The Dalish do not have homes, not in the way that a city dweller understands. The People are mobile, we do not not root, we do not stay. It is not necessary for us to dig cellars and raise walls, to plant crops or raise livestock. From the time that our lands were taken from us, we have taken what we can from the land and continued on.
If you ask me about my home and are unsatisfied if I say “everywhere,” I will talk of the aravels, the landships. I cannot share what magic it is that the Keeper uses to pass them through the forests silently, without disturbing the trees, but I can tell you of the creature comforts. I can tell you of the smell—pitch and tar, cedar and pine, dye and silk, and how the smallest hint of one of these brings me back to my childhood, riding in aravels through the forests of Ferelden.
They are sparse inside, but less so than you would think. They are not decorated like some manor or bare like some hovel. There are Dalish carvings inside, depicting the stories of our gods. The Keeper’s aravel has intricate carvings that tell the story of Elgar’nan and Mythal, of the sky on fire and the moon quenching the flames.
It is warm inside of an aravel. They make Ferelden winters bearable, but only just. A clan rarely has enough for their people; there is little privacy, and less space. You will often share a bedroll with two or more of your clanmates, more in the case of children. Often this matters little, but when the sky opens and it is too cold to move, you are stuck inside the cramped quarters, straining yourself to remain civil.
I preferred to sleep outside, when possible. Cold feet are preferable to walls, early rising is preferable to stale air. However, do not think that my sentiments are common among the People. I was the only one in my clan that was more comfortable outside.
Yet, the aravels are undoubtedly home. That I do not always wish to be there makes them home, and that I miss them with an ache like an old bruise makes them home as well.