Disclaimer: I do not own Elder Scrolls of Dragon Age

If you don't stand for something, you might fall for anything.

Prequel: First Meetings

A man at the head and wheel of a large beautifully crafted ship spoke up from the silence of the sea's waves crashing against the boat. "You're really certain you want to do this?" speaking in his thick Nordic accent.

An ash colored woman with red eyes replied swiftly. "I don't see a problem." Her voice soft with an inviting husky accent.

"You have heard about Thedas right?" The man attempted to educate the woman on their destination.

The woman playfully looked to the man's direction, shifting in confidence. "Rag' Nar..."

Waves rise in short beats as a shipping vessel has made its way to a distant land called Fereldan for five months. While on board the Dovahkiin Miara has made herself useful around the ship. While she was no expert sailor she said with mirth she was not a free-loader either. So while on the high seas she had been an extra hand to help around. And plus being the only female on the ship with a pack of men was an interesting experience.

Thank Akatosh nearly all of them are thankfully married and were more afraid of her than they were of their wives. Granted any idiot who tried something stupid with her would have had something sliced off, and it would be something they would really miss deeply.

The tension died down eventually as she picked up quickly the sailor way of life and became a part of the crew. Leaning near on edge of the side of the ship by the wheel she gazes at the beautiful ocean water. For about an hour now she has half-argued with the ship's captain about her sense of travel plans; he was a tall Nord man with long blond hair and short stubby beard.

The Dark-Elf considered him one of the most courteous man she ever met. He wore a simple but regal white woven shirt and black pants with thick brown boots. One could tell quickly he was a sailor in his speech and mannerisms. But he always kept his patience and his men respected him.

During the trip the two became friends quickly and he reminded her of Jarl Balgruuf at times. Rag' Nar keeps his eyes ahead with his hands on the wheel of the ship.

Even so, he does lean to the side to talk to Miara. "All I am saying is please be 'very' careful in Thedas. They do not treat elven folk kindly there, and mages even worse. Or so I've heard."

Miara shifts her head slightly her eyes peering over to the captain. The Nord in question looks at her as well from the corner of his eyes. While never saying it he always found Dunmer eyes fascinating. Miara's was rather unique, while having the normal crimson glow, the usual red around of the sclera was black; it made the Dovahkiin's eyes almost seem like twin red stars, if he was not a married man he would be intoxicated by her eyes alone. Only a foolishly short-sighted Nord –or any living breathing male- would dismiss how truly beautiful she is. Though she always dismissed saying there are many other women that are far more beautiful than her.

Then he took in her appearance. Dawning in her usual; but very alluring black hoodless thieves' guild leather armor, this fits her beautiful slender frame. She had two Ebony swords strapped to her back, for which she calls 'Moon's Twilight' and 'Sun's Eclipse'.

Blades that had been well used during the civil war of Skyrim. The story of her battle with Jarl Ulfric was considered legend. Though he still has to scratch his head when hearing she had help from dragons of all things when the assault of Windhelm began. Imagine that, the Dragonborn, whose sole purpose was to kill dragons and absorb their souls commanded some as well.

Miara smiled and calmly shrugged her shoulders. "My sweet Rag' Nar I will be fine. You know I am hardly a defenseless child."

The captain waved his hand casually, but smiled all the same. "I know, I know. Just be careful. Skyrim will miss her Savior until she is home again."

Sighing as she turns around to look fully at the ship's captain, "I'm no 'savior' Rag' Nar. I am just some elf with two swords, damn good at magic, and a shit load of luck."

"An on hell of a voice," a Nord crewman said which gotten others laughing.

Miara just playfully glared back at the man.

The Nord just shook his head as he could see the port of Denerim off in the far distance. While happy to see land he was still cautious of Miara going to Ferelden. Tamriel's have always been told since childhood never to travel across the sea to the distant shores of Thedas. As to the reasons of why they were warned, they were nearly forgotten long ago, so only a few things about these lands were know. Hatred for magic and elves being one of those.

The other and most important one was that Thedas was forgotten by the gods. No one knew what it quite meant, but nobody wanted to find out. So why was he going to land only known as Ferelden? Because he'd had traded simple wares with the country before, but he'd never stayed to find out what was so wrong about the continent. And, of course, he got to gloat about how the Dragonborn had been part of his crew.

He just hoped that The Divines would extend their reach to watch over her strongly.

XxX ~ xx ~ XxX

The smell of the ocean invades his senses as Bryce Cousland waits for harbormaster to bring the necessary papers to complete the transaction for exported supplies. At his sides stood two Highever knights in silverite armor, thought his line may be deeply loved and held in high regard on all of Fereldan, there were those that would like nothing more than to gut him like a fish. Such was the price of popularity.

The supplies were mostly weapons and food to sustain Highever in case of emergency, he was taking any necessary precaution should the unthinkable happened. Still, Teyrn Bryce Cousland felt tensed, his mind always going back to the growing troubles at Ostagar. Maker he hoped it was not what all in Thedas feared.

Bryce greets passing Humans, Elves, and some Surface Dwarves who working diligently on the docks. Though; it was the Elves who upon meeting the Teyrn had returned his kindness equally. It was widely known that the Cousland family was active in their support of Elves who lived in the cities. This had made them deeply loved and respected by the people most humans consider little more than animals.

The nobleman's gaze soon stopped, spotting a large shipping vessel beginning to make port. Bryce sees the crew who appear to be very tall men with long hair and thick beards throwing ropes to those on the pier to strap the ship securely so not to cause any damage. The Teyrn did not recognize the make of the ship nor the people on it. But the one person by the captain stirred not just his full attention but most if not all the people beside him and around him.

Is that a Qunari woman? No, their skin is ash pale, and if I remember their woman is not allowed to be warriors. Also they have horns much like the males. Then what is this woman then?

He never felt more grateful letting his curiousity of his youth let him learn about the Qunari people and their ways. Bryce always found them a highly fascinating and terrifying people. But this woman was not of the Qunari despite having ash grey skin. Then his eyes noticed as the wind parted the woman's long raven color hair and saw the woman's face was angular with sharp pointed ears, much like that of the Elves.

But how is that right? Are not Elves normally small in height and stature to humans?

One of his guards spoke, bringing him out from his thoughts; "Sweet Maker is that a Qunari woman?"

Bryce shook his head to the man; "No, it appears she is something else. She seems to be… an elf" He saw the harbormaster approaching, documents in hand. "Can you tell me where does that ship come from?"

The harbormaster scratches his chin in though "If I remember my lord that ship hails from a far distant shore called Tamriel.

Tamriel… Bryce had heard stories and rumors of that land. Some said it was a land of darkness where the Maker's light had abandoned its people; others said it was a land of great magic, reason enough for the Chantry to abhor it without really knowing the land or its people.

Across the Ages, Thedas had had little to no contact with Tamriel; some had sailed to the distant shore, only to never return, while those who claimed they did were madmen in every sense of the word. And the ones that came from Tamriel never stayed long enough for people to know more about their lands. A small smile tugged at his lips, this should be interesting…

XxX ~ xx ~ XxX

Standing beside Rag' Nar the Dunmer woman was not certain if she should be flattered or unnerved by all the eyes staring solely right in her direction. The elves that she saw on port's shore resemble mostly of the Bosmer as she could guess but there were differences. She had to blink a few times seeing the short human-like people, but by Mara are they actually dwarfs?

But not the Dwemer of old from Tamriel, they were completely different, and clearly not Elven. Meanwhile the Imperial-like humans were all gawking like Alduin just came back to life.

"Well, Akatosh this will be an interesting time for me," Miara sighed as she looked over to the ship's captain with a warm smile as she extended her hand. "Fair travels Rag' Nar, thank you for everything."

The Nord captain smiled as he shook her hand warmly. "The honor was mine Dovahkiin. Divines keep you safe."

Kneeling down as she grabbed her large satchel bag which held some clothes, two daggers, and septims; Miara walks beside a crewmate bringing a cargo box of supplies down ship's ramp connecting to the pier. Not halfway off the pier Miara is stopped by a guard in her way with his arms crossed over his chest.

"What in the name of bloody Maker are you?" the guard asked/demanded in a rude tone.

What in Oblivion is the Maker?

Trying to avoid any and all hostility especially since she felt the ship's crew on the ship behind her was staring at her direction. Or more correctly at the rude human in front of her, if the man was not very careful he might get an entire crew of angry Nords chasing after him. That of course if her temper did not get the better of her and break his jaw.

With a small albeit strained smile Miara responded politely; "I am a Dunmer Ser Guard."

An Elf dock worker looked at her in both confusion and curiosity; "What is that my lady?"

Miara smiled warmly at the elven man; "I am a Dark-Elf."

The moment the word 'Elf' came from her lips a sneer appeared on the Guard's lips. "So a dirty knife-ear foreigner. So did you have to sleep with the entire crew to let them have you on-board?"

