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candles burning
The Levalier House
Details (an AU Dragon Age tale) 
13th-Jun-2011 09:34 am
finally found it
My actual entry for last week's prompt, again, AU role reversal with Zevran as the Warden and the PC as the would-be assassin; a follow-on to Recruitment.

Everyone loves the gift system for stories, right? Right. XD I'll be the first to admit this is a weak plot gift, but one plot gift for Alessar is almost certainly Fang, and my other idea, listed after the story, is something I've already touched on in WWN. XD So~

(Oh, in case it isn't clear, the bow referred to is Falon'din's Reach X3)


Details
Author: jenova
Word Count: 1318
Time: 2:12 + 10 for brief edits
Rating: PG
Warnings: none


His attention focused on rubbing a much-needed coat of wax onto the beautiful dragonthorn bow they'd found in the ruins, Alessar didn't see Zevran's approach. He was therefore badly startled when the Warden sat down next to him in that swift way he had, like a bird alighting on a fencepost.

"Maker's Breath, Zevran, you don't need to sneak up on us!" the dark-haired elf groaned, his heart racing.

"I certainly wasn't sneaking, my friend," Zevran chuckled. "We are, after all, in full sight of everyone else."

This was the literal truth, since Alessar was sitting in front of the evening campfire, but he knew that the Warden had taken advantage of his state of distraction to surprise him. He'd gain nothing from trying to make that point, however, so he just shook his head.

"A fine weapon," Zevran noted as Alessar gave the bow one last pass with the waxing rag.

"Certainly the finest I've ever used," the younger elf agreed, a little shyly. Zevran brought that out in him, much to his chagrin: a hint of awe for an elf who knew he was equal to — or better than — any human, combined with the awareness that the Warden found him attractive.

Alessar still wasn’t sure what to do about the latter. Given that he owed the Warden his life (more or less), it seemed unwise to completely refuse his advances. At least, that had been the archer’s mindset at first. He’d never been particularly attracted to men before (or so he told himself, anyway), and while Zevran’s attention was flattering, the Warden treated him was much the same way he treated almost everyone else in the group. If he seemed to seek out Alessar’s company just a little more often while they were marching along during the day, or in the evenings like right now, well... maybe it was just because the younger elf was easier to fluster, and thus more entertaining.

The dark-haired elf couldn’t help it. After several innuendo-laden conversations with the Warden, he’d started to have... thoughts... that he really shouldn’t have been having, and certainly wouldn’t have been if Zevran hadn’t planted the ideas, the possibility, in his head. Nowadays it could be quite difficult for him to keep his composure when the Warden began to tease him, which seemed to greatly amuse the other elf.

Maybe he’ll at least keep me around for that, Alessar thought. He was pulling his own weight in the group in combat, at least, but he didn’t have a fascinating, dangerous background, or extraordinary strength, or magic, or the ability to fight magic. He was just another elf from Denerim who happened to be all right with blades and maybe a bit better with a bow.

Pondering his own usefulness, he finally looked up at the Warden, who wore a grin tinged with a hint of anticipation. He wondered if he was about to be jokingly propositioned — again — when he saw that Zevran seemed to be hiding something behind his back.

“I am glad you have found it to your liking, then. I believe you will make better use of it than I could," the Warden admitted with a rueful smile. "I have something for you that I thought might complement it well.” Before Alessar could absorb the fact that Zevran was about to give him something, the Antivan elf revealed what he’d been hiding: a leather quiver. “A bow of such fine make should have equally fine accompaniment, no?”

Alessar could only stare at the thing as Zevran pressed it into his hands. It was clearly of Dalish make; the stitching style was unmistakable, and the playful hares etched along the borders were sacred to one of their gods, he remembered. The intricate craftsmanship was superior to the very basic equipment the Dalish craftmaster in the Brecilian forest had been willing to trade to them, but the leather was somewhat worn, and the strap seemed newer than the rest, as if it had been replaced. Perhaps a gift given to someone else, once?

“Where...” he began as he turned the quiver over in his hands.

“I stumbled over it — almost literally — during one of our forays into the forest,” the Warden said with a grin, seemingly enjoying the younger elf’s astonishment. “When I brushed it off and saw the detailed work, well...” he shrugged airily. “It made me think of you, of course.”

Of course. It was only natural that a quiver might remind him of the group’s best archer, but with those two oh-so-casual words, Zevran revealed that he’d been paying more attention to Alessar than the younger elf had thought. While they rested at the Dalish camp, he’d spoken admiringly of the Dalish handiwork all around them, particularly the tooled and embroidered leather, which was unlike anything he’d ever seen. After he’d mentioned it, the Warden had reminisced briefly about a fine pair of Dalish gloves he’d had as a child, his only link to his deceased mother. It was a sad little tale, one of several he’d heard from the assassin, and distracted by that, Alessar had never thought again about how that conversation had come about in the first place.

It seemed that the Warden, however, had not forgotten.

