Marian rubbed the back of her neck as she groaned. Hawke
this. Hawke that. Non-stop questions from everyone she’d passed since her first
step into Skyhold. She’d done her best to escape it all, to keep her head down
from prying eyes and loose lips.
I know it was her. I
saw who I saw.
With a groan, she tugged her hood down further against her
face, scooping up her drink as she ambled towards the barkeep. She sank onto
one of the stools. Her head made a soft thunk when she let it fall onto the
Marian glanced up at the man. Scruff covered the lower half
of his face and the bags under his eyes looked like half-healed bruises. His
nose was long, red-ripped, and askew as though it’d been hit a few times too
many. Still, there was something about his eyes that drew her from her stupor.
Brown, soft, warm, with a hint of weary wrinkles at the side. This was a man
who’d seen and heard everything Thedas had to offer.
“Not really so bad,
all things considered.” She smiled, taking a sip of her drink. “I haven’t been
attacked by a gang of blood mages yet and that always manages to brighten my
“Does that happen often?” His laugh was quiet, measured,
like he feared drawing too much attention to himself.
“Often enough to make it annoying.” She rolled the tankard
in her hand, enjoying the sound on the ale swirling. “You’re Ferelden, aren’t
“Was it the accent or the dashing good looks?”
“Good looks, obviously.” Marian laughed and took another
gulp, draining the cup. She ordered another. The man wore a simple tunic frayed
at the edges, sleeves pushed up to the elbows. There was something about the
way he moved that itched in the back of her mind. “Have you ever been in Kirkwall?”
He froze. His head turned slowly, eyes widening in
She glanced around the inn and tried to make herself seem
smaller. “Can we just pretend I never asked that? Please?”
“Wishing you could
change your name?” He straightened with a smile, setting her tankard down in
front of her.
“And my face. And my life. And… everything.”
His laugh was freer this time, his smile warm enough to make
her chest flutter. “I know the feeling.”
“I bet you do.” Marian held a hand out to him. “Marian Hawke,
at your service.”
The man paused.
“There’s no snakes tucked up my sleeve, I promise. Not this time, at any rate.”
The corner of his lips turned up with a smile as he shook
her hand. “Theirin. Alistair Theirin.”