Tallis liked the wealthier parts of the city, Noblemen were easy targets, and didn’t realize half their coin had gone missing until the day was half finished. It was easy money. Lack of a purpose meant a lack of jobs for Tallis, and unfortunately that also meant she didn’t make any coin of her own. Fortunately there were enough unsuspecting nobles in the city to sustain her until someone came up.
Sizing up how much money was in her coin purse, the renegade noticed a woman a little distance in front of her. She wasn’t local, not the right dress, but she had the poise and presence of a Noblewoman. A most interesting mark. Even-more interesting when Tallis noticed the seal of the royal family of the Anderfells on her bag. Her various scouting missions outside of Qunari lands had clearly paid off.
She decided it was only rude not to introduce herself, perhaps she’d try her hand at working for Royalty? “You’re awfully far away from the Anderfells, what brings you here of all places?” though her curiosity was genuine, Tallis still kept her eyes firmly on the prize.
Vera was by no means stupid. She was approached by someone unexpectedly on the fringes of Hightown, a someone who was dressed in garbs that belonged to no noble family, but rather a rogue of sorts. Firm leather and well well fitted plates were certainly no kind of armour befitting any family of wealth, that much was clear. Furthermore, her darting eyes were noted but not drawn upon, and the noblewoman made no movement to show that she knew.
"You have keen eyes." She replied fluidly, voice rolling smoothly from her throat in response, accent thick though gentle in comparison to the heavy tongues to the south. There was an obvious duality to her words, though she was primarily speaking of the rogue’s ability to pick up on her origin.
"I am stuck," Vera replied, laced fingers falling free to move as she explained, hand lifting to expose her unblemished, moving palm, "there is no desire to stay here as my destination is Denerim, though here I remain." She gave no more information than that, as it was quite frankly no business of anyone else’s by her own. Her venture was of a politician’s agenda; a grand ambition to be posed to the head of Ferelden’s state, though it was not information she wished to divulge. She was no fool.
"And pray tell, what interest would you have in someone such as myself?" She prompted curiously as a slender brow arched over one of her eyes. "From where does your knowledge stem, I wonder?"
Well, that ended pretty quickly. The fact that she was irritated only served to amuse him. Aedan watched her hop off of the rock with mild interest. Scratching at his stubble, he couldn’t help but to find the whole situation a bit queer.
"Your pride will get you killed before you reach Denerim." Foolish woman. Either way, he had no intention of helping someone that was going to be so unpleasant. When she said goodbye he merely waved before kicking back.
She’d either be back before nightfall or by some miracle make it to Kirkwall. He was betting on the latter, as the general populace outside of Kirkwall was hardly friendly. “Goodbye, good luck!” He said this with utmost sincerity—she’d need it. “Stick to the coastline lest you want the Tal-Vashoth to be less than pleasant.” Aedan called after her before deciding to spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing. He began to start on another carving, this time of a rose, and chose to wait.
It would be interesting to see if she came back. After all, he had little faith in the refuse that thrived in this area.
And back by nightfall she was. His directions had not helped her in the slightest, and if anything, had her become increasingly frustrated. She returned more of a disheveled state than she had left in, previously placid face now creased with frustration and anger. Only several arrows remained in the quiver that had been full when she left, one of which was nocked and held at her waist as if the firelight her earlier rescuer was near belonged to an animal or prey of sorts. She had no other choice at this point than to retrace her steps and return, so unfortunately she was forced to return to him.
"Do you find some kind of amusement," she called as she emerged from the darkness that surrounded the area, expression smoothing into the usual blank slate, "through sending people off with a poor excuse for directions they so kindly requested?" The words she uttered were just as equally emotionless, earthy eyes both strong and impenetrable, successfully concealing whatever emotions stirred within her. It was the look of a soldier, or rather the mentality of one. It was the way of life she had engrossed herself within; military and politics moulded her to be as such.
