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The Body of a Complete Soul

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She overwhelms all his senses.

Her voice, her flesh, her warmth, her scent, her taste, her pleasure—all he can think about is her.

Evelyn trembles beneath his fingers, but as usual, she fights against any reflex that urge her to close her legs or wiggle away from him. All she does is reaching down for his hand to weave their fingers together.

He wants to test her, so he gives her another long lick as his two fingers curl up to rub against that spot within her.

She squirms, she moans, she begs, but her fingers still clam tightly to his.

Solas feasts on his bride. His tongue and teeth playing with her clit, his fingers stroke her like a bard plays with his well-loved lute.

Her moans continue to edge him on, but he makes no attempt to touch his straining cock. He must taste her first before going for the main course.

As all song must come to an end for the next to play, soon he could feel the familiar quivering of her inner wall.

"Sol—ah, Solas!" Evelyn wails out his name as her climax hits, filling his mouth with her sweet taste that he drinks in greedily.

He would love to spend more time to enjoy her this way, but Evelyn pulls at his shoulders to let him know she wants something else.

Following her hand, he leaves his spot between her legs to crawl up and kiss her, sharing her flavor between their lips.

Pulling back to give Evelyn a chance to catch her breath, Solas takes a moment to observe her, pride surges in his chest at what he had done to her.

Rosy cheeks, heaving chest, tousled hair, swollen red lips. Unable to contain himself, Solas reaches up to caress her lips with his thumb.

What would it be like to have them wrap around his cock? How heavenly would it feel to have her tongue caress him? To look into her eyes as she is bringing him—

No, he has already taken enough from her. There is no need for Evelyn to bring herself down and please him like a slave. He had had plenty of oral sex during his younger days back in Arlathan, but those women were either just want to please him due to his position, want to feel a sense of power and control over him or because they wanted him to repay the favor later so they just treated it as a chore.

The very few ones that actually enjoyed the act were his friends but his bonds with them were different from what he has now with his bondmate. And it is likely that what his friends feel about certain sex acts with him were different from what Evelyn may feel. After all, his love was raised in a completely different environment from the magical and sexually-liberated Arlathan.

And in the end, Evelyn is not like any of those women. As her happiness and comfort are more important than his pleasure, just having her accept him like this is enough for Solas.

He stops thinking to focus back on his lovely soulmate. She still has that exhausted but happy look and he concludes that he certainly should not demand more from her.

Solas nuzzles against Evelyn's face and neck until his bride, still smiling shyly, pushes him back to give her space. She folds her legs until her thighs are pressed against her front, spreading herself wide open for him.

"Come, Solas," Evelyn whispers and there is no choice for him but to obey.

xxXxx

"You really love to do it." Evelyn comments sometime later while they are lying against each other, sweat is still covering their bodies as his hand strokes along her upper arm.

"Do what?"

"T-tasting me, I mean." Evelyn blushes so adorably while murmuring, "Is it fun? You always so focuses on doing it that, sometimes, you don't even care about releasing yourself."

"How could I not enjoy myself when I get to see you like that?" Solas replies, moving his strokes to her cheek. "You are so beautiful, and I love to see you enjoy yourself. Seeing you writhed in pleasure like that and knowing that I am the one who did it—what kind of man would not love that?"

"I see…" Evelyn's blush deepens before she hides her face into his chest. "I love having you do that to me too…"

Chuckling at her reaction, Solas tightens his hold on her.

Evelyn is still quite shy when it comes to talking about sex but she is gradually coming out of her shell each day, at least in her actions. One day, after she has gotten used to freely expressing her desires, he will probably miss her adorable blush a lot.

And since he will miss it, he better enjoys it now.

Thinking just like that, Solas flips both of them over so Evelyn is lying beneath him.

"Since you love it, let me give you more." He licks his lips but before he can crawl down, Evelyn stops him.

"Do you… want me to do the same for you?"

Solas stops to look at her. "Do what?"

"Oral sex. You were looking at my mouth before and seemed to think really hard."

Mentally scolding himself for being so obvious, he smiles and shakes his head. "There is no need for you to do so. Let me handle everything for you. Just lie back and enjoy."

Before Evelyn can protest, Solas quickly kisses her to stop his bondmate from thinking any further. Perhaps this time he should try to test how long she could endure before he pushes her over the edge.

xxXxx

Evelyn is hiding something from him. Solas is sure of it.

For the past few days, she did not come to him in the evening to help him paint the murals or to discuss Veil activities. They only meet at night or when his presence is needed for a meeting with the advisors.

She also burnt her cooking thrice. Evelyn does not burn her cooking, ever. Not unless she is extremely sick and Solas has already secretly checked, she is quite healthy—not counting the Anchor's activities, of course.

The only times Evelyn is not acting absentminded is when she is working with the Inquisition's business but that is normal for her. Not to mention since she still has time to cook for him, her workload is probably still at their normal level, so Solas can guess that whatever is bothering his soulmate probably isn't duty-related or at least not serious enough to affect her work performance.

But he is not quite sure if her trouble has anything to do with him either. Their love-making is still amazing, she is very affectionate with him every time she has the chance to do so.

He does not want to open their link to check on her soul—since they had agreed before to learn and develop their relationship like a normal couple—but at this rate, he may need to do so soon.

Grumpily, Solas reaches for another one of the meat pies that Evelyn has left for him. These ones only slightly charred and still taste delicious but he would prefer to have her eat them together with him—they always share a meal together either in this rotunda or in their chambers, now it's just him here.

Having her by his side has really spoilt him rotten. In the past, he could ignore a lover for years or even decades without missing that person or feeling a shred of guilt; but now, just a couple of days without her attending just a portion of their daily routine is enough to leave him in a sour mood.

How the mighty has fallen…

"My friend, for someone who's as lucky as you, you look really miserable." Dorian suddenly appears at the bottom of the stair.

"Pardon?"

"You are a respected member of the Inquisition. Your lover is the Inquisitor and she absolutely adores you. You're now sitting in what's basically your own office with all the research you would ever want… and good food, too." Dorian explains before snatching a small pie for himself. "So, do forgive me but I can't image what could possibly make you so gloomy like that."

Solas lets out a sigh before replying, "Evelyn has been avoiding me in the evening for this whole past week. I just do not understand, everything else between us is still normal, but something is distracting her enough that she actually burnt her cooking."

"Oh, that…?" the younger man slowly chews on his pie while glancing aside.

"You know something, master Pavus?" Solas narrowed his eyes at the Atlus.

"Well, I can say I do, but I don't think it's something I should not disclose to you without her consent." Dorian holds up his hands in a placating gesture. "But… how should I put it? You do know about her past, right? It'd be strange if I know more than you."

"I do." Solas's frown deepens, remembering Evelyn's memories that he has seen in the Fade—a little girl with sad eyes who read alone in an empty room. "What of it?"

"Because of how she was raised, there're a lot of things Evelyn doesn't have much experience with compared to normal people; namely, her ability to communicate on a personal level with others," Dorian explains in a serious tone. "She is extremely good at playing the roles other people give her. But when she has to be herself and express her feeling to others and vice versa, Evelyn can be woefully inept. Unless you spell things out in a direct and straightforward manner, she will most likely misunderstand your intention."

Solas grimaces, now remembers how his courtship with Evelyn in the Fade has ended up with her thinking that Fen'Harel views her as a little sister instead—all because he was too much of a coward to say his feelings directly to her. For someone who had no troubles finding lovers and bedmates, Solas is a terrible suitor.

"Then, I did do something wrong?" Solas finally asks.

"Technically, yes." Dorian scratches his perfect hair in frustration. "I did promise Evelyn to not say anything, but if this continues, you two will probably prolong this state for a while…"

The man trails off for a moment before giving up with a heavy exhale. "I think you should end your work early today and go to your chambers now. Evelyn is up there and most likely doing whatever she's doing."

"I do not understand."

"Just believe me and go. Let me deal with this for you." Dorian waves his hand before reaching for the Veil's activity reports Solas was working on. "And remember, talk to her clearly or she won't understand your true intent."

Not wanting to miss the chance to find out what is wrong with his bondmate, Solas leaves without much protest. Opening his sense to check on Evelyn, he confirms that what Dorian said is true—Evelyn is in their bedroom and whatever she is doing, she probably doesn't want anyone to know given how nervous and embarrassed she's feeling right now.

As he goes through the door of their bedroom, Solas deliberately doesn't say anything, only closing the door loud enough for Evelyn to know someone is coming.

Just as he guessed, immediately, there is a small gasp following by hurried rustling sounds. Whatever she was doing, Evelyn certainly does not want anyone to know.

"W-who's there?"

"It is me, vhenan," he answers with a casual voice, using his lightest steps while trying to reach the top of the stair quickly. He can hear her running from one spot to another.

"My Wolf, y-you're back early!" His soulmate says from her spot in the middle of the room—face all red and obviously trying to control her breath. "Finished work already?"

"No, not really." He smiles, suddenly feels the need to tease her despite his more serious intention to come here from the beginning. "I just suddenly wanted to see you so I figured there should be no harm to skip some works to spend more time with you."

"I-is that so?"

He can see Evelyn starts sweating furiously and making very ill-concealed attempts to glance at their bed. She looks like a child trying to not get caught for stealing cookies.

How adorable! Now he wants to tease her even more!

Feinting innocence, Solas walks over to the bed to sit down before holding out his hand to Evelyn. "Come now, vhenan. Won't you let me hold you?"

Evelyn looks apprehensive at first before stepping forward to take his hand and settle herself in his lap. He can see that she is still a bit nervous but eventually, Evelyn relaxes and wraps her arms around his neck, nuzzles her face into the crook of his neck.

"I've missed you these past evenings too, my Wolf," she mutters against his skin. Her small confession squeezes at his heart. Selfishly, he cannot help but feel a little joy knowing that the disruption in their routine does bother her, too.

For a while, Solas thinks that perhaps he should just delay his quest to find out Evelyn's secret and just enjoying his time with her. It is simply too hard to let go of her but when they adjust their positions to be more comfortable, his elf-ears catch a small rustling sound from between from pillows, forcing him to leave his little dream and back to reality.

If he stops his plan now, he may ruin a chance to understand and help Evelyn. Whatever problem his soulmate is having, it is obvious that she does not trust or comfortable with him enough to ask for help—and the thought that he is unreliable for her to depend on is unacceptable to him.

Now that he had confirmed that there is something being hidden on this bed, he needs to move Evelyn out of the way and get to them before her.

And so, he continues to hold her, both to enjoy their little moment of peace and to lull her into a false sense of security until he can find the right time to strike.

Eventually, Solas makes his move. "Do you have any of your sweet tea left? I suddenly feel a craving for it," he asks.

"More like you always drink it instead of my other teas. You are a wolf and yet you like sweet more than meat!" Evelyn huffs out a laugh but still gets up to get to the fireplace.

"There is nothing wrong with enjoying sweet and delicious things?" Solas retorts good-naturally, eyes trail on Evelyn while he carefully edges toward the pillows.

Evelyn turns around to reply, "But you did say that even my bitter teas taste good so—Solas, what are you doing!" and shrieks as she sees Solas dipping his hand into between the pillows.

Immediately, she rushes to him but it's already too late. By the time she has crossed the room to jump on Solas and pull him back, he has already dragged out several stashes of paper and two books.

"Nononono!Don'tlookdon'tlookdon'tlookdon'tlook!" Evelyn keeps yelling while struggling against Solas to snatch back her "secret"; but with her small stature and his strength, it is definitely a hopeless match for her. After a few moments, she finally manages to get a hold on the papers but by that point, the only reason she succeeds is because Solas's mind is basically a blank after he has read some of the titles and text:

Chapter 5: The Act of Love with a Woman's Mouth

Basic Techniques of Oral Sex (Female to Male ver.)

Chapter 14. As I learn to pleasure him

How to Catch a Man with Your Tongue in Every Possible Way

Tutorial on How to Leave a Man (and You) Speechless

Knowing that she has failed, Evelyn screams in frustration before snatching all the documents to herself and turns away.

There is a long, awkward and uncomfortable silence between them until Solas finally snaps out of his shock and collects himself enough to turn to her.

"Ah—Evelyn, that was—"

"You weren't supposed to know until after I've learned it!" Evelyn moans, glancing over her shoulder at him while looking both furious and close to tears. "It was Dorian, wasn't it? I will kill him!"

"'Until after you've learned'? Have you been learning about oral sex? Why didn't you tell me?" Several times before, Evelyn has offered him but each and every time, he had declined and used something else to distract her. Eventually, she stopped asking altogether so he thought that he had finally succeeded in convincing her to abandon the topic—now it turns out he was wrong. Dead wrong.

"If I tell you, you will stop me," Evelyn replies plainly, eyes daring him to tell her the opposite. And truth be told, she is not wrong, he would definitely try to stop her.

"Look, I know that I don't have any experience in this, but I can practice," Evelyn continues while Solas is still debating about what he should say next. "I can try on toys until I'm sure that I won't accidentally bite you."

"What? No!" Solas exclaims. "It is not about whether you have experience or not. Nor do I care that if you could hurt me. I don't want you to do it because I do not want to make you uncomfortable."

Solas holds onto Evelyn's shoulders to turn her fully around to face him. Moving his hands to her cheeks, he gently stroke the skin below her eyes while explaining, "I don't want to force you to attend to my pleasure like a slave. Countless time in the past, I've seen with my own eyes how the masters in Arlathan forcing their slaves to serve them with such acts. It was absolutely humiliating and degrading for those victims. You are my bondmate—there is no way I could let you degrade yourself just for my own gain."

Evelyn looks at him like he is growing a second head before growling. "Solas, did you just seriously compare slavers raping their slaves to me making love with you? If you think that me giving you oral sex is degrading then what the hell did you do to me almost every night? Did you feel insulted when you did that to me too?"

"Never! How could I ever feel like that? I did not mean it like that." How could she ever think that he feels anything other than joy when he is with her. "I love you. Seeing you happy and knowing that I am the reason for it makes me proud of myself."

"Then can't you think for a moment that the same also applied to me? I am your bride! I'm also a grown woman but you didn't even give me a chance to decide for myself!" Evelyn snaps back before, much to his horror, tears start to quell up at the corner of her eyes. "You always make me feel so good so I also want to do the same for you… I want to make you feel happy. I just want to try but then you kept declining me even though it's obvious that you want it, too. I-I've thought there's something wrong with me so you don't want me—"

"No, no, no, Evelyn, please don't cry. I'm sorry! Please!" Frantically, Solas gathers his soulmate into his arms, kissing away her tears while stroking her hair. "There is nothing wrong with you. It is all my fault!"

It is true. Everything is all his doings. He was so arrogant that he thought he could decide what is good for her and what not—in the end, as always, he only ends up hurting her. He has already ruined enough of her life from the moment she was born and now…

He needs to do the right thing.

"Let's try again. Together," Solas says as he pulls Evelyn back to look clearly at her. "You can try it with me. Whenever you want."

"Really?" Evelyn asks before seemingly realizing something and shakes her head. "No, I'm not going to force you to do it just to please me. If you really don't want it then I understand."

She then tries to squirm away from his hold but he pulls her back.

"I do not suggest it just to please you. You know that I want this, don't you? To the point that I actually spaced out while touching your lips. It was why you try to learn from these papers so intently in the first place."

She nods, still half-turns away from him, but at least not fighting to get away anymore.

Gently, he guides her face back to look straight at her. "I think we both have our own flaw in the way we communicate with each other. I tend to assume and decide things for you, while you often try to deal with your trouble on your own instead of asking me directly until I take the initiative. I think we can both learn to help each other by being more open."

Evelyn still keeps silence but she is looking at him now while mulling over his words.

Solas takes a deep breath before asking in a clear and firm voice, "Vhenan, do you still want to try oral sex with me?"

Evelyn presses her lips together for a moment before she, too, answers firmly, "Yes, I do."

"Then let's do it tonight," Solas announces. His heart brightens at Evelyn's smile as she spreads out her arms to wrap them around his neck, pushing both of them to lie back with her on top him.

"Will you show me how?" whispers Evelyn. "The texts are quite details but I just cannot get into them..."

"Of course. To be honest, I was lying when I said I don't care if you could hurt me. I am actually very much concerned with keeping my important part intact," he says it with a straight face, and as expected, it makes Evelyn laugh.

"Good, good. Glad to know you're still very much a normal man with normal concerns then," she replies while wiping away the tears at the corner of her eye, mouth is still spreading ear-to-ear.

He loves her smile so much. Then, he remembers something. "Speaking of those papers, did you get them from Dorian and the Iron Bull?"

"Ah yes, most of the… more "technical" ones, actually. I found the rest in the library, the romantic ones, you see…" Evelyn explains sheepishly, "I was trying to find more proper tutorials than just women novels when Dorian walked in on me. He and Bull offered to help but…"

"But?"

"I was so mortified when they discussed our sex life, and those two kept arguing with each other on how to teach me so, in the end, Bull found some materials for me to learn by myself." She signs and lets her head fall back onto his chest again. "But no amount of sucking on my fingers could actually show me what it would be like with the real thing. I was actually considering whether or not to ask Bull to get me one of those toys when you suddenly came back."

The thoughts about Evelyn "practicing" sends a flash of heat straight to Solas's groin but he pushes it away. Instead, he decides to just focus on talking with his soulmate, wanting to help her express herself more.

"Oral sex is something better to learn through hands-on practice, vhenan. You have to watch out for your partner's reaction to know what to do," says Solas.

"I know." She thinks for a bit before glaring at him. "But really? I had touched your private part so many times these past weeks ever since we finalized our bond, why did you think I would feel uncomfortable with sucking it?"

"Well…" Solas coughs. "Aside from my experience with the slavers and their victims, many of my past bed partners didn't seem to like it that much either. And the very few ones that did were my friends, but I thought that perhaps since they were very different from you so you would not like it. I was wrong for assuming, obviously."

"Very obviously," Evelyn deadpans but then she smiles a little, drawing little circles on his chest with her finger. "That's why I'm glad we're talking right now. I've never done anything like this before… talking about feeling and what I like and want to try in such an intimate way, I mean…"

"So am I," Solas replies, turning both of them so they are now lying on their sides, still looking at each other. "All of these—having a serious courtship then a bondmate, talking heart-to-heart, learning about my partner's preferences—I've never thought that I would one day experience a true relationship."

"But didn't you say you have many lovers before?"

He laughs. "Oh, vhenan, having a lover does not necessary means having experience in the matter of the heart. I know how to make love to a woman, but I had never felt the need to try to understand a woman's heart or to please her purely for her happiness in a romantic way. You are the very first person that I care like this. I want to make you happy."

A rush of images flashes through the back of his mind…

She is crying under the moon again.

Even though she smiled at him so sweetly this afternoon, there is no trace of that happiness in her now.

What can he do to make that smile last forever?

He just wants to make her happy.

The emotions come and go faster than even a blink of an eye, leaving barely a register in the elf's mind. Solas can only recognize a feeling of nostalgia but beyond that, it feels like nothing had happened, most of his attention is still on Evelyn, whose smile has widened at his revelation.

"I want to make you happy, too." Evelyn whispers, "Tonight, I want to learn more about you."

"So do I, vhenan." He presses their foreheads together. "So do I."

xxXxx

They spend the evening together, trying to finish her work of the day as soon as possible to leave more time for her to relax.

Eventually, night comes and before he knows it, Solas finds himself helping Evelyn to dry herself after their bed.

There are no needs to change into new clothes so he simply carries her straight from the bathroom to the bed. He sits down on the edge with her in his lap, feeling the pleasant heat and softness of her body.

Gently, she cups his cheek and gives him a reassuring smile. Even without their link, he knows what she wants to say.

I will be all right because you are here with me.

Pulling his head down, Evelyn captures his lips. Her kiss is strong, even eager, and Solas feels like he is being pulled along with her will.

Their tongues engage in their familiar dance. Little nibbles, long strokes, short strokes, pulling and pushing, entwining and exploring, pleasure and shivers that run down his spine—it is an intoxicating thing that will never make him tired.

When Evelyn ends their kiss, Solas could see the usual flush she always has whenever she is aroused, but in her eyes, there is a keen focus and a little bit of nervousness.

"It will be all right. Go ahead, I will help you out when you need it," Solas reassures her.

She gives him a long look before nodding. Then, she leaves his lap to knee between his legs, her attention fully on his cock now.

Without any hesitation, she takes him into her hands and stroke.

It feels good, not to the point that he has to bite back a moan or hitch his breath, but it is enough to make his heart beats a little bit faster. Evelyn's fingers are gentle and she knows enough about his preference to control them to his liking.

Then, she leans her head forward and gives the head of his cock a quick lick.

His body lightly jerks up, more surprised by her sudden action than because how it felt, it was a single short lick after all. Solas has not expected Evelyn to move that fast, perhaps his love is even more impatient than he previously thought.

Solas does not have more times to muse because Evelyn licks him several times more, each longer than the one before it. Her work is a bit clumsy and it seems like she is testing on how he feels and tastes on her tongue, but that will not do if she just focusing on one place like that.

Maybe she has forgotten most of the things she "learned" from her documents due to her excitement.

Maybe he can help her.

"You can move around for a bit, vhenan," Solas advises. Before him, Evelyn immediately freezes, her eyes peek up at him, unreadable. Solas smiles, gently adds, hoping that his tone will not feel like a command and more like a suggestion. "Stay in one place for too long will make it oversensitive. You can try something else other than licking, too. Same with the strength of your tongue, too."

Evelyn blushes but does not say anything, she just nods before returning her attention to her work.

She licks him again—this time it is a long one from near the base of his cock to the tip that makes him audibly breathe in. His fingers clench around the bed sheet.

His bondmate most likely has heard him because she quickly repeats her action, this time from the side while her fingers rub his sac in gentle circles.

It feels good now, not just pleasant. Solas quickly finds himself breathing harder, heart beats rapidly in his chest. He reaches out to rest his hand on the back of Evelyn's head, slightly putting enough pressure to urge her forward—she freezes for just a moment before continuing, most probably knowing that it is an encouragement indicating she is doing something right.

And she does, because she doubles her effort on his near fully-erected cock with a series of both light and strong suctions.

His heart skips a bit when she licks at the bead of moisture at the tip. He relaxes when it seems that she does not find the taste offensive enough to stop or have a visible reaction.

But nothing prepares Solas for when she envelops her mouth around the head of his cock and sucks.

Her mouth is hot and wet, the heat of her mouth combines with her oh-so-soft tongue makes him exhale out what is closer to a hiss.

Evelyn lightly sucks on him for a bit to test before increasing the pressure—there is no teeth so Solas can guess that she did learn something from her manuals and practices—she keeps in that position for a little more before her head starts to bob up and down, and he can see the way her cheeks hollow to tighten her mouth around his cock. Solas is moaning now—there are no reasons to stay silent when it feels this good. Evelyn's movements are still a bit clumsy and she lacks variations, but her lack of techniques is compensated by the fact that she is very enthusiastic.

And how could he not feel good when the one he loves is doing her best for him, giving him what he's been dreaming for these past weeks?

His reaction clearly spurns Evelyn on because she continues to suck him deeper, but eventually, she reaches a point where doing so is obviously causing her trouble. As Solas knows that her untrained gag-reflex and his size will not let her take all of him—and he would prefer her to not pushing herself too far on her first time—he tightens his grip on her head just a little bit to catch her attention before saying, "Vhenan, you needn't trying too hard like that. Don't push yourself to take all of me right away. It feels good enough for me already."

Evelyn stops and for a moment, Solas fears that his words instead will make her push herself even harder. To his relief, when she bobs her head again, her suction on his cock stays the same length as before, even if the pace is slower.

But then, Evelyn looks up—with his cock still in her mouth and all—and makes a direct eye contact with him, Solas realizes he was only half-right because the meaning in her eyes is very clear.

'Good enough' isn't enough for me.

Before he can react, Evelyn's mouth tightens like a vice around him, forcing all reasons to fly out of his head.

He cannot stop groaning and calling out her name. His eyes roll up in ecstasy. One of his hands is clenching tightly to the bed edge but the other still rests on her head—he still wants to maintain a contact with her, a connection.

Through his hazy gaze, Solas looks down at his bondmate just in time for her to look up to him again. This time, what he finds in her eyes set a new flame in both his mind and body.

Her eyes are full of joy and pride.

She is enjoying this. She is enjoying him and what she is doing.

This sudden discovery pushes a new wave of pleasure through Solas. The throbbing and pulsing in his groin and lower abs keep growing and growing. It is hard to think, let alone to talk.

Soon. Very soon. It just feels too good to be delayed.

But he has to warn her.

Clenching his teeth to force out more coherent words, Solas says while lightly pushing at Evelyn's head, "Vhenan, I am close now. You can take me out and just use your hands to—"

Much to his surprise, Evelyn does not stop to remove her hand. Instead, one of her hands leaves its place around the base of his cock to hold onto his hip, fighting him. Her head and mouth double their speed and effort on wrenching out more pleasure from him.

Solas cannot move away without too much force—it will either injure him or her—so he can only sit still and let Evelyn continue while praying that perhaps she will let go before her mouth becomes too full.

It does not help that the thought of Evelyn swallowing his come is very effective in pushing him over the edge. The images of her mouth full of his seed and her chest splatter with the rest of it—

White flashes cover Solas's whole vision as his breaths catch in his chest.

His hips jerk, pushing his cock further into Evelyn's waiting mouth. He can even feel the sensation of her mouth being filled up.

"E-Evelyn—"

It feels like an eternity in which he is floating in ecstasy.

But it actually only lasts until Evelyn suddenly lets go of his cock and turns aside.

The moment Solas hears her coughing, panic sets through his whole mouth. Immediately, he jumps off the bed to take Evelyn into his arms.

"Vhenan, are you all right?" He frantically turns her around to look all over her.

Tears have gathered at the corner of her eyes, her nose and cheeks are red, and there are drips of liquid running from her mouth.

"I-it's all right—I'm o-okay," Evelyn answers between hacks and coughs. Solas does not dare to believe her but he restrains from saying anything until she calms down.

When she looks at him again, she is smiling.

"I didn't realize you have that much stored in there. Caught by surprise, really." She giggles, half-amused and half-embarrassed. "And keeping something that big in your mouth for that long really aches!"

"This is no laughing matter, Evelyn. You choked," Solas scolds her with a frown, yet cannot help but feel a little proud from her offhanded compliment. Sighing, he helps her up before returning to sit on the bed with her in his lap. "You shouldn't have pushed yourself so hard like that. It was your first time, not a competition."

"I'm an overachiever, and I like to do well even from my first start." Evelyn shrugs. "I'm sure now if I get to practice more with you, I can do better," she says confidently.

He sighs again, "Still…"

"But you liked it, did you not?" she cuts him off.

"Yes, it was incredible," Solas admits—he cannot lie to her, not after he has shown how much he enjoyed it and after he has seen her own happiness. "I love it."

His confession makes a brilliant smile bloom on Evelyn's face. Pride shines through her eyes. She wraps her arms around his neck and whispers into his neck, "I'm glad, my Wolf."

"So am I, vhenan," he murmurs, hands stroking her bare back and thighs. He turns her head to kiss her, but she stops him instead.

"Something wrong?" Solas frowns.

"There's still some… left in my mouth." Her cheeks redden as she covers her mouth with her hands.

Cannot help himself, Solas chuckles before pulling back Evelyn's hands.

"Oh, vhenan, how many times have I kissed you right after I used my tongue on you?" He taps her bottom lip.

"…Too many times to count?" Evelyn replies, avoiding his gaze.

"And do you hate it?" He smirks, already knowing her answer.

She looks at him shyly now. "N-no, I really love it."

"Then why do you think I would hate to kiss you after you have done the same to me?"

He does not wait for her answer this time and just leans down to kiss her. She does not shy away from him either, opening her mouth so willingly for his tongue to dart in and have a taste of himself.

When he leaves her mouth, Evelyn is smiling so tender at him.

"You haven't asked if I like to give you oral sex or not?" she tilts her head.

"Do you…?" hesitantly, Solas asks, a mixed feeling rises in his chest about the possibility that her answer will be "no".

Not answering him right away, Evelyn takes his hand and press his fingers against the junction between her thighs.

She is wet. Very much so. And it is obvious that it isn't just because of his kiss.

"I love it," she says simply, eyes twinkling as her tongue sticking out to wet the corner of her lips.

It is only then that Solas realizes there are still traces of his seed trailing down on her chin; and on her breasts, semi-translucent splatters of liquid decorating her skin.

He can feel his cock twitches. And so does Evelyn.

He was so wrong about this, and he is glad that Evelyn has proven him otherwise—Solas concludes as he quickly moves. In a blink of an eye, Evelyn is already lying in the middle of the bed with him hovering above her.

"We can practice more in the future. Remember back when I said that there are things I want to show you? I want to keep that promise with you now. No more hiding or assuming." Solas says in a low voice, his hand stroking tenderly against her cheek. "I want to learn more about you."

There are still a lot of things for them to learn as a couple, especially when they both have no experience in this matter. But while Solas has no doubt that they will argue and even fight one another many times more in the years to come, right now, nevermore that he has such a high hope in their future.

And with the light in her eyes as she looks up to him, Solas can tell that Evelyn is clearly thinking about the same thing.

"I cannot wait." She smiles, fingers gliding from between his shoulder blades to the top of his neck before pulling him down.

Chapter Text

She looks at the stars and wonders what is it like to never have to concern yourself with mortal affairs—to not have to drench yourself in blood while covering your face with a beautiful mask and your mouth sprouting hollowed pretty words.

Evelyn has done her best tonight to gather power for her goal and what a great reward that she has been promised—the full support of Empress Celine herself in this war against Copheryus and beyond. But then again, that 'beyond' would only last until the day the truth comes out, Evelyn has no doubt that once Solas's—No, their plan goes into motions, Celine, and perhaps even Briala, will regret deeply to ever associate themselves with the Inquisitor.

But it is not the thought about the fury the Empress of Orlais will one day give her that make Evelyn's heart full of heaviness, it is the memories of the burnt bodies in the slum and the cold stares of the dead servants that haunt her. Dead, lifeless, slaughtered like animals and their cries went unheard or just flat out ignored because they were born into a wrong life.

Just like the mages in the Circle back then.

It was the same, even the sticky feeling her feet had when she stepped into those puddles of blood was identical. Evelyn could kill Florianne, but that is just too quick for her. And even if she keeps the woman alive and humiliate her as a punishment, it still will not bring those innocent lives back. How many times more that has to happen before people can live the life that they deserve? How many times more does she has to contribute to the death of innocent people? How many times she had to play the Game until their dream could come true? How many times more could she bear to—

"There you are." His voice softly appears behind her back, prompting her to quickly turn around to see his face full of concern for her as he closes the only door leading to this balcony they are on.

Suddenly, the answer to the questions she had just now is so very clear as it should have been: As many times as it should take. And she will bear all the guilt she has to take along the way.

While Evelyn loses herself in her musing, Solas has come forward to cup her cheek before hugging her to himself. Something must have shown on her face because these days he does not check on her emotion as much as before in respect for her privacy.

"I'm all right," she whispers into his ear as her arms circling around him. "You are here, so I'm all right. I can get used to it."

"Just because you can do so does not mean it doesn't hurt."

Evelyn both cannot deny it and is also grateful for his presence, so she does not say anything else. Instead, she huddles closer into his embrace for a while before pulling back.

"Did you get anything else aside from the passcode?" Evelyn asks.

"I have managed to gather some decryptions to solve the main secret codes Briala often uses for her operations—This will help us greatly." Solas smirks in satisfaction.

"That was fast!" She honestly thought it would take them weeks after contacting with Briala to know more about how the woman works.

"Certain things have certain patterns, vhenan. Once you've lived long enough like me, you will know enough to see what normal people do not notice." Solas hummed. "Of course, this is just a small part of the whole puzzle, but it is a start."

"Even so, you have done a lot in such a short time." No matter how many times she witnesses it, her lover always surprises Evelyn with how fast and effective he could perform his tasks.

"Only because you kept my path clear," he gently corrects her, his fingers playing with the loose hair near her cheek. "You've done a terrific job tonight, Evelyn. Playing the Game and then finishing the physical work yourself—you wouldn't be out of place if this ball were to take place in Arlathan."

He stopped a bit before adding with a half-smirk, "It is a pity I did not get to see you tear off your previous dress though. It would have been quite a sight to see."

"That again?" Evelyn scoffs. Suddenly, the mood between them changes. "Seriously, I think you should have been the one who wore that gown. You are so in love with it that it apparently hurts you more to see me rip it than myself." Evelyn huffs.

"I love seeing you in that gown. It's not often that I get to see you in such lovely things outside the Fade and I think I deserve to enjoy it more." As he speaks, Solas quickly lifts her up to sit her on the stone rail of the balcony, making her let out a small squeak. "In fact, I am very enjoying myself right now to see you like this."

Evelyn blushes slightly but can't help feeling good about herself after his statement. Vivienne, ever the fashionable First Enchanter, has turned out to have been preparing some extra outfits for their group after their battle. In hindsight, it was a good idea of her to do so—no matter what achievement the Inquisition could make in regard to the throne, many of the Orlesian noblemen and women here are simply too obsessed with appearance to be properly interacted with unless one is dressing up to their idea of a standard.

But Vivienne has surprised Evelyn quite a bit when the woman gave her the gown to wear—the dress's design is indeed less practical than her old one with it thin light blue and silver color materials. It has cuts along the shoulders and upper arms to reveal her skin. The sleeves gather around her elbows before letting the lace flows to her mid-forearms. With all the seamlines decorated with delicate laces, this outfit should have made Evelyn look very fragile and innocent, but there is one detail on it that makes it go against the idea of a noble feminine outfit: The front opening of her high collar is big and deep enough that it completely exposes the large red, angry scar between her breasts.

For a lady to show scars in the court of the Empire is an unimaginable thing, that is the known rule for anyone with the faintest idea about noble fashion, but Vivienne had a different idea.

"This is quite unexpected," Evelyn commented as she is looking down at her chest.

"You don't like it?" asked Vivienne.

"No, surprisingly. I just thought that you would give me something more… traditional?"

"Oh, my dear girl, traditional is for the normal aristocrats." Vivienne let out her trademarks laugh. "But you are not normal—you are the Inquisitor. You may need to dress properly to attend a ball but that doesn't mean you have to make yourself blend into the crowd. You have done an exceptional job in pulling Celine to our side, but the people below the Empress need a little more persuasion."

"So, my black gown decorated with the blood of my enemies isn't enough?"

Vivienne hummed, stepping forward to tuck a red rose into Evelyn's hair before replying, "They have seen you as a noblewoman, then they saw you as a soldier and a leader; the final step is to show them that you are all."

The Enchanter then placed a finger against the top of the red scar. "You may dress in finery like them, but this scar shows that you are not the same as them. You have power and resources that you've earned with your own blood unlike most people here, that is what they need to know. They need to be reminded that you are not someone they want to fight against."

That… was something Evelyn has never thought about before, using her scars as a way to assert domination. This wound, to her, was a reminder of how dangerous her life as Fen'Harel's bondmate would be; but more than anything, it was a reminder that he loves her. Despite how unsightly it might have seemed to other people, as Evelyn has sometimes seen the ways the maids winced when they see it, she truly cherished it and was silently glad that it would never fade away.

And now, to think that it could also be used as a weapon… she liked it. She liked it a lot.

"Thank you, Vivienne." Evelyn smiled, feeling a new confidence rising in her chest.

"Of course," the First Enchanter simply said.

The gentle stroking from Solas's fingertips against her collarbone yanks Evelyn from her reminiscence. Trying to ignore the way it sends shivers down her spine, she explains, "It was Vivienne's idea—something to give a message to the noblemen and women here."

"I see," Solas says. "I think it works quite well. On my way here, I overheard people talking about dangerous you look now despite their initial impression of you."

"That's good to hear."

"But I also heard from quite a few men that they would like to get to know you better." As he says, a dark shadow looms on Solas's face and for the first time, Evelyn sees an emotion she has never seen from him before.

"Are you jealous?" She quickly grabs his hand and presses it tightly against her chest. "Solas, you know that there's no way I would ever return the advance of those men."

"I know." He glances aside, brows turning into a deep frown full of disgust. "But it does not mean that you can stop them from looking at you with those lustful stares. They were even taking bets about 'conquering' you as if you are some kind of prize or prey and not a person."

"Solas." Evelyn sighs. Gently, she turns his head back to face her with one hand. "Who cares if they harbor ill intentions toward me? It's not the first time someone has done so, and it won't be the last. Right now, all I care about is that you are looking at me. I only need to know that you want me."

To emphasize her point, she grabs the front of his shirt to pull him up and capture his lips. His tongue carries the flavor of sweet wine she had tried at the beginning of the ball, and the combination of its headiness with Solas's very own unique taste makes her feel a little lightheaded.

When they let go, it is only to breathe and even, they still have their forehead press together and their arms remain wrapping around one another.

Solas chuckles. "If this is how you react whenever I get jealous, I must do it more often."

"Even if you don't, I can do this with you anytime you get in the mood." Evelyn strokes his cheek. "But usually you don't get rile up by other people that easily even when they're attacking you directly, why are you so work up now?"

"Vhenan, I've spent thousands of years living for the sake of my people, I've given them everything I had—my power, my friends, the bonds and peaceful life that I could have. Everything I've wanted to possess was all for them. But you…"

He cupped her face with both of his hands and she finds herself unable to move under his gaze. "You are the first and only thing that I want for myself that I will never let go. Those men can set their eyes upon anything else that I have—but not youNever you."

Evelyn wants to say something, anything in response to that heartfelt confession but before she could find it, Solas's lips have already descended upon hers once more and this time, its intensity increases tenfold.

Head spinning, toes curling and nails digging into whatever purchase they could find, Evelyn feels like her mind is being pulled away by a strong current that consumes all that stands in its path. By the time she is aware of her surroundings again, she realizes it's because Solas has left her mouth to pay attention to her neck and ear.

His left hand has somehow sneaked into the inside of her dress's opening, pawing at her breast. The rough parts of his fingertips rub against her nipple, making her breath hitches in her chest.

"Do you want me to stop?" Solas asks into her ear and Evelyn knows he will stop immediately if she says "yes". But "yes" isn't what she wants.

"Don't stop—" Evelyn does not get the chance to finish when a sharp but wonderful pain runs through the side of her neck. It will leave a mark for sure, especially when Solas's attempt to sooth it involves sucking at the bite mark immediately afterward.

Evelyn let out a laboring breath through her mouth, trying to keep her head tilt aside so her bondmate can focus on his task. It feels wonderful, and a more rational part of her mind has an inkling that if she continues to let him do this, things will escalate even more. The balcony they are on doesn't have any window—the only exist is that door but she did notice Solas had placed a temporary seal spell on the lock when he was closing it. If anyone wants to go out here, the two of them would notice right away, but it is still risky for them to do this.

And yet…

"More." She whispers, pulling at his shoulder.

Solas complies. He moves her around so she is now leaning against a tall post of the balcony rail, at a perfect height for his mouth to kiss her and his hand sneaking under her dress to stroke the bare skin of her thigh.

Evelyn's ears could only hear the sounds that her lover makes. The music and voices of people on the other side of the wall have long faded into white noises. Her eyes can only focus on her bondmate as everything else becomes blurry like they are being covered by a layer of mist.

Solas has, at some points, loosened up the front of her top, giving himself more access to her breasts and he certainly doesn't waste time to enjoy them. Rubbing, nuzzling, sucking, biting, he feasts upon her hungrily. His hand has moved up to rubbing against her groin through the thin fabric of her small but he doesn't make any attempt of going in like he usually does.

For a while, her bondmate keeps her on that near edge of pleasure, enough to make her dizzy but not quite to reach there. Pleasure is running through her and yet she is empty at the same time.

"Solas, more, please. I need you." She pleads, trying to edge him on by rubbing a certain spot on the back of his ears, knowing that it will make him lost control.

"Are you sure?" Solas asks and Evelyn could hear a subdued constrain in his otherwise normal tone.

"Of course, I am!" She raises her voice, feeling a bit annoyed that he had taken thing this far and now asking her this.

"Even if there is someone who is watching us right now? In particular, that man on that balcony over there?"

Suddenly, Evelyn is very aware of her surrounding now.

"What?" She almost turns around by reflex but Solas stops her.

"Now, don't do that, vhenan. You don't want him to see your face, do you?"

"How long has he been there?" Evelyn speaks through her gritted teeth. Her voice automatically comes out much quieter despite the fact that she knows that the nearest balcony should be over a couple of meters away from here.

"Long enough for him to probably assume that we will do more than just kissing," Solas says nonchalantly, his eyes flicker toward the direction of that man before returning to her. "He looks very interested in our activity, and very impatient right now."

"And you didn't think it was important to tell me earlier?" Evelyn fumes, the 'rather than let me get this high only to cut me off like this' is left unsaid.

"This is not the first time I make a show for others to see, plus the facts that he cannot see your face or that I thought you wouldn't let things go this far," Solas explains lightly but then his face turns serious. "If you are uncomfortable, we can stop here. We have the rest of the night in our room so it's not like we have to get it done here."

As he speaks, his left hand is stroking her back in a comfortable gesture while his right one laces its fingers with her left's. Well, perhaps his actions are making her feel too comfortable because that little fire in her lower stomach is making it existent known to her once more.

But if that man stays too long and realizes who they are, if anyone comes through that door and see them, it could lead to trouble down the line…

"It's okay. I suppose we should get out of here now." Solas's sigh makes her look up to see his gentle, understanding smile. "I shouldn't have risked the Inquisition's reputation. And I am sorry for making you uncomfortable like that."

He takes her hand to pull her toward the door.

But she stops him by standing still on her spot without letting his hand go.

"Evelyn?"

How could she let her fear disappointed him like that? Sure, they could give up a few moments of intimation to avoid the gossiping ears around them but… isn't doing it the same as acknowledging their relationship is something shameful that should be hidden away?

She is not ashamed of him. Never him.

"Stay." Her voice is small at first but the solid feeling of his warm hand in hers gives her more confidence as she says her words, "Stay with me. Here."

"Are you sure? If someone sees, they will—"

She doesn't let him finish. By pulling him down for a demanding kiss, Evelyn has effectively cut off any argument Solas could have and more. He had let out a grunt of surprise at first, but now he is so compliant in her embrace and tries to return her kiss with an even greater enthusiasm than before.

When they let go of each other's mouth to catch their breath, there is a mischievous twinkle in his eyes that make her feel so giggly despite the knowledge that they currently have an uninvited audience.

"That was more enthusiastic than I expected." Solas chuckled, hugging her to himself again. "But are you sure? I don't want us to go through this and then having you beat yourself over it afterward out of regret."

It is not "having you blame it" but "having you beat yourself over it"—as always, he is still more concerned about her hurting herself than what she would feel toward him. How could she do any less for her Wolf?

"If anyone sees us, it would only a minor scandal compare to what we had faced before." Evelyn caresses Solas's cheeks with her thumbs. "I'm more concerned if you're okay with this, having an extra viewer, I mean? Those nobles could try to give you a hard time if they all know."

"Oh, vhenan, it was me who initiated this in the first place and now you are asking if I care about them?" Solas smirks. "Let me say this clear to you—all I care about is your consent. As long as you are happy, I don't care what others think."

His words resonant through her, giving her even more courage to push her worry to a side. Licking her lips and feeling that giddy excitement from preparing to do something so new and forbidden, Evelyn pushes herself against Solas.

"Then… let me take care of you. I have promised to give you rewards before if you behave and not playing tricks on people tonight, have I not?" The words come out so in a low, husky tone—so different from what her normal self's behavior that and yet aside from a slight hotness on her cheek, she doesn't really feel the urge to take it back or stammering her speech to try to excuse it.

Instead, Evelyn slides her hand from Solas's chest down to his lower stomach, deliberately stops just above the very obvious budge stranding against the inside of his trousers.

In a flash, Evelyn finds herself being pushed against the rail post like before with Solas's mouth once against devouring her. His hand roaming all over her body before reaching the back of her thighs.

Effortlessly, her bondmate lifts her up and basically have her hover between him and the rail post. Even if at least now she has somewhat gotten used to being lifted around by him, Evelyn still can't help but marvel at his strength and the way he could carry her so easily without breaking a sweat—just like now, when he is holding her against the post with one hand while his other one working to untie the strings of her small.

Impatient and trying to be helpful, she fumbles with her own task of undoing the hidden buttons of his pants. Unlike him, her hand is clumsy both from inexperience and excitement so it takes her longer to do it—with her Wolf waiting so patiently for her after he had already discarded her small to the side.

When Evelyn has finally finished her task, she does not have a moment to celebrate her little victory because Solas quickly scoops her up higher to press his cock against her mound, letting her feel how much he wants her.

Ah, and to let him feel how much she wants him, too, because she could already feel the wetness from her cunt sticking to his skin. Her heart is thundering in her chest and it becomes harder to breathe. For a second, Evelyn's mind wandering to those romance novels she shared with Cassandra—but unlike in those erotic stories, Solas does not immediately impale her on his cock to take her hard and fast against the wall.

Instead, he looks straight into her eyes and asks sincerely, "Is this all right?"

She knows he will let her down and help her fix her clothes if she says 'No', but Evelyn only has one answer for her bondmate's question.

"Yes." Her mouth says.

Always. Her heart says.

And his eyes do not leave her face while he is entering her.

It's hot. Burningly so. The cold air makes the differences in temperatures around them all the more apparent. Her back is cold against the white stone but her front is burning up from pleasure and ecstasy when he starts to move.

They kiss, they press their forehead together, they nuzzle their face against one another's in between thrusts. Love and lust melt together as it always has been between them.

As he moves within her, the pleasure overtakes her mind as each second passes. Evelyn tries to quiet down her whimpers but when her bondmate tilts her head to bite down onto the curve between her shoulder and neck, she has to let out a loud gasp.

The dizziness makes it hard to think but when Evelyn looks up and sees the stars, for a moment, her thoughts are so clear.

Being a star means that she does not have to be drenched in blood, there will be no need to play the Game or telling lies—but it also means that she will not be able to feel this.

She will never be able to forget the image of a blood-covering ground that scattered with bodies of the innocents. She will one day even be forced to commit the same crime for the sake of a better tomorrow—all because she wishes for the same dream as him.

But Evelyn accepts it. Whatever had happened, is happening, and will happen, she accepts them all because of that what she does—because she is herself and no one else. Because only 'Evelyn' is the one that Solas loves.

This euphoria feeling, this warm, this feeling of him within her, this happiness she has when she is in his arms. If she were to be anything other than this 'her', she would never be able to experience all of these and such a thought is unbearable.

Her thought eventually wanders back to the man who is watching them. What is that man thinking now? Seeing a 'noblewoman' being taken by an elf in public like this, in a celebration organized by Empress Celine no less. Most people around here know about the 'rumor' that the Inquisitor has an elven lover, but Evelyn knows that many of them either dismiss it as false or just think it as a fleeting game of her to pass the time.

No matter what they think, Evelyn is sure that the nobles here wouldn't think that she could dare to do this in their presence. Despite the fact that most—if not all—of them has probably laid with an elf at some points, they would never let it be public knowledge, let alone doing it in an event like this.

But why should she care? She is not them and there is no shame for her to feel this happiness and satisfaction.

Let the man over there see, let anyone who is curious enough to open that door see—she is loved and is being loved by the one she wants, and the same could not be said for most of these people here in this palace.

Instinctively, she closes her eyes and digs her nails deeper into the cloth on Solas's back, wanting to focus all of her being into just feeling him. Solas must have felt her, both in physical and mental senses, because he suddenly changes the angle to hit into a spot that makes her see even more stars.

"Solas—" She breathed out, pulling back to look at her bondmate only to be greeted by his intense gaze.

"I love you," he says, and it is like oil to her fire. She cannot say anything other than to smile and pull him back to kiss him with all her being.

Their tongues tangle but this is not a fight, it is just simply them giving all they have to one another and soon, she can feel that delicious tightness in her lower stomach. It only gets stronger and faster when he rubs her clit between his increasing thrusts.

Evelyn wants to close her eyes under this overwhelming pleasure, but she wants to see him more, so she forces herself to look straight ahead. All thoughts disappear and there is just her beloved—she can't even breathe or hear and—

White lights flash through her eyes, spasms run through her body, she is looking at him but for a moment, her mind cannot register anything. It is only for a moment, though, because soon she feels his affection run through her chest like a stream of fire. Hot and craving.

Solas still has not ceased his movements and she can see the way his eyes points at her and yet half-lost in pleasure.

Soon, very soon.