Miara's face slowly went blank as she stiffly turned to look back at the guard. Rag' Nar snarled as he was about get off his ship and beat that ignorant man within an inch of life. And by the look of his crew they were about to join him. But before anyone could blink Miara's satchel fell from her hand as it soon wrapped around the man's throat and with one hand lifted him off the ground in a grip so tight the guard was not even able to gasp for air.

The frightening show of strength got everyone's save the ship's crew –who all had a look of deep satisfaction- while the people on the dock were outright, shocked and visibly terrified. "You dare call me a whore human. For your insult I should break your worthless neck," Miara said in a slowly drawn bone chillingly harsh tone.

Even more frightening is she showed no emotion on her face; neither anger nor rage appeared which made many people unnerved by her.

"Please ma'am, let him go."

Hearing another's man voice she tilts her head slowly seeing a tall well-built handsome man in his mid to late forties early fifties looking at her pleadingly. Looking back at her prey she simply drops him as he lands on his backside coughing violently as he gasped heavily for precious air. Lowering her arms to her side as she grabs her large satchel she looked to the man who glares down at the guard who is still coughing and gasping for air.

At the same time the rude guard shrunk under Bryce's angered gaze. Miara could see the man's entire face showing his sternness and anger at the belligerent guard and his short sighted actions, clearly this was one of the nobles that do not tolerate such ill behavior.

"I will report your unsightly behavior to your superiors. Now leave," The Teyrn said with a hint of rage in his voice with no room for argument. "Or shall I let this woman finish what you started by insulting her?"

Slowly the guard stopped coughing as he meekly nodded as he ran off in both fear and humiliation. Bryce took a deep breath collecting him. He looked at the elven woman who still held a blank mask as she gazed at him with no hint of emotion. It was unnerving even to him to see such a look.

"Ma'am, I deeply apologize for such behavior shown to you just arriving to our shores." Bryce said in a sincere tone.

Miara could tell this man was completely honest in his eyes as she finally took a very deep breath and blinked several time showing a small rueful grin. "Not exactly how I expected my first day here to be"

"Sadly there is much bigotry and hate towards our kind here sister," the Elf that spoke earlier raised his voice in sadness.

Bryce nodded mournfully; "This man is correct. Despite efforts of a few, there are many humans here treat elves with contempt or worse."

"Save you Teyrn Cousland and King Cailen." A few elves on the pier smiled warmly at the man.

"Teyrn?" Miara looked at the man with confusion. She was still a newcomer here, so she didn't know titles in this land yet.

Bryce focuses on her as his face softens; "Uh yes, I am the ruler of the lands of Highever."

Lifting her right hand she taps her chin; "Ah, similar to our Jarl's in Skyrim then."

"Jarl?" The word was nearly identical to Arl, it seemed that Ferelden and this 'Skyrim' could have some things in common. "Allow me to welcome you to Ferelden properly. I am Bryce Cousland." Bryce gave a small bow to show his collected integrity.

Miara returned the small bow with full grace of a true noblewoman; "Miara Ellswyn." Choosing to keep her titles secret for the moment and not cause any stir.

"And you hail from Tamriel correct?" the Teyrn asked in polite tone.

Her eyes lit up; rather impressed the land here knew of such a place at all. "You heard of it?"

"Only stories" Bryce smiled.

"I would be glad to tell you more about our lands, my lord." Miara gave a small bow and smiled a bit.

He waves his hand dismissively; "Just Bryce. Was never one for formalities"

"You are definitely not like most nobles I know," Miara smirks.

Bryce chuckles and waved for her to follow him as he walks. Nodding the two slowly make their way from the port. Near the ramp of the ship Rag' Nar releases the breath his was holding. Beside him his first mate glares evenly.

"Not even a moment off the ship and trouble starts," the captain grumbles.

"Let's pray that milk-drinker of a noble treats her well," the first mate retorts.

XxX ~ xx ~ XxX

Entering what Bryce called the Market District, she saw bustle of the citizens in earnest. There were multiple stands with items of all kinds for sale. She had to admit it reminded her of Whiterun and Solitude, but minus all people they crossed by stopping and staring at her.

But there were also many people coming to greet Bryce and his new-found friend, she hoped. Then Bryce took notice of tall man at

the center market stalls, he was standing by a large animal cage. Walking towards him, they notice his back is to them while working on some papers on a table in front of the man.

"Master Ignacio," Bryce calls out.

Slowly shifting his head with a calm smile the man spoke up, "Ah Bryce Cousland, It has been awhile no? It warms the heart to see an old friend," the merchant spoke with a very unique accent.

"Some time indeed, when did you return to Fereldan?" the Teyrn asks stopping in front of Ignacio with Miara beside him.

"A few days ago... I was growing restless, so came to Denerim." The Merchant spoke as he turned around.

His gaze soon shifts to the Dark Elf, "And who is this? Truly she is exquisite beauty"

Miara sighs; rather tired of the title by now. "I have been called that. But truly there are far more beautiful women than I, Master Ignacio."

"Very humble of you my dear. But I must disagree; your beauty surpasses the very moon and stars them." The Merchant said with a charming smile, leaning down, he reach for her hand and planted a kiss on it.

A sly smirk graces her lip, "My, my, such a charmer Master Ignacio"

The merchant chuckles, "I'm from Antiva my lady, it's in my blood"

Bryce chuckles, "Master Ignacio, may I introduce you to Miara Ellswyn. She has come from Tamriel."

The man's eyes lit up, "Ah, yes I have heard of that place. It is whispered in my homeland of Antiva. Which make you Dunmer, welcome to Thedas my lady," He gives a small bow.

"You have heard of my home then?" Miara asks with curiosity.

"Oh indeed, now, I must confess some of the things I've heard seem rather" Ignacio hesitates as he frowns. "…impossible"

Miara smirks. "Tamriel is filled with mystery and magic, sometimes even with that some back home have trouble believing in some things there"

"Now you've picked my interest, perhaps I ought to travel to Tamriel one day, I have certain… business that would greatly benefit from a whole new land"

"If you do visit, make sure to travel to a country named High Rock, it is a lovely place that welcomes merchants from all across the lands, perhaps even more so than the imperial capital. That is, if you don't mind deadly court games, and politicians who spew honeyed words and hide poisoned knives"

Ignacio throws his head back and laughs heartily. "Then I believe I'll feel just at home my lady"

The Teyrn bids his old friend farewell, both him and Miara head for the Gnawed Noble Tavern.

While resuming his paperwork Ignacio kept his eyes sharply on the elven woman beside his old friend. Her steps made no sound even on soil beneath her boots and her stance… Ignacio knows all too well that kind of walk.

XxX ~ xx ~ XxX

The tavern was an interesting hovel. It was very well furnished with elaborate decor throughout the building. A place where both noble and common can meet and be the same. Or give the illusion of such a thing, at the very least.

Like before, Miara can feel the looks of shock from the native people. Both she and the Teyrn ignore the gazes and whispers as they sit at a table putting her swords off her back beside her satchel on the ground. The Teyrn's guard stands at the side of the table, almost daring anyone dumb enough to harm their lord under their watch. Though it does not stop Miara's curiosity seeing everyone's looks.

"I realize I am the first Dunmer to come to Thedas, but the looks feel like they think I am something else," Miara said eying a barmaid glancing at her and others near the bar.

"They think you're a Qunari," Bryce said truthfully and explained seeing the confusion on the woman's face. "A Qunari has ash grey skin like you but it is much paler. The two differences between you and them is the height, they're taller than humans, and have horns."

Miara blinked at the description of a Qunari. Where they some kind of elves for the natives to mistake her for one? She put that thought for later. Interlocking her fingers as her elbows rest of the table, she leans slightly forward.

"So what would like to know?" Getting straight to the point, as to not further make she seem less social about herself.

Bryce leans back on his chair rubbing his chin; he knew he was respectful so not to insult her. However through the short walk he feels this woman is of stature but will never dwell or care for it. So he might speak some liberties, but does not mean he would use them.

"Well I guess we can start about you..." He started, hoping to break the ice with the first subject he could think of, the one they met with. "You're a soldier aren't you?"

A small brief impressed smirk appeared on Miara's lips as she raised a delicate eyebrow. "Now what makes you believe that?"

"Your stance and posture, how you carried yourself and spoke. Either a soldier is what you are or you Tamriel's have a certain way of behavior in their actions," Bryce said seriously.

She was officially very impressed by the Teyrn's clarification of who she is. Miara gave nod 'yes' as she spoke; "I am indeed a soldier of the Empire and serve Emperor Nihlus Crassus." Feeling no longer the need to hide some part of her complicated self.

"Are you here on official business then?" Cause if she was the incident earlier might enrage their empire by showing such a lack of respect and racist action.

A mirthful chuckle came from the Dovahkiin; "I am no emissary nor am I here on orders by the Emperor. So no worries Bryce, besides I am not one to tell petty grievances of insults to my lord. That is a waste of both his time and mine."

A mental sigh of relief passed through the Teyrn's mind dodging a massive political firestorm. "So why did you come to Thedas if I may ask?"

