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The Griffon and the Raven, Chapter 1

I might need to do a main page table of contents thing for this one since I posted a lot of this story already out of order. For now, I'll try to keep track of everything with tags.

Title: The Griffon and the Raven
Rating: PG-13 for the most part
Summary: Fifty writing prompts for the Inquisitor and her Warden
Spoilers: All the spoilers, especially for Blackwall's storyline
Prompt: pretty



If Blackwall had to describe his current traveling companion in one word, he would have to use formal. Ravena – the Herald, Maker’s breath, those rumors he had heard traveling through the Crossroads were actually true – was nothing if not professional. She was more relaxed with her other two companions, the dwarf Varric and the elven mage Solas. It wasn’t that she was cold and detached, but it seemed as if she was slightly wary, as if she didn’t quite know what to make of him yet.

It earned her a modicum of respect from him. He was a man they had found wandering the woods. She had very little reason to trust him aside from his word that he wanted to join the Inquisition.

If he allowed himself a moment to think of her in a purely masculine fashion, he would have to describe her as pretty. No, pretty didn’t do her enough justice, and beautiful seemed too generic. Blackwall guessed that a better word to describe her was…interesting. She was taller than most women he had been in contact with, the top of her head reaching almost to his chin. Her dark hair was kept in a tidy bun at the back of her head, sunlight glinting off the inky black strands in such a way that it nearly gleamed blue in places. Her high cheekbones, aristocratic nose and milk-pale skin tipped her off as nobility even if he had never heard her pleasantly cultured voice. Trevelyan was definitely a known noble name, and she did have impeccable posture that had probably been ingrained in her at a young age, but she definitely didn’t act as if she were better than the people she kept company with. The Herald was a woman of few words, chatting amiably with her friends and yet never using more words than were necessary, which was a change from what he had expected.

While she held herself with professionalism, her eyes often gave her away. Thick lashes fringed large, copper colored eyes that reminded him of fire-warmed whiskey. Those eyes were quick to flash in humor at some quip Varric would say or widen in fascination at some piece of crumbling architecture Solas pointed out to her. Her full lips would often part as she murmured something quietly to herself as she studied something, long, elegant fingers tracing over broken edges of stone.

He had to admit, if he hadn’t known about the Mark on her hand or witnessed her slaying demons or bandits firsthand, he would have had a difficult time picturing her closing rifts or wielding twin daggers. While she had an athletic build, she was…softer than some female soldiers he had encountered. The Herald was all generous breasts, gently curving hips and mile-long legs, which definitely appealed to him.

“Ugh,” she groaned, sitting down on a fallen log and rotating her foot when they finally stopped for a break. “I am definitely out of practice for long hikes.”

“Did you often have occasion for those?” he asked, genuinely interested in her answer. “What did you do before you joined the Inquisition?”

She looked up from her boot. “I worked for the Chantry.”

“Somehow I don’t see you as a lay sister.”

Ravena laughed. “No, neither can I. I was, or I guess I still am, a cleric. I did field research for the Chantry. It was my job to go out and excavate forgotten temples and recover religious relics.”

Now Blackwall understood her fascination with the ruins they encountered. “And you were at the Concalve to…” he prompted.

She looked at her hands, the thumb of her right hand tracing over the edges of the Mark on her left. “I was assigned to record the proceedings for posterity. Actually, it was pure chance that I was even there; another cleric had been assigned, but he had a recent injury that made travel impossible, so I was asked to take his place.”

“Chance, or fate?”

She gave him a sly glance. “You know, I can never decide. The Maker has a plan for each of us, however unwilling we are to follow His plan.”

“You don’t want to be the Herald of Andraste?”

“Would you?” Her voice had a trace of humor in it. “I certainly didn’t ask for this power or the weight of responsibility that comes with it, but I’m determined to do the best I can and help as many people as possible.”

“It’s a worthy cause.”

She nodded. “And one I can’t do without the help of others.”

“You have my sword and shield at your service.”

“And I’ve already employed your shield. Good reflexes, by the way.”

He looked at the shield he had leaned against the log. From the angle, he could clearly see the dent the arrow meant for her had left in it. “Well, it wouldn’t do if something marred a face as lovely as yours.”

Those expressive eyes of hers sparkled in mirth. “It seems as if I have your compliments at my disposal as well, Ser Warden.”

Blackwall could definitely tell that the ice had been broken. He chuckled along with her. “If you could call them that, my lady.”

“Yes, I would definitely call them compliments.” She leaned towards him. “And I shall definitely take any you’d like to throw my way.”

He shook his head. “You aren’t what I figured you as,” he told her.

“Oh? And what did you expect?” She arched her eyebrow. “Let me guess, some haughty noble who complained and moaned about the heat and trudging through mud? Perhaps a delicate lady who fainted at the sight of blood?”

He opened his mouth to speak, but she beat him to it. “I’ve been away from that life for so long that I’ve all but forgotten how to act in polite company. The only times I associate with nobles is when they reach out to hire me for research. I much rather prefer the company of others that don’t tend to have their heads up their arses half the time.”

Blackwall let out a shocked laugh at her swearing. “And here I thought you worked for the Chantry.”

Ravena shrugged. “I do. I’m also open to outside employment, if the site, manuscript or price is good enough.”

“So you’re an intellectual mercenary?”

“I’ve always called myself a freelance researcher, but I like that description as well. It sounds exciting, like I should travel armed to the teeth and be littered with scars.” Her fingers went to her forehead where a faint mark traveled across the edge of her forehead and hairline. “Alas, I only have the one scar and I don’t think I can pull off being menacing.”

“No, you’re more captivating than menacing.” He was vaguely surprised at how easily words tripped over his tongue. He’d never been one to quickly compliment a lady, and he was desperately out of practice.

The corner of her mouth quirked up in a quick smile. “There go those compliments again.” Standing up, she reached for her pack of supplies and stretched. “We have some ways to go before we reach Haven. I wonder what other flatteries you can think up during our travels.”

Break over, their other companions fell into step with her. Blackwall paused, his attention caught by the sway of her hips. Smiling, he picked up his pace and joined the rest of the group.

Yes, interesting was definitely the word he would use to describe Ravena Trevelyan.

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