There are women, who can catch the eye of both women and men alike.
Women who are extremely attractive and full of magnetism. Women who have that magical something in their appearance that is difficult to clarify.
Their beauty, sexuality, their strength so incapacitating it makes others fall before them, and should have in a sense made their life easier. Yet they spent their lives frustrated, alone, under the pressure of continuous lustful glances and unwanted attention.
Falherna was one of those women. She aroused desire in men and jealousy in women. It was not her intention, she couldn't control the eye-catching power she had.
Her value was measured through the prism of her appearance. She wasn't desired for her personality or her kindness. Her body, neither human nor elven, was the only thing of interest to the others. Maybe it was an unusual combination of red hair and blue eyes or the sweeping lines of her hips and breasts. Whatever it was, it always came down to that primitive desire. Which often resulted in that men were willing to fight for her and over her. To leave their wives and families for her at just a hint of interest. They were willing to do almost anything for one night with her. She learned long ago how crude shemlens can be.
Their proposals and attempts to bed her were often offensive and vulgar. Men acted like they lost ability to think clearly around her and as for their objectivity, Falherna had to wonder if they had any to begin with. Many times she overheard them talking to one another that she was some rare kind of animal one which needed to be captured and dominated.
Falherna felt pity for them and compassion for their women who weren't aware what kind of pigs were fucking them at night. Shemlens duality made her sad and every time she stayed among them she fought the urge to tell their wives, friends and children the truth. She never did it thinking it was not her concern.
Her visits in their towns were clear, she was there to fulfil a mission, achieve materials, clothes or contacts. The only rule she held herself to was to ignore any signals of affection. Even her disinterest encouraged the shems, they treated it like a challenge.
When she went into their cities and towns she carried herself as if she were dangerous, hands never far from her weapons. She knew how this world worked. Showing any weakness only made you a victim, a victim of abuse, harassment, and mockery.
All your values would be reduced to nothing, people would shatter your beliefs, then happily break everything you ever treasured within yourself. Your heart would be beaten and broken, not just once, but over and over again. Your confidence would be betrayed and by the end of the road you called life, you would be alone and forgotten.
Falherna was alone for nearly ten years, without a man, a family, and a place she could call her own. Half-elves usually did not have such privileges. She had learned that she could only rely on herself.
She was raised by her father alone, what must have been a difficult task. He was a flat ear, without vallaslin or clan, yet his origin wasn't known even to her. He never wanted to talk about it and after a few futile attempts she stopped asking.
Loved ones would come and go. There was no other way than just accept and enjoy as best as she could, the little amount of time she had had with them. Her mother died in childbirth, the father was murdered in cold blood by shemlen's bandits ten years ago, Faron left Kirkwall and joined another group of assassins.
So she hardened her heart and went through life with her head held high, hiding the fears and doubts that welled within her.
She was different from any other race. Even though she was able to gain the trust of shemlens, city elves or Dalish alike. Easily obtain their affection and soothe their worries and affairs. She knew she did not fit in.
Her physical appearance was not suspicious, as long as her ears, magic skills and age were hidden. Otherwise, she was an oddity at best and a danger at worst. How could she logically explain her youthful look, if she could not understand it herself? How could she explain anything if people were not believing in her words? Any efforts she undertook, revealing the truth went nowhere.
Earning the trust of the Dalish while easier on her emotionally, it often was harder on her physically. To gain their trust she relied on her hunting and healing skills. It was easier for them to accept material goods and tangible things like new clothes, leathers, fur and meat. Her father was right when he told her that people can trust someone who gives them something they're missing in life - goods, attention, conversations, kindness and unselfishness.
So, just like Fen'Harel Falherna could move among various races and clans. She did not stay with them for long. Instead, she travelled to other places in search of those who needed assistance. It was one of the things she did best - helping others, getting to know them, listening to the history of their lives.
On her journeys she endurance, hunger, thirst, and ill weather but none stirred her ire. Whether she lacked shelter, friends, family or someone she could trust, she faced them all with composure and acceptance. She considered negative emotions as a waste of energy, especially when there was so little she could neither control nor change.