Vera almost found herself demanding his assistance. She knew full well what he was capable of from hours before, yet he remained stubborn and immovable. He was trained and skillful, yet he lived primitively amongst bandits and thieves despite having nothing to do with them. These were facts that she gathered during her time attempting to navigate through the Wounded Coast without losing her own life in the process. Instead of insisting on his aid like every noble she knew of would, she kept her mouth closed knowing full well that such demands would get her nowhere. He had no reason to assist her, and more than likely found some sick kind of amusement in her struggles, as she assumed before.
"Will you take me?" A question, naturally, though it sounded more like a demand than anything. Perhaps it was, just spoken tactfully. "Seeing as you have failed to direct me adequately, I implore you to see me there. You will receive payment for your efforts once we arrive." Perhaps that was what he was looking for immediately. A reward of sorts, that was. Bandit types were all the same.
۞ can u pls
Sleeping outdoors was absolutely wretched. It wasn’t the wilderness that bothered her, but rather the unfamiliarity of the foreign land she was in. The darkness enshrouded everything around her—it threw off her senses and essentially blinded her.
Vera when and how managed to gather bearings must have been by the virtue of some miracle, though she unfortunately roused the man who had become her sword and shield amidst it. Quiet questions escaped his mouth, voice rough either from his own fatigue or in attempt to draw her attention, though she was uncertain. Instead, the Anderfels tsarina didn’t respond, as she had instead been focusing on finding her balance.
There was a shuffle next to her—Aedan. He had to have been sitting up, though she wasn’t paying attention. She finally found her way onto her feet, dim light of the fire’s dying embers beckoning her forth to tend to. A breath of her own escaped her lips in response to him that he had fallen asleep and left the fire to die, and in turn she was given a simple mumbled response. It wasn’t whatever that woke her—the lack of heat in this case—that he was questioning, but rather a warning. For her remain upon her bedroll lest she trip over him.
And trip on him she did.
Vera stumbled, knees colliding with the firm earth at either side of his waist. She caught herself luckily, one palm slamming against he ground beside his head, the other clipping his shoulder. Gravity forced her down even further despite the support of her limbs, and Vera’s body had mistakenly tumbled onto his entirely.
There was a brief hiccup in her chest when her mouth met his, head swimming, body freezing in both confusion and disbelief. She didn’t know how to move, whether to retreat or proceed (how to proceed!?) and within moments following she scrambled to clamour off of him as cleanly as she could. An endless stream of apologies mixed with accusations and blame escaped her. If he hadn’t fallen asleep to begin with—or Maker forbid moved!—then they wouldn’t have found themselves within the awkward position they were now. Her chatter was short-lived however, and with a sudden exhale she retreated back before she made a fool out of herself or acted on the uncomfortable thrumming within her chest even further.
"Watching your weight, I see." Aedan had a smartass comment for just about everything. A long, long time ago he would have immediately been at this woman’s side. He wasn’t the same man he had been back at Antiva. Many aspects of him remained the same, but he’d rather say smartass remarks and drive the woman away. It was safer that way—at least for him.
He shrugged and scooped out some soup for himself and set the other bowl and spoon near the fire. Aedan sat down, watching the woman as she climbed atop a rock form. At least it was something different. After all, killing raiders and gathering food got pretty damn boring.
Aedan listened to her as he munched on his soup. Really, the whole ordeal was ridiculous. He had half a mind to turn her away, to say that he had no interest in helping her.
But he did. So he merely sighed as if to say he was far too old for this horse shit.
"Kirkwall is half a day’s walk." He paused, finishing up his bowl of soup. Aedan set his own bowl on the ground before he got up and motioned toward the city’s general direction. “A bit less if you are not worried about breaking a sweat." Perhaps he was going to be kind to her, but the smartass comments were here to stay. At least for now.
"I will serve and protect you on this journey, if you wish." He smiled wryly. “To Kirkwall, of course. I hardly wish to commit myself to such a long journey—even if the lady in question has a pretty face."
Vera snapped her head towards him, vibrant eyes narrowing in distaste at his ill humour in her expense. As far as she was concerned, she didn’t ask him to help her, nor had she asked for any sort of shelter. So with an indignant jump down from the top of the rock she had used for elevation, the Anderfels Tsarina planted the heel of her boots deeply into the sand before turning away from him in irritation. How dare he.