Miara tilted her head in thought as she looked back at Bryce; "Simple curiosity. I heard of sparse rumors of these lands and was given leave by the Emperor to do as I wish."

She is given that much freedom? Either she is close to her Emperor or very high ranked, or both. Bryce shook from his thoughts. "Well can you tell me about your people?" He hoped he got the name her race correct.

A warm smile crossed the elf's lips. "Originally the Dunmer hail from the a land known as Morrowind. I was born in Cyrodiil our countries capital, but I have lived in Solstheim, an island region of Morrowind. Morrowind's a harsh land and mine is a proud people, once, to a grave fault even. Though I'm ashamed to say it, Morrowind used to practice slavery"

Bryce's eyes widen slightly. A nation of elven slavers? Maker, he hoped it wasn't anything like Tevinter. One thing made him curious though… "You said 'used to'?"

Miara nods "Indeed. Until the Red Year. You see, Morrowind is home to Red Mountain, the largest volcano in all of Tamriel. It erupted one day, like it never did before, the lands of Vvardenfell had to be evacuated nearly completely. Then, the Argonians attacked Morrowind, perhaps to get revenge for generations of slaving their people"

"Argonians?" Bryce frowns in confusion.

"Oh right. In Tamriel, we have races that bear much resemblance to animals. The Argonians are one of them; most of Tamriel calls them the Lizard Folk, though to call one a lizard is grave insult"

"And…" The Teyrn begins hesitantly. "When you say 'Lizard Folk' you mean…?"

"They have scales, tails and can breathe underwater but talk and walk on two legs like us" Miara says nonchalantly.

Bryce sat there in silence. For what could he say? He just heard there is a race of lizard people somewhere in the world.

Miara notices everyone in the bar was keeping an ear near her and Bryce's direction, she could tell by their poorly concealed expressions of shock. Not that she really cared or minded.

"I could go on talking about all the problems the empire went through but we'd be here for days. Suffice to say; when Emperor Nihlus took the throne, talks between the Dunmer and Argonians began. It was very difficult but we managed to put an end to their hostilities and once more integrate them into the empire" She sighs. "My people seem to have learned their lesson, I pray to Azura they don't go back to their old ways"

"Azura? Is she your deity?" Bryce asked out of curiosity.

Miara tapped her chin thought; "To some she is, she's the Daedric Princes of Dawn and Dusk. While others worship the Aedra." Again she saw complete confusion. "How to explain this…" She mused to herself. "Aedra's are seen as the gods of order and creation and the daedra the gods of chaos and change"

Bryce's eyes widen. "You worship beings of chaos? Surely worshiping these 'Aedra's' are better" Miara noticed some of the people getting uncomfortable, perhaps because of all the 'paganism'.

"Not all daedra are evil, at least not inherently. Azura is considered the kindest of them all. And not every Aedra is 'good'" She still hasn't forgiven her Father for how He casted aside Vyrthur once he became a vampire instead of helping him.

Finally a woman spoke up; "So you don't have the Chantry or believe in the Maker?"

The Dovahkiin turn to look at the woman with a delicate lifted eyebrow; "I know nothing of your religion or God. Though the human tribes of Solstheim worship an 'All-Maker', but I don't really know if he's the same.

"How about the Fade?" Bryce asked curiously.

"What in Oblivion is the Fade?" Miara asked back in pure confusion.

Eyes in the room widen in shock as Bryce began explaining; "The Fade is the realm of dreams where Spirits and Demons reside. And is the source of magic for Mages. It is said the demons try to tempt Mages with promises of power but possesses the Mage and turns them into an Abomination."

"Bryce; how does magic exist here in Thedas?" Miara making certain she heard the tone in Bryce's voice and the looks in people's eyes.

So in the asking the Teyrn explained how magic resided in a few people and how it was considered a curse by the actions of the Tevinter Magisters who ruled cruelly centuries passed by using of the forbidden school Blood Magic to gain power.

"They willingly slit their palms to gain more power and mind control?" Miara had a tone in her voice and expression Bryce could not even read.

"There is no Blood Magic where you come from?" the Teyrn asked.

The dark-elf shook her head; "We use blood in some spells, but it doesn't increase your power like that or control other people. The only forbidden magic in Tamriel is necromancy, which is used to enslave mortal souls and use the dead as slaves. Then there are those that make a pact with a Daedra, but it often backfires because the Daedra tricks them"

"What about you're Circles of Magi?"

The open question made Miara again lift an eyebrow as Bryce explained to her. "Here, magic is considered highly dangerous curse and those born with magic are always sent to the Circle where they can hone their powers and not are a danger to everyone around them. The Templars always keep a vigil on their actions."

If not for his years in both battle and diplomacy Bryce would have missed the sharp hardening of Miara's eyes. "So not all are born with magic." Her words were either a statement or question, no one was really sure. "In Tamriel magic exists everywhere and born in every person, every plant. It's in every ray from then sun and to the very air we breathe"

The entire room fell silent as people were showing signs of pure shock and small terror. Meanwhile Bryce grew to his own thoughts. A country where magic is alive and born in every person. However unlike the Tevinter there was no enslavement of others of strives to gain more power to rule the heavens.

"No one polices the mages?" He asked.

"No. We have Templars as well, but I imagine they're vastly different from yours. They're warriors who use holy magics"

Bryce massaged the bridge of his nose. "So if I get this right… anyone, ANYONE, in Tamriel can do magic"

Miara shrugged. "Yeah, but most people don't bother to learn it"

THAT caused Bryce to freeze up on the spot. He slowly lifted his gaze to the Dunmer woman. And like a timid animal trying coming out of its cave, he said a meek. "What?"

"I said, most people don't bother to learn it"

"But… why?" The Teyrn couldn't understand. There was an entire continent in which people had access to the power of magic, and yet most of them IGNORED IT?

"Don't get me wrong. There are power hungry people in Tamriel, but magic is just one mean to achieve the power they seek. And it depends on your culture, the Nords of Skyrim look down on magic because they think is the tool of the weak, they believe a true warrior's weapon is a sword or an axe"

Magic born in every person. Templar's who mages were. Actual mages being looked down in some countries because they were considered 'weak' not 'too strong and dangerous'. Animal people. Tamriel seemed so upside-down.

XxX ~ xx ~ XxX

The two spoke well into the night about Miara's country and in turn she learned much of Thedas from Bryce. Although she frightened everyone when he spoke of the subjugation of the Elves in ages past as well as their enslavement. While that ended when the prophet Andraste freed the people from the Tevinter Imperium which included the elves. But after her betrayal by her husband, humans began to show bigotry towards the elves. Especially when they chose not to serve the Maker but their own Gods. So hearing that the Chantry destroyed the new homeland of the Elves of Thedas making them second class citizens, Miara barely controlled her rage when she shattered the tankard of ale she had with her bare hand.

The entire bar felt cold as everyone froze as Miara spoke in a dangerous tone. "Freedom of religion is the right of all sentient races. Slavery is punishable by death on sight with no mercy. Had your Chantry set foot in Tamriel and dared to force the people of our lands into their beliefs, we would burn the entire religious order to ashes. I admit we have some racism and bigotry. But nothing compared to this mockery. Least not after we destroyed those Thalmor bastards"

That was no vale threat, not from the dangerous rage fueled gleam Bryce saw in Miara's eyes. And from the way she spoke, Tamriel's forces were many, MANY times larger than Ferelden. And Tamriel was a united continent while Thedas has been divided for thousands of years. It would be a massacre without question.

However, whatever anger Miara had vanished, turning into shock when seeing Bryce bow his head. He apologized for the action committed in the past.

"Bryce... That apology is not yours to give. But I say this to everyone here. I hold none in the present responsible from the actions done in the past. I am only angry of the past actions which were committed; there would be no reason or purpose to hate you all for what happened before any of us were ever born"

Everyone including Bryce let out the breath they held in. Slowly everyone resumed working while the two seated were quiet for a few more minutes. Soon more people came in for a night of drink as Bryce sipped his ale, the barmaid gave the Dark-Elf a new tankard. Miara apologized but the barkeep waved it off. The man was not dumb enough to anger the woman given the show of strength and the rumor of what she did with a guard who no longer has a job after the Teyrn had a quick word with head of the guard.

"Besides..." Said Miara. "Now I kinda feel like a hypocrite. Here I am angry at humans slaving elves, when back home it was the other way around"

Now THAT caused quite a few eyes to widen in shock, although it hadn't been the first time since their arrival. But Bryce didn't feel like pushing the subject.

"What is the currency here in Thedas?" Miara asked off handily.

Bryce blinked as he spoke up; "Gold, silver, and copper. How is it in Tamriel?" Glad to be on a new subject.

"Just gold; silver we use for special weapons and armors. Bronze, is useless and brittle for anything of proper use so we mostly use it for jewelry and the like"

Gold ALONE as the main currency?! By the Maker, compared to Thedas, Tamriel is, to put it mildly, filthy rich.

