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The Sordid Tale of Meryell Verlen

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"You are Dalish. And clearly away from the rest of your clan."

"Whot?" exclaimed Meryell, her native Ferelden accent thickening as she jerked around to glare at the other elf. "I'm not fucking Dalish."

What's-his-name smiled - fucking smiled - and gestured towards his own face, saying, "You have what they call the vallaslin."

"And," Cassandra - she remembered her name simply because she wanted to remember who deserved shit back on them later - noted sternly, her eyes tightly narrowed, "that is what all information about you that Leliana could gather pointed to. According to what records were left from the Conclave, you arrived with a group of elves from Clan Lavellan."

Meryell growled - because this shit was supposed to have been a simple job - and snapped, "Just because I'm wearing their shit and walked in with them doesn't mean fuckwhat. I saw 'em on the road heading in, drew shit on my face, and - bam - easy pass in. I'm from fucking South Reach."

"In Ferelden?" Cassandra asked in surprise.

"You know another South Reach, Seeker?" queried the dwarf, Varric. He was an author and a smartass. She liked books and was a fucking smartass herself, so she actually deigned to remember his name.

Snorting, Meryell fumbled at one of the packs on her belt and pulled out one of the oil cloths she kept around for her blades. She crouched down and dunked the whole thing into the snow, swishing it around a bit to melt some, then stood back up with it in hand. Looking right at the three of them, she scrubbed it underneath her eyes and to the sides to get rid of the swooping branched pattern she'd carefully drawn there with a bit of charcoal from her last fire outside the Conclave. Honestly she hadn't expected the Dalish to buy it when she'd approached them but she'd told them she was from Clan Adahlfen, the very clan that the Hero of Ferelden had been aided by during the Blight. Her city-bred accent gave her away as not being true Dalish but it had been easy to spin a tale of escaping her alienage and proving her worth to the clan.

Now she sort of regretted that they'd bought it hook, line, and sinker with whatever the fuck was on her hand.

Certain she was done and not really caring if she wasn't, Meryell shoved the cloth back into her pouch just as said thing flared and sent arrows of pain arching up her arm. "Satisfied?" she snapped, taking a little bit of pleasure from the stunned look on Cassandra's face but instantly losing it at the smug smile on what's-his-name's. "Good. Then we can move the fuck on. I'll close this shit, maybe die or maybe not, and then I can fucking go back home. Or wherever."

Turning on her heel, she plowed onward, not really caring if they were following or not. By the time she reached the slope of the hill that would lead them onward, she heard the sound of crunching snow underneath their boots.

"So," came what's-his-name's voice from right fucking behind her, "you are a mystery then." How in the Maker's soggy asshole had he snuck up on her?

Rolling her eyes skyward to ask silently for patience - she wasn't religious but fuck sometimes you just had to ask - Meryell hissed, "Whot, you want to fucking solve me now, hahren?" She sneered the title at the end with the same loathing she'd given to the hahren of the South Reach alienage before she'd left that piss-pot behind her. He obviously took it as the insult she intended it to be by the subtle twitch of his ears and the narrowing of his eyes. Good, that proved she could get under his skin.

"Only because I enjoy a mystery, len'alas."

She whipped around at that, jerking one of the knives off of her belt and jabbed the tip up hard against his smarmy chin with a snarl. Ignoring the exclamations from the others, she hissed, "Just because I'm a city elf, hahren, don't mean I don't know shit. Best beware, tu na'lin emma mi. So don't call me a dirty child again." The words didn't flow the way they were supposed to because of her accent but she didn't really care. And she certainly wasn't about to tell this asshole how she knew more Elven than a foul-mouthed alienage brat normally would.

His eyes narrowed at her words and he intoned quietly, "You wish to make an enemy of me, da'len?"

"Fuck no," replied Meryell honestly. "Making an enemy of a mage is fucking stupid. I just don't like your smarmy holier-than-thou attitude and I will call you on your shit. Seems like you need someone to." Withdrawing her blade, she sheathed it while glowering at him as she added, "You saved my ass. I appreciate people who save me."

When he arched a brow, she laughed and said, "Honest!"

What's-his-name just frowned for a moment before saying quietly, "My statement stands. You are a mystery."

"Yeah, yeah," she said with a flippant wave of her hand as she turned to move onward. "Just don't think you're going to solve any mysteries and get into my pants. I don't fuck my own kind."

"I do not..."

"Enough." Cassandra's voice snapped across their group with the clarion jolt of command and they moved onward in what Meryell dubbed blessed silence. She didn't like the woman at all but she could appreciate a lady who could make a man shut his damned mouth.