Well, you guys finally talked me into attempting a sequel for Ghosts of the Grey, hopefully you'll enjoy it :-)

And yes, still using Italian for Antivan and Irish Gaelic for Chaisnd. Any words in elvish that I could not find in the DA wiki, I substituted with Tolkien elvish. What better substitute than the original Elven language?

I own no copyrighted material.

A white mabari bounces around the woman's bare and scarred feet as she descends the wooden plank and finally returns to dry land for the first time in a month. The docks, even at this early hour, teem with life as she pauses to adjust the tattered black hood covering her short snowy hair.

"Pazienza," she murmurs at the canine each time she doesn't move quickly enough for the beast and he barks his ardor to continue their journey.

The mixed odors of fish rot and sewage are left behind as the pair exit the port district and the once familiar smells of Ferelden begin to invade their nostrils.

She gently chides the dog when he makes a great show of sneezing, then stops to paw at his muzzle as he keens a complaint,"Questo è meglio che la barca," though her eyes still glimmer with a touch of amusement when her companion makes a point to whine and sneeze a second, then third, time before trotting after her.

A guardsman out patrolling catches her just outside of the city gates and seems to find little trouble in calling the woman a knife ear as he interrogates her.

Until she reveals herself as a Grey Warden, that is. His fretful apologies resound in her ears long after he has fled from her sight.

Upon leaving both Amaranthine and its inhabitants at her back, the woman takes a moment to assure herself that none are paying attention to her, then ducks into a copse of trees scattered along the cobblestone highway. A minute later, a silvery fox darts out from the brambles, a scarred white mabari following at its heels.

The days fly by as the beasts race passed farmers tending their crops, handfuls of armed travelers plodding along on horseback, and an unusual amount of guards patrolling the roads.

Soon though the mountain air floating down the passes chills the air at night, forcing the fox and the mabari to curl around one another for added warmth.

They are getting close.

Two weeks have come and gone by the time the spires of Wardens Keep begin cutting a sharp relief into the Ferelden skyline. The impressive vision incites a slew of mixed emotions in the pair, but the option to turn back has long since evaporated.

The animals skirt around the ancient fortress and slip in through a hidden side entrance. The fox guides the mabari into the stables where they take refuge in a disused stall.

No one sees the fox shimmer and elongate into a violet eyed woman with white hair and elven features.

She wordlessly gathers soap and a large bucket of water-which she heats with a small runestone-then hastily scrubs the grime from herself and her four legged friend.

Pale skin, crisscrossed with scars and dark ink, is covered in supple black leather armor that drinks in the dull afternoon light. With a grimace, she dons her boots before adding her tattered cloak and a faceless helm. A mace with an amethyst head and a Ferelden style dagger are the final additions, then she hefts her pack onto her shoulder and saunters out of the barn.

Grey Wardens training in the courtyard pay her little attention as she pads by and ascends the stone stairwell that takes her to the main entrance of the castle.

Inside, a young guard puts a hand out to bar her from advancing farther into the compound. "State your business please."

She blows out a loud sigh of irritation, then tugs open a bracer to reveal the Warden's Oath chained to her wrist. "The Warden Commander is expecting me," she states, her accented tone almost lyrical despite the hidden warnings in it.

The elven woman bows and retreats from the archway, "My apologies sister. The Warden Commander should still be in his office on the third floor, go right up."

"Grazie sorella," the elf blood murmurs, then waves for the mabari to follow her into the next chamber.

As they navigate the castle, they walk by an ornate fireplace that is covered with bleached skulls of varying shapes, sizes, and species. It takes a massive effort to smother the smile that threatens to take over when she discovers the enormous dragon skull that appears to be the centerpiece of the macabre display.

Finding the correct path that takes her upward, she can hear the Warden Commander arguing with someone as she and her canine companion draw closer to the open door of the office. She pauses to peer inside to find a blond haired human man with broad shoulders reclining on a sofa next to a pale, dark haired man clad in mage robes that are most often associated with the Circle Towers.

It is the third man who takes her breath though, and makes her forget her original intentions.

Golden skin-forever darkened by the decades he survived under the Antivan sky-graces his elven features and enhances the tattoo that resides on the left side of his face. His almond eyes of honey amber that refuse to miss a single nuance as the men speak and pale yellow hair that is bleached with streaks of ivory-no doubt a result of many hours spent in the sun-hangs loosely over his shoulder and down his back. He does not appear to be part of the discussion that is presently unfolding, content to simply lean against the wall, his arms folded over his leather cuirass, as he listens.

Next to her, the mabari wags his stunted tail ecstatically and whimpers his excitement, but a single gesture from his mistress prevents him from charging into the room. After discerning what the men are bickering about and surmising the subject to be asinine, she hardens her resolve and takes a determined step into the room.

Immediately the human men are on their feet with a flurry of shouting and arm waving, but the elf just walks over and-a deluge of tears instantly overtaking his tawny orbs and flowing down his face-tugs off her helm in one sharp motion. She offers a smile that has only ever been for him, and he freezes for a few heartbeats before his lips curl into their own awestruck version.

"Aurora," the name is uttered like a sacred prayer as it rumbles out of him, "I thought you were dead."

Translation

Questo è meglio che la barca-This is better than the boat

Grazie sorella-thank you sister

Oh, and any overt/outrageous complaints you may think about voicing? Please go read my profile before lodging them.