Isabela carefully slid backwards from the windowsill. As she dropped to the ground, she couldn't hold back a little skip of excitement. What she'd just seen was the juiciest - in every sense of the word - piece of gossip she'd gotten in a long time.
This was too good. But who to tell? Varric? He might be able to use it in one of his serials, but that could invite attention from the wrong quarter. Aveline had no sense of humor. Hawke was too busy creating talk of her own to bother about other people's. Perhaps Sebastian? He was so cute when he was scandalized...
Wait. She had a better idea. Tonight was Wicked Grace night. She could hold it in for a just a few more hours, and then she'd get them all at once.
She waited until the drinks were poured and the cards were dealt before clearing her throat and commanding everyone's attention.
"You're never going to believe what I saw in the Gallows today," she announced.
"What were you doing in the Gallows?" asked Aveline.
"Never mind that. Guess."
"Herbs?" Merrill asked.
"Oppression?" Anders grumbled.
"Neither. It was much more interesting."
Hawke sighed. "I'll bite. What did you see?"
"The Knight-Commander and the First Enchanter," Isabela said, drawing the words out for maximum impact.
"What about them?"
Isabela wiggled her eyebrows in her most suggestive manner. "She was sweeping his chimney."
"Don't they have servants for that?" asked Merrill.
"No, no," said Isabela, frustrated. "They were going up the down staircase."
"Really? Nothing?" This wasn't going to be any fun at all if they all insisted on being so dense. "She was dipping her pen...in his inkwell..." she said, illustrating her words with some expressive hand gestures.
One by one, it sank in. Each face at the table betrayed a different reaction: surprise, disgust, shock, revulsion - huh, Anders looked intrigued; she hadn't expected that - horror, disbelief, and confusion, the last from Merrill, who said "What--"
Hawke leaned over and whispered in her ear. "Oh!" she said, then "How?"
"Well--" Isabela began.
"I'll tell you later," Hawke said.
Aveline looked skeptical. "Are you sure that's what was happening?"
"I think I know what it looks like," said Isabela. "You know, Orsino has very muscular legs for a mage," she mused, eliciting a "Hey!" from Anders and an "Urgh" from Fenris.
"I think you're having one over on us," said Aveline.
"I can prove it. Meredith has a mole on her ass."
Everyone mulled that over in repulsed silence. Finally, Hawke broke it. "Of all the horrible things you could have said, that was definitely the most horrible."
"So are you going to believe me, or are you going to investigate?"
"If the choice is between believing you and trying to peep at the Knight-Commander, I think I'll take your word for it."
"Good. Now are you going to let me tell you the details?"
"No. I'm going to forget you ever said anything."
"She was riding him like a pony."
"I'm going to go home and pour hot wax in my ears."
"It was kinky, too. Spanking and--"
"LA LA LA NOT LISTENING!"
"Let it go, Rivaini," Varric said, reaching for a roll of paper. "You can tell me all about it. I'll just need a few more drinks first."
"Thank you, Varric," said Isabela.
Hawke sighed. "Well, I'll never be able to look either of them in the face again. Thanks, Bela."
"Anytime, Hawke. Anytime."