"C—come for me, Solas," Evelyn whispers into his ear as she tightens her wall around his cock, and he breaks in her arms. He moans into her shoulder with his arms crushing her body to his. Her crossed legs forcing him to spill deep inside her tight channel, filling her with his warmth seed.

She is still very sensitive from her own orgasm and with the feeling of Solas spasming inside her, Evelyn can't help but jerk along with him, hands never stop stroking his back and ears.

Their breaths mingle together, their foreheads lean against one another and they have to close their eyes to clear up their mind.

Eventually, they look at each other again and they laugh together, foreheads still pressing. Warm, joy and pride overflow Evelyn's heart, both from herself and from Solas.

Yes, this is right. Nothing could be more righteous than this—giving love and receiving it without any shame and prejudice.

Solas calms down first to place an affectionate kiss on her forehead before asking, "How are you feeling now?"

"Incredible," Evelyn replies, smiling tenderly at him. "And Solas?"

"Yes?"

"I love you too." She truly, wholeheartedly does.

His glittering eyes soften at her words, and their lips meet again.

They stay like that for a while until Evelyn decides that it is time for them to clean up. Slowly uncrossing her legs to signal for Solas to let her down, she winces slightly when his cock is pulled out from her, leaving behind a trail of liquid on her inner thigh.

Since Solas needs to check his appearance more than Evelyn because her long gown can hide away the mess until they return to their room while his pants cannot, Evelyn hands out a handkerchief from her hidden pocket to Solas to clean himself up while she is retrieving her discarded small from the ground.

Taking a long look at the piece of underclothes while feeling the still very apparent wetness between her legs, Evelyn concludes that there is no point to put the thing on only for it to be taken off again once they reach their room. After all, even if she feels very satisfied right now, with the thrill he has installed in her, the thought of them enjoying each other one more time still sends a flash of heat down her lower stomach.

Tucking away her small into the empty pocket, Evelyn glances at Solas who shoots back a smirk with half-lidded eyes at her.

Yes, one time just isn't enough. Not when a sense of longing and disappointment runs through her as she realizes how empty she is without him. Looking at him, she can see the mischievous glint in his eyes and a promise for something more.

Suddenly remembers the man who is watching them, Evelyn's usual curiosity rises up to the surface again. She wants to see who has seen her lovemaking with Solas, wants to know what is his expression right now after everything. And simply, she just wants to know.

At once, she turns around to find that man.

But there is no one anywhere. All the balconies are empty.

Has that man left already? But if he did, Solas would have told her immediately instead of making her worry the whole time. Unless…

Evelyn looks back to her bondmate with narrowed eyes.

He is grinning, with teeth and all. "I would never endanger you, vhenan. Not without telling you everything first before we even start anything."

Teeth grinding, she lands her fists on his chest. "You jerk! How could you trick me like that? I was so worried that you could get into troubles!"

He even has the nerves to laugh, catching her swinging hands with ease. "I'm so sorry, emma lath. But I did make you forget, did I not? Have you feel better now?"

That makes her stop, and the gears in her head start spinning.

Forget? Feeling better? Oh…

So that is why he created this elaborate prank? Solas has seen her being so upset after everything happened tonight that he used sex to make her relax. He has made her so focus on being caught in a little sex scandal to help her forget about the servants' deaths and everything else.

Realisation makes her anger defuse rapidly, but instead of feeling a full relief and joy, Evelyn finds herself feeling… disappointed.

There was no one watching them. No one to see that she has no shame about Solas. No one outside the Inquisition to know that she truly loves and cherishes—that this is not a game like the ones the nobles here play with the elven servants to pass the time.

Feeling all energy leaving her body, Evelyn's arms fall to her sides. She leans forward bonelessly, pressing her face against Solas's chest.

"You are mean. So mean…" she moans with her half-muffed voice. "I was so hoping—"

Face reddens, she cannot finish, leaving Solas pulls her back to look at her. "What's wrong, Evelyn? You were what?" His face is full of concern now, she can even feel a slight panic from his soul.

Swallowing her embarrassment, Evelyn steps back, takes a deep breath and then blurts out in one go, "I want that man and everyone else see us making love! I am not ashamed of you or us and if I have to show the world what I do in bed to prove that then so be it! The people here think that you are just a game to me and I won't allow that—I love you and I won't let anyone think otherwise!

Her whole body feels like it's burning now. She cannot look at him in the eyes so she glues her gaze to the floor instead. Lips press into a thin line. Her finger fiddle relentlessly with the thin outer layer of her dress, probably going to tear a couple of holes in it soon.

Solas must be thinking that she is so childish to feel the need to prove her love for him like this, but Evelyn can't help it. She is who she is and she cannot lie to her feeling or get rid of her concern about their surrounding, after all.

But Solas does not laugh, instead, he just comes over to slowly embrace her, his arms gradually tighten around her like a pair of strong vices, as if he wants to make sure he will never let her go afterward.

"Thank you, Evelyn," Solas murmurs. "Thank you for loving me. I am so sorry I caused you such distress."

He pulls back to press his forehead against hers before sighing. "I was so short-sighted that I just focused on relieving your current worry without thinking that it could potentially cause you a different trouble. I will not do it again."

Knowing how Solas is, Evelyn immediately grabs his face to force him to look straight into her eyes. "Stop that trend of thought right now. Do not regret that you were trying to make me happy. I was being the usual me while you were just being the usual you. It is just how we are and I love you for that."

Touches her lips to Solas's in a sweet, chaste kiss, she smiles. "Thank you for trying so hard to help me. I feel much better now."

And then her smile turns wicked. "In fact, I feel so much better that I think we should do something adventurous like this more often."

That makes Solas smirk, his thumb stroking her lower lip as he says in a husky voice, "As you wish, vhenan."

A cold wind soon comes over to make her shudder, knowing that it is time for them to return to their room now, Solas quickly helps Evelyn fix her clothes and hair to a more presentable state before opening the door.

They come inside with her arm wraps around his, their fingers entwine and the murmurs of the crowd signal that their action does not go unnoticed.

Evelyn is smiling now. If only those people know what is running down her legs now or see the bite marks Solas has left on her neck and breasts.

But then again, she could safely assume that people will all know later when the elven servants tell them. After all, the sense of smell of an elf is far superior and from the look of the servants' faces, they all must know what has just happened between Solas and her.

Ah, she cannot wait to see the look on their faces tomorrow, when they help her bathe and dress—with Solas also presents and helps—for the dinner with the Empress's court.

They will see all the marks that Solas will leave on her entire body tonight. Marks to show that he is a very willing and possessive partner. Marks to show that he is not afraid to let the world know that she is his just as much as he is hers.

She simply cannot wait to show them all.

Chapter Text

The air is still so cold, bitterly so. Even with his special physic, Solas can still feel the unnatural chill running through his bones, making his fingers stiff and lost all of their sensations.

Still, his work has not done yet before he can return to her.

Hakkon Wintersbreath may have been banished back to the Fade, but his effect is still presenting on the whole region, especially around this place where he has let out most of his power. Somethings must be done or this condition may last for weeks, even months.

Holding out his hands, Solas pulls at the Fade to create several magic glyphs before scattering them all over the battlefield—they will gradually dispel the cold effect around here enough so that the Inquisition members could safely come to collect the remains of the high dragon.

Solas supposes he can give the instruction to the Circle mages so they can deal with the rest of the area instead of doing it himself but he needs to do the testing first to establish a proper instruction for them.

A long period has passed by the time he has exhausted his mana and ensured that this place is safe. Tired but somewhat satisfied, Solas hurries back to where his camp is.

Just as he's expected, most of his group has gone to their own tents, only two people left, the Iron Bull and Evelyn.

"Solas, you're back!" Evelyn stands up and takes his hands in hers. Her hands are warm from the campfire, but she still calls for a small wave of warm air around him.

"You needn't wait for me like this. It's not good for your health," Solas gently chides. Evelyn has suffered quite a bit of cold burns during the battle so he would prefer her to stay inside their warm and closed tent instead of waiting for him in the cold like this.

She just rolls her eyes. "I sat next to a fire, I'm not going to die from just a little bit of cold." She then pulls Solas along and sits him down before passing a big bowl of soup to him. The thick, hot liquid slide down his throat, quickly warm him up and before he knows it, Solas has already devoured his entire meal.

"I'll take the first shift, then Cole will handle the next one. You two need a long rest, Cassandra agreed about that, too." Bull says before taking in a long draft from his bottle. "And boss, thanks again for the dragon, that was the best. Ever!"

Evelyn laughs as she stands up. "This is the fifth time you say that. If I don't bring you to deal with a dragon then I have no right to be your friend."

"This is why I like you so much!" The ex-Qunari roars out a big laugh. But when Evelyn has finally retreated inside their tent, the Iron Bull turns to Solas with a serious look on his face. "Make sure you check on her wounds again. Talk to her, too. I think this whole thing has really worn her out. She worries about something."

Solas nods, he too has noticed Evelyn's fallen mood despite her cheeriness so he quickly finishes every other task before going to her.

By the time he has cleaned himself and come into the tent, Evelyn had already prepared everything for them.

The inside of their tent is bright with Veilfire and warm enough for him to take off his coat and fur. The bedrolls have been pulled out with Evelyn sitting in the middle of them in only her shirt and leggings.

Wordlessly, he comes to her and lets her help him to take off his clothes as part of their routine—they have started to sleep without clothes with each other ever since they came to this region. It is both for warmth and for reassurance.

"Ameridan… I don't know how to feel about his passing." Evelyn suddenly says while she is folding his shirt. "I had hoped that he would survive after the seal was removed, that he would become a part of the Inquisition and then our plan. But then… I was glad that he died…" She stops there, probably not knowing how to continue or expressing herself.

"Talk to me, vhenan." Solas gently guide her face up with his hands. "Tell me why did you feel so."

"All of the things he fought for had either changed too much or long disappeared. I feel like it'd be cruel for him to see this world and it'd be more merciful for him to die only knowing that he had done good things." She bites her lower lip, brows draw tightly together. "But here you are, you've continued to endure a fate just like him until this very day and I accepted it. I did believe that Ameridan could do the same, but then I was glad for his death. I feel like I've disrespected him, and I am a hypocrite."

Soft-hearted and kind Evelyn, cunning and pragmatic Evelyn, Solas loves both aspects of her but sometimes, it hurts him to see how her own very nature is what causes her suffering.

"Emma lath, it is not wrong to care about another person." He pulls her to sit in his lap. "You cared about your predecessor enough to lie about his lover to give him comfort. He realized it right away, but he was thankful for your kindness nevertheless, was he not? It is not a bad thing to want to spare someone's feeling despite believing that a person could endure more."

"Solas…"

"If I have to say the truth, many times I have wished that things could go different so that you don't have to endure this path with me." He exhales before looking up to somewhere far away. "I know you are strong and you will come out triumph, but it still brings me sorrow to see you are hurt by everything."

"Did you… ever regret about us?" Her voice comes out in barely a whisper.

His gaze snaps back to her immediately. "No. I will not regret it! I just wish that the circumstances are a little different, that things are not so complicated—to make things easier for you… that is all."

"I wish things were easier for you, too." Evelyn smiles sadly. "Perhaps it was the best for Ameridan… he is with Telena now. They are not alone anymore."

"True. Their souls are once again complete now." The corners of Solas's lips curl up as he presses his forehead against Evelyn's.

They stay like that for a moment until Evelyn squeeze his lower arm, her voice full of worry and guilt when she asks, "But, Solas, why didn't you tell me that powerful demons like Hakkon can hurt Dreamers like you merely with their presence? I know that your kind is sensitive to demons but I didn't know it could actually cause great pain to that level."

Ah, she was also worried about him. A pang of guilt appears in his heart, it was careless of him to not reassure Evelyn right away… And he supposes it is time for him to tell her more about his origin.

Shaking his head, Solas explains, "Hakkon can cause pain to Dreamers such as Telena, but not me, for my own kind cannot hurt me."

"Your own kind?" Evelyn frowns.

"I am part of what the People would call "The Firsts". I may not have born right away at the very start of the People, but the way I was brought from the Fade into this world was the same as them."

"The very start… from the Fade… your own kind…" Evelyn mulls over his words for a bit before her eyes widen. "Oh…"

Just as he's guessed, she catches on very quickly.

"So you were…?" She whispers.

"A spirit," Solas finishes for her.

"How did the Firsts of the People come to be? What made them gain physical forms?" Evelyn quickly inquires. Solas can already see Evelyn's curiosity running wild at the new knowledge.

"To be honest, we are not sure either—some of us had theorized that the sources of the emotions that gave birth to us and then materialized us were the Titans, but some others refused to accept it since if we did, it meant that we had destroyed our very own creators. There are other ideas about us simply came into being after an eternity of the Fade interacting with the physical plane. Either way, most of us didn't care to find out since too much time has passed."

Evelyn had asked him about the Titans before when they went through that mission with Orzammar in the Deep Roads. He had tried to answer her as best as he could but even his knowledge about the matter was lacking—by the time he was born, the giant beings have mostly disappeared from the surface of Thedas. The People were warring between themselves then while the Children of the Stone has just started their own kingdom without being Titans' slaves. And there were still years before the Evanuris were fully established.

"You said that you were born later?" asks Evelyn.

"Mythal called for me and others to help her in her war to unify the People," Solas replies. "She also needed force to deal with the few Titans that were destroying our cities."

"She needed help that much?"

"Very much so." He signs. "She cried for the loss of her children and hated herself for not strong enough. Since she knew many ancient secrets about the origin of our People, she probably knew the specific method of creating more of us in that way. No matter what, her pull was so powerful that even when I didn't want to, I was still forced to have a body and became part of this physical world."

Evelyn's face becomes unreadable at his explanation and it takes him a second to realize his error.

"When I said 'I' didn't want, I meant my previous self, not this current me. I am Solas now—your Solas, and it is all that matter," he quickly explains, fearing that he has made her think that he does not want this life. "I think it was due to Mythal that I don't really have much memory from before my 'birth'—a fortunate thing, I suppose."

"Do you…" Evelyn finally asks after a minute of silence. "…remember anything specific back when you were a spirit?"

"I remember stronger emotions I received from the mortal plane, but I'm unsure of what kind of spirit I was or if I was even a complete one that fully embodied an aspect. Perhaps I was a Wisdom spirit, or a Pride demon—given the name Mythal gave me. Either way, it was only after I 'became' Solas that I truly have a sense of self."

"Was that why you disagreed with Cole became more human?" Evelyn asks more, voice still soft, hesitant and carrying doubts.

"I was worried for him because back then, I was still being torn about what to do with you. Becoming a physical being in a world that has been separated from the Fade brings pain to you. You experience all emotions, becomes more aware of this world with all of its beauty and ugliness and yet cannot return home to find comforts. Cole is a spirit of Compassion, he is bound to feel even more…" Solas tightens his jaw. "But I was wrong, I let my arrogant ruling my view and I thought I knew better than him. I just didn't want to acknowledge it."

"About what?" Evelyn tilts her head.

"I did not want to acknowledge that the physical world after the Veil's creation still has things that are worth the pain of living as a flesh and blood being." He smiles tenderly, putting his lips upon her. It is short but gentle but when he pulls back, Solas finds the strength to continue. "You make this world real to me—as real as my world back then. For you, I've found the strength to admit that it only needs to change and not to be destroyed to bring back the past. Because of you, I am truly glad that Mythal has brought 'me' into existence."

Solas watches as Evelyn lets his words to sink into her. The doubt in her eyes gradually disappears until all that left is love and gratefulness. She holds out her arms to wrap him up in a tight embrace and even without seeing her face, he knows she is smiling now.

"Thank you for sharing this with me, Solas," she whispers into his ear. Then, her arms around his neck squeeze tighter as she says her next words, "Thank you for being born."

Solas's eyes and the bridge of his nose burn. Once so long ago, Shalelan had said the same thing to him too—how he wishes that his guardian could have lived longer to see that her wish for him had been realized.

They hold on to one another for a while until Evelyn sneezes.

That makes Solas laugh.

"Let get you out of these clothes, and get into bed soon," he suggests. They would also need to change her bandages.

Evelyn agrees.

xxXxx

After the battle, his bondmate had asked him to only heal her most serious wounds to save his energy for the rest of their group and to work on the dispel glyphs. He had agreed back then but now, finally seeing her completely out of her clothes but still covered in bandages, Solas thinks that he should have not followed her request at all.

She may seem well enough right now, but Solas when he strips off the white fabrics off her, what greets him are angry and swollen patches of skin. Even Evelyn knows she cannot just wave it off because she is avoiding his eyes right now.

This just won't do, and he had eaten so there should be enough mana to heal her worst burns. Evelyn, of course, makes a sound of protest when she sees the first spark on his fingers but one stern look from Solas is enough to stop her. He is her bondmate, this is the least he could do for her.

By the time he had finished the job of wrapping up her remaining burns on her arms, Solas feels the heaviness in his chest has lightened considerably. It is hard to talk about the past and his feeling for her, but he has learned to enjoy the feeling of freedom and connecting it can bring.

"Feeling better now, my love?" He weaves his hand into her hair and kisses her cheek.

She nods, her smile is there but a shadow lurking still lurking behind it. "Let's go to bed now, my Wolf."

Solas quickly lies down on his back, pulling the fur blanket on both of them, but unlike what he had expected, Evelyn does not settle next to him. Instead, she just lies on her stomach while resting her upper body on her elbow, making her hover above him.

Ah, so that is what she wants.

After he has moved in with her, Solas had discovered that Evelyn loves to observe and touch him. She loves to touch his face and stares at him for a long while, as if she is trying to memorize him, committing him into her memory. Perhaps she is still feeling like everything they have with each other right now is a dream and need a reassurance.

Indeed, that is the most reasonable explanation, given that Evelyn often does this whenever she is having too much stress.

Her free hand strokes his cheek. The fingertips gently map the freckles under his eye, over his nose to the other cheek. Her thumb grazes the dimple on his chin. Her gaze on him is intense and anyone else should feel unnerved by her strange action—except for Solas. He relishes in her attention, selfishly enjoying the fact that he is the center of her world, at least in these moments where there are just the two of them.

"Telena was Ameridan's soulmate, and yet her soul couldn't be with him for all those times. She died alone waiting for him… Even her words could only be delivered by someone else." Evelyn suddenly says, voice just above a whisper. "It's so terrifying."

"Vhenan…" Solas is not sure of what to say.

Evelyn does not wait for his comment either, she continues, "Solas, back when I nearly died after that Red Scale incident, in the Fade, you said that even if I did die, you wouldn't let me go. Was that true? Will you keep my soul with you even if I'm dead?" Her voice is shaking now, just barely, but it is.

Hiding away his own tremble, Solas remember the desperation he felt back then and the overwhelming desire to keep her for himself at all cost. It was selfish but it was true, he could not lie to her so he simply answers her question with the truth.

"Yes, I will not let you go no matter what. If your body dies then I will hold onto your soul and keep you safe, but I will never let you go."

Under the dimmed light of the Veilfire, Evelyn's face looks unreadable.

"Then what about you?" She asks, her fingers dig lightly into his collarbone. "If you die, what will happen to your soul?"

"I…" he is unsure of how to answer her. Solas does have plans in the case something happens to his body—with the nature of his soul, he can always find a host to stay and continue his work. He would be himself as long as his soul is intact but there will be a burden on the host for it. After all, a single body cannot handle two complete souls.

And yet, he has a selfish wish to remain with Evelyn…

"My Wolf, please do not lie to me." Above him, his love pleads, "Will you be able to stay with me?"

He cannot lie to her.

"If I die, as long as there is a living body willing to receive my soul, I will continue to remain on this plane," Solas replies, already knowing what Evelyn will say. But he has to add, "However, it could put great strains on my host if my soul is intact."

"Then if that happens, use me. We are soulmates, my body most likely will be more compatible with your soul than others. Let my flesh be your new home so that I can keep my promise with you." Her hold on him tightens, almost painful. "Don't leave me alone."

He wants to deny her request but the fear and despair in her voice prevent him to do so. And in the end, he is a horribly selfish man.

So, as he opens their bond to send his feeling to her, Solas holds Evelyn's face with one hand, looks straight into her eyes and says, "I promise. No matter where you are, I will always find you. No barrier of death, time, or space will prevent me from reuniting with you. This, I swear."

Droplets of hot tears land on his face, burning his skin. Yet, Evelyn is now smiling, her happiness brightens in his heart like a sun.

"Thank you, my Wolf." She kisses his palm and finally, she lays herself down beside him.

They hold onto each other, limbs entwine like roots and branches of two trees that grown together into a single one. Their link is fully open now, letting they feel as much as they can all the emotions running through one another.

Happiness, loneliness, satisfaction, craving, fear, reassurance—all feelings bleed and mix into each other. The heat from her body feel like a furnace, Solas cannot help but crave for more.

Their breaths mingle together—Solas could smell Evelyn's familiar teeth cleaning mixture of mint and salt. There is also the scent of the lavender and sage oil she used to cover up the smell of dragon blood.

He strokes her back, which is still cold from all the time she exposed it to the air until it warms up beneath his palm. Her soft feet rub against his calves in soothing up and down strokes.

Evelyn does not let her hands stay still. The one that lays between them is drawing random small patterns on his neck and the other is gliding slowly along his back, nails ever racking so slightly into his skin.

The winds are getting stronger outside but within this tent that covered in barrier spells, there is a peaceful silence that let him concentrate all his attention on her.

He feels and hears her heartbeats, so strong and steady in her breasts which are pressed tightly to his chest. It feels almost like her heart is beating to keep him alive and not herself.

But then again, Solas does feel most alive when he is with her, so it's only natural that he feels as such toward her heartbeats—it is the proof that Evelyn is still with him, physically.

Suddenly, he feels a surge of affection and love in his chest that pushes his heart to pulse a bit faster. It wasn't him, the elf concludes when he sees Evelyn smiles. Love and yearning shine in her eyes.

Oh, he forgot that with their bond being fully open like this, Evelyn can easily receive his emotions without actively straining herself like usual.

Solas reaches out to hook a lock of Evelyn's hair behind her ear. He used to hate her round ears because they reminded him that she is human, but now he loves them because they are a part of her. He loves the ways his fingers could easily trace them fully without having to move his palms from her cheeks. He loves the way they turn pink whenever she is embarrassed.

And he loves how he could make her moan by teasing them with his tongue and teeth.

The thought sends a wave of heat down his lower body. Solas tries to keep his breathing normal but suddenly, he feels Evelyn's lips under his jaw.

It is a kiss with a hint of teeth, but she doesn't bite right into his skin. Instead, Evelyn just lightly scratches him before sucking lightly at the spot, her nails stroking the side of his throat.

Solas exhales, arms tighten around Evelyn. She returns his gestures but when her arms wrap around him, her hands wandering teasingly around Solas's lower back, nails continue to rack into his skin and sending shivers down his spine.

Worse yet, she starts to rub her front against his, making him very aware that his cock is still stuck between them and it is reacting to her ministrations. And then, there is her own desire knocking at the front of his mind, calling for his own to join her.

Solas has wanted to give Evelyn a full night of sleep but now he knows for sure that is not going to happen, at least not without them relieving themselves of this desire first. So, he leans forward to capture her lips and devour them.

His tongue strokes the roof of her mouth, forcing Evelyn to shiver and rub harder against him. One of his hands gropes at her backside, caressing the skin around her tailbone where he knows will make her lose control. His other hand finds her nipple to give it light pinches and squeezes until it becomes hard. He then replaces his hand with his mouth.

Solas sucks her breast greedily, alternating between using his teeth to pull the little nub and playing with it with his tongue. Evelyn is fully moaning now. She pulls and turns both of them so Solas is above her, but their bodies never part from one another and Solas does not stop his work on her chest either.

"P-please, my Wolf—" Evelyn begs.

Solas does not answer but he rubs his groin against her folds, letting her feel how hard his cock has become because of her. He himself can feel the slickness between her legs easily.

After another deep kiss, Solas turns his head to lick Evelyn's ear before whispering, "Let me in. Ara'asha, let me in."

Obediently, Evelyn spreads her legs for him. He finds no resistant to enter her but does not choose to do it in one single stroke.

He lets the head of his cock to go in her fully before pulling back a little, earning a small protesting groan from Evelyn but he pretends to not hear her.

Solas pushes himself in once more only to pull back just a bit, the slowness is maddening even for him but he wants to prolong this. He wants to enjoy Evelyn fully, he wants to make her knows and endure the desire he has for her.

Evelyn tries to push herself down to get more of him into her, but with Solas fully pressing down on her body with his own, she can barely wiggle, let alone moving around. In the end, she has no choice but to lie there and accept him at a pace that he wants.

It feels like an eternity but eventually, Solas finds himself fully sit inside his bride. It feels as if her cunt is even tighter and hotter than usual, but instead of making him go all out right from the start, it just cements his desire to make their lovemaking last as long as he could.

Solas starts to move his hips, his pulls are shorts and shallow but his thrusts are strong and deep. His hold around Evelyn does not loosen either.

Minutes pass with them hold tightly to each other. Trails of liquid run down from Evelyn's cunt. Her moans have long turned into soft whimpers that occasionally hitch up a pitch whenever Solas gives her a particularly deep push.

But even as her mind is lost in pleasure, her soul is still sending him waves of love and yearning, Solas vaguely realizes amid the haziness of his own mind.

It feels too good to stay inside her. Too good that even with his endurance, Solas soon feels that tale-tell throbs signaling the end is in sight.

Still, he does not change much of his pace—Solas moves a fraction faster, but his strokes are still shallow and Evelyn, while she does not moan louder, is breathing significantly faster now.

Evelyn's nails dig into his back while her mouth keeps attacking his. It is harder to breathe but he does not want to stop tasting her.

Their climax reaches them in a slow but powerful way. Evelyn trembles in his embrace as he fills her to the brim until the mixture of his seed with her come spill out from her and pooling on the bedroll underneath.

Even after his cock has done twitching, Solas can still feel spasms of pleasure coils through his muscles, making his body lightly jerks together with Evelyn's.

It takes another long period until they finally loosen their hold on each other, but just enough so they have more space to breathe deeper and relax their muscles.

Still not pulling out, Solas turns both of them over to lay on their sides. He takes a long clear look at his beloved.

She is covered in a sheen of sweat, mouth slightly opened to catch more air, exhausted but satisfied. All the sadness and worries that haunted her before had disappeared, replaced by a grin so big it's almost ear-to-ear as her eyes twinkle.

Seeing her like this makes he feel so proud of himself, as if he just won a battle.

"That was really intense," Evelyn comments before chuckling, hand caressing his jaw affectionately. "I didn't know I could last that long."

"Even if you couldn't, I have the skills to help you with that." Solas, tucking another lock of hair over Evelyn's ear.

"You definitely have the skills, no contest here," Evelyn agrees. "I can't believe we are actually sweating in the middle of a frozen place."

"Too hot? Maybe we should lie further apart?" He asks but feels a bit disappointed.

Evelyn shakes her head. "Just pull this off for a bit," his love replies, pushing their blanket down. Her movement makes his cock slip out from her. Then, she scoots closer to press against him again, pulling his arms around her. "Now, hold me. I'm going to get cold again soon."

Solas's disappointment evaporates in a blink of an eye and he hugs Evelyn to himself. A tender feeling envelops his heart as he watches her eyes slowly close and her breath turns even—her smile still remains on her face. Only her could make his emotions turning up and down so quickly with him still welcomes them all with open arms as long as she remains by his side.

The elf thinks about the promise Evelyn had asked of him previously and realizes that from the beginning, there is no need for her to request such a thing. Because he is a greedy man, even if he denies it, in the end, he cannot let her go.

"… stay with you… promise…" Evelyn murmurs, mostly to herself in her half-asleep state but her words make his ache nonetheless.

Yes. No matter where Evelyn will be, he will always find her. No matter how long it would take, he will do anything to have her in his arms just like he is doing now.

That is what Solas thinks as he pulls the blanket over them once more before slipping into the Fade with Evelyn.

Chapter Text

"Why're we making these fancy shites? Why not just make the normal ones?" Sera whines, hands flailing around and makes flour fly everywhere.

"Sera, they are going into your stomach, not some nobles," Evelyn says firmly before adding with a gentler tone, her hands continue rolling out the dough. "More importantly, you will love them, just trust me. I'm making these so that you can have a good memory before you leave. Do you not want it?"

Sera frowns, brows furrows before exhaling, "Ugh, fine. But we'll throw some of these at those big noses in the yard."

"Don't worry. I'll make a special batch with harder dough just for you to do that."

That makes Sera let out her signal laugh before nodding in approval. "Good!" She finally gets back to work on her dough on the table

Evelyn hides away her relief sigh and focuses again on her work on the kitchen table. Soon, her friends will go their own way so she is trying to spend more time with them despite her workload after Corypheus's defeat.

It was hard, and it still is to do everything with her dear friends, knowing that one day, they will no longer see her as such. Sooner or later, her betrayal will come out but before that time, Evelyn secretly hopes that she could do something to help her friends to build a life outside of their connection to the Inquisition. Because, after all, once the Inquisition's reputation is destroyed by Evelyn and Solas, there will be nothing for her friends to fall back during hard times, and they will most likely refuse any direct help from her.

Trying to clear her mind and push away the negative thoughts, Evelyn switches her thoughts to what she had done with her other friends. She had spent a whole night drinking with Bull and Dorian, visited Val Royale with Vivienne, read with Cassandra, played cards with Varric, helped Cole around the fortress. And yesterday, she had made toys with Thom then helped him packing up for his trip with the Grey Wardens.

And now, she is making cookies with Sera and will throw some at Cullen's men later. All in all, Evelyn supposes she had managed to use well her time with her group before their departure.

However, she still has not found any idea for her time with Solas. He will soon leave for his fake death; the two of them will not be able to meet physically for years to come so Evelyn wants to leave him some good memory too. It is childish, considering the fact that they will still interact regularly in the Fade but still…

There is not much time for her to travel to other places or having gifts delivered from them to Skyhold, yet Evelyn is not sure if just a night of good food and sex will be enough either—at least to her. She knows very well Solas will love anything she gives him but for once, she wants to do something new, something unique for them as a couple; something that she could do with her current skill set…

xxXxx

Solas smiles in content as he listens to Evelyn singing Shalelan's lullaby. She is very focusing on her task of drawing him now but still relaxes enough to sing for him, and this quiet moment gives him times to observe his love as he sits on the bed across her couch.

She looks so young and innocent just like she always does in the Fade, but the knowledge that this is happening in the physical world gives him a strange satisfaction. It saddens him to know that once he has gone from Skyhold, Evelyn may not have many moments like this anymore during her waking hours.

She will be alone, even if his many agents will be around to help her, so he must double his efforts to support her from within the dream world.

His love had stopped her singing to put all of her focus into the drawing board she is holding. While she has some experience before in recording notes and murals during her traveling, Evelyn does not have much skill in drawing people and sceneries, so Solas has offered to teach her.

It was an offer Evelyn has gladly taken up so here they are—with him being the model while Evelyn, with her brows furrow, her lips pulse adorably is pouring all of her attention into her work. When a satisfy expression appears on her face, it prompts Solas to ask, "Have you finished it yet, vhenan? May I see it?"

Looking so proud of herself, Evelyn straightens up and turns the board around to show him her work.

He bursts out laughing upon seeing her depiction of him.

"Vhenan, my nose is not that big. My ears are not that long, nor do I have such a curved chin. And why do you have to add a shiny spot on my head?" He says between chuckles.

"You said that I should exaggerate some features when I draw!" Evelyn retorts, lips pouting. "And your head does reflect light!"

"Exaggerate, not making your model into a completely different person." He laughs again before holding out his arms. "Come now, let me show you."

She huffs but still moves to sit in his lap, her back against his chest. Solas gives her kiss on her temper before taking hold of her right hand that is still holding the pen. His left arm curls around her stomach to pull her closer. Gently, he guides and shows her how to draw and emphasize different parts. 

It feels so peaceful—these mundane moments are the main source of his happiness. Evelyn's soft voice constantly asking questions, her sweet smell of magnolia envelops him and Solas quickly loses track of time.

Eventually, he hears Evelyn ask, "You like it that much?"

"Pardon? I like what?"

"My… bosom, I mean." A pink flush appears on her cheeks and it is only then that Solas realizes that his left hand is fully holding her right breast.

Mortification, shame and disgust take over his mind in a flash as he exclaims, "I-I'm so sorry!" Solas tries to withdraw his hand as fast as possible but Evelyn quickly catches it and pulling it back to its original spot on her chest.

"I didn't say that I hate it…" she murmurs.

"That does not mean I have the right to treat you like that!" Solas protests and attempts to pull his hand away again but Evelyn still holds on to it tightly.

"Then I give you the right to do this to me because I like it!" She signs. "My Wolf, I had directly said "No" to you before whenever I don't feel like doing something with you; why do you suddenly think that I can't say 'no' to such a simple thing like you touching me when I want to?"

"I…" Solas tightens his jaw, it was true that there were times when he had attempted to intimate with her and then happily stopped right away when she told him she just did not feel like it. But still, groping her like this…

Evelyn must have seen how conflicting he is feeling because she adds, "You know, I love it whenever you show clearly that you enjoy my body. I always crave moments like this." She emphasizes by pushing his hand harder again her breast. "Not to mention, it's not like you have ever done this to me in front of other people."

"Evelyn…"

"It is okay to enjoy yourself in private, you of all people know that very well. And I did promise you to always tell you what I like and don't like, didn't I?"

Clenching his jaw, Solas mulls over her words before exhaling. "Very well. I understand. But still, I am sorry for doing this to you, vhenan. I should have asked you first."

"Oh, I am sure that you would, but I don't think you actually notice it in the first place, given your reaction." Evelyn giggles. "If I can take a guess, I think you have never acted this before? With other women outside your bedroom activities, I mean?"

"No, I do not think so. Or else I would have already trained myself to never do such a thing years ago." Solas sighs again. "I think I only have this reaction with you."

Evelyn looks very proud, even smug at his confession. It is funny that she takes no pride in accomplishing nigh-impossible things such as killing a would-be god or being a leader of an enormous organization; and yet simply knowing that she has some influence on a man like him could make her so happy.

"Hmm, that is very good to know." Evelyn nods in approval before moving around so that she can sit astride of him while still remaining in his lap. "Is it because I'm… bigger than your normal female elves'?"

Clenching his jaw and swallowing his embarrassment, Solas nods. "Yes. And I think it is also partly because yours reminds me of Shalelan's." He coughs.

"Oh… was she… your wet-nurse?"

"What? No! It was not like that," Solas quickly corrects, suddenly feeling so very awkward despite his age. "I was already looking old enough when I was born—perhaps around 7-8 in human years—so Shalelan was just a normal caretaker. But I was a frightened and clingy child so she had to sleep in the same bed with me and held me throughout the night for months. I still remember how… soft and comfortable she was."

Solas stopped to think for a bit before continuing, "And I also remember that her look attracted a lot of unwanted attention from the people in the village we lived too. Enough that she always had to wear a big cloak around herself whenever she went out. So I could guess that even by other people's standard, she was different… which did not help our status as outsiders."

Now that he thinks about it, what was it about Shalelan that was different? Aside from her very gifted body, he cannot remember anything about his caretaker that made her so stand out to the point that people kept whispering and avoiding her. She was just an elf like everyone else.

"You meant that you lived in a village with her alone, not with Mythal?" Evelyn suddenly asks.

"No. I was kidnapped along with my "siblings" very shortly after we were 'born'. Shalelan saved me, but because we were too far from my original home, the civil war was still going strong while the Crossroad has not yet completed, and I was too young and weak for such a long journey, she hid me away in a small village for a couple of years to raise me until I was more mature."

"Now that I think about it, 'Shalelan' sounds more like a title than a real name," Evelyn comments. "It means 'guardian' or 'sentinel', was she a servant of Mythal?"

"No." Solas sighs. "When I reunited with the All-Mother again, I asked the same question, but Mythal said that there was no one with that name and appearance. Whoever my caretaker was, she did not work for Mythal."

"You didn't try to find out more?"

"For a short time, I did." Solas's grip on Evelyn's waist tightens. "But then I became afraid whatever I might discover about Shalelan would destroy my image of her, so I stopped. She was dead, and I wanted to keep her forever as this beautiful memory in my head. Even if our time together was so short, she was my everything before I returned to Mythal. She was my teacher, my sister, you can even call her my mother, even if she always denied it."

"Didn't Mythal fulfill the same role to you?"

"She did, but she was also the Allmother who belonged to everyone and no one. I knew that Mythal loved me, but I also knew that she felt the same toward the other children and there were no favorites, at least during my childhood. With Shalelan, there were never any competition nor doubt from the beginning, I always knew I was the center of her attention and her highest priority. Shalelan was mine and mine alone."

Solas smiles in the bittersweet memories of his first caretaker. She was his world. He had loved her so much that losing her has actually caused him to resent her for a while. It was a grief that Mythal has spent a long time trying to sooth…

"During my youth, I kept looking for her in other women, but eventually I realized that it was time to let her soul rest," Solas murmurs between shaky breathes while looking down at Evelyn, "but perhaps I still could not really get over her after all, given my shameful behavior toward you."

It bothers him greatly that he could do such a thing to Evelyn, to see her as a replacement for Shalelan and touching her inappropriately. Their roles in his life are too different—Shalelan was his caretaker and teacher; while Evelyn was his student, now bondmate and partner. His soulmate deserves better than to be compared to a long-gone woman whose appearance he can't even remember. He knows Shalelan would want that, too.

Even Mythal, or correctly, the remains of her soul inside Flemeth, who he met up in the Fade sometimes ago has asked him to let go of the past and focus on the future.

"I'm glad it is her. Your bondmate will always be with you, I am sure of it," was what Mythal has said to him with a confident smile. It heartened him to know that even his old friend approves of Evelyn.

A warm, soft hand cups his cheek, yanking him from his thought to look at his beloved. Evelyn's eyes are filled with understanding as she looks at him. "It is all right, my Wolf. It's hard to let go of the past, and Shalelan was a very important person to you. There is no shame in admitting that you still can't let go, especially when you've tried so hard to realize it."

She presses her forehead against his, whispering, "Thank you for opening your heart to me."

Love and gratitude fill his heart, prompting him to lean forward to kiss Evelyn. It is a slow and sweet thing that somehow make his shoulders lighter.

When they let go, Evelyn giggles.

"What is on your mind?" Solas asks, smiling.

"I just can't believe we had all that serious and heartfelt talks because you groped me!" She takes his hand to press it between her breasts. "I did notice before how much attention you like to give to my chest, but I just thought that it's a part of our foreplay. To think you actually love it that much, it's so funny!"

Solas huffs through his nose. "I did not mean to have our night headed that way…" he mumbles to himself, avoiding her gaze.

"Indeed! But it was a good surprise. I'm very glad that we had this talk." Evelyn's smile changes, her hand guides his face back. "I'm very glad to know that you only have that kind of reaction with me and no one else."

Her voice turns husky. "I want you to look only at me."

She emphasizes the last part by stroking the back of his ears, her eyes glint and for the first time, Solas sees a possessiveness growing in her eyes that makes something appear in his stomach, his breath hitch and heart beats faster.

He does not have time to react to his newfound emotion because Evelyn quickly pushes him on his back. He finds himself looking up at her looming over him, her hands place at either side of his head.

"Will you look only at me?" she asks from above him and he has only one answer to her question.

xxXxx

Evelyn had asked Solas to come back early today which he gladly complies. Tomorrow, he will leave with his group and will not be returned to Skyhold anymore so he wants to spend as much time as he could with his bondmate.

It is a good thing that he had already finished all businesses in this fortress so he knows no one will bother them tonight. Not to mention Evelyn has given the same request to the servants, too.

Solas feels a great anticipation for what is waiting for him in their rooms. Evelyn said that she has something special for him, something that he will love. And even without the confidence in her eyes when she said that, he has no reason to doubt her.

Evelyn is there to greet him when he reaches the top of the stairs. Just like their first night months ago, she has changed into a simple dress with an apron.

"Welcome back, Solas. Are you tired? I've drawn a bath for you." Evelyn says, placing a light kiss on his lips.

"Is that my surprise?" he jokes with a smile.

"No. Your surprise will come later. Be patient now, my Wolf." She taps the tip of his nose before pushing him toward the bathroom's door.

When he comes out, Evelyn has already prepared their meal on the small table. It is a simple affair of light vegetarian soup, pies, and fruits but as always, everything is absolutely delicious. In fact, Solas has to silently lament the fact this will be the last time he gets to eat Evelyn's cooking in a long while.

After the meal, they spend time together like always, until Evelyn pulls him to the center of the room for a dance.

There is no music, but they don't need it anyway—the two of them just need to choose a song they both know and dance, it is just that simple. They enjoy themselves thoroughly even if there are missteps or wrong turns—it is perfect to them that way.

Evelyn laughs as he spins her around for the ending but when he pulls her back, she kisses him. Deep and longingly.

When she lets go of his lips, Evelyn whispers, "I think it is time for your surprise."

She leaves his embrace and walks to their bed. There, Evelyn pulls out a basket. She quickly spreads out a tower over the mattress and pillows before taking off her dress, leaving only her smallclothes on. She then waves her hands to light ups the few candles on top the drawer. The smell of herbs and flowers start to fill the room.

Oh!

Solas's stomach flutters at the realization. It has been a very long time since the last time he allowed himself to enjoy this.

"Take off your clothes and lie on your stomach, please." Evelyn cheerfully says as she turns to Solas.

Trying to control his excitement, Solas start to do what she just asked, eyes flicking between Evelyn and the bed. "I did not know that you can perform massage."

"I just learned it from Bull. Dorian allowed us to use him as the test subject. And I did refuse Bull's offer to teach me how to kill a man by twisting his spine so don't worry, I can't kill you."

"You should have accepted his offer." Solas laughs, peeling off the last of his clothing. "It is a great skill to have. After seeing quite a few nobles being taken out by their masseurs, I actually had to dismiss my own and gave him another job. A pity…" He signs, quickly getting himself on the bed to lay his chin on the pillow.

He hears Evelyn's laugh and the sound of a cork being popped out, followed by some wet noises. The bed moves as Evelyn climbs on it to sit astride of him.

And then her hands are on his back. They are covered in oil, warmed from her preparation and heating magic. The heat seeps into his skin and Solas sighs as Evelyn starts to smooth the oil onto his entire back, arms and legs.

She works on him methodically, starting from his legs. She finds each and every knot in his muscles to knead and push until they loosen up. All the tiredness and aching he gathered the past few days simply crumble away under Evelyn's palms.

Her thumbs dig into his carves and smooth out all the tightness. As she gradually moves up, Solas wonders whether she would do something more… erotic given the fact that he is very much naked and these kinds of activities often have that conclusion.

But Evelyn does not do anything out of ordinary, she simply kneads his thighs and massages them just like his legs.

Perhaps he was too greedy. This is Evelyn's first time doing this, he should not expect her to do too much. Not to mention, it already feels so good—Solas concludes while exhaling again in relief when Evelyn discovers another knot in his lower back.

Moments pass and by the time she has finished with his back and arms, Solas feels like a poodle of water, completely melted away and tranquil. Well, aside from a certain part of his anatomy which has turn half-hardened instead, but it is just a natural part of this process. Either way, Solas has no doubt that by the time Evelyn finished with his front, he would have unable to do anything else but sleep.

But then, when Evelyn steps off his back, she stops him from turning around with a light touch on his neck. She whispers against his ear, "Don't look around." There is a hint of a smile in her voice.

There are some quick rustling sounds before he feels even more oil being applied on his back. When Evelyn rests back on his rear, Solas realizes that she has taken off her smalls. The realization causes his heartbeats to quicken.

Then, she presses her naked breasts against his skin before slides along his back. It is so sudden that he doesn't have time to react until she does it again.

This time, Solas can feel Evelyn's soft chest caress his back teasingly, her hands slide along his sides and over the curve of his buttocks. She presses a kiss to the nape of his neck before giving him a nip on the tip of his ear that makes his breath hitch.

Evelyn continues to work on his back a little more, alternate between using her palms and her chest. It feels good, and it relaxes him, but not in the way that will make him fall asleep later. In fact, Solas thinks that he may not be able to sleep after this massage session.

He feels Evelyn turns around and rubs her mound against his leg before sliding down until her folds touch his groin. Solas groans, fingers digging into the pillow and mattress to stop himself from turning around to grab her.

There is no way he can sleep right away after this. And he does not think his bondmate would let him either.

Evelyn keeps rubbing herself against his legs and groin in various positions for a while, driving Solas insane with the need to release his straining cock with the sounds of oil, the heat of her skin and the caresses of her flesh.

Eventually, his lover leaves his back to straddle his left arm—the angle does not let him see much, but Solas can catch a glimpse of her hip that shines with oil. Just like with his leg, she strokes his forearm with her folds, sending waves of desire and need through his whole body.

By the time Evelyn switches to his right arm, Solas has already started to think that he should just get up and show his bondmate how much he wants her right now. But Evelyn stops him with another kiss on his back.

"Be patient, my greedy wolf. The reward will be great," she whispers and it calms him down for a bit.

He endures his sweet torment for a few more minutes until Evelyn decides it is time for him to turn around. Solas has to let out a long, visible sign when he is finally lying on his back and thus relieving some of the pressures on his cock.

He does not have long to enjoy the relief because Evelyn moves to sit astride on his hips, and when he opens his eyes to look at her, what he sees take his breath away.

Flushed skin covered with oil that accentuates her curves, beautiful round breasts heaving with each breath she takes through her parted lips, eyes glazed with desire and need—

Ah, how could he think that she is not affected by this as much as him?

Unable to stop himself, Solas reaches out to caress Evelyn's cheek with the back of his hand. And instead of reprimanding him for moving, she laces her fingers with his and pushes his hand closer to her face. With a tender smile, Evelyn places a kiss on the back of his hand while pressing his forearm between her breasts, her free hand caressing his red soulmark.

She lets go of his arm to lather his front with more oil. Just like before, her fingers work miracles into his muscles, searching and relieving all the knots inside his body. But unlike the previous time, he cannot find it in himself to relax completely because he now has a very good view of Evelyn during her work.

Solas cannot take his eyes off her—the way she bends over to dig her fingers into his flesh and how the light in the room shines on her glistening body capture all of his attention. And of course, he does notice how her eyes occasionally flicker toward his hardened member, too.

Before he knows it, Evelyn has already finished with his muscles and is now looking down at him with a heated look that makes him swallow in apprehension. So slowly, she slides up along his body like a snake, pressing her wonderful bosom against his skin until their lips touch for a light kiss.

She immediately pulls back before he could capture her mouth.

But the second time she approaches his face, Evelyn does not pull away like the first time. Instead, she lets him kiss her deeply, her mouth opens so willingly for his tongue.

Solas kisses his beloved with all his might. His arms move to wrap around Evelyn's body to press her harder against him.

He wants to hold her like this and just let the movements of her body push him to the edge and find release, yet Evelyn seems to have a different idea because she wiggles away from his embrace when she feels him rubbing himself against her.

"Sly wolf, what did I say about being patient?" she chides playfully, finger tapping his chin. "But I suppose I should be merciful to you, even if you did break the rule."

"If you are merciful, I should have found my climax a long time ago," he retorts with no malice.

Evelyn does not reply, she just smiles and slides down on his body. When the valley between her breasts stroke his cock, Solas shivers before groaning as she takes it into her hands to give it a kiss.

And then she let it go to hold her breasts—could it be?

Solas takes in a deep breath as Evelyn presses her breasts together to envelop his cock. She is not big enough to completely cover him, but it is enough to let him feel like he is being wrapped by the softest and most wonderful thing he could imagine.

With a low chuckle, Evelyn starts to move her bosom up and down while squeezing his length with them. Sometimes she stops to caress it with her nipple, some other times, she teases him with her tongue, the heat and pleasure are so unbearable it almost drowns out all of his thoughts.

And when Evelyn wraps her mouth around the tip, Solas finds himself to be in both Heaven and Hell.

It is madness—to be able to enjoy such an exquisite pleasure, to have his most precious person pushing over the edge only to yank him back, to know that she loves him enough to learn and give him something like this.

"E-Evelyn, vhenan, please—" he begs for mercy and sweet release and yet some parts of him want to remain with her like this.

She still does not say a word but instead, she doubles her effort. Her cheeks hollow in as she sucks him. When he moans out loud and struggling under her, Evelyn responds with a lower chuckle in her throat, sending vibrations though his cock and to his brain.

He will not last long—that coil inside his lower stomach is tightening at a rapid pace. So close. Too close.

"Vhenan, I—" Solas does not get a chance to finish what he wants to say when white, hot ecstasy flashes through his mind. Pulses of electricity run through his body, making him jerk into Evelyn's mouth.

