Chapter 1: Prologue
Snarls, growls, as well as some saliva, flew through the air in a seemingly endless cycle as the canine rampaged against the trap that it had sprung. The creature was relentless as it attacked the chain holding the trap in place, only stopping to pant before throwing itself back into the never ending cycle of attacking this immovable steel thing that held steadfast. The canine, now revealed in the light of the moon (or rather moons as there were two in the sky) to be a rather large she-wolf with fur as black as a starless night with eyes as blue as the daytime sky, wasn’t sure how much time had passed since it had stupidly allowed itself to be caught but she was pretty sure she would die caught there without even the whisper of a chance for help. Finally after stopping for what felt the hundredth time, the she-wolf gave up for the night and lay down to try and conserve what little energy she could for whoever had laid this forsaken trap. Closing her eyes, she prayed that the person would arrive soon and despite dropping in and out of sleep, she was jolted awake by the sound of the snow beneath her crunching as someone or something approached. Feeling her hackles raise, she bared her pearly fangs and began snarling all while watching a man clad in what looked to be like a mixture of armor, leather and cloth with a strange fur mantle upon his shoulders, stepping out into her view. Her snarls did not cease and she watched as his golden eyes landed on her, she registered the momentary shock on his face as he saw her lying there, but her snarls grew louder as he took a step as if to shoo her off and that’s when he saw it. The trap around her back leg. “Maker’s breath!” She heard him swear as he studied her for a moment as it finally registered why she wasn’t moving away from him. He stepped closer and she lunged for him, causing him to retreat a bit to avoid her jaws which were now parted to allow louder snarls to escape as her ears folded back. Her fur was standing on edge, yet the man seemed persistent on getting closer to her, “Easy,” he started as she followed him with her eyes while he went down to his knees in the attempt to appear less threatening, “I just want to help,” He told her quietly as she watched him while closing her jaws and covering her fangs at his words. It was at that moment that he actually bothered to look into her eyes and saw the human intelligence in them. This wolf wasn’t just another “mindless” beast, and now that he was able to study her he could sense that there was something different about this wolf. “You’re not a wolf at all. You’re a human...” he sounded breathless as she flung a thought to the wind that he would never hear.
Congratulations, you’re a fucking genius, she thought to herself as she huffed her agreement. She took a moment to look him over and somewhere in the back of her mind she recognized him but couldn’t say where from exactly. She watched him take a tentative step forward, his eyes flicking to her face before he continued to draw closer, stopping only when her ears folded back against her head.
“Hey! Easy now, I want to help you. Let me free you from this poacher’s trap and then I can lead you to Haven where we can see if someone might know a way to turn you back, after you’re healed of course,” he told her carefully as she flicked her ears foreward with her eyes giving away some form of recognition at the name he just spoke.
Haven? Why does that place sound...familiar? She questioned as he was finally able to get close enough to free her leg from the trap, which in turn allowed her to leap up and move away from both him and the wretched steel thing that he allowed to close back up with a loud snap. She went to put her left back foot down only to yelp as the pain tore through it swiftly and forced her to lift it again as his head snapped in her direction with gaze filling with worry.
“Don’t try to put weight on it just yet,” He told her as she growled at him. Giving a sharp whistle, which caused her to whimper and him to apologize for it, another person appeared with a pack that he was swift to take and began searching for what the she-wolf could assume would be bandages and something else that smelled herby. Drawing close to her as she lay down, he swiftly cleaned the wounds, earning her jaws upon his arm (which in turn made him thankful that he wore the metal bracers that he did), and soon placed some salve onto the angry wounds before covering them up with bandages. “Lets get you back to Haven,” he said as the person he had taken the pack from, snatched the pack and the trap up, and the man stayed right with the she-wolf to led her in the direction of this “Haven” he kept speaking of.
Chapter 2: One
“I am sorry Commander Cullen, but there is no way to break this type of curse that I know of,” the She-wolf listened in on the conversation the man, now revealed to go by the name of Cullen, and another person were having as she dozed in an out of sleep. She was pretty sure she was missing some of the conversation, but due to one of the “potions” that had been forced down her throat, she really couldn’t be bothered to care.
“There must be some way to break it,” Cullen frowned as a woman came walking up.
“What’s going on?” She asked as the she-wolf opened an eye to see a strange dark-haired, pointy-eared woman with strange tattoos on her face had come walking up. The she-wolf was pretty sure Cullen had said something about her as one moment she was dozing and the next she heard the woman stop next to her. Opening her eyes, the she-wolf raised her head and studied the strange woman before her.
“Herald! I do not believe it would be wise-!”
“Hush Solas,” the woman smiled gently towards the she-wolf, “She won’t hurt me, I can feel it.” Reaching out she let the she-wolf sniff her before touching the wolf’s massive head causing her ears to fold back and tail to wag slightly. “See? Now if you can, will you tell me what your name is? We can’t call you she-wolf forever.” The woman smiled as the she-wolf looked into the woman’s eyes to allow her name to show that way.
“Arsinia? A strange yet wonderfully unique name, I like it!” The odd woman smiled as she then introduced herself. “I am Mavra, but most people call me Herald or Lavellan or “that weird girl with the strange tattoos”, but you may call me Mavra!” Mavra introduced herself as Arsinia lay her head back down while her gaze scanned along her body and landed on her bandaged leg. “What happened?!”
“I found her caught in a poacher’s trap,” Cullen spoke up quickly, “Once she was freed of it I cleaned and bandaged the wounds as best I could but still brought her here to be healed and tended to properly.”
“I hate poachers,” Mavra frowned as she pet Arsinia a few more times before pulling away. “Commander, I want her to be moved to my cabin as soon as possible.”
“Herald is that a wise-!”
“Do not argue with me about this! If need be she can stay with you when I’m not here,” Cullen made to argue but decided against it. In the hindsight, he knew that Arsinia would be kept safe and if the way Arsinia’s jaws had snapped around his arm earlier had said anything, it was that she was far from defenseless though, from the way she was struggling against the sleeping draught that had been forced down her throat only moments ago, he would have guessed differently.
“Very well, I will move her once Solas gives his okay.”
“Moving her now would be wisest, she is unable to react to attack anyone and thus will be easier to move.” The man, Solas, that had been addressed about twice now, informed them as Cullen moved close to lift a now dead to the world Arsinia into his arms, and following Mavra, he carried her straight to Mavra’s cabin, where he gently laid the woman turned wolf down near the hearth. He swiftly left after that, but not before noticing the way the Herald knelt down next to Arsinia and gently ran her hands through the wolf's fur.
Arsinia walked silently beside Mavra who was also walking silently as they traveled through the nearby forest. It hadn't take Arsinia's leg long to heal, maybe two weeks at the most, and now as she held a dead rabbit in her jaws she knew no one would ever be able to tell that she had been injured only weeks ago. "You're awfully quiet, Arsi."
Should I not be? Arsinia and Mavra had discovered that Mavra could somehow understand Arsinia despite her situation and thus both chose to stick close together, though the one thing that had them confused was the fact that Mavra was a Dalish Hunter (as she had kindly informed Arsinia) and not a mage which made them wonder HOW Mavra was able to hear Arsinia's "voice".
"No. The silence suits you, well at least for now it does," Mavra told her as they continued to walk. "We've caught several rabbits, but I have yet to see any other animals."
You may not see them, but I can smell their scents. There are five rams nearby. Arsinia's nose twitched as she picked up the scents of said rams. One old one and four youngers.
"Hmn, you know the ways of wolves better than I, which ones would you go for?"
Wolves take the sick, weak, the dying, and those who cannot keep up with the herds while leaving the young, healthy and strong to survive which in turn allows the herds to grow strong. Arsinia allowed Mavra to take the rabbit she held and put her nose to the ground, Two are injured and the old one is sick. It would be wisest to put the elder one out of his misery.
"Very well, lead the way," With that Arsinia and Mavra continued their hunt. Eventually, they returned to Haven with a haul that would most likely last for weeks if the meat was preserved right, and now as Arsinia lay near a fire with a rabbit that she was skinning with her teeth, she flicked an ear back as she heard the crunch of Cullen's boots on the hard packed snow. She heard him greet her but she only huffed and returned to the rabbit which he finally noticed that she had. He noted the way she had removed the fur of it and felt a slight shiver run along his spine as he felt inwardly sorry for anyone who dared to cross her. Cullen turned and addressed Mavra who nodded to whatever question he asked before looking towards Arsinia, "But I’m bringing Arsi with me this time," Cullen turned to see Arsinia stop with jaws closed around the throat of the rabbit, ears forward, eyes wide and brows raised in surprise as if the words had caught her by surprise. Cullen didn't need to hear her "voice" to know that Arsinia was confused about what Mavra had just said, it was as plain as day upon her face.
"You heard me. You're coming with the Commander and I to this war meeting.” Mavra told her as Arsinia grumbled low. “Please?” Cullen watched as Arsinia released the mutilated rabbit and heard her huff in response before she snatched up the rabbit and standing for a brief moment she turned her back to them and returned to her meal. “Oh you bitch,” Cullen heard what he could properly assume to be a laugh (though it came out as more of a bark) and looked back to Mavra who was frowning as she thought something over. The Dalish woman threatened Arsinia with something or other and earned a growl in response. “Thought so. We’ll be there soon Commander!” Mavra told him as she stood an vanished from sight. While Arsinia stood and, with mostly eaten rabbit in her jaws she vanished to dispose of the dead creature, all while grumbling.
Arsinia lay at Cullen’s feet with head resting on her paws as Mavra and her advisors went round and round on whatever subject they were. Now that the two remaining advisors (both were women, one of whom was named Josephine and served as the Inquisition’s diplomat, while the other was named Leliana and served as the Spymaster for the Inquisition) and another woman (this one was named Cassandra and honestly looked like she could punch a bear into submission if she wanted) had met her, the five had started their go rounds. Arsinia had originally been laying near Mavra’s feet but after feeling Josephine’s eyes fall on her a few times, Arsinia had stood and walked over to the woman as Mavra explained why. Josephine, for her part, had complied with the sudden whim that came over her and had delighted in discovering that Arsinia’s fur was just as soft as it looked if not softer. Not believing her, it had taken Cassandra and Leliana both removing a glove to feel for themselves the softness that was Arsinia’s fur. Cullen had declined petting her as he was still a bit unsure about Arsinia in general, but didn’t complain when the she-wolf had come over to him to lay at his feet and sleep (in fact he was trying very, very hard to not smirk at the fact that she was). Mavra was frowing over the maps on the table when Arsinia lifted her head and began to growl low, “Arsi?” She questioned before looking to the doors behind her as they opened. “Oh. It’s you. I was beginning to wonder when you’d show up again,” Mavra frowned as the person who entered, a man she had described to Arsinia as being a “pompous ass” by the name of Rodrick, turned to snap at her. He began bark at the advisors and at Cassandra, all while missing the fact that Arsinia was slightly crouching and ever so slowly making her way towards him, to lock Mavra up and that they needed to do this or that. However, even though Roderick wasn’t seeing her move, Cullen had felt her brush against him when she had risen into her crouch and was tracking her progress as she took each step carefully; he watched her ears fold back as her tail became stiff, he watched as she tighten up her muscles as she prepared to launch herself between Roderick and Mavra.
“Chancellor Roderick,” Cullen was trying to stop the man before he did something stupid but then remembered the saying that he had often had to repeat to himself (“stupid is as stupid does”) and watched as things unfolded rather swiftly. He heard Roderick yelp out as Arsinia leapt forward with a snarl and saw the man about piss himself as he realized that Arsinia was in the room. Mavra was stunned into silence as she stared at Arsinia, but it was Cullen who spoke. “Arsinia,” he told her softly as her ears flicked back towards him. “He’s toothless and isn’t worth your time or the effort you’re putting forth into frightening him.”
Covering her fangs with one last snarl, Arsinia stood to her full height before turning with an irritated huff and went to lay back down near Cullen. “That thing needs to be locked up!” Arsinia felt a growl rising but Cullen calmed her with a hand between her shoulders.
“This thing, as you put her so lightly, is not a thing! Arsinia is a woman who has been cursed into the body of a wolf, and you will treat her with respect!” Cassandra snapped causing Arsinia to look at her with surprise.
She knows? Arsinia asked as Cassandra looked towards her after the Chancellor had been “escorted” out of the room.
“I knew from the moment you entered the room. I can feel the magic that binds you to that form but it is no magic that I will risk nullifing. We will find a way to break the hold it has on you Lady Arsinia, this I promise.” She promised Arsinia who was just as shocked as the others. Arsinia nodded before Mavra and the advisors returned to whatever they had been doing before Roderick had brazenly interrupted them, but as Arsi laid her head between her paws she felt Cullen shift his leg enough to touch her and that little motion sent her heart into a small flip.
Chapter 3: Two
Arsinia stood and stretched her limbs and body out before sitting back down on her haunches for a few moments to gather her bearings on just where she was. Flicking an ear to her right, she turned to see that she had, in fact, passed out near Cullen’s desk and was in the tent the man claimed as his own. From what little light her eyes could pick up she could see that the man was still sleeping and so stood, shook herself, and walked out of the tent to head to the lake where she gladly lapped up some of the freezing water to sate her thirst, while she allowed herself to think. Since her “incident”, Cullen and Mavra had taken turns in keeping a watch on Arsinia, but now that she was fully healed, a small part of Arsi wondered if that would soon stop. Lifting her head from the water’s surface Arsinia turned and walked back towards Cullen’s tent, only to stop at its entrance as a noise captured her attention. Turning her head in the direction of the noise, she soon saw the culprit and relaxed as she recognized Cullen’s second (or to her mind right now, his Beta) who held up his hands. “Easy,” he mouthed knowing that Cullen was asleep, “just passing by,” his lips were moving but no sound came out. Not that it was needed as Arsinia could read lips rather well; huffing her understanding to him, she re-entered Cullen’s tent while he continued his patrol and went back to lay near the man’s desk. Curling around herself, Arsinia buried her noise into the fur of her tail and was on the verge of sleep when her ears pricked forward and her eyes zeroed in one Cullen. She heard his breathing change and was swiftly to his side to grip his wrist in her teeth gently before putting just enough pressure on it to awaken him. As he startled awake, she released his wrist and sat down.
Looking around Cullen noticed that Arsinia was watching him closely. Did she wake me? He asked himself as she waited for him to gather his bearings. Looking around he remembered where he was and looked to her as she flicked an ear, “I’m going to guess your heightened senses gave away the fact that I having the start of a nightmare.” He heard her huff in affirmation, “I’m sor-!” When he went to apologize she folded both ears back and growled which in turn caused him to sigh. “You won’t accept an apology will you?” She snorted. “Your stubborn,” he watched as amusement flickered in her eyes. He watched her study him for a moment longer, checking him over to make sure he was alright, before she stood and went to lay back down over by his desk. “Arsinia?” He watched as she stopped and looked back towards him, “I...would you mind...laying with me?” He asked as she cocked her head to the side in wonder. “You don’t have too...” he started as he made a bit of room on the already massive bed he had. “I just...it might be more comfortable then the ground and... You’ll be closer if I start to enter another nightmare...” he was trying hard not to blush but soon she was up next to him and rested her massive head on his chest for a bit. She looked at him with one eye before closing them both as he neevously reached out and began to run his hand through her fur. He did this for a while before scratching behind one of her ears and earning himself a growl that surprised him. He continued to rub her ear for a bit but soon returned to petting her while slowly falling back into sleep, but by then Arsinia was comfy and passed out as well though she did removed her head from his chest and onto his arm. Her tail was curled around to her side and she lay there, cuddled up next to him as they slipped into the world of dreams.