"Teyrn Cousland? I heard you were here. I hoped to see you while you were still in Denerim" a soft elegant and regal voice got the entire room's attention.

Both look right seeing a beautiful fair skinned young woman with sandy blond hair up in low double bun. Wearing a very elegant and high class white velvet dress with gold lining on the neck and waist. Her vibrant blue eyes were soft but held a strength as strong as steel. While Miara saw kindness, it was shadowed by cold logic.

The Dragonborn noticed the whole room of people in the bar bowing respectfully while Bryce stood and gave a bow; "Queen Anora, it has been some time." Miara heard surprise in his tone.

The Queen merely smiled as she waved off his bow; "Please Bryce you or Eleanor never should bow to a friend." Her majesty's eyes soon widen soon seeing and dark ash grey skin woman with raven colored hair, sharp elven ears, and angular face, and crimson eyes looking at her curiously. Anora saw the woman wore black thick leather clothes with belts going cross-like on the chest seemingly to hold the leather shoulder guards, around her waist were double belted, black gloves with forearm guards, black boot with sheen guards. Her attire appeared form fitting showing her slender and very attractive figure.

"You are a Dunmer of Tamriel, yes?" Anora asked with both curiosity and respect.

Bryce looked surprised while Miara smirked seeing the cleverness in the young Queen as she slowly stood to her feet. Bowing with grace the dark elf smiled; "Correct your majesty. Worldly versed I see."

"My father was able to find the few books of your country and he was as curious as I was. We receive trade from your lands rarely and I met the humans called Imperials who look like us. But we never met any of the Mer races I read from my studies." Anora down casted her eyes mournfully; "Although I imagine the trading vessels that came heard or saw how Elves are treated and kept your people away for these shores."

The dark elf merely waved it off; "if so then I never heard of it. I heard of your country from sparse rumors so came to see it." Though the level of bigotry here could give the Thalmor and old generation of Dunmer some pause.

Anora gave small smile; "Queen Anora Theirin. I am honor to meet you."

"Miara Ellswyn, soldier of the Tamriel Empire and citizen of the land of Skyrim."

The Queen's eyes lit up; "Are you an emissary?" the thought of meeting a person from the distant shores bringing up unique ideas. While her father was closed minded and untrusting of any and all foreigners she was understanding, and recognized the benefits this could have.

Miara chuckled while looking at Bryce who smirked at her; "Afraid not your highness. I am merely here on your shores out of curiosity and as the Emperor stated a much well-earned vacation."

Blinking in surprise Anora looked at the elven woman who gave her warm smile. Well this was still a unique opportunity one way or another; she could call it her father's stubbornness talking.

"Well, since it is night I wish to have both of you rest at the royal palace. I insist," Anora spoke with kindly yet with an assertive tone.

Bryce smiled welcoming the kind gesture; Miara lifted an eyebrow while chuckled. "Wanting to know all you can about my homeland my lady?"

"And you as well, if that is agreeable." Being honest, she wanted to know both the lands and its people.

The Dovahkiin smiled seeing no lie or deceit the young Queen's eyes, Miara looks at Bryce who smiled back at her. "Shall we? One does not refuse the offer of a queen lightly," The Teyrn said amusingly.

Miara chuckled as she looked back at the Queen; "We shall follow your lead your highness."

XxX ~ xx ~ XxX

Leaving the tavern with the Queen and the guards, Anora sparked a conversation with Bryce while Miara, swords and satchel in both hands, stares at moons shining in the night sky. This land was so different from Tamriel, but she took comfort in the celestial bodies shining with the same glory here like they did back home.

She shook those nostalgic thoughts away, right now; she had the rare opportunity to possibly befriend this country's queen. As well as see what kind of person she really was.

Was her kindness genuine or a well-placed mask like some nobles wear arrogantly?

XxX ~ xx ~ XxX

The royal palace as like many places of nobility was the biggest building in Denerim, near the size of Dragonreach by Miara's estimation. However unlike Whiterun's house of nobility this place is made of mostly stone and some wood with a flat rooftop with guard towers at each corner. In ways it reminded the dark-elf more of the architecture of Cyrodiil than Skyrim. Upon reaching the large doors to the palace she saw two Knights standing guard. Seeing their Queen they lightly bow as they open the doors for Anora, Bryce, and Miara –though looking at her with both wary suspicion and silent awe.

The inside of the palace was beautiful showing a blend of wood and stone for its interior design. Anora soon stopped making Bryce and Miara also behind the Queen with the guards now making rounds for the palace.

"Ah, there you are my Queen." A soft feminine voice spoke with an accent different than Master Ignacio's.

The voice came from an elegant elven woman with fair skin and raven colored hair in a ponytail with a single bang on the right side. She wore a beautiful red and black dress and held herself with distinction. From the corner of her eyes Miara saw a true warm smile from the Queen looking likely at her, most likely, trusted handmaiden.

"I am fine Erlina; I have brought guests; Teyrn Bryce Cousland and someone from the shores of Tamriel, Miara Ellswyn" Anora said the Dovahkiin's name slowly to make sure she spoke it right.

Erlina bowed respectfully to Bryce and stared wide eyed for moment at Miara who winked at her. She quickly gathered herself as she bowed gracefully. "Welcome to Thedas Lady Miara."

The Dark-Elf only smiled; "thank you, it is good to meet a fellow Mer."

Erlina looks at Miara with both curiosity and confusion as Bryce spoke up. "It means Elf in Tamriel as Miara explained to me."

The handmaiden blinked while the dark-elf woman giggled slightly. "I will gladly explain things in the morning since it is well into the night your highness."

Anora nods in agreement. "Very well, Erlina please show our guests their rooms for the night. In the morning we shall speak of many things. Good night."

Bryce and Miara bow their heads respectfully as Anora went to her and her husband's bed chambers. Erlina guided first the Teyrn to his guest chambers and down the next hall for Miara. Opening the wooden door the room both elegant and modest, not overly fancy like one expect in a royal palace with a single large bed with red and white sheets and large pillow. Walking in the Dovahkiin places her swords and satchel on a well-crafted wooden table. Reaching to opening her bag she stopped feeling being stared at; turning she saw Erlina looking at her with a mix of emotions running through her coal colored eyes.

"How many of our 'Mer' kind is in your Tamriel," Erlina asked openly making sure she said the name of her kind in Tamriel tongue.

It was written on the face of the Queen's handmaiden. Miara gave a gentle smile as she walked up and stood in front of the smaller elven woman. "You have many cousins back home my dear. The Altmer: high elves, the Dunmer: my people, the Bosmer: wood elves, the Orsimer: the Orcs, and the Maormer: sea elves." Least speaking of the elven races which still exist on Mundus.

She could see the handmaiden was visibly reeling before she continued; "and by guess since I was told by Bryce that elves in Thedas are like you, then you're all descendants of the Bosmer. They are the smallest in stature compared to the others. But I also see a bit of Altmer in your features as well"

Erlina felt the shock wash over as she quickly gathered herself. Though. By Andraste, her mind seemed to stop working; now knowing her people's origins came from such a distant foreign land. Still, as her Queen's handmaiden she steeled herself impressively by Miara's standards.

"If you're with us during breakfast dear you can learn all about your distant cousins and your ancestral home of your people." Miara's gaze became thoughtful. "Can I ask you a question?"

"Of course my lady"

"Are elves treated the same on all of Thedas as they are here in Ferelden?"

Erlina blinked, surprised by the sudden question. "Well, the Queen is very kind to me and…"

The Dovahkiin quickly cut her off. "I asked about the rest of our kind, not you in particular"

The elven handmaiden shuffled her feet with unease. "Well, Ferelden has it better than most countries I must admit" Miara's eyes widen. The elves had it better here? What kind of twisted joke was this? "Orlais, my country of origin, is much worse. They treat our kind as pets, curious little things to play with till they are bored" Her tone became crestfallen. "I was lucky enough to have escaped. The only place I know for certain that has it much worse is Tevinter, where only being a mage can save you"

The Dunmer steeled her gaze with rage. "It sickens me to see our kind being treated like this. The Altmer were the first to introduce literature and written language to Tamriel. It was the bosmer who first greeted the races of men as equals. The Dunmer who forged their own path and usher in the strength of their ancestors. The orcs who are renowned as some of Tamriel's greatest warriors"

Miara looks to the floor, momentarily lost in sadness. "Your people… our people deserve better than this"

XxX ~ xx ~ XxX

After getting fully dressed, Erlina politely entered and tells Miara that breakfast would be ready in five minutes, along with Queen Anora and Teyrn Cousland already waiting for her to join them. Thanking the young elf, Miara took her things and followed the handmaiden to the dining hall. Entering, the dark-elf saw a large dining table with countless chairs on both sides and on the ends.

At one said end was the Queen sitting in her well-crafted wooden chair with Bryce in a chair close to her. On the table was enough food for three people to begin their day. Both stopped their idle conversation as they see Miara smirking at them as she takes a seat opposite of Bryce and puts her things by her feet.

