Chapter 1: Sera
As a woman of means, there were a number of places Evelyn Trevelyan might have anticipated being on the eve of her twenty-third name day. Chasing after the colorful girls of Val Royeaux, carving her way through the Hinterlands with a rough and tumble company of mercenaries, Maker, even studying to be the Good Little Chantry Sister her parents had always hoped for.
She did not foresee being huddled in the dark corner of a merchant barge’s hold, praying for death as the waves kilted up and down in sickening syncopation with the pounding of her head.
It was all unbelievable. She literally could not believe that the last two months had actually transpired the way they had. Only the faint, dull buzz of magic scratching across the palm of her hand prevented her drifting into blissful ignorance of her new fate.
The Divine was dead in a massacre that had stolen the lives of thousands. She was being touted as the bloody Herald of Andraste, focal point of a new Inquisition devoted to restoring order to the Andrastian world. The Chantry itself lay in shambles, hurling about words like ‘false prophet’ and ‘heretic’ when she convinced her advisers just to try and help them.
It was too much to even attempt to process.
When the door to the cramped room creaked open, she raised her head and looked up blearily. It was hard not to retch at the rush of smoldering tallow and dank that flooded forward on the air. The door creaked shut again as her eyes came into focus.
“You look like shite, Lady Herald,” Sera snorted, crossing her arms over her chest and leaning against the wood.
“Oh, don’t you start with that nonsense, too,” Evelyn groaned, grinding the heels of her hands into her eyes. “I beg of you, just call me Trevelyan. Or Evelyn, if you want.”
“Poncey names, the both of ‘em.” Sera started pacing around the cabin, glancing about at the plain, splintered walls. “You could be an Evie, though. That’s not too high and mighty.”
Evelyn almost smiled at that. No one had called her Evie since her darling little brother had been whisked off to the Circle in the dead of night. Maker only knows where he’d ended up in all the chaos as of late.
“Are you having trouble adjusting to the ship as well?” she managed to ask in what she hoped was a conversational tone. “Cassandra assured me that this sort of weather doesn’t usually affect the passage out of Val Royeaux, but here we are. I’m told it’s only a day or two ‘til we make land again, though.”
“Don’t like ships,” Sera bit out, turning on her heel at the edge of the room. “Dark and dull and boxed in. Too slow. Too much time to think. Need a distraction.” She stopped abruptly, looking down at Evelyn as if it were the first time she’d noticed someone else in the room.
“You’ve a pretty way about you, for a noble tosser.”
“I...thank you?” Evelyn wasn’t quite sure how to respond to the sudden statement, especially when Sera started walking towards her with a touch more swing in her hips than one might expect.
“You've had your eye on me, right?” She stopped directly in front of Evelyn, cocking her head thoughtfully. “Know I caught you sneaking a peak at least couple of times already.”
Evelyn blanched with embarrassment. “I didn’t! I mean, I...I,” she broke off with a weary sigh when Sera smirked in triumph. “Alright, fine. So I looked a bit. You’re rather attractive.”
“Ha! Knew you fancied me.” Sera leaned forward slightly, affording Evelyn a rather inescapable eyeful of cleavage. She grasped both of Evelyn’s wrists, pulling her to stand unsteadily before running her hands up over Evelyn’s arms. “You’re not so bad looking yourself, you know. Nice eyes, pretty mouth. All that muscle.”
Though she would deny it for years to come, Evelyn was fairly certain that she squeaked when her back made contact with the wall and small, slight Sera looked up at her with sharp eyes and a wicked grin.
“Wanna get a leg over then, yeah?”
“I’m sorry, what?” Bloody Fereldens and their indecipherable idioms. Sera just laughed, head tipped back as she started to tug at the lacing of Evelyn’s tunic.
“Shagging, you tit. Getting your end away. Having it off.” With a yank, Evelyn found herself stooping over with Sera’s teeth against her ear.
“Do. You want. To fuck?”
There was sugar on her breath, the smell of sweat and smoke on her skin, and Evelyn could barely keep her knees from buckling under the advance. Hands started smoothing down over her sides, dragging her loosened tunic open over her shoulder. A low, appreciative growl in her ear and she was lost.
