“Are you comfortable yet?” Lyanna teased.
Cassandra turned again, fumbling with her pillow and the folds of her bedroll. She huffed and buried her face in the covers. “No, I am not. Is my tossing and grunting bothering you, oh revered Herald?”
Lyanna laughed softly at the tone of sarcasm in Cassandra’s voice. She raised her head to catch a glimpse of the elf’s smile — the one that transformed her tattooed face into the closest thing to joy Cassandra had ever seen. As Cassandra looked at her, Lyanna’s smile remained, turning from one born of laughter to a relaxed, fond one. It made her plain features glow.
“You don’t bother me, Cass,” Lyanna said in her soft, low voice.
Cassandra felt pinned by Lyanna’s emerald stare, as if the spell would break if she dared move or speak. Finally, the elf dropped her gaze and lowered her head to her own pillow.
“Cass,” the Seeker grunted. “I don’t suppose you would listen if I asked you not to call me that?”
Lyanna gazed across the span of the tent at Cassandra, her eyes steady and warm in that assessing way of hers. It made the Seeker feel laid bare. “If it really bothers you that much, I’ll stop.”
She was surprised. She’d half expected the Herald to come back at her with some witty retort or sly joke, but she apparently took requests of that nature seriously.
Cassandra settled into her blankets. She felt naked, despite the loose shirt and shorts she slept in, despite the covers wrapped around her. “No,” she amended, feeling more naked still, “I suppose you can call me that. If you like.”
“I would,” Lyanna said. “Among other things.”
Cassandra’s stomach flipped. “Oh?”
Lyanna shifted. Cassandra was sharply aware that the elf wore very little, and when she emerged slightly from her blankets a hint of breast was visible through the open sleeve of her shirt. The Seeker averted her eyes.
“I would call you lovely,” Lyanna said, “if you allowed it.”
Cassandra snorted. “Me? No.”
“I think so,” the elf said, along with a pleased chuckle. The sound of it rolled, deep and chocolate brown, along the lines of Cassandra’s bones. “You leapt in front of me to block a bandit’s blow today. I’d call that lovely.”
The Seeker scoffed. “It is my job.”
“I’m still grateful.”
“And you are the Herald. I protect you. It is my job.”
Lyanna’s expression hardened slightly. “I’m still grateful.”
Cassandra shifted again. Tension bled through her skin, into the blankets, into the ground. She didn’t know if she wanted to get up out of bed and leave the tent, then run until she could run no more, or if she simply needed to strike something.
It could also be that she had not had five minutes alone this entire trip, and she was used to taking care of her stress in a particular way after fighting, or sparring, or arguing in city squares like she had in Val Royeaux not hours before.
It didn’t help that Lyanna was staring at her still, her intense gaze boring through her very skin.
“Why do you look at me like that?” she finally muttered, feeling foolish.
Lyanna hummed a low, contented hum. It brought gooseflesh rippling along Cassandra’s bared upper arms. “I was admiring your scar.”
The Seeker frowned. “Oh. The one on my cheek, hmm?”
“No,” Lyanna chuckled. “The one just above your breast.”
Cass started, then followed Lyanna’s gaze to the open lapel of her own shirt. A startling amount of creamy white skin was bare to her tent-mate’s gaze — she closed her shirt with a gasp.
“I apologize,” she whispered, mortified.
Lyanna’s hand darted out, pausing on her wrist. Cassandra’s skin felt electrified by the touch. “No need.”
Cassandra froze as Lyanna shifted, then slipped out from under her covers. She kept her grasp loose on Cassandra’s wrist, but her presence grew in power and proximity until she all but loomed over the Seeker. Their difference in size didn’t matter — Cassandra laid back, feeling small under the commanding posture of the other woman in the tent.
“You’re so tense, Cass,” Lyanna breathed, tracing her hand up from her wrist, to her elbow, to her shoulder. Her touch left a trail of fire in its wake. “Could I help with that?”
“I —” Cass swallowed. “I am not sure. It depends on what you intend.”
Lyanna’s full mouth quirked into a sly smile. Her eyes seemed dark and intoxicating in the closeness. “Have you ever been with a woman, Cass?”
Part of the Seeker wanted to recoil and hide in her blankets. The greater part of her surged upwards and out in a tingling wash of excitement, of need that felt as if it had been bottled up for eons. The sharp point of shame deep in her chest dwindled and dwindled in the face of it until, with another glance at Lyanna’s beautiful, encouraging smile, it was gone.
“I… haven’t, no,” she finally said.
The smile broadened. Cassandra felt as if she could lay her entire being in this woman’s hand and trust her not to break it. “Would you like to be with me tonight?” Lyanna breathed.
Something twisted, crying, inside of Cassandra, and she yearned towards the other woman with every electrified fibre of her being. “Yes, yes please,” she gasped.
Lyanna’s eyes lowered to Cassandra’s lips. Before either woman could take a breath, Lyanna leaned in and captured Cassandra’s scarred mouth.