"I merely asked for direction," she snapped, "Nothing more." She turned her nose up at him, piercing, emerald eyes staring over at him disapprovingly before she looked towards the very vague direction he pointed her in. If his goal was to drive her away, then he succeeded, because she wanted nothing to do with him now.
“Dobry den’. She bid him farewell as she gave a sharp, curt nod. Her knees bent fluidly, and though the bow she had given was done through mild disdain, the very action was ingrained into her being. She was thankful for his timely assistance when it had been given, but he had proven to be terrible company to keep. Then again, what would she have expected of a hermit residing in such a remote location?
Her expression remained placid however, lips pulled back into a firm line, eyes alert and wide; she gave no hint of her aggravation, nor would she at this point. He was nothing to her. Whatever debt she might have owed him for his service had been long-since erased once his true colours showed, so with a stately, yet strangely bellicose stride, Vera brushed by him soundlessly towards Kirkwall’s general direction.
Like Aedan gave a fuck. In fact, he merely turned away from her and began walking back toward his home. There was little more he could do with this woman and he honestly didn’t feel like sticking around to chat. “I am quite daft, yes.”
Then, as he sheathed his sword, he turned back to face her. “You may come to my home if you wish to have a warm meal. Alternatively, you can wander about and make more ‘friends’ with the Qunari or raiders.” The soup was over the fire and he didn’t want to burn it.
Without waiting to see if she was going to follow him or not, he walked uphill and past some large rock formations. He lived in a small cave that tended to have a nasty spider problem. After a couple years of murdering its inhabitants, the spiders left him very much alone. In fact, they were quite useful in keeping others out. Stupid beasts, but if you beat a stupid beast enough with a stick it eventually learned to avoid you.
Outside the alcove a pot was held over a fire by a not so sturdy contraption. He kind of half assed making it, mainly because it was rare for him to make soup in the first place. Usually he’d just roast some fish over a fire, but sometimes he got tired of the bland flavor. Earlier in the morning he had gathered edible berries and herbs to use as seasoning. Vegetables he had grown himself further up toward Sundermount were used to add substance. Of course, the meat of choice was fish because what the fuck else was there?
He gave the soup a stir and tasted it. “Not bad.” Especially considering that he wasn’t a cook, he was a warrior. Deciding that it was just about ready he went into the cave and procured two bowls and some spoons that he had carved himself. They were quite ornate for someone that lived on his own. Aedan hardly lived like a king, but there were some hobbies he kept to pass the time—carving being one of them. Aedan looked in the direction from which he came, wondering if the woman had followed him after all.
She didn’t have much of an option, did she? Sure, she was capable enough to venture out on her own, though she didn’t want to pit herself against another swarm of raiders. The action was not only dangerous, but the outcome could be fatal. With great hesitation—and certainly not because he said so—Vera proceeded to follow after him, footsteps light, but weapon still drawn.
There was a look of confusion and perhaps mortification that flashed through her eyes as she approached the alcove he seemed to inhabit. He lived here? When the warrior said it wasn’t far, she assumed it was off the Wounded Coast, not… Dwelling in a cave of sorts.
"Thank you for the offer, but I will pass." Having something in her stomach would have been the best if she was going to set out for Kirkwall again, though she wasn’t foolish. There had been too many times where she heard stories and myths of similar tactics used to lure another in; feign kindness and hospitality only to strike when defenses were lowered. Though the nameless warrior did not seem like the type, she had to be careful.
Vera moved to climb up the face of nearby rock, the toe of one fur-lined, form fitting boot hitching within one of many divots as she proceeded to the top, body elevated above ground level once she reached her destination. She needed a better view to know exactly where she was, though the landscape seemed different now and she was unable to tell.
"I need to get to Kirkwall." She stated, turning to face him as she lifted a hand to both shield her eyes from the sun and push her hair from her face. She required assistance. The question was, would he be willing to help? The chances were slim, but she could try.
"Denerim, really. But Kirkwall will suffice for now."