The next day, Arsinia was trotting through the town when she was “ambushed” by Leliana. Growling as the woman called for two soldiers to pin her down Arsinia snapped at thin air and snarled. “Arsinia, stay still I need to put this on you,” Leliana told her as Arsinia felt something tighten around her neck. “There!” The soldiers swiftly removed themselves from her and she snapped at both before turning on Leliana who watched as Arsi realized that she was now wearing a fucking collar. Snarling as she tried to remove it, she heard Leliana speaking, “Arsinia, you need to leave it on!”
“What is all this noise?” Arsinia heard Cullen come walking up before he noted that she was trying to free herself of the collar. “Why is she wearing a collar?” He demanded as he turned to Leliana who began to explain but he frowned and swiftly removed the collar while shaking his head. “She doesn’t need a collar. Besides she acts more like a loyal war hound then a wild animal.” He told the woman as Arsinia watched him, “she’s been cursed, Leliana, and is not supposed to “act” like a dog,” Cullen pocketed the collar. “However should we need it for whatever reason, I will keep with me,” he looked towards Arsinia then, “I doubt it will ever be needed, but should something come up, I’d hope you’d be willing to wear it for a few hours?” He watched as Arsinia thought that over and gave a slight nod. She could agree to that, but he figured she would only wear it if he or Mavra asked her too. But as Fate would have it, the need for her to wear it came too soon for Arsinia’s comfort as Mavra would return to Haven with the intentions of taking Arsinia with her to the place soon known to Arsi as being named Redcliffe.
What! Arsinia’s ears shot forward as this meeting in the war room took her and the others by surprise.
“What?!” Cullen, Mavra, Cassandra, and Leliana all questioned as Josephine frowned while looking at the letter she held on her board.
“I am just as shocked as all of you are, butt he states he wishes to meet “The cursed wolf” and is asking for her as well as the Herald.” Josephine replied calmly as Arsinia sat up and growled low with hackles raising.
Fuck him sideways with a paddle! She continued to growl while thinking some rather colorful phrases as Cullen spoke up.
“Now it’s definitely a trap,” He scowled heavily, “How could he know about Arsinia? No one outside of this room, the Herald’s companions and my second know about Arsinia’s situation!” For hours this went round and round before Mavra put a stop to it.
“We’ll do as he asks, though he may come to find that Arsinia won’t be as willing as he thinks,” Looking to Arsinia for a moment, she then turned to Cassandra. “Cass, I want you, Bull and Solas to join Arsinia and I. We won’t leave for a few days, just enough time to give the horses sometime to rest up.” Turning to her Advisors, Mavra accepted reports before giving out new orders which they agreed too, then she looked towards Arsinia who was laying a distance behind Cullen. “Your going to hate me Arsi.” A huff was all she recieved as the advisors and Cassandra looked to her. “No your going to hate me, trust me.” When she said her reason why, Arsinia flicked an ear in irritation and barely contained a snarl, though she did growl low. Then, standing, Arsinia stretched for a second, then headed towards the doors and slipped out. “Something tells me she’s a bit upset with me right now.”
“I’d say more then a bit,” Cassandra spoke up with a frown.
And Cassandra was right, Arsinia wasn’t “upset”, she was absolutely livid though she was doing a rather excellent job of hiding it as she now lay down near the lake and watched the sunlight sparkle on the icey water. She would lay there, slipping in and out of sleep for hours, for who could say how long before she heard someone approaching her cautiously. “Arsinia?” It was Cullen. She heard him kneel down by her but was still watching the water despite it now being dark out. “Come on, let’s head to my tent that way we both can get some sleep.” Even though about a week had passed, Cullen had found it much easier to sleep when her weight was next to him on his bed, as if she was his “guardian” in some form. Huffing out a sigh she stood at the same time he did and stayed at his side until they entered his tent. Where she laid down near his desk to curl up with eyes closed while he undressed, it was only once he was laying down and the blanket (or rather the comforter as Arsinia knew it to be more like) was drawn over him that she went over and hopped onto the bed and lay beside him. Once more he pet her, scratched behind her ear, and continued to pet her as he calmed down from this day’s excitement and fell into a deep slumber with her close behind.
Chapter 4: Three
Arsi wasn’t sure what was worse: having gone to Redcliffe to face the “Magister” and returning to Haven with a band of rebel mages or the fact that just a day after her return she began to feel unwell. At first, she had been able to dismiss as merely something she ate not agreeing with her, but now as she went to stand she felt herself wobble and tip over, as the world spun before her eyes. “Arsinia?” She heard someone ask as she fell over but as she tried to stand again it was as if her legs had turned to jelly and she fell face first onto the ground. “Arsinia!” She heard the person a bit more clearly this time and heard the person shouting for someone to get Mavra and a healer who knew anything about animals. While the person stayed with Arsi, she kept trying hard to stand and failed each time as her legs refused to keep her held up longer than a few seconds. Shaking her head, Arsinia wasn’t sure what was urging her to stand but eventually, she gave up on it and lay on the ground as pain now clawed its way through her. She heard Mavra’s voice but the only word she caught was “poison” before another round of burning pain ripped its way through her.
As she lay fighting with whatever was wrong with her, she felt someone pin her down as something was suddenly forced down her throat. At first, she thought nothing of it, then she began feeling her stomach rolling before she struggled to feet as her ears folded back while she gagged, of course, it wouldn’t be long before the contents of her stomach were heaved out onto the ground not just once but five or six times. Feeling a wave of dizziness wash over her she stumbled to the side but felt someone catch her before she hit the ground. She felt the person lift her head and hold her tightly against them as something else was forced down her throat to settle her stomach before anything else was given to her. Feeling like a limp noodle, Arsinia whimpered as whoever held her whispered softly but whatever the words were spoken, she did not hear them as her world went black. A week would pass while Cullen watched over Arsinia who lay unmoving since the poison had been forced from her body. And each day he checked to make sure she was still breathing, however ragged it was. A couple of times, he pulled all-nighters just to keep a close eye on her, but on this night as he sat studying her, a whimper escaped her and he was immediately to her side as her eyes opened, “Easy,” he whispered as she closed her eyes again, he could see that she was in some form of pain and frowned, “You were poisoned.”
A low whine this time.
“We have the best people on the trail of whoever is responsible,” Cullen whispered knowing she could understand him. She whimpered once more before closing her eyes and returning to sleep. He hated seeing how much pain she was in, seeing how weak she was, but as he reached out and placed his hand on her to pet along her cheek, along her throat, and onto her shoulder, he couldn't help but wish that there was a way to speed up her recovery. Running his hand along her fur, he listened as she gave a noise that was somewhere between a whine and a whimper, and felt his heart breaking. "Arsi," He said gently as she managed to open her eyes and look at him, "I'm going to lift you up and carry you to my bed," He told her as she sighed. As gently as he could he lifted her up from the ground and placed her on the bed, where he then proceeded to lay next to her. He pulled her closer to him, still being very gentle, and held her through the night. Suddenly as he lay there, the memory of a lullaby his mother had sung to him as a child when he would get sick came back and he found himself humming it gently. Arsinia moved her head closer to him and he continued to pet her. By the time he was finished with the song, Arsinia was long since passed out and he dropped out of the world shortly after. But this night, as he found himself in another nightmare something that he would never expect in a million years to happen happened.
Cullen was kneeling and praying for this too end, for the creature taunting him to leave him alone. He felt as if he was nineteen again and stuck in that strange magical cage in that forsaken tower once more. "Why fight it? Why fight me? This can all end if you just let me in," The creature teased him as he continued to pray.
"I won't let you!" Cullen snarled not realizing that his state of distress had called out to the one he was caring for when awake. "I won't let you in demon! Leave me alone!" he tried again as the creature reached out to touch him. Before it could though, he heard what sounded to be like a wolf's "roar" and the demon screeching as it was harmed and lifting his head in surprise he saw a young woman, with shoulder-length "dirty" blonde hair that curled at the ends, standing before him with back turned to him.
"YOU DARE!" The demon screeched at the woman who stood protecting him.
"I dare what? To protect this man from the likes of you? Yes."
The demon was snarling at the woman before she sneered, "So your the midnight wolf that he's so adamant about taking care of."
"What's it to you demon?" The woman asked as Cullen watched this exchange between these two.
"Your the one keeping him from me," The demon snarled back yet the woman was calm. "I will take him back and he will be mine."
"He was never yours, he is his own person and I will not allow you to continue your torment of him any longer." The woman told the demon who snarled at her before it cast a spell that missed and hit the wall behind Cullen. Looking from the wall back to the two that were now physically fighting and saw not the young woman but the ebony she-wolf who he was caring for.
"Arsinia?" He whispered the question as he watched her fight off the demon who clawed at her. He felt frozen in place as he watched them battle over him. He watched as Arsinia's jaws parted with the blood of the demon being flung from them and watched as she leapt towards the creature and ripped into the demon's shoulder causing it to screech. The demon gave back what it received and left a rather nasty gash on Arsinia but after the woman lept away she looked the demon and growled.
"He will be mine, wolf."
"He belongs to no one, demon and until you get the message I will keep fighting." Cullen was unsure of what to do but he knew he couldn't watch this continue. Looking around on the ground close to him, he saw a longsword glinting close by, snatched it up and lunged for the demon at the same time Arsinia prepared to. "Cullen?" She asked as he brought the weapon down upon the demon who gave a noise that was between a screech and something else. Standing as he turned to her, he saw her as a human and took in every detail he could before walking closer to her.
"Why?" he questioned as she frowned.
"Why come to my aid.?
"You called to me, Commander," She told him as he looked around to see that the scenery had changed to Haven. He looked himself over, to see he was in his current choice of outfit, before looking back at her and seeing her as a wolf once more. She turned and prepared to walk away, but he stopped her.
"Arsinia!" Stopping she looked towards him and tilted her head. "Thank you. Even though it wasn't necessary, thank you." Arsinia huffed before she took off, leaving him looking around before he began to wander around in this dream where he allowed himself to relax.
When Cullen awoke, Arsinia was not laying in the bed next to him and he frowned. As he sat up, he saw her re-enter the tent and walk up to him. "Thank you," he whispered as she huffed and placed her head down on the mattress as he reached out and touched her. "Are you feeling better?" he questioned as she groaned a bit, signaling to him that she was but was also in a bit of pain from the lack of movement. "Let's make sure you don't do too much so you don't overexert yourself today."
Chapter 5: Four
Arsinia felt the breeze run through her fur as she stood on the path overlooking the town below her. She could see the townspeople celebrating and looked towards where the "Breach" had once been before turning back to face the town. Sitting down on her haunches she watched as they celebrated, yet she couldn't shake the feeling of dread that had come over her. She saw that Mavra wasn't celebrating either and worried for her, well she was until something caught her attention and caused her to stand; As she did, she saw a bit more clearly what it was, before she let an alarmed howl rip through the air and began racing down back into the town at the same time the alarm bells began to ring. Since she had been on the path to the place formerly known as the Temple of Sacred Ashes, it would take her a while to reach the others, but she was pushing herself to go as fast as humanly, or physically possible. She plowed through a snowbank that she could have easily jumped over and was now stretching her body and limbs out as she continued to run, by the time she reached the town it was already under attack but she continued on to where the gates where she saw Mavra and Cullen speaking as she came to a stop in the shadows of a building, she heard Cullen call out to Mavra and bolted from the shadows to lunge at whoever or whatever was coming at the elven woman. Snarling as she barreled into the person, she heard Mavra's surprised yelp and Cullen swearing as Arsinia found the weakness that existed in ALL armors and latching onto the back of the person's neck she snapped her jaws closed, breaking the neck and killing him (if it was a man) on the spot. Turning to the sound of Mavra's voice, Arsinia went swiftly to the woman's side. "Either you knew that was coming or you were closer than I originally thought."
I ran here as fast as I could, but worry about that later shall we? Arsinia asked her as Mavra agreed before they both went to fight their way towards a trebuchet with three others in tow. As swiftly as things went what Arsinia wasn’t expecting was having to leap onto Mavra and, shielding the elf with her body, pin her to the ground as the trebuchet they had just been under exploded into pieces that scattered everywhere; shaking herself after letting Mavra up Arsinia heard someone say a sentence she swore she heard from somewhere else though the memory itself was a bit too fuzzy for her to properly recall.
“Shit! Who ordered the end of the damned world?!”
“Everyone to the gates!” Mavra hollered out as Arsinia took off as they raced back to where Cullen was waiting for them. After a quick retreat to the Chantry, Arsinia watched as Mavra entered the building last. Whining her worry, Arsinia looked from Rodrick, who she could smell the scent of death emanating from, back to Mavra who looked to her with her own form of worry, but before she could speak Cullen appeared and called out to Mavra.
“Herald!” He came jogging up being mindful of Arsinia, who stepped aside anyway so there really was no point in him being mindful of the large wolf. Mavra and Cullen went round in circles with an argument, until a strange boy spoke. Arsinia looked to him then to Rodrick then back towards Mavra who was frowning as she thought over what he said.
“Will it work?” She questioned Cullen who frowned.
“Only if he shows us the way,” Cullen responded. The moment he went to question about Mavra’s escape, The elf gave no response and Arsinia growled.
“Arsinia, you will go with the Commander and the others.”
Like hell I will! Arsinia bared her fangs briefly. I am not going to leave you to face whatever that monster is alone! Looking to Cullen, Mavra frowned before reaching into a pouch at her side.
“Then I have to do this. Forgive me, Arsi.” Mavra begged as she suddenly threw something into Arsinia’s face causing her to snarl and shake her head. She attempted to rub at her eyes as whatever had been thrown at her got into them. Shaking her head again, Arsinia snarled and growled as she came to realize that what had been thrown in her face was a powdery substance, and, that said substance, was suddenly making her very, very, tired. Blinking furiously to try and rid herself of the blurry vision she had, Arsinia noted that her legs (front legs first and with her back ones not far behind) gave out on her and she collapsed onto the ground as they blurriness gave way to darkness with her last sight being of Mavra running out of the chantry doors with three people in tow.
Cullen knew Arsinia would be beyond the levels of pissed when she woke and when she finally did awaken he was proven correct as she bolted from the camp with a snarl ripping from between her jaws. But she wasn’t just pissed, no, she was practically beyond that now; she had been flung into a fury so fierce that she was seeing red, a lot of red, and was now plowing through the snow with snarls aplenty escaping her as she ran. She didn’t need to wonder what direction they had come to this little valley from, the scents of the many Inquisition members were still preserved on the surface of the snow, and soon she found herself at the area where they had entered the valley from. Charging blindly into the blizzard on the other side, she heard Cullen calling after her but knew that he would not dare to follow and for that she was slightly glad; giving out the wolf’s version of a roar, Arsinia soon found the one she had been seeking out and bit the woman who lay still, hard enough to startle her awake but not hard enough to make her bleed. Arsinia watched as Mavra jolted back into the physical world to see the wolf-woman standing and glaring at her. If you think for one fucking moment that I’m going to allow you to die out here, then your dead wrong. If ANYONE gets to kill you it will be me, Arsinia’s fangs bared as her jaws parted with her growls becoming snarls. Now get up, bitch, before I make you, She commanded the elf who frowned.
