“Alistair, that is the most ridiculous excuse for a tent I have ever seen.”
“Well you didn’t have gale-force winds blasting at you when you put yours up!”
Morrigan and Alistair always seemed to argue whenever it came to organising anything of minor importance. The group had been travelling companions for over three moons now, yet they still could not manage to establish camp with any sense of calm cooperation. Smirking to himself not too far away, Zevran was crouching low by the campfire, listening to what was a rather entertaining conversation. In the evenings Zevran mostly kept to himself, unless his companions wanted to hear about another of his many bizarre experiences in Antiva. Locked away in his mind were stories for every mood, for every type of person, but most were rather inappropriate and ended with him fucking the protagonist. As he warmed his hands by the fire, his thoughts drifted back to Antiva, to the crashing of waves against Rialto Bay, but he was broken from his reverie by the sound of quiet footfalls crunching on the bracken behind him. He knew who it was without having to look.
“Ah, the beautiful Grey Warden returns,” he jested. Mi’harel sank down next to him with a weary sigh.
“Your flattery has no effect on me, trust me,” she replied, eyes busy scanning the tattered map she was holding. Having finished their business in the Brecilian Forest, Mi’harel now intended to lead the group onwards to the Circle of Magi. This was by no means going to be a short journey, and they had not even reached the charred outskirts of Lothering yet, but Mi’harel remained adamant that the mages would prove to be a valuable resource once persuaded.
“Oh? Perhaps a massage would change your mind,” said Zevran, finding entertainment, as usual, in making his captor feel as awkward as possible. In truth, Zevran would have paid a good few sovereigns to see what was underneath the infamous Grey Warden’s leather garments. Unlike many of the women he encountered in Antiva, of which the group had heard him spin tales of for hours on end, this Grey Warden was proving impossible to woo. Still, Zevran continued the chase with single-minded persistence.
“Don’t you have better things to do? I’m busy here,” Mi’harel said, carefully tracing their route along the map with her index finger. Zevran said nothing, only watched her steely expression as she deliberated over something dull and Grey Warden-ish. With a heavy sigh, Zevran reclined back onto his elbows to stare up at the myriad of stars that glittered brilliantly above them. It was only then that Mi’harel turned to face him. She had not meant to offend him. Over the weeks she had become accustomed to brushing him off like this, but it occurred to her now that perhaps she was bringing down morale that Zevran had merely been trying to raise.
“Do you miss Antiva?” she asked plainly. A feeble attempt at conversation, but it was a start nevertheless. At first Zevran stared at her as if she had spoken in a different language.
“I miss the warmth, of that I can be sure,” he said eventually, “And the flowers. They were always in bloom, lining the streets with every colour of the rainbow. It truly is a beautiful place.” As he gazed up into the moonlight Mi’harel noticed that his eyes held a sort of wistfulness, and all of a sudden she felt responsible for it.
“You know I’m not holding you captive, Zevran. You can return home whenever you like,” she said, her voice much gentler than usual. Zevran was not used to this tone.
“I know,” he said, “But I swore to help you. I want to help you. Even if I did want to go back, the Crows would probably slit my throat at the border.”
“What about you? Do you not miss your home?” he said, swiftly changing the subject to her.
“Technically we’re camped right outside it,” she said, gesturing to the black expanse of forest that lay not far to the east. “But my clan has lived in many places besides this. They have moved on from here now, over the Waking Sea, I think.”
“And your parents?” he asked, with genuine interest.
“My parents are dead. You’re not the only orphan here, you know,” she said with a wry smile. Zevran’s lips curled to smile back at her, though not in his usual impish way, it was an honest sort of smile paired with tender eyes. The rare glimpse of this side of Zevran soon vanished into the night air with a rude interruption from Alistair who was urging everyone to get a decent night’s sleep. Easier said than done, thought Mi’harel, who often had poor prospects of a restful sleep thanks to her persistent nightmares.
* * *
When morning broke, Mi’harel stumbled out of her tent into the blinding light, realising that everyone was already up and ready for the day ahead.
“Well, his skill is admirable,” Morrigan was saying. Everyone appeared to be watching Zevran engaging in some sort of playful duel with Leliana.
“There’s no need for all the fancy moves,” grumbled Oghren. “A simple blow from a longsword would get the job done simple enough.”
Once Mi’harel could see clearly through her sleepy haze, she stumbled over to join the spectators. Zevran’s slender form was swerving and lunging, parrying Leliana’s moves with ease, his tanned arms twisting as he spun his blades around gracefully. Mi’harel had no idea just how long the pair had been fighting for, but Leliana gave up with an indignant huff not long after her arrival. The red-haired rogue stormed off to resume her packing, cursing something under her breath as she went.
“Well, the Crows certainly did teach you one good thing,” said Mi’harel, ambling over to the smug faced elf.
“My dear Warden, they taught me many good things,” he replied, giving her a strange look.
“Well that remains to be seen,” she said, eyeing Zevran's body up and down critically. He was handsome, there was no denying it, but Mi’harel refused to give in to his charm. There were more important matters at hand; getting distracted by such flirtations would be foolish. Despite this, she had a request for him:
“Zevran,” she started.
“Can you… teach me to fight like that? Like a Crow.”
“Well,” he said, moving closer towards her as he did so. “I swore to the Crows the things they taught me would remain a secret… but for a woman as beautiful as you, perhaps I can make an exception.”
The pair of them agreed that the training would start that very evening, after their long day of westward travelling had been halted by the setting sun.
“It will be fun,” he said cheerfully, excited to be of use for once. “I will make it fun!”
“Fun, you say?” she said, a crude smile spreading across her lips. Turning on her heel, she sauntered off to resume her professional duties, leaving Zevran with more questions than ever before.