“Yes or no, luv,” Sera said as she started to toy with the fasteners of Evelyn’s breeches. “Not something to nick, this.”
“Yes,” Evelyn hissed through her teeth, whimpering at the sharp, wet heat of Sera’s mouth on her neck.
“Wicked.” With a jerk, Evelyn’s shirt was loosed and those hands were skating up her bare skin, nails scraping down over her breasts. “Glad you’re not still in all that ruddy armor.”
“Well, being thrown off the boat sinking to the bottom of the sea was a decided risk when I was dressing this morning, so I figured why bother?” Evelyn quipped, breath hitching when the last button of her breeches came undone and the hands slid over her hips beneath the fabric. Sera laughed, her breath hot against Evelyn’s collar bone.
More movement, a leg kicking open her own, wool rasping down over her skin. The air was a shock of cold and damp, the wall against her backside even more so. Evelyn leaned her head down, catching a lungful of the warm, thick smell of Sera’s hair before nudging her head back. Sera glanced up, puzzled, eyes widening almost comically when Evelyn lurched forward and kissed her hard. For a moment she tensed at the contact, as if it was unexpected, before responding with such fervor that the back of Evelyn’s head was forced against the wood with a dull crack.
In the same moment she licked into Evelyn’s mouth, fingertips slipped over the wet skin between her legs. Evelyn groaned aloud, knock-kneed and weak at the touch. It took embarrassingly little, the grind of Sera’s palm, the slick stretch around her fingers, the pressure of her teeth around Evelyn’s bottom lip and the world started to go black around the edges. One last, vicious push and she fell apart with a shout, sparks in her blood and lead in her legs.
“That didn’t take much,” Sera grinned against her lips as Evelyn melted back into the wall. “You sure know how to flatter a girl, Lady Herald.”
“Don’t call me that,” Evelyn said through desperate gulps of stale air, waiting for her vision to refocus before reaching out and grasping Sera by the arms, lifting her bodily off the ground. Sera drew in a sharp breath, partway between a gasp and a laugh as Evelyn tossed her down on the narrow bunk in the corner of the room.
“Let’s see what those big, muscle-y arms can do, then,” she challenged with a smirk as Evelyn swung a leg over her hips and leaned down.
“Bloody right, wow,” Evelyn panted, rolling on to her back with a decided lack of grace. The thin blanket was terribly scratchy against her bare skin and the strip of her side pressed to the wall was already beginning to chill, but she was far beyond the point of caring. She was damp and sticky and more relaxed than she had been since her life had taken a right turn into the completely insane at the Temple of Sacred Ashes.
“Who knew rich prats had moves, too?” Sera laughed to herself, twisting slightly to press her lips to Evelyn’s cheek noisily before rolling on to her feet. Evelyn worked on regaining her breath as she watched Sera redress.
“So,” she started uneasily. “I don’t want to be that girl, but I feel like I need a little...clarification after that.”
“What’s murky?” Sera asked. “We’re mates. We frigged. Wasn’t half bad.”
“Flattering.” Evelyn shifted back to staring at the ceiling, still enjoying the warm, loose humming under her skin. “I have to say I don’t do that with most of my mates, though.”
“Missing out then, luv.” Sera flashed a toothy smile at her before plopping down on the edge of the bunk to lace up her boots. “Storm’s done. Finally get out for some air, shoot some stuff. Birds, right? Or maybe fish. Think Varric has some twine?”
She hopped up to her feet, stretching her arms over her head until her shoulders cracked, twisting half around to fix Evelyn with a look. “Gonna lie about all day? Things to do, places to go!”
“I’ll be along. Go find your twine,” Evelyn chuckled.
“Suit yourself.” Sera leaned over, thumbing over a purple bruise at the base of Evelyn’s neck with a proud leer. “Thanks for the fun, Evie. Have to do this again sometime.”
She winked and bounced out of the cabin, and Evelyn wondered if there was a way her life could get any stranger.