She tries to take as much of his seed into her mouth as she can but after a few spurts, Evelyn has to let go and uses her hands to stroke him instead, letting his cum splatters on her chest.

He keeps coming and coming with Evelyn's help until the orgasm has subsided somewhat. Once Solas has become too oversensitive to her ministration, he gets up to catch Evelyn's wrist to pull her into an embrace and a kiss. His tongue seeking his own flavor inside her mouth. Love and appreciation overflow his heart.

"Good?" Evelyn asks.

"Magnificent," Solas replies, lying back on the pillow with Evelyn still in his arms. "It was absolutely magnificent, vhenan. It has been… well, I've never experienced something like that."

"You've lived this long, but never tried massage and… this?" she blushes, gesturing all over her chest.

"I did have erotic massage many times, but not that often with your other technique since, as you've already known, female elves are rarely that 'developed' compared to humans. And I've never tried them both at the same time, at least not with the level that you did." Solas hums before grazing a kiss on Evelyn's forehead. "Did you get that idea from our talk the other night?"

"Yes, I was so glad I could get a present for you before you go." Evelyn replies, finger drawing circles on his chest. "Had to run to find Bull the next morning and had him arrange his "class" right that evening. I tried to buy all of his massage oil supply too, but he gave them all to me for free." She chuckles at that last part.

"I suppose I must thank him before leaving then." Solas laughs before signing. "But now that you've spoilt me like this, how could I endure being away from you from now all? Why did you have to give something like this right before I leave?" he jokes.

"You know very well we can still do it in the Fade, do you not?" Evelyn replies, tapping his nose. Her smile then turns wicked. "Besides, to compensate for you, I did get enough oil for the rest of the night, if you are still up for it?"

She asks but her hand has already slid down to stroke his cock. There is no need for Solas to answer, he simply leans over to kiss her, his own hands wandering all over her body until they touch her groin.

She is slick. The way her fluid stick to his fingers makes a rush of heat flushes through his body. In response, Evelyn trails down to lick his nipple—he sucks in a breath when her teeth light scrape it.

Evelyn does not remain there for too long as she moves down to his half-erected member is waiting for her.

Once again, she lathers it with more oil before enveloping the thing between her bosom. Her hot mouth wraps around the head with her tongue applying more pressure against the tip.

It feels too good to not buck his hips to seek out more from her, and it does not take long for his cock to fully harden again.

With a satisfying smile, Evelyn gets up to sit astride on him.

He cannot stop watching as she moves her hips to drag her folds along his cock. She is testing him, trying to see how long he can last before he gives up and drive into her on his own but Solas holds on—he wants to see her.

Evelyn must know what he is thinking because, after a while, she just smiles seductively and takes hold of his erect member to guide it to her opening.

With an agonizing slowness, Evelyn slides down until he is completely hilted inside her. They both could feel their hearts beating faster from the heat and the pleasure, and it becomes even more apparent when they hold each other's hands, weaving their fingers together.

She starts to move. Up and down. Hips swaying whenever he hits home to drag out even more ecstasy.

Solas does not let her do all the work either, he thrusts up to her rhythm. Her breasts bounce with each movement.

Cannot help himself, Solas reach up to grab them, feeling the wonderful weights in his hands. His fingers pinch and twist the peaks, drawings out her moans.

His eyes lower down to observe the way his cock coming in and out of her greedy cunt.

"Look at me."

His head whips up at her words and his mind is then captured by her gaze—Intense, focus, and hypnotizing. It feels like he is being devoured, and yet he cannot help but wish for it.

"Look only at me," Evelyn repeats and Solas realizes it wasn't a request, it was a demand, an order from the one who owns his heart.

He only has one answer to her. "Always."

She smiles and increases her pace, and all he knows now is her.

He loves all of her—the innocent Evelyn who loves to play, laugh and sing, the pragmatic Evelyn who would willing to hurt herself to change the world for the better, the intelligent Evelyn who never stop craving for more knowledge, the kind-hearted Evelyn who cries and helps those unfortunates.

And he also loves Evelyn the Desire Demon who is riding him, stealing away all his lifeforce, The Evelyn with her chest heaving, her eyes hooded and her mouth opens to moan out his name—the creature that has commanded him to only look at her.

He loves her so much, sometimes to the point that it scares him to know that he could feel such emotion. He wants to give her everything that she wishes for—knowledge, a world with magic, freedom for all mages and elves and those who want peace, a family, happiness—he will give everything to her.

Just like he is giving himself to her now.

Solas takes hold of Evelyn's hips to drive her down as he thrust up. The sudden action makes her choke out a moan as her back arches.

Exhaling through her mouth, Evelyn leans forward on her arms, fingers digging into his chest as she looks down at him.

"S-Solas—" Another deep and precise thrust makes her voice falter.

He does not reply. Instead, he opens their link to let all of his emotions run into her. The force goes through her like several streams of energy, amplify her lust and ecstasy.

Evelyn keeps slamming her hips down his lap, making the tightening in his lower stomach grows rapidly. The noise of flesh slapping against flesh echoes obscenely in the room.

Still holding Evelyn's hip with one hand, Solas reaches in between them for her clit with the other one and strokes. With enough force and movements from his fingers, soon, Evelyn is trembling above him.

The first wave of her orgasm makes her eyes roll back, her arms buckles and she collapses on top him but he keeps thrusting, mouth whispering words of love into her ear.

Her cunt constricts around him and quickly, he has to follow her, grunting and spilling deep inside her as his mind goes blank. Heartbeats mix into a single rhythm. Their bodies convulse together—Solas has to hold tightly onto Evelyn's rear and back to keep her from moving too much that he will slip out.

It takes them a while until the spasms finally subside. And when it ends, Solas moves to turn both of them on their sides.

Evelyn looks at him through tired eyes, but she smiles—a sweet, tender smile that makes his own lips curl up. Nuzzling into her hair, he gently strokes her back and realizes that they are still being covered in her massage oil.

"I suppose we will have to go wash up soon?" he asks.

"Hm, true, but let's wait for a bit. I can't move right now." She laughs. "And I want to remain like this just little more."

Lips lightly press together, Solas moves his hand to cup Evelyn's cheek, earning him another smile from her and a kiss to his palm. Love and joy fill up his heart.

Dawn will eventually come and separate them from each other within this physical world so before that, yes, let them stay like this for a bit more.

This warmth in his hand is the proof that he is alive and this world is real. This smile the reminder that he has something to live for other than his people.

Even if the path they have to walk after today will be swarmed with deaths, sorrows, and betrayals, even if they will both carry guilt and endure losses, this moment here and every other time they were together will be a reminder of what they can have at the end of the path and more.

So, let them enjoy this so that they can always remember what they are fighting for in the days after this night.

"Ma nuvenin, vhenan. Let's stay together for a while more."

Chapter Text

Telahna knows when to keep silent. She survives that way—be quiet and don't fight with the other children, they won't bully you; keep your mouth shut and do what the Madame say, she won't starve you; don't talk and stay out of the way, so the human patrons won't hit you.

This brothel is a place of filth, sicknesses, and poverty, the food for the kid servants like her is barely enough, but it's still better than other areas in the alienage because humans do come here with money to pay.

As long as she stays here and keeps silent, she will be fed and have a roof on top of her head. There is no point to attract troubles, life is hard enough for an orphan like her already.

But now, looking at this ice-covered kitchen, Telahna knows that no amount of silence or obedience could stop the Templars from taking her away.

xxXxx

It's not bad to live in a Circle, Telahna thinks after a week has passed since she came to Ostwick—she has food to eat until she is full, her clothes are clean and warm, her bed is much better than the cold ground she had in that brothel, the mages here are friendly, even the human ones (races don't seem to be an issue here). She even makes a new friend, a human girl called Sena.

Best of all, she can learn to read and do magic. Even if it's heavily restricted, and the templars are always around, it's still a wonderful thing. Telahna especially loves to work in the apothecary.

Perhaps she can live here for the rest of her life without any troubles. After all, living in a tower isn't that much different than living in an enclosed alienage, right?

Three days later, she is proven wrong when a templar corners both her and Sena in an empty hallway.

"Well now, little Sena, why don't you introduce your new friend to me?" The templar smiles, but it's the kind of smile that makes you freeze in fear and unable to move—the smile of a predator.

It is near bedtime and not many people would wander around at this time. And this is a templar, someone who could actually kill her; he isn't just some drunken guests that she can just push back and runs away.

They are stuck.

She holds on to Sena tightly, her friend is shaking like a leaf, or perhaps it is Telahna who is trembling? She doesn't know, but she is scared. Non-existent noises fill her ear. Her mind is dizzy from fear and panic.

It's hard to breathe.

The man reaches out and grabs her shoulder.

Somebody! Anyone! Please!

"There you are. I was looking for you two all over the place." A voice suddenly appears, making the templar whips around.

There, at the corner, is a girl around Telahna's age. Pale skin, dark brown hair, big blue eyes, the girl wouldn't look very standout if it isn't for the way she is looking at them—calm, emotionless, almost eerily.

"The senior mages are looking for you two. It is time for you to return to your bed," the girl says, not seem to care about the situation she found them in.

"Trevelyan…" the templar growls under his breath and for the first time, the strange girl looks directly at him.

No, it's more like she just stares at him, eyes unblinking like a cat.

The man grits his teeth as he stares down at the child called Trevelyan but eventually, he lets out a snarl before turning away.

Once the man has been out of sight, Telahna collapse on her knees, pulling Sena along with her. It is only then that tears start to flow out of her eyes and down her chin, her mind has become less dizzy, but the buzzing sounds are still there.

"Are you all right?"

Telahna quickly looks up to see their savior bending down, hand reaching out almost hesitantly. For the first time, the girl has an expression on her face—worry and something almost like… timidness?

"I'm fine, thanks to you," she wants to say that.

But before she could catch that hand, Sena slaps it away. "Don't touch us, you witch!"

"Sena, what—"

"Don't let her come near you, Telahna, or you still be cursed" Sena exclaims, pulling Telahna up. "Her bad luck must be why that templar targeted us."

Then she turns to Trevelyan and shouts, "Don't come near us anymore. If you want to find sacrifices for your soulmate, just choose the templars!"

Telahna doesn't have a chance to ask what is going on before she is yanked along with her friend. Helpless, and does not want to fight with Sena, she walks away from the Trevelyan, who just stands there watching them until they turn to another doorway.

The next day, she asks the older mages and apprentices about the strange girl with the name Trevelyan.

The moment that name comes out of her mouth, everyone looks like she just said some very bad words but an elf still comes forward to explain everything to her.

The girl's name is Evelyn Trevelyan, and she is the soulmate of Fen'Harel, the elvhen God of Lies and Betrayals.

xxXxx

Telahna cannot help but peek at Trevelyan whenever they are in the same room. It's been a month since that day but they have never exchanged any words to each other—it's too dangerous for her to do so. Everyone in this tower is scared of Trevelyan and her "curses", or at the very least, doesn't want to find out whether that's true or not.

Despite her curiosity and desire to approach Trevelyan, Telahna knows better than to go against the flow—it always ends in disaster. The ones who stand out invite nothing but troubles to themselves, and she prefers to stay on the good side of the majority.

Even so, even if she keeps telling herself to look away, she can't. Trevelyan has saved her, and that worrying expression, so different from the girl's usual stoic appearance, just won't leave her alone.

So now, Telahna will make a compromise—she will watch Trevelyan in secret until her curiosity is sated and disappear, but she will not approach the girl, not unless other mages do so.

This is for the best. Her curiosity will eventually stop, so there is no need to risk herself associating with an outcast like Trevelyan.

xxXxx

Trevelyan often appears when a mage is being harassed by a templar. Some say that it's because she causes their jailors to behave badly, but Telahna can see it—she appears because the mages need helps and the templars can't touch her.

Telahna has asked the mages with Dalish origin to tell her more about Fen'Harel. They told her stories about his treachery and cruelty, how he has betrayed the Creators of the elves and hurting innocent people for his own amusements.

At the end of the stories, they had warned her about going near Trevelyan and she is still following their advice. She doesn't actually know if their warnings have any real meaning in it other than superstition, but she knows not to question them.

She will be good—just focusing on growing her herbs, making the potions and helping in the infirmary, and there is no talking about Trevelyan with others.

It's a wise choice for someone like her.

xxXxx

Sometimes, she can find Trevelyan while she is reading alone in her own area within the library—just like right now. It's only here that the girl has any expression at all, and Telahna would stay as long as could, peeking through the shelves and books to observe her target.

There is always a great concentration on Trevelyan's face whenever she reads, whether it's from a book, a scroll, or some crumbling tablets of elvhen origin. Her emotions change too, sometimes she would smile; some other times, she frowns and her mouth curves downward. And very rarely, Trevelyan cries, there aren't any sounds, but tears would simply pour out from her eyes.

Currently, the girl is writing furiously into a scroll while her head bobbing back and forth between the books. Her eyes shine like the stars. A couple of times, Telahna has tried to read those documents after Trevelyan has left the room, but she couldn't understand a word in them.

What is that Trevelyan read in them that it interested her so much? What is she thinking about when she read these texts? What is that that she looking for?

Telahna wants to ask, but the thought of being associated with the cursed girl and having everyone else turning their backs to her is too scary for her to actually do anything.

So she remains behind the shelves and keeps watching.

xxXxx

The years passed so fast…

She realizes that one day when she notices Evelyn talking to the First Enchanter about her upcoming Harrowing.

Evelyn… Telahna can't remember when was the exact time that she has switched to use it, but now she can't stop it. The name tastes so sweet on her tongue and yet she has never dared to say it directly to its owner.

Just like her, Evelyn has grown up and now Telahna cannot take her eyes off the girl anymore, despite her wish to do otherwise.

Telahna has grown so disillusioned with this life inside the tower. You can work and study as much as you want, but what's the point if someone else is going to benefit from it or just ignore it altogether? And for a mage with less talent like her, who barely passed her own Harrowing, there aren't many chances for her to improve her ranking and find a way to venture out of this place.

But Evelyn is different, with her talent, Telahna knows the girl will not only pass the Harrowing but rise to the rank of even First Enchanter. Perhaps, it is the reason Telahna is so enamored with her—she represents a chance of freedom, however small it will be, that Telahna will never have. Perhaps she isn't actually in love with Evelyn, because how can you love someone when you have not even talked to that person?

Even so, she truly wishes to know more about Evelyn…

xxXxx

When she hears the news that Evelyn has passed the Harrowing with only half the average time it should take, Telahna goes to the praying chamber and cries, silently thanking the Maker for sparing Evelyn's life.

Even though she knew Evelyn would pass, it's still an incredible relief to actually hear the announcement.

You are alive!

xxXxx

They are all going to die!

The templars have gathered all the older mages and apprentices into the main dining hall. No one can use magic and with the templars pointing swords and arrows at them, there is only one possible conclusion.

But before the first arrow is released, Evelyn throws a flask of liquid that explodes when it contacts with a templar's chest.

The other mages take the chance to attack.

Everything after that is pure chaos.

xxXxx

She looks around the main yard for Evelyn. Where could she be? The last time Telahna saw her was in the dining hall.

The templars kept attacking the barrier she uses to block the door, there was no way she can keep this up. Her mana was nearly empty. And the other mages were fighting the remaining enemies in the room so no one could come to her now.

A templar ran at Telahna from the side while she is casting another protective layer. He was too fast, she would not block—

A spear of ice suddenly appeared, impaling the man before he could bring down his sword on her. His blood splattered all over her front.

Telahna looked to the owner of the spell—Evelyn!

"Are you hurt?" her savior asked.

Too shocked to answer, she just shook her head.

"Good. Take down your barrier. I will open the way for us." Evelyn commanded, her voice was much firmer than usual, but still held that calmness she always had.

Telahna did what she was asked and the moment the barrier is down, Evelyn threw a series of fire and lighting explosion at the enemies.

Before the smokes could even fade away, Evelyn weaved another spell that grows several icy spikes, cutting down any remaining foes.

Telahna didn't even have a chance to call after Evelyn as the girl ran away into the dark hall. All she could do was just standing there watching until her friends yanked her along with them.

Anxiety gnaws the inside of Telahna's stomach. Where did Evelyn go? Is she okay? Is she hurt—

A group of people coming out from the main entrance. Leading them is Evelyn, with several children around her and a few older mages and apprentices. They are all covered in blood and wounds.

The realization comes to Telahna as she watches Evelyn directing the children to the healers—her crush has a few cuts and bruises but she looks calm. Maybe she is all right, after all.

They stay to hear the new plans from the Harrowed mages but after a while, Evelyn leaves.

Telahna finds her in a small corner. Evelyn is sobbing between each cough, her shoulders visibly shaking.

Realization dawns on Telahna following by shame. Stupid, how could she possibly think that Evelyn would be okay after all of these? Maybe she could do something for her—

Sena and others are calling for her. Their voices can be heard from the distance.

She wants to stay with Evelyn but… but if she does that then she can't stay with her friends, and now is when they all need to stick together…

She glances one last time at Evelyn's back before turning around.

xxXxx

They are asking Evelyn to join them, and for the first time, Telahna feels hopeful. They are all so desperate now, even Rennard is asking, surely Evelyn would not say "no", she cares too much to do that.

Please say "yes", please. So that I can finally talk to you. You won't have to be alone anymore—

"No. I will not go with you." Evelyn says and it feels like a knife has cut into Telahna's heart.

Why, why did she say so? Why did you deny yourself this chance to be accepted?

Meanwhile, her crush still continues, "As long as the templars can still smite and turn us Tranquil, this war of yours will bring nothing but deaths. You are able to push them back? As some points, they will try to attack you again. The people in this world are afraid of magic because they don't understand it like we do nor do they want to, and there are more of them than us. Simply put it, this war is hopeless for us in the long run."

The crowd, upon hearing Evelyn's words, immediately turns angry and shouts at her, accusing her to be a traitor but she remains calm, almost sincere.

Eventually, Evelyn stands up, collects her bags and staff, and walks away.

She just keeps walking and never looks back.

And Telahna just stands there, with tears in her eyes, watching, but not running after the girl who has taken her heart.

xxXxx

How long do we have to go on like this?

Telahna collapse against the wall. It's been years and there's still no changes for their situation—still fighting for their lives, still running away. The Conclave has been destroyed, along with any hope of solving this war.

She has tried to survive through all these. She's learned to more attack magic to help with her fighting when she doesn't help with healing people, but she's only one person, and this war is killing so many of them each day. No matter how many people she tries to heal and how many templars she kills, it never stops.

She is so tired. Tired of killing. Tired of not being able to save her comrades. Tired of this war.

Evelyn… where is she now? Did she know this will happen? Will they ever meet again? All the questions and "what ifs" has been tormenting Telahna each day ever since Evelyn left and she doesn't know if there will ever be an answer for them.

"I want to see you…" She sobs into her arms as the sun continues to go down. First Enchanter Fiona said some magisters had contacted her with an offer, but Telahna doesn't have any hope for it.

xxXxx

Telahna looks at Redcliffe for one last time before walking into the night.

In the end, she runs away, abandoning her friends, abandoning Sena, even abandoning the thoughts of ever finding Evelyn again.

Maybe she just wants to die somewhere far away.

No.

She is just a coward that thinks only for herself.

xxXxx

She hears the people in the clan talking about the Inquisition, how another Dalish clan has agreed to be their ally, how the Inquisitor accepts everyone from all background and treats them equally—humans, dwarves, Dalish, city elves, mages, and the likes.

She also hears about all the incredible tales and dangers the Inquisition has faced and conquered. From closing the Breach to losing Haven to an ancient magister to fighting the rogued Grey Wardens, each tale is grander and unreliable than the last.

But most worry of all, everyone is now talking about the rumor that Inquisitor Trevelyan is the soulmate of one of their gods, Fen'Harel.

Needless to say, elves, or at least the ones of this Dalish clan she is staying with, are very interested in this "rumor". Some of them may just disregard as human gossips but most think that there are some truths to it and want to know more. Telahna also heard that the alienages in Orlais had been attacked for showing supports to this news.

Will Evelyn be okay? I want to go and see her, I want to see Sena and the others too… but I'm a deserter, what right do I have to come back? But if I stay here—

"You look very torn. Still can't decide?" A voice suddenly appears behinds Telahna, making her jump a bit. Turning around, she sees Itha, the clan's Keeper, strolling toward her with his usual, relaxing smile.

Months after her first meeting with him and Telahna still find the man to be… quite very unusual, to say the least. He is very young for a keeper, only in his mid-twenties or so—Telahna has always thought a Hahren has to be old but apparently, she was wrong. But then again, being young is just the least eccentric thing about Itha.

"I-I just don't know what to do. I can go to Inquisition but my friends there, I don't know if they will accept me back. And there is someone…" She swallows before continuing, "There is someone I care very much but… I've abandoned her twice before, even after she had saved me many times. Maker helps me, she saved all of my friends and yet I still didn't have the guts to stand up for her. What right do I have to come and see her?"

Itha hums thoughtfully for a bit before looking straight at her, he asks, "You want to go there to help? Or do you want to go there to just see your loved ones?"

"… I want to do both."

"Which one is more important?"

Telahna presses her lips together, mulling over his question before answering, "I want to help. I didn't do enough before and then I ran away. I want to right my wrong and do something other than hiding."

Itha smiles. "Then go, even if your friends reject you, you still have something to fight for, right? I don't think the Inquisition would deny your request to join just because your friends don't want you anymore."

"True… but, I'm still very afraid. I've always lived with everyone, I'm not sure if I could live with being all alone…"

"Ah, but aren't you 'alone' right now? I think you are doing quite well. Besides, you said that you're 'not sure', and how can you be sure of something until you've tried it out?"

"That… makes sense, actually."

"Of course. And tell you what, if both your friends and the Inquisition don't want you, then you can come back here and live with us, we can always have another healer."

Perhaps he was just saying that to comfort her and has no intention to follow through with the offer in the future, but the kind words from Itha still makes tears gathering at the corners of her eyes and yet her lips still curl up.

"You are so strange, Hahren. Most Dalish would be wary of a flat-ear like me, especially when I'm a mage, but you're just so… different," she says between each wipe against her eyes. "I think even your clan members think so."

"I learned years ago that you can't just judge people because of what they were born into. I think so far, my life has been going quite well because of it." Itha laughs.

xxXxx

The Maker must love to play with me…

Telahna thinks as she watches Evelyn answering the questions from the other prisoners.

Her journey to the Inquisition's headquarter had gone quite smoothly in the beginning that she had thought that perhaps, for once, things would go her way. But a week ago, she was ambushed in the middle of the night and was taken here.

Apparently, because she is a mage, a high-quality good so the cultists here won't kill her right away but save her for the more important ritual. Telahna had tried to fight back but these blighted shackles simply suck out all of her strength so she had no choice but to wait for her death, giving up all hope of seeing Evelyn or Sena again.

Until the cultists brought in Evelyn…

And now, after a whole "talk" with the female magister called Regina, Evelyn is being flooded with questions from the other elves so Telahna has decided to just keep silent and observe instead—as much as she wants it, there is no need for her to make Evelyn more uncomfortable than she is right now.

Evelyn has changed quite a bit, Telahna realizes.

Her crush is still small and pale (but no less lovely), but there is something about her body, her posture that seems more… stronger, more confident.

She talks more—of course, given the situation she is in—and the way she expresses herself is that from someone with authority and ways with words.

But what has changed the most is her eyes. Evelyn's eyes still have the same blue as before, but they are brighter. They are more alive, more driven with a stronger purpose than even the look Telahna has seen on her crush's face whenever she was studying years ago.

Evelyn is now talking about the supposedly good deeds that Fen'Harel has done and there is something in her voice that makes Telahna pause.

It isn't a voice or emotion one would use to talk about a god—there is no awe or worshipping. Instead, there is pride and joy, and her face shows the expression of someone who is talking about a loved one's achievement, something personal and dear.

Then when someone asks what it feels like to be favored by her god, Evelyn explodes and it simply confirms everything to Telahna.

Her beloved Evelyn is in love with someone else. Someone strong and powerful and brave. Someone who is destined to be with her. Evelyn is deeply in love with this go—this person, and it shows.

It hurts, but Telahna cannot take her eyes off Evelyn as the latter talks about her lover. She is glowing with happiness and affection even if they are dampened a bit by the situation they are in— her face shows all kind of emotions that the elf had never once seen them appearing throughout the years they lived in that tower.

Evelyn is smiling, and even if it hurts, Telahna knows that she wants that smile to last forever.

xxXxx

They all have escaped.

Telahna doesn't know if Evelyn is safe but she won't stop running or turning back to check.

Evelyn and everyone else has done everything to let them out and Telahna would be dead before she let herself waste their hard work.

xxXxx

Sena comes to her on Telahna's second day in the infirmary. Her best friend looks much healthier than before despite a few scars on her face. But more importantly, she looks furious.

Just as she expected, Sena greets her with a slap to the face but unexpectedly, it is followed by a hug, tight and overwhelming.

"You idiot. You fucking idiot!" Sena sobs into her shoulder, and Telahna has to agree.

They talk quite a bit until the healer decides it's time to kick Sena out.

Sena comes back the next days, with several more of their friends. Many more refuse to see her but this is already more than what she's expected.

Telahna starts to help around the infirmary and then the herb garden afterward. She also assists the senior mages around the tower too.

xxXxx

Evelyn has wakened up from her coma and apparently, it was all thank to her best friend and mentor Solas, an apostate who is an expert about the Fade.

Telahna initial didn't think much about Solas, she only cared about the fact that Evelyn has finally recovered, alive!

But now looking at Solas, who just finished introducing himself as an agent of Fen'Harel, she mental kicks herself for not paying more attention.

Of course, someone who is that close to Evelyn wouldn't be just a simply apostate!

But no matter who he is, the man is offering them a chance to do something different about the state of the world.

She can still remember vividly what Evelyn has told them about the wonders the old Elvhenan had and what they can have if magic fully integrates into this world again. Even if Telahna identifies herself more as a mage than an elf and has very little knowledge of the ancient elven empire, what Evelyn described that day was still resonant strongly in her.

A land where mages can be free. There will be no slaves, no templars, no towers that built just to lock up children who have no choice of what they were born as.

Telahna is still a coward but even a coward can do something with enough motivation.

She can do something.

First, she needs to say "yes" to Solas's offer.

xxXxx

The entire fortress is talking about the dramatical revelation of the love between the Inquisitor and her Fade expert.

Everyone—men and women, elves and humans and dwarves, nobles, soldiers, servants, officers—they all talk about it.

Those working for Fen'Harel, now including Telahna, also talk about it, but their version of the event is a little bit different.

Apparently, Lord Fen'Harel trusts Solas enough to let him pretend to be Evelyn's lover so that she could dispel the "rumor" that she has contacts with Fen'Harel himself.

Among the agents, the main topics are about just how high-ranked Solas actually is to be tasked with such an important and sensitive mission… and just how far Evelyn and Solas are willing to do to keep up their charade as lovers.

Some agents think that maybe Lord Fen'Harel cares more about his bondmate's safety than being jealous so Solas is probably allowed to do more than just pretend.

Some others joke that after everything ends, Solas will be sent to a faraway job and never to be seen with the Herald again. Or worse.

Telahna? She is so furious right now, especially when she can see Solas down the hall, with his arms full of belongings he is bringing to Evelyn's chambers.

It's stupid, she knows. Evelyn has already shown how deep her love for Fen'Harel go and Telahna has accepted it. And maybe she has come to accept Evelyn being with Fen'Harel so much that seeing her crush with anyone else just feel extremely wrong to Telahna.

Or Perhaps she is just mad that people had pushed Evelyn to the point that her crush has to resort to this kind of plan to protect herself.

Or perhaps she is just jealous, knowing that there is physically a man whom Evelyn trusts so much to allow him to touch and share a room with her, playing lovers with her. Knowing that it's all fake doesn't make it feel any better.

Either way, before she knows it, Telahna has already pointed a finger to Solas's face, threatening him to not touch Evelyn more than necessary.

She runs away before the man could say anything to her.

Telahna spends the rest of the night kicking herself.

Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! Great start to prove yourself to your employer!

xxXxx

Telahna looks from her spot on the third floor of the library down to where Evelyn is sitting with Solas on his couch.

Well, it's actually Solas laying his head in Evelyn's lap, looking more relax and at ease than any other time anyone else has seen him. Meanwhile, Evelyn is smiling mischievously, finger poking at Solas's cheek while dodging his swatting hand.

Even when the library is nearly empty now that the sun has set and most people had gone away for their meal, the two of them still commit to keeping up this charade.

Maybe they can easily do that because they are best friends. Telahna has seen how they work together when there are projects that that needed the Circle mages and both of them.

She can also see the way Evelyn being much more at ease whenever Solas is around, too. Even other people can see it, even if the Inquisitor still being her extreme-professional self as ever. Most people don't even mention about the Dread Wolf anymore as they all have been convinced that Evelyn wants nothing to do with him.

Speaking of Fen'Harel, Telahna needs to find a way to start her "conversation" with Sena soon. More Circle mages are being persuaded to Evelyn's and her soulmate's side but it's still a very slow progress. Each agent within Skyhold has to go through several permissions and checks before they are allowed to approach a new potential ally and convert that person—it took Telahna months to confirm that Sena can be convinced to switch side but now she needs to figure out how to actually do that.

xxXxx

Telahna can't still believe she is actually here, in the Headquarter of the Dread Wolf!

It feels like a dream—the months she and the other agents spent preparing to leave Skyhold permanently with Solas—even as she is seeing the ancient elvhen-styled walls that permeating magic. She is still not sure what is it about herself that has gotten her to be chosen to go with Solas but no matter what, she will do her best here!

What's more? They all have been called to present themselves before Fen'Harel himself!

Her heart is beating wildly in her chest and she's sure everyone else is also feeling very nervous. They all know Fen'Harel isn't a god—it was the first thing Evelyn and other senior members beat into them when they first joined—but it cannot be denied that the Dread Wolf isn't your normal elvhen mage either.

He came from an age where would-be gods still wandered the Earth. Maker's breath, he was one of them! Not a god, but very close, and he is the one who will lead them all to a new world that they all dream about.

Vaguely, Telahna wonders about Solas. Now that she thinks about it, just where is he anyway? Upon arriving at this place a day ago, the elf has disappeared right away. Maybe he had some important report to give first—

"Lord Fen'Harel is waiting for you all," an elf in rogue armor announce as he opens the door.

Pushing the thought about Solas to aside, Telahna takes a deep breath and steps forward together with others.

They walk into a large hall where, at the end of it, an elven man is standing on the dais with his back to them.

They can't see his face, but even with his simply clothing, his dignify aura and posture leaves no doubt about who he is.

Their group walks a little closer to the dais, and Fen'Harel turns around to show his face to them and—SOLAS?

Is this a dream? Telahna discreetly pinches the side of her thigh. It hurts so no, not a dream. And judging by the gasping sounds coming from others, they definitely don't believe their eyes right now, just like her.

"Greeting, I, Fen'Harel, welcome you, brothers and sisters who have volunteered to join this fight of ours for a new world," Solas speaks up and there is no doubt that it is him and not just a doubleganger anymore. But there is something in his voice that is quite different from before.

"You all have been chosen to follow me to leave Skyhold because each of you has an ability to build the foundation of our plan." Solas—no, Fen'Harel continues after letting them all calm down a bit. "Each of you shall receive a specific task to follow. Some of you will be sent to other regions but most will stay here to contribute to research efforts."

As the Dread Wolf speaks, all the pieces start to arrange themselves in Telahna's head. Everything just makes so much sense now, and suddenly, she finds it so ridiculous that no one has ever thought about it—Evelyn easily accepted Solas to be her lover, all the extra efforts they put out to fake their relationship even when there weren't many people to see them… Those scenes and their interactions with each other were never fake in the first place because Solas is Fen'Harel and he has been staying by Evelyn's side this whole time!

Still a little dizzy from the sudden revelation, Telahna vaguely wonders if the reason other people just couldn't make a connection between Solas and Fen'Harel was because everything was so simple to the point of absurd. And maybe they were all thinking that such a figurehead like "Fen'Harel" wouldn't actually mingle between them, overseeing everything on his own.

"As you are already known, my bondmate Evelyn is working within the Inquisition together with your comrades there, doing their best to protect and support us." The name "Evelyn" pulls Telahna out of her thought to pay attention to reality again.

Before them, their leader is still talking, "So, I hope that you will all remember that your works here will not be just for you, it shall be also for the sake of someone else dear to you, for a future that you all hope for and deserve to live in. The path might still be very long, but there, no doubt, is hope at the end."

For a fleeting moment, Telahna can see a sadness flashes over his eyes and understanding dawns on her—Solas isn't just talking about them, he is reminding himself that this war to come is not only for the future of elves and mages but also for Evelyn, too.

Empathy resonants through her; she understands how Fen'Harel is feeling now, having to stay away from the one you love while preparing for a great war. Telahna still remembers how Evelyn has emphasized that despite all of his incredible deeds, the Dread Wolf is still very much a man with his own troubles and emotions.

It's must be hard for him to leave Evelyn behind like that. I must do my best to support him from now—

The touching moment within Telahna's head snaps into dust when she suddenly remembered what she had done months ago—she had threatened Solas, who is Fen'Harel, who is Evelyn's bondmate, and who is her highest superior. She had pointed her finger right into his face and demand him to not touch his wife!

Sweat starts to gather on her forehead and Telahna has to try her best to keep her knees from clanking against each other.

She is dead. She is so dead. Andraste has mercy on her but Telahna is going to pay for all the stupid things she had done!

But she can't run away now. She's done a stupid thing so before dying, Telahna should at least has the chance to own up to it.

She waits for everyone to receive their own instruction and had all left, leaving only herself in the room with So—Fen'Harel. He looks at her, a little puzzled but before he could open his mouth to ask, Telahna collapses onto her knees and bow deeply.

"Please forgive my insolence, Lord Fen'Harel!" Telahna exclaims, not daring to look up.

"For what?"

Telahna looks up to see Fen'Harel smirking at her. He remembers but is testing her! She is fucked!

"I-I threatened you, my Lord!" She blurts out honestly. "I had the nerve to ask you not to touch your bondmate. Even if back then I didn't know you are Fen'Harel, I st-still committed insubordination against you."

"Is that so?" Goddamnit, but she can hear the laughing in his voice.

"Y-yes, and I will gladly accept any punishment you have for me, my Lord!" She is shaking like a leaf now.

But suddenly, she hears an audible chuckle above her. He sounds extremely amused, but there's no malice.

Looking up, Telahna finds Fen'Harel looking down to her with surprisingly kind eyes.

"Be at peace now. I cannot punish you for something like that," he says.

"But I disrespected you!" She stutters.

"Out your concern for my Evelyn." Fen'Harel shakes his head, his eyes turn even softer at the mention of Evelyn. "I had received far worse threats from my enemies, what makes you think I would pay much attention to yours? Especially when you did it because you cared for my bondmate. To be honest, I was glad to see that there are at least one of the People who care for my bondmate despite her being human."

"I…" she can't just say that "It's because I'm in love with your wife" since that would probably end with her being literally set on fire, so instead, she just replies, "She saved me, my Lord, but that's still no ex—"

Face turns serious, he cuts her off, "What's done is done, let just leave that little event behind and focus on the future, shall we?"

"I—Yes, Lord Fen'Harel." She is not going to look this gifted horse in the mouth!

"Good. As we have discussed before, your job from now on will be researching and developing the herb farms for potion making. I will open a section of the seed vault for you, so go there with your teammates. You are dismissed."

Telahna quickly stands up, bowing to Fen'Harel again and basically runs as fast as she can out of the room.

Even if he has forgiven her, she decides it is best to just put all her energy into her works and avoid him for at least the next few months or so just to be sure.

xxXxx

She learns from others that Solas is indeed the Dread Wolf's real name but just like her, everyone only uses the name "Fen'Harel" due to many reasons.

Telahna has an inkling that only Evelyn calls him by his true name. And somehow, that actually makes her feel… happy.

xxXxx

Lord Fen'Harel has gone away this morning, dressed in armor, but a few minutes ago, the mages in the healing room have received an order to wait by the Eluvian for his return. They had also been told to having everything ready to treat wounds.

Just what's happening? It was an urgent order, did something bad happen?

Telahna keeps switching her weight between her legs, the butterflies in her stomach just won't go away.

This is the first time the whole team has to gather right at the gate like this. Before, whenever something happened, they just need to wait in their infirmary for the patient to be carried in. But this… this is different.

The large mirror glows before simmering, signaling someone is walking through it. Everyone straightens up and watches as Fen'Harel walks out of the gateway, and in his arms is… Evelyn? And she is covered in blood!

Before she knows it, Telahna has already at Evelyn's side, performing a scanning spell on her. She ignores the gasping and whispering sounds everyone else is making.

Missing left arm. Heavy blood loss but has been stopped. Residues of the Fade magic running through her. She's sleeping but they still need to work on her fast to ensure nothing bad will happen later.

Fen'Harel quickly kneels down to place Evelyn and immediately, the rest of the healers surround them, taking off Evelyn's bandages while pouring potions and magic on the young woman.

Since her bondmate has already done a good job of taking care of her wound, it only takes a few minutes for them to all decide that Evelyn only needs to rest now.

As the Dread Wolf carries his bondmate away, Telahna chases after him, trying to catch up with his fast pace.

"Lord Fen'Harel, just what happened to her Worships? Why is she like that? Who did this to her?" Telahna asks, trying to be polite but fails as her voice keeps rising in panic.

"Why didn't you protect her? You are her husband, it's your job!" is what she wants to say, too, but luckily, Telahna still has enough control in herself not to do that.

Then, her employer suddenly stops. "It was I who did it," he says, voice so small it's barely a whisper.

"What?"

He turns around to her. "It was I who cut her arm," Fen'Harel repeats and Telahna simply can't find anything to say or react to his confession when she sees his face.

It is full of rage and self-loathing and regret—the face of someone who thinks he had done something unforgivable. There's no point for her to lashing out at him when he's already torturing himself over it.

Fen'Harel gives her one last look before disappearing with Evelyn behind the door leading into his chamber.

She doesn't follow him, just standing there staring at the door for a long while.

xxXxx

It's been three days but Evelyn is still sleeping. Three days ever since Fen'Harel decided to stay in with her in his room and not coming out. He does all of his works, meals and even his talking with the agents just in this room.

Healers like Telahna only come in to give him supplies and being assistants since Fen'Harel has completely taken over the duty of caring for Evelyn.

Telahna is mixing some salves when she hears a small but deep gasp of a feminine voice, following by a whispering of "Vhenan" from Fen'Harel.

Immediately turning around, she can see Evelyn with her eyes open tiredly, but the young woman looks awake enough. And all of her attention is on her bondmate.

"S…olas…" Evelyn's voice is hoarse. Reflexively, Telahna quickly pour water into a cup before handing it to Fen'Harel,

After a few moments, Evelyn has finally regained enough of her voice to whisper small words of love and comfort to her husband as he holds her tight against him.

Smiling in relief while trying to hide away her tears, Telahna leaves the room, knowing that she should tell everyone else not to bother the couple for at least the rest of the day.

xxXxx

After Evelyn has wakened up, people in this place start to gossip even more. Turns out, there're some people still don't actually believe their Lord has a human bondmate despite the fact that the agents who know Evelyn often talk about her, and there are many humans working here already.

There have even been some arguments between those who support Evelyn and people who have doubts about her, nothing violence and the latter group is in the minority but it still makes Telahna feel sad for Evelyn—after the whole fiasco about people wanting to know if she is Fen'Harel's soulmate or not, Evelyn now will have to prove that she deserves to be with him instead.

But Telahna isn't actually worried about whether Evelyn will succeed or not, simply because she knows for sure Evelyn can prove herself just fine given enough time. She is more concerned about Evelyn driving herself to the ground from overworking. Everyone who was in the Inquisition knows just how much of a workaholic their leader is.

Case in point, today is just the fifth day after Evelyn first woke up and she's already working. Lord Fen'Harel has even had his office rearranged to accommodate another desk and several more shelves for his bondmate,

Evelyn is talking to a couple of agents, her hand holding a thick stash of paper.

"So the extraction was a success?" Evelyn asks.

"Yes, my Lady," an agent answers. "All the slaves we deemed safe to be taken out of the Magisters' houses had all left Miranthous. Shall we repeat the process again, this time with a bigger number?"

"No, we should let the capital alone for a bit. Too many activities will alert the slave owners." Evelyn shakes her head. "Instead, let's aim for slaves in the smaller cities next, but not the villages. Big enough to hide in plain sight but small enough to not attract attention. For the Capital…"

She turns to another spy, handing out a scroll. "These are information we got from the rescue slaves from the Capital regarding the Imperium's fleet, find a way to give it to the Qunari. That will make the Magisters think it's them who took the slaves. If we're lucky, it will distract both sides long enough for us to do more."

Then, Evelyn reaches for another scroll. "For the rations, buy them from the guilds with the money from the Inquisition, make sure to use the right names so they won't track back to us. People are preparing for my funeral so they won't notice there are more golds coming out of the vault than it should be. But please remember to also send money to the lower ranks and servants there, they will need it once the Inquisition is disbanded."

"My Lady, we need to buy crops too?" Another agent asks after taking a look at the scroll. "Shouldn't we just need to buy the processed grains? We have enough gold for that."

"True, but we can always add more food by growing our owns in addition to buying," explains Evelyn. "Not to mention, we can only buy food from outside sources for now. Once we show ourselves to the world, no one will dare to sell us things anymore, except for maybe the dwarves. It will also be good practices since most of our people, elves and mages alike don't have much experience with large scaled farming anyway, and we won't have much time to do so once our war starts. I will prepare a list…"

If Telahna isn't seeing clearly the state of Evelyn's appearance—still missing an arm, hair down, dressed in a loose dress and a shawl—she wouldn't believe that the scene she witnessed last week was real

She obviously isn't well enough to properly dress herself and yet she's already working. It's just like two years ago.

Evelyn soon dismisses the agents before turning to Telahna, smiling. "Hello, it's nice to see you again."

"It's an honor, my Lady." Telahna quickly bows, feeling so flushed upon realizing that this is the first time they actually talk normally and Evelyn is smiling at her. "I heard that you have a mission for me."

"Indeed. Solas has given me access to the inner library and I think we can do something about it." Evelyn hands out a list of potion recipes. "I know that you have an extensive experience with both potions and herbs, this mission will involve developing them with old elvhen methods to increase production. I think you're quite suitable for it."

They talk for a while about more about the project before Telahna finally asks the question she's been wondering all these times, "Milady, why did you recommend me to be one of the first to join Lord Fen'Harel? And now you let me handle this, I…"

Evelyn just replies in a kind voice, "Because I know you have more experience with this kind of things. Your section in the Ostwick garden used to yield more thrice times the amount and your healing potions are always more effective than any of us. They tasted much better, too."

Evelyn chuckles at the last part but Telahna doesn't have much mind to pay attention to that, her brain is still focusing on what her leader just said. After a few seconds, she manages to stutter out, "Y-you remember me at the Circle?"

Evelyn just replies like it's the most obvious thing in the world, "Of course, how could I not? You were quite impressive back then— friendly, hardworking, always try to cooperate with everyone. I think most of the people from our tower would agree so, they all love you."

Joy soars up in Telahna's chest, it feels like she is going to burst out from happiness.

She remembers me! Evelyn remembers me!

Oblivious to Telahna's feeling, Evelyn adds, lips still curling up but they are somewhat strained, "I was… quite envy of you back then. I wished I could be more like you…"

No, you are wrong. I've nothing that you should want to be.

But Telahna isn't sure what she should actually say. Seeing Evelyn's expression like that, realizing that all the hurts and sadness back are still haunting her, she just doesn't know what could be said without tearing open the old wounds. And Telahna can't just make this all to be about herself—

Suddenly, the door opens and Fen'Harel walks in.

"Vhenan, what did I say about overworking yourself? Did I not tell you to only be here for two hours?" His brows furrow as he speaks, but his mouth still curves into a fond grin.

Meanwhile, even if she is receiving a scolding, Evelyn's emotions immediately change upon seeing her bondmate. Her lips stretch into the same smile that Telahna had seen so many times before whenever she is with him—glowing with happiness, eyes twinkle like the stars, an open expression without any guarding. Evelyn quickly stands up as her lover approaches, letting him wrap his arms around her.

And then, Telahna knows.

Things like "I love you," or "I've always been watching you," or "I'm sorry for never standing up for you," are all useless here.

Why should she burden Evelyn with these kinds of knowledge when the most important thing has already been archived? Evelyn is happy with someone who can care for her, and it is all that matter to Telahna. There's no point in mentioning the past, let it be buried so that they can all look forward to the future.

Before her, Evelyn and Fen'Harel are still talking with each other, throwing playful retorts back and forth in a familiar game between them. Smiling at the scene, Telahna speaks up, "My Lady?"

"Y-yes?" Evelyn blushes, obviously embarrassed that she acted unprofessionally in the presence of an agent.

But Telahna just ignores that, instead, she smiles confidently at her superior before saying, "I want to thank you."

"For what?"

"For everything. For the Tower, for the Red Scales, and for giving me this chance. I will do my best and won't let you down."

At her words, Evelyn nods, the corners of her mouth just curl up ever so slightly but there is something in her gaze that makes Telahna want to tremble. Something like trust and confidence.

Take a deep breath, she bows before the couple, saying, "Please excuse me. I must go preparing for my duty right away."

And then Telahna leaves. From behind her back, she could hear Fen'Harel asking Evelyn if she is ready to test her new prosthetic, which Evelyn replies immediately with an enthusiastic "yes".

When she turns around to close the doors, the last thing she sees in the room is Evelyn and Fen'Harel, wrapping their arms around each other, lost in a world that exists only for the two of them.

With the image in mind, she walks away, lighter than ever, and yet feeling a strong sense of purpose in each step she takes.

There is so many new things to do, so many new things to prepare. And she now has a new prayer to the Maker, too. Something not for herself, but for someone else.

May your smile last forever, my dearest Evelyn.

Chapter Text

Lying still on the table, Evelyn observes Solas's face as he works on the prosthetic he just attached to the remaining of her left arm. Her bondmate is so focused that even his breaths seem to follow a certain pattern to maximize his efficiency and time. His fingers wave delicate runes that engraved themselves into her skin and veins. The glowing symbols run along her arms, pass her shoulder and through her whole body, leaving a tingling sensation inside her very bones that make Evelyn want to fidget.

She dares not to move her arm—Solas did tell her to stay still—instead, she just wiggles her toes and trying in vain to distract herself with something.

Solas suddenly chuckles above her, he stops his work to reach out and strokes her cheek.

"Vhenan, it is all right to move a little bit," he says affectionately. "Or do you want to get all stiff after this?"

"You said that I should stay still."

"I said that you should not move too much, not that you should keep yourself completely immobilize like a statue." Solas leans over to press a kiss on her lips. "I know you are nervous, but it will be okay. Everything is going well so just a little more."

Evelyn nods, trying to ignore the stare of the two elven maids in the room and focus on the reports she read this morning.

The disbanding of the Inquisition has left the Circle mages in a state of panic since the Chantry still insists to "protect" them with towers and Templars, a majority of them has locked themselves in Skyhold and the other Inquisition's keeps, fearing that without the Inquisitor the templars will start to hunt them again if they come out. It does not help that the news about Fen'Harel is now spreading all over Thedas, making the Chantry even more paranoid.

With Evelyn's "death", her friends and people in the Inquisition will focus on Fen'Harel and elves' movements around Thedas while neglecting to check the mages—and Solas has made sure that it will stay that way for a while more—so in the next several months, Evelyn's followers will have to push for mass recruitment to move the mages to their side completely.

But on a more personal note, Evelyn has learned a curious thing among the reports. Apparently, her parents had attended her 'funeral', which is incredibly strange because, during her entire time as the Inquisitor, they had never made any attempt to contact her despite all the benefits they could gain for the family.

But then again, it's not like she actually ever understands them before. During her years in Ostwick, Evelyn had fully prepared herself to be killed one day when her parents could not handle her demands for golds and research resources anymore. But her death has never come, the Templars still dared not to touch her, and her requests continued to be fulfilled without fail.

Yet she knows what she saw and heard that night so long ago was not a dream—her parents really did order to have three of her cousins to be disposed of because they were bringing shame to the family's name. Having a mage daughter being destined for a heretic god was shameful enough, but when said daughter clearly wanted to learn more about 'her god', it should have warranted her death sentence long ago and—

A spark of magic flares yanks Evelyn from her thoughts. Her beloved has finally leaned away from his work.