“W-who m-made yo-you the-the b-boss?” Mavra weakly demanded as Arsinia growled.
I'm the one with fur remember? She retorted as Mavra shivered, Now get up and keep moving. Your closer to the others then you think. Arsinia watched as Mavra stood, helping when it was needed and began to lead the woman to the others, where she was soon spotted and carried to the camp where she was swiftly attended to. After Mavra was seen to, Arsinia curled up in a ball at the foot of the cot where the elven woman slept, but Arsinia had more then once awoken to chase off either the companions or the Advisors, even going so far as to attack Cullen when he had drawn too close (which meant that she had lunged at him and had, of course, created a rather nice red line on his arm that had bled a bit), and that move had taken him completely by surprise as it was something he hadn’t ever expected her to do.
Standing where he was now, which was across the way from the healer’s tent where Arsinia and Mavra both slept, he watched Arsinia as she curled up into a ball after chasing away another person from disturbing Mavra’s much-needed rest. He watched as Arsinia lifted her head at hearing someone approach, but soon buried her face back under her tail as she recognized the person as none other the Mother Giselle, who at this time was about the only person who could draw near to Mavra without fear of Arsinia attacking her. “She didn’t mean to hurt you.” Cullen placed a hand on the hilt of his blade as he turned to see the strange boy from a few days ago appear beside him. “She can smell the weakness on the Herald. She knows she’s injured and wants the injuries to heal.” He spoke softly as Cullen watched him. “Didn’t mean to hurt him.” The boy spoke as Cullen continued to eye him warily, “Just need Mavra to heal. I hope he can forgive me.” The boy blinked then, before suddenly vanishing leaving Cullen extremely alarmed and now very much wide awake. He wasn’t sure how to take the odd presence of the boy who could just appear and disappear so suddenly. It was very unnerving for the Commander, but as Cullen looked towards where Arsinia was curled up, he wondered just what the boy had meant when he had spoken (what Cullen now believed to be) Arsinia’s thoughts.
Sighing, Cullen decided to attempt to sleep and as he sat on his cot, he studied the line Arsinia had left him with after attacking him. It was bleeding again but as he went to cover it up he stopped as he heard someone moving outside his tent. Hearing the sound of fur being shaken out, he figured it to be Arsinia as she moved around to exercise her legs. He listened as she grumbled to herself before she moved on but couldn’t help himself when he called out to her softly, “Arsinia?” Hearing her stop he called for her to enter his tent, though she did so with ears folded back against her head which was lowered below her shoulders and tail tucked tight against her belly as she entered in a slight crouch. He studied her stance for a moment, recognizing the signs of an animal who knew it was in trouble and knew that so long as she didn’t bare her fangs she wouldn’t dare attack him again. “Come here,” he spoke as she stepped very carefully over to him, body dropping the whole time until she was close enough to the ground to be almost crawling; Cullen watched as she flinched the moment he reached out to her and wondered why she had done that as the only time an animal or even a person flinched like what she had was when someone had hit them in their past. Part of him reared back in rage at the thought of ANYONE hitting Arsinia, but he also had to remind himself that it could also be a natural response to her fear of repercussions for attacking him earlier. “I’m not mad at you, Arsi,” he whispered, “I didn’t know that you were trying to keep the Herald’s rest from being disturbed.” He touched her head gently, letting her know through his body language as well that he wasn’t angry. He asked her to stay the night with him and, being the sucker for him that she was when he asked such a question, she did.
Once Mavra was finally up and about, the Inquisition began to move to what would soon be their new base of operations, but one lonely night found Mavra sitting with legs close to her chest while Arsinia lay behind her both with heads turned skyward. They were deep into a conversation that would have anyone thinking about their singular topic. You're afraid of death? Arsinia inquired from Mavra who nodded.
"Why shouldn't I be? Nobody really knows what happens after death and the thought scares me... Aren't you afraid of death?"
No, Arsinia's right ear flicked, While it is true that we cannot say what happens after death as each person has a different experience with it, but we must also remember that death a natural part of life. All living things come to an end eventually. Gods, mortals, all of us.
Mavra looked towards Arsinia then, "But gods are immortal! They can't die, can they?"
They can, it's just harder for them to die. The only thing that is ever truly immortal is death. Mavra thought on Arsinia's words for a moment before looking towards her knees.
"Then what are you afraid of?"
Yes. I do not fear death, I know he will come for me when my time comes. But I fear to die alone, with no one there for me. No friends, no family, no one. Life is worth living, but if you have no one there for you when you die what was the point of living?
Mavra frowned then. She could see Arsinia's point, could see why Arsinia lived without the fear of death but then looked to the wolf who continued to watch the twinkling stars overhead. "I wouldn't let you." Arsinia looked to her then, "Even in this short time that we've known each other, I wouldn't let you die alone."
Mav... Arsinia then quietly huffed in both amusement and a bit of happiness. I will hold you to that promise. She told the elven woman who leaned back against her side while she rested her head between her paws.
Chapter 6: Five
Not sure how many of you out there own dogs or cats or both but you know the thing that tends to take over that causes them to zip around? yeah, I call those the "zoomies" and apparently Arsi felt the need to have them lol.
Arsinia lay near Cullen and the small table where he kept the blueprints of the massive fortress pinned down. Of course, the reason she was laying near him was because she had just finished rubbing her "stink" on the grass, much to the Commander's amusement. Sneezing once, Arsinia swiftly returned to rubbing herself in the grass, making sure to roll around a couple of times, before she sprung up and zipped away causing Cullen to laugh at her sudden good mood which was suddenly infectious to the rest of the Inquisition and it spread as people watched her zoom around. Despite being a woman cursed into the body of a wolf, Arsinia just couldn't help but indulge herself in some of the things that all canines enjoyed; yes this was a curse she bore upon her physical form, but she would be damned if she allowed herself to stew in misery for it, no, she would take this curse, make it into something more and would enjoy it to spite whoever had placed it upon her in the first place. "What brought this on?" Mavra, who stood with everyone's favorite dwarf and another person, looked towards said dwarf and smiled.
"Varric, just because Arsinia is cursed into that form doesn't mean anything," Mavra said swiftly as she turned back to watching Arsinia as she continued to zip around. "I'm pretty sure she is allowing herself to indulge into being a wolf and I, for one, am glad to see that she turned what should be something bad into something good."
"She's cursed?" The person standing next to Mavra questioned as the elf turned to the person, or rather man.
"Yes," Mavra nodded, "We don't dare have any of the Templars use their ability on her to try and nullify the curse as we aren't sure what could happen, so we opted instead to find some other way to break it. And if there is no way to break it, well at least we can try and find a way to give her back her human form while keeping the wolf form she is in now."
"Hold on," Varric interrupted as both turned to him, "Your suggesting to make her a new type of werewolf?"
"Not werewolf per say," Mavra frowned. "More like a..." She thought it over, "A non-mage shapeshifter."
"Sounds like a werewolf to me," Varric shook his head as Mavra sighed. Deciding that now wasn't the time to get into an argument, Mavra watched Arsinia as the she-wolf finally calmed down and plopped down on her stomach near Cullen who was smirking as he talked to her and earned a huff in return before she fell asleep as he returned to work.
"Don't look now but I think there might be something more going on between those two," Varric smirked as the other two watched.
"I don't see how," Mavra frowned. "Yes I see that they have come to care for each other on some level I don't understand, but she's still as a beast, how can there be anything more between them?"
"Trust me its there," Varric could almost literally see what was budding between Cullen and Arsinia, though with the situation Arsinia was in he doubted that it would go any further.
The rain was falling outside and part of Arsi was glad that Cullen's office had finally been fixed up to where the man could sit inside with the blueprints so they wouldn't get drenched but then again about a month had passed since their arrival to this fortress which was named Skyhold and they had discovered, that with as quickly as everyone had worked, the repairs were swiftly completed and Josephine, for her part, had instantaneously ensured that the furnishments were delivered and set up just as quickly. Resting her head on the stone floor beside her paws, which were crossed, Arsinia lay in a corner of Cullen's office that she had claimed as hers. She was drifting in and out of sleep when he approached her and crouched down to pet her, earning himself a soft sigh. "Arsinia," he whispered as she opened her eyes to look at him. "Why don't you go lay on the bed?" She groaned in response with eyes closing and he chuckled. She was comfy where she had laid down at and really didn't feel like moving, especially not to the specially made bed that was shoved into the corner of the room where the construction supplies (and debris) had been removed from. Granted it was one of two beds, beings as the other was up in Cullen's room though it was used less as Cullen rather enjoyed having her snuggled up to him as he believed that holding her or just having her now familiar weight next to him help to drive off the nightmares that had once plagued him (that and they were just used to sleeping next to each other), but Arsinia found that sometimes the stone floor was just as comfortable as the beds. Shaking his head, Cullen pet Arsinia a few more times before standing and walking over to his desk where he sat down to begin writing responses to some reports while looking others over.
Eventually, he heard Arsinia get up, looked in her direction and watched as she stretched before finally going over to the bed and collapsing down onto it after circling for a moment and felt himself smile. He wasn't sure why but he rather enjoyed having Arsinia around. Even though the only time they could actually speak was when they were dreaming in the Fade, he still enjoyed having her around; but just as he was about to return to his work, someone walked into the room. "Cozy little office you have here, Commander." Looking at the speaker Cullen saw the strange mage that Mavra an Arsinia had brought to haven with them walking in with a smile.
"What do you want Dorian?" Cullen sighed as Arsinia groaned.
"Just to come to see how our favorite wolf-woman is doing," The mage replied as Cullen motioned over towards where Arsi lay now.
"Fine if you ask me." Cullen then asked his "what do you want" question again and Dorian sighed in exasperation at the way Cullen did things.
"Well, I hope that the news I bring will make her more than fine," At that Arsinia lifted her head, slightly peeved that her rest had been disturbed, but any news that came for her would cause her to lift her head as her ears perked. "We may have found a solution to your situation."
"Really?" Cullen asked as Arsinia whined in excitement.
"Yes, Solas and I have been hard at work searching through the books that were already here and not eaten or too faded to read, and we believe we may have found one that presents a way to either break the curse that has a hold on you, dear girl, or give you the option to switch between human and wolf forms." Arsinia looked to Cullen who turned to her, neither could really believe what they had just heard but right now this news was better than nothing. Arsinia looked to Dorian and whined questioningly and he seemed to understand right away what she was asking. "Solas is looking into it as we speak." With that Dorian turned and left the two as Arsinia sat up and met Cullen's eyes once more and the shared look between them was unmistakable: there was hope that soon she would be either rid of the curse that bound her to this form or able to switch between being human and wolf. Even though one hoped for the former, Arsinia was hoping for the ability to switch between the two as she had come to rather enjoy being a wolf for the perks it provided, and secretly a part of Cullen was hoping for the same thing.
It was a calm day and thus it found Arsinia standing outside on one of the balconies of Mavra's room with head turned skyward as she watched the rolling clouds go by. Normally she never really bothered to look towards the sky during the day, yet today seemed like one of those days where she just couldn't drag her attention away from it; settling herself down on the stone balcony, Arsinia watched the lush, silky cotton-like clouds as they lazily flowed on by. Hearing Mavra as she came walking over to her, she briefly glanced to the woman who soon rested her back on Arsinia's side. "Watching the clouds?"
I felt the sudden urge to just lay here and watch them. Have you ever noticed that they can take on shapes?
Yes, shapes like animals or inanimate objects, or even plants. Arsinia said as she and Mavra began to speak on the shapes they saw in the clouds. Even though it was just tricks of their eyes, it was still an enjoyable pass time.
Eventually, Mavra placed her head on Arsinia's shoulder and began to pet the dark fur of her shoulder. "You know Arsi," Mavra started up as Arsinia opened her eyes and glanced back at the elf, "I feel oddly happy and calm when I'm around you. Like you could be a part of me that has been missing."
Well where I come from, there is such a thing as Soul Twins.
"Care to elaborate?"
Soul Twins are people who souls share a connection deeper than anything physical can go as if they were born from one soul. They are connected through the very universe around them and the bonds they form cannot be broken by anyone, not even death.
"Could it also explain why I am possibly the only one to be able to hear you?"
Possibly. Soul Twins are rare, though not as rare as the Twin Flames.
A bond between two souls that have lived many lives and are always destined to find each other. Those types of twins can vary though. Sometimes they are born as literal twins, sometimes they are born as two separate people who find each other and fall in so deeply in love that it's rare to find them without the other.
"Sort of like how you and Cullen are?"
Arsinia gave the wolf version of a chuckle, Almost. Both the Soul Twins and Twin Flames are like that though. One is always close to the other. Where one can be found, the other is not far behind. So keeping that in mind think a bit harder about that.
Mavra smiled then, "I think I understand. I've noticed that where I go you are not far behind, and its the same way with Cullen and you."
And the way it is with you and our dear Seeker as well. Mavra felt a deep blush then.
"You...you know?" Mavra managed as Arsinia smiled.
Do not be ashamed that you have found your Twin Flame, Mav. You deserve the joy that finding each other has brought you both. Arsinia watched as Mavra continued to blush.
"What about you and Cullen? Can't the same be said of you both?"
I cannot answer that for I am unsure if he is or isn't. Cullen is a good man but I doubt he and I are destined to be together.
"But what if you are?"
We can only wait and see. Even if it takes years, we can only wait and see. Arsinia told her as the wolf closed her eyes while Mavra snuggled close to her and slowly dropped off into slumber. Arsinia opened her eyes briefly as she heard the voice of the Commander even from up here and watched as he walked the battlements with a scout. Lifting her head up, her attention was soon snagged by a dragonfly which decided to land on her nose and began to "kiss" it. Arsinia gave a small smile as the insect then launched itself back into the air and darted away while she lay her head back down and closed her eyes once more. She could hear the gentle hum of the wings of the dragonflies as they flew around the balcony and, on more than one occasion, she felt a few land on her face to rest their wings but she wasn't bothered by them. Dragonflies to her were beautiful insects that were a symbol of the true graceful serenity just like how butterflies were the symbol of beauty. Arsinia was sure that had anyone actually seen her and the Inquisitor, they would find the two as a sight to behold as Mavra was snuggled up against Arsinia who lay with head on her crossed forepaws while curled around Mavra. It would certainly be a sight to behold if anyone here in Skyhold had the artistic talent to paint them with the dragonflies flying around them as well.
I honestly wish I had the artistic talent to draw scenes like Arsinia and Mavra resting on the Balcony for you guys, but I don't... Hope you like it anyways!