Her father taught her how to endure pain, sorrow and grief and use them in ways that would benefit her. She learned fast, even as a young girl. He was a great hunter, mage and archer. She could remember him as a beautiful, blond, tall man. He meant the world to her, always so kind, calm and self-confident with a practical view on things.
Stoicism and great respect for the history oh his people were the finest of his traits. For a long time he studied the ancient ruins and writings in search for answers to his insistent questions.
He developed in her patience, wisdom, inquisitiveness, fighting, hunting, and magic. Regularly they travelled alone, living for a long time in the woods, enjoying their liberty, the crowns of trees and the presence of wild animals. Sleeping under the open sky, looking at the stars and listening to the father’s stories about old ruins, dreams, constellation, mages, goods, sorcerer, knights, dragons, and many others was her finest memories.
Men like Falherna's father were a rare gift to this world, not many nowadays could be compared to him. His death was a huge loss to this world.
But loved ones always come and go and nothing could change that.
Standing on a hill near the forest, she looked at the horizon thinking on Anders' actions and about Hawke who probably hated her now. Wondering if she will ever meet Varric again, poor dwarf dragged off by The Seeker, no-one knew where. She thought about Merrill, The Keeper, and the dalish clan she left behind.
She shook her head at the thought. They would be better off without her. In their eyes, she was a danger, using her ability to mix people's minds, deceive, and lie. Motives of her actions have never been important to them. They saw life in black and white, ignoring the shades of grey that she saw so clearly.
Falherna knew how complicated and hard it was to interact with her. She was too straightforward for them, too curious and without any respect for the dalish history. She understood why the dalish wanted to make her one of their own, to mark her. Their plan was some sort of exorcism, aimed at expelling her openness, sympathy and a drive for the lost knowledge of their people. Things long forgotten by their descendants.
The keeper once explained to her that every creature should have her own kind and belong somewhere. To her knowledge, it was safer as a half-elf to stay among dalish, if given a chance than to travel across the world alone.
Above all, they wanted to deprive her of curiosity and skepticism. To them, she was a heretic, someone who leveraged their stories and beliefs.
Conversations about the Pantheon and Fen'Harel had taken place only between her and her father. They've kept them secret, allowing themselves full openness only when they were away from the clan, hunting, exploring the woods and ruins. Her life was magnificent back then and she cherished those memories.
All, however, was about to change.
The Conclave was near and the fate of all people depended on the negotiations, which were soon to begin. She felt the upcoming danger, the air smelled of electricity as though before a storm, ozone was palatable in the growing wind and the sky had taken on a strange sea like color, neither blue nor green.
Templars and Mages were approaching from either side of the world, entrusting their hope in the Most Holy Divine Justinia, and in her idea to stop the conflict which was had been growing more and more dangerous for months.
Fen howled loudly and his fur ruffled. She patted the wolf's head, speaking to him quietly "I can feel it too, my friend. Soon we'll meet again".
Grey eyes lingered on her face for what felt like the longest time and her hand stayed on his back, petting and comforting the animal.
"You must go now. I'll find you, ma Fen" she kneeled beside him looking at his eyes.
The wolf howled again touching her hand with his wet nose "Fen'Harel will guide you. We will meet again". She pet him, once again delighted by the warmth of his body and roughness of his fur. She rose slowly, moving her gaze back to the horizon and to the Temple of Sacred Ashes.
"Go now" her voice was unyielding. Goodbyes to the ones you love had to be made quickly, without unnecessary words. The animal stayed at her side for another moment, then with a flick of his tail he made his way slowly into the forest.
There was no need to watch over him. The wolf knew how to find a way back to her. In a few hours, she would meet him again, in the forest near Haven. Going down the hill towards the Temple, she started to plan her next expedition. After getting back to keeper Marethari and delivering information about the negotiations between mages and Templars, she wanted to take Fen in a long journey to elven ruins.
Her lips stretched into an unfamiliar smile when she thought about spending more time with her wolf.