Disclaimer: I don't own Dragon Age or any of its related characters. This is just for my own enjoyment and the potential enjoyment of other fans like me, and no monetary gain was expected or received.
Spoilers: May contain spoilers for Origins, Awakening, Origins DL content, and Dragon Age II as well as the novels The Stolen Throne and The Calling.
Epilogue: Sweet Fifteen
A huge face, with slit-pupiled eyes glittering over a wide-opened mouth, dropped down into her view from somewhere above.
"Boo! Scared you, didn't I, Norrie?"
Anora the Second, tall and pretty, smoothed her rumpled flounces and scowled her best - pretty damned good - scowl at her young aunt. "You startled me, there's a difference. When are you going to grow up, Harvest?"
Harvest somersaulted down off the roof beam. "I'm seven foot ten already. I think 'growing up' is the last thing I should do."
Anora's harsh expression softened. "Well, it is good to see you, at any rate. When did you get in to the city?"
"About a half an hour ago. Momma and Daddy are 'settling in,' by which I guess they mean dodging the servants. Where's Duncan? With his girlfriend?"
A thin smile curved Anora's lips. "I believe he is, yes."
"Only in Ferelden could the Crown Prince get engaged to an elven mage. But that's what we love about Home."
"One of the things," Anora said. "You should see the gown. Karea is going to be simply stunning in it."
"Do you really like all these fuss and feathers?" Harvest asked. She herself was wearing simple practice leathers. "I mean, how can you go from dirt and sweat in the practice ring to silk and lace ruffles?"
"I prefer the silk and ruffles, frankly. But I'm not going to be a porcelain doll on a shelf, either. You'll understand the appeal someday, Harvest, when you get over this rough and tumble stage," Anora said, as if at the tremendous age of eighteen she had worlds more knowledge and experience than her fifteen year old aunt.
"Well, I just hope your mother doesn't try to give me another dress for my birthday this year."
"I think she gave up trying to guess how big you'll be when she sees you next, so I wouldn't worry."
Harvest turned a cartwheel, as always bubbling over with energy. "Uncle Zevran says that this year is a special one for me. He said it's my keen-seen-year-a, or…something like that."
Anora laughed. "That's quinceañera, Harvest, and it would only be special if you were Antivan. The age of legal majority is fifteen there. You'll have to wait until next year for that."
"Well I don't care about my legal majority, I'm going to have a big party this year. It stinks that I was born on Feast Day; my Name Day always feels like an afterthought."
Anora's smile broadened. "Well, your party should be 'big' enough to suit even you. The organizer has been preparing for a week."
"Good. I like it when we all get together and celebrate. It's nice to forget the heavy stuff once in awhile."
Both girls fell silent for a few moments, contemplating the "heavy stuff." Though Ferelden had been officially a Free Mage State since the Battle of Gherlen's Pass, there were still many problems between mages and mundanes. As Harvest's father often said, people with power abuse it. Sometimes it was mages that did so, and sometimes it was the people who had been trained to handle those abusive mages, and there were no clear answers to either problem. Ferelden's population had been in a steady boom since the battle, and city congestion was becoming a problem, too, along with the inherent difficulties with keeping everybody fed and employed. As the daughters of the ruling class, with their own duties to the nation looming close on the horizon, both Anora and Harvest had to learn to deal with these and other issues as best they could, so that when each took over her own Teyrnir they would have the best possible chance of ruling wisely.
But young hearts are seldom heavy for long, and a cheery voice snapped them out of their deep thoughts.
"Harvest! Happy Birthday, little auntie. Look who I found raiding the Royal Wine Cellars. I believe these scamps are your lookout?" Duncan, tall and handsome with his mother's eyes and his father's merry nature, pushed a pair of young boys ahead of him. One was taller and skinnier and roughly twelve, the other one shorter and rounder and about eight.
"Gareth! Bryce! You little rats. What did you get into this time?" Harvest demanded, and grabbed both boys by the scalp and pretended to knock their heads together. "Brothers! Why couldn't I have had just one sister, for crying out loud?"
"You do have just one sister," Duncan pointed out.
"Just one younger sister," Harvest amended. "How is the lovely Karea? Her family hasn't received any more threats, have they?"
"None that you haven't heard about already," Duncan said, with a sigh. "You can't change people's hearts in a hurry, I guess, but we'll see a day when there are no alienages in Ferelden and elves can live safely in the same neighborhoods as humans."
"It is so stupid to hate somebody based on their height," Harvest said. Height was a sensitive issue with the young woman. "Or the shape of their ears, or whatever other specious reasons people have to hate each other."
"It's better than it used to be," Duncan said. "Now that there are elves in the Landsmeet, people are finally starting to admit that there's no real difference between one race and the next. Not where it counts."
"We passed through New Dales on our way to the city," Harvest said. "I haven't met their new Arl. I miss Arl Verrithal; he was nice."
"They elected a Keeper named Hylenni as the new Arlessa," Anora said. "She seems…more stern than Arl Verrithal, but fair-minded. I think she will do well."
"I hope so. It's a tough job, acting as go-between for the Dalish in Ferelden," Duncan said. "Well, enough shop talk. What say we go get ready for Auntie's party?"