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True Stories

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Velanna tossed the book down on the table, face twisting into an expression of disgust. “Ugh! How can you read this drivel?”

"Hey, careful, you’ll crack the spine." Sigrun picked up the book and riffled through the pages to make sure none had fallen out. Then she checked the title on the cover. "Oh, ‘The Crow and the Chantry Boy’? That’s one of my favorites."

"But it’s so-- so-- naive.” Velanna wrinkled her nose. “Who would believe that a hardened assassin would give up everything for a templar initiate? And then go into the Chantry, to live by their rules?”

"It’s not supposed to be believable." Sigrun closed the offending volume and set it aside. "That’s the whole point. A good story is a fantasy, an escape from your real life."

"Not the stories the Dalish tell." Velanna crossed her arms and sat up straight. "We tell the true stories of our people, stories meant to teach and inspire."

Sigrun chuckled. “You really think all those tales are true? Now who’s being naive?” Velanna’s answering frown was dark and dangerous, and Sigrun held up her hands in apology. “I’m not saying they’re false, either. But true in every detail, when they’re all hundreds or thousands of years old, and mostly not written down?” She shook her head. “I’m just saying, some embellishment has to have snuck in here and there. Sometimes to make a point, or to make the heroes look better and the enemies look worse. Or even just to make the story more entertaining.”

Velanna glared at Sigrun a few moments longer, then leaned back, drumming her fingers across her elbow. “You may have a point.”

"So do you, though." Sigrun went to the bookshelf, running her fingers across the spines until she found the one she sought. "Here, try this one. It’s about two lovers who lead a revolt in an Orlesian Alienage. Based on a true story, or so they say." She raised an eyebrow. "Still escapism, but maybe it’s an escape you’ll enjoy more."

Velanna took the book with a half smile. “Thank you. And if I don’t like it?”

"I’ll help you break the bindings myself," Sigrun said. "It’s a promise."