"There." He smirks in triumph and pulls her up. "Now, vhenan, can you try moving your arm for me?" Solas requests.

It is only then that Evelyn notices that she could actually feel something from her left arm instead of just the phantom sensation that plagued her this whole month. She looks down to her prosthetic. It is made from some kind of soft material that similar to a type of tree sap one could find in Tevinter—soft and flexible. The end where it attached to her stump seems more like it is blending into her flesh as there are no gaps. Her fingers slide along the white surface decorated with delicate long engraved lines of patterns that look like vines and leaves—there are sensations left behind by her fingertips!

Heart thumping, she tries to clench her left hand and it does! She can even feel the way each fingertip pressing into her palm!

Turning to Solas, she reaches out to hold his face with both hands. Warmth seeps into both of them. There are no differences, she can feel everything, from the textures to the movements of his face. She can feel everything!

Quickly reaches for his hand next, Evelyn testes each of her finger by hooking onto his own fingers and pulls. Yes, the weight and forces are all the same.

Suddenly, Solas tightens his fingers around her new hand and brings them to his mouth. Looking straight into her eyes, he presses a kiss on each finger before placing a final one in the middle of her palm.

Her eyes soon become glassy under the waves of emotions but she holds in the tears, whispering, "Thank you, my Wolf."

He smiles, shaking his head. "Not yet, there is more." Holding the wrist, he straightens out her left arm before commanding, "Now, try to imagine this as if it's a real thing."

She does as he requested and to her surprise, the vines on her arms start to fill up while the white color gradually changes to a fleshy pinkish tone. In a few seconds, before Evelyn is an arm that looks exactly like her right one. She can even see everything that a real arm should have, from the blue veins on the wrist to the creases of skin around the joins and knuckles; there are even pulses when she presses against the skin!

She holds her arm up, marveling at the miracle her beloved has done. It's almost as if she has never lost her limb, the only things that indicated that had happened are the fact that the Anchor is missing while her soulmark is now on her right wrist instead of left.

"I must be dreaming…" Evelyn mumbles.

Solas chuckles. "No, you are not, because your real arm cannot do this." He points to a candle in a shallow dish. "Use your prosthetic as you would a magic staff and melt that."

Once again, she obeys his instruction and tries to imagine her arm as a staff. Easily, her magic creates a fireball that wraps around the candle and melts it into a puddle in the container.

The new surprise finally sets in and Evelyn has to exclaim. "You made it into a staff too? You can do that?"

"Of course I can," Solas replies proudly. "I may not be as talented as Dirthamen or June in creation magic, but I still am one of the Evanuris, the strongest and most powerful of my people. And you…"

He cups her face. "You deserve my best efforts."

Evelyn giggles at his smugness but decides not to chide him—he really is one of the best, after all. She just asks playfully, "How should I thank you now, my Wolf, for this wonderful gift?"

It was a joke since she knows Solas wouldn't want her to do anything for him as repayment. It's just how they treat one another, simply because of love, not because they want anything in exchange (most of the time).

But then, unexpectedly, Solas's expression changes and a glint of hunger appears in his eyes instead. He pulls her against him and wrap his arm around her waist, growls huskily into her ear. "Then how about that 'special treatment' you gave me two years ago before I left Skyhold?"

Evelyn's face immediate heats up at his at his sudden demand. Reflexively, she stops Solas by pushing both of her hands against his mouth. "Of course! I will do it! Just later, we still have jobs to do!" She can hear the gasping sounds from the servants and feel their stares.

Solas grins smugly, making Evelyn realizes he is just teasing. But the damages had already done—the servants had seen and heard enough to have a new topic of gossip for the next few days.

Fortunately for Evelyn, her Wolf decides not to tease her anymore and just spends the rest of their time teaching her how to care for the prosthetic and how to remove it from her stump by turning it into a bracelet that she can wear. They also both agree that she should still use a normal staff when fighting instead of casting spells with her arm directly to ensure safety and elements of surprise when needed.

After that, she has to leave to meet up with the field agents for more works.

xxXxx

By the evening, Evelyn is completely exhausted while she drags herself to the kitchen, planning to just make something light for herself and Solas.

But tired as she is, Evelyn is happy. Everything is going well—the preparation for the valley where all the mages will gather to create the main Fade Gate and its barrier can finally start; they had also managed to restore the elvhen ruins and its underground facilities over there to a more presentable state to house at least half a dozen Dalish clans for training. The other regions still have a lot of work to do before they are suitable to support their army, but since Evelyn is now well enough to travel, she will personally go and oversee the construction.

Silently thanking Solas for making sure to link all the eluvians to those place, Evelyn sighs in relief knowing that her trip around the Dales won't be as long and tedious as back when she was still with the Inquisition.

Speaking of Solas…

Evelyn feels her heart drums a little harder when she remembers the way he held her this noon, and how she could feel his hot breath against her ear when he asked for her "favor".

Ever since she first came here, Solas has been very open with his love to her in front of other people. Well, not that affectionate given that they still have to act professionally in front of their field agents. But when they are in private spaces with the domestic servants, her bondmate is definitely less refrained compared to when he was still in Skyhold.

It's not that she is ashamed—she had stripped herself naked for people to see his marks on her body before—but she is self-conscious about her position. To many people here, she is just a human who suddenly appeared one day and took over the place right next to Solas. They might have heard of her before but she knows for them to actually see her is something else completely.

She can feel the way they look at her, scrutinizing each of her actions. She tries to ignore them and continues on as she would in Skyhold—working diligently without holding back her love for Solas—but sometimes, it still gets into her head the thought that they may never see her as enough for him and for this whole organization… She wonders if Solas ever felt like this back when he was just "Solas the apostate"?

When she goes near the door leading to the main kitchen, Evelyn hears loud noises of laughter and chatting of several women.

"You girls should see the way he embraced her, it was so romantic! It was like in those stories the human noblewomen like to read to each other!" A young feminine voice could be heard, following by a few giggles and whistles.

Evelyn stops at that, realizing they are talking about her and Solas. A bit mortified but also curious, she stops going forward and instead, pressing herself against the wall.

"True, true, I've worked here for two years and have never seen him like that. Our lord usually is so serious and distant, now seeing him like that is just unbelievable! Love really is something else!" Another voice agrees enthusiastically.

"Maybe some of those stories about the Dread Wolf's "conquers" were true? He just didn't find any needs to do so this whole time?"

"Or maybe he just finds her fun and exotic? She's human, after all."

Evelyn suddenly feels like someone has just doused a whole bucket of cold water on her. Even the people in the kitchen immediately become silent at the suggestion, but it does not take long for someone to voice their protest.

"Hey, watch your mouth, you are talking about Lord Fen'Harel bondmate here!" A high-pitched voice demands.

"What? That makes sense, doesn't it? She must look very different from what he had before."

"Well, it's not wrong but…"

"She is human, but that doesn't mean that our Lord only cares about Lady Evelyn's body, you dimwit. We've all seen her soulmark, that thing just doesn't turn red without love. I've seen it in my old brothel, tons of supposedly soulmates fucking each other but not a single one of their marks could change color unless they actually fell something." Says an old woman. "So yes, watch your mouth, girl! And stop talking stupid unless you want to get in troubles."

"Fine, fine, I didn't mean to say that he doesn't love her." The maid huffs. "It's not that I hate Lady Evelyn or anything. I'm just saying that… uhm, I was just worried that our lord Fen'Harel may miss his own kind after a while. You know? Even if he does love his bondmate, she is still human, not one of us. Like… when you move to a new place, you love it and happy but sometimes you still miss your old home where you grew up?"

Another uneasy silence follows before a new voice says, "I get what you mean, Lady Evelyn is working hard like us, that's obvious. But no matter how hard she tries, she is still human, and there are things that can't be fixed."

"Yeah, I kinda feel sorry for her now. And Lord Fen'Harel, too. They seem to love each other a lot but there're things you can't help it."

Upon hearing the agreement of a few other servants, Evelyn feels like her chest is being pressed on by a boulder. Deciding to just ask for the food to be brought to her later, she turns around and walks slowly back to her room.

Back in their bedroom, Evelyn just unceremoniously plops herself down on the mattress and stays like that for a whole while. The words of the servant run back and forth in her head like an echo. A couple of times in the past, she did think about the possibility that Solas may find her boring or not enough for his own taste but so many times he had simply made her forget or dismiss the idea with the way he treats her body—with absolute adoration and reverence.

But now, to hear her own doubt from someone else's mouth…

She knows even if she allows it, Solas would never find some else even if it's just for sex, but it's possible that he would still unconsciously want something closer to home. If only…

A sudden thought flashes through Evelyn's mind, she sits up and looks at her new left hand. Ever since she lost the Mark, she could no longer manipulate the Fade in her dream just as before. She can still move between places she had already known well—like Solas's flower field and Skyhold—but to actually go to new regions requires a tremendous effort that leaves her completely exhausted afterward. These days, she has to rely on Solas to help her explore the Fade.

But when she is in her own territories, she still has a strong control over everything within those spaces, even herself. Maybe… just maybe?

Evelyn walks to the large standing mirror in the corner and looks upon her reflection. She has never thought of herself as anything other than a human. She has never even wished that she has a different appearance. But…

Clenching her jaw, Evelyn concludes that she should try it, despite her uneasiness, because Solas deserves the best from her too.

xxXxx

Solas walks back to his room at a faster pace than usual. Evelyn has told him she has a surprise for him tonight in the Fade and he cannot help but greatly anticipate it, especially after a whole day of not seeing her due to their busy schedule.

Two more days and his bondmate will leave with her own group of followers to start her own surveillance of where they will place their supporting units for the war. Since it will be the first time she introduces herself to the followers outside of this headquarter, Evelyn will need to stay with them for at least a few months to properly establish herself as their second leader after him.

Of course, Solas will come to visit her in-between to help but Evelyn will need to handle everything herself. He is worried, but he knows this is the fight she must face herself.

Either way, for now, they need to enjoy each other's presence as much as they can. He can only thankful for the fact that their separation this time will not be as bad and long as the last one while hoping it will not end with her almost losing her life (and limb) again…

When he steps into their room, he finds Evelyn is already asleep. One of her arms is stretching over his spot on the bed, probably from her unconsciously seeking out his warm like usual.

Solas quickly changes into his sleeping pants and get into the bed. Just as he expected, Evelyn automatically moves into his arms. Smiling to himself, Solas gives his bondmate a kiss before lying down to sleep and find her soul in the Beyond. It does not take him long to find her—this time, she has chosen his old room in Arlathan.

Ah, this really brings back memories. And Evelyn is even wearing the same dress she wore that night! He can feel heat running down his stomach already, especially with the way Evelyn throws herself into his arms and kiss him breathlessly.

"Eager, aren't we?" He chuckles, nuzzling against her temple.

"Of course, I have tried very hard for this," Evelyn says cheerfully but… Is it just him or her smile looks rather strained? Tries not to frown, he secretly probes their link. Yes, she does feel wrong, not quite the usual nervousness but with a clear excitement whenever she tries something new with him. She feels… uncomfortable.

"So, what is your surprise for me, vhenan?" Solas still asks, hoping that he was wrong in his reading of her emotion.

Lips curve into what is a very uneasy smile, Evelyn steps away from him and magic starts to gather around her. Her body glows lightly as it morphs in front of him.

And when the light finally faded away, standing him before is Evelyn… as an elf.

In just a few scant seconds, several things go through Solas's mind.

He remembers the years back then when he was still indecisive about his love for her. He sometimes would imagine her as an elf to erase the feeling of betrayal over his desire for a human instead of his own kind. But that did not last long.

He remembers how he gradually learned to love Evelyn for what she is because he realized that Evelyn could not be "Evelyn" if she were not born as a human.

He remembers all the times he spent to observe her features, all the things that make her "her".

The elven Evelyn in front of him is as beautiful as the human one, and since she carries all the traces that he would find beauty in his own people, one could say that she should be even more desirable to him now.

True, Evelyn, as a human or an elf, is beautiful. Not the kind of beauty that makes heads turn or bewitching men into her devoted slaves; it is the kind of loveliness that is easy on the eyes, the kind of attractiveness that most people would say that it is unremarkable and common, and yet still very pleasant to look at.

Solas should desire her even more now that she has what he would usually find attractive.

But he does not.

She looks wrong to him. Her eyes are too big. Her nose is too straight. Her ears are not short and round. Her shoulders too narrow, and so is the rest of her body. She does not have the ample breasts that he loves so much. She does not have the wide hips that had filled out over the years of getting to eat properly in the Inquisition either—he remember Evelyn used to be so thin when they first met due to her life as a wandering researcher, too focus on her quest for knowledge and helping people to find enough food to fill her stomach.

She looks beautiful as an elf but he cannot find any desire to hold or kiss her as he does her human self.

All he feels right now is anger.

"S-Solas?" Evelyn stammers. Hands stretching out trying to reach for him when she sees that his reaction isn't what she expected.

He recoils from her hand and in a single flash, Solas rips apart the dream, knocking both of them back to the physical world.

xxXxx

When Solas opens his eyes, Evelyn has already disappeared from his hold. He looks around and finds her curls into a ball on the ground, her back leans against the end of the bed. She is sobbing softly.

He quickly moves over to take hold of her shoulder and chin, forcing her to look at him despite her struggling.

"Evelyn, vhenan—"

"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry." She chokes out. "I j-just wanted to make you happy, I didn't think you would be that angry. I've should have known better than to play with the appearance of your people like that!"

"No, vhenan. That is not it." He shakes his head, feeling like his heart is being stabbed at each tear she is shredding. "I am not angry at you. My anger is at whoever has planted in your head the idea that you have to change yourself to please me."

"But… I truly wanted to make you happy—"

"Not at the expense of yourself. You were extremely uncomfortable." He cuts her off. "And do not lie to me that you didn't feel so. I checked, your emotion was a mess, and you could not even smile properly. You obviously did not like that idea yourself."

Evelyn attempts to open her mouth, obviously trying to protest, but she stops. There is no point to deny it, they both know it.

"I did it because I thought you would want something closer to home once in a while," she murmurs, looking away from him.

He sighs, guiding her face back. "Did you hear that from the maids? That I want a female elf to please me instead of you?" He asks with a gentle tone but inside, he is cursing at the gossiping servants. Evelyn already has enough troubles with everything, he does not need them to make her doubt herself, too.

"Not exactly that, but close." Evelyn swallows. "They did know that you love me. But some of them think that you would still miss your own kind once in a while… and I don't think it's wrong for me to believe that."

Solas feels a wave of guilt when he remembers how years before, in order to push Evelyn away, he had told her that he only finds elves attractive. It wasn't a complete lie—while he has already attracted to her by then, she was the exception as he felt and still feels nothing toward the other humans. But no matter what his intention was, the only thing matters now is that his words had left behind a doubt in Evelyn, making his heart think that she is not enough for him.

Even though she is already more than what he deserves.

Solas takes a long look at Evelyn again. Yes, she does not need to have long ears or big eyes that shine in the dark, there is no need for her to have a lithe body or delicate limbs either. She is already complete as a human. He knows it but most importantly, she must know it.

And he will do so, even if he has to be forceful about it.

Pressing a kiss to her forehead, Solas pulls Evelyn up. "I should have done a better job," he murmurs, wiping away her tears.

"Do what?"

"Making you know I want you."

"But I knew that already. You've made it very clear from the first time we laid together." Evelyn frowns.

"Not quite." With a tilt of his head, the dressing mirror floats from its spot to stand against the wall across the side of their bed. "You know that I want you. But not how much."

He pushes her in front of the mirror, giving her sometimes to see herself in it.

"Do you remember our very first night together? The very night that I found you pleasuring yourself in my bed?" He strokes her shoulders, feeling a light shudder going through her. "I must admit, when I first started to fall for you, I used to imagine you as one of the People but I stopped when I discovered I just couldn't do it."

Evelyn squeezes his hand, signaling him to elaborate further. "One night, I tried to pleasure myself using your images. I didn't want to think about the fact that you are human, seeing it as a betrayal to my people, so I imagined you as an elf instead. But then, I discovered no matter how much I worked myself, I couldn't find release. It was only when I finally gave up and thought about you as yourself that I could reach my climax. It had to be you as a human, nothing else."

He emphasizes by sweeping her hair to aside and nuzzles into the back of her ear.

"… When did that happen?" Evelyn asks.

"Just very shortly before you closed the Breach. It was one of many reasons that made me planned to run away right after that finished. But then Corypheus attacked, and you could not wake up from your wound, so I chose to remain instead, and let myself fall for you deeper until I could not get out anymore. The rest you are already known."

Evelyn turns around, hands catching his owns. "But… are you sure you don't need—"

"Vhenan." He exhales, knowing that he needs to be more forceful to get through her. "Have you ever wanted me to be a human? Or wanted anyone else that is your own people?"

"Never." Just as he expected, she replies immediately. "I've never been with any other man but you, how can I miss something I have never known? And being with you is already enough for me. My heart is full, I don't need anyone else to love me."

He smirks, gripping her chin with one hand. "You have only laid with one man and already so sure, then how can I, who had years of experience to figure out my preference, not be able to know what I want?"

His retort definitely has caught Evelyn off guard because she sputters, obviously cannot find anything to counter back.

Solas turns her around again. "After that first night in the Fade, I knew I could never turn back. No elves or humans could ever compete to this." As he speaks, his experienced hands pull at the straps of her gown and smalls, and in a matter of seconds, Evelyn is completely stripped off her clothing, leaving her standing bare in front of the mirror.

His sensitive ears could already hear his bondmate's breaths quicken. Reaching out to caress her neck and waist, Solas continues, "Do you see it? Do you see the things that I love about you?"

Solas suddenly pulls Evelyn flushes against his front, making her suck in a breath. His arms snakes around her front— left-hand takes hold of her jaw while the right-hand caresses her stomach. "You fit so well into my arms, vhenan." He growls.

"Solas…"

"I love it whenever you say my name, and I love it even more when I can make that name to be the only thing in your mind when we make love." He gives her ear a single lick as it is enough to make her tremble. "I love the way your ear is so sensitive that I can make you lost words just being touching it with my tongue."

"Solas." Evelyn breathes out, head turns around just in time for him to capture her mouth. His tongue threats with her as his hand on her neck travels down to grab the underside of her right breast. His other hand slides from her stomach down to her mound. His fingers seek out her slit to stroke it teasingly before he goes up a little to search for her clit. So willingly, Evelyn parts her legs a little more to give him space.

He rubs around her nipple but not quite touching it. It is only when Evelyn tries to lean forward to get more frictions that he goes to attack the little peak, finger swirling and pinching it roughly to harden it.

When their lips part, a trail of spit follows Evelyn's mouth, making her face even more erotic with her hazy gaze, flushed cheeks, and swollen lips. Pride surges in his chest as he knows only him is allowed to do this to her.

Pushing her forward, Solas places his bondmate's hands on the mirror before turning her face to it. Pressing himself against her side and keep her still with one arm, he presses his lips to her ear, whispering while looking at their reflection. "Look at yourself in the mirror, vhenan. Can you see how lovely you are? It is an addiction of mine to see you like this."

She looks at her reflection in surprise before something rises in her eyes, something feral that makes him wants to lose control. His free hand slips deep in between her folds. Evelyn bites her lips at the sudden touch but it does not take long for her to try to push her hips back to get more frictions.

He strokes her for a while, continues to whisper encouraging words of how much he wants her. By the time the straining bulge in his pants cannot be ignored anymore, she is dripping and fully open for him.

One of Evelyn's hand reach for his cock but he pulls her wrist back. "Ah ah, hands on the mirror, ara'asha. No touching."

"That's not fair." She whines.

Solas laughs, hand stroking her rear. "Be still now, vhenan, you will not be disappointed." With that, Solas moves directly behind Evelyn. He quickly unfastens the strings of his pants to let it fall off.

He takes his time rubbing him hardened members against the tender skin of her rear, hearing her moans at the contact.

"Solas, please… hurry…"

Chuckling, he rubs himself between her buttocks a few more times before slowly pushing it into her tight, waiting cunt. Evelyn tries to thrust back but fails with his tight hold on her hips. He does not let her wait for too long, though. This feels too good so Solas decides to allow himself some indulgences before he actually starts the main course—he starts to push in and out of her in a fast pace that makes their hearts run wild.

In and out. In and out. Sometimes he changes the angle to hit that spot inside Evelyn he knows will make her skip a breath. Some other times, he sways his hips to drag out a new pleasure within her. His right hand still holds tightly onto Evelyn's hip to keep her still, but his left hand is wandering everywhere—from between her shoulder blades to the curve of her backside to her stiff clit to her swaying breasts, he plays with them to fuel the fire within her.

Evelyn continues to obey his order of watching herself in the mirror. He can see how it has led her into a trance, almost as if she is watching herself from a different perspective and yet feeling twice the pleasure.

Their eyes meet in the mirror and the lust in Evelyn's eyes pushes something in him.

It is time now.

Quickly, Solas holds onto Evelyn and backs away from the mirror without pulling out from her. He steps backward with her in his arms until his calves touch the bed.

Sitting down, he arranges so that his lover is sitting in his lap, her legs are hooked over his, spreading herself wide so that the mirror could show them clearly how deep his member is being buried in her.

"Ahh…" Evelyn groans, both at the image in front of her and because of the way he is pressing against her wall. She is very sensitive in this kind of position and Solas intends to make full use of it.

Releasing a spell that tie Evelyn's arms behind her back while keeping her nearly immobile, Solas plays with her breast and clit, his mouth pulling at her ear.

"Do you see your reflection there, my love? See how well we fit together?" He emphasizes by spreading her folds with one hand, exposing in full view how his cock is stretching her open. Evelyn whimpers, but does not look away from their reflection.

"You are so good to me. So good that I cannot have anyone else but you. Nothing else could make my blood sing like this anymore." Solas continues, both hands are now focusing on her clit, caressing and massaging around the button without quite touching it. His experience allows him to prolong her sweet torture for as long as he wants.

For a long while, Solas hums as he works her into a delirious state, listening to her moans and wails increase in volume. He doesn't move his hips at all because he knows that is what Evelyn craves the most right now.

"S-Solas, pl-please… move…" His bride begs. At first, he wants to pretend not hearing her but then he has another idea.

He thrusts up, but it is just a shallow and slow one that gives her more ecstasy without actually leading to the release she craves.

"More—" Evelyn tries to speak but another sudden thrust from him knock her out of her breath once again.

"What is it, vhenan? You need something?" Solas asks innocently, his index finger taps teasingly on her clit.

Evelyn cries out, "Please, I can't take it anymore!"

He kisses her shoulder. "What do you want?"

"I want to come…" she sobs.

"And how do I do that? Tell me more clearly, emma lath, what you want me to do?"

She sucks in a deep breath before choking out, "P-please use your cock and fuck my cunt until I come."

He laughs huskily into her ear. "I can do that. As long as you answer my questions correctly." Solas strokes the front of her neck. Evelyn just nods weakly.

"Who do I love?" he asks the first question.

"M-me."

He does not need to tell her she is correct or not. Solas simply just wraps his right arm around her middle and give her the first thrust, deep and fast.

"Who do I desire?" he growls.

"Me." Her answer comes quicker this time and he rewards her properly just like the first. The following pushes are fast and hard, but not quite hitting the right angle that she would want.

"Do I want anyone else?"

"No."

"Where does my cock only belong to?"

"Inside me."

"Good answers." The game has finally come to an end. Solas hold tightly onto Evelyn as he thrust into her without mercy. Solas can see in the mirror the way his cock rapidly disappears in and out of her cunt. Obscene wet noises of flesh smacking against flesh mix with Evelyn's wails as ecstasy overtakes her mind completely.

It does not take long for her walls convulse around him. Evelyn lets out a shriek that vaguely like his name before she collapses back against him, her whole body spasming. He never stops thrusting into her as his hands double their efforts to prolong her orgasm. Her fluid flows out continuously as it drips down to his length.

His own climax reaches him as he is in the middle of pulling out. Evelyn shudders as another small orgasm hits her as he spills into her. They sit still for a while, waiting for their body to calm down. Eventually, he turns Evelyn's head to give her a deep kiss. She is completely placid in his arms and Solas knows his bondmate will fall asleep very soon, so first…

Moving Evelyn to a more comfortable position in his lap, Solas turns her face to the mirror again while releasing her arms from behind her back. He commands, "Look, vhenan."

Evelyn looks and what she sees is definitely having an effect on her because she sobs in a breath. Her hands squeeze his forearm as she looks up to him. Solas can see clearly his reflection in her eyes.

Their lips touch again. Solas continues to hold Evelyn tightly as they look at their image in the mirror until she slips away into the Fade.

He soon follows after.

xxXxx

"You sent Abelas with me, too?" Evelyn says, finishing the final snap on her cloak, her followers waiting near the eluvian. The other servants had just brought out all the necessary equipment for the journey and are watching him and Evelyn saying goodbye to each other.

Solas nods, "Yes, the Sentinels will meet up with you at the second post, and Abelas shall stay with you until the main outpost is finished for him to start training the new recruits."

Evelyn takes a long look at Solas. Then she grins, giving him a knowing look before reaching out to take his face into her hands. His bondmate pulls him down and give him a deep kiss that leaves him stunted for just a second before he reacts by grabbing her and returning her kiss with the same enthusiasm.

When she lets go, Evelyn taps his nose. "I will be fine, my Wolf. I'll send reports every week through Felassan so wait for it."

She steps away from him and to the eluvian, pulling her hood over her head. Her eyes twinkle as she smiles at him. "We'll be going now. Take care of yourself."

And with that, Evelyn departs through the mirror, the rest of her group trails behind, leaving Solas standing there. Out of the corner of his eye, Solas could see the way the servants look at him and each other.

He does not know exactly what rumors they will make, but with the confidence Evelyn has displayed and the way she kissed him with no hesitation, he can be sure that it will be all right.

Smiling, Solas walks away, there is a mountain of works still waiting for him in the office.

Chapter Text

Solas looks over the entire valley. This place was one of the mid-class settlement providing food and other raw organic materials for other regions during the days Arlathan was still standing; as something perfectly ordinary with nothing too stand out, who would have thought it would be the place for him to start an important step in his grand scheme?

Most of the elves here are training for the war or growing food to be sent out to the armies hidden in other areas. While they are not farmers and do not really have the experience or proper magic to perform the feats the farmers of Elvhenan could do, Evelyn's suggestion of enchanting normal farming tools and assigning people from Laleal, which has both humans and elves with experience in farming, into teaching positions has helped increase productivity.

More crops are being grown each day and with the magic of the Keepers, they can mature and be harvested much faster than usual. It is going so well that he had already sent the instructors to the other regions to start mass producing the crops. Their presences will also act as the proof that humans and elves can work and live together as equals, even family.

For the Circle mages, half of them here are working days and nights to establish the physical barriers that will filter the flow from the great Rift once it opens completely. Right now, there is only a small amount of the Fade coming out enough to influence just this place.

The other half of the mages are either protecting the wards around the valley or helping the Keepers to train the elven children whose magic are starting to come out due to the Rift's effect. The Elders protested quite strongly at first, but once the little ones' uncontrollable power starting to cause damages for everyone—plus, when it has become very apparent that the mages are here to stay—they have to accept the help whether they want it or not.

It also helps that Solas has specifically chosen only elves that are more approachable to humans to be allowed into this sanctuary. More will soon arrive at this place, and when the proper time comes, he will start introducing the people here with the more aggressive communities out there. And for clans that have a history of banditry and attacking outsiders, he will have to send them somewhere they cannot cause too much damage. Even if the humans are not here, Solas simply does not want to have that kind of elements in his main army.

As Solas is watching some elves trying to teach a couple of mages how to use normal weapons in place of staffs (with a varied degree of success), a group of young elves approaches him. He exhales.

Ah, so that part finally come.

His bodyguards attempt to block them but Solas just wave it off—the problem is already here so he might as well as get over it fast instead of ignoring it.

A young man steps forward. "My lord, please pardon our intrusion but we would like to request to be transferred for different missions."

"Are your current tasks not suitable for you?" Solas asks neutrally but he already knows the answer.

"N-no, Lord Fen'Harel," a Dalish replies, "We are doing quite well with our jobs but we all think that we could do better."

Another elf, this one not wearing Vallaslin, chimes in, "We believes that there could be more important things for us to help other than making supply and training, my lord. There are so much more to be done than that!"

The whole group then choruses the same sentimental again and Solas has to resist the urge to pinch between his brows. Every single time he starts building up an army or preparing for war, there are always a number of young people who think they are so much better than whatever task has been assigned to them. The troubling part is that if he cannot truly predict what they would do whether he fulfill their requests or not.

Most of these children think that war is glorious and are eager to get on the battlefield to prove themselves. They scoff at mundane activities such as farming and logistic providing, not realizing that those things are actually one of the main factors that will build up a great army. They also show a lack of discipline given that they try to bypass their own Keepers and make requests with Solas directly. And then…

"Please, Lord Fen'Harel!" A couple of them—mostly females—knee before him, trying their best to make pretty faces and pleading voices. "We will do anything to prove ourselves for you. Whatever you need, we can do it!" The tones and the way they positioning their bodies leave very little doubts of exactly what they are offering.

Solas clenches his jaw.

And then there is this type of social-climbers whose idea of advancing themselves is to shamelessly offer their bodies to him without thinking about their own positions. Of course, some of these women are quite attractive and had it was a couple of years ago, when he just left the Uthenera, he would probably spare them a thought or two just to entertain himself a little bit. But he is different now, years of having Evelyn all for himself had left Solas lost all interests in other women.

And speaking of Evelyn simply makes him even more annoyed by these fools. Just what they were thinking when they come up with this brilliant idea? Do they not know that he already has a bondmate? Did they think that they could try to usurp her place by his side?

Just when he starts to wonder whether he should send them all to latrine duty, Evelyn walks toward him with Loranil and Keeper Hawen following just behind her—they probably just came back from their little trip to check the outer wards.

Solas frowns when he sees that his bondmate is still covering herself with her dark cloak and white mask. Just shortly after she left here for her journey around the Dales, Evelyn had taken the habit of always hiding her true appearance when she is outside to ensure her support for their organization will remain in secret. He cannot fault her logic but for obvious reasons, he really dislikes seeing her like this.

Evelyn is still obvious to his discomfort, she just cheerfully walks to him and says, "All the wards are in good conditions, I think we can start to modify them to prepare for the Great Rift now."

He nods. "Very good. But did you forget something?"

"Forget what?" She tilts her head and Solas smiles. He reaches out and pulls off both her mask and hood off to reveal her face. Evelyn gasps softly when he does that.

"You forgot that I've told you we are at home, you do not have to cover up yourself all the time like that." He chides. "I prefer to see you this way."

She gives him a knowing look but seems to have decided to ignore it. Instead, she turns to the group before them and asks, "I see that you have some volunteers?"

Solas smiles humorlessly but still grateful for the fact that Evelyn understands him. After all, as the Inquisitor, she had to deal with these kinds of problems, too.

"Indeed. Perhaps you have some ideas of what jobs to be given to them?" Solas says, trying not to grin when out of the corner of his eye, he could see the female elves who tried to seduce him flinch.

Evelyn thinks for a bit before saying to the group, "We will soon open the gates for more people to come in. The secret routes around Thedas needed to be prepared for larger influx than we had expected. Our mages will help to enchant them but they will be quite vulnerable during those periods, perhaps you all may find it more excited to work as bodyguards to protect them? We also need more guides and scouts to lead the Dalish from the outside to here."

Solas suppresses his grin as he hears Evelyn speaks. All the routes are already enchanted, so the mages tasked with modifying them are already safe in the first place. Those who take the guarding duty will only just stand around doing nothing and thus cannot cause troubles to other areas. With the other duty, the ones that actually need guidance for their ways are the mages and city elves, all the Keepers had already received instructions on how to get here so obviously the guides and scouts are unneeded.

Obvious to her little trick, the group quickly accepts her offer. His bondmate then instructs them to go and meet the appropriate agents to receive more information. She also asks Hawen to talk to the other Keepers for proper permissions.

Then, when the group was out of their earshot, Evelyn turns to Loranil and says, "Tell the agents to take notes on the performances and attitude of those volunteers. They may be a bit reckless but perhaps they can still do something if we know more about them."

Solas just smiles and shakes his head—typical Evelyn, never miss a chance to get more out of something. He waits for the Dalish agent to leave before taking her hands and suggests, "Let come back to the office for a break. You've already worked hard all morning."

When they are inside their office, Evelyn finally laughs. "Those girls really tried hard to get your attention."

"Don't laugh. You were in that kind of situation, too. Remember that time when that noble proposed to you?"

"I have to laugh, you did the same to me!" She taps his chin. "Don't worry, I'll do something to make sure that you won't be bothered anymore. We still have a lot of smaller projects so I'm there's something for them to do. Materials gathering, perhaps? We do need more varieties from the other regions while avoiding being discovered, having hunters and rouges for those jobs will be great."

He sighs in relief at the thought of not having to deal with that anymore. "Thank you, vhenan," he murmurs, pressing a kiss to the corner of her eye.

Evelyn just waves her hand. "Don't thank me, I have more works for you so it's not like you're free anyway." As she speaks, she hands over to him several missives came from the ravens before starting to undo the snaps of her cloak.

Solas skimps over the notes and comments, "It looks like that Leliana is doing her best to solidify her position as the Divine."

"Yes. But the scariest part is that Sera is helping her."

"Ah, that is certainly unnerving," he says dryly.

"But more seriously, Vivienne is building a new Circle of Magi. She has even appointed herself as the Grand Enchanter. Quite a few of the mages we didn't choose to make contacts with are trying to side with her." Evelyn's voice sounds quite strained as she summarizes. The sounds indicate that she is still working on the snaps.

"That will be a problem to us. More attention to the mages in the South means more people will notice Circle mages are missing alongside the elves."

"That's why I am planning to make some false flag operations in the North to gather people's attention there. Perhaps something that can also help Dorian?"

"That's good to know. I entrust everything to you then."

As Solas is writing new commands for the spies, his ears notice that the rustling sounds behind his back have not stopped. He turns around, thinking that maybe Evelyn is having troubles with her cloak but what greets him just takes his breath away instead.

Evelyn is standing there without a shred of cloth on her body, her clothes scatter around her feet. The bright sunlight from the window wraps around her body like a transparent cloak, emphasizing her bared curves.

"You know, I have to admit I was quite jealous of those girls, being able to feel so confident that they would try to seduce you," she says nonchalantly. "I think I should learn from them, too. Trying to entice you, I mean."

She tucks one of her arms under her breasts, making them bounce up lightly in a way that makes his crotch throbs. And he swallows when she presses a finger to her bottom lip coyly, looking oh-so-innocently at him.

"Did it work?" she asks.

xxXxx

It did not take long for Solas to snap and here she is—on her knees, one hand holds tightly onto his thigh while the other works between her legs, his hands in her hair as her mouth is full of him.

Her Wolf thrusts deep into her mouth as much as he can. He knows that her gag reflex is not quite there yet but Evelyn has other skills that she can use. Pulling him out of his mouth, Evelyn drags her tongue along his length from his sacks to the very tip. She circles it teasingly before gently sucking on it, forcing Solas to groan and tighten his hold on her head.

How it excites her to know how much power she holds over him.

She presses her tongue against the slit and enjoying the salty taste of the liquid that comes from him. Her hands play with the rest of him, the fingertips gently massage around his base.

Evelyn had thought that Solas would choose to come into her mouth but he surprises her by suddenly withdraw and pulling her up. Before she fully registers it, she has already found herself bend over Solas's table with him thrusting deep into her.

She moans and tries to hold on to the edge of the table for her dear life. Solas must have found that very amusing because he bends down to bite her neck while giving her another hard push that makes her lose her grip.

"You should have not pushed me like that," he rumbles against her back, hips changing to another angle that makes her whine. "Look at us now, rutting like animals in our office like this. Do you have any idea how hard it is for me to control myself around you?"

"Is that a bad thing?" She asks jokingly.

"No, it's a good thing. Too good, in fact." Solas laughs, his right hand swipes across her bare back until he reaches her tailbone is. Just like always, just some light scratches there with his nails immediately send waves of pleasure through her entire spine and forces her to tighten around his cock.

But Solas's hands don't stop there, they continue to travel down to her rear. Solas kneads her buttocks in-between thrusts before spreading them apart, completely exposing her to him.

Heat and arousal flush to Evelyn's face. She still remembers very clearly what he showed her months back then through the mirror in their bedroom and—

Evelyn freezes as Solas presses his thumb against her other entrance. He does not force it in, simply caressing around and on top of it. Her heart beats faster at this sudden change but for some reasons, Evelyn does not want to tell him to stop. Noticing Solas has stopped moving, she pushes her rear backward to signal him to continue.

Her bondmate resumes his work on her, both with his cock and his fingers, and the pleasure within her continues to grow. Solas gathers some slicks from their joining to bring it to her other holes. The smooth movements of his fingertips are now even more pleasurable.

Solas eventually slows downs his thrusting to press a finger against her opening. Evelyn bites her lips, trying to relax but still reflexively squeezes down when the first knuckle enters her. It feels strange at first but with Solas starting to move his hips again and his free hand is now playing with her clit, she soon begs for more from his finger.

He fulfills her wish and it does not take long for Evelyn to try to block off her noises with a hand against her mouth.

It feels so good. The way his cock keeps hitting that spot in her. The way he circles and plays with her clit. And the way his finger moves inside her ass, rubbing against the sensitive wall.

It feels too good and her orgasm hits so hard that her vision turns white for a moment. Solas follows her right after that and Evelyn has to suppress another groan as she feels their come dripping down her legs.

Her Wolf chuckles as he kisses her neck. Not long after that, she finds herself curls up in his lap on the couch, her naked form covered only by his robe.

Evelyn giggles, pressing kisses against Solas's neck. "That was unexpected!"

"But it seems that you do not hate it at all." He nuzzles back against her temple.

"I was surprised, but I definitely don't hate it." She confirms, her cheeks turn pink slightly. "You… trying out new things like that… I really like it."

"That is good to hear. Many people don't actually like to be touched there." Solas hums.

"Do you?"

"Well, just touching is enough for me." He coughs. "I do not like anything deeper than that. I've tested enough times to be sure of it."

"With a man?" Evelyn asks. She knows that Solas was, is, still very popular with women but she has not heard him mentioning his experience with men before.

"No. All were with women. I may have tried a couple of same-sex encounters before but they all never went too far than lips touching."

Well, this is not what she expected, she always thought that when one lived as long as her bondmate did, they would have had experienced practically everything. Evelyn asks, "You don't like men?"

Solas just gives her an annoyed look before signing, "Vhenan, just because I am this old does not mean I can just sleep with everyone. Everyone has their own preference and I've only ever attracted to women. So…"

He pauses for a bit before resuming, "Well, there have been a quite few men expressed their interests in me during my youth. Most of the time, I just ignored them but once in a while, there was someone with enough intellectual and aesthetic qualities for me to consider their offer. But it always ended the same. I tried to test by myself first to see if I actually attracted to them physically—I felt nothing. I then tried to actually do it with them—could not even get past the kissing."

Evelyn eyes him for a bit before concluding, "There must be something happened during those encounters. You sound so miffed."

He just cringes. "Let just say that some of them did not take my refusal lightly and were a bit forceful to 'prove' that they could change my mind. Fools. I shall tell you more about that in the future."

"As you wish." Evelyn giggles at his funny expression which makes Solas shot back a glare at her.

"What about you, vhenan?" he then asks, "I know I am your first and only partner but surely you would have had some feelings for others before me, at least?"

"Well, as you know I've never loved anyone else before you…" Evelyn's smile is strained as she recalls her past. "A few times, there were men who I thought as physically attractive, but that was it—I felt nothing more. There was only a single person whom I liked enough to consider the idea of accepting his offer to stay with him and his clan. But then I decided to leave."

"A Dalish?" Solas inquires and she could feel his hand on her shoulder tightens just very slightly.

"A First, to be specific. His Keeper was very welcoming to me. If it wasn't for clan Aridhel, I wouldn't have lasted for that many years in the wild." Evelyn recalls fondly. "I had my books and instructions but they could not replace proper teachers. Before I met Itha and his clan, I survived by scavenging or trading herbs and potions with the other Dalish clans or human farmers. Yet it wasn't enough, my health kept deteriorating despite using most of my time looking for food—I couldn't even do any research at all. It was all thanked to Itha teaching me proper hunting and other activities that I was able to care for myself better afterward."

"I see." From Solas's tone, it appears that he wants to ask more on why she left if she was happy enough with them, but he does not probe for more, and she is grateful for that. She doesn't want to let him know that it was due to Itha saw her soulmark and in her panic of fearing to be chased away or worse like several times before, she ran away on her own. If Solas knows, he will blame himself again.

Wanting to cheer up the mood, Evelyn returns to the previous topic. "So… about before, you said before that you had tried… umm, anal sex with women before? Did you… like it?"

Fortunately, her bondmate forgets about the previous conversation (probably) and laughs, "Yes, I did. Anal sex is quite pleasurable for me as long as I am not the receiver." He tilts his head at her, eyes hooded, fingers playing with her hair. "Are you interested?"

"Yes." She replies eagerly. "I've been wondering about it quite for quite sometimes but didn't sure how to suggest it first. And then you did that just now and it felt good so I want to try it!"

Solas smiles, it is a tender thing full of understanding, yet when he presses a kiss to her lips, she can even feel a little bit of lust from him.

"Then you shall. Just give me a day or so to prepare. I will make sure that your first time with this will be unforgettable."

"I know," she says before pulling him down for a long and deep kiss that soon turns heated. They still have works to do today but maybe there is just enough time for another round? Solas seems to think so too, with the way his hand stroking her bottom. Maybe they can start practice right away—

Loranil opens the door and walks in. "Pardon my suddenness, Lady Evelyn but I want to ask about…"

He trails off as his eyes land on her and Solas in a very compromised position, with her completely naked sans a cloak over her shoulders and her hand still dip into Solas's pants while his hand is groping her bared butt.

"ForgivemeIdon'tseeanythingI'llcombacklater!" The young man instantly pulls the door close as fast as he can and judging by his loud footsteps afterward, he is running away as if his life is depending on it.

Once again with just the two of them in the room, Evelyn and Solas look at each other before groaning, all of their lust had evaporated completely.

"I think it is time to get back to work." Solas exhales tiredly. Evelyn does the same as she nods, mentally reminding herself to always lock the door first before starting anything with Solas in the future.

xxXxx

Evelyn sits on the edge of the pool, letting Solas dabbing her dry with the white tower. They had just finished cleaning her thoroughly and the activity has helped her relax considerably. Not to mention, given that she had seen how Solas decorated the room—scented candles and oil, clean towels and controlled temperature—she actually feel a great anticipation for tonight.

Her beloved finally put the towel down and automatically, Evelyn wraps her arms around his neck as he moves to carry her. She giggles as he spins around with her in his arms, pressing a kiss to his cheek.

"You are not scared?" He smiles.

"No, a bit nervous but I'm really looking forward to it."

"Ah, then I have to give you my best performance." He says, placing her down in the middle of the bed that had been covered with clean towels and pillows. Everything smells and feels so lovely. Solas gives her a quick peck on the lips before turning to the basket of his "tools".

"Have you done this before?" asks Evelyn.

"Just three or four times," Solas replies, signaling for her to lay down onto her back. "Most of my previous partners had already quite experienced when I slept with them. Even then, with those few encounters, I actually didn't go to such extent in preparation as those women had done most of it beforehand to please me. You are the first person to completely leave everything to me."

"It's because I trust you." Evelyn lays her head against the pillow as she watches Solas warming the oil between his hand.

"I know, vhenan." Solas's lips curl up lovingly, his oil-covered hands touch her stomach and beginning to spread the liquid all over her skin. "Now, just relax."

Evelyn draws in a long breath and allows her body to go loose as she closes her eyes. Solas's fingers smooth over her muscles, kneading and releasing all the knots in her joints with the help of the pleasant heat penetrating into her flesh and bones. Sometimes his caresses turn teasing with the way he slides his palms over her mound and breasts, circling the peaks until they turn hard and then just leave them their wanting and waiting.

It does not take long for Evelyn's body to turn hot and aching for more. But she does not beg, knowing that she should endure it for the sake of tonight's goal.

She cannot stop moaning softly, though. And after a while, she hears Solas chuckles.

"Perhaps it is time for you to turn around now," he comments jokingly, his thumb rubbing against her lower lip. "If I continue to see your face like this, I may lose control of myself."

His words prompt her to look between his legs and discover that his cock is already near full-erected. Smiling rather smugly at the fact that she could make the Dread Wolf desiring her so, Evelyn makes a show of stretching herself to make her breasts pop up even more.

"Vhenan, be nice now," Solas scolds, flipping Evelyn over to lay on her stomach.

More oil is slathered onto her body as Solas's palms stroke and press on her back. Even with all the slick oil covering them, she can still feel all the rough callouses of his fingers as they dig into her body.

Her breaths come in and out evenly as Solas works her back and limbs thoroughly until he touches her rear. Then she tenses. Just a little bit.

Solas knead her butt firmly at first before he moves her hips up to put some large pillows beneath her. He then rearranges Evelyn into a position that makes her legs spread apart and thus giving him a better view and access.

She does not jerk when he holds her still with one hand and touches her back entrance, but she does bite her lips just slightly. Like that time before, Solas simply rubs the pad of one of his thumbs around the ring at first. The caresses are soft and careful. Evelyn soon realizes that she has gotten used enough to relax her lower body.

With both of his hands, Solas spreads her cheeks and is now using both of his thumbs to rub her. It is somewhat embarrassing, given that she is not completely being overtaken by lust like before but there is still a strange pleasure in his touch. Something different and somewhat taboo to her, yet it's still a pleasure.

Her bondmate let one hand go to pour more lube on her rear and when his hand comes back, she feels the tip of his finger nudges gently at her entrance. Take in a deep breath, she relaxes her body completely as he pushes his finger in.

The lube helps greatly with his intrusion, Evelyn realizes. He goes in much faster than before and it doesn't take long for his whole finger to hilt inside. It feels tight but pleasurable enough and it only feels even better as Solas start to slowly push in and out with a slight spin all the way.

He works on her for a while until she has gotten accustomed enough to accept a second finger after more oil is added. It is tighter but she still isn't feeling any pain at all, even with the way Solas is increasing his pace and even scissoring her hole wider. She could feel the wetness between her folds seeping out already.

"You are doing so well, vhenan." Solas coos, lightly curl his fingers to rub again her inner wall, it makes her moans audibly for the first time.

"M-more, my Wolf."

"Of course," he says simply and the third finger soon slips into her ass.

So tight, yet so good. So easily, Solas finds all the sensitive spots within her that make her groans and begs for more.

Soon, Evelyn is thrusting her ass backward shamelessly against her bondmate's fingers as much as she can. He is still controlling her pace with one hand, making sure that she won't do anything that could hurt herself.

When Solas withdraw completely, she groans in disappointment, feeling too empty and needy for something to fill her.

But then she feels it. His hard cock against between her cheeks. The thing that she wants more than his fingers!

"Please…" she whispers. Wondering if Solas would try to make her beg for it, maybe even forcing her to spread herself and take in his cock by herself and—

"Ara'asha, I'm not so cruel to make you do that. Yet." Solas chuckles behind her. Obviously, he knows what she is thinking and feels the need to reassure her. The "yet" part somehow gives her a great anticipation for the future that can only be overshadowed by her need to be filled by him.

"Are you ready, my love?" Solas asks and she can only eagerly say "yes" while pressing her hips backward harder.

He rubs his length between her ass before pressing the head against her hole. Carefully, he pushes in.

It is tight, too tight. And yet she craves for more as each inch of his cock fill up her channel. She wills herself to lay boneless for Solas to go in while trying to ignore the throbbing of her cunt that keeps wanting to squeeze down onto something.

Above her, Solas keeps stroking her back as he murmurs encouraging words into her ear. His breaths are heavy—clearly, he is trying to control himself too.

When Solas has finally impaled Evelyn fully, both are panting roughly, feeling overwhelming by the tightness of her.

She feels so full, amazingly full and hot and she wants more.

She wiggles her hips against Solas's, letting him know he can move now.

Her bondmate replies with a kiss to the back of her head before he lifts himself up, and pull.

Solas moves slowly at first for her to get familiar with his size. And Maker, but it feels like he is much bigger than when he is in her cunt. But it doesn't take long for her to get used to it and soon, Solas starts to increase his pace.

In and out, in and out. He knocks the air out of her each time he pushes in and then makes her suck in a deep breath each time he pulls out. And yet she still tries to thrust back against him, wanting to draw his cock in deeper.