“It needed a bit of repair, so I could not give it to you right away,” the Antivan elf was explaining, while Alessar ran his fingers wonderingly over the tooled borders, “and then we found your bow, so perhaps this sequence of events worked out for the best, yes?”

“I... I don’t know what to say, Zevran,” Alessar said with complete honesty, feeling a little overwhelmed. “‘Thank you’ doesn’t seem like enough. It’s... it’s beautiful.”

The Warden leaned in closer, so as not to be overheard. “Well... I can think of a few other ways you could convey your gratitude,” he murmured with a lascivious grin.

He’s just teasing me again, the archer thought, feeling his heart suddenly speeding up in nervousness. Surely he doesn’t need to waste his time with someone like me when he already has a lover like Morrigan...

Alessar had no wish to come between the two; Morrigan had seemed disinclined to like him from the start, and she’d already made several remarks to him that sounded like misplaced jealousy. He’d tried, the second time, to tell her that he wasn’t pursuing the Warden, and she’d simply called him a naive fool.

Well, perhaps he was. But it wasn’t as if he were trying to draw Zevran’s attention to himself. He just... seemed to earn it anyway.

“I’ll... take that into consideration,” he said, with as much dignity as he could muster — no easy feat, considering the fact that he could feel the tips of his ears blushing.

“Oh? That sounds promising,” the Warden replied with a smirk. Apparently satisfied at having flustered the younger elf again, he rose to his feet. “You do know where to find me if the need arises.”

The man could put far too much nuance into such bland comments! Something in the way he said those last two words made Alessar squirm inwardly, reminded of some of the thoroughly inappropriate thoughts that came to him as he settled himself to sleep at night. Did the Warden know?

That was foolish, Alessar thought, hastily pushing that fear aside. Comments like that were just part of Zevran’s nature; they had little enough to do with who he was speaking to. Finding his voice again, he said quickly, before the Warden moved away, “Thank you, Zevran... truly.”

The Antivan elf raised an eyebrow, but his smile was warm. “You are very truly welcome, my friend.” With that, he stepped away, leaving Alessar to ponder over the elegant quiver and what the Warden had said with such a gift, intentionally or not.


.fin.




And some gift-item flavor text. XD I think if Alessar were a game companion, I'd rather deal with Awakening-style presents (they're all different!) than DAO-style ones, where they all have a theme. (4-5 different jars of honey? Lololol...) Other ideas for gifts: Fang (duh), a book on herbalism that covers things from outside Ferelden.

Dalish-Made Quiver
This sturdily-made hardened leather quiver has contrasting bands along the top and bottom that are tooled with an intricate pattern of hares darting in and out of greenery.

Heather Honey
This unusual, smokey honey is costly because of the labor involved in its production: beekeepers bring their hives to the moorlands at the end of summer when the heather is in bloom, and then return home after a few short weeks. Truly a delight for the honey connoisseur.
Comments 
14th-Jun-2011 06:19 am (UTC)
So lovely! :) Great seeing the small sexuality crisis from this side of the taint. It's also charming to read Alessar's self-doubt without the mantle of the Wardens to protect his confidence. His deprecating thought processes are sad, but still beautiful to read. Glad he has a feisty Antivan to mess that all up! ;)

And Zevran and Morrigan - now that's an image I never thought to have! x
14th-Jun-2011 05:50 pm (UTC)
Thank ya! :3 While doing this AU, I realized that aside from some serious guts, the City Elf origin just doesn't have a lot of glamour to it, compared with some of the other origins, or some of the companions' backgrounds! I suppose the Dwarf Commoner suffers from the same complaint. And while gutsiness is a great quality for a Grey Warden candidate, it's not so special in a (more or less) mercenary. XD I figure Alessar would have some serious concerns about being of use in such a company ;) But I think he'd be providing more than just offensive power -- I imagine a city elf has pretty good common sense, and I don't think he'd be any less of a peaceful negotiator as a companion than as a Warden :3

(And wow that was a novella! Sorry!)

Hah, I figured that while Morrigan may be occasionally (frequently?) annoyed by Zevran's behavior, she'd still want to try to bind a male Warden to herself, and Zevran would be the more preferable of the two options... ;D They probably can have a good time when they're not talking <_<
15th-Jun-2011 08:23 am (UTC)
Novella much appreciated! And yes, I think that the lack of glamour is what draws me back to city elf characters over and over again - my first and favourite playthrough was a city elf, and he's the one I write fic about. It's all about the Alienage for me. I think Dust Town has its own special flavour of squalor and desperation, but there's something so twistingly empty about alienage life. Although, like the dwarves, they're separated from the more successful reaches of society, there's also a nostalgic longing for a past and culture that's forever lost to them; they're not Dalish, and that part of their racial history is ever-increasingly slipping away from them. They only have their human-allotted cage..

And yes, she certainly would! (Must remember to put my manipulation hat on more often...) :)
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