"I hope the room was an accommodating," Anora asked sincerely.

"It was lovely your highness. Softest bed I slept in for years in all honesty," Miara winked at them.

Bryce snorted while Anora giggled lightly. Soon the three began eating their meals quietly with Erlina standing beside her Queen keeping her eyes on firmly to her elven sister from distant shores.

It was the Queen who broke the silence. "From last night's short conversation I gather you are more than a simple soldier, no ordinary soldier is given a vacation directly from their King or Emperor." Though Anora's tone was light but the dark-elf could make out the level of seriousness of her tone.

Miara tilted her head before lightly nodding; "Very true. A standard auxiliary would receive her or his commands from the Legate or a General. But since I am a General my orders come from Emperor Nihlus himself"

Bryce, Erlina, and Anora bore stunned looks. This woman was General? She looked barely over twenty! The Dovahkiin inwardly smirked knowing exactly what these three were thinking. But that was something she would keep to herself for the moment.

Soon Miara gave the tales of Tamriel and her people to the Queen and her handmaiden. She gave a detail impression of the Empire, the races of Mer, Man, and Beast-Men. Though the dark-elf slightly had to suppress a giggle when seeing Anora's face with a unique expression when explaining the Khajiit. And choosing to be honest she also explained the Thalmor and their 'White Gold Concordat', before they were finally brought down and the empire restored.

She only left out how.

Taking a small sip of some tea Miara relaxed as she finished speaking. She let her listeners process all the new information, though Bryce already heard of it yesterday.

Anora sipped her tea before speaking; "I am glad your Empire is finally of one voice again. Such dissention like the one you spoke of has brought down many powerful nations."

"It took a decade after their destruction but the Elder Council and the newly appointed Emperor got the affairs set in order. Granted it's not perfect, but not the headache it once was." Miara sighed never liked in remembering those fond memories.

"What happen to the Aldmeri Dominion?" Bryce spoke curiously.

"They surrendered once realizing the force brought against them overwhelmed everything they had completely like they once did before with their war against the empire years before. The option was given, surrender or die. They chose life, but the condition upon surrender was the turning over of every Thalmor Agent for their tortuous crimes against the people of Tamriel."

The conversation slowly quieted as Miara finished her tales of her country and the servants taking away the plates to be washed. A hot brew of new tea was brought out for the trio by Erlina who like her Queen was enraptured by Miara's stories of Tamriel.

The Aedra, The Daedric Princes; magic existing within every living being. But no blood magic or a rise of a Tevinter Imperium. Everything that was warned by the Chantry never happened in Tamriel. Even their Templars were glaringly different compared the holy knights of the Maker.

And the more was explain to Miara about the Chantry the less she was liking it. And this Maker sounded more and more like a Daedric Prince, or at least one of petty ones. Azura at the very least cares for her followers and the Dunmer race.

"So where will you go now in Thedas Lady Miara?" Anora asked while sipping her tea.

Blinking the dark-elf taped her chin in thought. Really, what was she going to do now? If was not Lydia or Jordis, Serana always remarked she needed to plan ahead better. However before she could answer Bryce spoke up.

"She can stay at Highever Castle, if would like to of course Miara?"

Miara raises an eyebrow, "Bryce while I do not want to sound ungrateful but why let a complete stranger, a foreigner no less, into your home?"

The Teyrn smiles with a kindness in his eyes, "While we have just only met. I do consider you my friend. And as a true friend I offer you room and board while in Fereldan."

Anora smiled liking the idea; "There would be no better people than the Cousland family. And when you're ever in Denerim you are welcome here."

Two birds with one stone, least it's a start. Still, Serana would gripe at me for my lack of tact. Miara smiled as she bowed her head thanking the queen.

XxX ~ xx ~ XxX

Sitting in her study Anora goes over several documents from the Bannorn while Erlina stands beside her.

"What do you make of Lady Miara my Queen?" the handmaiden asked curiously.

Finishing signing a paper Anora looked up to her right. "She is a mystery. But how she carried herself and how she spoke, Miara is a very strong willed woman. She reminds me of father, but warmer. In an odd way, she feels like both my mother and father." Trying to sum up the Dunmer woman in the right words.

Erlina thought for moment; "Would this not be an opportunity to reach out to Tamriel?"

Anora gave a sly smirk to her closest friend; "We always did think alike. Miara said the ship that brought her will set sail back to Tamriel in a few days. I would very much like to send something to Emperor Nihlus, I'm sure Ferelden can greatly benefit from trading with the empire"

XxX ~ xx ~ XxX

Bryce looked at awe of the black stallion with a black leather saddle. Miara cooed it as she petted the horse's nose. But what slightly drew his attention were the glowing crimson eyes that made it seem more like a spectral entity than any normal horse.

It unnerved him greatly.

"Was happy Rag' Nar had no trouble with him and brought Shadowmere to the stables," Miara smiled at her horse warmly.

The Teyrn finally found his voice. "He is magnificent specimen. Are all horses in Tamriel like him?"

"Nope. He is one of kind and a dear friend," Miara gave a sly smirk.

Raising up and sitting on her saddle she saw Bryce go for his horse though still eying Shadowmere warily. In truth she hated lying to her new friend, but it was a must since she summoned her spectral horse last night knowing the ship's captain did not allow animals on board. And explaining her horse is spectral entity from the Void just make out as a madwoman.

Soon the duo moved through the king's road to Highever and to Bryce's family. It would be a day and a half's ride for which they stayed at an inn outside of Amaranthine. During that time the Teyrn told of his family; his wife Eleanor, his two sons Fergus and Marcus, his daughter-in-law wife of Fergus, Oriana and her son Bryce's grandson Oren.

By his tone and gaze in the Teyrn's eyes there was deep love for his family which the dark-elf was happy in seeing. True strength comes from love of your family and those precious to you. When you have that nothing can defeat you.

As the afternoon sun shined brightly making their way through King's road they see a large city with a castle connected to it. Bryce smiled; "Miara Ellswyn. Welcome to Highever."

XxX ~ xx ~ XxX

In the main hall of Castle Highever a man stands looking at the flames burning brightly in the fireplace while another watches him. Both wear faces of concern but different reasons.

"The Teyrn will fine. He is hardly a defenseless man," spoke the knight in silverite with short auburn hair, fair skin, and his sword and shield strapped on his back.

The other man standing at the foot of the massive fireplace was taller than the other with broad shoulders, shoulder length dark brunette hair, wearing a simple long sleeved white cotton shirt and leather pants and boots, looking much like a taller and younger version of his father save a full goatee and mustache. Marcus Cousland shifted his unique silver eyes to his longtime friend and perhaps third brother in all but blood, Ser Gilmore.

"I know my friend, but a child can't help but worry for their parent," Marcus spoke with a deep rough tone much like his late grandfather so he was told.

Ser Gilmore silently agreed as he stood beside his friend watching the fire. If there one thing he had to admit, the Cousland were not your typical noble family like many would label. All are treated fairly and equally from Humans, City Elves, and Surface Dwarfs.

And unlike many places in Thedas, Harper's Forge no longer holds an alienage now with the elves being equals in Highever. One of the most powerful and controversial moves done by Bryce and Eleanor Cousland.

And Maker bless their sons also have their unique compassion, fairness, and honor. Not to mention all five Couslands are accomplished warriors, with Fergus and Marcus being the deadliest.

But at the moment the youngest of the sons was just worried about his father. But the young knight knew one thing that would help his friend relax.

"Least you'll get to see Iona in a few weeks with Lady Landra comes over with her son Dairren," Ser Gilmore mused.

Just in hearing his lover's name made Marcus visibly relax with a warm smile graced his lips. Whether it was by chance or by the Maker himself, it was nearly a year ago when going with his mother to see Lady Landra he met her Elven lady in waiting Iona. Both were instantly attracted to each other and been close ever since.

And when Marcus first went to Denerim and to the Alienage he met Iona's daughter and loved the girl like she was his own daughter instantly. And when bringing both mother and daughter to Castle Highever they were greeted warmly by both the Teyrn and Teyrna, and Eleanor fell in love with little Amethyne the moment she saw her.

Then a memory with certain Bann made him seethe; "Vaughn Kendall tried get his hands on Iona three months ago."

Ser Gilmore narrowed his eyes as his friend continued; "Sadly for him he did not know I was visiting and broken his jaw for the attempted. Heard he stays away from her from the Elder's letters"

"Why haven't we gotten Iona and Amethyne out of that place?" Ser Gilmore asked, never been one to like Denerim since he was a child. Hating both the Arl and his son with a strong intensity.

Marcus sighed tiredly; "Iona was born in Denerim and so wants Amethyne to learn from her people there. She did say when we marry she will then move her and her daughter here. I have never met someone who is so sweet and stubborn at the same time."

"Well know you're not sweet but have a stubborn streak longer than the King's road," Ser Gilmore smirked.