Chapter 8: Seven
Cullen looked towards the balcony that he swore he could see Mavra and Arsinia sleeping on and noticed a dragonfly as it zipped on by. Odd... This is an unusual time to see dragonflies. He thought as he watched more dart around, but then he shrugged and returned to work. It wasn't his place to question the comings and goings of such creatures if they felt like popping up, well then, they would pop up. He had just returned his gaze to the clipboard in his hand when he noted a rather bright red dragonfly land there and smiled as it remained for several moments before he watched it take to the air and fly in the direction of where Arsinia and Mavra slept in the sun's warm light. A soothing and mellow breeze brushed through his hair and through the fur mantle upon his shoulders, yet he couldn't take his gaze away from where Arsinia and Mavra slept.; it was as if he felt drawn to Arsinia and was so distracted by the thought of her that he almost missed someone walking up to him. "Commander," the voice belonged to Cassandra and he turned his gaze to her, "I see you are distracted."
"I can't help it," Cullen sighed as they both turned their gazes towards the Inquisitor's room, "I can't stop thinking about Arsinia..." he told her as Cassandra smiled, "It's like she's..."
"A part of who you are?"
"Yes," he nodded as the Seeker continued to smile, "it feels as if there was a part of me that was missing and came back when she came around." Cassandra nodded as she agreed with him as she felt that same way about Mavra. After they spoke, Cullen attempted to return to work until Dorian came to find him.
"Where is Arsinia?"
"Last I saw she was with the Inquisitor," Cullen replied as he looked over some reports.
"Ah good," Dorian smiled preparing to walk out.
Dorian looked at the man and smiled, "Solas and I are going to do what was promised," Cullen looked up and felt his heart stop. Arsinia was soon to be free of the curse that gripped her so fiercely or would at least have it changed to not be so much as a curse. As soon as Dorian left, Cullen lowered his head and gave a silent prayer, what for exactly he couldn't say but he was sure it was for Arsinia.
"It feels so strange..."
Mavra looked to a now human Arsinia who sat on her bed looking at her hands, "You'll get re-used to it. Though I'm sure you'll most likely be in wolf form majority of the time."
Arsinia giggled as she stood to look in the body length mirror that Mavra had in her room, "According to Dorian and Solas, I need to stay human for at least two days for their spellwork to stick."
"True. I'm just amazed that you and I share clothing AND shoe size...OH! You need a haircut!"
"What's wrong with my hair?" Arsinia asked as she looked in the mirror at her new outfit and saw her shoulder-length curly hair. Some "features" that had stuck with her after she had been transformed back had been the fact that instead of her hair being that "dirty" blonde it had once been it was now the same bluish midnight-ebony as her fur in wolf form; but the unseen features were the facts that her eyesight, sense of smell and her hearing were still as sharp as they were when she had been full on wolf but she attributed that to the fact that she still had the wolf form.
"You literally have a fresh start! Time for a new haircut!"
"Well..." Arsinia had always been fine with shoulder length hair, but sighing she actually found herself agreeing with her, "Alright, Who's going to do it though?"
"ME, duh!" Mavra stuck her tongue out as she had Arsinia walk and sit down in the chair.
"You are squirrely as can be," Arsinia took a seat and Mavra smiled.
"You adore me!"
"Why wouldn't I?" Arsinia laughed as Mavra set to work. Once she was done, Arsinia stood and smiled as she looked in the mirror. "Well don't WE just look as opposite as night and day, minus the hair color of course." Arsinia was referring to how they wore practically the same outfit just in different colors.
"Well, I figured that the "Night's Watch" outfit would suit you more and as far as I'm concerned it does!" Mavra told her as Arsinia chuckled.
"So if I'm quote, unquote, "Night's Watch" would that make you the quote, unquote, "Day's Vigil"?" Arsinia asked as Mavra's smile grew, causing Arsinia to wonder just how the woman's face held on.
"You are such a goofball."
"You love me!"
"You wound me," Mavra pouted now as Arsinia smiled.
"It's just your pride, it'll heal."
Mavra and Arsinia ate lunch in her room and talked well into the afternoon, or at least until it was time for the war meeting which Mavra wasn't looking forward to at all. "You're still coming with me right?"
"Why wouldn't I?" Arsinia asked as Mavra smiled. As they headed down to the war room, Arsinia felt the gazes of everyone as they turned to her and was sure more then a few jaws had dropped, but it was only when they reached the war room Arsinia suddenly became nervous as Mavra went in to inform the Advisors that she was waiting outside. When Mavra came back out and began to pull her into the room, Arsinia stepped in and looked to the Advisors who were all shocked to see what she really looked like.
Out of the three Advisors who were in the war room, it was Cullen who was shocked the most and now he was glad that Mavra had suggested putting down anything that they could drop as he was sure that he would have dropped whatever had been in his hands as his train of thought derailed and exploded. No matter how many times he had seen her in the Fade in their shared dreams, it was nothing compared to what he saw now. He had seen her as a beautiful woman in the Fade, but as he truly saw her, he realized that the Fade version of her had absolutely nothing on the true her. He swore as he looked her over that she couldn't be real, yet the weakness in his knees told him she was. Then she spoke and he lost all sense of being as every fiber of who he was, came to realize that she was real and that she was in front of him, "This is the real me, minus the hair which is a side-effect to the wolf form." It was only by sheer willpower alone that he remained standing when her sapphire gaze turned to him and he saw the gentle smile on her face, "I've been waiting a long time to properly meet you all, especially you, Cullen." He was sure that if his train of thought hadn't already derailed it would have by now and he was pretty damn sure it would have done more then explode.
"Arsinia...?" He barely managed as she nodded. As he stood there he did not notice how Mavra motioned for the other two to follow her nor how quickly they left as all he could focus on was this goddess-like woman standing before him. She did not move closer to him, there was no need as he walked around the war table and approached her. A part of him needed to touch her, to make sure that this wasn't just a dream, but when he reached out he stopped himself until she gave her permission. The moment his fingers touched her cheek, he knew it was no dream. "I..."
"I know," She whispered softly as his golden eyes scanned her, before meeting her sapphire gaze once more.
"You're really here... Not as a wolf but as...as a woman..."
"Yes, I am," She reached up and waited for him to nod his permission before she set her full hand on his cheek and he all but melted at the touch, even if she wore gloves that prevented the skin of her hands from feeling the contact. He closed his eyes as the sensation of her hand figuratively burned its mark on to his cheek, opening his eyes he went to speak but she stopped him. "Later, I promise. I will answer all of your questions," And she would keep that promise as after the war meeting finally commenced when they found themselves in his office, she answered all the questions he had for her. But the one that was burning in his chest would not happen for another two weeks and it would be answered when she would ask him something that would begin a relationship that was more then them being friends.
Chapter 9: Eight
This is the song that Arsi sings to herself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NetXVy9GNc
I find it fitting for Arsinia and Cullen at this moment.
Two weeks would pass before Cullen would find himself standing between his bookshelves and his desk, having just turned to place something down on said desk when he saw Arsinia walk in. She looked like she had something weighing heavily on her mind and he frowned, "Arsi?" he questioned as she looked towards him. He knew her well enough to know that when something was bothering her she tended to wander around.
"I was hoping you were in here," She told him as he watched her carefully.
"You look like something is on your mind, is everything alright?" He asked as she bit her lower lip before answering.
"Yeah, I just..." She was nervous and he wondered why, "I was hoping that maybe we could talk... alone?"
"Alone?" He questioned before agreeing to it. "I don't see why not," He motioned towards the door opposite where he stood and together they walked outside with him being the perfect gentleman the whole time until it came to a certain topic, then he almost became a rambling mess until she touched his arm and brought him back to himself.
"What's stopping you?" She questioned worriedly as he shook his head.
"We are at war and I..." He looked away for a moment.
"I'm always going to be here Cullen, if you need time then I will wait," She explained as she touched his cheek causing his amber gaze to fall on her.
"That's the thing," He told her as he found himself backing her up against the rampart behind her, "I'm not sure if I would want to wait," He told her as he drew closer to her.
"I'm leaving it up to you, I can wait for you for as long as needed," She told him softly. He smirked but as fate would have it just before he could close the distance they were, naturally, interrupted which was both funny as hell and embarrassing as hell to her. Deciding that letting him get back to work would be best she made to speak but was suddenly interrupted when he turned on a dime and claimed her lips with his own. She wasn't sure what happened next but it took her mind several moments to catch up to her body and to her mouth which was returning the surprise kiss. When he pulled away to apologize Arsinia stopped him by joking with him a bit, but the moment passed with him kissing her once more and her happily returning it.
Mavra was watching this unfold from her balcony and she had one hell of a shit eater's grin as she turned to Cassandra who came walking over, "It's about time those two did something about the unspoken thing between them." Cassandra nodded her agreement as the two watched Cullen and Arsinia as the two new lovers talked before, she let him walk away so he could return to work.
Later on, as night fell Cullen found himself unable to sleep and wasn't expecting Arsinia to come to his office and see him still working. "Cullen?" Watching him as he looked up, he saw Arsinia watching him with worry, "How you even tried to sleep?"
"I..." He rubbed the back of his neck as she frowned.
"Upstairs now," She told him when he went to protest she gave him a look that spoke of how she would take no argument and he soon did as bid. Once he was up the rungs of the ladder, with her close behind, he found her helping him with removing his armor, before she sat on the bed and told him to lay down. Laying down he found his head pillowed in her lap and saw her smiling down at him. She began to play with his hair and, somehow massaging his neck and shoulders, she soon began to hum a lullaby which she ended up singing to him and he quickly found himself in the world of dreams. Lifting his head to place a pillow under, Arsinia stood and kissed his forehead and brushed her fingers against his forehead and cheek, "Good night, my love," She whispered tenderly to him. Walking softly, she stopped at the ladder and turned back to him as he groaned while he turned to lay on his side. Slipping down the ladder to his office, she doused the candles and walked out and began to sing to herself, "If I held in my hand every grain of sand since time first began to be... Still, I could never count, measure the amount of all the things you are too me..." She sang as she headed to her room but she sang it so quietly that no one could hear her even if anyone had been around her. Entering her room she began to remove her gloves and smiled as she soon changed into a shirt and pajama bottoms, then, sitting on her bed she looked outside her open window and couldn't help the little flutter in her heart. Laying down, she pulled the blankets up around her and slowly drifted off to sleep as she realized that Mavra had been right in some way. Cullen was Arsinia's Twin Flame.
The next day Arsinia had just finished dressing when a knock sounded on her door, "Enter!" She called out as she dried her hair with a towel, or well she tried to as the untamable mop that it was was damn near impossible to dry unless one had magic, and sadly magic was the thing she lacked she settled for attempting to towel dry it as the person who had knocked on her door entered, stopping in her vigorous rubbing she snuck a look back to see Dorian entering and raised a brow. “To what do I owe the pleasure?” She questioned as she gave up and left the towel resting on her head as she sought out her brush, “Where the fuck did I put that damned thing?” She muttered as Dorian smiled.
“A little birdy has informed me that you and our lion eyed Commander have finally done something about all that, oh what’s the word I’m looking for?” He questioned nonchalantly as he scooped up her brush, “Sit.”
Arsinia looked towards him with a slight frown but walked over and sat at her desk and the man removed her towel and “tsked” about her hair, “It’s called natural curls, and I believe the word you're looking for is angst.”
“Well your natural curls need to be shown a thing or two,” he tsked again as he began brushing out her still wet hair. “I’m not sure if that’s the right word for what was going on between you both, but at least you finally fixed it,” Dorian then colorfully cursed, “Has your hair always been this...unruly?!”
“It runs in my family...at least on my mother’s side, I believe. Honestly, I don't know which side this mess came from.”
“Well,” Dorian huffed, “I am going to show you how to love your curls, or at least how to tame them down a bit.”
“Good luck with that...” Arsinia frowned as he went to work. “And why are you pestering me about Cullen and me? That’s something I would expect from Mav.”
“It’s not pestering if you willingly give up the information.”
“Still pestering, sometimes you're worse than a fly.”
He feigned hurt, “I am not a fly!”
“No? Let me see then...You're the only one I know of who is here, rather willingly I might say, and your digging for gossip which I won’t share just like a fly that buzzes around, so case in point: you are a fly. But a rather fashionable fly with a greater sense of taste when it comes to wines.”
“Fine, I will take that, speaking of wine. Would you care to join me later? I heard some really interesting things that I’m sure you’ll just love to hear.”
“Do I want to know?”
“It involves our favorite Seeker and beloved Inquisitor.”
“Oh now that I do want to know,” Arsinia smirked as Dorian finished with her hair.
“There! Much better, I shall see you around noon then, yes?”
“Thank you and of course.”
“You’re very welcome, my dear, and I shall see you then.” With that Dorian left the room as Arsinia smiled at his handiwork. She was glad he knew how to tame curls like hers, though it surprised her.
Right now though, she had someone to check up on and as she left her room, she found herself in Cullen’s office where the said man was looking over some paperwork. “You don’t know the meaning of taking a break do you?” She questioned as she slid around his desk and earned a smile from him as he focused on her.
“Commanding an army is a very demanding job,” He stated with a tender gaze as she rested a hand on his arm. “Though I would be lying if I said that a part of me didn't wish that it didn’t involve so much paperwork,” he sighed as he stood straight and smiled at her, before reaching up and lifting her chin so he could gently claim her lips with his. “Have you come to distract me?” He inquired playfully as she faked shock.
“Who? Me? Now, why would I do that?” She returned as he chuckled.
“Because you're wicked,” He stated as she giggled.
“How can I be wicked? I am nothing more than a sweet little angel.”
“Why do I find that hard to believe?”
“You wound me!”
“It’s just your pride, it’ll heal.”
“Now I regret having said those words around you,” she laughed as he chuckled deeply, before kissing her again. She let her fingers run along his arm as he pulled her close and rested his cheek against her head.
“Are you going to be busy tonight?” He inquired as she frowned.
“I hope not, Mavra took Cassandra, Bull, and Vivienne with her to wherever it was they went. Dorian has insisted I take lunch with him to which I’ll probably end up sleeping for a bit afterward as the wine he drinks is rather strong and usually tends to knock my sorry ass out. If I should wake up before sunset I’ll be amazed, but otherwise, I won’t be busy. Why?”
“I was wondering if you’d be willing to stop by for a bit.”
“Always, but like I said if I wake up before sunset I’ll be amazed.”
“If not I will come find you,” Cullen smiled as she snuggled closer, or well as close as she could get with his armor in the way.
“Knowing your luck, I’ll probably be sleeping.”
“I won’t mind if you are. It will give me an excuse to watch you for a bit.”
“Or be tempted to join me and hold me close.”
“That too.” Suddenly both were filled with longing. Not the sexual longing, but that wanting to cuddle close while they sleep longing. They had grown so used to sleeping near each other while she had been full on wolf, that it really was no surprise that they struggled to sleep now that they were in separate bedrooms. They kissed once more before she began walking away from him but both were smiling despite the fact that the day was just beginning.