She is wailing out his name now. Her empty cunt drools furiously down her legs.

The ecstasy is so incredible it on the verge of being too much to bear. Solas's wandering hands don't really help either. They play with her breasts and clits mercilessly, and the position makes her lay still to take all of it.

Evelyn's climax comes as powerful waves of electricity that spasm through her whole body and then focus back to her backside. White covers her eyes as all thoughts leave her mind. Her nails clench into the bed cover as she screams between breaths.

Throughout all, Solas continues his attacks until, vaguely with her lust-addled mind, Evelyn realizes he starts to jerk against her. Warm seed fills her inside, making her feel even fuller and enhancing her own climax.

When it finally ends, Solas collapses on top of Evelyn for a few seconds before attempting to pull out, but she stops him.

"Just a little more." She says softly, feeling so incredibly satisfied to the point she just wants to forgo the cleaning up part and sleep.

"Very well. But just for a bit." Solas replies and from his tone, Evelyn knows he won't let her sleep without proper aftercare.

Eventually, just as he said, Solas gently pulls out from her, leaving behind a gaping empty feeling in her backside. Her bondmate quickly wipes her with a clean towel before gathering her into his arms again.

He carries her into the bathroom and moments later, after has been cleaned thoroughly again, Evelyn finds herself sitting in Solas's lap as they soak in the steaming water infused with herbs.

She has barely said anything through the whole affair, too tired and boneless, but now that she has felt a bit more awake to notice the way Solas is caressing her. His fingers trace her cheek down to her neck and then shoulder—sweet and tender. His other arm is wrapping around her waist, keeping her from slumping forward into the water.

Evelyn takes his hand when it comes up to her cheek again and presses a kiss to the palm. She nuzzles her cheek into it, feeling the callouses lightly scrap against her skin until Solas pulls away from her hold.

He grabs her shoulders and turns her around to give her a deep kiss—his good mood easily transferred through it. Solas is always proud of himself like that whenever he makes her scream like that, which is very often, if not always.

"Thank you, my Wolf," Evelyn whispers when he lets go. "It was perfect."

"As it should be for my heart."

She moves around to embrace him, her nails lightly scratch his back as she nuzzles into his jaw. "Incredible sex and then a great bath. I couldn't ask for more for tonight."

"I also have some news for you…" Solas suddenly says, his voice uncertain. "I am not sure whether you would consider it good news or not but I believe you will find it important."

Evelyn doesn't comment, she just sits back to properly listen to what her beloved about to tell her.

Solas squeezes her hand. "One of the clans will be allowed in here in the next few weeks will be clan Aridhel, their leader is Keeper Itha."

She blinks, take a moment to take in the information before a small smile appears on her lips. "I see."

"You are both happy, and worried." Solas tilts his head. "Do you not want to meet them?"

"Ah, no, I do want to see them. It's just…" She glances aside. "I'm not sure if they are angry at me for how I left them back then like that. It was ungrateful of me, especially when they were so kind to me. And the whole time I was the Inquisitor, I was too scared to contact them since I didn't want the matter about me being your soulmate get worse than it was. Even so, I…"

She trails off, not sure how to tell Solas everything without making him sad. Seeing her hesitation, instead of staying silent like before, Solas takes hold of her chin and guides her face up to look at him clearly.

"Do you want to talk about it?" he asks and the look in his eyes tell her everything. He wants to know and to share it with her. Even if it hurts to hear it, even if it will make him feel bad, he still wants to hear because he cares—because they are bondmates, they are husband and wife, partners and everything that is precious to each other.

They are not supposed to hide away pains and sorrow to protect the other's feeling. They are supposed to share everything with one another.

Her lips thin, Evelyn mulls for a bit before settling herself back against Solas. His arms once again enveloping her. Taking a deep breath, she begins, "It started when I got caught in a trap…"

Chapter Text

The rain comes so sudden, or perhaps he was just too focusing on collecting his precious herbs to notice— either way, Itha is currently wet from head to toes and away from his camp for miles. Just his luck, really. But then again, the rain will make more worms to come out so it means more baits for fishing!

The thought about getting those delicious fishes full of fatty eggs lightens his mood considerably, so Itha decides to continue on his way to where he had placed one of his traps. Who knows but maybe he will get a deer or a fox to make a great roast for tonight. Or nugs, maybe, not as tasty but would still work with enough herbs.

But when he comes near the area, he could hear the sounds of struggling and painful sobs. His stomach drops right before he sprints for it.

A human woman with her leg, which looks obviously broken, caught in his trap.

Nonononono! This is bad! This is the worst! Of all thing his trap could catch, it has to get a human!

Even as he thinks so, Itha still launches himself to the human's side, casting a quick healing spell to just stop the heavy bleeding that mostly caused by her struggling against the trap.

"Try not to move. It will cause the teeth to dig in deeper." He explains to her with the calmest and softest voice he could muster.

The woman—no, more like a girl, she can't be older than twenty—immediately stops. She is still breathing heavily, obviously scared and in pain, but seems to still have a clear head to listen to him.

Itha quickly disables the latches before turning back to the girl. He says, "Listen, I will open this trap so don't move. I know it hurts but please endure it."

The girl nods. Her jaw visibly tightens as she sucks in a deep breath and Itha starts to pry the trap open. The girl let out a muffled scream but she doesn't squirm around to make his work harder, she just holds onto her leg harder.

The moment the trap is fully opened, the girl let out a loud breath before collapsing to the ground. Itha instantly moves to work on her leg. By the time he has finished with re-aligning her bones and stabilizing it with some sticks and bandage, he finally has the chance to look at her face more clearly. It is only then that he realizes she is in worse condition than he previously thought.

This girl is too thin, it wouldn't be a surprise that she has not gotten a full meal for at least a couple of days. Her eyes have dark bags under them while her body is too hot even under this rain. Her breathing is harsh and she can barely keep herself awake as she looks at him.

Without much thinking, he pulls her up and tries to rearrange the girl so he could carry her on his back.

xxXxx

"How is she?" Itha asks the moment he comes inside the wagon. His mentor, Keeper Eola, is in the middle of tucking the girl's arm into the blanket.

"Better. She will sleep for a while but she will be better when she wakes up." Eola smiles kindly, shaking her head. "Truly, what an unlucky child she is to step right into your trap while being sick like this."

Itha groans, wiping his face. "I'm so sorry, Eola. I will get everyone to pack up as soon as possible. Once she is well enough, we will leave immediately before her human friends can come to attack us."

"That will not be necessary." His mentor holds up a hand to stop him before pointing to the girl's clothes she has hanged on the rack against the wall. It is only then that Itha notices a short mage staff lying on the ground. "She is most likely one of the Circle mages escaped their massacre. Though, as I heard that the mages are gathering forces to go to war against the Templars and the Chantry in Ferelden, so it's possible that she is a deserter of some kinds to wandering alone in the Free Marches like this."

"Oh, so no vengeful humans chasing us after we healed her and let her go then?" Itha asks hopefully.

Eola chuckles, "I doubt the humans want to pay back over a wounded mage like this, human or not."

"I guess what we can do now is wait for this human to wake up and take it up from there." He concludes.

xxXxx

It took two days of agonizing waiting for the girl to wake up, but at least right now, judging from the way she is furiously apologizing to them for wandering into their territory—while wolfing down her third bowl of soup—Itha guesses they really don't have to worry about angry human mobs in the near future.

"So, how did you manage to starve yourself anyway? This area is full of food, herbs and mushrooms, and tree barks and such," asks Itha.

"Huh?" The girl, who introduced herself as Evelyn Trevelyan (Is she has anything to do with Bann Trevelyan in Ostwick?), blinks at him. "But the books said that those are inedible."

Oh dear, seems like those Circle mages, or this particular one, are more inept than he thought. Then again, that would explain why she stepped right into his trap despite him putting it in a pretty obvious place (for most normal people) to spot.

Itha sighs, explaining. "Most people around here, humans or elves, known by heart what can be scavenged and eaten. Even the things that normally considered to be poisonous or inedible can be used with the right preparation. But most of us simply learned it during everyday chores way back when we were still children. I guess people don't really write down what considered to be common knowledge into books to be stored in libraries, huh?"

"Er… probably…" Evelyn flushes bright red. "The Templars don't really allow us young mages to have too many contacts with poisonous or non-processed ingredients or things that required a lot of preparation so… Most of the times, it's the Tranquil who handle those jobs."

Eola hums and suddenly, Itha starts to have a bad feeling. "Hahren, just what are you planning?" He frowns at her.

"Well, my child, I am thinking that perhaps in order to properly apologize for young Evelyn here for breaking her leg, maybe you could teach her how to survive properly in the wild. That way she won't get in trouble again."

He wants to protest but one look from Eola stops him in his tracks. He then turns to Evelyn, who is still looking quite weak. Her eyes dull and somewhat lifeless, almost like an abandoned child. And he still remembers the pitiful way she tried to scrap the bottom of her bowl for more leftover…

"That's okay! You don't have to!" Evelyn quickly says, "It was my own fault for not noticing my surrounding. I've learned, I'll try to be more careful in the future!"

Itha exhales audibly—he cannot let her go like this, without knowing anything to prepare or protect herself. It's a wonder how she managed to survive these couples of months after she left her tower.

"No no, I insist that you stay. My consciences won't let me sleep if I just let you leave like that." Crossing his arms, Itha begins, "I think we can start tomorrow by doing some simple things that can be done within this wagon. You still need a long of rest after all. What do you think?"

Evelyn seems to hesitate, but when she looks up to give him a small smile, he feels his chest become lighter.

xxXxx

"Here, watch me, all right?" Itha instructs, his hands work slower on the large mushroom for Evelyn to see. "Just cut off the root and top, take off the outer skin and then soak them in ash water for an hour. Then you dry them for a day or so. But if you see the inner core has yellow lines like this then just discard it."

"And then you can eat them?" Evelyn starts to peel the one he handed to her.

"No, there are a few more steps but trust me, it's completely worth it!" Itha proclaims proudly. "These mushrooms are absolutely delicious! They have been one of the delicacies of the People ever since the golden days of Elvhenan!"

Evelyn's eyes suddenly lit up but she takes a moment to ask him, "Say, Itha, you are the First of this clan, right? Do you often talk in with the old Elvhen tongue?"

"Well, not always, I use it when there are ceremonies or worshipping events, or just here and there when I feel like it. Why do you ask?"

"Ah, to be honest… back when I was in the Circle, I was doing mainly research about Elvhen culture. And the whole reason I refused to join the Mage uprising is due to me wanting to continue my research, so…"

She proceeds to tell him about her findings and even shows him the dictionary and notes she managed to gather throughout the years. While Itha feels somewhat apprehensive about a human knowing so much of the lost knowledge of his own people, the excitement of gaining new insights into the relics and treasures of his own clan prompts him to seek out Eola so the three of them can discuss more.

And so for the next couple of hours, he and Eola end up comparing their clan's documents with Evelyn's research while trying to teach her how to pronounce Elven words. Evelyn's pronunciation is atrocious because, as it obviously turns out, the Dalish elves she met in Ostwick weren't as knowledgeable as a First or a Keeper—with them being mostly abandoned children or normal clan members and all.

xxXxx

Itha stops his weaving to look at the group of children near him. Evelyn is sitting with them, trying her best to work on the base of a basket.

"Here, you weave this part like this. That way your basket will be water-tight once you covered it in resin." One of the children holds her hands, trying to guide them through a particularly complicated knot.

"Like this?"

"Yes, just like that. Try to remember that one. You can make other containers with it." Little Haleir laughs next to Evelyn. "But are all shemlen just like you? Don't know how to do these simple things?"

"Ah…" Evelyn's cheeks turn pink. "I think it's just me… maybe the other mages in the Circle too… but maybe it's just me…" her voice turns tiny at the last part.

"Then I will be your hahren and teach you how to be an adult!" Another child stands up with his arms crossed, his nostrils flare out as he declares.

That makes Evelyn laugh, saying. "Thank you for having me then, hahren!"

The other children start to chime in, offering to teach Evelyn other things while demanding that she calls them hahren too. The whole scene makes Itha smile. He has been worried that his people wouldn't accept Evelyn's presence in the camp but after a couple of days, with her being so harmless and timid, they had settled down somewhat and not glaring at the girl whenever she comes out of Eola's wagon anymore. Evelyn being very respectful to everyone unlike the usual shem also helps a lot.

He prays that this peace will be maintained until the girl is completely healed and leaves.

xxXxx

"Another, please!" Itha holds out his empty bowl. This is his third refill but he just cannot stop! This soup is too delicious!

"Of course!" Evelyn cheerfully takes it. "I'm so glad you like it!"

As the First of the clan, Itha has other duties other than babysitting a human mage so today, he has to spend the entire day working around the camp. Evelyn has insisted that he left the cooking duty for her so he and Eola can be free.

He was somewhat worried about it, not being sure if a sheltered human such as Evelyn could make something even remotely palatable but it turned out that he was wrong! He thinks he should leave all the cooking to Evelyn from now on!

"I have to. Have no one ever told you how good your cooking is?" Itha states, happily receives his new portion.

Evelyn suddenly freezes but she quickly recovers and gives him an apologetic smile. "N-no, not really. I didn't really get any chance to have that kind of talk."

Damnit, he and his big mouth! Itha had known for a while that Evelyn didn't have any friends back when she was with her parents because of their strict rules, then she couldn't make friends in her Tower either due to her "eccentricity". He had tried not mentioning it to her, but sometimes, he still let it slip out.

"No matter what, my dear child, there is no denying that you are very talented with your cooking. You learned other skills quite fast too," Eola suddenly says from her seat across them. "You will be a wonderful wife and mother someday."

A strange look flashes across Evelyn's face but as usual, she just smiles. "I'm not sure who would want someone like me…" she mumbles to herself before looking up again to Eola. "Thank you, hahren. I will continue to do my best."

Itha focuses back on his food, not knowing how to react to the sadness he has seen in her eyes.

xxXxx

"It's okay to touch, girl, he won't bite," Sannah, the halla keeper encourages as she pulls Evelyn's hand toward the creature.

"Yes, Evelyn, don't be scared, you can touch it. It's perfectly safe," Itha echoes, pushing against Evelyn's back, mindfully not using too much force less she stumbles on her broken leg.

"A-all right," the human girl swallows, her hand finally touches the halla's head. She keeps still for a moment before starting to stroke his forehead. Before long, her other hand joins in so she can caress the whole neck.

"There, isn't that better." Sannah laughs. "But truly, you really haven't touched a live animal before?"

"Ah, well… The only animals I've contacted with were the ones I hunted, but even then, I usually kill them from a safe distance." Evelyn replies shyly. "And in the tower, we only had contacts with cats or rats or maybe some nugs that managed to sneak in through the dungeon. The dogs belonged to the Templars to keep us mages in check so we always avoided them… But I did go near horses and fowls when I was little!"

Itha's brows furrow and he glances aside to Sannah who gives him a similar look. They then look back to the oblivious Evelyn who is now too busy giggling as the halla licks her face to notice.

He has never thought he would pity a human, yet there is no denying that it is what he currently feels toward this child. He doesn't have much time to think more about it, though, because Evelyn then let out a shriek as the halla tries to take a bite at the sleeve of her left wrist, prompting him and Sannah to come to her rescue.

xxXxx

"Where are they going?" He hears Evelyn ask Eola from behind. She probably means about all the young people in the clan who are preparing to leave for their First Night.

All Dalish clans have an agreement to meet every ten years to trade knowledge and stories. But the event is also incredibly important to create the sacred bonds between the souls—it is the time where people can find their soulmates who were born in the other clans.

The Aridhel has received ten new members last year and now, with tonight's moon is at its top peak, the young couples who have spent nearly a year to learn and love each other will finally formalize their bond. The couples whose marks fully turn red after tonight will have a wedding in the spring next year for all of them!

Itha used to have a soulmark too, a strong but feminine name on his left wrist. But when he was twelve, a sharp pain came and the mark faded away. He knew then whatever chances he had to meet with his soulmate has gone.

It had hurt at first, even though he had never known her he still mourned for all the "what ifs" they could have, even if the chances for them to meet are slim from the very beginning. Not everyone could be born with a soulmate but even then, just a few of those people could actually meet with their chosen one, fall in love and bond their souls.

But he has learned to use his pain as a mean to push himself forward, one day he will become the Keeper and he will use his position to nurture and guide everyone, soulmates or not, to a happier life. That what he has decided.

Evelyn has just finished listening to Eola's explanation so the girl steps to his side. Together, they watch the young couples talk and help each other, clearly excited and eager for what is awaiting them.

Glancing at Evelyn, Itha sees that she is holding onto her left wrist again. They had talked about soulmates before—Evelyn had apologized for asking after he revealed to her that he had lost his own soulmate but he simply reassured her that it was okay. But when he asked her about her own, she couldn't even talk. He could guess that Evelyn does have a soulmate given her reaction. But it's unclear whether she had met that person yet and tried to bond with them, or if something else had happened to make her so reluctant to talk about them.

But no matter what, he knows and like the girl enough to not probe her story. Everyone has things they don't really want to talk about, after all.

xxXxx

"Itha… may I ask you something?" Evelyn asks softly from her spot on the floor, her hands still picking the leaves off the branches for tonight's dinner.

"Hm?" He makes a signal for her to continue her question, vaguely estimates that by the time she finishes her job, it'd be just in time for him to perform another healing spell on her leg.

"In the story about Fen'Harel's slow arrow… if he is a disaster god, why did he save the children? Is he truly an evil god?"

Ah, another question about the Evanuris—as much as he like the fact that Evelyn loves to hear the stories of his people, he is really starting to worry that he will eventually not be able to explain or answer her questions. He knows many stories but if he has to be honest, quite a few of them are actually contrasted with each other or just missing too many pieces for him to give proper information—and that rankles him since it makes him feel inadequate as a First. He still has a lot to learn from Eola, that is a fact.

"Itha?" Evelyn's voice halts his trail of thoughts.

"Ah, sorry, about Fen'Harel, huh? Well, to be honest, calling Fen'Harel a full ledge disaster god would be somewhat incorrect, given that that title belonged to the Forbidden Ones while the Dread Wolf was considered to be a member of both pantheons, which means he was more of a neutral figure."

"Then why do the People still consider him a god of disaster?"

"Because he chose to remain in the middle, and did everything for his own goals and amusement instead of having a clear agency. He was bounded to no alliance but his own and that made him dangerous." Itha's tone turns fatherly as he tries explaining everything to Evelyn. She is still too naïve and sheltered to understand such a gray area and he feels it is his duty to teach her.

Itha continues, "Think about it, Evelyn, if you have to deal with an enemy, would you want to face with someone whose goal is unclear and you cannot predict what he will do? Or would you rather deal with an obviously evil person but you know how to fight him?"

"I think I would choose the latter case…"

"Exactly. Now, we know that Fen'Harel has done some good but given all the other stories about him harming people, we cannot say for sure that he has morals or not. And for all what we know, what he considers to be moral could be completely different from our own standards. And do not forget the fact that the records said that he was the one who sealed away the Creators. Frankly speaking, I'd never want to come near someone who had imprisoned the gods I revere. Regardless of his intention, the Dread Wolf is still the God of Betrayal and the Trickster, after all."

His lecture seems to make Evelyn think really hard because she stays silent for a while before looking up at him again. She smiles, her right-hand reaches for her left wrist before she quickly hides both of her hands behind her back, "You are right, Itha. It's best not to come near a god who hurt people."

Everything returns to normal afterward… He thinks…

xxXxx

Everyone sings and dances around the fire-pit. Today they managed to take down a great bear so they are having a feast! (A big meal, actually, not quite a celebration but who cares about such details!)

Itha dances with two young women, holding their hands as they spin him around with the rhythm of the music, making him laugh until his stomach hurts. Letting them go to catch a short break, he finally notices Evelyn is sitting a little farther in the back of the crowd, smiling and clapping along with the music.

For a moment, he considers going over there and pulls her out to dance. She can move a little bit faster now with her leg healing so well, so it's not that dangerous for her to shuffle a little. But to invite a shemen into the center of their gathering…

He doesn't have to think too far, because another girl yanks him out for another dance.

But the image of Evelyn sitting alone there still stays in his mind well beyond into the night, even as he goes to bed.

xxXxx

"Here, notice these yellow mosses? You must only dig the roots out when you see this color. Any other color indicates that the roots are still unusable." Varan the herbalist instructs Evelyn—she is now well enough to walk a short distance outside their camp so Itha has asked his friend to help him with teaching Evelyn.

"What about these black things?" Asks Evelyn, pointing to the mushrooms around the roots.

"Ah, those are poisonous so don't try to eat them. They will give you hallucinations, headaches, and horrible stomach pain afterward. But they can be used to make baits for hunting since some hogs love them. For some reasons, the poison doesn't affect those animals." Varan explains before grinning. "But you know, when we were just tiny kids, Itha didn't believe he shouldn't eat those."

"Varan. Don't you dare…" Itha warns.

Varan continues without care, "He thought 'if hogs could eat them then I can too' and ate a whole bowl! I thought he was going to die for real after he danced naked in the middle of the camp and then just fell flat on his face like a log right then and there with his whole body stiffened like a corpse."

Evelyn laughs out loud at that and despite his embarrassment, Itha couldn't help but laugh along with her and Varan.

xxXxx

"Do you want that child to stay?" Eola suddenly asks one day.

"Huh? Who?" Itha blinks before realizing who Eola is talking about. "Oh, you mean Evelyn? Why should I ask her to stay? She is a human, and you didn't see her preparing her packing already? "

"Is that so important with her being human, she gets along with everyone in our clan. She can translate the old tongue. And she obviously like us a lot. I'm sure if you ask, that child will definitely consider it. And don't lie to me, but I know you are worried whether she can care for herself alone once she leaves or not."

"It's true that I'm worried, but Hahren, you cannot just expect me to ask a human to remain with us. She may be friendly to us but in the end, we are different. We must preserve our way of life."

Eola exhales, "And here I thought you would do something different…" She looks up at him again, asking, "How much of our 'way' is the true 'way' anyway? We are barely being able to preserve the knowledge from the days of the Dales, let along things from the time of Elvhenan… What we think is right may not be the truth. What harms would it do to just change the rules of our clan a little bit for a single human?

"Hahren… if you want Evelyn to stay that much, why don't you tell her yourself?"

His mentor's face becomes unreadable. She then says, "I won't be around forever, Itha. I've lived for more than a hundred years and soon, I will leave this world and you will be the Keeper of this clan, what good would I do if you don't approve of it and can change it later?"

"I…"

Eola just waves her hand before leaving the wagon, saying, "Consider this to be something for you to think for a while. Things are just not the way they seem to be. I've learned that and you should, too."

She leaves him alone with his own thoughts.

xxXxx

"Evelyn, you don't have to do this. Just run and find somewhere safe." Itha says firmly, his hands still don't stop polishing the blades of his staff.

"I cannot do that. I will stay and fight with you." Evelyn snaps back, fastening the strings of her boots even tighter.

The camp is going to be attacked. The hunters had discovered a large group of slavers and mages heading this way and with the place the Aridhel has chosen to place their settlement—in a tight encircle of large rocks and cliffs with just two openings—they don't really have much time to pack up their home and run away like usual.

Originally, months ago, they chose this area despite it being near the Imperium's border because it is isolated enough but still give them what they need. No nearby human settlements, rich in resources to be scavenged in preparation for winter, a hiding spot to place the camp with enough security to avoid being seen by by-passers. But now it has become a death trap!

Eola has ordered for all the children and non-combatants to be moved and hid away somewhere safe. But the one who can fight still need to stay around to defend their camp. All of their livelihood is here and winter is too close for them to lose all the supplies here.

Recounting the situation makes Itha realize that he really cannot afford to deny any helps they can get right now…

"Itha?" Evelyn calls above him and he looks up, seeing her face simply reconfirm his conclusion. Evelyn must have seen something in his eyes too because the fire in her eyes rises stronger. She says, "I will stay."

"… Thank you, my friend."

xxXxx

Itha blasts several blades of air at a slaver when he stumbles backward from being pushed by Varan. The blades nearly cut through the fiend but Itha doesn't bother to check—no one could survive that and he needs to preserve his nearly-empty mana.

The fight is ugly but lucky for them, Itha's side has not yet lost anyone. But a few had been wounded seriously enough that Eola had to move them to another area. They still have more people than the Tevinter attackers but the enemies have the advantages of having more mages on their side. The Aridhel clan only has him, Eola and Evelyn…

His mentor Eola calls for several walls of vines to grow underneath three men, impaling them on the spot. A mage, who looks like the leader of their enemies, tries to attack her but Itha intervenes with a wall of ice, stopping the fire bolts from touching her. Some other Dalish immediately run toward him with their weapons while Itha assisting them with barriers and boosting magic.

I have to take down that one first!

Itha concludes as he focuses most of his effort on lowering the mage's guard. If they can take down the leader, the rest will lose their morale and—

"Look out!"

Evelyn's voice makes Itha lose his focus and it's only then that he notices a rogue is coming to him from the side. The elf doesn't even have the time to react because Evelyn has already pushed him out of the way, letting her left arm get slashed in the process.

The human girl blows a fireball into the face of Itha's attacker, sending him flying backward faraway from the two of them. The rogue doesn't move when he finally lands on the ground.

"Evelyn!" Itha yells, trying to reach for his friend's bloody arm and heal her but she backs away from him.

As Evelyn performs a small healing spell onto her arm which probably just enough to stop the bleeding for now, she says to him, "Save your magic for the slavers. I'm fine."

She doesn't let him protest and just runs past him to help their other fighters.

Itha curses, quickly stands up and continues his fight. He will check on her later but not now.

She can last a little longer on her own. He tries to reassure himself.

xxXxx

He looks around for Evelyn, where could she be? He and Eola were too busy caring for the wounded so he had forgotten about checking on her. And now that people had finally started cleaning up the after-march of this fight, Itha just can't fight Evelyn anywhere.

He vaguely remembers that she was around to heal some of their warriors, her arm was still haphazardly wrapped in some bandages back then. She has fought so hard for them, and he feels ashamed to think that he had viewed her simply as a human just like any other of her kinds.

He will find her, heal her and then ask if she wants to stay with them. She has been alone long enough already.

Looking around one of the big boulders, he finally finds Evelyn next to a large tree, her back turns to him. Judging from the magic he feels in the air, she is trying to heal herself.

"Evelyn, why didn't you come to me so I could heal you?" He calls, making Evelyn jump. She quickly turns around to face him. Her left forearm pressed protectively against her front.

"Itha, I-I thought you are helping Eola?" She babbles. "The camp is a mess, they will need you to help reorganize it!"

"I still have enough time to heal my friend." He smiles, holding his hand to reach for her arm. "Come now, I know you are very tired so let me help with that."

But she recoils from him, shaking her head. "I'm fine, really."

Her reaction tells him otherwise, and with the fire of battle still not quite fades away in him, Itha quickly finds himself feeling irritating at his friend's reaction.

He quickly grabs her arm. "This is not the time to be stubborn, Evelyn!"

They struggle against each other but even with his exhausted self, Itha is still strong enough to come out victorious. He pulls Evelyn's forearm up—

—and sees a soulmark on her wrist. Even with it being smeared by the dry blood, the letters still very clear for him to recognize them.

Fen'Harel.

Before he could think clearly, Itha already finds himself dropping Evelyn's wrist down and backs away from her.

His heart beats wildly in his chest. For a moment, he thinks that he just had a hallucination but looking at Evelyn and realizes the clear horror on her face, he knows that everything he saw is real.

"Evelyn, y-you are— "

"I'm sorry! I'm so sorry! Please forgive me!" She cries out, tears start to stream down her face as she looks at him.

But he doesn't know how to react.

Even when Evelyn runs away, he is still standing there, trying to make senses of everything. He wants to run after her, but there is a fear that roots him to his spot.

Betrayal. Disasters. Lies. Selfish. Dangerous.

All the things he had learned about Fen'Harel echo in his head and still do so even when an elder comes to drag him back to the camp.

xxXxx

Itha cannot sleep. The scene this evening keeps playing back and forth in his head. He tries to connect Evelyn with Fen'Harel and yet at the same time he wants to deny it.

Her hesitancy of talking about her soulmate, her interest in elvhen culture—especially in the Evanuris and the Dread Wolf, her implication that no ones in her tower wanted to be friend with her… her reaction to his opinion about Fen'Harel…

Everything makes so much sense now that he knows what to look for. But he simply doesn't know what to do with this discovery.

He is afraid, that is obvious. The soulmate of the Wolf is here, within this camp. The chosen one of the God of Misfortune! He just cannot imagine what would happen if her presence invites the Trickster here, what would be fallen upon Itha's people.

But then he remembers Evelyn's anguish face when he discovered her secret. There were undeniable fear and guilt and despair in her eyes.

He then remembers the days she spent with this clan. How she was so eager to learn from them. The way she laughed with the children. The way she interacted with the hallas. The warm and delicious food she spent so much time to prepare and cook for him and Eola. The appreciation in her eyes every time someone did something nice to her. The bravery she had displayed when she fought to protect this camp.

She is not someone who would wish for misfortune upon someone else…

Itha thinks and thinks and thinks… and when the morning comes, he finally decides what he will do.

He will find Evelyn. He will apologize for the way he acted. He will heal her if she still needs it. And he will ask if she wants to stay with him and this clan.

xxXxx

"She left."

Eola's words feel like a bucket of cold water splashed to his face.

"What do you mean 'she left'?" He gritted his teeth.

"I didn't come back to my place last night, still too many things to do. When I did, I found this." His mentor holds out a piece of paper to him.

'I'm so sorry. Please do not worry, I will not come back. Thank you for everything.' Is what written in the note.

Itha tries to run and find Evelyn but Eola stops him. She says softly, "It's useless, dalen. That child is too hurt to think she can be accepted here. And she probably had gone too far for you to seek her out… Poor thing, I had hoped that we could give her some happiness with that fate she is enduring."

Suddenly, something clicks in Itha. Turning around, he could see guilt in Eola's eyes and then he knows. "You knew from the beginning who Evelyn is, didn't you?" He snaps out, trying to hide the accusing tone but fail.

Eola nods, she then bids him sit down. With a voice heavy with sadness, she begins, "It was long ago so you probably not remember. But nearly twenty years ago, our clan had camped in Ostwick. The people didn't like us there, so I had thought we wouldn't stay around long, just enough to gather more resources and some research from the ruins there."

He does recall somewhat that there was a period when they stayed in one place for an unusually long period of time—for more than five years, in fact."

His hahren continues, "But after a few months, Bann Trevelyan summoned me. He asked me to translate the soulmark of his newborn daughter. In exchange, our clan could stay for far longer without any troubles and even allow to trade in his city. The child was lovely and healthy, but when I saw her mark, I was shocked to my very core."

"The child's soulmark is Fen'Harel." Itha simple states and Eola nods.

"Indeed. And Bann Trevelyan knew that something was amiss right away when he saw my reaction. He demanded that I told him the truth. I couldn't lie so I told him everything I knew about the Dread Wolf. About his reputation as a God of Disaster, the Betrayer, and the one who brought misfortune to everything. When I left, I was shaken, thinking that I had just pushed a baby to her death—I thought that her noble human parents wouldn't let her live after such a revelation."

"But they didn't?"

"They didn't. For the seven years, we stayed in Ostwick, I never heard any announcement about the death of his daughter. There were just rumors about her frail health and that she needed to be confined in her mansion at all time since she was too weak. Obviously, I knew the truth but there were no reasons to tell that to anyone."

"And then?"

"We get to stay in that region for seven years. Until the news came that Bann Trevelyan's youngest daughter turned out to be a mage and had been moved to the Circle of Magi." Eola lets out a humorless laugh. "It made sense, really. Of course, the soulmate of an Elvhen god would have to be a mage. But either way, I thought that perhaps the debt with Bann Trevelyan had finally come to an end with Evelyn being sent away, so I had everyone to pack up and move away to a new place."

She stays silent for a moment, her thumb stroking the piece of paper Evelyn had left to them. Eventually, she speaks up, "I thought about that child quite often all these years. I do not know if her existence will herald the arrival of Fen'Harel or not but the fact that the Dread Wolf has a human soulmate had made me realize that this world is more unpredictable than I had thought it could possibly be. That belief was then reinforced when you came back that day with Evelyn on your back. It wasn't that hard to recognize her, she looks very much like her mother. And then while she was sleeping, I checked her wrist just to make sure."

Ah, if he remembered correctly, Eola was in the middle of tucking Evelyn's arm in when he came inside to check…

"Why did you want her to stay, back then?" asks Itha.

"Because I wanted to know more about her—the bride of a god of our people, human and disaster or not, it was a good thing to have more understanding about such an individual. And also because of my guilt, I was the reason for her imprisonment during the first seven years of her life. I knew it wasn't my fault for what happened to her later, but I could have given her a better childhood before that. And then the months Evelyn stayed with us had shown me that she is a gentle and kind child that doesn't deserve to be shunned like that. I've-I want to give her a place to stay, to show that there is happiness for her in this world."

"Why didn't you tell me that from the beginning? I could've helped Evelyn in better ways, I'd made her feel more welcome here and she would know that she could stay."

"Would you? Really? If you know from the beginning that she is linked to the God of Misfortune, would you still want to have her here with us until her leg is healed? Or would you try to find a way to get rid of her first?"

Eola's words cut into him and Itha feels shame constricts around his heart. The disappointment in himself is more painful than any knife wounds he had received yesterday. From the beginning, he had only allowed himself to be closed and get to know Evelyn and her friendship because he saw her just as a human. Had he known anything else, these past months would have gone in a very different direction.

He knows the answer to Eola's questions very well, and he cannot lie. "No, I wouldn't want her to stay at all…"

Eola simply nods. The small space sinks into another silent moment until he asks, "Where do you think Evelyn will go?"

His Keeper just shakes her head, "I do not know. Perhaps she will go to some ruins and continue her research as she said, but we cannot predict which lands would she travel to first. At the very least, she won't join the Mage Rebellion. Let's hope that all the things you have taught her will help the girl take proper care of herself."

Sighing, Itha leans back against the wall and nods, praying that Evelyn will be safe with her new knowledge just like Eola hopes.

xxXxx

All elves are talking about the confirmation that Inquisitor Trevelyan is the soulmate of Fen'Harel, but her mark has not turned red yet. Apparently, some kind of Tevinter cult had kidnapped her to perform some sacrificial ceremony in an attempt to release an Old God but the Inquisition has managed to stop them just in time.

There is also the news that Trevelyan has taken an elven apostate to be her lover, even allowing him to live in her own chambers with her; Itha is glad that Evelyn has finally found love but the other elves, including his own clan members, aren't quite pleased with the news. They say that it is bad that she is turning her back to the Dread Wolf which could be very dangerous in the future it could provoke the Wolf's wraith. Other elves think that she is refusing her duty of bringing back a god of theirs and thus, she and her elven lover are traitors to them (so those elves think she is one of them even though she is human?). There also are other opinions that brings nothing but headaches and arguments so Itha doesn't really want to think about them much.

Itha himself tries not to talk about it too often despite the pushes from his people that perhaps he should contact Evelyn herself, she used to live with them after all. Some have pointed out that judging from the fact that the Inquisition members have been helping them a lot, obviously Evelyn still cares about their clan but Itha doesn't want to make her life harder than it is. He knows that if he pulls the whole clan to become an official ally with the Inquisition, it'd make it appears that elves are flocking to the organization to serve a heretic god (or at least his herald) and it most likely won't end well for them.

Eola, blessed her heart, had told him before passing away peacefully in her sleep two years ago that the only regret she had was Evelyn and how much the elderly woman wished that the girl could be happy. In order to honor that wish while still caring for the clan, Itha had decided that he won't say or contribute anything to the rumors that will jeopardize her cause, and will just help the Inquisition whenever he can (like helping Circle mages who traveling through this area to go to Skyhold).

Even so, it'd be nice to meet Evelyn again… and to say sorry…

xxXxx

Evelyn is dead, killed by her so-called soulmate. Her lover was killed two years before that.

The organization she built has been disbanded, her legacy crumbling as there're calling for the mages to be imprisoned again. Even her last deed against the Qunari's invasion is quickly ignored or dismissed by others.

This world is cruel and unfair, and yet he cannot stop here. He continues to lead his clan to help others despite everything. He still tells the stories of all the good thing Evelyn and the Inquisition have accomplished.

He cries whenever he remembers that he still hasn't said sorry to her.

xxXxx

Evelyn is still alive, and she and Fen'Harel are calling for all of them!

There are talks, discussions—many clans are gathering to argue whether they should plead themselves to Fen'Harel's cause or not. The god's agents had appeared and gave them evidences—or the truth—about Elvhenan and Arlathan. Slaves, Blood-writing, the Evanuris who wanted to corrupt and seized the world all for themselves at the cost of their own people.

Everyone is having a crisis now.

Some elves think that they cannot trust the Betrayal. Some others believe the agents and want to go right away for the sake of a new home. Some want to wait a little more to see. But the most divisive topic is about allowing human mages to be part of their new homeland.

"We cannot allow the humans to join us. It was the Imperium that destroyed our homeland!" One Keeper says.

"Those mages who follow Fen'Harel are Circle mages and I've met many of them. They don't see themselves as humans or elves, just mages. They can be a great ally to us." Another Keeper retorts.

"Those mages still believe in the Maker, they will force their religion on us." Comes one opinion.

"It's not like we have any gods left to worship if what Fen'Harel said about the Evanuris is true. And the Dread Wolf did promise he will do something about the Chantry." And then another.

"True. And if we close ourselves to others like the elves of the Dales back then, it will most likely bring out another fall to us."

"I refuse to let the humans tainted our blood. They want to breed us to extinction."

"You fool. Didn't you remember the ones that came to meet us? It was a true half-elf with his full-blooded son, there was no way to deny it. If we can increase our numbers by taking human bondmates then so be it!"

"Even if the mages are in much smaller number than us now, what would stop them from trying to usurp us in the future? Do not forget that the leader of their faction is Lord Fen'Harel's bondmate, Inquisitor Trevelyan—a human!"

"I've met Lady Evelyn before. She is an honorable person, she won't let that happen."

"You just met her a few times, how can you be so sure?"

"And you have never met her, what would you know about her?"

With Evelyn's name comes up, Itha ends up joining the argument. In the end, after three days and nights, most of the clans, including the Aridhel decide to join the Dread Wolf's force. The other few who refused simply leave, but Itha has a terrible feeling that maybe one day they will meet again in a less-than-favorable circumstance.

But no matter what, they don't really have much time to ponder on that. The agents had just given all of them the instructions for their travel. There are more pressing matters to be attended to.

xxXxx

It is dawn and they are coming close to the valley, everything here would look rather normal to a person with no magic, but for a mage like him, he could feel the magic pouring like water from the path they currently walk on, shielding them the eyes of outsiders. It is incredible!

A group of elves and humans stand at the end of the path. In the middle of them is a small figure with black cloak covered their entire body and a mask over their face, it's must be the leader.

"Welcome, people of clan Aridhel, Alerion, Mahvirlen, and Evunial. You have come a long way." The masked person says, their voice distorted by magic. "Please follow me."

With a wave of their hand, the trees and ground behind them move to reveal a new wide path. Everyone walks into it and as they go, the path they leave behind gradually disappears, covered up by grasses, trees and rocks just like before.

Eventually, they meet a large wall of a standing cliff, and the mages come forward to cast their magic.

Before their eyes, the rock starts to shift and part like fabric and water, opening into a gigantic gage before them. Whispers of wonders and excitements arise behind Itha and the other Keepers' back and they only become louder when everyone has come inside and the gate had changed back into a cliff.

It is a beautiful valley.

He could see everything from here—the fields are tiny specks of figures working on them, the building and tents where smoke and the smell of metal come up, the great structure at the end of the valley that built into the mountain and perhaps grown deep into the underground.

But what is most impressive of all is the great opening floating in the sky. It isn't quite like the Rifts he had seen before, the magic coming out of it feel very stable. There are no sights of demons here and the few spirits he sees floating around seems quite safe and benevolent. Itha wonders if this is what it would feel like to the whole world once the Veil finally disappeared.

The masked leader comes near Itha and the other Keepers. They say as they point to a sloping path that seems to build specially for wagons and carriages, "Please take you clans down this path, it will lead you to the area to rest your wagons. Lord Fen'Harel will speak to all of you soon in front that building at the North so please wait until after that to settle down your camps. We will provide you all with more resources. Do you have any other questions?"

The other Keepers voice their inquiries and the leader answers everything dutifully. When it's Itha's turn, he smiles and asks, "We are already inside, why are you still covering up like that, Evelyn?"

Everyone stiffens at his question, even the masked person. But then, their hands slowly reaching up to pull off their hood and mask, revealing a blushing Evelyn. She looks only slightly older than the last time he saw her, but still retaining her innocent appearance. Oh, wait, her face does seem a little fuller than before. She must have taken good care of herself.

"How did you…" she murmurs.

"Of course I would know." He laughs.

Evelyn seems to have taken his cheerfulness as a good sight because she gives him a small smile. She opens her mouth to say something but stops, seemingly being distracted by something as she turns to look at the headquarter building.

Turning back to him, she says with a small apologetic smile, "So-Fen'Harel calls me, I must go now. Sorry. I will see you later."

She quickly leaves. Once she has disappeared, one of his fellow Keepers approach him, "You weren't lying when you said you know her."

Itha smiles. "I hope I still know enough about but I would love to learn more."

xxXxx

Fen'Harel is addressing everyone from the highest dais with Evelyn standing next to him as his equal. Itha could see that the years has indeed changed her for the better now that he has more times to observe. She looks much more confident now, her eyes still look straight ahead but the fire he has seen back then before their fight against the slaver is now present so strongly in her expression. More importantly, she is smiling brilliantly and full of life.

As the Dread Wolf finishes his part, he looks to Evelyn as she starts her own speech to welcome all the new the mages and elves. The scene makes Itha grin.

You have truly changed, my friend!

Some hours later, Itha is now giving out orders and instructions to the people of his clans on what they need to do with the area has been assigned to them. Right now, it's mostly unpacking and setting up the usual tents, but he himself needs to work on the missions the higher ups just gave them—who will be sent to the forger and the crafting houses, who will work on the fields, who will take care of the kids (who are already starting to have shoot sparks from their fingers), who to be sent to the apothecary unit, etc. He hasn't even started with checking and distributing the supplies they just received!

Mythal helps me but I don't think I will have time to even have lunch today!

He laments silently to himself but stops when he sees Evelyn walking toward him. This time, instead of looking like the confident leader he saw this morning, she appears to be quite nervous and timid—he knows because her jaw is clenching and she has her hands crossed behind her back.

Maybe you have not changed that much, after all.

He smiles, waiting for her to arrive in front of him and simply looks at her.

Evelyn fidgets under his gaze before speaking up softly, "H-hello again, Itha. I'm s-sorry…"

Rather than letting her finish, he lurches forward to wrap his arms around her to give her a bone-crushing hug. "I'm so glad you are well, Evelyn," he says gently, trying to convert to her that he is simply happy to see her again.

Letting go, he sees that Evelyn is staring at him in astonishment. That makes him laugh. "What? Did I change that much? Even more handsome than before that you just have to words to say?"

"You… are not mad?" she mumbles.

"I was worried." He signs, scratching the side of his head. "You were injured and just disappeared like that, it drove me crazy. It was only after I heard you've become the Inquisitor that I knew you were still alive."

"I'm so sorry!" Evelyn blurts out. "I didn't contact you at all after I ran away. I just thought that you didn't want to have anything to do with me… since I am Fen'Harel's soulmate and all. During my time in the Inquisition, the whole world was talking about it, so…"

"Well, to be honest, I was really surprised when I saw your soulmark. But the next morning, I was already calm down enough to go find you. But you were not there anymore." He takes hold of her shoulders. "And it turned out that Keeper Eola has already known who you are from the beginning."

"What?"

"Trust me, I didn't believe it the first time it came out of her mouth either."

"But, how did she know? Why…"

"Because she was…" Itha trails off as he sees Fen'Harel walks toward them, drawing the attention of everyone in the camp. Up-close, Evelyn's bondmate is even more impressive, regal and respectable, and one could see clearly the love in his eyes as he looks at Evelyn.

"My Wolf, finished work so soon?" Evelyn raises an eyebrow, but she still smiles as the Dread Wolf snakes his arm around her waist.

"I suppose I could push back my schedule a little bit to greet the one who had shelter my bondmate." Evelyn's bondmate replies, pressing a kiss to the corner of her eye.

"My lord," Itha bows respectfully. "It is an honor."

The Wolf returns with a slight dip of his head. "Keeper Itha, I thank you for what you have done for my Evelyn."

Was it just him or did Itha just see a glint in Fen'Harel's eyes?

"It is nothing, my Lord. Lady Evelyn has helped to save us back then."

"Stop it with the 'lady', Itha. I'm just Evelyn to you." His friend purses her lips.

"Well, I'm not sure if—"

"My bondmate would love that you do so, hahren. You are her friend, after all." Fen'Harel speaks up and Itha knows that he cannot refuse. Not that he actually wants anyway—he was just following normal etiquette.

So Itha cheerfully says, "If you both insist then as you wish."

Fen'Harel nods in satisfaction before saying, "Good, now, please pardon us but we must return for our duties. It is a busy day, after all."

Evelyn's expression falls a little bit but she quickly recovers herself. "I will see you tomorrow then. There is a lot of things I want to talk with you."

Before she can turn around, Itha catches her hand.

"Before you go, Evelyn. I want to say sorry."

"For what?"

"For not stopping you from running away back then. For not reassure that it doesn't matter who you are, you are first and foremost my friend. I'm sorry for not giving you what you needed."

Evelyn just stands there, frozen by his words but when she finally moves, she launches herself forward to hug him.

"You've already given me what I needed back then. You had called me your friend. So thank you."

They hold each other for a while until he let her go. Fen'Harel quickly comes close to hold Evelyn's shoulders as she wipes the corners of her eyes, his face tender and full of love and that reassures Itha greatly.

As Itha stands there and watches as the Dread Wolf takes Evelyn away, he feels his shoulders lighten significantly. His heart warms at that way Evelyn's bondmate is holding her hand, their fingers laced together tightly and lovingly.

But then he sees Fen'Harel turns his head back and shoots a glare at Itha out of the corner of his eyes, his brow frowning just enough to indicate that he's not happy.

Oh… Oh.

Varan steps to stand next to Itha, shaking the former's shoulder lightly. "You okay there, Itha?"

As sweat dripping down the back of his neck, Itha groans as he wipes his face, "Fuck."

Chapter Text

Solas hates having conflicting feelings. He always likes to always be sure of himself and to be in control, which is why he is feeling very irritating right now—because he cannot stop the urge to send a certain person flying out of this building.

Of course, he is always happy whenever he sees Evelyn's beautiful smile, but he cannot help but hate the fact her smile is pointing at the Keeper of clan Aridhel, Itha.

Solas has never had this particular trouble before. During the days they still in the Inquisition, he has never once feeling jealous whenever Evelyn was having fun with someone else—whether it was Dorian, the Iron Bull, Black Wall or even Cullen, not once had he felt anything other than gratitude for the men who cared for his bondmate.

And now, he is silently fuming as he watches from afar who Evelyn is laughing at another joke from the young hahren.

It is unbecoming, childish and idiotic—not to mention unfair—but ever since Solas realized that he is neither Evelyn's first friend nor her first mentor, he has already carried a certain dislike for Itha even before actually meeting the young man. It is unreasonable, Solas knows—he understands that he should be happy that there was someone who cares about Evelyn before him, he should focus on the fact that Evelyn just gets another person she could actually call a friend here instead of just followers and—

Evelyn takes Itha's hands into hers and already, Solas is calling to her.

"Vhenan."

She turns around, dislocating Itha's hands from her in the process. Evelyn smiles brightly as she quickly runs to Solas. "My Wolf, welcome back!"

Easily, she comes into his arms and lets him wrap them around her. Yes, this is right—her being in his arms, allowing only him to touch her.

Solas presses a kiss to the top of Evelyn's head, shooting a scowl at Itha in the process. The young man gulps visibly—good, at least he is aware of his position.

Evelyn, still oblivious, nuzzling into Solas's neck before saying, "Itha was telling about a hidden ruin in the far northern Orlais with a small Eluvian there. Maybe we can try to reactivate it and use that to make a new route to transport rescued slaves? He even discovered some rare specimens of plants there. I can go there myself! Itha said he can lead the way!"

Solas simply smiles—luck is on his side, he was actually going to draft some missions in around that region. Cupping Evelyn's cheek, he suggests, "Then how about we go there together? There are several other places I know which have hidden resources. I've been sending agents to collect them but perhaps, we can actually supervise the activities there ourselves for once? I can show you some old products the artisans of Elvhenan used to make."