The young Cousland glared with no malice and was about to retort when the doors of Main open. Both turn and relax when seeing the Teyrn walked in but grew curious when seeing what looked like a Qunari woman walking beside him talking gingerly. Bryce chuckled as he looked ahead seeing his youngest son and Ser Gilmore.

"Hello pup, Ser Gilmore, how is you both today?" Bryce smiled warmly.

The young knight bowed while Marcus was still looking at the strange ash skinned woman beside his father. "Better with you home now. Who is the Qunari woman with you?"

Miara felt her eye twitch while Bryce gave an amused smirk at the elven woman. The said woman gave strained smile; "I am an Elf thank you." To add her point she pulled back her hair showing her pointed Elven ears hidden by her long raven colored locks. Letting her hair drop as she sighed seeing the shocked looks from the two men. Not to mention the looks in Harper's Forge, she realized she was going to have to get used to this.

Somehow…

"Makes me wonder how the rest of your family will react Bryce," Miara rubbed her temples in exasperation.

The Teyrn chuckled as he looked to Ser Gilmore; "Please bring Eleanor, Fergus, Oriana, and Oren. Find Mother Mallol as well as Sage Aldous. I wish them to meet a new guest from a distant shore."

Ser Gilmore gathered himself as he nodded and walked out of the main hall. Marcus walked over to his father and Miara. He gave the Elven woman an apologetic look. "I apologize for my words. Marcus Cousland."

Miara waved it off with a smile; "You're fine lad. Miara Ellswyn. Citizen of the land of Tamriel."

XxX ~ xx ~ XxX

It only took fifteen minutes for the young knight to find everyone and bring them into the main hall. And shock came to their sense upon seeing they predictably mistaken as a Qunari woman for which Bryce laughed at Miara's slightly annoyed expression.

Soon after, the Teyrn introduces his family to the Elven General. Even aged, Eleanor Cousland was a beautiful woman with fair skin, same height as Miara with her grey hair up in twin buns like Anora. She wore an elegant but practical dress.

Fergus Cousland was about the same height and fair skinned as Marcus but with his hair shorter and with braid on one side and dark brown eyes. Oriana, Fergus's wife, as Miara learned came from Antiva was a strikingly beautiful woman with fiery red hair with braids on either side.

Then the last and most adorable member of the family by Miara's standards, little Oren Cousland, Oriana and Fergus's son. The boy looked much like his father but with his mother's hair and eyes.

Mal Yolos, Miara secretly called the boy as she giggled at his attempt to say her name.

Beside them were the Chantry priestess Mother Mallol and the old sage Aldous. The chantry priestess was a in her early to mid-forties but retained her natural beauty. The historian and sage of the Cousland family looked the part with shoulder length white hair and full beard and mustache. His old but strong blues eyes showed strong fascination to Miara and learning she was an elf.

Showing again how unorthodox the Cousland family was they all sat near the fireplace, save Aldous who sat in a chair due his bad knees. They all listened to Dark-Elven woman's tale of Tamriel, the empire, all the diverse races.

"Cat and lizard people," Oriana felt a little unnerved when saying that.

"Khajiit and Argonians both take great offense being called those names," Miara said sternly.

Mother Mallol spoke up in her soft tone voice; "To think all those races and cultures coexist under one banner."

"It's not perfect by a long shot, but thanks the efforts of some. Tamriel is far stronger united now than ever before." Miara commented while reflecting; why you made me take a vacation eh Nihlus?

"How far is Tamriel to Thedas my dear," old Aldous asked.

The dark-elf tapped her chin; "It took us five months to get here and we had come from the northeastern seas."

XxX ~ xx ~ XxX

For half of the day Bryce could not help but smile seeing his family, revered mother, and old sage learning what he had from his first meeting with Miara in Denerim. Each member of his family had their own questions for which the Dark-Elf answered. Old Aldous was also interested in hearing about The Nine Divines and Daedric Princes. But drew everyone's attention was how magic exists in every person in Tamriel.

Proving her point she lifted her hand letting a fire spell soon coat over it which surprised everyone. When she noticed Mother Mallol looking uncomfortable, Miara asked if she could learn about the Chantry and this Maker which made the priestess instantly smiled and nodded yes.

Zu'u aal ni med daar wahliik uv chantry, fen wah doj do nii. Miara thought in Dragon Tongue.

Aldous asked if he could learn more of the Daedric Princes, for which Miara asked in return to learn about Thedas and its history.

"So these gods of your interact with the world directly?" Asked the sage in awe.

Mother Mallol, clearly offended by the sheer paganism, asks. "How do you know those… 'gods' of yours aren't demons?"

"Daedra's have been called demons in the past, but the Princes are unlike any demon you could meet in these lands" Cupping her chin with her hand, Miara hums in thought. "Think of a demon, the most powerful demon you could think of… Now forgot about that demon, he's an ant compared to a Prince, who possesses immortality and nigh unlimited power coupled with dangerous unpredictability. In short, a Daedric Prince is a demon god"

The room's occupants shuddered at the thought.

"But not all are bad. Azura warned my people when a volcanic eruption nearly destroyed their land. Meridia hates dark magic and those who profane the dead. Then there are the Aedra, who are mostly far more benevolent, they were so weakened by creating the world that many of them died, and the ones who remain can only grant blessings through shrines or interfere in indirect ways, or directly on extreme circumstances" Miara arched an eyebrow as something occurred to her.

"Maybe your Maker is an Aedra who was so weakened that he can't even interact with your people anymore, not even through shrines or prayers, or perhaps he was one of those who died" Mother Mallol trembled as mere the idea was an anathema, to her and any follower of the Maker. She took comfort in the Chant, which promised the Maker's return once his word was spread.

XxX ~ one week later ~ XxX

The Dovahkiin rather enjoyed herself settling at Cousland Castle. She had become quite popular with the servants and soldiers alike as well as the townspeople of Harper's Forge. The elves were drawn to her almost like moths to a flame when now knowing of other different elven races that exist and live freely.

She also became fast friends with Eleanor Cousland along with both Fergus and Marcus. Miara soon found that the brothers were like night and day. Fergus being a lively and jovial fellow, Marcus was more stoic and reserved but with a good sense of humor.

"The Denerim Alienage," Bryce asked as he walked beside Miara walking down the hall.

Currently the conversation caught the Teyrn briefly off guard. But he soon remembered what was going to happen in a few days.

"Marcus said there was to be a wedding, plus he wants to see your future daughter-in-law. And quite frankly I'd like to see this Iona and her daughter as well. Plus since equalized Harper's Forge I do not know what a normal Alienage looks like." Miara spoke while greeting a servant.

Bryce gave solemn gaze ahead; "you won't like what you will see."

The dark-elf gave an even look at her new friend; "I have to find out for myself Bryce. I need to see what happen to my distant brothers and sisters. And I made a promise to the Elder here; I have to go to Denerim and to its Alienage."

Still hesitant Bryce sighed knowing he really had no say in Miara's choice. For one she is a grown up woman and can make her own choices and two; sometimes it is best for some to see the horrors behind the masks of civility.

He just hoped no ill would happen in the coming days.

XxX ~ xx ~ XxX

A mile away from Highever both Marcus and Miara make their way to Denerim on horseback with the young Cousland's Mabari hound Loke. From her studies from Aldous –who felt he was in a dream having such a tentative student-, that the Mabari are a breed of war hounds with high intelligence bread into them by mages.

And to add another large surprise was that Loke actually responded well to the Dunmer woman the moment she came to the castles. This so now the trio makes their way to Denerim to watch a wedding, Marcus to see his own bride to be, and Miara to see what her distant cousins really lived in since with Harper's Forge an equal zone for all.

"So tell me about the wedding that is going to happen in a few days." Miara asked riding on Shadowmere. "Do you know the bride or groom?"

"It's a dual wedding actually. From what Iona told me they have arranged marriages to keep the bloodlines clean if I remember how she said it. I know both grooms and their families since they are close to Iona and Amethyne. Gin Tabris and his two cousins Soris and Shianni. Those three are interesting when you meet them." Marcus smiled remembering the awkward events of that day when seeing Iona and Amethyne.

Loke barked happily as they decided to pick up the pace to Denerim.

XxX ~ Two days later ~ XxX

"Wake up cousin. Why are you still in bed Gin?"

A groan escapes his lips as the soft feminine sound of his cousin's voice stirred him. His unique deep amber wolf-like eyes open as they focus on brown eyes looking down at him.

"Five more minutes Shianni," Gin grumbled as rubbed his eyes.

The short braided redheaded elf rolled her eyes; "it's your big day lazy bones, get up."

Gin glared with no malice at his cousin as he looked at her up and down. Both were the same age along with Soris who was a year younger. Unlike his slight golden tan skin tone, Shianni had flawless creamy fair skin. She was wearing elegant white and tan gown which enhanced her natural beauty.

At the moment she had her arms crossed under her breasts as she looked at her cousin with both irritation and sympathy. While it's supposed to be a happy occasion, internally neither Gin nor Shianni were really cheerful.

"Do you really want to be late your own wedding? I think Soris would be a little upset if you stood him up for the double wedding."