Chapter 10: Nine
Arsinia collapsed onto her bed, pulled a pillow close, and closed her eyes. She wasn't sure why she drank wine with Dorian, the stuff usually knocked her out but the day had suddenly turned rainy and well, Arsinia usually found it to be nap time when it started raining. As she started drifting off, she listened to the rain through the windows she had left open and just as she was about to plummet off the edge and down into the abyss of dreams, she felt someone run their hand along her cheek but if they kissed her forehead she couldn't be sure as she had taken the dive into dreamland. She wasn't sure if she dreamt at all, but when she began to awaken, which was rather slowly, she felt arms around her and heard a familiar voice as she woke. "Hey," She blinked a few times as she felt the familiar embrace of Cullen, and snuggled closer to him. As her senses came back to her, she heard the rain still pouring, could smell the familiar scents of the clear air (as well as Cullen's Oakmoss and Elderflower scent), and felt Cullen's secure and tender embrace as he held her. He spoke nothing else as he held her, he didn't need to as she fell right back to sleep and he rested his chin on her head; as he sat there, on her bed, he soon began to nod off but still held her. Opening his eyes briefly to check to see if she was comfortable, which with the position she was in he wouldn't be surprised if she was (he could clearly see that she lay in the position where her legs where stretched out while he held her upper body with both of her hands resting on his chest and her head under his), he soon shut them once more as he joined her in the Fade.
As they slept, neither were aware of being watched as the strange boy or rather spirit who had become a young man, watched them. Vanishing from that room he soon appeared next to Mavra who happened to be looking for either the Commander or Arsinia as she was sure where one was the other would not be far behind. "Cole?" She questioned as he appeared next to her, "Have you seen the Commander or Arsinia?"
Just as she asked that question he lifted a hand and pointed towards Arsinia's room, "Safe and happy. A piece of both returned. A Love unbound by physical form." And with those words, he vanished once more as Mavra looked towards the area he had pointed in and smiled.
"Well there goes that plan," She sighed as she shook her head, but instead of seeking them out she walked towards Cassandra as she decided to let the two sleep.
Arsinia yelped as she landed heavily on her side but shook herself of the odd watery substance she had landed in. Looking around she spotted the others getting up and looked towards Mavra who was frowning, but before either had the chance to speak someone else did. “Is this...are we dead?” Both turned to the speaker to see the one Varric called Hawke standing upside down as he looked around. “If this is the afterlife the Chantry owes me an apology, this looks nothing like the Maker’s bosom.”
How can you be so optimistic? Arsinia wondered as the man looked to her with a smile.
“Someone has to be!”
Right...forget I asked... Arsinia huffed before looking around, are we...IN the Fade? She questioned before turning to Mavra, who only shrugged in response. After they set out to travel through the Fade, the demon that was hounding them tried and tried to use their greatest fears against them but it was pretty much useless. Even when he went after Arsinia who only snorted in response as he spoke to her calling her "The worthless one who shouldn't exist". But what he said did touch a nerve with her, and so when they finally came face to face with the creature Arsinia looked towards Hawke and his warden contact and frowned. He met her gaze and knew what she wanted him to do. With a nod, he reached out and yanked her close as Mavra began protesting as He called out for the others to follow him through the rift. The demon that had been hounding them saw them making a break for it, but was soon distracted by Arsinia who snarled and lunged for one of its legs, causing it to screech and focus on her while the others escaped. AS Arsinia and the demon battled it out, she saw the Fade rift shut and knew that there was no escape for her now...unless it was through death. But as she dueled the demon, with her snarls and growls and sometimes pained yelps echoing throughout the demons area, Arsinia found it in her best interest to wound the thing and force it to retreat, which is exactly what happened. Laying on the ground, on her side, Arsinia felt just the smallest amount of victory run through her despite the fact that she was damn near death's door. Rolling over to her stomach, Arsinia lay there for a few more moments as she felt her wounds begin to bleed once more. Closing her eyes she felt a strange breeze run along her fur, and it caused her to open her eyes to see that no one was there. Forgive me, Cullen, She begged as she saw the world around her going black; she knew there would be no point in trying to blink it away, death was coming for her and that thought sent a smile to her lips. I know you promised... to never... let me die alone... Mav... but... it seems that there is no choice... in the...matter... Arsinia's eyes closed as her world literally faded away.
Chapter 11: Ten
Mavra collapsed to her knees as she wrapped her arms around tightly around her torso while her tears streamed down her cheeks and onto the carpet below her as she lamented her closest friend and Soul Twin. Cassandra soon pulled her close, trying to fight off her own tears, and held Mavra. Leliana sat in the rookery staring at her table with unseeing eyes; Josephine stood looking out of the windows in the war room; No cheering could be heard from the tavern as everyone in there was too somber to even think of celebrating; Varric and Hawke sat at the table Varric tended to sit at in the main hall, drinks in their hands which sat untouched; Dorian sat in his chair in the library with his own tears sliding down his cheeks as he watched the rain falling; Solas sat in his rotunda in silence as he tried to not cry at the loss of Arsinia; even Vivienne, who Arsinia had never really bothered to speak too outside of the lessons in Alchemy, was somber as she sat in her room with tea untouched on the table as she looked out at the grey sky; but out of everyone who was affected by her loss, it was Cullen, whose sorrow had taken a more destructive path, who had been affected the worst. He didn't ask himself why she had done what she did, he knew why, but it hurt for him to think of the answer anyway. Arsinia had sacrificed herself so everyone trapped in the Fade with the Inquisitor and her could escape. Cullen felt tears in his eyes and closed them before snarling out as he threw his fist into one of his bookshelves. He knew he would regret it later, but right now the only pain he felt was the loss of Arsinia which cut deeply into his soul. "Why?" He demanded from no one, "Why did you give us the chance to be together if you were just going to take her away?" He felt each word cut through his heart as he stood there with head cast down and tears stinging his eye as they begged for release. But he would not allow himself to shed them, even as he went to sleep that night.
Arsinia startled awake at the sound of an alarm screeching in her ear. "Fucking hell..." She grumbled as she sat up to see that she had, once more, fallen asleep at her desk. "Ugh... I really need to stop doing that," She yawned as she looked around to recollect her thoughts and suddenly her thoughts struck her. "Wait! What the hell am I doing here?!" She questioned as someone walked in.
"You fell asleep at your desk again didn't you?" The voice was that of her roommate who stood frowning at her before walking forward and setting a portable cup of steaming coffee down. "Brought you some Starbucks."
Looking at it Arsinia turned back to her roommate and raised a brow, "What did you do?"
"What do you mean? I'm an innocent little angel!"
"Okay, now I know you did something," Arsinia squinted at her roommate who was now avoiding her gaze. Hearing what her roommate admitted to doing, Arsinia stood up after completely logging out of her laptop and walked out of the room to get dressed.
"Where are you going?"
"To go for a walk before I lose my temper with you," Arsinia told her swiftly as her roommate frowned.
"Don't Arsi me, I told you to NEVER try and set me up with anyone and what did you just do?"
"Too late," Arsinia all but stormed out of their apartment and went for a long walk around the nearby park. Sitting on a park bench, Arsinia thought over what she was pretty sure wasn't a dream, yet felt like it, and sighed heavily. It couldn't have been a dream...It felt too real to be a dream. She thought to herself as she sat there. But after a few days passed, she figured it had been nothing but a dream until she sat down to pull on some socks and saw familiar scars that caused her heart to pause. These scars...She brushed her fingers over them and the memory of HOW she got them came back to her. It...it wasn't a dream... Thedas...everyone... they're all real... And then a thought struck her as she pulled on her socks and then yanked on her boots as well as threw on her gloves, and for once in her life, she bolted out of that room. She flung open the apartment door, startling her Roommate who called after her, apologized for it, but continued running in the direction she knew where something was about to happen. She wasn't exactly sure what was making her run, or why she was running instead of driving but at that moment, her feet were faster then any vehicle she could fathom. She leapt over a railing and continued running even as her lungs began screaming for oxygen. Lifting the corners of her lips in a grimace and squinting just a bit, she flew over the land as if her life depended on it and in some way she honestly felt as if it did as her memories of Thedas came rampaging back at her like a t-rex. The days she had spent with Mavra. The times she had slept beside Cullen when she had been a wolf. The long hours she would spend with Dorian in the library drinking wine and gossiping about nothing in particular. The teasing banter she would have with Varric, Bull and the Chargers. The pranks she would pull with Sera. The training sessions she had shared with Cassandra and Leliana. The Alchemy lessons she would have with Vivienne who would encourage her even when she messed something up. The few times she did speak with Hawke and had a laugh at his antics as he told her of his adventures. Even the days she would spend with Solas as he had become her art teacher in a way and taught her about the different techniques to properly paint the images and things that would come to her. But most of all, at the forefront of her memories, came the memories of the loving touches and tender kisses she and Cullen would share. All of it came back to her as she ran like a madwoman who could be described as running like a bat outta hell. Turning sharply as she approached the park, she barreled into the underbrush of the forest and continued with her fast pace and was fortunate enough to come to where two trees whose branches twisted together sat with the space between them looking like a gateway to another realm and for once in her life, Arsinia did the only thing she swore she would never do: She prayed. Not to the gods of Earth, but to the Maker and Andraste and pleaded with them to be allowed to go back to Thedas. "Maker, Andraste, if either of you can hear me, Please... Let me return to them...Allow me to return to Thedas to be with those who truly care about me, and allow me to return to Cullen..." She pleaded hoping against hope they could hear her as she drew closer to the trees, "So that I may care and love him for the rest of his natural days..." Arsinia closed her eyes as she ran between the trees and the moment she opened them she saw that she was no longer in the forest but was now running through the blistering sands of the Western Approach. They...they heard me? She questioned as she realized that despite the boots that she wore, she could feel the heat that baked the sand and yelped as it suddenly hit her. "Oh! HOT! HOT! HOT!" She swiftly vanished over into the shade of a nearby cave and sat down and whimpered. "Oh, I deserved that..." She whined before a noise had captured her attention. "Who's there!" She demanded as the person came round the corner and their jaws each dropped as they recognized the other. "Rylen?!"
"Arsinia?!" The question echoed as the man let his weapon drop to the cave floor.
Chapter 12: Eleven
Mavra stood looking over the war table with a rather bored expression on her face while Cullen and Josephine went round and round about the fact that the Masquerade (which honestly none of them was really looking forward too since Arsinia was no longer there) was only a month away and that they needed to do something to secure their invitation to it. Mavra didn't even have the heart to say anything about it, how could she when she had been really looking forward to Arsinia's grumblings, but as she scanned the war table, whatever thoughts she had been having were suddenly interrupted when a scout came racing in almost completely out of breath. "Forgive my interruption, Inquisitor!" He begged as they all turned to the poor man. "Urgent message from Knight-Captain Rylen at Griffon Wing Keep!"
Taking the letter from the Scout, she opened it and as her eyes scanned the page, she felt her heart stop completely. "Thank you," She looked to the scout, "Go, rest and relax, you've earned it," She dismissed him swiftly before turning, throwing the letter down on the war table and bolting out of the room as she called for Varric, Cassandra and Dorian.
Curious to see what would cause her to leave so suddenly, Leliana was the first to pick up the letter and read it with her jaw dropping before she regained her composure as she allowed Cullen and Josephine to take it and read it. Cullen didn't want to believe what he read in his second's handwriting but he knew that the man would never lie about anything, but he did wonder if the heat of the Approach was affecting his judgment. Yet in a tiny part of his mind, Cullen knew that Rylen's words were true yet he found himself doubting it very much.
Arsinia sat in a cool room of the keep a few days later and was beyond grateful for being able to hide away from the blistering heat of the sun; looking up as Rylen entered she frowned as he groaned. "Getting old there Knight-Captain?" She teased as he looked at her.
"Aye, but I'm still young enough to bend you over my knee little lady, especially for that stunt you pulled," he smiled in return as she laughed nervously. They continued speaking about several things until they were interrupted by the announcement of the Inquisitor's arrival, "Stay here." He told her as she nodded and remained sitting as he left to bring Mavra and the others to the room, but the moment they entered Arsinia stood and Mavra, for her part, raced forward and punched Arsinia on the cheek, hard enough to leave a nice bruise.
"I know deserved that," Arsinia said as the elf soon yanked her into a surprise hug as tears streamed down her face.
"You deserve more than just that you stupid, stupid, woman!" Mavra cried as Arsinia looked to her in surprise, before smiling softly and wrapping her arms around the slender body of her elven Soul Twin. They pulled away and suddenly Arsinia found Cassandra turning her to face her before hugging her to everyone's surprise then. Once all four had hugged and called Arsinia a dumbass, Rylen called for a healer who tended to Arsinia's cheek to make sure that the bruise wouldn't swell too much, granted it was left there as a shining reminder that Mavra had punched her and soon they left Griffon Wing Keep to head back to Skyhold where the Advisors and the other companions waited.
Upon their arrival, the companions, as well as Leliana and Josephine, set upon Arsinia with a vengeance, welcoming her back as well as bitching her out for her stupidity. Solas, Vivienne, and Josephine questioned Arsinia about the bruise but it only took a look in Mavra's direction for all of them to understand why and how it got there. Solas offered to fully heal it but Arsinia declined, "I deserve this symbol of shame..."
"Damn right you do!" Mavra called out as she walked away.
As things died down, Arsinia found herself in her room, sitting on her bed and thinking. She hadn't seen Cullen and, knowing him as she did, she figured that there was a very good reason behind why. Just as she stood, she heard a knock on her door and called out for the person to enter. Turning to see who was coming to bother her, her sight landed on Cullen and suddenly she was nervous as she wasn't sure exactly what he intended to do. "Cullen-!" Before she could get any more words out he crossed the room in a few strides, pulled her close to him and sealed her lips with his as his eyes closed. When he pulled away she began to wonder what had gotten into him.
"I thought I lost you," He told her as she blinked.
"I..." Arsinia was lost for words as he brushed her hair out of the way of her face. before she could ask him how it knew it was safe to kiss her, he smiled.
"I trust the words of Rylen and Cassandra," then he noted the bruise on her cheek, "What happened?" he questioned being very careful to not touch it as he was sure that it was very sensitive (and he would be right as it was).
"Mavra punched me," Arsinia looked away sheepishly. "I deserve it though..."
"Maybe, but I would like to be able to touch your cheek without fearing that I will hurt you worse," She said nothing as she saw his point. After he had called for a healer, had ensured that her cheek was fully healed, and the healer had left, she went to speak but he stopped her with another kiss, albeit a much gentler one. "Maker, I missed you." He whispered as they rested their foreheads together. "Don't ever leave me like that again," He pleaded with her as she entwined her fingers of her left hand with his.
"Never. I will never leave you again," She promised as their eyes met, "Because I love you," She whispered softly as his heart stopped at her admitted words.
"I love you too," he whispered as quietly as she had, only he said those words as his free hand rested on her fully healed cheek.
Chapter 13: Twelve
Arsinia and Cullen lay cuddled up on her bed after night had fallen and were smiling as they spoke with each other. Cullen was not going to let her out of his sight for a good long time and honestly, she didn't want to be out of his sight for very long anyway. She had been gone, no presumed DEAD, for a few months, and thus it was harder for them to be away from each other for even a few short moments. They somehow ended up on the topic of how she managed to return, "Honestly?" She questioned as he watched her. "All I remember seeing the scars on me from the trap, and after that its more a blur but I remember running like a madwoman towards two trees, well more like towards the area beneath their branches that were entwined and I did something I've never once done in my entire life."
"What was that?"
