So, I should have put today’s picture on last week’s story and that one here – more appropriate, but it’s done. And this one’s really lovely. I don’t recall seeing it in the game, but it’s on http://dragonage.wikia.com/wiki/Sundermount
Keeper Marethari and Merrill
“You’re smiling.” Varric playfully chided.
Small Fry was sitting on the floor close to the front door leaning against the wall and staring at the dancing flames of the melting candles. Dinner was over and each held an after dinner drink, but even with the windows covered, Varric wasn’t keen on starting a larger fire. “I’m sorry, Uncle, just thinking about some of your descriptions of the Dalish.”
“I know. Most of what people know was written by those who aren’t Dalish. But they aren’t much for giving up lots of information.” Varric started as he leaned back on his chair. “At least not to most outsiders.”
The elf diverted his attention between the candles, his memories and his uncle. “No, they aren’t. Even as close as Mother was to Merrill, I wound up learning more about them then she did.”
“I’ve heard some are more lenient. The clan we encountered, the one Hawke was supposed to make the delivery too, the Sabre clan if memory serves – well their actions pretty much emphasized that they weren’t.”
“Merrill … I found it hard to believe she was from Ferelden …”
“She only spoke to me of that one clan.”
“Actually Uncle, she was from the Free Marches.”
“Do tell.” Varric leaned an elbow on the table and flashed his mischievous smile – the one he used when he was honestly interested in something.
“She was born in the Alerion clan during one of their treks through the hills of Nevarra and went to the Sabre clan at a young age.”
“You were cared for by the Alerion clan weren’t you?”
Small Fry nodded. “I was given part of Merrill’s past from them. Her grandmother and the Clan’s Keeper and First all eventually welcomed me, well welcome for lack of a better word. Made me feel as much at home as they could.” He looked away from Varric as those memories came to him. It was the happiest the dwarf ever saw the elf and for a moment his eyes appeared to take on the same lilac shade his mother was famous for. “Mother was the only person who made me feel … safer than they did. They also helped me through that period after … after Mother ….”
Varric nodded sadly.
“I wasn’t originally received ‘with open arms’ though. They were very hesitant, especially when they learned of my heritage – particularly Father.”
“Tevinter’s never had a great reputation. And what the Imperium did to them …. Humans and dwarves have only slightly better ones. Still, we weren’t exactly welcomed by the Sabre clan when we arrived at Sundermount.”
“Other elves aren’t readily received as elvhen because we gave up our identities to live among … shemlen. Or so they claim.”
“I bet they didn’t stare at you like you were a strange creature – we got plenty as we progressed, a few of them motioned menacingly, reminding us that our every move was being watched.”
“It is hard for them to trust anyone. I was lucky – I had continuous instructions from Merrill in the ways of the Dalish so that was a saving grace. I would have been happy to meet Keeper Marethari though. Feynriel spoke of her often – we often compared notes on both Keepers.”
“And your findings?”
The elf merely smiled.
“Well, if it’s anything like what I had when we first saw her standing by the largest fire then I understand. There was an air of wisdom about her; I still remember three things she said to us that I’ve lived by.”
Varric raised up a finger for each phrase he remembered the elder Dalish saying. “There is great wisdom to be found all around us, if you know how to listen for it; nothing is certain; and there are few things in this world stronger than a promise kept. Of course that last one I’d known much longer.”
“So she explained exactly what it was you were to do with Flemeth’s trinket?”
“She did. We had to take the amulet to an altar at the top of the mountain, give it a Dalish rite for the departed and then return the amulet to her. After a few more instructions, she pointed us to a path on the other side of the camp that split. Part of it appeared to be sloping down, the other up. It was the higher path that she motioned towards.”
“Where does Merrill come in?”
“Right about here. Daisy was on the upper path and guided us up….”
“And she was able to help you?”
“Among other things.”