shifted, everything else clicked into place.
The small child grinned.
She was still smiling as she shimmied down the wall in the side alley across from the Qunari gate. Her feet hit the ground and she rolled, coming to a stand at the mouth of the alley. She glanced up and gasped, her body automatically crouching down behind a pile of crates.
There, standing not by the gate but by the entrance, was another Demon. He looked different from the one behind him. His armor, (probably heavier than she was) seemed to be held up by leather straps crossing his painted chest. His gloved hands flexed, the leather of his arm guards creaking with the movement.
And when he turned his head sharply in her direction, the child had to clamp a hand over her mouth to stop any sound from escaping. His face, along with a portion of his horned head, was covered with a helmet. Its harsh angles and ornamental horns only served to emphasize the entire picture:
Now she understood what the older children were talking about. There were blue Demons at the Docks! She turned, intending to go back to Darktown now that she had her answer, but hesitated.
Had she gotten her answer?
Once again, curiosity reared its feline head.
The little girl crawled back to the crates and peered over. She had so many questions. Why was he here? How heavy was his armor? How did he get so tall? But most importantly:
Why was he blue?
She chewed her lip thoughtfully. The only way to find out was to ask. But how to get to him without being seen? She sighed and settled herself back against the crates.
She couldn't stand it any longer.
The heat, the itching urge to get answers, the waiting. She was going to die if she didn't do something soon.
She pushed sweat soaked hair out of her eyes.
She had been sitting there for hours, waiting for the road to clear, waiting for the perfect moment, waiting for everyone to just leave.
At first, she'd entertained herself by watching the Demons. They were interesting, but spying on them only fueled the fire that was rapidly burning away her patience. And watching them intently for almost two hours hadn't done anything to help her solve her puzzle.
She peeked over the edge of the crate again, bare toes flexing in the dirt beneath her. The road was nearly empty, the blistering heat of the sun causing most of the Dock's inhabitance to seek shelter in Lowtown's pubs and brothels. If she was going to talk to them, now was the best time.
She cautiously stood and inched her way around the cargo crates. Glancing about, she made absolutely sure that the only people here were the Demons and herself. Her eyes fixed on the closest one, the one with armor, noting his spread legs and aggressive posture.
She fidgeted nervously before taking a deep breath and stepping out onto the road. The path was hot and burned her feet, so she sprinted soundlessly to the shadow he was standing in.
She stopped, breathlessly reaching out a hand and tugging his pant leg.
Her hands shook, whither from fear or excitement, she didn't know, so she clasped them behind her back as she cleared her throat.
"Ah, Messere Demon, Sir?"
He looked down at her.
She swallowed thickly.
"W-why, why are you blue?"
AN: Gah! I'm so used to writing short chapters! This is so weird! What do you think? What is well done and what needs to get better? Reviews are always nice btw.