"I prayed. Thought it wasn't to the god or gods of that world," She told him as he rubbed her arm, "I prayed to the Maker and Andraste." He looked to her in surprise. "That is the same look Cassandra gave me when she asked," Arsinia informed him as he chuckled. After a while, they snuggled as close as they could, and he pulled up the blanket to cover them. "I love you," She told him once more as he kissed her forehead.
"I love you too," he replied as they fell asleep snuggled together, the familiar weight of the other helping them to fall asleep and driving away any possible nightmares that either would have. The week would go by swiftly, however, the end of the week found Arsinia with Josephine for a "dress" fitting and Arsinia felt stupid until the dress that Josephine wanted her to wear was revealed, then both Arsinia and Mavra's jaws dropped at the sight. It was a rather beautiful dress and Arsinia found herself oddly wanting to try it on much to Josephine's delight. Once it was on, Arsinia was allowed to see it in the mirror and noted several things about it: for starters the color of the dress was a midnight blue-black, then she noted that it was form fitting yet allowed her to move freely, it reached to the floor but would not be in the way of the shoes she would be wearing, from the part that rested around her neck down to the rest of the dress and along the sides of it was silver trimming, yet only half of her back was revealed along with her shoulders and arms. On her arms rested silver jewelry "vines" with silver leaves with sapphire flowers that ran from her wrists around her arms, past her elbows and ended upon the area over her heart in a beautiful sapphire rose and entwined upon her exposed back and from the way the vines were, Arsinia could they were connected to the dress in some way. Then the shoes were brought out and Arsinia was pleased to see that they didn't have the heels that lots of women (both in her original world and seemingly this one too) seemed to fancy but had only a slight heel and she put them on to make sure that they would fit properly. Suddenly cursing was heard and everyone in the room turned to see Cullen rubbing the right side of his face where the door had hit him due to how stunned he had been upon seeing Arsinia and the women in the room snickered, or well Mavra, Josephine, and the Dressmaker did, Arsinia had already swiftly crossed the room in a few strides to make sure he was okay. Mavra looked to Josephine and a shared thought crossed their minds: Now they just had to make sure that Cullen matched Arsinia, but his tailored uniform would be almost completely opposite in colors. Where she would be the rich midnight blue-black, he would be a silvery grey-white with gold trimming. he would wear mostly gold with a few ruby gemstones for the buttons on his jacket. But outside of Josephine, only Cullen would see the outfit and listened as she explained the reason why and the thought appealed to him though he honestly saw no reason to look different but took it in stride. Until finally, the evening of the Masquerade came, and when Cullen saw Arsinia once more, his eyes widened. He had seen her in the dress before, but with the way her hair had been done, he felt as if this was the first time he had seen her at all. Her hair which was normally always either cut short or tied back into a ponytail was allowed to flow freely and the curls had been tamed down enough to allow her hair to be wavy and ending in a curl where it rested upon her shoulders and upon her back. Woven into her hair were a few sapphires and suddenly Cullen felt as if he was fully unworthy of her as she appeared as a goddess to his eyes. "You are..." He started after she had stopped in front of him, "I...you are so beautiful..." He told her as he felt almost unable to breathe.
"You're not half bad yourself, Commander," Arsinia told him as he smirked, "In fact, with that outfit, you appear even more like the golden lion I can imagine you being," that sent a shiver down his spine. Eventually, they were introduced to the entire court and both felt all eyes turned upon them and heard whispers as people wondered if they were seeing each other with others wondering what their children would look like if they were to have any.
Cullen was doing his best to ignore them, but the mention of children did catch his attention though he didn't really care to linger on it as having Arsinia next to him made it difficult to focus on anything but her. As the night wore on, with Cullen standing near a wall, he looked towards where Arsinia stood and noticed a young man approaching her and inwardly bristled as he watched the young man asking her for a dance. He saw the confliction on her face though she masked it quickly and agreed to the dance, as the two approached the dance floor all eyes fell upon Arsinia and this young man as they began the dance. Cullen wasn't sure what to do as she danced but all he could do was stare though he could see their lips moving as the two spoke. "Mon chéri, you are even more lovely than the night sky in all her glory."
"I doubt that very much, none can rival the majestic beauty that is the night," Arsinia told the young man who smiled with a slight laugh.
"That is where you are wrong, you have always been a goddess of the night. Especially to me, clair de lune," He said as her eyes widened a touch with a slight gasp and she studied him.
"Who are you?" She questioned as he smiled; due to the mask he wore, however, she couldn't see his face properly but she was pretty damn sure that as she met his mossy colored eyes, that she knew him from somewhere.
"Only a forgotten memory," he told her as they finished their dance and bowed to each other before he led her off the dance floor and up to the Commander, but before they reached Cullen the man lowered his voice and whispered in her ear, "Remember, Mon clair de lune, if I cannot have you then no one will have you." After that, the man gave her to Cullen who watched the man walk away.
"Are you alright?" Cullen asked once the man was gone.
"Yes," Arsinia nodded as she continued to watch after him, "But...I feel like I know that man from somewhere." Those words he used...Only one has ever called me them... yet who is he? Arsinia was soon brought back to the present time and spent the rest of the evening with Cullen who (after the whole reveal of the Duchess being the one who betrayed the Empress and all that fun stuff) decided that it would be wise to get her outside for some fresh air and alone time for them both, and the moment they were alone she told him about the exchange between her and the man which had him both fearing for her and becoming even more protective of her, but for the moment he decided to quell the thoughts running through both of their minds by kissing her gently.
Neither noticed that they were being watched by the young man whose gaze turned icy as he watched Arsinia and Cullen. Enjoy her while you can, Commander, Arsinia will be mine like she should have been from the beginning. Turning on his heel, the young man walked away leaving the couple behind as a plan formulated in his mind.
Chapter 14: Thirteen
If you are able (aka reading on a computer or have youtube red), I highly highly recommend listening to this when "As she finally" appears in the chapter it will help with the part where Arsinia and another are speaking https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJ7ZGLEpSCI
"Its official, I hate balls!" Arsinia snarled as she collapsed onto Mavra's bed as the elf snickered.
"Really? The poor Commander then..."
"Not those kinds of balls!" Arsinia buried her face into a pillow, "UGH! There is not enough brain bleach in any world to erase that image!" She whined as Mavra busted up laughing. "I hate you!"
"No, you don't! You love me!"
"That's really debatable right now," Mavra pretended to be wounded and Arsinia snickered as she gave her her usual response. they had just returned to Skyhold earlier that morning and Arsinia had been "Stolen" away from Cullen by Mavra. But as they spoke a thought crossed Arsinia's mind and suddenly a buried memory came forth completely unbidden.
"I just remembered something that I need to speak with Cullen about," Arsinia stood and left Mavra standing in the middle of the room with a frown on her face. The moment Arsinia found Cullen, the man had just sat down at his desk when she entered, "Commander," She said his title and his head snapped up to see the look on her face.
"Leave us!" He barked out as the soldiers and scouts who were in the room swiftly vanished. Once they were completely alone, Arsinia told him everything that she had suddenly remembered and he bristled. "Could he be the reason you're cursed?"
"I don't know. He could be but I don't remember if he is or not. It feels like something is blocking me from properly remembering," She told him as he let it roll around in his thoughts.
"I won't let him anywhere near you again," Cullen told her as she frowned.
"I'd like to think that you'd be able to keep that promise, but if I know anything it's that when someone like him is obsessed over something or someone, they won't stop until they get what they want or are killed," Arsinia frowned as she went to scratch at an itch on her forehead.
"And if I have to be the one to stop him I will," Cullen told her as he approached her and wrapped his arms around her. In some way, it was a reminder that with him, she was safe and she soon wrapped her arms around his shoulders and locked her fingers behind his neck before they kissed and smiled at each other.
"What did we ever do to deserve each other?" She questioned playfully as he smirked his ungodly and infamous smirk.
"I don't know, but whatever it was, I'm glad for it," He replied as they kissed once more.
A few weeks would pass with a relative calm but today, however, Arsinia was flying up the stairs to Mavra's room where a scream had sounded from only moments ago, "MAVRA!" She called out as she ended up stopping at the top of the stairs to the room only to see that a struggle had taken place as glass shards blanketed the carpet with blood splatters littered both the carpets and the walls.
"Arsinia!" Cullen and Cassandra called out as they arrived in the room only to see Arsi leaning down by a bloodstain.
"WHAT HAPPENED?!" Cassandra demanded from no one.
Arsinia ignored them as she looked around and inhaled the scents in the room, filtering out Cullen's and Cassandra's scents she picked up on Mavra's scent and the scent of an unfamiliar, yet very familiar, person. Swiftly leaping to her feet, Arsinia head towards the stair, jumping over the railing as Cullen and Cassandra called out her name. Racing down the stairs she exited the tower, bolted through the main building, and leapt off of the stairs leading up to the main hall, shifting into wolf form just before she landed and continued to race over the ground beneath her as she followed the scents. Snarling as she tore through and over the snow, Arsinia knew she had to save her friend no matter what, even though she knew that Mavra was far from helpless. She flew over the ground, following the scents and realized that she was heading towards a lake. As she finally made it near the lake she saw what looked to be another wolf standing over Mavra's injured form, MAVRA!
So at last, you come, mon clair de lune, just like I was hoping you would. Arsinia looked to the other wolf and studied him before she met his mossy colored eyes.
You?! Arsinia gasped as her mouth opened a shade.
Yes, mon clair de lune, Do you not remember me? He questioned with jaws open in a mockery of laughter.
Arsinia snapped her jaws shut and bared her fangs in a truly demonic snarl as the snarls escaped from between her fangs, What the hell do you want with us?!
"I don't want anything but you, Arsinia," The male wolf became a man and Arsinia as a woman, or at least that's how Cassandra and Cullen and the few others saw them when they arrived to see that Arsinia and this man were facing down while Mavra lay injured at the man's feet.
"You are a sick bastard with an unhealthy obsession with me," Arsinia snarled as he smirked.
"Tell me, do you remember how you first became a wolf?"
"What the fuck does that have to do with anything?" Arsinia growled out as the man watched her.
"It was I who gifted you with your true form, the form that humanity forced your lineage to hide as they embraced what should have never existed in our home.
"Now you're just spouting bullshit and you know it. Arsinia returned to wolf form and snarled once more as he stood there having returned to his.
He watched her with eyes widened in an illuminated excitement filled with delusion, But I am? I know you felt the calling of the wolf within long before you were able to return to your true form. Even now I can see how you yearn to remain a wolf.
No, you remain blinded by the guise of humanity. You seek that which never belonged to our world. Humanity is a plague brought us and many like us by those humans who escaped this world so long ago. He growled with ears folding back.
Where do you think the humans of earth originated from? It certainly wasn't on earth, Everyone listened to his delusioned ranting with slight shock. When you vanished from Earth, I looked deeper into you lineages to discover that some of your family hailed from this world and it occurred to me that you had somehow found your way back here to the heart of the infection that threatens all of Earth.
Humanity is not an infection nor is it a plague! You've lost your damned mind!
Isn't it? Look at what's happened to the elven race since that so-called "veil" was put into place, they've fallen to the humans and are dying off, just like the wolves of Earth. HUmanity is a plague, a disease I plan to cure with your aid. Together we can cleanse the infection and bring in a new age for not only this world but for Earth as well.
Arsinia's ears folded back as she snarled louder now, If you think I would join you in your delusional plan then your dumber then I originally believed you to be! Now GET AWAY FROM MAVRA! Arsinia lunged towards him as he roared out a snarl and met her halfway. As she pushed him away from Mavra and closer to the lake snarls, fangs, fur and blood went sailing through the air. Suddenly the sound of an arrow whizzing through the air caused Arsinia to leap away from the other wolf who howled in pain as the arrow pierced his side but that served to only enrage him as he looked towards the one who had shot the area and began racing towards who it was. Sera! Arsinia leapt towards the other wolf and using the advantage she had she threw him to the ground, breaking the arrow and pushing it in even further where it pierced his lung, yet he snarled and continued to fight with Arsinia drawing more and more blood from her as his fangs cut into her. When he sent her sailing through the air and rolling along the ground, she shifted back to human form and tried to stand.
"Stay away from her," Cullen's voice sounded causing Arsinia to look up and see that the other man had stupidly lunged for her only to end up impaled upon Cullen's longsword.
"Cullen...?" She questioned as he kicked the other man, who was now nothing more than a lifeless corpse, away before turning to her.
She watched him kneel down to help her up, before lifting her into his arms and looking at her with a tender and worried gaze, "Let's get both you and Mavra back to Skyhold. And leaving the body to be burned by a few scouts, Cullen carried Arsinia away while Cassandra carried Mavra.
Chapter 15: Fourteen
Arsinia lay sleeping on Cullen's bed as the man stood looking her over. Her wounds had been bandaged and attended to, though a few would most likely remain as scars for the rest of her life. "How long are you going to stand there for?" She questioned as she opened her eyes.
"I'm sorry," He apologized quickly as she chuckled.
"There's nothing to forgive, there is nothing wrong with a man looking over the love of his life," She smiled as she looked towards him, "Come on, come to bed." She smiled as she closed her eyes again.
Cullen chuckled softly, "Alright, give me a moment," he told her as he went to dress for bed and soon joined her. As they lay together they joked around, kissed and snuggled, but the moment Arsinia fell asleep a thought crossed Cullen's mind and he wondered what she would say and filed away that thought to deal with tomorrow. And that's exactly what he did the very next day, acted on the thought while she was distracted by Mavra, however, he also managed to take her away from Skyhold for a week to the lake near his hometown where they bonded even further in their relationship, then upon their return Skyhold, He received the item he had requested to be made for her and smiled as it put it into the pocket that didn't have anything in it. What he wanted to ask Arsinia would have to wait until after the war meeting, but he found that he was struggling a bit to focus and so when questioned by the women of why he was so distracted he found himself telling them the reason and swore that Josephine almost turned into a puddle of mush right where she was as Leliana and Mavra, "But I don't know what marriage traditions were like where she came from..."
"Just like the ones here," Mavra told him with a smile. Three pairs of eyes landed on her and she shrugged, "It was one of those random topics that came up when we were talking one day. Most of the traditions from her world are about the same as they are here, proposing though is what she would call a "wild card" as that would vary depending on the person. Just don't drop to one knee and propose, that's the one thing she doesn't like about it."
"What would you recommend?"
"Take her by surprise, propose to her when she least expects it." Mavra encouraged him as she dismissed the advisors, "Which I would say that now is the time as I'm sure she's standing on the battlements looking up at the night sky." When Cullen went to go find Arsinia she was right where she was usually known to haunt on the battlement and was doing exactly what Mavra said she would likely be doing.
"Hmn?" She looked to see Cullen approaching, "Cullen?"
"I was just looking for you," He smiled as she returned it as he placed a hand on her side and kissed her. They spoke for a few moments then he smirked as he reached into his pocket to remove the item he had put in it a few hours ago. "Arsi?"
"Yes?" She turned to face him as he held up the item.
"Marry me?" He asked of her as her heart stopped.