His bondmate's eyes immediately brightened at that. "That would be absolutely wonderful!" she exclaims, turning her head to look at Itha. "Isn't it great, Itha!? Solas can show us how to use all the things you've found there!"

Itha smile (nervously), the corners of his mouth work hard to keep pointing up as he says, "Y-yes, it's wonderful."

And so, that little problem is settled and Solas quickly urges Evelyn to return back to their chambers with him, citing that it is already late enough and he wants to spend the rest of the night with her.

His bondmate, of course, finds it to be an excellent reason to finally say goodbye to Itha…

… But not before giving the young Keeper a kiss on the cheek and a promise to see him again tomorrow when they have another debrief with all the Hahren.

As they walk away, Solas makes sure to turn his head back and throws another glare at Itha. He believes the young man is smart enough to avoid Evelyn's excessive affection the next time they meet but it doesn't hurt to give a warning.

xxXxx

After dinner, they spend their time on the long couch, waiting for their bath to fill and heat up on its own. Solas, for once, decides to try out another one of Varric's books (a story about a pair of father and daughter traveling through time) while Evelyn continues on her little project, softly singing Shalelan's song all the while. She has recently learned the art of embroidery magic into fabrics and has tasked herself with the job of mending and improving his wardrobe during her free times as a way of practicing. Evelyn can only do basic enchantments right now; things such as increasing durability, warming and cooling magic but nevertheless, it brings Solas a tender joy to see her enjoying herself like this.

Between trying to get into Varric's curious style of writing (not mentioning his strange character interpretation based on the Inquisition's members), Solas takes little moment to observe his bondmate—her face is so focused as she weaves tiny traces of magic into each pull of her needle, her breathing is slow and even, and the way she gently handling his garment speak greatly of how much she cares for him. It's so warm and peaceful, to be here with the one he loves, enjoying their little domestic moment despite everything they had to experience.

He cannot help but think about the day when they can finally add more members into this family when the world has become a safer place for his people and mages—he can easily visualize how Evelyn would sit there near the fireplace just like now, her hands would be working on tiny little shirt, her stomach rounded and full of a new life they would make together. Instead of lounging opposite to her, he would be on his knees, head pressing against her stomach to feel the movements and the little spark of magic their child would have.

That want in him burns hotly to the point of almost painful, but he cannot help but trying to imagine that scenario more often these days when everything is going so well with their progress. Even though he knows things may go wrong at any moment, even though he cannot predict when would that future can finally be realized…

Evelyn's little chuckle yanks Solas from his thought. Sitting straight up, he asks playfully, "Something amusing, vhenan?"

"Varan told me today that Itha actually tried to experiment with his cooking but accidentally created exploding bread instead." She laughs. "And they still use some of the remaining pieces as whetstones and carving knives since they are so hard! Can you believe it?! I know Itha isn't that good with his food but to think he could go that far—" She snorts, unable to finish her sentence.

He watches until Evelyn finishes her laughing. When she finally does, a tender smile appears on her face that once again giving him two conflicting emotions.

"Itha hasn't changed, and he still wants to be my friend. It still feels so much like a dream." Evelyn says quietly. "My very first friend is here still here with me. He accepts me and even you! I have thought so many times before of all the 'what ifs' I could have with Itha, to think that I could have the best outcome…"

"Evelyn…" Solas is unsure of what to say but before he can find his words, the magic flowing from the bathroom stops, signaling their bath is ready.

"Finally!" Evelyn exclaims. Quickly get out of her solemn mood, she gets up and pulls his arm. "Come, come, we need to get out of these clothes."

It doesn't take long for Solas to find himself soaking up to his waist in the steaming water, enjoying the smell of refreshing herbs as Evelyn washes and massages his back while they sit on the shallow part of the large bath. All the fatigue of the day finally leaves him, but as expected, he can't really completely relax as he recalls what Evelyn has said just moments before.

She has mentioned that she did imagine what kind of possibilities that could happen between her and Itha; and of course, being as old and as imaginative as he is, Solas is unable to stop himself from assuming that at some points in the past, his bondmate has thought about having something with the young Hahren that would be beyond mere friendship.

His mind is running through all the possibility that could have happened had Evelyn didn't run away from clan Adrihel that day if Itha had accepted her right away instead of waiting until the next day to do so.

Perhaps she would never have come to the Temple of the Sacred Ashes and he and Evelyn would never meet? Or they would do so only until after he has completely pulled the Fade back and clan Adrihel comes to plead their alliance to his. Perhaps that by that point, she would have already married to someone; or even if she doesn't, Solas would most likely not having the courage to pursue her with so many elves around them…

Or maybe even if she could stay with that Dalish clan, Evelyn's wish to study and taking down the Veil would prevent her from truly enjoying her life with them. Maybe she would eventually leave after a while to chase her own goal and in the end, still ending up meeting Solas through her accident with his Orb.

Then Solas thinks about what could happen if Evelyn had stayed longer with Itha. Would she fall in love with the Keeper after he accepted her just like Solas did back then? Would she find it easier to live a quiet life with a normal man and have children any time she wants instead of having to wait until the right time as she does now with Solas? Would she be happy with Itha who, while cannot teach her everything she wants to learn, cares about her and can make her laugh just like Solas?

Solas can give his bondmate a lot of things, but he knows he will never be able to give her complete peace. As long as they are together, she will have to bear—will ask to bear— the burden that he is carrying and with his old age, he knows his job for the People will never be quite finished one way or another.

Finally, the image of Evelyn holding Itha's hands crashes into his mind. Solas knows that Evelyn loves him—only him—but sometimes, he cannot help but feel that their link as soulmate has robbed her of things that she could have had as a woman. Had she born without his name, she would be raised as a normal noble daughter, strict and constraint, but there would still be things that she could enjoy; namely friends and lovers. But because she was born to be his, she had never had a chance to experience and discover herself intimately with others.

Solas has greatly enjoyed teaching his soulmate everything about sex and, from the beginning, things were (almost) always perfect between the two of them. But there are pleasures for a person to learn everything on their own with different people, one could even say that failures in sex are simply another kind of fun and learning opportunity that a person should have in their lifetime.

But Evelyn has never known any of those. She knows about casual sex and the sexual-but-non-romantic bonds between friends, but he doubts that she can truly understand or knows what those actually be like to live with that kind of freedom. But now, she has a good friend that will follow her, someone she could rely on other than him to share her burden…

A hand touches his face, making Solas realize that Evelyn has moved to kneel in front of him. Her face shows an obvious concern.

"Are you all right, my Wolf?" She asks.

Solas looks at his bondmate—he could see all the marks he has left on her. The thoughts of someone else doing the same thing to Evelyn create a hot and heavy pressure in his chest that threatening to become a full-blown fury, but he holds it down and reminds himself that Evelyn deserves better than a selfish bondmate who only thinks of his own gain. If she can be happy but just staying a little bit with someone else, then there are no reasons for him to hold her back.

Then again, perhaps the reason he can do what he is about to do is that he knows that Evelyn will always return to him in the end… And if he can be even more honest, he has great confidence that no man could please her as much as he does.

No. Focus. This is not the time to flatter his own ego. He needs to speak up right now before his jealousy and possessiveness overtaking his mind.

"Vhenan," he says, taking hold of her hand on his cheek. "You like Itha, don't you?"

"Yes," she answers cheerfully. "He means a lot to me. I'm really glad he's finally here!"

"Then, if you like, you can initial physical intimacy with him. I do not mind." He lies at the last part, channeling his talent to make his words as natural as possible.

"What?" Evelyn's face immediately turns blank.

Solas sighs, here comes the hard part. "I mean what I said, vhenan. If you like Itha that much, it is all right for you to enjoy sex with him. Just because we are bondmate me does not mean you have to limit yourself only to me. It is okay for you to broaden your experience."

Now her face pales significantly. With a very small voice, she slowly asks, "Did I do something wrong? Are my skills inadequate anywhere?"

"No! I didn't mean that!" He exclaims in panic, realizing that his wording has caused Evelyn to assume that he finds her lacking. Holding both of her shoulders, Solas explains quickly. "You have given me unimaginable satisfactions, vhenan. I simply want to give you an option, a chance to enjoy yourself. I…"

He slows down, taking a breath to control himself. He needs to make his point clear or Evelyn won't understand him—he knows this from experience and has no intentions of repeating his mistake like before. Solas begins, "I know you dislike hearing this but there is no denying that being born as my soulmate has taken away a lot from you. You have never had a chance to simply enjoying pleasure for the sake of it or to exploring yourself and your preferences. Sex doesn't have to be connected with romance, it can be simply for fun. Itha is a good man and you care for him a lot; so if you are attracted enough to him, I believe you can also have fun with him in that way too."

Evelyn thinks a little bit before she looks at him again, this time more shyly. "If I… sleep with him, won't you get jealous?"

Solas exhales and replies honestly. "I will. But I can bear with it if you can be happy. You have always been so understanding and patient with me, vhenan. So many times, you hear stories and rumors about my 'conquests'—sometimes even from my own mouth—and yet never once you become angry at them or me. For all the happiness and comforts you have given me, the least I could do is to not get in your way when you need to enjoy yourself."

A short silence passes between them until Evelyn lets out a long sigh. Then, she pulls him down for a long, loving kiss. Solas leans into her embrace, wondering if this is her way of thanking before she actually accepts his offer.

He is half-confirmed when she leans back, a guilty look on her face. But her next words throw him off.

"I shouldn't have teased you so much like that. Then again, I should have after the first time seeing you scared Itha off his wits. But it was so much fun!"

"What?" This time, it is his turn to have blank look on his face.

Evelyn chuckles, face seems like she is being torn being guilt and amusement. "I really like to see you get all jealous and possessive over me. And Itha's reactions to you are simply too fun to pass up. The way he squirms under your gaze was absolutely hilarious."

Things click into place in Solas's head as he narrows his eyes at her. "Really, vhenan? You know the whole time and yet didn't find it necessary to stop me?"

Evelyn just presses a knuckle to her lips and look at him innocently. Or at least she is trying to. Her shoulders tremble and her cheeks slightly puffed up—she is clearly trying hard to not burst out laughing.

Solas grits his teeth, pinching slightly between his brows. How could he forget that Evelyn has a very well-hidden mischievous side? He could even say that his bondmate is a little sadistic when she feels like it (and if she could get away with it), what else could you call someone who likes to mess around with Cassandra, play pranks with Sera, and had actually turned a Grand Duchess into a jester? The fact that she once owned a book devoted purely for pranking magic should have alarmed him long ago.

Still, they need to finish their current matter, even if it did originate from a prank.

"Even so, vhenan," he starts, "my offer still stands. If you want to sleep with Itha or anyone else that you like, I won't stop you. You deserve to have a chance to enjoy yourself without me holding you back."

"But I don't want anyone but you, my silly Wolf." Evelyn presses her body against him, arms stroking his back as she whispers into his ear. "It is so generous and kind of you, but there is no one else that can touch me but you. I don't need them. Not before. Not now. And not at any points in the future."

"Vhenan," Solas chides, "At least you should give it some thoughts."

"But I did. I have thought a couple of times before what it would be like to have my eyes on someone else besides you. To be honest, even when I know for sure that you will let me have my way, the notion is still very unappealing to me." She states calmly, eyes clear and focus, letting him know that she is very serious. "I've tried imagined what it would feel like to be touch by another man, but I felt nothing, and sometimes even disgusted by that thought. During my years in the Inquisition, I've met so many men who are passionate in their quest for knowledge, but just like before, none could attract my gaze as you did."

Taking his hand, she presses a kiss to each of his knuckles. "Only you could make me feel alive. Only you could make me feel happy. And only you that I want to give my entire being to. I have no interest in finding someone else who could do that. Beside…"

She taps the tip of his nose. "Trust me when I say that I only see Itha as a friend, a brother even, but not someone I physically attracted to. So please stop scaring him."

He rolls his eyes. "You only say that after I have spent a month threatening him at almost any chances I got."

"Sorry, my bad." She giggles but a guilty expression appears on her face right after that. "All of these just prove that I am not kind or understanding as you said."

"What do you mean by that?"

Evelyn does not answer, she just gives him an unreadable smile as she pulls him up. "Come now, I think we should get out."

Once they have got out of the water, Solas casts a small wave of heat to dry both of them. Evelyn doesn't say anything the whole time, she just guides him back to their main bedroom.

When they arrive at the end of the bed, Evelyn gently takes his hand and presses it against her cheek. "You are always so kind to me. Even when you are feeling threatened and jealous, you still put my need first. And yet, I cannot do the same to you."

"What are you talking about, vhenan? You have always done the same for me. You pushed yourself out of your comfort zone for me. You have even tried to change yourself just to please me."

"But not enough to the extent that you could do." She reaches for his lips. Stroking from there to the middle of his sternum with a finger, Evelyn murmurs, "Think about it, my Wolf. Why did I choose to change myself instead of just offer you a chance to find a mistress on the side? Why did I seduce you in our office back then right after those females tried to offer themselves to you? Why did I enjoy you wanting to keep me all for yourself so much?"

Solas doesn't have a chance to reply because Evelyn immediately shoves him backward. He lands on the bed and quickly finds her above him.

He freezes when he the gaze of a predator on her face. Even the way she is crawling along his body reminds him of the way an animal moving toward its prey.

Solas tries to get up but Evelyn's hand once against pushes against his chest, forcing him to lie down as she looms over him.

She grabs his hand and holds it against the valley between her breasts. He could feel her heart thumping wildly underneath her scar. When Evelyn opens her mouth to speak, her voice is rough, as if she is trying to control something. "Before we belonged to each other, I truly didn't mind that much whenever you mentioned your old bedmates and conquests. But after that night when we first laid together in Skyhold, this is what I've been sealed away within myself."

Evelyn opens their link, and a torrent of flame and ice engulfs Solas's mind.

It hurts. It burns. It's too bitter. It's painful. It's too lonely. It claws at everything in its path and it hates itself. It wants everything and yet sees itself as unworthy.

Stop.

Jealousy, sadness, depression, anger, guilt, curiosity, denial, yearning, greed, loneliness, hatred, insecurity.

Stop!

It feels as if darkness is pulling his senses away, a ringing sound seizes his ears, his whole body can't move and there is as if a mountain of ice covering him. Before his vision blurs away too much, Solas realizes that Evelyn is observing him without a single emotion on her face. She is completely as still as a statue above him, all most as if her own emotion has swallowed her own soul.

He tries to call out for her but couldn't, the sheer intensity of everything he is feeling rapidly consumes him.

His vision turns completely dark.

Abruptly, just as it has come, the assault stops.

And then he can breathe again. The heavy pressure has disappeared, leaving behind a numbing sensation. Solas blinks as his vision returns and it's only then that he realizes that Evelyn has slumped forward above him. Her arms are shaking as they work to hold her up. Her breaths are heavy and she is shaking lightly.

"Vhenan, are you all right!?" Solas exclaims. He quickly sits up to check his beloved, but she just grips his shoulders and squeezes gently in reassurance.

"It's okay. I just… I didn't realize that sharing my emotion to you could make me lose my own control over it. It took me by surprise, that's all," she murmurs, voice rasped and ashamed. "I'm so sorry."

Realizing that she is avoiding his gaze, Solas cups her cheek to guide her face back to him. "For what?" He asks.

"For making you feel all of that…" She replies softly, "For being such a selfish lover. For not being able to reciprocate what you have done for me."

"Vhenan…" Solas tucks Evelyn closer into his arms. Resting his chin on her head, he whispers, "I should have been the one who said sorry. I should have paid more attention to you. I was so insensitive to your feeling. All of those negative emotions, it must have been hard for you."

She moves to face him again. "It only feels so intense because our link amplified it. And Solas, it wasn't your fault. How could you know anything if I just stayed silent the whole time?"

"True, but I could have asked." He murmurs, pressing his forehead against hers. "Once again, we fell into our usual trap. We did not talk enough."

Evelyn just nods before going back to his embrace. They stay like that for a while more, letting the heat from each other's skin seeps into their own body.

Eventually, his bondmate asks, "Could you show me how you feel when you see me with another man?"

He opens the gate. The waves of his own jealousy, while not as strong as Evelyn's, shake both of them to their very core that Evelyn has to cling tightly to him.

It is extremely uncomfortable to release such a negative emotion and then receiving Evelyn's reaction to it but he does not have to endure it for long because Evelyn soon letting out a different emotion to sooth both of them.

Love.

It comes so sweet and gentle, and yet gradually, the harsh and bitterness in his soul just simply get swept away. Solas responds in kind, trying to send her all the devotion he could muster and how much he wants to make her happy.

Somehow, the two contradicting emotions merge together, and something sparks inside him.

It burns. Yet it is not the kind that would hurt. It is something different. Something that makes Solas wants more.

He tightens his arms around his bondmate, sensing the way she shivers in against him. The heat inside them is merely a small ember right now but he knows it can grow bigger with the right push.

Solas does not have time to do what he thinks because Evelyn suddenly drags him down to capture his lips.

Her kiss is rough, full of desire and the hunger in it stumbles him. Solas tries to reciprocate but he quickly finds himself on his back again. Evelyn continues to ravage his mouth, leaving him breathless while his urge to take control dismissing rapidly.

Solas attempts to grab Evelyn but his lover immediately holds his arms down. She leaves his mouth just far enough to hoarse out in elvhen, "Don't move."

That feral, predatory look once again shows up on her face.

Evelyn gets off him to reach for the drawer next to their bed. When he sees her pull out two familiar strands of silk, he sucks in a deep breath. Usually, Evelyn is the one who gets to wear those around her wrists; though once in a while they do switching places too, but Solas has a feeling that this time will be a completely different experience.

Within minutes, each of his wrists is tied to a bedpost above his head with Evelyn is once again sitting on his hips. Directly on his cock, allowing it to feel her wonderfully soft flesh.

She is peering down at him with a smirk and even if he usually dislikes people looking at him like that, Solas cannot say that he isn't enjoying this. Especially considering what those eyes are promising to give him.

Grabbing his face, his bondmate gives him another deep kiss. She sucks on his tongue, snaking into his mouth, twirling and teasing sweetly. And yet when he tries to chase after her, she would retreat and wait until he stays still to attack him again.

Her fingers dig into the back of his neck and rub playfully against his ear.

When he groans, Evelyn just chuckles and turns her nails to rack lightly over his nipples while she licks and nips his throat. The smell of soap cannot cover the smell of their arousal; and even without it, he can already feel Evelyn's slick on his hardening cock as her center rubbing against it.

When she senses that he is trying to get more frictions from her movements, she stops and gives him a wicked grin.

Evelyn bites into his throat. Hard. Her hand takes hold of his cock.

The sudden pain and pleasure bleed into each other. He has to gasp for air and struggles against his binding, reflexively wanting to reach for her in vain.

But when Solas sees Evelyn brings her face closer to his stiffened member, he stops. Even his breathing is coming to almost a still as her mouth wraps around him.

The wetness and heat force Solas to groan and tremble. It does not help when he can see clearly how her mouth is stuffed full of him as her tongue caressing him.

Solas pants roughly when Evelyn releases his member only to shower her attention to the crown. Her tongue plays with the underside before swirling over the slit, licking the liquid there with an appreciating moan that set his blood on fire.

Her hands are not idle either. They stroke along the length before gently kneading his sac along with the lower part of his member, she knows too well which spots are the most sensitive to make him lose control.

He tries to rein himself in but fails when her mouth once again envelops him. This time, she hollows her cheeks and sucks in hard.

It feels so good. And the urge to see Evelyn swallow his seed makes Solas bolder. Ignoring her previous command to not move, he thrusts gently into her mouth, just enough to get more of that sweet sensation without suddenly choking her.

Evelyn stops, her lips departs from his cock immediately as she regards him.

"What was my order?" She inquires, still using the elven language. Even with her lips swollen from her work on him, Evelyn's stare still startles him with its intensity.

"You asked for me to not move," he replies calmly but his heart is thundering with excitement. Even if they cannot communicate their emotions through the People's tongue as he could do with his kind, the effect Evelyn has on him is very real. He loves it whenever they use elvish and now… His chest heaves as emotions run wild. No one has ever dared to treat him this way, he loves being in control too much to give it up, but with Evelyn, with his heart…

"And why didn't you follow it?" Arms caging either side of his head, Evelyn glowering down at him. He is not afraid, but the thrill of being completely dominated by his other half goes straight into his still throbbing cock.

He wants to see it, wants to see what she can do to him in his helpless stage, so he answers honestly, "Because I want more."

Evelyn laughs, a laugh that soon turns into a smile that reminds him of a cat regarding a mouse. Eyes still focus on him, she moves back to reach for his cock. She lets her groin slides on it, smearing the thick fluid between them.

The heat from her is unbearable because he wants more but cannot have it. Evelyn keeps teasing him with the way her hips contorting, her folds part against him and her fingers playing with his tip.

He waits and waits, but she continues to force him hovering somewhere not quite near the edge, maddening with pleasure but not enough to be called ecstasy.

Solas finally lets out the words they both waiting, "Please…"

Evelyn stops swaying her hips, she asks but not before grinding her mound to his once, "'Please' what, my Wolf?"

Panting, he pleads desperately, "Please allow me to be inside you."

"Hm… Maybe I will, but only after you answer this little question." There is that cat smile again. She grabs his face with both hands. "If I sleep with other men, will you truly happy with it?"

He gulps, but replies truthfully anyway. "I do not know. I want to see you happy but… I want you to only be mine."

With half-lidded eyes, Evelyn lets go of his face. One of her hands takes his cock as the other reaches for her mound. She thrusts her fingers deep between her folds and let him hear the wet noises between her legs.

His cock twitches in her hand.

"Do you really think I would let anyone else have me?" Evelyn whispers, lining his tip to her opening. "Do you remember back then when you asked where was the only place your cock could belong to?"

Solas whimpers. He remembers that night so well and the memories push his thirst even further. So close, just a little more, he has to be patient.

Evelyn ignores his pain, she continues, letting just half of the tip come in. "Just as you will have only me, the only man I will receive is you. There will be no one else that will be allowed to touch me. Remember that well."

With the last words, Evelyn abruptly pushes her hips down all the way. The sudden feeling of being completely enveloped by her tight channel knocks a breath out of Solas's chest but he quickly sucks in a deep breath when his bondmate clamps around him with all her might.

Straining against his bondage, Solas looks at Evelyn and the way she is panting above him. That feral smile with too many teeth appears again when she returns his gaze. Spreading her legs wide so he could have a full view of everything, Evelyn starts to move.

Her hips sway along with an inaudible song that sometimes slow and savoring, something hastily as if she is chasing after something. All the while, her channel slides around his cock, giving him exquisite ecstasy that turns him into a mindless slave.

His eyes glued to Evelyn's body that shines with a fine sheen of sweat. Her full breasts bounce with each movement she makes, and had his arms are not being bounded like this, Solas would have lurched for them, feasting upon like he would always do every time they are together.

Another vice-like clench from Evelyn knocks Solas away from his trance into another one. His eyes whip to her face to find her smiling brilliantly. Their link between them suddenly opens and Solas can feel the first waves of Evelyn's jealousy coming out. He does not have time to wonder why Evelyn would try to ruin their mood or to dread for that horrific sensation because it comes so fast. Closing his eyes, he braces himself.

But there is none of that bitterness and soul-crushing darkness.

Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine!

There is only an overwhelming possessiveness that blended together with strong yearning and lust. Her soul is calling for him to plead himself only to her, to give all he has to her so that she could do the same to him.

The effect is immediate.

Solas cries out, nearly all of his refrain disappears as he thrust up into Evelyn.

She does not stop to punish him like before. Instead, she just grounds herself down even harder to meet him. Their voices fill the room along with the obscene slapping sounds. And among them, there is even laughter of happiness.

He is happy. There is nothing but joy in his soul and he serves her. He drinks in the way she moves on top him, how her hands play with her breasts and clit while she fucks him with all her being.

Solas is so focused on Evelyn, he does not notice how the knot in his lower stomach is straining from being coiled too tightly until a painful clench from her reminds him how close he is.

"Don't come until I say so." Orders his bondmate, her hips continue to grind down.

Taking in a deep breath to steel himself, he bites down to stall the pleasure. It is an almost impossible task when Evelyn is double down her effort, both physically and mentally but he weathers on. His nails dig into his palm as his wrists turn white against the ropes as her wall slides around his cock.

When Evelyn comes, Solas almost loses his control. The sight of Evelyn arching her back, her whole-body jerks and twists as she cries out nearly undone him as each ripple of her cunt sends him a little closer to the edge.

Yet he continues to hold on to her order. Solas waits and waits, feeling each thread of his sanity and control snap each second he watches Evelyn writhers.

The moment his bondmate finally calms down enough to return her gaze to him with heavy breaths is the moment he knows his torment can finally end.

"Come."

At her word, Solas lifts his hips and thrust. Hard. White engulfs his vision as the dam breaks. Electricity runs through his very veins and bones as he comes and comes, erupting inside Evelyn, causing her to moan and rub against him. Her cunt squeezes and tightens, encouraging him to let everything out into her.

Solas eventually collapse back into the bed when he has nothing more to give aside from a few weak tweaks inside Evelyn. Panting, his eyes slowly become clear again to see his lover smiling down at him. Her hands are traveling down to below her navel.

"Ah… you filled me so full," she mumbles, finally returns to Common before leaning down to press a kiss to his dry lips. The sudden movement dislodges his member from her. It slips out, still half-soft and sensitive, and it earns a whimper from his bondmate.

She sits up on her knees. With her legs still placing on either side of his hips and the help of gravity, his seed drips from her cunt, splattering on his cock that still lies on his lower stomach.

"What a waste…" Evelyn pouts but a smirk soon comes to her lips as she licks her lips. Her eyes flicker to him, sending a shiver down his spine. The heat that has not quite faded yet burns up again in his loin.

Turning around, she scoots backward, giving Solas a very close, very good view of her bottom. With her bending down to take his cock into her hands, his breath hitches at the sight of her still slight gaping opening that is glistening with his white seed.

Things only get worse (and unbearably better) when Evelyn's mouth wraps around his cock once again. She works on him slowly, tongue lapping sometimes gently, sometimes aggressively. A little bit of sucking on the side here, a little bit kneading down below there and then some light grazing with the tips of her nails.

Solas pants and whines, feeling like a dying man thirsting for release. Before him, Evelyn's cunt still slowly leaking out more and more of her juice and his come. When a drop finally lands onto his chest, Solas cannot take it anymore and begs.

"Please, vhenan. Please let me touch you."

He hears Evelyn chuckles before she pops herself up. She flicks her wrist and the silk ropes are cut, letting Solas lunge for his reward. He vaguely hears a yelp from Evelyn when he pulls her hips closer to his face. Lying down again with her opening almost rests completely on his mouth, Solas parts her folds to have the first taste. The somewhat salty and tangy flavor of their mix essence spreads around his tongue.

The ecstasy of being able to hold Evelyn only amplified when she comes down to give her own attention to his shaft.

They feast upon each other, pleasuring their lover at a much slower pace compared to their previous 'dance'. Their sounds of moans and humming are soft and low, mostly are rumblings that causes their bodies to tremble.

Solas laps, sucks and nips at the soft flesh of his bondmate. Sometimes he dips his tongue deep inside her to seek out more of their combined taste. His fingers dig into Evelyn's buttocks whenever she tries to grind against his face. She does the same to him when he tries to thrust harder.

They completely lost themselves in the scent, flesh, and pleasure of each other until their second orgasm comes. It is not as violent as the previous one but with no less intensity. He spasms lightly as Evelyn sucking against the while her tongue and mouth increase the pressure around the tip. He reciprocates with several careful and hard licks that force all of Evelyn's come into his mouth.

Eventually, she lets go and returns to face him. Smiling, Evelyn lies down on top of his and brings their mouths together for a heated, sloppy kiss. Tongues mingle to share the unique taste of their union, they embrace each other tightly, feet entwining and hands grabbing until everything has been swallowed, leaving behind only a tangy aftertaste.

The couple nuzzles against each other and when they part enough to see each other's face, they laugh. A small and gentle laugh that gleam with contentment and satisfaction.

"Ar lath ma, vhenan." Sighs Solas, the back of his knuckles tracing the curve of her flushed cheek.

"I love you, too." Evelyn's eyes twinkle with her reply. "How are you feeling?"

"Tired but refreshed. I have—ah, I have never allowed myself to do that before. A little bondage play, perhaps, and a little pretending play here and there; but never to fully submit myself and beg like that. I have never allowed myself to be weak, I could only be the one who led… but with you, I have discovered a new side of me." He chuckles at the last part.

"Glad to know that." Evelyn huffs proudly.

"About my offer…" Solas starts but halts himself when Evelyn gives him a frown. Instead, he says, "Not counting that one, is there you wish for right now? Anything that I can do for you, vhenan?"

She then thinks for a bit before asking, "If you actually want to make me happy, there is something I want."

"Anything you wish for, emma lath." He smiles, eager at the chance to please her once more.

"Turn into your wolf form! It's been a month since I last cuddled with you that way! And not in the Fade, I want you to shapeshift right now, while we are still awake." Evelyn exclaims gleefully, rubbing her hands together.

Solas blinks, and then concludes that he should not be surprised by Evelyn's simple wish. He should have expected it, to be honest. Ever since he received Mythal's power, Solas has regained his shapeshifting ability in the physical plane. Not that he could not do so during his time in the Inquisition but the form he could gain back then was just that of an ordinary wolf, no extra eyes a shadow power and giant statute so he has never felt the need to actually use it. Evelyn has been absolutely delighted by the revelation when he first mentioned it to her shortly after she returned to his side. For several months, at least once a week, he would shift and sleep with her as a wolf for a whole night. Lately, they had been so busy that they forgot this particular activity.

"Ma nuvenin, vhenan" Smiling, he nods. Magic envelops Solas in a cloak of shadow. Within a second, a giant wolf, four times the size of a normal one, is sitting on the bed in place of the elf.

Evelyn lets out a squeal of delight as she jumps at him, pressing herself against his chest. "You are so cute! So soft! I missed this so much!"

"I am not cute." He sniffs. "And do I not often using this appearance in the Fade whenever we need to contact the agents? You always spend the whole time kneading your claws into my back in that cat form of yours and then purring about how soft I am."

"Those times were different, we were at work. This is just for the two of us." Replies Evelyn, nuzzling her face into his black fur.

His eyes soften at her words. Only his bondmate can see anything other than danger and malice in the Six-eyed Wolf. Even if he still somewhat disagrees with her calling him adorable, there is a little bit of joy in Solas to know that his most important person could see something positive in him.

"It is time to rest, vhenan." He uses his nose to nudge at Evelyn before giving her a long lick that makes her laugh. After a little bit of rearranging, he is now taking over the whole top half of the bed, curling around a content Evelyn. Naked skin pressed against black fur. Her singing comes out softly, almost inaudible. Her fingers cake through his fur as Solas's six eyes slowly grow heavier each minute.

Suddenly, Evelyn says, "I will apology to Itha tomorrow…"

A moment of silence passes between them before Solas tilts his head to press closer against Evelyn. "I will do it together with you."

xxXxx

Itha stares blankly at Solas and Evelyn. As her promise, she had explained everything and apologized first. At the very least, she did look ashamed when she confessed her "little prank".

Seeing Evelyn's anxiety at Itha's reaction, Solas decides to do his part.

"Please accept my apologies, Keeper Itha." The Dread Wolf begins. "Even if Evelyn did have her fault, everything started because I could not control my emotion. It was unfair and unbecoming of me to have treated you so when you have done nothing wrong." Solas bows slightly, but that is enough to startle Itha.

"No, it is not a problem, my Lord!" The younger man holds up his hands in a defensive manner. "I just… I am just surprised. I've never thought Evelyn could be that mischievous. She was always so mild-mannered back when she stayed with my clan. But…"

Itha folds his arms and growls at Evelyn, who looks like she is shrinking in size. "Evelyn, of all the pranks you could think of, why did you have to choose the one that involved lord Fen'Harel in that way? For an entire month, I was seriously thought I would suddenly disappear one day!"

Evelyn's friend then proceeds to give her a lengthy lecture about the proper timing of jokes and manners and what can be considered a prank and what not. Usually, Solas does not like to see Evelyn in such a position but this time, he cannot really fault Itha. Especially when the young man is doing so not out of malice or anger, but more as an older brother wanting to guide his misbehaved little sister.

Eventually, Itha's lecture comes to an end with him saying, "And do not try pranks that make people think they're going to die for a whole long period like that."

"I'm sorry…" Evelyn mumbles, but Itha surprises both her and Solas when he steps forward to hug her after exhaling.

"Silly girl, I'm mad but not that mad so stop apologizing. I won't get too mad at you when you prank me again in the future, but please do take what I said in mind. And… I'm glad." Itha pulls back a little, his hands still on her shoulders. "You have finally opened yourself to me, let me see another side of you. I've never realized how much you have to repress yourself like that. Thank you and sorry for not understood you better back then."

Solas watches as tears gather at the corners of Evelyn's eyes. She embraces her friend with a big smile and the scene turns Solas's jealousy of the Keeper into gratitude.

"Keeper Itha," Solas speaks up, "Thank you for being so understanding to Evelyn. And once again, I want to apologize for my unreasonable reaction toward you."

Itha just laughs and wave it off. "It's okay, my Lord. I am no stranger to being the center of humor for everyone so I'm not that angry. As long as Evelyn doesn't try it again and choose something less severe, I'll be fine."

Evelyn winces slightly at the last part but Itha just smiles. He continues, "And please, Lord Fen'Harel, please call me Itha."

Solas's mouth curls up at the offer, "Then please call me Solas. It is my name, after all."

"Ahahaha, that's a little bit much since I'm just a Keeper and you are my leader and…" Itha scratches his head in embarrassment, which prompts Evelyn to chime in.

"Just call him 'Solas', at least in private if that's too much. I'm sure my Wolf is already tired of me being the only one here call him by his real name." She explains, her hand instinctively reaches for Solas's.

"'Solas', it is then?" Itha offers.

"That will do." Solas laughs lightly, his fingers squeeze Evelyn's small hand, feeling her warmth seeping into him. "That will do, Itha."

Chapter Text

The unbearable scent of rot and excrement assault Hallen the moment he opens the door—even if he is a slave and has gotten used to deal with cleaning up waste, there is something in this smell that makes him hesitate. It smells like death—almost like what he had had to face back then, during the last days of his mother.

But still, the young boy braves on and go inside the tiny jail. Fenan is in there, and Hallen needs to take care of his friend.

He tries to clean the other boy as best as he could with a single rag and small bucket of water. During the process, a sense of hopelessness and anger arise in his heart when Hallen notices that Fenan's wounds are getting worse. Pus mixed with blood keep coming out and the few bandages the other servants managed to gather for them are in dire need of a change.

Yet there is nothing they can do to get more wrapping clothes or potions. The best Hallen and the adult servants can do is to gather the few wild herbs in the corners of the garden; they can't go look for more since there's no forest in the middle of a city. They cannot go out to buy medicines either—slaves have no money, and the Master, after tucking back his whip that was still dripping with blood, has specifically ordered that no money or resources should be spent on an ungrateful thief.

All Hallen's friend has done was taking a piece of bread from the main table. Fenan couldn't help it, Hallen understands—his friend was too hungry because the Master forbade him food as a punishment for breaking a small dish.

Something bitter and overwhelming is crushing Hallen's chest. It is the same feeling he has back when his mother…

No. Fenan will be fine. Hallen will save some of his food so his friend can eat more. He will fetch more water to wash Fenan. He will even give Fenan his own blanket and pillow, even if they are all rag and dirty!

Hallen will do his best. So Fenan will be fine.

xxXxx

"How is he?" Rem asks Hallen when she comes down to the kitchen. Her hands still adjusting her clothes but her red hair is still mussed around her long ears. Everyone, even Hallen, knows the Master has taken a liking to her these days and no one says a word whenever she comes back late at night after everything has been cleaned up. It's not Rem's fault, he knows, if she refuses, she would end up just like the slave before her. Rem does her best to help the other servants, too.

"He's… okay… I think. He drank all the soup I gave him but…" Hallens answers, feeling like he's telling something untrue.

'It's not enough' hangs between them. They both know Fenan needs something more than just water cooked with kitchen scraps.

Rem sighs, reaching into the large pouch tied to her side and pull out some grapes and berries that she probably was given to by the Master as a favor for her service. "Here, eat," she says and Hallen's thoughts darkens when he recalls how his mother has done the same until she was too sick one day and dared to deny the Master…

Reluctantly, he takes the fruits and throws them into his bow of porridge. With a spoonful of it shoveled into his mouth, the sweet and sour taste spreads all over his tongue, making him feel a little better.

Rem frowns but doesn't say anything. She just looks into the pot on the stove before pouring a bowl. "I've got some bread too. Maybe dunking those into this will help fill Fenan's stomach better."

Hallen nods, trying to say something about the bandage but before he could, the door to the backyard opened and Marcus steps in.

He is large even for a human but with his limp right leg and mangle right hand, Marcus cannot become a fight for the Master. Instead, he mostly helps out in the garden, carrying stones for small constructions or to just pushing the cart for water, logs and fertilizer.

Hallen heard that the Master is preparing for something big and that he will move up the hierarchy soon, so the entire estate needed to be upgraded to suit his new position. For days now, Marcus has been carrying big bags of fertilizer into the basement to prepare for the reconstruction of the entire garden.

Marcus is kinda scary at first glance but Hallen really loves him because the big man often plays with him and other kids. Marcus often sneaks some fruits from the trees for them, too. Just like now when he pulls out a small apple for Hallen before turning to Rem, holding out a small bag. "I found some more elfroots and other stuff behind that old wall in the North. Here, you can make more salve."

Rem nods, as she is pulling out the herbs to check, the other servants come in the kitchen for their dinner. They quietly ask Hallen about Fenan before a few give him one or two morsels of food.

As Hallen tries to finish his meal, Rem gently pats his hair, murmuring so quietly, "It will be all right, little one. Everything will be all right. Just you wait. Just you wait…"

From the corner of his eye, Hallen thinks Marcus is nodding at Rem's words, too. But he doesn't pay much mind to it. He quickly stands up runs to find Fenan in the basement with his hands holding a tiny of food and a cup of salve. Everything will be okay!

xxXxx

It hurts to think about it, but Fenan is getting worse. He cannot eat anything at all. His fever just keeps burning.

Marcus and Rem will give him an earful if they know this. No, they would even ground him in the lower house for months, but Hallen needs to do this. He just needs to be quiet while sneaking into the lab, grab a potion or twos and then get back to the servants' quarters as fast as he can.

Hallen is in the middle of sifting through the bottles with labels that he can't read when he hears footsteps coming close. Instinct takes over, he throws himself into one of the closets, pressing his palm against his mouth and nose to quiet himself.

Since the closet is too small to let him press back too far from its door, Hallen can see everything through the gap. His short but pointy ears pick up the words easily.

The Master is out there; he didn't go to bed like usual and is talking about killing a Magister to two men!

Hallen's mind screams as he realizes he has heard something he wasn't supposed too.

In his panic, Hallen stumbles backward and collides with a large vase.

It falls and crashes into pieces on the floor.

The door immediately opens, and all Hallen could see is the Master whose face covered in shadow and rage.

xxXxx

It hurts so much! The Master keeps bringing down his whip and the pain of each lash doesn't have the time to fade before the next one comes.

Hallen tries to beg but he can't even open his mouth. The whip keeps coming down. The whole room is filled with screams, lashing sounds, the cursing from the Master and the laughter of the two men.

Someone! Please, help me!

He screams and cries, even when he knows that it's useless. He has seen two servants being whipped like this before. They screamed and cried, too. Until they could no longer do so and the Master's rage has finally subsided.

Hallen has seen how the other servants disposed of those twos.

He will end up like that too…

The whip comes up again as Hallen closes his eyes, preparing himself for the pain.

But the pain doesn't come, instead, there is a strange, abrupt sound follows up by screams of panic.

Looking up, Hallen realizes a cloaked person is standing between him and the Master. The top of the whip is wrapping around their wrist, straining as the Master tries to pull it back. Behind them, the two assassins are fighting against two figures also covered with cloaks and masks.

The Master let out a snarl, he lets go of the whip to reach for his staff nearby. Several streams of lightning shot from it toward Hallen and the intruder but a wall of blue appears and stop them in their tracks.

The cloaked figure, without turning back, shouts at Hallen with a distorted voice in Common, "Hide yourself under one of the tables, it will be over soon."

Even with his body screaming in protest, Hallen still obeys and drags himself to a safe place. Wrapping his arms around his bloody body that is shaking with fear and pain, the boy watches as the fight escalates.

The Master does everything he could to attack, but Hallen's protector is gaining closer toward him with several kinds of fire and ice magic. Hallen has never seen a fight between two magic users before, but he knows that the Master is a powerful mage, so his opponent must also be very strong to make him panic like that!

Just as the intruder finally blasts the Master backward into the wall so hard that he cannot get up from his spot on the floor, their companions had finally finished off their own foes. It is then that Hallen notices that one of them is carrying a golden mage staff with a female statue on top of it, and the other one is holding two swords.

The one with the swords strolls over to the Master and stabs his still body in the back almost nonchalantly. Fear once again overtakes Hallen's mind that he remembers that these people are intruders and may very well kill him as he has seen them murdered the Master.

Just as he is thinking so, the person who has saved him knees down before the table and holds out their gloved hand. "You can come out now, little one," they say gently but the fear in him prompts Hallen to back away further into the wall.

He thinks that they would pull him out and start hitting him or worse just like the Master would often do, but the masked figure instead just drops their staff on the floor and pushes it away.

"It is all right, dalen. Please come out, your wounds need to be tended to." The voice comes from the mask is clearly female this time. It is soft and reassuring to the point that it reminds Hallen of his mother. This woman even calls him "dalen", too!

Realizing that this woman must be an elf to use that word, Hallen reaches for her hand and lets her gently pull him out. She keeps him in her lap as she looks over his injuries. A warm sensation envelops Hallen and he immediately feels the pain fade away.

When the woman puts Hallen onto his feet, all of his wounds are no longer bleed. The smaller wounds look more like scratches while the big ones have formed scabs over them. Chest heaving with excitement and wonders, hope surges in his small heart and it's only amplified when his rescuer takes his hands into hers and murmurs, "I'm sorry. I should have dealt with him sooner. You could have been spared from this."

Before he could open his mouth to voice a sudden thought of his, the door is pushed open and Rem runs in. She seems surprised at his presence but not the fact that the Master is dead.

"Hallen! What are you doing here!?" She is furious, but there is an obvious worry on her face when she grabs his shoulders and checks him all over.

"I j-just wanted to find some potions for Fenan!" He replies, not daring to look straight at Rem.

"Idiot! You could have been killed!" Rem snaps but before she could go into her usual lecture, the masked woman holds out a hand to stop her.

"Perhaps we can leave this for later? There are still things needed to be done." Her voice has become distorted again. It is only then that Hallen realizes that Rem doesn't seem to be scared of this stranger either.

"All right." Rem nods, turning to him and says, "Hallen, go back to our room and pack. We'll leave this Maker-forsaken place tonight." She emphasizes by stomping on the crotch of their dead master.

"What!?" Hallen cannot believe his ears. Leaving? Where would they go?

"No time to explain. I will tell you more about it later. Just go." Rem just waves her hand and turns to the masked woman. She says, "Ser, the other documents are in the main bedroom, but the safe is seal with magic. I saw Marius opened it with some kinds of scribbles."

Ser? This isn't a woman? Hallen wonders but quickly ignore it to focus on a more important thing that he was just about to ask—Fenan!

"Then lead me there, I shall deal—" the masked mage halts her speech as Hallen pulls at her sleeve. Maybe it's wrong to ask something like this to a stranger but he needs to try!

"Please save my friend!" Hallen begs, "You are a mage and you just healed me. You can heal my friend, right? Fenan is hurt, he keeps getting worse. Please help him!"

"Hallen, Fenan can wait a bit more!" Rem scolds, but there is a pain on her face as she says it.

Hallen knows Rem want to save Fenan, too, so he begs even more desperately, trying to drag the mage toward the door. He tries and tries, even when a voice in the back of his head telling him he could be killed for this. "Please help Fenan!"

A hand gently pats his head, making him stop in his track. Looking up, the mage tells him in a reassuring tone, "Don't worry, I will go with you so please calm down. I don't want you to hurt yourself."

They then turn to the other mage and nods, "I guess I'll leave that safe to you then?"

That person nods, pulling back their hood to reveal themselves to be a human woman with short black hair and shaft blue eyes. "No worries. Leave it to me." She smiles, turning to the one with two swords. "Can you deal with this room alone?"

Her friend also pulls off his hood to reveal an elf with dark skin and tattoo. He laughs cheerily. "Of course, my dear Cousin. In fact, how about us try and see which one of us will finish the job sooner?"

Hallen, despite his curiosity about the fact that an elf and a human are related, leads the masked mage with him to the servant quarters. On the way, as he explains about Fenan, he also discovers that there are other masked men running around the place, carrying weapons or strange things like the stuff he saw in the Master's lab.

Even more surprising is that the other adult servants are running around, ignoring the masked people or talking to them while carrying the large bags he had seen Marcus transported to one of the basements.

What do they want with all of those manures?

Just as Hallen wonders, the mage suddenly explains, "Those will be used to make sure that people won't find out that all of the slaves in this mansion had disappeared after tonight."

He wants to ask more but they arrive at the jail holding Fenan right then.

Once again, when the door is opened, a horrible stench comes out but Hallen doesn't give himself the time to prepare. He runs right in to check Fenan and discovers that his friend has soiled himself again. His bandages needed to be changed, too.

Afraid that the mage won't want to touch and help Fenan, Hallen attempts to ask them to wait so he could clean the other boy a little bit. But the mage just steps forward and takes Fenan into their arms without any hesitation.

As they coo gently at Fenan to calm him, Hallen concludes that this person must be a woman because she is using a feminine voice again. And the way she is rocking his friend reminds him a lot of Mother…

A dim but warm light slowly pushes away some of the darkness in the room, making Hallen stop his breathing to just wait.

Eventually, the light fades away and Hallen could see that Fenan's breaths are less rough than before. He doesn't seem to be frowning in pain either. Meanwhile, the woman takes off her cloak and wrap Fenan in it before standing up, holding the boy securely against herself. With her no longer cloaked, even in the dim light of the jail and the mask still covering her face, Hallen could see that her ears are round, and her body is fuller than a normal elven woman.

A human? Some primal fear in the boy flashes through his mind, bringing the images of the Magisters hitting and even killing their slaves. Quickly shakes his head to get rid of the images. This person is different, he wants to believe this. She has killed the Master and healed him, she had held Fenan without caring about dirtying herself.

He wants to trust her.

"I have slowed down his fever and stop the bleeding for now, but he would need proper cleaning and treatment soon. Let's go, dalen. We need to wrap everything up and leave soon so you should gather your things now."

The voice is still gently but the way she says it makes Hallen runs immediately to the room where his bed is. So many people coming in and out of the servant's rooms with various things so no one spares a glance at Hallen until they see the mage with Fenan in her arms. Once they see her, they either stop to look or work even faster, but none seems to be surprised by her presence, just like Rem and the servants above.

"Ser," Lori, the old elf lady, comes forward and bows, hand wave over the hallway, "We have prepared everything."

Curious, Hallen looks into the first room. He lets out a small scream and falls backward when he sees people lying on the beds. Dead people. All with unfamiliar faces.

"W-What is this!?" He cries out, shaking like a leaf but a pair of warm hands appear to pull him into a hug. Hallen knows right away it's Marcus.

"It's okay, kid. It's okay. This is for best." Marcus's warm hand pats Hallen's back, comforting the boy enough that his next question comes out more clearly in a tiny voice.

"What is going on? Why are there dead people on our beds!?"

"We will burn down this mansion soon to cover our tracks." The masked mage comes to him and presses her hands again his back, rubbing it gently. "The guardsmen and the magisters will want to investigate and just a few remains of bodyguards and a single Magister among the ashes will cause suspicion. So, we must make it seem like everyone in this place had perished in the fire and not run away."

He tries to take in her explanation. Eventually, he asks, "Where did those bodies come from?"

There is a pause before the woman answers, her voice seems so sad, even with it being distorted, "They were slaves that have been killed by their masters. Minrathous has so many of them every day, so I found and preserve them with magic and brought them here… I am sorry you have to see this, but this a must so that you can leave safely."

