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A Shield of Silk

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The force of Josephine‘s assault surprises her. The ambassador appears out of the crowd in a flash gold and blue and, pushing her back behind a gigantic and garish statue of some former Orlesian prince, flattens herself to Cassandra‘s body - an unshakeable barrier of silk and determination.

"Josephine?“ Cassandra whispers, still a little winded, “What‘s the matter?“

Josephine does not reply, but in the room - beyond the statue - Cassandra hears shouts and screams and the telltale sounds of a serious scuffle.

Hot wetness on her neck - is Josephine crying?

“My love?“ Cassandra puts her arms around cloth of precious metal which holds what is most precious to her. She whispers endearments, reminders of happier times, to calm Josephine as much as herself.

“I was quicker.“ Josephine shudders in her arms.

“What is going on?“ Cassandra draws away a little.

Josephine does not meet her gaze. “They were coming for you. Leliana gave the signal, but there was no way to warn you in time or to… There was so much noise, so many people. I had to do something.”

The answer hits Cassandra like a stone. “You shielded me!”

Josephine‘s eyes are fire and water as she looks up. “You are the most precious-“

“You put yourself in danger for-“ Cassandra’s stomach is ice and lead.

“Most Holy!“ It is the voice of one of her guards. Cassandra near jumps at the sound of it.

“I am well!“ She shouts to the approaching steps beyond the shelter of the statue.

Josephine releases her.