Gin grunted as he sat up in his bed as he rubbed his short light brunette hair with a long low ponytail. He rested his elbows on his knees as his amber eyes kept to the floor in a solemn gaze.

"What about Dasyra." Gin whispered that only he and Shianni heard.

The redheaded elf knelt in front of her cousin as she looked up at him with sad but warm smile. "She is strong. Besides, no one knows and I will always keep our little girl safe."

Neither cared that they were cousins, love of the heart crossed boundaries for both. And their daughter was born in secret thanks to a dear friend in the chantry four years ago. To Soris and Cyrion, Gin's father, Dasyra was and happy and healthy orphan baby taken in by Shianni.

Gin sighed; "I'd rather have a life with you and our daughter. Not given away to someone I do not know."

Shianni shook her head with light tears falling from her eyes as she leaned her head on her cousin's/secret lover's chest. "You will still live in Denerim. Even if we can't have what we truly want, will never be apart. Never my love…"

XxX ~ xx ~ XxX

Walking through the market district Marcus and Miara greet several people as they near the alienage.

"So your friends with dwarven princess of this Orzammar," the dark elf hoped she got the name right.

"Also the oldest son Trian Aeducan, though we don't agree on things from time to time. But Sereda and her guard Gorim I always got along with best. She even sent me special silverite armor and an elven sword they found in the Deep Roads."

Miara eyed Marcus's sword strapped to his waist. In was curved like the Akaviri swords but had no guard with a unique curved hilt. The sword as Sereda told had no name since the Elven man only came to aid the Dwarfs in fighting the Darkspawn and was made from Volcanic metal.

So the young noble gave it the name Legion's Edge, in honor of the Legion of the Dead and nameless Elven man who waged his own personal war against the Darkspawn. Strapped beside his sword was dagger of the same design, for which the young Cousland remarked he preferred fighting with dual weapons much like his Dunmer friend.

Giving her friend a look over Marcus is wearing thick grey leather stubbed armor, which he said was a gift from his future wife to be Iona. Her crimson eyes look forward as she, Marcus, and Loke reach the threshold to the alienage.

The young noble takes a deep breath as looks at his Elven friend. Instead of wearing the leather armor she wore when first meeting, Miara was in a hoodless Thalmor gear of all things with her swords strapped to her back. The Cousland family asked why she had something that belonged to usurpers and supremacists.

"This robe is a lesson that must never be forgotten."

That was her only response which was left at that. And in a way these clothes gave her a powerful presence and authority while her other gear was more roguish but hid well the commanding presence she now gave off in these garments.

Marcus gazed solemnly at his friend whose gaze did not leave the steps down to the Alienage. "Will you be alright?"

"I'll control my temper as best I can Marcus. Besides, I won't ruin a wedding for being pissy." Miara sighed as she patted Loke's head.

The young Cousland sighed as they went down the large stone steps. Reaching the last step Marcus heard strained snarl from his Elven friend. In truth he was just enraged at the sight before him and knowing the woman he loves and her child he saw as his own live in this wretched place made him more angrier than he ever been in his life.

Daar los volz fein sadon litiik, Ruth hi wah oblivion Ulfric! Miara did her best to control her breathing as she clinched her fists.

Resembling a small village within the walls of Denerim itself; the Alienage had rows of badly constructed houses lined up together. Each house looking more dilapidated than the other beside it. The level of neglect almost made Miara want to scream. However the one beautiful diamond was the enormous tree in the center of the Alienage. The Vhenadhal, which was also in the former Alienage in Highever. Like there the massive tree was well cared for and full of life.

Marcus looked in surprise when seeing nearly everyone out and about in preparing for the double wedding today. He wondered if Gin and Soris are flattered or scared stiff at this sight.

"Marcus!" a gentle demure voice got their attention.

Loke barked happily as Miara saw a very beautiful young Elven woman with shoulder length sandy blond hair was running up to the man she fell deeply in love with. She was wearing an earthly colored dress which enhanced her creamy fair flawless skin; her bright blue eyes almost glow with both pure warmth and love.

A bright smile appeared on the young Cousland's face as he opened his arms just as the woman leapt onto him. The petite woman was literally hanging off Marcus as she held him tightly with her small arms around his neck. Marcus held just as tightly as they both were enveloped in the other's warmth as their lips soon connected which always made them feel like lightning surge through their bodies from their heads to their toes. They reluctantly parted as the woman smiled warmly.

"Why are you here Marcus," the woman's voice being warm, soft, and gentle.

The young Cousland gave a coy look; "I can't just see my beloved and also my friend's wedding? Iona you wound me."

The elf gave a playful glare till she giggled finally before resting her forehead on his. "I suppose you're invited."

"Why thank you," Marcus whispered before they kissed again.

Miara chuckled as she politely left the couple to their time alone with Loke walking beside her. Rubbing the large dog's ear she looks down at him playfully. "Guess we both wanted to give them space no?"

Loke gave a small whine which made Miara look at him coyly. "You're saying I'm lonely?"

Two barks were the Mabari's response. The dark-elf rolls her eyes; "Fine you win. But not telling you who it is."

She swore she heard the hound grumble, however she soon stopped near the Vhenadhal with every elf looking at her.

"Loke!" the voice of two children catch her attention.

She sees a ten year old girl who looks like the woman Marcus is with and a four maybe five year old girl with reddish brunette hair run to a now happily barking hound that ran to them. She smiled as she watched the children run off to play with the hound. Looking back she saw and elderly elf smiling warmly at her with a very short red haired female elf on his right and a perhaps the tallest elf she met thus far here in Thedas with brunette hair in a low ponytail on his left.

His amber eyes almost like that of a wolf gaze evenly into her crimson. The woman's eyes were strong and more piercing than anyone Gin ever met; he held back an internal shiver.

Why do I feel like I am looking at a predator? Gin thought to himself. What he did not know was Shianni was in silent agreement.

Not to be rude Miara walked in front of the trio with the others around them watching on silently.

"Our sister from distant shores, I bid you welcome. I am elder Valendrian, this is Shianni and Gin." The old elf smiled fondly.

Miara bowed her head respectfully then looked to Gin; "You're the groom Marcus spoke of? Gin Tabris if I am correct?"

How can her voice be soft and sultry at the same time; Shianni thought to herself.

Gin smirked; "So Marcus had been telling stories has he? Hope good ones."

"Only the small ones that don't have you and Soris getting arrested;" they heard Marcus yell out playfully.

The groom and bride's maid gave a glare to a smirking Cousland who came beside Miara with Iona beside him who smack her lover in the arm. Valendrian only chuckled as he looked at the young noble.

"Good to see you Marcus. The Cousland family is always welcome."

Miara could tell that was mixed welcome. Some were happy, others suspicious, and the rest uncaring. Seemed human distrust was still quite strong here. But then again she could not blame them. Soon a human woman in Chantry robes also came over with fair skin and shoulder length red hair. She greeted Marcus warmly while looking at the dark-elf in awe.

"I heard about you from my sisters that saw you. Welcome, I am Mother Boann." The priestess said kindly.

"So this is the one I heard so much about," spoke a red haired male elf as he stood now beside Shianni. The said female elf elbowed her shameless cousin which he sharply cried. "What did I say?!"

"You were leering; you're getting married today so Miara is off limits Soris." Shianni glared.

Soris slumped slightly forward looking at his cousin dryly; "you have to remind me didn't you?"

Gin sighed as he rubbed his temples; "don't mind them; it's how they show they love each other."

An indignant 'hey' came from his two cousins which Gin ignores. But his face grew stern seeing three very unwanted guests show up at the Alienage entrance. Marcus turned and almost quickly hid Iona behind him his face showing both contempt and small rage. Miara shifted her eyes as she slowly turned not before seeing many of her distant shore cousins resume their business while others were tense by the presence of these three humans.

It was the one in the center leading the other two which made her focus her attention solely on him. Wearing clothes that define he is of noble birth with short well-groomed brunette hair, and arrogant smirk which shined in his brown eyes as he looked around lecherously at the elven women.

"It's a party is it not? Grab a whore and have a good time," the leader of the group of nobles chuckled.

"Vaughan Kendells," Marcus growled out.

Fend Zu'u krii gjokiik nu uv zuspein? Miara thought with irritation as her fingers twitched.

Before anyone could stop her the dark elf made her way to the three arrogant nobles with her eyes hidden by her bangs. Miara's steps were slow and drawn out, and while many were worried for her.

Three were not.

Marcus, Gin, and the elder could feel the woman giving off a powerful aura of murderous intent which Vaughan and two goons posing as nobles were oblivious to it.

Those have to be thick boots, but she is making no sound at all. What the hell? Gin's thought as he shivers feeling the dark elf's ever growing rage.

The young Cousland only gave a well-hidden smirk.