A painful memory claws at Hallen's hurt at her explanation. His mother… when she died, the master just ordered for her corpse to be thrown away. He knows that slave's bodies are simply thrown away and to be collected along the roads by the street cleaners…

Taking a deep breath, the boy murmurs his final question, "… Where are we going?"

"A place where you can call home and be free." She replies in a firm and clear voice, and something in Hallen breaks.

"What will I do there?"

"Eat, play, learn everything you want, make friends. And grow up to be whatever you want to be?"

"Will there be any slaves there?"

"Never."

"Okay." He nods, forearm wipes over his eyes when the tears come out. Pulling away from Marcus, Hallen steps into the room to find his things.

Since he doesn't have much, Hallen just shoves his only other set of clothes and Mother's charm into a small sack.

When he comes out, Fenan has already been transferred to Marcus while the woman is holding out her hand which Hallen takes without a word.

He doesn't say anything on the whole way to the main hall.

xxXxx

"How was it?" The mage asks her two companions who don't seem to bother covering identity like before.

"I finally found some papers in that safe detailing Marius's little deals with the Qunari," the short-hair woman says. "Just as you planned, I've rigged around the mansion fragments Qunari's weapons. Once they investigate and find out everything, they will think that Marius has attempted to betray his new "friends" and was forced to pay for it.

"I've obtained the proof that Marius is hiring the Crows to kill Dorian Pavus," the tattoo elf chimes in, holding out several scrolls. "It was quite easy to duplicate these contracts so I put some in that safe after Marian vacated it. I put in your little list of names and contracts between Marius and his allies, too. The Guardsmen will find them and that there will be some delicious drama happen."

"Good. I will have Feynriel start the next stage. Once the seeds of suspicion are sown, those Magisters will take care of each other for us." The mage nods. "We can leave then. Divide everyone into smaller groups as we did before. Make sure to time the arrival and check the silent wards so no one will notice you."

At this point, Hallen, while not really understand they are talking about, has firmly concluded that the masked woman must be a leader with the way she speaks to her men. But she is different from the Master. The Master didn't give orders while holding hands with a kid. And certainly not a 'knife-ear' like Hallen—as he would often call the boy.

The Master wouldn't gently squeeze his hand and ask, "Are you ready to go?" either.

Since this person so far has done nothing but made him trust her, he smiles and nods.

xxXxx

Just like her order, the few dozens of slaves divide into small groups and left the estate in different directions. Hallen's group, which contains Rem, Marcus, Fenan and the few other children, are being led through a series of turns and twists among the smaller streets that mostly used by slaves.

Eventually, they reach a small door that for some reasons, Hallen didn't see it until the leader mage raps slightly on it and murmurs something.

When they come inside, they travel through several more corridors until they arrive at a large room with so many people, most of whom are slaves judging by their clothes and health. The rest seems to belong to the woman's group since they all have weapons and staffs. Some of them dressed in clothes with weaving patterns that Hallens has seen a couple of times before on the Dalish slaves who were just captured.

Once everyone has arrived, the people whom Hallen assumes are followers of the woman help all the slaves taking off their chain with tools and magic.

The mage herself holds Hallen's shoulder still, murmuring softly for him to not panic as she creates little sparks of fire that cut into his collar. Since Hallen is a big boy, he doesn't whimper like the other kids at the closeness of the magic at all!

But just like every other slave in the room, Hallen has to let out a small gasp when the heavy chains finally fall off after a long while, leaving him much lighter than before. He feels like he could jump to the ceiling or even fly!

Happiness and joy overtake him as he grabs the robe of the mage and chants his thanks. His vision blurs from the tears that soon is wiped away by her finger.

"There is no need to thank me," she tells him. "But if you need to thank someone, do it to Rem, because she was first the one who was brave enough to ask for our help to save you all. It was her who persuaded everyone in Marius's estate so that this plan tonight could happen."

Hallen's head snaps to Rem is laughing with Marcus and the others. So that's why everyone and Rem didn't react at all at the presence of the strangers!

The mage then tells him to rest and eat as they will soon need to travel for a long while more. She also adds that Fenan is being treated and will be stronger enough for their travel. Hallen wants to ask more about the place where they will go to and her name, but the smell and sights of giant trays full of food and drinks people are carrying into the room make him forget it completely.

By the times he remembers it, Hallen's stomach is too full for the first time in his life, and he is too sleepy to care. The blanket they gave him is just so soft… he will ask… when he… wakes…

xxXxx

They walk through underground channels that don't seem to end.

They have walked for days. Sometimes they travel on the surfaces, through narrow paths deep in dark forests, but most of the times, they travel in the dark like this, with only torches and strange flying lights to shine their path.

They have so many people but there aren't many concerns about food and drinks. Their rescuers provide them with strange bread that are so flavorful and yet so fulfill Hallen only needs one small loaf for breakfast to feel full for the rest of the day. Sometimes, when they travel in the forests, their rescuers would hunt and feed everyone fresh meat cooked with wild herbs. Many of the slaves who used to be freemen also help with finding food. Of course, everyone is very cautious and tend to not wander very far.

For water, the mages use magic to create them when they travel underground. They even make ice to cool the water, which is wonderful in the humid air of the caves.

Of course, some of the slaves were still wary of the magic at first. But they didn't say much and now after sometimes, they seem to be more relax now by accepting the cool water and food. However, there are a few slaves who seem to be constantly on edge. They keep mumbling about the masters will soon catch up and punish everyone one for being traitor, and that they don't want to be here at all. Those are usually quickly shut up by others who are looking forward to their freedom. Hallen guesses that those slaves were forced to come along so that they won't spill the secret.

Hallen isn't worried like them, though. He knows the woman won't hurt them, and that she and her comrades will protect everyone here from the Magisters. Fenan is the proof of it. His friend has finally woken up yesterday and even if he is still very weak to walk on his own, Fenan is able to talk and eat more.

The woman still hasn't revealed her real name to them. All of her followers simply call her "Mask" so that's what everyone else has been calling her, too.

Hallen has been asking her many questions. Once in a while, she says that she cannot answer due to many reasons but most of the time she would explain everything clearly to him. The best part is that he has learned that she won't get annoyed like Rem when he asks too much. The others like to her answers, too, so he thinks that they won't mind him talking too much either.

So far, Hallen has learned that they will go to the Dales where they will live for a while in a special place with magic and wonders, that there are many rescued slaves there, children and adults alike just like their group. He asks and asks, the more he hears from Mask, the more excited he becomes at the prospect of living in a country where he won't be beaten or starved anymore, nor do he need to work until he is exhausted. But most important of all, Rem won't have to return to the kitchen with her hair tossed and her face grim anymore, Marcus won't have to go out in the cold or the burning sunlight just to fetch and fix all the statues and trees the Master destroyed on a whim, and Fenan won't have to steal food ever again!

The thoughts cheer Hallen up and suddenly, he finds the next question.

"Who is the one that started all of these?"

Something shifts in the air, Hallen looks around to see everyone is fully paying attention to him and Mask now. They probably want to know about this just like him.

"The one who has started our quest for a new homeland and freedom is Fen'Harel, the Dread Wolf of Elvhenan," Mask says, and Hallen senses something in her voice that he can't quite place.

"The God of Betrayal and Lies!?" Someone shouts from the back. Hallen turns and sees that he is an old man with Dalish marking similar to Mother's. He notices that some others are having similar reactions. Some even look like they want to bolt.

"No!" Suddenly, Mask raises her voice. "His true title is the God of Freedom and Rebellion. But that was just what other people gave him. He is no god, just a man who wishes to help."

Letting go of Hallen's hand, Mask straightens herself and speaks, "I know many of you are confused and scared and I am not surprised. It is reasonable that you would fear what you have learned. But please give me a chance to explain everything. Afterward, if any of you wants to leave, I will let you go."

Her words, so clear and full of sincerity seems to have calmed down everyone a bit. The ones that want answer comes forward and start inquiring; the rest, including Hallen, listen on intensely.

Mask proceeds to tell everyone about the tales of the Creators and the ancient Elvhenan that elves were hailed from. Hallen doesn't know much about these things because his mother was a city elf from Nevarra with no family before her enslavement. And he has no father to teach him either. Yet judging from the various reactions of some of the elves that range from shock to horror, what Mask is telling seems to be very offensive to them.

Some of them scream at her to stop lying, but Mask keeps her composure and firmly fires back with so many explanations, numbers, and names that Hallen can't keep up. Eventually, an old man asks, "I heard that the human Inquisitor who has vanquished a being called the Elder One was Fen'Harel's soulmate. But instead of protecting her, he killed her nearly four years ago. If the Dread Wolf is truly benevolent like you said, why did he do it?"

Mask's composure seems to straighten up a little bit more as she replies, "He did not kill her. True, the Inquisitor is dead, but it was not his fault. Out of all the people who knew her, Fen'Harel was the one who loved her the most.

"The reason that he allows even your human friends to be rescued alongside you was because Trevelyan wished for it. The Dread Wolf has done many things, but harming his soulmate is not one of them."

It is only then that Hallen realizes that it does make sense that the human slaves are here with them too. Looking at Marcus who is standing beside him, a sense of dread suddenly runs through Hallen's head when he imagines what would happen if all the human slaves are left behind with the dead Master and a burnt down mansion.

Shaking his head to get rid of the images, Hallen continues to observe as the old man mulls over Mask's answer before mumbling that he expects to have more clear answers when they arrive at their destination. After him, the others come forward and the debates continue to a long while more.

Eventually, it finally comes to an end and the other elves say nothing more, they just sit down silently while Mask announces that everyone should rest for the rest of the day.

When it is time for bed, with his belly full of mushroom and berries soup, Hallen is preparing to close his eyes when he hears sometimes. His sharp ears quickly pick up it to be the voices of the short-haired woman and the tattooed elf, whose names he has learned to be Marian and Zevran, respectively.

"Our leader handled that quite well." The elf laughs. "That little outburst in the middle was a great notch."

"It won't be the last and it's not like this is the first time you saw that." Marian, who insisted to be called Hawke, shrugs.

"The truth hurts. Even if I don't worship the Evanuris, I was still a little shock when I first heard that. To be able to handle that many angry people and their insults every single time the name Fen'Harel comes out is not easy."

"It's only a natural thing to stand up for the one you love. We both know it. If it was Solana, wouldn't you do the same? You have already always jumped out to protect Sol whenever someone attacks her. I don't think it's that hard for you to stare down at an angry mob for her sake. And for Nehna's, too."

"I could say the same to you. You killed a Magister to protect our favorite grumpy elf."

"Well, I did do it for Fenris but at that time, we both wanted to kill Danarius mainly because he had taken Betty."

"And that too. I'm such a bad uncle. I couldn't even help you back then!"

"Zev, you were on your way back to Solana. There was no way we could predict that to contact you." She pauses for a bit before continue. "We should stop and let this curious little boy sleep."

Hawke chuckles, which is joined by Zevran. "Agreed, he must be very tired from hearing us grown-ups rambling."

Realizing that the two know that he has been listening, Hallen blushes. He turns around and curls up in his blanket. He sleeps without waking up for the rest of the night.

The next day, everyone continues to travel. The elves who had argued with Mask are still with them, no one has left, even if they don't say much right now or carrying the same spirit and cheerfulness as before. But at least they don't really look scared and hysterical like the other group of slaves.

xxXxx

"It's so big!" Fenan's jaw seems to almost touch the floor as he stares at the scene in front of him. Hallen has tried but still can't help but making the same face too. The other children are also gaping around them

It's incredible! Who could think that you can find a ship this big in a cave!?

A proud laugh echoes the space as a tall woman with so many trinkets on her person strolls toward them. She rubs Fenan's blond hair, making a mess out of it while saying, "Beautiful, isn't it? She is the love of my life and she will be the one to take you to your new home, my Little Beans."

"All of us will be on that big ship!?" a child asks.

"Will us… Will we be locked in the lower decks?" An older child asks.

"You will only need to hide for about half a day while we are still within Tevinver's water." Mask walks to them. "But after that, you are free to wander on the upper decks as long as you like. Unless we discover strange ships coming near us, that is."

"Just so you little guys here know, this generous person here was the one who gave me this beauty. I had promised with my life to transfer all the rescued slaves to the Dales any time they request, so don't worry and just enjoy your trip. I, Captain Isabela, will give you the best sea trip you ever get."

"All right, that's enough, Isabela! You boast about your ship every single time so just give it a rest this time and move on, we need to get out of here fast!" Hawke shouts from her spot at the top of the boarding plank.

"Fine, fine. I'm coming to get you back to your precious family! If you are that thirsty for Fenris, I can help you with that so stop nagging." Isabela screams back but she is laughing without any malice.

As he stares blankly at the two adults, Hallen hears Mask and Zevran chuckle. Maybe this will be a nice trip like the captain said since everyone looks so relax.

xxXxx

This is not fun at all!

Hallen whimpers as he pukes over the rails. His head keeps spinning and it's possible that he will vomit all of his inside to the sea if this goes on.

They have been cooped up in the lower desk for hours and, by the time the door was opened by one of the sailors to announce that it was safe to come out now, Hallen has lost all of his excitement for the trip.

He had bolted out to the main deck and has been vomiting for half an hour or so. He isn't sure, but it seems long enough. Next to him, Fenan is doing the same thing and so do several others. Maybe all of them will die before they see the land!

Just as he is thinking so, Hallen hears Mask's chuckle from behind. When he turns around, he sees that she is carrying a big tray with several cups in it.

"Sorry for keep you waiting." Mask says, "but these potions are the most effective when freshly made so I couldn't prepare them beforehand for you."

Hallens takes a cup, smelling a faint blueberry scent from it…

After an hour or so after her offer, Hallen finds himself running around the ships, playing hide and seek with the other children. His head feels lighter than ever, and the waves with its fishy smell are no longer bothering him!

"Don't run too fast, you will fall!" An adult yell when Hallen runs inside but the man makes no attempt of stopping him.

He runs pass corridors and rooms filled with bedrolls. He discovers the kitchen where a big man is cooking on a strange stove surrounded by sand, but he doesn't get a chance to come in and see more when he hears children's giggles down the hall.

Hallen keeps running, trying to suppress his laughter along the way. He keeps running and running, knowing that there won't be any master who would beat him for daring to have fun. Mask has even told all the children to play as hard as they could and once lunch comes, she will have something good for them all. The thought carrying his feet even faster.

When he runs pass a room, he sees the slaves who have been moaning and worrying sitting inside, silently looking at the floor.

Maybe they're having seasick just like him before.

Hallen calls out, telling them to come upstairs to have the magical drinks that will make them feel better. He doesn't stay to hear their reply but quickly runs away to find a hiding spot. Fenan is not going to catch him!

xxXxx

"Fenan is a what?" Hallen asks.

"A true half-elf," Mask repeats, her hands part Fenan's hair to reveal his ears. "See, his ears are short but pointy. His eyes are big but not that much compared to elves', and his nose is only somewhat straight. But he is quite tall compared to normal full-blooded elven children of his age."

Hallen takes a hard look at his friend. He has gotten so used looking at the other boy that he doesn't realize that his friend does look a bit different than a normal elf.

"I thought he was just a bit unusual. We all thought humans and elves can only birth elf-blooded humans." Lori comments from her spot at the end of the table, her hands never stop her needlework.

"Well, human and elf bonding pairs are very rare, not to mention half-elves can usually pass off as either humans or elves, depending on how much they take on each parent, so it is normal for you to not know about it."

"So my dad was… really my dad?" Fenan's lips pressed into a thin line. "Some people said that maybe Mom was cheating on him with someone else, an elf,… and D-Dad just took pity on her."

"No, Fenan, look at me." Mask suddenly takes Fenan's face into her hands, forcing him to focus all of his attention on her. "Do not believe that. Your parents had to be truly in love with each other. That was the only way for you to be born as you are."

"The only way?" Hallen tilts his head.

"Yes, Hallen. It is the only way. True half-elves can only be born from soulmates who had fully bonded with each other. If they had not yet completed their link, he would be born as a full human." Mask then adds, "But even if he is to be human, doesn't the only thing matter is that his parents love him? Fenan, do you remember what your parents were like?"

"I…" the boy swallows. "They were kind. Dad always gave me the most food, even though he was really hungry. He often carried me on his big shoulders… a-and, he told me that he loved me every morning before he went to work…"

Tears start to gather in his eyes and he continues, "Dad and Mom, they were always together. He would help braid her hair, and she would bring him lunch while he was working at the dock. When the bad people came, Dad told Mom and me to run. H-he tried to stop them but they just killed him. And then Mom—"

Unable to stop, Fenan begins to wail. Tears streaming down his thin cheeks as he cries and cries. Mask reach out to hold him as Hallen presses himself against his friend, trying to comfort the boy.

"I'm so sorry that I made you remember it." Hallen hears Mask murmur. "But please, never forget that you are loved and your existence is the proof of what your parents have shared with each other."

Sniffing, Hallen feels Fenan nod. Absentmindedly, he wonders if there are other half-elves out there who also get to know that they were born from love…

xxXxx

Playing with Zevran is really fun. But today, they have something even better! Mask and Hawke are teaching them to read Common, and Hallen has finally learned how to write his name!

His writing isn't as neat and clear as Mask's, but he thinks they look perfectly fine for a first learner like him. While the others are still struggling writing their own names, Hallen is in the process of learning how to write his loved ones'. So far, he is in the middle of spelling "Marcus".

Even Mask comments that he is a good student and perhaps, in the future, he could be the first to learn Elvhen among his peers.

"Mask, how long did it take you to learn Elvhen?" Fenan asks while he is sitting together with Mask, her right hand holding his as she tries to guide his pen stroke. The question pitches Hallen's interest, so he listens on

"It took me ten years," she replies but immediately adds when she sees Fenan's (and the other children's) horrified face, "but I was learning it all by myself. You all will have proper tutors, so I reckon it will be a year or two!"

A sigh of relief comes out from everyone's mouth before they all get back to their own work. Hallen, meanwhile, mulls over the thought that he would be able to read and write both Common and his mother's language in just two years.

The new goal prompts Hallen to ask Mask to teach him how to write in the old tongue. By the end of the evening, he finally knows how to write his mother's name in Elvish.

That night, when he goes to sleep, Hallen clutches in his hands the piece of paper that is thick with all names in both languages that he had learned, written over and over again by his arching hand which, two days ago, doesn't even know how to properly hold a pen.

He looks at Fenan who is dragging his index finger in a familiar pattern of the letter that Hallen had learned to be the name of Fenan's soulmate, a sweet and gentle elven name. They smile at each other and whisper the spelling of the words in the calming darkness.

xxXxx

He wakes up in the middle of the night upon hearing cries from the other rooms and ruckus on the top deck.

When he arrives upstairs, many people are already there and trying to restrain a couple of screaming men. Hallen recognizes them as the ones who had closed themselves off for not wanting to leave Tevinter in the first place.

From what he hears through the whispering of everyone watching, a couple more had already thrown themselves into the ocean, choosing to die because everything was too much for them.

It puzzles him that people would want to die just because they are free. Isn't freedom what every slave wants? Fenan certainly thinks so, too, because he asks Marcus but his big friend just pull both boys into a hug and says, "They have stayed as slaves for far too long… they saw no other choices."

Hallen and Fenan just glance at each other before nodding, and murmurs, "I understand."

But it seems that there is no use to lie because they hear Marcus exhale. "No, you don't, I'm happy that your spirits are still free enough to not understand it. But you will eventually do when you grow up. I pray that when that time comes, something like this won't happen anymore…"

Marcus and the other adults spend the rest of the night guarding and talking to the remaining people of the small group. Hallen doesn't know if they have changed their mind but during the next few nights, there are no attempts to kill themselves anymore, even if they still don't leave their room.

xxXxx

Hallen searches for Mask through the ship. She often works in her room most of the day, only comes out to teach everyone in the morning or playing with the children in the evening. Yet the sun is almost touching the horizontal already but there's still no sights of her.

At the end of the ship, Hallen's ears pick up her quiet voice and find his rescuer talking with Hawke and Zevran.

"So you don't feel strained at all?" Mask asks.

"No, I think when you and I first met, it was my first time being away from Fenris for such a long period so I wasn't accustomed to it. But eventually, my body adjusted so now I can be apart from him for months without any troubles." Hawke laughs.

"Same with my Dear duty forces her to travel a lot but the two of us has gotten used to it so much that, even without having physical contacts for half a year, Solona can still remain healthy." Zevran grins before adding, "Aside from the occasional frustration from the lack of intimacy, of course."

Hawke snorts at her in-law before turning to Mask again, "But you didn't know that? I thought you two have to travel away a lot apart from each other."

"Yes, physically. But he comes for me almost every night in the Fade…" Mask seems to be hesitant about something. "Perhaps I should tell him that we need some distance between us—both in this plane and the other. We have been together for so long that I sometimes do get worried about what would happen if, by chances, we cannot contact through dreams anymore."

"He will not be pleased with that arrangement." Zevran smirks.

"He will not. But he will understand. And I have my way to make persuade him." There is something strange in the way Mask says the last part but Hallen isn't quite sure. Adults can be really weird.

"True, true. All men have things they cannot say no to. For Fenris, I just need to have Betty and the twins siding with me and their father folds like wet paper in no time!"

"You have three more people on your side, of course, it wouldn't take much time. I only have myself and my Wolf is a stubborn old man." Mask pauses shortly before continuing, "But old age definitely has its advantages."

"Indeed, our great leader is a very easy-on-the-eyes elder," Zevran smiles… weirdly? "If you need help in that department, with him being so old and all, I could give you advices and supplies—"

The tattooed elf doesn't get to finish because Hawke quickly squats his arm. She rolls her eyes. "Way to destroy the mood, Zevran."

"Ahh, but we are in the exact mood!"

They all laugh before Mask turning her head to Hallen's direction, "Hallen, it's not polite to eavesdrop."

Wincing, the boy comes out from his hiding spot, not daring to look directly at Mask. "Sorry. I just wanted to find you. You said that you would play with us."

Mask chuckles. She pats his hair and then takes his hand. "My apologies, little one. Let's play then. For as long as you like."

Hallen grins, his mind completely forgets about Mask's conversation just now.

xxXxx

"Do you really have to go?" One of the children whines, pulling at Zevran's wrist. The shore is already in sight and when they finally land, Zevran will depart for Ferelden, which causes a great disappointment for many on the ship.

"I must, my little friend." He smiles sadly, rubbing her head. "I need to return to my family. But worry not, we will all meet again in the future once our new home is built. And I hope that you all will become friends with my little princess."

The children chorus their promises to play with Zevran's daughter. Some even demand that he will teach them how to fight once they meet again.

Hallen thinks that it's not a bad idea at all. The boy would love to learn how to use a dagger, and how to climb walls and roofs, too.

xxXxx

"Marcus, what's wrong? You don't look so good." Hallen tugs at the man's sleeve. His big friend is sweating and his eyes are constantly blinking as if Marcus can't really see. As Hallen looks around, he realizes that the other humans are in similar state—all are walking sluggishly or even have to hold onto their elven companions. He has been so obsessed with watching and discovering this strange land called the Crossroad ever since they walked through that big mirror that he didn't notice anything unusual about his companions at all.

"This realm was created only for the People, Hallen. Only elves can walk on it without any side effects." Mask explains as they arrive at a large empty space with so many beautiful colors and lights that shaped into flowers on the branches.

"No wonders," Marcus grumbles, dropping himself onto the floor to rest his back against a tree. "All the kids keep screaming about how wonderful this place is. But all I see is grey."

Another elven man resting nearby looks at Hawke and Mask, frowning. "You two don't feel tired? You are human, aren't you?"

Hawke smirks, "We are. But our souls are linked with our bondmates, who are elves, so we get to share some of the benefits of being one, but not all... In this place, we don't feel the strains, yet we still can't see the color like your guys. Half-elves can, though."

"I see." The man murmurs, "This soulmate stuff have a lot of things going on than I thought… How long until we leave this place, anyway?"

"Soon, about an hour. I've already sent news to our destination. They will be waiting for us."

At Mask's news, everyone cheers.

xxXxx

They walk on a long big road which, as Mask said, will lead them to the gate of their new temporary home. No one talk, the air is only filled with the sounds of footsteps; they are all too nervous.

Eventually, Hallen could see from afar a large mirror. But in front of it, there are people.

Mask still walks forward without slowing down so they all follow after her, trusting that she would not lead them to danger.

When they get closer enough for Hallen to take a clearer look, he sees that there is a man that stands out from the crowd before the gate.

He is elven and unusually taller than most elves Hallen has seen. He is completely bald and his clothing is simple with a pelt of fur wrapped over one shoulder. Yet there is something about him, something that makes him so different from the people around him. He is radiating authority even as his face is passive, but Hallen feels no fear, only a sense of awe and respect. This man is different from any Magisters Hallen has seen—he is not a normal man.

In just a few seconds, Hallen finally understands that this man in front of him is Fen'Harel. As he glances around, the young boy can see that the others have come to a similar conclusion.

As everyone is still wondering what they should, Mask simply steps toward the Dread Wolf while he does the same. The two meets into the middle of the space between the two crowds.

Fen'Harel tilts his head as he regarding Mask, and smiles.

"Welcome back, vhenan," he says. And pulls off her mask and hood.

Hallen has tried to imagine how Mask actually looks under her covering but it still surprises him for her to look so… normal. She is pretty but not as gorgeous or queenly as many of the noble mages in the Empire. She wears no rouges nor blushes and her dark hair just wrapped into a simple bun, not mentioning her plain traveling clothes and robe. And yet, because of that, there is something about her that, once again, reminds Hallen of his mother. Probably from how gentle she is looking at Fen'Harel.

Suddenly remembers back to the Evanuruis, Hallen's mind recognizes that the man has called Mask "vhenan". Mother had said that it's a term of endearment one would call their lover or spouse. But then, that would mean…

Just then, ignoring the murmurings of everyone, Fen'Harel reaches out to cup Mask' cheek. His eyes loving and full of joy.

Mask, in turn, presses again his hand. Her mouth stretches into a big smile as she says, "I'm home, my Wolf."

Their lips meet for a lingering kiss, the two is so absorbed with each other that it's almost like the world only consists of them. Hallen, meanwhile, sticks out his tongue and makes a disgusted noise because adults' kissing is gross!

That earns him a light whack to the back of the head by Rem. He yelps. It isn't that loud but Mask seems to hear it because she chuckles and let go of Fen'Harel.

"Sorry about that, Hallen." She smiles at him kindly, taking no offense at his rude reaction. "I believe it is time for me to properly introduce myself."

She looks all over the crowd that has following her these past few weeks and dips her head slightly. "I am Evelyn Trevelyan, Second-in-Command, and Bondmate of Fen'Harel. It is a pleasure to meet all of you."

Gasps and sounds of astonishment echoes all over the whole group. The old man who has asked "Mask" before comes forward.

"Trevelyan? Y-you are the Inquisitor!?"

Mas—No, Evelyn nods, she gives him a pinched smile, "Former Inquisitor, to be accurate. I had abandoned that title more than four years ago."

"Then all those rumors about you having an elven lover who was killed by him…?" someone asks.

"It was parts of our plan," Fen'Harel confirms. He takes Evelyn's hand into his as he explains, "Throughout the years, my bondmate had done everything to build and protect this entire organization. Several times, she has personally gone and save slaves like you and brought you here for a new life.

"There is no debt between us two you. If any of you does not want to fight, we shall not force you. If any of you wish to contribute, we shall welcome you with open arms. But as long as you are here, you are all freemen that can live for yourselves."

Everyone stares at him in silence, not knowing what to say or to react. Marcus and Rem the firsts to come forward. They go down on one knee, their backs straight and shoulders square. Both look almost like a warrior pleading to his lord.

Marcus is the first to begin. "My Lord, I was a slave but now that I am free, even if I couldn't fight, I can still build walls and plant seeds and even learn new things to help. So even though I am human, and a cripple one at that, would you and your people accept me?"

"And I," Rem speaks up, "I am just a former slave who has never even picked up a sword, I can only cook and make clothes. Useless that I am, I want to join in with your effort. So would you and everyone here take me, my Lord?"

Fen'Harel smiles. He extends out his hand in front of Marcus and Rem. He then says, "Never say that you are cripple or useless. It was small things done by servants and slaves like you that had built the victories and wonders of many great countries. Stand up and be proud of yourself. As long as you accept us to be your people and wish for this from your own heart, the People and I would be honored to have you here with us."

The two former slaves glance briefly at each other and smile before reaching out to take Fen'Harel's hands. They stand up, proud and confident, as if like they were reborn.

There is a moment of silence before someone else steps forward, a young elven man. He raises his voice, "Then please let me join your army, too, Lord Fen'Harel. I may not know much about Elvhenan or the roots of our people, but I want to make a home for myself and my friends. Please let me join!"

"Take me too! I can smith tools!" Someone exclaims.

"And I can carve things!"

"I can read and do calculations!"

It doesn't take long for everyone to chorus their desire to contribute. Each offers a skill of their own, from mundane things like cleaning to farming to fighting. Even Hallen and Fenan are shouting out that they can work too.

Fen'Harel and Lady Evelyn accept them all.

By the time Hallen has come done from the excitement, he finds himself being led by Lady Evelyn to somewhere along with the other children. When he tucks at her sleeve and ask, she smiles, replying that it will be his new home for now.

All the children are brought to a big building where a man name Itha greets them. He introduces himself the Hahren (apparently, it means 'elder.') of clan Adrihel. Itha explains that his clan and two others' main job is to take care of all orphans, humans and elves alike, and provide medicines and healing for the whole army.

Lady Evelyn then takes everyone to a large room where the healers are waiting. Hallen and his peers are carefully examined for any hidden sicknesses and wounds. Once it's done, they are led to another big dining room with so many foods waiting for them all the tables. There are also many children there who reveal themselves as former slaves just like Hallen's group. Quickly, everyone is settled down into their place on the table and the feast begins.

Hallen eats and eats, but he stops when he notices that Lady Evelyn announces that she must leave. All the children run to her, demanding that she stay a little longer. However, even as some of them cry and cling to her, the Lady can only stroke their hair, telling them that she will return but she cannot stay.

"You will come back, right?" Hallen whispers, tugging at the hem of her shirt.

"I will, I promise. And in return…" She kneels down to look at them. "Will you all promise to be good, play and study, and help your caretakers when you can?"

In unison, they all promise that they will show her how good they are when she comes back. But Hallen, Hallen will prove that he is the best out of them all. He will show that all of her effort to save him and his family was not a waste!

He declares that to Lady Evelyn, but she just shakes her head and says, "I only need you to be happy with yourself."

She gives him a kiss on the cheek, which prompts the rest to scream that she must do the same to them.

The Lady laughs, and kisses all of them.

xxXxx

Hallen quickly gets used to life in this valley. Hawke has left sometimes ago, returning to her family just like Zevran. Rem and Marcus and Lori all have their own job so they don't stay in the same building with Hallen at night, but they meet and eat together every day.

Each morning, Hallen wakes up with breakfast waiting for him and go to bed at night with a full stomach and a warm bed.

After the meal, they have classes where they can learn various subjects from language to math to history. He and Fenan can read Common now, or at least, slow but definitely better than before.

With the presence of the Rift, both of them has started to show sights of magic with the floor around the two boys often has ice covering them so they have an extra class to attend. Hallen is also thinking that maybe he could ask his caretakers to let him learn to fight in the training camp with the other bigger kids. But perhaps after he has finish language classes first.

Afterward studying, there are light chores where they help with the cleaning, cooking and taking care of the small games and poultries. There are no masters to beat them to work faster, and they can steal some snacks with only a few scolding from the adults. They can even play and laughing while working!

After lunch, there are a bit more chores where they often have to run around the valley to deliver small things, but once they are done, all the children can play and go anywhere they want. Hallen has learned that there is another orphanage on the other side of the valley whose many kids who would come to play during the evening.

Together, everyone explores the entire region, one part at a time. They are not allowed to go near the mage and headquarter buildings, plus the training ground, but everywhere else is a fair game.

Well, Hallen did try to sneak in but was discovered immediately. And after his punishment being having to eat Itha's cooking, which is the most horrible, disgusting, belly-rotting, tongue-numbing thing the boy has ever eaten, Hallen has sworn to never approach the camp until he was given permission…

Rem and Marcus are doing very well. Hallen's big human brother is always talking about what kind of plants he's growing and how crazy it is to be able to grow things that should have been extinct a long time ago. Meanwhile, Rem is learning to weave cloths and she obviously is having the best time of her life. His big sister can go on and on for hours on what kind of patterns she is working on and what color she could dye the threads.

Hallen is happy for them, but what makes him the most excited is that, even if they haven't announced it, he could see that there is something has happened between his two loved ones. They often shoot glances at each other, and when they hand over something to another, their fingers touch and linger just a tiny bit longer.

Of course, they act like there's nothing out of usual but everyone else could see it, even the usually dense Fenan. Most people are supportive, even the grumpy Lori, but there are still complains here and there that if Rem and Marcus get together, their child would definitely be a human and can't contribute to the People for its parents are not soulmates.

"What rubbish." Lori rolls her eyes as she plucks the chicken's feathers, lately, the old woman has started to test out her many new recipes she never had the chances to try out before. "Can't help because it being human? Then what the hell is Marcus doing here? And the other humans, too? Bah, idiotic, shallow, short-sighted fools."

Hallen agrees, trying to think about the fact that those people don't actually oppose Rem and Marcus getting together…

xxXxx

Lady Evelyn comes often. And Hallen trying to enjoy their time together as much as he can because aside from him, all the other kids want her attention, too. And just like him, they would try to learn so many new things just to show off to her.

Sometimes, Lord Fen'Harel comes along. The man is somewhat distant and a bit serious, Hallen must say but that doesn't mean the boy hate him. Fen'Harel doesn't play with them the same way as his bondmate but he would tell stories. He has magic that can create illusions to portrait all of his incredible tales so everyone could spend hours at a time just to hear him talk.

But what makes Hallen like Fen'Harel is how his presence seems to influence Lady Evelyn's mood. It's not that she isn't happy around the children but there is something more alive about her whenever the Dread Wolf is around.

Because of that, Hallen is very much welcome the presence of the leader and hope that the older man would come around more even when they had moved to their new home.

And most of all, the boy would even tolerance seeing the couple kissing each other. It is a big sacrifice for him because adult kissing is yuck! And those two kiss a lot!

xxXxx

Hallen tries to suppress his giggles as he hears Lady Evelyn footstep coming close. He is the last one, all of his friends had been caught but not him, he will come out victorious and—

"Got you!" The Lady exclaims as her arms wrap around him. Hallen shrieks and laughs as he wiggles in her hold but makes no real attempts to escape.

Later, when he has finally had his fills of game, Hallen steals the seat next to the Lady at the table where she gives him a big plate of her cooking.

He chomps greedily on the piece of fish, savoring its deliciousness as he listens to her stories about the Fade and Elvhenan. Eventually, a girl sitting opposite from them asks, "Will you come visit more often, Lady Evelyn?"

All the kids seem to have stopped whatever they are doing at the moment to hear her answer. Lady Evelyn doesn't even smile sadly this time, she just gives them a serious look and a soft answer, "I'm afraid I can only come around for another two months or so, Merra. After that, I will have to be away for quite some time."

Everyone runs to her and just like the first night he came here, they cry and beg for her to stay. But Hallen knows from her tone that she will not submit to their demand, so he only has one question for her, "Where will you go?"

There is something so different in her eyes when she looks at him, something that reminds him of fire and darkness.

"I will go with Fen'Harel for a war."

"What is war?" a very small child asks.

"A bad thing." The Lady says simply.

"But if you're going to do, it can't be that bad!" says another child. "You do only good things for us. You are a good person so you can't do bad things!"

"No, Johan. I'm not a good person." She shakes her head. "A good person does not wage war and kill countless people. However good my intention is or how many people I saved, there is no doubt what I currently do and will do are bad."

At her explanation, all the children become quiet. Even Hallen doesn't know what to say so he can only ask the next thing in his mind, "Will you come to visit us again?"

"I will, but not here. If we succeed, you all will be transferred to your new permanent home, and I will meet you there."

This time, her words get everyone into an excited mood again. But as his friends start asking Lady Evelyn about what they will have in their new home, all Hallen can think of is how sad she sounded when she explained everything to them.

xxXxx

He asks the adults about wars.

Each gives him a different answer. A few speak about glory but most tell him that it's indeed a bad and very sad thing but sometimes necessary.

Hallen thinks hard about their answer and recalls the sadness in Lady Evelyn's eyes.

If only he could stop the war and let her come back sooner…

He looks through the window down the center of the valley, where even in the middle of the night, faint sounds of training shouts and weapons can be heard.

Suddenly, something comes to his mind. He already wanted to learn how to fight, did he not? If he can fight, he could help Lady Evelyn with the war and she can come home!

That's it! It's so easy! Hallen is already the best student in his class and the caretakers even said that he is very strong and quick for his age. He may be still young but if he eats and practices enough, he will grow up fast!

Trying to calm down his excitement, Hallen flops back to his bed. He must sleep and wake up on time tomorrow. He will learn, will practice and take good care of himself.

Lady Evelyn will see. She won't be sad anymore once Hallen is there for her.

This war will end real soon!

Chapter Text

The sounds of cheers and singing could be heard even when one is deep in the palace.

Solas lets out a sigh, sinking a little deeper into the steaming water. It is good that his soldiers are enjoying themselves but things are still far from over.

They are untrained, the old wolf reminds himself, they are not the warriors of Arlathan with hundreds of years of training and disciplines. They are children who had been either slaves or outcasts for most of their lives. Let them have a little fun, they deserve it—conquering a major city like Halmshiral is no small feat, after all.

Most of his soldiers had managed to follow his order of not indulging in pillaging and raping. Some of the ones that did so had been captured, and Evelyn has already launched an investigation to root out the remaining; and then, by publicly punishing those criminals, the common folks here will trust his force more while Solas would have a chance to reinforce disciplines among the troops.

At least mortal's celebrations don't usually last for a whole week at the minimum like in Arlathan. Tomorrow, they can already start to clean up the damage and compensate the citizens in the city. It will be busy, but the resentment of the people here can be kept in check instead of letting it fester too long.

Already feeling a little better at his conclusion, Solas's mood lightens even more considerable when he feels the presence at the door. He turns his head just in time for Evelyn to step into the bedroom, a tray of food in her hands.

"Feeling better, my Wolf?" She smiles, pleased that he has listened to her order and stay inside to unwind himself instead of going out to work as he had planned.

"Much better." Solas tilts his head. "Now that I had done what you wanted, shouldn't you also take a rest, vhenan?"

Just as he expected, Evelyn just shakes her head. "Not now, Solas, there are things I can do to reinforce our hold on this city within tonight." She then proceeds to list out several minor tasks that Solas knows very well could be handled by their subordinates. But of course, Evelyn being Evelyn, she has to do them herself.

This is just won't do. Solas licks his lips as he watches his bondmate arranging the dishes to the table with her back to him. His eyes trail along her slim neck.

Ah, how many days they had not intimated, and he is hungry. It is lucky for him that there are not that many things to do now since the rebuilding and restructuring the city has not started yet, and he has made sure to order his generals to handle the remaining business before Evelyn came here…

Silently stepping out of the tub, Solas ignores the droplets of water soaking into the carpet with each step he takes. He wraps his arms around his bondmate's waist, pressing his nose against her neck and takes a deep breath.

"Solas, you have to eat first." Evelyn sighs, fingers squeezing a wandering hand of his but makes no attempt to shrug him off.

"Please, vhenan. I need you." He deliberately lowers his voice, knowing that will have an effect on her. He adds a nibble on her earlobe for good measures, too.

It works. She relaxes against him, murmuring, "All right. However, you will eat, and sleep properly."

"Of course, as long as you agree to do it with me." Solas smirks, presses a kiss to where her neck and shoulder meet.

Evelyn slowly turns around to face him, cupping his cheek, she gives him a resigning smile. "You are so spoiled. What am I going to do with you?"

She kisses him, tenderly at first but soon turns hungry and demanding. Solas responds with equal eagerness. His hands roam all over her body, loosening the knots and buttons with great familiarity.

Evelyn turns both of them around to push him against the table, her fingernails rack against his skin, leaving behind burning sensations that he knows will soon appear on his back.

When they pull apart to breathe, there is a fire in her eyes that makes his body sing. Without a single word, his bondmate drops to her knees and takes him into her mouth.

xxXxx

Sated and boneless, Solas lets himself to be pampered by Evelyn. With his head pillowing on her thighs, her hands stroking his head, her eyes focus only on him, and her sweet lullaby luring him into a light sleep, he wants nothing else in this world than to remain here forever.

Reaching out to press an appreciating kiss against her soulmark, Solas takes in Evelyn's appearance. Hair tousled, lips red and swollen, every patch of skin from her neck down is covered with his marks…

She was so good to him. His beloved has let him release all of his desire for her with an equal passion—even if she did stop him in the middle of it just to make him eat. Nevertheless, he is very satisfied right now and… Hmm, there are still empty spots on her body, maybe he can—

"Really? You are insatiable." Evelyn rolls her eyes.

"I haven't said anything." He smiles innocently.

"Your face tells me everything I need to know." She taps the tip of his nose. "Seriously, just how did you manage yourself during your war with the Evanuris? Your libido rises with your stress and once you get it, you just want more."

"I couldn't feel anything."

Her hands stop instantly. "What?"

Solas lets out a tired sigh. "When the war first started, I just ignored my need. I did not want to get too close to anyone and compromise my resolve. I did not want to appear weak and needy either. And as the war went on, I reached a point where I just felt numb. I became a living doll, moving for a higher purpose than myself."

"Solas…" Evelyn tightens her hands around his fingers.

"I thought it was normal. But now I know, I was not well back then, I was not truly alive." He pulls her hand to rest it on his chest, letting her feel his heartbeats as he opens the gate for her to feel the emptiness that was his soul back then.

His bondmate gasps, her hand trembles lightly against his skin.

Solas gives her a reassuring smile. "But not anymore. I am alive now. With you, I feel everything and I could not control it. Once I have had a taste of the forbidden fruit, I couldn't stop myself from wanting more. And I am sorry that it bothers you so."

"No, no, no, Solas. Don't be sorry about that!" Evelyn quickly leans closer to him, hands holding his head to keep him looking straight at her.

"I was just joking. I did not realize all of these was that important to you…" She swallows, "I mean, this is important to me, too. The two of us being together like this. But I've never realized how big this could impact you. I'm sorry for thinking of you as being spoiled."

Chuckles, Solas weaves his fingers into the end of her hair. "Well, you are not wrong about me being spoiled. But that was your fault. You are always so good to me."

"Ahh, I have to. Else you would get grumpy all day." Evelyn laughs. Solas just huffs.

"Don't act as if you did not feel the same, emma lath." He retorts, fingers caressing the side of her thigh. "I've noticed the way you glance at me when you thought no one is looking. I know you want me, too, or you wouldn't let me touch you like that. Why do you repress yourself?"

She bites her lower lips before replying, "I feel… a bit guilty. We are taking the first steps to build a new homeland for our people and yet if I don't work I would only think about sex. It never happened to me before… well, before we got together, so…" Her jaw tightens, following by a long sigh. "I guess you and I are more similar than I thought."

Evelyn rubs the back of his ears, sending shivers down his spine. Her voice comes out huskier with her next words. "No, we are the same. And I always want you."

The effect is immediate. In an instant, Solas gets up and pull his lover into a searing kiss. The night is still young. And they have work for many days after tonight. So why not enjoying themselves a little more?

xxXxx

Work, work, work. There is nothing but work. Even with Evelyn and many, many generals and elders accompany him, Solas is still swimming in work. It has gotten so bad that even his sleep is for communicating with dreamer mages. It's been days since the last time he actually had a decent rest and a normal dream.

This world lacks the magic that could help him speed up a great many processes. There is no magic to rebuilt walls and put out fires automatically. The magic wards the mages can set up are too primitive to screen and filter everything on their own. They also have no golems to protect the water sources and supplying routes either.

Solas sighs. They need to prepare and ensure certain conditions first before they could open another Rift for Halamshiral. It is only then that they can reduce the workload of the whole army. Specialized tools from their original headquarter are coming but they would still take a while.

Evelyn has been trying hard to make peace with the people of Halamshiral by arranging for them to live and work as normal as possible, alongside proper compensations and funerals. But no amount of money and comfort could bring back the dead or ease the resentment and hatred half of the civilians here feel toward her. It does not help that she still hiding her identity—with her always covering in cloak and mask whenever she leaves the palace so most of the time, his Second-in-Command looks very suspicious to normal people.

Just the other day, he heard from Felassan that two children had thrown rocks at Evelyn, screaming that she killed their father, one of the guards at the main gate of Halamshiral. Of course, she made no attempts to punish them; instead, she gave out an order for the two boys to be educated in a good school while their mother received a fund to rebuild her home and her stall in the market.

Solas is not worried about her compassion to be her downfall. He knows surely that she has already arranged for those children to be monitored until adulthood. If they have the guts to openly fight her as children, they could do far more once they've grown up.

Pinching between his brows, Solas gets back to work, silently fuming over the fact that tonight, there probably won't be any sex either because both of them will go back only after midnight, exhausted and sleep deprived.

xxXxx

"What do you mean by 'Fenris Hawke tried to kill Abelas'?" Solas asks the human guard, raising an incredulous eyebrow at the small report in his hand.

"It's exactly as it sounds, my lord." The guard answers with a confused voice. "Apparently, the Hawkes' eldest daughter got lost in the palace so Commander Abelas helped her find her parents. I was standing near the gate when they met. Everything was going just fine and they talked. The next thing I saw, Fenris started to glow and stuck his hand into the Commander's chest while the Champion and her daughter trying to stop him."

"And Abelas asked that I do not pursue this matter?"

"Yes, my lord. He requested that you overlook this and said that he will settle it himself. Lady Evelyn has already accepted but I thought that perhaps you would want to know, too."

Solas thinks for a second before nodding. "Very well. Leave it be then. Make sure to report to me if this happens again."

The guard salutes him and leaves. Alone in the room, Solas ponders about what could possibly be the reason for Fenris to act like that. In the end, he decides that he would just ask Evelyn since she should have already found that out by now.

xxXxx

"We need to upgrade the weapons first. Their current power is too weak and our mages need better equipment." Solas says, trying to hold back some of the frustration in his voice. He and Evelyn have been going for hours through several schematics and plans to improve the army's morale. Both of them are completely exhausted which make the current topic even more of a headache because they couldn't settle together on a good solution.

Yet, judging from the way all the hahrens in the room flinches, Solas guesses he had not done a very good job to hide his mood.

Evelyn instantly fires back a tirade of words, "And what about our normal fighters, who comprised of more than half of our army? They need better protection than just light armors. If we pool all of our resources into the mages, what would happen if someone can dispel their magic or get close enough for melee?"

"Vhenan, that is what barriers are for. We have ancient techniques to create those shields, and our soldiers have enough firepower to attack from the above, too. If we can create more specialized magic, we can break through their weak points."

"We are lucky that in all of the previous battles, luck was on our side and we had the element of surprises. But not anymore, the world now knows what we are and they will fight a way to counter us—you know that better than me, Solas."

They go back and forth, countering each other's argument with their own.

"Eh, perhaps we should take a break or change the topic, my Lord and Lady." Itha smiles shakily as he chimes in. "We all should take it easy—"

"Don't interfere, Itha." Both Solas and Evelyn say without even looking at the young hahren, but that is enough for him to shrink back into his seat. His colleagues are now pretending to look at other things or just filling out some minor paperwork in the meantime.

They keep going back and forth for a very long while. By the end of it, it almost escalates into a shouting match but fortunately, they only sleep with their back to each other that night.

Unsurprisingly, when the two wake up the next day, they find themselves in each other's arms. There are no words between them, but they apologize to each other once night comes again, and it takes another day to finally come up with an answer both of them (and the Elders) can accept.

xxXxx

"Ohhh, Varic and Cassandra finally get married. How wonderful!" Evelyn giggles, spinning around the room with the missive in her hands. She and Solas are having a short lunch break and to cheer her up, Solas has delivered to her the newest information of their former comrades.

"I don't think you were this happy when we officially became bondmates," Solas says dryly. "And haven't they bonded two years ago? It was you who broke that news to me."

"But they are making it known, Solas. It's official! Official! It means they are in a church, exchanging vows and rings and have people throwing flowers at them. And I can't even be there to do that!"

Sipping his tea, Solas just silently watch Evelyn going on and on about the wonders of weddings. Suddenly, Solas realizes that he had never asked her about it.

"Evelyn." He speaks up. "Do you want a wedding for us?"

His love stops walking at his question.

"Pardon?"