Arsinia took a moment to remember to breath, but her answer came out in a breathless manner anyway, "Yes!" The moment the ring was put on, it was forgotten just as quickly as she wrapped her arms around him with happy tears coming from her eyes, and just as one of the moons began to rise, they kissed tenderly while Mavra and Cassandra smiled at each other where they watched this exchange from the balcony of Mavra's room, but the other Companions found out later with Bull being the first to know.
Chapter 16: Fifteen
Arsinia frowned as she sat perched on the battlements between the Mage’s tower and the main hall. Something was nagging at her but she wasn’t sure what it was outside of her own doubts and those were screaming loud and clear in her thoughts as they made the ruckus that was giving her a headache. When she had awoken that morning after having been snuggled up to her future husband, any thoughts that what he had asked her the night before had been nothing more then a dream had vanished the moment she had seen the ring. But at this moment, Arsinia’s inner demons were nagging at her and trying to fill her heart with doubts she knew where not true. Deciding that sitting out in the sun was doing her no good she went seek some company and found it in the tavern where Bull spotted her from where he was sitting. Motioning for her to come sit by him he studied her with his one eye and smiled, “So the little wolf has found her life-mate it seems?” He looked at the ring on her finger.
“Yeah I did, but I don’t think it was so much as me finding him as him finding me,” Arsinia smiled briefly before her face dropped.
“Hey, sweety what wrong?” When it came to the relationship between Arsinia and Bull, they treated each other more like an uncle would his niece and just like a caring uncle, Bull knew when something was bothering Arsinia.
“I just... I guess my figurative demons are plaguing me again...” she trailed off as he studied her. “They’ve seemed to come back with a vengeance and are hurting me where they know best.”
“Hounding you about the relationship between you and the Commander?”
“Yeah...I just...what if I’m not good enough for him? What if I can’t do all the normal things with him that other couples can?” She had a whole list of “what-ifs” floating around in her mind and Bull could sense them all.
“You’re good enough for him, sweetheart,” Bull started as she looked up at him. “So what if you two can’t do the normal things that other couples can? You two then find your own way to do things. You two are perfect for each other. Yeah, you two have your little spats here and there about things, that's normal in any relationship as is having arguments, but you two aren’t a normal couple. He’s the Commander and you’re a wolf both literally and figuratively.” Bull smiled at her as she looked away, “look at me,” he told her as she did. “Beat those demons back and tell them to fuck off.” He smiled as he called for a drink, “but also talk to him about them, he’s going to be your husband for the rest of your natural lives. You’ve helped him with his demons, let him return the favor.” He reached up and rubbed her head with a smirk. “Now stop moping and enjoy some time with your Uncle Bull! We need to celebrate your engagement after all!” Arsinia laughed at his antics and agreed to one drink, which somehow turned into five or six (she couldn’t remember as the shit Bull drank was rather strong) and she soon found someone carrying her out of the tavern, damn near passed out in their arms, when she suddenly began feeling unwell.
“Oh shit...” she groaned as the person set her down and pulled her hair back while she emptied the contents of her stomach, rather violently too. By the time her stomach was completely empty, she could almost understand the person’s voice and identified it as Cullen.
“Maker’s breath how much did you have?” He questioned as she shivered in his arms.
“I don’t remember...” she whimpered as he pulled her close.
“Let me know if I need to stop again,” he told her as he carefully lifted her up to carry her to their now shared room above his office. Thankfully the rest of the way there went without incident but that wasn't to say that she wasn't miserable, thus Cullen decided to pull an all-nighter to ensure that she would wake in the morning with just a hangover and she did.
"Never again..." She grumbled as Cullen watched her with a slight smile.
“You say that now,” He watched as she shot him a look so foul that it would turn the color black to white. “I’m just saying how I see it, love.”
“Go fuck yourself,” Arsinia grumbled into the pillow as she realized that the light of the sun wasn’t really helping her situation of having one hell of a hangover. Cullen shook his head before retrieving something he kept just in case something like this would happen.
“Drink this, love, it will help with the hangover,” Cullen prepared the vial of whatever was in it as she begrudgingly sat up, flinching as the bright light slammed into her eyes causing a nasty headache to rise, and looked towards him to take whatever it was from him and drank some of it, only to gag on the taste.
“Tastes worse than the smell of horse piss!” She growled as she squeezed her eyes tight and held it away from herself. “Get this damn thing away from me!” She grumbled as he took it back and corked the vial while she tried to not think about why it tasted suddenly like vomit in the back of her throat. Cullen handed over something to mask the taste and she was very grateful to find out that it was water. Before she knew what was happening he was pulling her down to cuddle close to him and wondered what had gotten into him.
“Bull told me about your “figurative” demons,” He started as she squeezed her eyes tight once more. “What’s going on Arsi?”
“Probably too much for my own good,” she whimpered into his shirt as they cuddled. “I just have this nagging feeling something bad is soon to happen but I can’t say what and it’s led me down the path of overthinking things again.”
“Again?” Cullen shot her a worried look but her head was turned away from him so he couldn’t see her facial expression.
“It’s not something I’m willing to talk about...” she trailed off as she tried to fight off some dark memories that she really didn’t want to think about, though the sudden throbbing sensation on her shoulder told her that she would never truly be able to forget. “At least...not right now...”
If it was one thing Cullen hated seeing, it was a woman who was being troubled by something and damn near tears because of it, and Arsinia was no exception. If anything, it upset him, even more, to know that there was something in her past that was so bad that she feared to talk about it. “I can wait until you're ready to talk about it, my love. I won’t push the matter, but I will always be here when you feel that you’re ready to tell me.”
“I know and thank you,” Arsinia looked to him then as he gave her a tender smile before kissing her.
Later in the day would find Arsinia, in wolf form, cuddled up to Mavra as the elven woman cried. They had received word that despite the best efforts on the parts of the Advisors, Mavra's clan had been slaughtered mercilessly and now Arsinia was laying on the floor, with Mavra's head buried into her fur. Mavra, for her part, had snuggled up to Arsinia only after ranting and raving about those who had killed her clan and of course stating that it was not the fault of anyone that her clan had died, but Arsinia had said nothing as she watched the sobbing woman. No Arsinia had allowed Mavra to get it all off her chest and lay with her head up and facing the elf. "What do I do now," Mavra sniffled as Arsinia watched her. "I feel like...I have no family left..."
That's not true, Arsinia spoke as she opened her mouth a bit, you still have a family. Look at your companions, advisors, all of the Inquisition and, though the connection our souls share, me. Yes, you may not have your clan anymore, but you still have all of us.
"I...guess your right...it's just...I loved the members of my clan...we were just one small happy family despite the fact that we were always on the move." Mavra sniffled again as Arsinia nuzzled the area over her heart.
They will always be with you, Mav, Arsinia told her softly, In your memories and heart.
"How can you be so sure?"
Those we've loved and lost never truly die, not so long as we carry and cherish the memories we have of them.
"You sound like you know what it feels like," Mavra sighed as she rested her forehead on Arsinia's.
Because I do...She trailed away as the two remained in that position with Mavra's forehead resting on Arsinia's head, with the elven woman's hands on the furred cheeks that belonged to Arsinia.
Chapter 17: Sixteen (NSFW)
This chapter has been, by far, the most troublesome of all chapters I've ever written as I feel that I cannot, to save my life, write a smutty chapter...but I like to please my audience so it's for all of you, enjoy whatever this chapter has turned out to be because I've lost all control (if I ever had any) of my OC and this story. *slinks away grumbling something about how she surely sucks at writing chapters like this*
A few days later found Arsinia perched on Cullen's desk reading some papers over as the man stood by his bookshelves and, instead of looking for the book he needed, he was looking her over. He had noticed that, while yes they were soon to be married, since they had been together, neither of them had pushed for any other physical contact they what they already did with their kisses, hugs, hand-holding, holding each other close and cuddling up together at night. And while he was perfectly fine with that, seeing her sitting on his desk put a whole new level of thoughts to his mind like how she would look while he fucked her senseless on it and many more. "You're doing it again," She said snapping him out of his thoughts.
"Forgive me!" he begged of her as she looked up at him.
"There's nothing to forgive," She smiled before setting the papers in her hands down to stand and walk over to him. "I'm pretty sure this is just a wild guess but the thoughts you are having are very natural," She told him as she touched his cheek. Cullen smiled at her, no matter how short the amount of time that he had known her, Cullen couldn't help but feel so much love for her. She never rushed him into anything, always helped him with his reports unless she was out and about with Mavra, gave him some space when it was needed, but also checked up on him and kept an eye on his health. In turn, he did the same for her minus the reports part. "You are the one setting the pace Cullen," She reminded him softly as she kissed him and it took every ounce of his willpower to not turn that kiss into something more, especially after the thoughts he had just had. But after a while, as night drew closer, he began finding it increasingly difficult to concentrate on anything but Arsinia and the things he was sure he could do to her. He remained busy though, or at least he tried to until she came back into his office and stood near the door, watching him in his element, before she walked over to the scout who was seemingly always present. Speaking with the scout, Arsinia handed some papers over, whispered something to the woman who nodded in response before she left, shutting the door behind her while Arsinia turned to see Cullen having dismissed his soldiers for the night. "You didn't have to do that," She told him as he turned to her.
"It's was about time anyway," he told her softly as he approached her and kissed her. "Where did you send the scout off to?"
"To deliver a letter and dismiss her for the night," She told him as he kissed her forehead before kissing her nose and lips, but soon released her so he could finish up a few things and she once more perched herself on his desk. They spoke little but soon Cullen looked up at her with wonder and doubt as he tried to figure out just why she was the way she was with him.
"Yes, my lion?" That response sent a pleasant thrill down his spine.
"Why do you put up with me?"
She looked over in his direction now, "What do you mean?"
"I just...don't understand why...why you'd want someone like me," he started as he refused to look at her.
Studying him for a moment, Arsinia tried to figure out what he meant but soon it struck her and she smiled softly. It was her turn to banish some mental demons, in return for all the times he had banished hers with gentle words and tender caresses. Reaching out a hand, she grabbed his attention, "Come here," She told him softly as he looked at her but did as bid while her fingers entwined with his. "Cullen, for as long as I have lived, which is a whole twenty-some years, I have wanted one thing and that one thing is what you have given me since this whole thing started: someone who cares about me as a person," She told him as he came to a stop between her legs. "You've been there with me since you found me caught in that poacher's trap. You were the first to recognize that I was a human and not just another wolf. You have been nothing but kind to me and that is a debt that no matter how long I live, I will never be able to repay. I was able to come back to Thedas because of you." She smiled up at him as blue eyes met molten gold ones. "If I was given the offer to trade you for the ability to have anything I wanted in any world, I wouldn't take it," She could see that his doubts were slowly fading away and she continued to speak, "You are one of the strongest men I know, Cullen," She looked towards their hands and he did the same. "I may be the Soul Twin to Mavra, but YOU are my Twin Flame. The part of me that I was always missing. The part of me that I will always find no matter what or where life throws at us or takes us. I will love you in the way that I can love no other," She looked back up at him and she saw the doubt turning into just a shadow of what it was.
"Cullen, if I had any doubts about you or how I see you, I wouldn't have said yes to marrying you. But I have no doubts, I know you are a good man, with a kind heart to match and I love you no matter what." She told him as she freed their hands from each other and reached up to hold both of his cheeks in her hands before she kissed him. "I love you, Cullen." She said as she pulled away leaving him wanting more. He drew closer to her, or well as close as he could with the desk in the way, and claimed her lips once more, though this time it was needier than any other kiss they had shared. Arsinia was forced to balance herself with a hand and accidentally knocked over an empty bottle, causing it to shatter as they both turned to it. "Shit," she growled low before turning back to him to see him shake his head and suddenly become the cause of a flurry of papers, other bottles that shattered upon crashing to the floor, and a tankard that went clattering before rolling to a stop due to its handle. Once more he claimed her lips, then encouraged her to lay down on his cleared off desk before climbing up and carefully pinned her to it as he laid down almost literally on top of her. She felt his armor biting into her but all she could focus on was the fact that she had an ex-Templar who was not only kissing and nipping at her, but also running his hand the length of her side. She bit her lower lips as he nipped at her exposed throat and felt a shiver run down her spine as she tried to prevent herself from moaning at his caresses. "Cullen," She whimpered as he barely contained a growl. Suddenly he left her alone, to ensure that all the doors were locked, before he returned to her, making sure to remove his armor and gloves in the process; once more he climbed onto the desk, pinning her blow him as he settled between her legs where she became fully aware of how aroused he was. Kissing her over and over the hand he wasn’t using to help hold himself up, trailed along her body leaving what she could only describe as fire in its wake. Moaning at how sweet his touch was she tried to squirm but he held her firmly in place, “Cullen...please...” she whimpered once more as he growled low before whispering in her ear.
“Say my name again, I love it when you say my name.” He told her as she obliged his whim causing him to groan softly as he hardened further. His hand found where her shirt met her pants and somehow managed to slide under both her pants and her smalls to barely touch her and feel just how badly she wanted him. “Maker! We’ve only just started and already your so wet...” Cullen could help but feel a bit smug at the fact that he was the cause of how wet she was. For a moment he teased her, parting her lips to wetten his finger before he pushed it into her causing her to gasp. He toyed with her for a few moments before suddenly pulling away causing her to whine in disappointment. But soon he found himself all but tearing off her clothing as he undressed her and shivered as he realized that her milky skin was just as beautiful as he believed her to be. Running his hands along her perfect breasts, he took one into his mouth and suckled at it while she begged him for more as one of his hands kneaded at her other breast while his free hand returned to her lower area and began to move his fingers slowly in and out of her again.
“Cull...” she was struggling for words, signaling that she was drawing close to her climax, but still he continued with his ministrations, “Cullen...I...” his fingers began to move faster and harder. “Cullen...” she was saying his name over and over now. Soon enough he found the pace that he knew she would thoroughly enjoy and found himself correct as he drove his hand faster and harder into her. “Cullen...I...need to...” she was pleading with him now and her voice as she begged him to allow her to finish, drove him even crazier for her body. He pulled away from her breasts and her lower half, causing her to growl in frustration but she was soon silenced as he separated her legs and began to lick at her as his fingers returned to her as well. “Oh gods!” She moaned as he felt his smugness return. Soon he hit her in that singular spot that drove her straight into her climax and she screamed his name. He lapped at her nectar as if he were a starved man, and slowly helped ease her back into her self before he pulled away to kiss up along her body and reached her mouth where she could taste herself upon his lips.
Pulling away for a moment his own shirt, pants and underclothing went flying to his chair and pinned her underneathing him once more as they began to kiss each other deeply. “Please let me...” he whispered as she kissed him.
“I’m not stopping you. I want you in me,Cullen, I want to feel you-!” she gasped as he claimed her lips while he slowly slid into her. He watched her for any signs of discomfort, and once he was fully sheathed, he felt her hands almost clawing into his shoulders as he struggled to remain still to allow her to adjust to him. He felt her tighten around him and groaned before he began moving, slowly at first, then going faster as they continued to claim each other’s lips. Eventually they pulled their mouths away from each other as he nuzzled into her neck and suddenly began to bite her as he felt the need to claim her overcoming him. If she made any protests to it, he wasn’t aware of it due to the fact that he was now very acutely aware of her teeth on his shoulder while her fingers clawed into his exposed back.
