A/N: This started as a 'parallel lives' story between Warden and Hawke... but it kind of grew and flourished on its own, so I let it go. To this point, I've kept them in some kind of order following the story, but as I write more I'll just have to tell you where they fit in the storyline.
No romance planned between Mahariel and Alastair, but it could happen.
Marina Mahariel loves her clan more than anything else. She would do anything for the clan. From the time she is small, she would be alone, except for the clan. The clan raised her after her parents died. The clan is her family, and she considers it her responsibility to protect the clan.
No one will tell her how her parents died, but it's pretty obvious to her. That they don't speak of it says volumes. Shem killed them. Keeper Merethari doesn't want her to become bitter, but by her silence she becomes bitterer than if she had spoken.
The first time she kills a shem, she is hunting. She spent a great deal of time making this bow and she is very proud of it. She sees the shem from a distance. They are no better than animals to her, and she sees no harm in hunting them like animals. She aims carefully, draws, and releases.
The shem falls before he knows he is dead. She takes the head as a trophy, as he would for any animal. She runs back to camp excitedly, tells the Keeper that she made a kill, and presents the shem's head.
The Keeper is horrified, and Marina frowns. She has done something wrong. She tries to figure out what, but comes up with only a blank. The shem are worse than animals. There is no reason it should be worse to kill them than an animal.
She knows that the clan needs to keep peace with the shem, that if they don't there will be trouble. But she cannot help herself. She blames the shem for her parents deaths and nothing anyone says can sway her. They spoke too late. The shem she encounter all end up dead.
Keeper Merethari despairs for the child, but blames herself for her bitterness. If she had only told her sooner she might not be so bitter. She takes responsibility for Marina's outbursts and moves the clan early time and again so her da'len is not punished, and it is the cause of many arguments between Marina and her First, Merrill, who thinks the Keeper is favouring Marina. Merethari watches their rivalry develop, as they each compete for her attention, and tries to treat both fairly, but it doesn't help.
Marina eventually stops killing every shem she encounters, seeing the trouble it brings on the clan. She still simmers with anger, but takes it out on the animals she hunts now the trees around her now, rather than the shemlen. She knows the Keeper doesn't approve, but the Keeper has also admitted it is preferable to killing every shemlen she sees. She prays to the Gods to relieve her of her rage, but they have abandoned her people. She has to do this herself. And she knows no other way to do it than to destroy things.
That is, until she befriends Tamlen. Tamlen soothes her, calms her, and listens to her. He assures her that he understands her feelings but she mustn't act out where it might anger the shem and endanger the clan. He lets her rage at him, and she finds herself spending long hours in the forest hunting with him.
The shem she kills that fateful day are her first in a long time. She is angry they had the gall to lie to her face about her forest. And even after she discovers that they weren't lying, she doesn't regret killing them. They are, after all, no more than animals. Them and the flat-ears who submit to their authority.
She blames the humans for Tamlen's disappearance. Despite what Duncan says (you can't trust the word of a shem, after all), she cannot believe he is dead. She searches the cave and Merrill sticks close by her side, looking increasingly worried despite herself, and insists they return to camp. Marina accuses her of not caring about Tamlen and presses on. She gets dizzy, has to lean on the girl for support, much to her disgust, until Fenarel, who hates Merrill as much as she does, insists they have to leave and get her back to the Keeper, but she refuses, despite the fact that this unlikely alliance must mean something is wrong.
Tamlen must be here somewhere. She will never stop looking.