"Do you want a proper ceremony for us?" He repeats more clearly this time. "We are bondmates, which already made us husband and wife in anything aside from a vow and a witness in a church. However, if you love weddings that much, I can prepare one for us."

She thinks for a bit before shaking her head. "No, I don't need it." She smiles. "As you said, we are already husband and wife, I don't need a celebration to prove that. And we need to save resources for our people now. It will make me happier to see them clothed and fed than having a whole event for myself."

Ever the practical Evelyn.

Solas signs, but still nods. He then beckons Evelyn to sit in his lap.

"If one day you decide to change your mind, don't be afraid to tell me."

"All right. But I think I won't ever change my mind about this." She pauses for a moment before giggling.

"Something funny?"

"Now that you mention it. We are husband and wife! And yet I have never called you 'husband'." She grins. "Now that I have said it, I really like it."

"And calling you 'wife' isn't quite bad either." Solas returns with a smile of his own. "Indeed, I certainly like it. My wife."

"My Wolf, my husband… yes, I definitely love this more than a wedding." She hums satisfyingly, pressing herself closer to his.

Their foreheads touch, their lips murmuring endearments that they can give each other. One thing leads to another and before they both realize it, the couple finds themselves kissing and are preparing to rip each other's clothes off when a knock comes from behind the door.

More works to do…

xxXxx

"How is their progress, Ser Fenris?" Solas inquires, ignoring the way Fenris Hawke is glaring at him while simultaneously forcing himself not to bolt. The lyrium-tattooed elf has taken on the job as the trainer for the city guards and, so far, no complains have been made about his teaching. Except for a few comments about the man being so anti-social outside work, that is.

"Just 'Fenris' is enough," the elf grumbles, gestures over the soldiers who are practicing with the dummies. "They are doing adequately, but still have a lot to learn. They know how to fight, and how to spot dangers in the wilds, but they are out of their depth when it comes to guarding a city with walls and doors and hidden passages. I can teach them how to spot threats from people, but it will be better than you send a few assassins to teach them more."

In his mind, Solas quickly chooses out a few available rogues that could be sent here for Fenris. Zevran would be the first since his bondmate has already left to supervises the reconstruction of the newest keep the Dread Wolf has given to the Grey Wardens. Young Bethany can help with babysitting her cousin Nehna while Zevran works here. Now, who else could be used? Ah, perhaps Abe—

As if he's reading Solas's thought, Fenris quickly adds, "Do not send that Abelas here, unless you want him to die!"

His threat is cheered by the twin boys playing nearby, who waving their toys swords and declaring that they will help their father gut Abelas like a fish.

Solas just decides to smile and nod, agreeing that he shouldn't send Mythal's loyal servant here just to be killed by overprotective family members. Maybe avoiding Bethany's father (and her little brothers) for about another 10 years would be good for Abelas.

xxXxx

"Lady Evelyn! Look! I can make winds!" Hallen shouts as he makes the tree branches above him shake around. The other children follow suits by showing off whatever achievement they have got before this visit from Evelyn.

"I am so proud of all of you!" Evelyn claps her hands before bending down to hoist up a little girl. She spins the child around in her arms, laughing and cheering.

Watching from the shadow, a bittersweet smile appears on Solas's lips. In moments like this, he cannot help to imagine that the child in her arm having dark hair, blue eyes, and short but pointy ears.

So close, and so far away, this little dream of theirs…

xxXxx

Their lips meet in a hungry kiss. Their hands pulling off each other's clothes in frantic movements. Solas will enjoy this very much, just how many days he has waited for a night where they can finally have enough time for each other. Evelyn must have felt the same because she had been tried to finish her own work the fastest she could today. And now, finally!

As he delves in for another deep kiss, Solas realizes Evelyn doesn't quite hold onto him as tight as before. He pulls away to check and find that she is already asleep.

He blinks, staring at his bondmate for a while to see if she would wake up. She doesn't, so he just signs in resignation and chuckles. Silently, he pulls the blanket over their bodies, grateful that they had already taken off all their clothes so he won't have to move her too much.

With Evelyn warm and peaceful in his arms, Solas presses his lips to her eyelid. He whispers, "I'll come to you right away."

Before sleep takes over him, an idea comes to his mind…

xxXxx

"Isn't this cheating?" Evelyn blinks, eyes glued to the enormous magnolia tree that, just some moments ago, was just a sapling.

"It is not. I just gave it a little push." Solas replies.

"No, it's definitely cheating. No tree could grow that fast with a 'little' push." Evelyn lightly shakes her head. She still smiles happily, hands stroking the rough bark. "But I love it. It's wonderful!"

Solas grins. It is absolutely beautiful, the flowers are in full bloom to the point that it seems like the entire tree is glowing. The lovely scent floating in the air is calming and the warm bark is inviting him to sit down with Evelyn and rest against the tree.

His bondmate, meanwhile, is murmuring to herself about what kind of rugs should she place here and how many pillows would it need. Then, she holds out her arms and makes some kind of funny gestures. Chuckling, Solas can guess that she is imagining how she would place an open tent here.

As he cannot wait to show her the next part of his gift, Solas turns Evelyn around, temporarily snapping her out of her giddiness. She is preparing to say her thank but he holds up a hand.

"No need to thank me yet, vhenan. There are more for you." He gives her a scroll. It's just a summary of the project but he knows it will be enough for her to understand everything.

"This is…" Evelyn's shine brightly as she takes in the content of the scroll.

"I have more details for you in our office. The meeting will happen three days from now. Will it be enough for you to prepare?" He tilts his head, asking but already knowing the answer.

"Of course!"

xxXxx

"We can do that, my Lord? You mean we can convert these halls into indoor gardens without glass walls?" Keeper Hawen asks in astonishment as she walks alongside Solas in one of the large halls of the Winter Palace. They and a couple more of hahrens are inspecting the conditions of the place their newest experiment will take place. Evelyn has been holding on to this project for a long time and Solas, in hope that it will help his bondmate relieve her stress as well as giving his subordinates an opportunity to try out the old magic, has saved some resources to push it forward.

"We can," Solas confirms Hawen's question. "As this is just an experimental state, and considering all of the lost knowledge, they will not yield as much as the ones Arlathan but it certainly will help us if our supplies from other regions get cut off. We can expand the scope of this project perhaps after a few years of testing or so."

"We will enchant the walls with runes to emulate sunlight and weathers." Evelyn continues for him. "And for the water, we can employ the apprentice mages. Of course, that is just a short-term solution. Once everything else has been established, we will build an official water system."

"I've already chosen a section of the main market and some other locations within the city to be converted. Each will be a different climate to provide us with a variety of crops and herbs." She looks over the Keeps. "You and your clans will responsible for them. I, too, will help you all. Let's all do our best."

"We shall not let you down, my Lady." Telahna, the healer, replies. The woman barely conceals her excitement as she and the Keepers colleagues bow to Evelyn. When the Keepers leave, chatting and already planning what they would do first, Solas and Evelyn remain behind to take a moment for themselves.

When he looks at her, he can see her shoulders have lightened up and there is a small joy dancing in her eyes as she observes around the room. No doubt, Evelyn is imagining how this place would look a few months from now.

Reaching out for his hand, his beloved places a kiss to his palm and lets him feel the warmth of her cheek. He cannot read her thoughts but the way she presses her face against the callouses on his hand is enough to let him know what she is feeling.

"Thank you, my Wolf."

Ahh, there is it—the sweet smile he loves so much. Truly, what he would not do to protect it forever.

Without a word, he pulls her into his embrace, feeling her warmth against his body. He takes a deep breath of her scent. These days, Evelyn doesn't have to fight so she can always wear her favorite perfume. He can still recall the old days where she would painstakingly take the scent off her skin whenever they have to travel outside Haven or Skyhold. Solas had realized long ago that Evelyn only uses it when she feels safe and doesn't have to fight or hunt anything; it pains him to know that soon, she will have to remove it.

Orlais is gathering their army to push back and eventually, both he and Evelyn will have to return to the battlefields. As fragile and short the times she would spend in these gardens would be, they will be a reminder for her that she is fighting to protect lives and not just to bring deaths.

xxXxx

"Dorian is now one of the leading candidates," Evelyn says suddenly next to him, her voice neutral and her face blank. She holds up a missive for him to read.

"I see." Solas nods. They both know what this means. Archon Radonis' appointed heir has been seriously injured after a failed assassination attempt, and while the man is still alive, his state of mind and body is clearly not in the best condition to inherit the title to put it very lightly. Radonis could choose some others, but none have enough skills nor influence to truly replace the original heir.

Dorian has worked tirelessly to build up his power over the years and now, with him being the leader of his faction within the empire, it is not a surprise that he is one of the best choices to replace Radonis.

"How much do you think he wants to change his homeland?" Solas's wife asks, but she obviously knows the same answer as him.

"Enough that he would agree to aid us in exchange for our own help, I reckon." Dorian is not the quite the type of men that like to employ dirty tricks at every turn, but so many years of playing in the Magisterium would definitely have hardened him enough to know when to make the hard choice for the greater good.

"Perhaps only when the situation is dire enough…" Her gaze turns far away.

"Or he would want to make a preemptive move before things turn to the worse. Tevinter's tradition of dabbling with blood magic will make it an ideal first target for Dirthamen and Falon'Din."

His remaining brethren will be severely weakened once they wake up and will need "nutrition" to regain their strength. What could be better than a country where its most powerful members—many of them who would do anything to save their skins—had a preference for blood arts and a large supply of slaves for "materials"? The fact that Solona and other Grey Warden Commanders can no longer contact with Weisshaupt is all but an indication that the fortress and Anderfels will eventually become a starting point for the two Old Gods to unleash their Darkspawns.

Dorian, whether he likes it or not, will have to make an agreement with the Dread Wolf for his people to survive.

"We might need to speed things up for him to need help…" Evelyn murmurs. This time she doesn't bother to hide her disgust and sadness at the likelihood that they will have to resort to such method to achieve their goal—to assassinate certain members in the Magisterium and force their friend into the corner.

"Let's wait first, vhenan." Solas grabs her hands. He weaves their fingers together and she leans against him, her head rests on his shoulder. He repeats, "Let's wait, and see what will happen. There is still time and perhaps we might be lucky enough for him to need us first before we need to force our hands."

"All right…" She sighs. Her fingers squeeze his when she asks her next question, "What about Varric? Marian is still in contact with him and she has made sure to conceal her location. But I…"

"You want to see him?" He finishes for her and Evelyn confirms with a dip of her head. Solas exhales. He knows that she thinks about their friends every day and the burden of lying is continuing to build up in her.

Solas pulls away from her hand to card his finger through her hair. "We can find a way, I suppose." Solas muses. "The Free Marches are next to the Imperium, one way or another, Varric would need to prepare Kirkwall, too. Maybe we can even meet him before Dorian. With our Magister friend, once he knows, the Iron Bull would know."

"Perhaps…" Evelyn seems hesitant. "Perhaps we can convince Varric to suppose us first? He will do anything for Marian and her family, her choosing our side can influence him to at least stay quiet once we reveal ourselves to him? We can show him how our citizens can live with magic, the Fade, and spirits without enslaving anyone or using blood magic?"

Her words are a mix of hope and uncertainty, and he could understand them perfectly. However, there is a possibility that Varric will not accept their attempt to reconnect with him and instead choosing to tell the whole world. And even if he doesn't do that, if Cassandra finds out, it will still result in the same outcome.

Solas proceeds to tell Evelyn his thoughts and after a moment of considering, they both agree that when it is time, they will meet Dorian first because at least he doesn't constantly keep contacts with Bull, not mentioning that the Atlus will surely put the benefits of Tevinter before the laws of the Chantry.

For the moment, however, they will wait and see.

xxXxx

Solas hurriedly walks into their bedroom and closes the door. The next few weeks will be extremely busy as all the mages will open the second Grand Rift; so today, when they finally have an entire evening for themselves, he intends to make good use of it before being forced into abstinence by works again.

But to his disappointment, there is no sight of Evelyn in their room. Instead, he finds a note left by her. It read, "I need to find something in the Vir Dirthara. I will come back soon."

Bite back a disgruntled noise, Solas ignores his manners and just flop down ceremonial on the lounge to wait.

He waits and waits, but after an hour, he starts to lose patience. And more than that, he is starting to worry.

Opening their link, Solas can feel that Evelyn is well, but she is anxious about something. He frowns, wondering what could possibly be the reason for his bondmate to feel like this.

This emotion, if he has to put a word to it, would be "forbidden". She is doing something she knows is wrong, and yet there is a sliver of hope and confidence in it.

Before he knows it, he has already marched to his office where an eluvian that could lead directly to the Great Library is waiting.

The old wolf looks at the reflectionless mirror before letting out a long sigh.

"You will be the death of me one day, vhenan."

Truly, only her that could make him so worry in this way. If anything happens to her, if something like the Red Scales happens again…

Red and the smell of rust is covering her.

She leaned against the cold walls like a broken doll. Her eyes, slashed and covered in burns, aimlessly wandered to his direction.

Her right leg was mangled beyond recognition and he knew they would have no other choices but to amputate it. Her left arm was missing and her right one was broken. There were bruises and cuts around her neck.

He must have made a noise because she smiled at him.

He thought she has gone mad but then he realized… She almost never smiled but now she was smiling for his sake.

Even in pain, betrayed and mutilated, she was still trying to comfort him.

He could tell himself it was all for the sake of those more important than her but it was all a lie!

This sin could never be forgiven...

A poisonous bitterness flooding Solas's chest in a second before disappearing. Fearing for Evelyn, he checks her again but finds nothing. She is still carrying that emotion, but there is no apparent danger around her. There is only one way to find out.

Quickly, he steps through the eluvian and into the Crossroads.

 


A/N: I've been dying to show everyone this. I'm still in the process of planning a sequel for this fic called "A Forgotten Story" but there are certain scenes that I've already had in mind. This fanart is one of them, drawn by my super talented little sister for my birthday! 

The Healing of Bond Sickness

The Healing of Bond Sickness

Link for anyone wants to check more of my sister's arts.

Chapter Text

Solas walks through the broken remnants of Vir Dithara. The silence of death and destruction is pronounced with each step he takes.

In a quiet moment like this, all the pleasures he has from having the Crossroads and the Great Library under his controls simply vanish, leaving behind a heavy darkness that wraps about his body until his ears drown in sounds of non-existent screams and cries.

When he first returned to this place after his long sleep, he had a breakdown upon witnessing the memories of those left behind in this place. Even if the souls had long departed to the Void, all of their final impressions upon this world cannot be erased, especially in a place where knowledge and memories are meant to be recorded with the help of the Fade and the spirits. All the hatred, sorrows and resentment were aimed at him

As a result, he does not like to come here unless there are things to be done. But today, he has another reason to venture into this place, and fortunately for him, his bond with her allows him to locate her easily through all the floating buildings.

Solas's smile quickly falters when he realizes Evelyn is in one of the oldest archives. Hasten his pace, he goes through the gateway that leads to a large hall.

He hates this particular section of Great Library. It doesn't offer much power in term of war and destruction but it holds stories and secrets that bring pains in other ways. Love rituals that end with the casters losing everything; healing magic that can grow back limbs and even resurrect the dead but gradually eat away the livings until it was too late; illusion spells that can fool even those who are well acquainted with the Fade and trap their victims beyond death.

This is not a place he wants Evelyn to wander around. While he does trust his beloved to not fall for their tricks—as the ancient "miracles" have ways to convince a person to use them—Solas prefers that she not come in contact with those things in the first place.

When he finally reaches Evelyn, Solas finds her reading intensely into a book with her back to him. Too intensely for his peace of mind.

Silently, he walks close to her and whispers, "Vhenan."

She yelps, but Solas is ready to catch her by the shoulders and steady her.

"Solas! You scared me!" She breathes out before chuckling. "Ah, I disappeared too long on you, didn't I?"

"Indeed." He smiles, turning her around to brush his lips against hers. He jokes, knowing that it would have an effect on her. They know each other too well to lie by now. "What had caught your attention to the point that you forgot about your poor bondmate?"

The effect is immediate, Evelyn's smile falters. Biting her lips, she holds out the still opened book.

Solas's heart drops when he recognizes the page. This is not the kind of ritual that turns a person into a living dead nor does it kill the user. But its effects are all the same.

I should have burnt this accursed thing long ago.

"Evelyn…" he is unsure of what to ask her.

"I have already memorized it." She answers for him. There is a little bit of guilt in her tone but her eyes are full of defiance.

"Vhenan, do you have any ideas what this is?" He bites out, unable to contain his anger and panic.

"It's a sealing spell. Stronger than what Ameridan had done. Stronger than even your prison for the Creators. The kind that could put even a god into complete oblivion. It is something we can use if our war against your brethren fails."

"And the price one has to pay for it is enormous," Solas growls. "They are sealed within the prison together with their victim. Not asleep like Ameridan but completely aware. All the magic that could leak out from the victim will be absorbed by the caster, giving that person agony for all eternity just to ensure the victim cannot escape in any way. And the worst part…"

He takes in a deep breath, tries not to think about how it could happen to Evelyn. Taking the book away from her and throws it on the desk nearby, he continues.

"This book does not record that part but the worst consequence is that the people who know the caster will gradually forget everything. All the memories concerning the one who performed the spell will eventually be erased so no one could ever find the seal and break it, and the prison is already inescapable in the first place. Once you've performed it, there will be no way out for you."

His words seem to have gone through Evelyn when a flash of fear appears in her eyes. But as always, she quickly regains her composure.

"I… did not know that. But, even if it is true, shouldn't the victory against Falon'Din and Dirthamen worth the—'

"Not if it cost me you." He cuts in. "Evelyn, another requirement for this ritual is a powerful mage that could rival a noble or even a royal of Arlathan. On our side, there are only a few with that kind of power, including me and you. And I know you would never let someone else sacrifice themselves if you can help it."

"Solas…"

"You've changed me, Evelyn. I am not the same man as I was before and if I lost you…" He looks straight at her, hands gripping her wrist to put her palms against his chest. "If I lost you, I do not know how I would change. Do you still remember what you discuss with Dorian back then about what can happen to a surviving bondmate if they can live through Bond Sickness? Their personality will be twisted and become obsessive with something that can help them to live on.

"I was still myself when I destroyed my old home, what do you think will happen to this world if I can no longer remain sane? Especially if I cannot remember you anymore? So please, do not push me to that point, vhenan."

What Solas had told his bondmate is the truth and there are worse things he can think of to stop her from ever using that magic. It is a low move, to use the life of others to persuade her. But if mortal men such as Alexis and Loghain could do so many damages like that then what could stop a being from the Fade with thousands of years of power like the Dread Wolf to destroy and distort the world to utter ruin beyond reparation?

Evelyn must have realized that too because she grimly nods and replies with a small voice. "I won't use it then."

Taking her face into his hands, he demands, "Promise me, vhenan. I need to hear your words that you would never use that spell."

Her jaw tightens lightly, but she eventually faces him again. Her eyes open bright and clear with his reflection in them.

"I promise, I will never use it. I will not sacrifice myself for it."

He would prefer that she would never sacrifice herself for anything but this is good enough for now. Exhales in relief, Solas presses a kiss to her forehead as he pulls her tight against himself.

"Ar lath ma, vhenan." He murmurs into her hair.

"I love you, too, my Wolf. Always." She returns his embrace with the same intensity. Solas then leads his bondmate to an old stone bench nearby and lets her sit in his lap.

"My apologies for my outburst, Evelyn," he begins, "but I just don't want to lose you. I've seen what this magic could do… and I don't want the same fate falls upon you."

Her eyebrows raise at the revelation. "Someone had done it before? Ah, it makes sense now, since you mentioned that you know about a side effect that hasn't been recorded."

"Yes." He nods, "I was one of the few who witnessed it. And I am the only one who knows, or more correctly, remembers about the last consequence. But even so, I couldn't fully escape its effect. I remember that someone had performed the spell to lock away a powerful being, but that is all. Everything else about that person and the seal is only a blank in my case and with other people, it was false memories."

"You didn't try to investigate it?"

"If someone had to resort to giving themselves up to such a fate just to stop something, they probably would not want anyone to interfere with it afterward. So now all I can do is to make sure no one else would have to endure it.

"Not to mention, if I tamper with the seal, it could make Falon'Din and Dirthamen remember everything and possibly gaining an ally from the one who had been locked away. I would rather not give them more power."

Evelyn sighs, nesting herself against his chest. "I understand now. That person… if they had to do it, perhaps it was because they couldn't see any other choices. That makes me glad that I have you."

"Oh, how so?"

"When I am desperate and trying to do something dangerous, I know you will be there to help me. You will stop me from hurting myself." Evelyn giggles. "Even if I'm sure you would scold me for being bad afterward."

"Of course I have to. I cannot just stand there and let you think that harming yourself is all right."

"I know." She looks knowingly at him before tapping his nose. "Because I would do the same for you, too.

"And I am glad that you do so." He catches her hands to give her fingers a kiss. "So, on another topic, may I know why you decided to visit this particular part of the library in the first place?"

"Well, I was actually searching for some other, more mundane topics." She laughs, looking somewhat embarrassing. "But some were displaced to other areas so I went for them. Before I knew it, I was here."

"And what kind of topics was that?" He smirks, already has an inkling of what she wanted.

"Uhm… fetishes and roleplays?" She smiles shyly at him, with excitement in her blue eyes.

"That?" Solas barks out a laugh. "Vhenan, if you want to know about that, you could have asked me!"

"You were so busy. And I was worried if I mention that to you, it would distract you. I planned to just do some research first and then come back and talk to you right away. I want something special to make up for our lack of intimacy these past months."

"I see." Solas lifts her chin up. He growls, unable to stop the desire and hunger from his voice. "Tell me, what kinds of roleplays would you like?"

"… Master and slave? With me being the latter?"

A series of thoughts and emotions run through Solas. What an unexpected request, and yet not quite so at the same time. He is someone who can only relax when he has the full control of everything; meanwhile, Evelyn always wants to get go of all responsibility and just to enjoy herself.

They have played bondage before but it usually only ropes, some toys, and lighthearted orders. He did not push for more because he is content with what they had but… The images of Evelyn on her knees, completely submitted to him and lets him do everything he wants to her overwhelm his mind.

A gentle hand brushes his cheek, yet when Solas looks at his beloved, he is taken back by the sheer intensity of her gaze. All the shyness and hesitance before had disappeared. She knows that he wants it, too.

"We will need to go over everything before we start it," says Solas.

"I know."

Evelyn moves to sit astride of him with her hands on his jaw and neck. The look on her face makes his breaths slow down as he grips her waist.

When they kiss, it feels like they haven't done so for many days. Tongues entwine, fingers clawing at clothes and flesh, eyes close to feel more than see. It is only when they need to breathe that they part, reluctantly.

Their foreheads rest against each other's. The two of them have been gone from the palace for quite a while already, they should come back now. But…

"Just a little bit, husband?" Evelyn whispers. She has learned the habit of calling him "husband" whenever she wants all of his attention and Solas can say that it is very effective against him.

Solas nods. "Just a little bit."

Even if their intimacy here is short, it gives them some comforts to wait for the next time.

In the following days, Solas uses his very few spare times to prepare and talk with Evelyn what she would like to do. They discuss of how much she could take and what she would willing to try.

In the end, they choose a night a month from now on to clear out their schedule.

xxXxx

"So those are clamps for…" Evelyn picks up one from the pair. It's the first time she sees these particular items.

"They will go to your chest." Solas finishes for her. "I will need you to try these first and then adjust them so they don't hurt you too much."

"Right now?"

"If you want."

"All right. We still have another half an hour for lunch." Evelyn nods, hands quickly loosen the front of her shirt and her breasts band for her husband to put one on.

He does it slow and gentle, but she still grimaces. "Maybe less tight than this. But I like the weight."

"I see." He takes notes, quickly remove the clamp and sooth the sore nub with his thumb. Solas then shows her a box with several dildos and plug in it, each with different shapes and sizes.

Evelyn thinks for a bit and chooses out three plugs. "I like your fingers better but these will do in the case you want to surprise me." She smirks in return to Solas's amused look.

Just right then, Loranil opens the door. "My lord, my lady, here is a report fooorrrr…"

He trails off as his eyes land on the box with the unmentionable toys and Evelyn with her shirt still opened…

"I'M SO SORRY! I DIDN'T SEE ANYTHING!" And promptly shut the door back.

The couple just sighs.

"We need to learn to lock the office door," Evelyn suggests.

"Or teach him to knock. But I agreed."

xxXxx

"What about hot wax?" He asks while they are lying in bed, sleep is slowly taking over them. Their bodies are exhausted after a whole day of walking around the city and outside it, having to check and approved all the newly installed magic wards.

"No. I don't like the sensation when it's on my finger, I don't think I will like it to be on my body either." Evelyn yawns, snuggles closer against Solas's warm body.

"Just hands as usual then." He tucks away a strand of hair from her face

"Paddle is okay, but yes, just hands are enough for me, and I like to have you soothe me right afterward."

Solas laughs. "Of course, I also prefer to use my hands anyway."

"That trick with electricity that you have, I think it'd be okay too."

"Noted."

xxXxx

"I don't like shackles, too heavy." Evelyn holds the item up and down to make a point. "Just normal robes, or silk, is enough."

"Ropes then. I will need to prepare them so they don't rub you raw."

"Say, just how did you do all these things anyway? We are both drowning in works. Just where do you get the time to collect all those toys and tools, and then prepare them?"

"I have my way." He answers as if it's the most obvious thing in the world. "When one is determined enough, there will always be a way."

Evelyn just stares at him and blinks.

xxXxx

"We'll have you blindfolded then," Solas concludes as he passes another scroll for Evelyn to check. "Would you want me to block out sounds for you, too?"

"No, I like your voice," Evelyn confesses, hand never stops writing all the numbers they had calculated. "I love to hear you taking leads in many things."

"I know." Her husband smiles. He puts down the quill to lean his face on his hand. His next words come out much huskier. "I will make sure to put it to good use."

"I also love it when you wither beneath me and begging me for release." She adds with an equally smug look. "I love it when you're completely helpless against me and will take anything I give you."

Solas blinks but quickly recovers. "Perhaps that can be saved for after we have done with this one?"

Evelyn tries not to laugh at his eagerness and give him her brightest, most excited smile instead. "Definitely!"

xxXxx

Her eyes snap open and blink at the dark room. She knows it is near morning but the sun obviously has not risen yet, so normally, she would sleep in just a little more.

But not today. Tonight will be that time and Evelyn will not allow anyone or anything to interrupt her time with Solas! Today's work must be finished as soon as possible!

"Wake up, my lazy Wolf! It's finally here!" She yanks the blanket away then shakes her bondmate awake. Despite his protest, Solas still grouchily sits up and allows Evelyn to pull him to the bathroom.

"Who is the more eager one now…?" He mumbles along the way.

xxXxx

"Again, what is our safeword?" asks Solas.

"Sapphire blue." Evelyn answers.

"And what to do when you can't say it?"

"Snap my fingers twice." They have been going over what he can do to her and what is her limit. Solas has a lot of experience in these kinds of things so Evelyn knows that he would stop right away when he realizes she can't go on anymore, but it still necessary for them to establish safe word first in the case he has any misjudgments.

"Is the binding too tight?" Evelyn's bondmate rubs the enchanted rope that is tying Evelyn forearms together behind her back.

"I can still wiggle just a little bit, is that okay?" She tests her bond to show him.

"That is good." Solas confirms with one corner of his lips curls up.

She can feel his gaze wandering over her naked flesh as she knees on the floor. Evelyn trembles in anticipation. They have been preparing this night for a whole week and now here they are, with no one will interrupt them and all of their necessities had been taken care of; but Solas is taking his sweet time to check the knot. Is this part of the play? Is he trying to torment her?

Her displeasure must have shown on her face because Solas suddenly laughs. Weaving his finger into her loose hair, he hoists her up so their lips almost touching.

"Be patient, my pet." She shivers at the name and waits, but despite the closeness, he doesn't kiss her. Instead, with a wave of his finger, a screen of black smoke materializes to wrap upon her eyes.

Before her vision is completely covered in darkness, the last thing she sees his face. Arrogant and full of expectation.

She hears, "I know you will not let me down, my precious slave."

Gently laying her down on the carpeted floor, he departs without a word. Evelyn listens until the sounds of the door being opened and then closed to conclude that he has really left.

The room is strangely quiet now that she cannot see anymore. With this being the first time she is blindfolded without Solas presenting, there is a sense of disquiet and uneasiness that keeps rising each minute with her being so vulnerable right now.

Evelyn feels the rope digs into her skin as she struggles to keep herself breath normally.

Her other senses are becoming too keen. She can feel the light prickling from the flooring and the cool air seeping into her skin with each moment.

Magnolia, books, spices, fabrics, and wood—all and the familiar smell of this room is too clear. Were they this strong before?

How long has she been waiting? It's hard to tell with all of this darkness.

What did he think when he made her stay here? How should she act for him?

She wants to get up and calls for Solas. She wants his touches. And yet… didn't he tell her to be patient? He has called her "precious" and he has laid her down so gently.

He trusted her to play her role. And her role now is to be a slave for him. To obey his every wish and fulfill his expectation.

Yes. It doesn't matter what they were before, right now, she is just his slave. She has willingly given herself to him and now she is nothing without him.

He is her master, after all.

What will her master do when he comes back? Would he order her to serve him immediately while she is still bounded? Or would he tease her until she begs and cries for him?

The thoughts of submitting to his will and receiving his praises make way for something inside her. Something sweet and desperate.

She recalls the way his fingertips had glided upon her skin before. Oh, how Evelyn wishes to be able to press herself against his hand for more. But she is a good slave so she will only take what he would give her and nothing more.

Her master is merciful and kind; he would not treat her badly. Not too much. But even the pains he brings her is exquisite, and even if she does not think so, she would eventually do.

The wetness between her legs is becoming apparent. What should she do now? She can't stop herself from yearning for him, but he has not given her permission yet!

Breaths are heavy. She waits and waits and waits…

… Until the cricks of the door signaling the arrival of someone.

Evelyn holds her breath until a familiar voice reaches her ears.

"Have you waited long, my slave?"

A pair of hands hoist her up roughly on to her knees before one of them grips her chin.

"N-no, M-Master. It wasn't long at all." She stammers.

"Is that so? It seems to have been quite a while for you."

Evelyn jumps when two fingers suddenly press against her slit to feel the wetness in there. She bites back a moan, spreading her legs further for her Master.

"Tell me, pet." The Master purrs. "What has caused this?"

"I-I was thinking about you, Master. Please forgive my insolence!"

He chuckles before crashing his lips against her. It is brutal, overwhelming, and all-consuming.

Her thoughts blur away with the assault from his tongue and lips. Her body grows hot under his fingers. Her Master gropes her backside and strokes between her legs, teasing her until she tries to grind against his hands only for him to retreat them.

When he finally let her breathe, all she could think of is that she would gladly die just to receive more of his attention. Lucky for her, she doesn't need to because the Master slips two of his fingers into her mouth, the salty taste of herself still stick to his fingertips as she licks them eagerly, trying to prove to him what she could do with her mouth and tongue.

He laughs wickedly. Patting her head, he says, "So eager. Perhaps you should use that enthusiasm on something else other than my fingers."

Evelyn feels him stand up, and soon, something hot and hard touches her lips which she opens obediently.

It smells so strong. She just can't get enough of it, this heady musky taste. She gives his cock a long, hard lick first before stroking him with several lighter, shorter ones along his length.

Her Master strokes her hair as she worships his cock. There is no place that she doesn't pay attention to. She nibs gently at the sac before licking the veins above. Her tongue caresses the underside of the head. It's harder to do it correctly since she can't see, but the Master is kind so he guides her to where he wants. And his rough exhalations let her know that she is on the right track.

She suckles like a child savoring her favorite treat. The heavy breathing full of pleasure from the Master only spurns her on even harder. She sucks and licks and nibs. Her cheeks hollow to make her mouth even tighter for him.

When her master grabs her head with both hands, Evelyn knows it is time to stop. She suppresses her gag reflex and lets him pull her head forward until her nose touches his stomach. She can't breathe and her throat is unnaturally full, but they cannot diminish the joy and ecstasy she is feeling.

His hands fist into her hair as he thrusts in and out, rough and fast. Her drools pour from her mouth with his movement. He doesn't care about her discomfort.

The sounds that come to her ears are wet and filthy and Evelyn loves it even as her eyes water and her fists clench behind her back. Her cunt aches and dripping down her legs as she tries to rub her thighs together without moving too much.

When Master grunts, signaling his soon-to-come release, Evelyn is ready to receive it in whatever way he wants her to. Will he fill her throat and keep her breathless until he finishes? Or will he give her a necklace and then force her to smear his come on all over her body?

Evelyn's Master decides to do neither when he keeps the head of his cock within her cavity. With a few jerks of his cock, her tongue is smeared with the first spurt of his seed. Salty and bitter and delicious.

"Keep it there. Do not swallow." The Master orders. Evelyn just groans, more than happy to comply.

His come keeps building up in her mouth but lucky for her, before she could accidentally spill out anything, the Master pulls out and sprays the rest on her face. She keeps her mouth open for there was no order to close it yet.

He grabs her chin. "Swirl it around your mouth. Show me how much you love it."

She does as told, using her tongue to smear the sticky fluid everywhere in her oral cavity. She makes sure to vocalize her pleasure, too, until he orders her to swallow everything. Once she finishes, she opens her mouth to show him her good work.

That earns her a pat to the head. But before she could actually enjoy his gesture, Master pinches her nipple. Hard.

She does not dare to shriek, instead, she sucks in a deep breath to quell down the sharp pain. It hurts at first but the pain will be replaced with pleasure. As long as she could give her body to him, she would accept anything from him. And it still feels really good.

When the Master finally remove one of his hands to grab something, as his remaining hand is holding her nipple in place, Evelyn has an inkling of what he about to do so she braces herself. Yet it still hurts a little bit when the metal object grips at her sensitive tip.

When both of the clamps had set firmly on her, she realizes that they are linked with a chain. The master pulls it, forcing her to bite down a hiss.

"I know you would look better with this than a chain around your neck!" Master hums. Evelyn could visualize how please he is as he looks at her right now, and it does wonders to her pride. She straightens her back to push out her chest for him.

He gives her another tug. The direction of the pull lets her know that he wants her to stand up. With the chain, he leads her until she is pushed backward upon the bed.

"Now, what should I do with you?" The Master whispers. His fingers gliding across her lower stomach. "Should I use your mouth again? Or should I just fuck your cunt and fill it with my seed?"

He flicks at the left clamp. "Tell me, my whore. What do you want?"

"I don't want anything, Master." His slave answers automatically. "I am only here for your sake. Please use me in any way you want!"

"That's right." A hand cups her mound, rubbing against her clit with its palm. "You are to serve me. You belong to me and you exist only for my desire. Now, show me your cunt."

At his order, she opens her legs as wide as possible. The cold air hitting her opening, reminding her just how wet and aching she is right now.

The Master doesn't say anything. She feels his gaze intensely on her shameless body before he suddenly flips her onto her stomach. With experienced hands, he unties her binding, granting relief to her aching arms but she doesn't have much time to enjoy it when she realizes he is tying her wrists to her ankles. In this position, her body is supported by her head, upper chest, and shoulders which gives her a little bit of relief from pressing against the clamps on her nipples. But it leaves her completely invulnerable and exposed.

Evelyn whimpers as his hands pry her cheeks apart and his hot breaths against her openings.

She stills herself when he presses his tongue to her slit. His soft lips suck at her skin, lapping and nudging between the fold to draw out even more slickness. With her breaths coming out in a slow and deep pattern lacing with gentle moans, Evelyn tries to remain in place—both to not disturb the clamps stuck between her breasts and the bed, and because she doesn't want Master to stop.

Trying as she is, she couldn't stop herself when Master gives her a long lick that comes up to the other entrance. She reflexively clenches. However, a low warning growl from him is enough for her to let relax her muscles again for him to dive in. Soon enough, the familiar, achingly pleasant of his tongue around and in her tight hole. Her lack of sight only makes Evelyn even more aware of those sensations.

It feels too good. Once upon a time, she had some reservation about this act but her master has taught her that there is nothing to be ashamed of something feels this good.

Evelyn let herself express how much she loves this. She moans and keens and lightly pushing her ass back to him. Her channel loosens up under his ministration as he keeps stretching and scrapping around her tight wall.

She wants more, a lot more so she cries softly in dismay when Master removes his tongue. Evelyn quickly recovers, though, because she must be happy with everything he does. And she is very happy when his fingers probe at her puckered opening, smearing the slippery oil around and inside it.

"So tight. I've used this so many times and yet you are still so inviting." Master coos as he gives a particularly deep stroke that makes her gasp.

She stutters out, "Tha-thank you, Master."

She has thought that with his comment, he would fuck her ass right now but he just removes his fingers with a large plug, one that is almost as big as his cock. It feels so frustrate and filling at the same time when the thing stretches out her rectal channel.

"You seem to be very impatient," Master says nonchalantly, flipping her onto her back. His knuckles stroking her lower lips. "How about how I give you something nice?"

His fingers plunge deep into her cunt while his thumb swirl around her clit. Evelyn gasps, her whole body shivers with pleasure but she keeps her legs open as her master teases her cunt. Her lips murmur words of thanks and appreciations at his kindness. She could feel the coil in her lower stomach getting tighten each moment and…

He suddenly stops.

"Why do I have such an ungrateful slave?" He sighs and the smoke curtain around her eyes disappearing. Evelyn sees her master looking down at her, disappointment apparent on his face.

"Master, h-have I done something wrong?"

He leans forward and grabs her hair, forcing her to look into his eyes while a finger slips into her vaginal opening. "I have been so generous with you. I gave you so much pleasure instead of just taking it for myself. And you were just going to reach your climax like that? It seems that this is just a chore for you."

"No, Master! I would never—" Evelyn attempts to sit up but the Master just pushes her backward. She swallows. "I cherish this, Master. I love having your attention on me above all else. I was just-I almost finished so quickly because it was too good, Master! You were so good to this lowly slave that I couldn't help myself!"

"I see. If you love it so much then show me how you enjoy it slowly." He grins wickedly. Evelyn gulps, starting to feel a little afraid. Her master continues, "You are forbidden to orgasm from this point onward."

He doesn't mention what would happen if she disrobers but Evelyn doesn't want to find out. She just nods mutely. Master smirks, giving her a pat on the head before capture her lips into another dominating kiss. She moans into it, preparing herself for what comes next.

She doesn't prepare for a light joint of electricity to spark against her clit.

Evelyn yelps, not quite out of pain but more from being startled, but the Master immediately soothe her with some gentle circles of his thumbs. His fingers sneak into her cunt once more.

An electric current, small but so precise, through her from both inside and outside. It feels almost like a small orgasm that she manages to suppress but clenching down.

Trying to catch her breath, Evelyn's gaze focuses back to her master and realizes that he is observing her with a calculating look in his eyes. Immediately, she steels herself as another attack surges through her, but this time, his fingers accompany it.

She grinds her teeth together, forcing her mind and body to stay strong against his relentless assault. The ecstasy invades her mind, erasing each piece of her sanity each moment passes. Master's fingers just keep digging and stroking her cunt, taking away all of her ability to think like a human.

So good. So good. She wants to get lost in this maddening frenzy of pleasure but his order keeps echoing in her mind, forcing her to stay on the edge instead of just falling into mindless lust. When the assault finally stops, Evelyn has been reduced to a delirious mess.

Her whole body is covered in sweat, her bounded limps shaking against the ropes, her cunt aches and weep shamelessly.

The Master regards her with an amused look as he glides one knuckle against her swollen lower lips. "Hm, you endured it quite well, I must say."

Evelyn didn't come, but now she has to wonder if it was the right choice. All she wants right now is a release to this agony.

A finger rubs around her clit and this time, Evelyn cannot take it anymore.

"Ple-please, Master—" A lump stuck in her throat. She tries to bark it out in each harsh breath. "Please fu—"

"Please what, pet?" The first knuckle slips into her, pressing down.

"Please, please fuck me, Master!" Evelyn starts to wail. "Please, I can't take it anymore."

"Why do you want me to fuck you?"

Gasping for another breath, she chokes out. "I want to cum, Master. Please, I need your cock! I w-will go mad without it."

The smile he gives her this time is that of a wolf, all teeth and dangerous with a glint of victory in his eyes.

"Ah, that is certainly very tempting to me." The Master purrs. He plucks away a clamp from her nipple. The act is so sudden that it brings a hiss to her lips which soon turns into a moan as he soothes her sore nub with his mouth and tongue.

When he finally straightens up again to look at her, Master orders. "Beg for it. Tell me clearly what you want."

Steady herself, Evelyn pulls her bounded legs as far as possible to show him her openings. "Please fuck me with your cock, Master. Please fuck me until my holes loose and pump them full of your seed!"

She is practically screaming at the last part but it seems to please the Master. He smiles and takes his hardened cock into his hand. "You begged so beautifully, my precious pet."

She gasps when he rubs his length against the lips of her opening and when he finally pushes in, she lets out a cry of relief.

He fucks her into the bed. Rough and mercilessly. His hands press her knees down to keep her legs open while he thrust deep into her, stuffing her full with his cock and the plug.

Evelyn cries and wails with each time he pushes into her channel. She is so full and wet and hot with each stroke ignites a nerve inside her.

And then the Master plays with her clit. She can't help but cry even louder. His fingers press and rubs and pinch at her button until he suddenly stops just when she thinks her orgasm is coming.

Suddenly, he yanks away the remaining clamp on her breast, giving her a sudden pain that is soon replaced with his greedy mouth.

He keeps thrusting as he gropes and feasts on her breast. His remaining hand isn't idle either because it reaches for her clit to resume his previous work.

With the attacks from three front, Evelyn soon finds herself clench down on the cock inside her, Electricity flares through her whole bounded body, forcing her to come and come. Her fluid spurts out uncontrollably and in the middle of it, she feels Master reaching his own climax.

He lets out a grunt as his thrusts turn erratic before his hot cum suddenly fill her. Evelyn moans, trying to tighten her cunt to squeeze out as much from his as possible.

The Master pulls out while his cock is still spurting and lets the translucent fluid spills out from her gaping hole. His fingers quickly catch the escaping drops to push them back into her. Two of his long and thin appendages swirl around in the opening of her channel, mixing up the fluid in there even more before scooping them out.

Evelyn obediently opens her mouth to receive the combined fluid from the Master's hand. She makes sure to clean his fingers thoroughly with her tongue. Not satisfied with just that, her owner climbs onto her and sits lightly on her chest, his half-softened length is still covered in their come.

Without a single word, Master thrust his length into Evelyn's mouth. She slightly chokes at the sudden action but immediately gets into the job of cleaning him. She makes sure to suck him deeply as she gazes directly into his eyes, her tongue caressing all side to gather the remaining liquid while moaning out her appreciation and gratefulness.

The Master, meanwhile, rewards his slave with murmurs of praises as his hand stroking her hair. Once his shaft is finally clean—and hard—again, he pulls it out to rub the whole thing against her face.

"Such a filthy whore." He sighs as she sucks on his sac before licking the base. "Look at you. You are born to serve my cock."

"Yes, Master, I am a whore, your whore. Please keep using me any way you want!" Evelyn agrees readily before returning her mouth to where it belongs.

The Master gets off and flips her over. He pulls her over the edge of the bed, leaving her ass to hand in the air. This position forces her to finally remember about the thing that is still logged in her asshole.

"Ohh…" Evelyn sucks in a breath when her owner pulls at the plug, as if preparing to take it out, but he just pushes it in deeper instead. It feels good, Evelyn thinks, and stills herself for him.

He does it for a while, using the toy to tease her ass until when she thinks that he is just going to shove it again…

"Ahh!" She yelps when her master yanks the toy out in one go. The suddenly removal leaves her ass gapes open for him to see, all empty and humiliated.

"This looks loose." A finger slips in. "Should I fuck you in there? This does not look very tempting to me."

Panic sets in, Evelyn wiggles her butt like a dog as she begs. "Please fuck me. Master. I can clench it tighter for you. Please fuck my ass. Please cum in my dirty hole!"

"Such a good bitch. You beg very well."

At his comment, Master grabs her hips and lines up the tip of his length against her puckered opening while oil is generously poured onto them.

The first push is just for testing. Her loose hole feels incredible when the crown slips pass the splinter before he pulls out.

The second push goes in a little deeper, and so is the third. Master gradually impales her ass until she is finally completely filled up to the hilt.

Evelyn waits for him to start fucking her for real but the Master doesn't move. He just stands there with his member lodged in her ass and hums, his hands gently knead and caress her backside.

She starts to feel agitated but doesn't dare to move or say anything, fearing that she would fail his test and—

A palm suddenly strikes her ass. Evelyn yelps, feeling the hot and stinging pain blooms across her skin.

"If you want it then work for it, whore."

His words are simple but Evelyn understands them right away. She lifts her hips, moaning along the way, and pushes back.

It's hard in this position where all her limbs had been tied together, but she has enough strength to push back without his cock slipping out.

Evelyn fucks herself eagerly. Her ass trying to push and rubs against the Master's crotch. The ecstasy builds up with each movement as she struggles to keep up the tempo—her body is still weak from her previous climax and it's not easy to control your body when you are tied up.

Mercifully, the Master seems to have finally had enough with just standing still. He grabs her hips roughly and gives her a thrust that shoves her whole body forward.

Once again, they lost in lust, rutting like animals in heat as the Master thrust relentlessly into her. Her splinter opening is being pulled and pushed with each attack. Grunts, moans, slapping sounds and sweats blend together obscenely.

A whip of magic in the air and all of a sudden, Evelyn's arms are freed from her legs only to be yanked backward by her master.

Using them as handles, he pulls her upper body into a suspended position as he fucks her ruthlessly.

"F-fuck my ass, Ma-Master—" she pants out each word, wanting to show him how much she loves this. "Fuck my ass, please!"

"Silent!" A hand releases her arm to slap her bottom. "How dare you order your Master?"

Evelyn shrieks. She manages to land on her freed arm to avoid falling onto her face. "Please forgive this slave, Master." She stammers out, only to be strike with several more slaps on the same place.

"Spread yourself for me." The Master simply gives his order and at once, Evelyn knows to pull her arm away from his grip to spread apart her cheeks for his assault.

His attacks increase their strength and tempo even more, and Evelyn can do nothing but to just lay there, keeping her hole open for him to ravage.

Her empty cunt drools furiously, wanting something to fill it but couldn't. Her ass is on fire from being too full and stretched. The coil in her stomach is wounded so tightly in her lower stomach that she thinks she would explode any moment now.

But an arm wraps around the front of her shoulders to pull up. With his chest presses against her back, his arms are now wrapping around her body to bounded her so tightly to him. She reaches back to pull herself toward him each time he thrusts forward in a frenzy.

Instinctively, they both open the gates at the same time. And come.

Evelyn's whole body shudder against her Master's. Her mind is blank as the orgasm overtakes her entire thought. His ecstasy mixes into hers. A whorish howl fills the air follows by her struggle to gasp for mouthfuls of air. Her anal captivity is being filled so full she knows it will leak.

In her hazy mind, Evelyn feels him thrust a bit more into her ass to expel out the last of his seed. Soft lips press to her neck as hot breaths fan against her skin.

He places her down gently onto the bed before pulling out from her. A small gasp escapes her lips from the emptiness and the fluid that trickle out, but a careful hand placing on her rear soon takes her away from them.

A coldness made by magic seeps into Evelyn's flesh, sooth away the stings. Breaths gradually slow down as her heart drumming in her chest, she moves her head to glance back and see him there, looking at her with love and reverence.

Ah… I've missed you.

Evelyn smiles. She has had her fun with her Master; but now, she wants her husband.

She then tries to flip her tired body around but Solas is quick to assist before she could actually put any real effort into it. So she decides to use her strength to pull him down for a kiss instead.

Her bondmate chuckles. "Did I go too far?"

"Did you hear me say our safe word or snap my fingers?" She wraps her arms tighter around his neck. "It was absolutely amazing. I definitely want to do that again!"

"Now?" He smirks.

"Not now. But can you guess what I want right now?" She makes a suggestive face. "Here is a hint. It's something you also want too."

Solas answers without delay, "A hot bath, a good massage, and a good sleep?"

"Correct!" Her grin turns into laughter as he scoops her up and carries her away. It lasts all the way to the bathroom door.

xxXxx

As it turns out, having a great pampering session after being tied up in a heavy sex roleplay is not enough to stop her body from feeling sore the next day.

Still worth it, though. Very worth it. Especially when Solas promises that he will let her have her way with him the next time they play again.