With each thrust, he felt both himself and her drawing ever closer to the looming climax and suddenly she clentched tightly around him as she bit down onto his shoulder, hard enough to somehow pierce skin and draw blood before she pulled away once more screaming his name as he thrust once more into her and followed her with his own end, sending his seed deep into her awaiting womb. He roared out her name after biting her in a claim, and soon found himself shaking as his arms barely managed to hold him above her. He opened his eyes and soon met hers, some part of him knew that that was only the beginning and that this night would end with them in their bed with energy spent. And that’s exactly what happened.
Chapter 18: Seventeen
Arsinia was sore as could be when she woke the next morning but in her mind it was well worth it, especially considering she woke up next to a ruggedly handsome ex-Templar whose hair was in disarray because her fingers had messed it up. She was used to seeing his mess of curls in the morning, but there was something special about knowing that she was the cause of the mess he had to deal with before he could style it back to how it was normally seen by everyone else. Closing her eyes for a few more moments, she knew she needed to get up and prepare for the day but she was finding herself rather reluctant and very comfortable right where she was. She felt his arm tighten around her a shade and, smiling, she snuggled closer but when she was just about to drop off the edge and fall back into sleep, Cullen started breathing heavily. Opening her eyes she sat up and gently touched his cheek, "You're safe, my lion," She whispered tenderly not knowing that her voice was cutting through his nightmare, "It's just a dream, the demons have no power over you." She reminded him as he awoke to see her sitting there with the ever family gentle smile he was used to seeing when he startled awake from nightmares. "Good morning," she continued to smile as he looked into her eyes to see the insurmountable level of love she held there for him.
He couldn't help but smile at her in return, "Morning," He replied as she leaned forward to kiss him. He pulled her close to him and she smiled.
"Cullen," She laughed as he nuzzled her, "As much as I would love to stay in bed with you all day like this, you have work to get to."
"Don't remind me," He mumbled as she smiled and kissed him. But eventually he did let her up, however reluctantly it was, and soon both dressed in their usual outfits for the day. Every day for the next two months this pattern between them continued, or it did until she started feeling ill one day out of the blue, after a few days the sensation passed but she did worry about it and thus sought out a healer who dropped a major bombshell on her that both thrilled and worried her. Thrilled because she had never thought it possible, and worried because she wasn't sure how Cullen would react to the news especially with the march to the Arbor Wilds only a few weeks away. As she walked towards Cullen's office, she all but ran right smack into Rylen who barely managed to catch her in time. As they talked about why she was almost absentmindedly walking to where the Commander was, Rylen smiled as she admitted to him of how unsure she was of how Cullen would react to the news she carried with her.
"Tell him anyway, if anything with the way he cares and loves you, I wouldn't be surprised if it gave that man twice the reason to return to you," Rylen told her before walking away as she watched after him. Looking towards Cullen's office she bit her lip, but she also knew that Rylen was right.
Walking into Cullen's office, she looked to see the man grumbled something and glanced to the scout who was trying not to laugh. "I know Sera was in here and when I find out what she's done, I will...do...something back."
"Of course Ser," the scout replied as Arsinia struggled to contain her own laughter and had to place a hand over her mouth to keep quiet before Arsinia regain her composure.
"Having an issue, my lion?" Arsinia questioned as he turned to look at her.
"If that issue goes by the name of Sera, then yes. I know she was in here, but I don't know what she did."
I do, Arsinia thought but kept that thought to herself as Rylen came walking in to lean up against the wall, as casually as possible. He's trying too hard, She looked back to Cullen who was frowning at his second.
"Rylen? Is something wrong."
"No, I just don't want to miss your reaction."
"My reaction? To what?" Cullen questioned as Arsinia shook her head.
Arsinia sighed, "To what I have to tell you. Which I better do now or I'm sure the Knight-Captain will hound me until I do." Rylen only smirked at her in return. "Ass."
Cullen looked to her with concern, "What's wrong?" He questioned as she smiled.
"Nothing bad I promise, though knowing you as I do, you will want me to stay here instead of going to the Wilds," She started as Cullen felt fear trying to grip him. The moment she told him what she had learned from the healer though, his mind shut down as he let the words roll around in his mind, "Cullen?" She questioned warily before he mentally shook himself and rushed over to her to kiss and embrace her while being careful.
"When? How long?" he questioned as she smiled and touched his cheeks as she saw tears of joy in his eyes.
"Just started on the third month, my lion," She replied as Rylen and the scout both chanced a look at each other with smirks on their faces.
Of course, the news that Arsinia was with child spread like wildfire among the Inner Circle, but the one who was most excited about it outside of Cullen and Arsinia was Mavra, who could barely contain her excitement. But she was also in agreement with Cullen and Arsinia's thoughts, the next few months were crucial for the health of the child and thus Arsinia was to remain in Skyhold while they marched towards the battle that would soon happen in the Arbor Wilds. But even though Cullen had left her to join in on the battle, Arsinia couldn't help but worry for all of them. Even after Cullen and Josephine returned, with Mavra and her little group having returned ahead of time through a strange mirror that Arsinia wanted nothing to do with, she continued to worry and rightly so as not long after, only a few weeks later the one who called himself Corypheus ripped open the sky once more. "The fuck is he doing back there?!" Arsinia questioned as the others in the war room saw a new "breach" open in the direction of what used to be Haven. Mavra frowned before she tore out of the room to gather her companions and Arsinia remained behind once more while Mavra went to end this grudge match once and for all, but it would be Mavra who would return in victory much to the relief of the Advisors and Arsinia.
Two years would pass rather quietly and would also find Arsinia and Cullen with a two-year-old rambunctious little boy, and a little girl who was only a year old and both kept their parents and their "Aunt" Mavra and "Aunt" Josephine on their toes. "Adrian Stanton Rutherford!" Arsinia called out as she held her daughter on her hip, one arm wrapped around the little girl who had a mop of beautiful blonde curly hair growing from her hair. Cullen turned to see Arsinia as she stood there waiting for their son and shook his head. Despite sharing the same middle and last names as his father, Adrian was truly more like his mother and Cullen swore the boy did things just to get a rise out of the woman. He watched as their daughter giggled and moved around almost causing Arsinia to lose her balance, "Celestia, please sit still while mommy's holding you, pup." Arsinia asked of the little one who giggled again before Cullen came over to take Celestia from her mother. Mavra came walking up with their son in tow and was grinning.
"You know I just realized something about your names," The elven woman shook her head as Cullen lead the boy away to prepare for a bath.
"What about them?"
"Adrian's name, shortened to the first letter of each part is ASR."
"Give it a moment," Mavra smiled as Arsinia frowned then laughed as it hit her.
"Same goes for my name, Arsinia Salina Rutherford."
"As it does with Cullen's and Tia's."
"That is purely chance, I swear."
"I'm calling bullshit."
"I will hurt you," Arsinia smiled as Mavra laughed. "Ugh... I am not looking forward to going back to the Winter Palace."
"I don't think any of us are, only your son seems excited at the chance to see a "castle"."
Arsinia snorted as she watched Cullen and their children, "Either way."
Mavra watched the boy for a few moments and frowned, "So...do you think he will be?"
"I don't know, if he can we won't know until he is older."
"What about Tia?"
Arsinia shook her head, "Now that will be one we have no choice but to wait for. Though if I had a guess, I would say no. Even at a year old, she's too much like her father though any children she may have in the far-flung future might be. For now let's worry about the bullshit we have coming up with the Exalted Council."
"Agreed," Mavra nodded.
Chapter 19: Eighteen
Arsinia snarled as she slaughtered an enemy Qunari before she rejoined Mavra, Cassandra, Bull, and Dorian. What the in the living hell has gotten into them? She questioned as Mavra looked to her as her mark flared, causing the elf to cry out as she fell to the ground, MAVRA! Arsinia leapt over the woman and tackled another Qunari warrior to the ground before tearing out his throat. Mav! Are you alright?! Arsinia whined as the elven woman tried to control the mark.
"I'll be...fine..." Mavra managed to grit out from between her clenched jaws while Cassandra looked on with worry prominent in her own eyes. Since the mark had made it known in the makeshift war room, every one of the inner circle had come to discover that it had grown quite unstable and was now killing Mavra the longer it was left upon her. But Mavra didn't care about it since they had also discovered that there was a band of Qunari who were trying to destroy basically everything and thus Arsinia had joined her Soul Twin on this possibly last adventure they would share together. They continued on as the last Qunari was killed and found themselves in a huge room with a dragon, and after speaking with someone Arsinia could care less about Mavra looked to see the dragon was preparing to attack them. "OH for fucks-!"
The levers! Arsinia pointed out as everyone looked around, I'll distract her, you all get the levers turned and see if we can't get her out of here! With that Arsina began to distract the dragon, leaving Mavra and the others free to try and find a way to free the beast. A yelp sounded from Arsinia as the dragon clawed at her, leaving three long and bleeding wounds but still she managed to keep up the distraction. Once the dragon was free, they raced off to chase after the Qunari but the chase ended with Mavra and Arsinia disappearing into the nearby mirror, or rather Eluvian as Arsinia had been informed of it being called, and the others were forced to wait for the two to return to them. What Arsinia and Mavra came to discover from the missing Solas and neither like what he was planning. But what he said to Arsinia while he was walking away after freeing Mavra from the mark, caused her to frown as she stood next to her friend. Arsinia made a note in her mind to speak with Cullen about it but for the time being, she aided Mavra in returning to the others.
Hours later, word reached Arsinia and the others of Mavra's choice to disband the inquisition and after their children were put to bed, Arsinia and Cullen spoke well into the nighttime hours. "What does that mean for you?" Cullen asked quietly knowing that right now Arsinia was in a very sour mood.
"If Solas is to be believed it means that I will outlive you. You will grow old and die but I will not," Arsinia told him as she sat with her thumbs resting against her forehead. "He has also stated that this damned curse or whatever the hell it is, has spread to our children and will continue to fester within the bloodline we have created," Arsinia growled low. Cullen looked over to where she was sitting and frowned, "It seems that I cannot escape this fucking thing if I tried," She snarled for a moment, "And now I've spread the damn thing to our children who will most likely spread it to theirs." Cullen watched Arsinia with pain in his eyes, "I've fucked with your bloodline, Cullen, and there's no way to reverse it," Arsinia buried her face into her hands now. Cullen saw how close she was to just breaking down and was immediately over by her.
"You didn't Arsinia," he told her as he knelt down in front of her forcing her to look at him as he carefully took her hands into his. "Whatever happens, we will teach our children that what is flowing through their veins is a gift. We can turn this curse into something good and should one or both end up being able to become wolves, well they have a mother who can help them learn how to use it to protect the people."
"You are suddenly very optimistic about all this, should I be worried?"
Cullen smiled, "I don't know, but I do know one thing: I love you and nothing will ever change that. Even if I do grow old and one day die, at least I will have a beautiful woman there to care for me."
Arsinia couldn't help but laugh at that, "Even under the guise of being a father, an ex-Templar and a former Commander, you are still a male, good to know." She watched him smirk, "you and that ungodly smirk of yours!"
He chuckled now, "It still works," he told her as they kissed before they decidedly went to bed to attempt to get some sleep or well would have if Cullen hadn't been aroused by the fact that he would enjoy watching her even if he did age. Of course like the last time, that night would end up with her conceiving once more, this time though? She would bare him twins and both were boys.
Chapter 20: Epilogue
Twenty years later...
"Where in the Maker's bloody name is your father or your brothers for that matter?" Arsinia walked into the kitchen of the house she and Cullen now owned as her only daughter looked up from the reports she was reading.
"The last I saw of Father, he was speaking with Aunt Cassandra and Aunt Mavra about something to do with the latest batch of Templars who came to free themselves of Lyrium addiction. As for my idiot brothers, well I am sure Adrian floating around here somewhere as he's taken a fancy to the daughter of one of the older Templars, as for Marcus and Jr. well I have no clue about them," The young woman frowned as she looked up towards her mother who sighed.
"Guess I better go find your father then, watch the stew for me will you Celestia?"
"Of course mother," Celestia nodded as Arsinia walked out of the house. Watching the older woman, Celestia smiled as she remembered that unlike her brothers who had the ability to switch between wolf form and human one, her mother had given up the wolf form altogether and was now aging like a normal human. In the twenty-oneish years of her life, Celestia had always been told how much like her father she was and, proving she really was, Celestia had taken up an interest in the Templar Order much to her father's dismay. Thankfully for all of them, Cassandra had swept her away from Templar training and had, instead, trained Celestia as a Seeker. Celestia, for her part, had swiftly risen through the ranks and was now sitting down reading reports that had been filed by other Seekers at her parent's kitchen table. After checking on the stew, Celestia returned to the table as her eldest brother came walking in, "Mother was looking for you," Celestia said without once looking up from a report.
"Did she say why?"
"I didn't bother to ask, I have reports that I need to look over after all," Celestia told him as Adrian sighed.
"Ever since you became a Seeker you've been no fun at all," He frowned before snatching up an apple and walking outside, while she continued to focus on her work.
Soon enough the youngest two, Marcus and Cullen Rutherford Jr. (who was the one that was truthfully the spitting image of his father), came into the house with everyone else in tow. "Celestia put away the reports," Her father spoke up as she looked towards the man who had sired her.
"Yes, Father." She smiled as she meticulously gathered up her reports and put them away where they would not be disturbed.
But later that night, after everyone went to bed, Arsinia and Cullen found themselves in the "sitting" room and were sitting in front of the fire, with the now old Mabari hound Cullen had found years ago laying before the heat of the fire. "It's almost hard to believe," Cullen started as Arsinia looked to him.
"What is, my lion?" She asked quietly as he looked at her. Despite the fact that both had aged, rather gracefully, they still somehow retained their youthfulness in some small semblance.
"Twenty years have really passed haven't they?"
"Twenty-four if you count the two years that it took to defeat Corypheus," Arsinia told him as she reached over for his hand which he gave to her. As he studied his beloved he noted that to where his blonde hair had turned a bright white her's had become a beautiful silver that shimmered in the light of the fire. "And every moment of this crazy wild ride, we've been together." She turned to him and smiled.
"I wouldn't trade it for the world," he smiled in return leaning forward to kiss the knuckles of her hand as she nodded her agreement. He watched as her blue eyes sparkled and squeezed her hand in his. They had defeated Corypheus, had foiled the plans of a Qunari Invasion, had discovered Solas's plan and had stopped him, and now as they aged together into their twilight years, they came to realize that the only adventures left for them, were the adventures of one day being grandparents while also being known only to their family as the pair who had turned a curse that had once claimed Arsinia into a gift to be used to protect the people of Thedas wherever their bloodline would spread.
"Nor would I, my lion," Arsinia leaned forward and kissed him and he returned it. "We've had our fill of grand adventures and I believe that we have earned this quiet epilogue to our story as we enter into that age where it's our turn to spoil whatever grandchildren may come."
He nodded his agreement as they returned their gazes to the fire, "so do I," and with those words, they spent several more moments in front of the fire before they went to snuggle close in their bed that night. With the acceptance that they were beyond their youthful endeavors, they relaxed into their calm and quiet life of aiding Templars who wished to free themselves of lyrium addition as well as into being ready for grandchildren.