Author's note: Hello and welcome to - this is my first fan fiction effort, so please be gentle, though I do appreciate any constructive reviews you can provide.

Please keep in mind this is a WIP and I may wind up coming back to edit based on how the story evolves. I have a definite idea of where it's going, but we all know how sometimes our characters develop a life of their own, and I want to stay true to that.

Major props to my friend GirlyGeek for spending many an hour hashing over content with me and helping me keep my story straight, as well as rapping me over the head when I take poor Fenris a little too out of character. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I have enjoyed writing it!

Story is set late Act II - post game, for reference.

Legal junk: the concept and character of Althaea Demitridis belong to me, but everything else belongs to BioWare. It's their sandbox - I just play in it.


"I thought I might offer you a job," said Sebastian carefully as he sat with Fenris at Wicked Grace one night in early summer. "I know you've been looking for some extra work, and I think I've found something that might suit you well."

"What is it?" asked Fenris.

"The Chantry has need of an escort. One of our couriers needs passage to Val Royeaux, and as you know the way is...more dangerous than usual."

"Can this courier not take care of himself?"

"She can, yes, but she is usually accompanied by a Templar and with the current tensions as they are, we cannot afford to lose any of them. I told the grand cleric I knew an especially capable sellsword and she was happy to secure a payment for you."

Fenris raised his hand to his chin in thought. His recent encounter with Hadriana made more waves than he thought might be prudent. "It might behoove me to disappear for a while, it's true. How long do you think this trip might take?"

"I would say three weeks on the outside."

Fenris regarded the idea. Three weeks wasn't terribly long, but it might take the majority of the heat off him, and Aveline would be grateful. "Tell the grand cleric I accept."

"Wonderful!" exclaimed Sebastian. "The ship I've booked for you departs in two days. I would settle your affairs, then meet me here at high noon. I'll have your payment and any supplies you may need."

He departed the Hanged Man several sovereigns later and glad for the fresh influx of coin.

Fenris arrived at the vestibule of the Chantry in the late morning rather than high noon, but found that several crates were already piled neatly in a far corner. Sebastian, clad in chantry robes, greeted him warmly.

"Thank you again for your help on such short notice," Sebastian said. "I'm sure she'll be here shortly." He showed Fenris to an open pew, where he sat and waited.

The courier appeared at the stairs perhaps half an hour later. At first, she appeared small enough to be a child, but as she drew closer, he realized she was definitely an adult. She was boyish of build, and wearing a well-worn set of traveling leathers, as well as a shortbow and quiver. Her face, guileless and open, was sprinkled liberally with freckles, and she had pulled a mane of silky black hair into an elegant but serviceable braid. Reaching the bottom of the stairs, she pulled Sebastian into an embrace and placed a peck on his cheek.

"Althaea," he said fondly as he grasped her hand.

"Is this the friend you told me about?" she asked Sebastian, reaching a hand out to shake Fenris's. She reconsidered at the sight of his spiked gauntlets, and instead settled for a pat on the shoulder, causing Fenris to flinch and clear his throat uncomfortably.

"Yes. Althaea, this is Fenris; Fenris, Althaea. She is a talented librarian and scribe for the chantry, and an occasional courier to boot."

"What are in the crates?" Fenris asked. Sebastian started to answer but Althaea, swelling with pride, interrupted him.

"Research," she said. "The crates are a compository of scrolls recently discovered nearby. I managed to translate parts of them from the ancient Tevene, but I couldn't get them all and what I've been able to understand is simply fascinating…"

As she chattered on, Fenris considered her accent. It seemed half-gone from living in Kirkwall for a long period of time, but what was left was definitely Tevinter and most decidedly highborn. He wondered what such a person would be doing living in the Free Marches, especially working for the Chantry, but then thought how very odd his circumstance might seem to her if she knew his origins.

"…So, since I've been working so hard on these texts, the grand cleric thought I might be rewarded by presenting them to the Divine herself, and requesting permission to hire a more capable translator. It's all very exciting, really, and I appreciate that you were able to help us, master elf."

He thought it a little ironic that she would use the word master when referring to him - a former slave - but said nothing, choosing instead only to meet her eyes and incline his head respectfully.

And her eyes. They were a deep, clear violet and seemed to see straight through to his soul. It was a color he'd seen only once before, and on the cruel face of a magister, one of Danarius's collaborators. He wondered if they might be a family resemblance, but Sebastian broke his train of thought by speaking at that moment.

"The ship on which you'll be traveling is called the Bonne Chance. It's an Orlesian ship and you will find the captain is loyal to the Chantry. You will be quite safe with him, I'm sure." He handed Fenris and Althaea each a small bag of coin. "This is half of your payment, Fenris - should you need to tap into it as part of your duty, let me know and I will be happy to set it right for you." He drew Althaea into an affectionate embrace. "Travel carefully, and I'll see you soon."

"Thanks for everything, Seb," she gushed. "I'll see you in a few weeks." Then she turned to Fenris, her face radiant and excited. "Ser Fenris - we should probably leave before we miss our ride."

Inwardly, Fenris groaned at the excitable girl, but smiled slightly and followed her and the porters to the Kirkwall docks.