The warm ambiance of the tavern was briefly interrupted by a rush of cold snowy wind as the door swung open, however, no one paid any heed to the cloaked figure’s arrival; not when you had a lap full of company and a belly full of ale. The figure found their way through the boisterous crowd- as easily as one walks through a field of long grass- until they reached the bar.
The bar Hand was a dwarf boasting the fiercest red mane that one had ever seen, it was clearly something he was proud of; he stroked his hand across leisurely from time to time, pausing briefly to glance at quiet one who approached. His gaze was somewhat wary but otherwise friendly, he saw no sense in turning away a possible customer, with a dirty cloth in one hand and a tankard in the other he asked
“Can I get you anything sonny?” His gaze followed the figures gloved hand as it reached into a coin purse before is re-emerged with three coppers,
“An ale if you would be so kind.” the voice was soft yet slightly raw from the cold, they gently slid the coins across the bar. The dwarf curiously examined the figure before nodding and turning to the keg behind him,
“Don’t see many new folk around here” he placed the tankard on the counter “just passing through?” he asked conversationally, there was a pregnant pause before The figure answered,
“Aye.” the on syllable was said slowly as if the response might cause offence.
Before the dwarf could say anymore they had taken the tankard and had disappeared back into the crowd. The dwarf shrugged before wiping down the bar- at least they paid.
The figure sat at a table in the back corner, furthest away from the fire- where most people had gathered. They did not take their hood down, nor did they remove their gloves. Anyone who might have been taken any notice of them might have thought them to have been hiding something- but no one did. The figure had been watching the tavern over the rim of their tankard for at least an hour, observing the merry townsfolk illuminated in the blaze of the roaring fire. It was a small village where everyone knew everyone, were it not for the drink more would have cast a suspicious eye in their direction and would have received at least one interrogation.
The villagers seemed to be enjoying the peace now that the fighting templars and mages had been called to the conclave which would be taking place in a weeks time, save for a few stragglers the traveling through ferelden had been quiet as of late.
Near the fire some men had been getting particularly rowdy, coarse, crass jokes devoid of wit fell from their mouths and women in the tavern avoided them like the plague, the figure debated whether it was the ir manner or their stench that repelled them so, looking at them is could have been either. There were a number of younger folk drinking too; some of which looked barely old enough to handle the stuff- few of them were for that matter. There was however a pretty young thing near the bar chatting amicably with the bar keep, with pretty redhead full of hair and a tiny waist that flared gloriously into a set of wide hips. ‘In another life’ thought the figure good-naturedly, it was then they felt a set of eyes on them, lingering on the ever so slight way their hood rested oddly on their head and the way it sat upon their chest. It seemed that finally one of
the villagers had cottoned on, the figure thought it best to leave before anymore did too, sparing a glance to the window- the snow had stopped- the figure rose to their feet and made their way to the door.
The stood barely an inch taller than most humans in the bar- they were smaller than some. They navigated the ever moving crowd with the same ease they had when the entered, as they moved past the fire however one of the loud men had stumbled into them. The man rose wobbily to his feet staggering as he jabbed a finger at them,
“Oi! Watch it why don’ ya?” he exhaled a foul-smelling breath as the figure bowed their head in their direction
“My apologies.” The figure went to move past them,
“Hey! I’m still talkin’ to ya!” They had drawn a small crowd now so the figure continued to the door just as the mans large hand reached out and grabbed her hood.
The tavern fell into complete silence once the hood had fallen from the figures head to reveal a thick thatch of white hair and a set of small grey horns. The man had stumbled back in surprise, clearly expecting a human.
She was incredibly small for a qunari, barely the same height as some of the men in the tavern, that, however, is where her similarities to humans ended, her skin was not pink, brown or even grey as one might have expected but a shocking white- almost as white as her hair. Her lips were a soft pink and her ears were pointed slightly, her eyes too were odd; silvery grey with a flash of bright red around the pupil, which was now expanding in thinly veiled rage.
“Choose your next words wisely human.” her voice was just as soft as before yet it cut through the room like a knife and yet again she felt the same eyes upon her as before. The human in question, however, had quickly forgotten his shock and had quickly found his pride,
“Think you can harm me, Oxman? Just try!” everyone saves for the man and his friend cleared the floor like it was on fire, The woman slowly pulled back her cloak to reveal a whole armory on her person,
“I just might human if you give me a reason, luckily for you I don’t kill people for stupidity alone.”
To everyone's surprise, a warm chuckle echoed from the corner, A tanned elf emerged from the crowd, his blond hair was tied back to reveal a charming grin and a tattooed cheek.
“Now three on one might be a little unfair now wouldn’t it?” his voice was accented yet it did nothing to the anticipation in his voice; this was a man who enjoyed fighting. He entered the space like he owned it, swaggering confidently to the woman's side- who spared a quick glance to him before returning her gaze to the three in front of her drawing a long dagger from its sheath just as the elf drew his twin swords. She examined the elf once more, he was scarred and toned from years of fighting, the men in front were but burly drunk farmers, she grinned cheekily before glancing at him.
“Two on three eh? Should we give them a chance to surrender?” The elf flirted in response
“Merciful and mysterious? Aren’t I lucky?” Before any real fighting could begin however the bar keep had stormed between them, face nearly as red as his beard
“I’ll have no fighting in my tavern! You two out!” he said pointing his finger as the elf and qunari, the qunari was out the door in seconds, to her surprise the elf followed her. He caught up to her and gave a sweeping bow, The woman rose a brow in surprise.
“Zevran Arainai at your service, I did not introduce myself inside.” when she was silent Zevran looked up with a teasing smile,
“Usually one names themselves during introductions. “ To his surprise, the woman just put up her hood and walked off into the snow, he blinked before running over to his horse in the stables.
She had been trudging through the snow for around five minutes when she heard hooves pounding behind her and in a second The elf was alongside her- grinning.
“You didn’t give me your name,” he said, his elven eyes glowing slightly in the dark. The woman grumbled, readjusting her pack.
“I have no intention of doing so.” This seemed to interest Zevran even more, he was leaning so far out of his saddle she half-expected him to fall off.
“And why is that?” she stopped and faced him
“I’m not in the habit of trusting complete strangers.” she said as if it was the most obvious thing in the world, Zevran looked genuinely confused
“Usually helping someone out of kindness warrants trust.” he said
“you had no reason for helping me at all?” she said unbelieving of a single word he said, Zevran grinned
“Not entirely no, I must say you are the first female qunari I've seen. I’m curious Are they all as short as you? The one I travelled with was huge.” he shot her a disarming grin, she shot him with a a sharp glare.
“No, they are not.” He grinned even wider
“So you are just fun sized then?” The questions continued for at least half an hour- they appeared unending.
“Leave me alone.” she hissed.
“Come on, it’s cold out here and I’ve got a horse, you can ride with me. Free of charge.” he reached out his hand smiling, he was used to getting what he wanted. The woman seemed to think for a moment, glancing at the sky ; the stars were out. She grumbled something along the lines of ‘alright’ and moved towards the horse but Zevran waved a finger,
“Ah ah ah, your name first.”
“It’s Katari,” she said, ignoring his hand and pulling herself onto the horse behind him. She rested his hand around his waist.
“Well Katari I must say you have taken my breath away.” what an insufferable flirt.
“It’s funny you say that.” Zevran puffed out his chest,
“Oh?” Katari grinned
“Yes, I’m about to punch you in the throat.” a startled laugh was his response as they trotted off into the hillside.
The birth of a beautiful friendship.