Vaughan's attention was soon brought forward as what he thought was another eleven whore who seemed mixed half breed Qunari. "Well aren't you different?" the arrogant noble spoke as Miara stood in front of him still hiding her eyes. As Vaughan's hand when to her chin

No one saw her move as the Bann of Denerim was sent sideways flying into a wall. The force of the impact was so strong it cracked to wall. Vaughan was unconscious as his body peeled off the wall and landed roughly on the ground.

"Dear me, your friend seemed to take a nasty tumble," Miara's voice held no emotion or feeling. Then she looked up to the now terrified noblemen with her crimson eyes showing only the purest rage along with the darkest terrifying smile ever seen by both men came upon her lips.

"Care to dance as well? Or take that fool that's your friend to a healer," Miara whispered in a chillingly calm voice.

The two frighten noble's grabbed Vaughan and ran as if the ArchDemon was on their heels. Hearing a whistle the dovahkiin looks calmly back to Marcus and the others. She could see the unnerved to frightened looks from everyone save the young Cousland who smiled approvingly.

Miara returned the smile as if nothing happened; "Shall we enjoy ourselves?"

XxX ~ xx ~ XxX

As the dark elf suggested everyone got on with the dual wedding for Gin and Soris. Both had met their brides to be and had varying reactions. Valora being wedded to Gin's cousin he thought she looked like a mouse while Gin got a quote on quote goddess with a heart of gold, Neisara.

Miara secretly snorted, finally glad not being called that for once. She made herself useful helping around and playing with the children. Marcus and Iona helped a family get themselves ready to leave Denerim.

Once they got some free time they sat together on a bench watching Amethyne and little Dasyra play with Loke and Miara.

"So what the verdict on our new friend," Marcus asked his future bride to be.

The elven mother smiled gently as she interlocked hands with her future husband. "I always wondered about my people's origins. And to know of so many different elven races those exists on foreign lands and know they live free. It makes me hope," Iona whispered that last part to herself.

Marcus heard her words which he gave a sad smile. Though she never said it due to her personality, Iona was a very proud elf and deeply loved her elven heritage. And since the two fell in love the young Cousland has been learning more and more.

But it did not stop his worry with Vaughan being near her or Amethyne when she was in Denerim. In truth he wanted nothing more than cut off the man's head and put on a pike. How that man could be the son of someone like Urien was beyond him.

"Anywhere not where Vaughan is makes me more comfortable," Marcus lightly grumbled.

Iona looked at her lover with concern; "Gin and the others always made sure I was well hidden along with Amethyne." She reached with her free hand and touched Marcus's cheek. "I can't bear if anything were to happen to you. I lost one husband; I can't lose you to before we are wed."

The young Cousland sighed; Iona hated fighting in the purest sense. While understanding at time words would not be enough, she still hated fighting. One of the reasons he has not attacked that pompous ass Vaughan yet.

But least it so satisfying seeing Miara knock him unconscious; Marcus mentally mused.

XxX ~ xx ~ XxX

Gin and Shianni both sighed as they walked away from arguing with their spiteful aunt. The woman was more hateful than a bloody darkspawn. They silently wondered why the hell they even bothered trying to speak with her.

Both walk around the Alienage as they kept one eye on their secret daughter playing with Miara.

"Does that woman have two sides to her?" Shianni thought out loud. "When that good for nothing Shem Vaughan showed she turned into a pure hearted killer. Now she is acting like a kindhearted mother. I just can't wrap my head around her."

"I honestly doubt we will ever understand that woman. I am just glad she is on our side."

"You think it's true? That our ancestors came from this Valewood?" Shianni looked up at her cousin/lover.

Gin nodded; "it makes sense oddly enough. She said we look a bit different but otherwise we resemble these Bosmer as she called it. Not to mention both us and the Dalish have a strong tie to the forests."

Shianni gave a small smile; "free elves, and so many different types. It feels like a dream."

The amber eyed elf was about to speak when he caught something or someone out of place. "Shianni…"

Stopping when she saw Gin looking towards the Vhenadhal her eyes soon narrowed.

XxX ~ xx ~ XxX

His old eyes gaze at the Vhenadhal with respect. Duncan had wondered how long it had been since seeing the old tree, and his old friend Valendrian. It would be good to see familiar company.

But his sharp senses pick up he is not the only guest here. From the corner of his eye he spots none other than Marcus Cousland, sitting with a beautiful elven woman. And close to The Vhenadhal is what could tell is a female Qunari or an ash skinned Elf? But none he knew were warriors. And the presence of the woman. He wondered...

"Excuse me," A male voice speaks behind him.

Turning the old warrior is greeted by Gin and Shianni in front of him, both with identical suspicious scowls. He recognized both quickly from past visits.

"Ah yes, I understand congratulations are in order for your wedding young man," Duncan says politely.

Gin raises an eyebrow, "Thank you, but I must ask you to leave."

"I am afraid I cannot, you see an old friend of mine is here. And I am searching for something. But I may have found it." He said quietly to the two.

"Care to tell us?" Shianni asks.

"Afraid I must keep that to myself young lady." He reserved himself, standing straight.

Gin narrows his eyes, "I don't mean to sound rude, but a human noble, Bann Vaughan has harassed this place. More specifically the female Elves, everyone is on edge. I must ask you please to leave."

"Arl Urien's son? I see, but I am afraid I will not leave when I have not acted against any within the Alienage." Apparently, he wasn't about to back down from this, no matter what Gin said.

Gin and Duncan stared calmly each other, Shianni would have gladly yelled at the Shem if she wasn't frightened by the tension between her cousin and the human, their eyes having the same blank gaze and showing no fear from the other. Then the human warmly smirked.

"No hesitation or fear when standing against a possible unknown enemy," Duncan says being quite impressed.

Gin and Shianni soon notice Elder Valendrian walking up beside the Shem, "I see you have not changed much Duncan."

The said human they know now as Duncan shakes the elder's hand; " My apologizes Valendrian, but I wanted to see the will of Adaia's son."

"You knew my mother," Gin asks softly.

"Yes, there was a time I wanted her to join The Grey Wardens."

"You're a Grey Warden," both young elves shout gaining everyone's attention.

Marcus and Iona both were surprised hearing that while Miara tilted her head in curiosity. She heard from the old sage and many others in Highever of these Grey Wardens. Both Amethyne and Dasyra hid behind her while Loke lightly growled.

The dark elf patted the hound's head gently; "it's okay boy."

"Is that a good human big sister," Amethyne asked quietly.

"Yes I believe so my dear." Miara said with slight nod. "Nothing to fear from this man." But his eyes… Why does he look so tired?

XxX xx XxX

Things soon went back on track as people were getting into their places. Leaning with her back to a wall and arm crossed under her chest, Miara watched almost amusingly seeing the dual grooms and brides try to hide their jitters as Mother Boann began reciting the Chant.

"I heard of Tamriel in my travels but never knew of the races that live there."

Miara smirked as she knew Duncan was standing beside her also watching the wedding. Her crimson eyes lightly looked at the Grey Warden. He was a tall man, almost the same height as Marcus. Raven black hair in a ponytail with a well-trimmed beard and mustache. His skin was dark tanned; he looked in his late forties possibly. His stern raven black eyes never wavered as he looked at Gin. Duncan wore a tan robe with upper silver plate armor and shoulder pauldrons with a sword and dagger strapped to his back.

"My homeland is a vast place; you will find many interesting things there if you ever go Grey Warden."

Perhaps, if the nightmares had not returned, Duncan thought with hidden sad smile which Miara saw.

Taking a closer look she saw the signs of lack of proper sleep with the small dark lines under Duncan's eyes. "Are you alright?" The Grey Warden looked at her blankly. "Sorry, but you seem to rather tired."

A weak smile came across Duncan's lips. "Your sharper than most. Just bad dreams my dear, I will be fine."

Expertly bad liar too… Miara sighed as she nodded and both looked back to the wedding. "So is Gin the sole recruiting your taking for your Grey Wardens?"

"No, there is one more at the Circle of Magi. A brilliant young elven mage who is the pupil of the first enchanter no less."

The Warden Commander did not miss the small growl that came from dark elf beside him. "Between the treatment of Mages and Elves in this land I don't know what makes me sicker."

Duncan silently agreed as both became silent as they watched the wedding. However her sharp ears are the ones that pick up of someone unwanted arriving. Both turn to see three human nobles with armored guards pushing their way through the crowd rudely. Duncan and Miara narrowed their eyes.

"Bann Vaughan." The anger apparent in his hushed voice.

A dark smile appeared on Miara's lips. Ful hi unad dinok...

XxX xx XxX xx XxX

Finally done… Have to thank Elder Scrolls Wiki for the Daedric Princes and Divines description. Thu' was for small speeches Miara spoke in Dovah.

: Dragon Translation:

Mal Yolos

(Little Flame)

Daar los volz fein sadon litiik, Ruth hi wah oblivion Ulfric!

(This is worse than the Grey Quarter, Damn you to Oblivion Ulfric!)

Fend Zu'u krii gjokiik nu uv zuspein?

(Should I kill the fucker now or later?)

Ful hi unad dinok...

(So you choose death…)