On Dalish landshipsIf The Warden is Dalish...
"We are the Dalish: keepers of the lost lore, walkers of the lonely path.
We are the last elvhen. Never again shall we submit."
--The Oath of the Dales
Someone once told me that humans flee when they see the sails of our aravels flying above the tops of trees. I say, good, let them flee. The humans took everything from us--our homeland, our freedom, our immortality. What's a little fear compared to all the horrors inflicted upon us? I recite the Oath of the Dales to myself each day when I sleep and when I wake: "Never again shall we submit." Never again.
The keeper says that one day the Dalish will find a home that we can call our own. But why? Why should we tie ourselves to stone constructions like the humans and the dwarves? What is wrong with the life we have now? We owe nothing to anyone, we have no master but ourselves, and we go where the halla and the gods take us. There is nothing more wonderful than sitting on an aravel as it flies through the forest, pulled by our halla. We are truly free, for the first time in our people's history. Why should we change this?
--From the journal of Taniel, clan hunter.
If The Warden is not Dalish...
The Dalish, who band together in small groups of blood relatives, travel in ornately carved wagons known as aravel, drawn by large white stags called halla. The aravel are a unique sight, beautiful in their swooping curvature, and adorned with broad hoods and bright silken cloths that flap in the wind, often displaying the noble banners that once flew over that family's house. Most humans refer to the aravel as "landships," for in a strong wind it can often appear as if the elves travel in long boats with sails high overhead to announce their arrival (or warn others away). The halla are unique to the elves, and any but elven handlers consider them ornery and almost impossible to train. To the Dalish, they are noble beasts, superior in breeding to the horse. Certainly most humans would agree that the halla are as beautiful as the elves themselves; the fact that many imperial nobles maintain a bounty on halla horns that find their way into Tevinter is an affront the Dalish consider unforgivable.
Few among us can claim to have seen the Dalish landships up close. Any human who sees them on the horizon does well to head the other way. Few Dalish clans take kindly to humans intruding on their camps, and more than one tale tells of trouble-making humans who found themselves mercilessly filled with Dalish arrows.
--From In Pursuit of Knowledge: The Travels of A Chantry Scholar, by Brother Genitivi.