Chapter 1

Heads turned as the pair walked past assisting whether they were a danger or not. Most were smart enough not to approach but to leave them alone. Others insisted upon challenging the newcomers in order to see what they had. Many bragged of what they would do upon approaching the two strangely clad elves, but few carried out their claims. Most who came up to the light haired elf were confronted with his dark skinned companion forest green eyes gleaming dangerously in the pale dawn. One man was so brutally beaten up he meekly fled back to his companions who winced at his wounds. After which, other people became cautious of the pair.

Fenris scowled at anyone who came to close. Beside him was his lover, Zevran, whom appeared to be absorbed in decoding a message by squinting down at a piece of parchment. They had landed in Rivain, a small port town called Brendale. Isabela had landed there in order to take on new supplies and to gather information about merchant ships passing near the town. It had been two months since they had fled Kirkwall and at the moment Fenris was doing his best to be patient with his lover.

"Can you hurry it up? Next person is going to be smart enough to have men at his back and then it will be a blood bath. I would rather not commemorate our stay here by being chased out with pitchforks." Fenris snapped at his companion. Zevran furrowed his brow not looking up from his parchment as he walked along the main street. How the assassin managed to not walk straight into a wall with his bent down was beyond the warrior.

"Shush, I'm trying to figure out these directions. I swear, his handwriting has not improved since the last we met! What is this, a Q or an N? How does one even…" Zevran muttered to himself turning the paper sideways as if this would help him. Fenris sighed going to peer over the other elf's shoulder. All he could make out from the parchment was the occasional letter the rest appearing to be chicken scratch to his eyes.

"Should I perhaps be concerned about this friend of yours? You've said nothing of him ever since we landed. Or do you enjoy putting my life in danger?" Fenris snapped. A small smile quirked at the corner of Zevran's lip his eyes flicking up from the parchment to wink as his partner before focusing on the buildings lining the road.

"Ah, no. When you meet them in person you may understand why I hesitate to explain my…friendship with them. That, and I do not wish for anyone to overhear us. So be patient, Lord Fenris, you'll have your answers soon. Ah, here we are! Fool should have just drawn a picture for all the good his letter did me." Zevran complained tucking the parchment into a pouch he kept at his side.

Zevran had received the letter in the last port town about a month ago in the last town. Apparently, the assassin had had time to send a letter before leaving Kirkwall to friends of his in Denerim. As Fenris understood it these people were to replenish his partner with money and supplies for his travels. They had stopped outside an inn aptly named the Shark's Den. Zevran glanced up at the sign that featured a crudely carved shark with an open maw of razor sharp dagger like teeth.

Unfazed by the fearsome sign Zevran didn't even wait before pushing the door open. Fenris sighed wondering about the wisdom of following his partner into such a place. No doubt a major fight would break out sooner or later as he too went in through the dark doorway. It resembled the Hanged Man much in on the inside, except being surprisingly clean. No patrons passed out on the floor to avoid or spilled ale for a person to slip on.

The place was crowded with tables and benches, on the far end a bar. Behind the bar was a bartender, a burly sort of fellow with black tattoos running up and down his arms. There were at least five piercings on his face, not counting the seven on his right ear. Three above his brow and two more on his nose. When the two elves entered the man glanced up his eyes immediately narrowing suspiciously at these two new customers.

Fenris clenched his fists resisting the urge to make his tattoos flare to life. Such a display would have raised far too many questions. Besides, it would be an easy description to follow. By the way, an elf that lit up like a firefly passed through here. Really? You don't say!

"Bar's closed, go seek drink elsewhere if you're thirsty." The man said gruffly. He had tanned skin two shades darker than Zevran's own. Undeterred, Zevran walked right up to the bar. Fenris followed close behind him eyeing the shadows for any hidden assailants.

"My good sir, I do not seek sample your vintages. I am, however, in need of a room here. You wouldn't happen to have anything available do you?" Zevran said with a charming smile placing two silver coins on the bar. This got the man's attention who eyed the coin greedily. He coughed putting his rag down to better inspect the coins.

"I dunno, Serah. On such short notice it would be hard to find accommodations for you and your friend here…" The man explained eyeing Fenris with interest. Fenris leered impressively at him thankful for once his appearance was fearsome. At least here in Rivain his dark skin did not make him stand out. If anything, his outlandish appearance helped him to blend in among all these people with body piercings and tattoos.

"Are you quite sure? We're only two elves after all. We wouldn't take up much room." Zevran said now placing another silver coin on the bar. Within the blink of an eye the man's hand flew out snatching up the coins to disappear into a bulging pouch at his side. He grinned at the pair showing off rotten teeth as came out from behind the bar.

"Welcome to the Shark's Den gentlemen! My name is Cal, owner, bartender, and landowner of this fine establishment! Please, follow me so I can show you your rooms." Cal said with sudden enthusiasm. Zevran raised a brow at Fenris who just shook his head in answer. Honestly, it was not surprising how soon someone changed their tune when enough coin is placed upon the table.

Cal led them up a short flight of stairs to the second floor. On either side were several doors going down a long corridor. At the end was a window the shutters open to let in the light. Outside it was beginning to become lighter as the sun rose higher in the sky. Cal took out a key and opened one of the doors, peeking inside for any occupants. Seeing none he pushed the door open wider revealing a simple but clean room.

On one side was an empty basin, on either side were two beds. A desk sat under a grimy window the shutters close and locked to keep out the morning chill. A cold fireplace with ashes still in it was unlit in the room. Fenris spotted a chamber pot in the corner and wrinkled his nose at the thought, going into the room first. At least it was clean unlike the other places they had stayed at. The last inn had had mice living in the bedding it was so old. During that stay Fenris had quite literally opted to sleep in the woods with a thin pallet rather than stay in such disgusting quarters. Zevran had joined him despite the freezing temperatures that signaled winter would soon be coming.

"Now it ain't the palace but you won't find a cleaner place in all of Brendale. Breakfast is served at seven, lunch whenever in the afternoon, and dinner is whatever the elves want to trade in return for some coin. You need anything just call on one of the maids and they'll be happy to help you." Cal said. He gave them a few more instructions as to where they could find the outhouse if they didn't desire to stink up their room. Gave the key to Zevran since he had paid and closed the door.

Silence pervaded the room as Fenris went to push open the shudders. Instantly light and fresh salty sea air flooded the small room. He closed his eyes taking in a deep breath glad to be on still ground for once. Behind him Zevran chuckled going over to one of the beds. He heard a soft sigh as his partner began to remove his armor, dumping it unceremoniously on the nightstand.

"You should keep it on. There's no telling what kind of trouble we'll run into while we're here." Fenris said turning away from the window. Zevran gave him a haggard look but continued to remove his armor, putting both daggers on the table as well beside his breast plate.

"I agree with you, my dear Fenris. Only that knowing my companions they already have the place surrounded."