At first, she kissed her as if at the end of a romantic evening, complete with candles and roses and poetry. Cassandra almost felt as if she had been serenaded and wooed — the treasuring movements of the other woman’s mouth made her feel as if she were beautiful, wanted, needed.
And then Lyanna’s hand began to wander down Cassandra’s arm, towards the buttons keeping her shirt fastened shut. Cassandra sighed into Lyanna’s mouth as she felt her shirt being undone, then a slim, cool hand sliding in and grazing her stomach, her ribs, the underside of her breast. She involuntarily rolled against Lyanna’s body when those clever fingers found her already-erect nipple and pulled.
Lyanna smiled against Cassandra’s mouth, then laved into it with her tongue to trace her teeth — she pulled away with a tutting sigh when Cassandra dared moan.
“Shh, sweetheart,” she scolded under her breath. “Can’t have the menfolk hearing us now, can we?”
Excitement at Lyanna’s words crackled over Cassandra’s skin. The thrill of Lyanna touching her like this, only feet away from Varric on watch and Solas asleep in the other tent, was intoxicating. It was only when Lyanna pressed against her, her knee firm against Cassandra’s groin, that she realized just how bruised and desperate she felt. It took everything in her not to groan, not to rut against Lyanna’s thigh.
Lyanna chuckled, kissing a fiery path down over her chin, along the line of her jaw, over the slope of her throat. Cassandra’s breath caught, betraying just how electrified every inch of her desperate skin felt.
The cool touch of Lyanna’s hand in her shirt slid southward, over the planes of her stomach and to the waist of her pants. She paused only a moment, mouthing a silent question mark against Cassandra’s pulse, before taking the Seeker’s shudder and twitching hips as a yes.
Cassandra thought she would lurch out of her skin when Lyanna’s slim fingers worked past her waistband and into her smallclothes. Lyanna teased through her curls, along the junction of her thigh and pelvis, then danced, light and lazy and languid, at the very top of her cleft. Her hips jerked, desperate to follow that hand until it dipped further, but Lyanna tutted once more and pressed a kiss to Cassandra’s earlobe.
That was all it took to remind Cassandra to be quiet, to be still. She could not calm the heaving breaths in her lungs or the thumping of her heart, but she lay back and let Lyanna cradle her — one strong arm under her head, while her free hand teased the tender flesh between her legs. Lyanna began showering treasuring kisses down Cassandra’s neck, her collarbone, then nosed her way into her open shirt and took her nipple in her clever mouth.
Cassandra clapped a hand over the moan that nearly escaped. Her back arched, lifting her breast closer to Lyanna’s face, and the other woman chuckled as she teased the nipple with a strong, circling stroke of her tongue. At that same moment, Lyanna’s hand slipped deeper into Cass’s pants and slid down, parting her lips, and lightly stroked the swollen hood protecting Cass’s clit.
“Maker,” Cass swore under her breath.
Lyanna released Cass’s nipple, leaving it wet and cold in the air of the tent, and muffled Cass’s helpless noises with another kiss. She rose in a surge of motion and lowered herself down Cass’s body, tracing kisses down her neck, between her breasts, over her belly, then looked up to meet Cass’s eyes before she hooked her fingers into her shorts and pulled them down each of the Seeker’s powerful legs. She settled on her belly, propped on her elbows, and slid forward until Cass’s bent legs settled on Lyanna’s wide shoulders — Cass admired them for a moment, tracing her eyes along the muscles made strong by years of archery and climbing trees.
Then Lyanna slid a finger, then two, into Cass’s pussy. The Seeker’s mind went blank.
Lyanna’s hand was inexorable between Cass’s clenching thighs. Her fingers stroked, strong and undeniable and beautifully torturous, against that knotted part of her that screamed with every touch. The elf held Cass’s trembling thigh with her free hand, gazing up at the Seeker with something hungry and dangerous in her green eyes, and lowered her face lower, lower, lower, until she hovered just over the Seeker’s sopping slit.
“Please,” Cass whispered, barely audible.
“Shh, sweetheart,” Lyanna breathed. Cool air ghosted across Cass’s overheated flesh — the Seeker fought the choking moan that rose in her throat.
Lyanna’s fingers continued, cruel and generous and too-light, their strokes shallow and almost without any pressure at all. Cass desperately wanted to thrust down onto them, but bit into her cheek to resist. The elf’s huffed laugh at the picture Cassandra made was cruelest of all.
“You’re so beautiful like this,” Lyanna whispered. “All stretched out for me, open to me. I love seeing what I can do to you.”
Cassandra latched on to the tiny hint of a shake in the elf’s voice. She was cracking.
“Please,” the Seeker whispered again.
Lyanna’s strong hand stroked only incrementally deeper. Her mouth remained, hovering and lightly breathing, over Cassandra’s cunt. “What do you want, sweetheart?”
Cass paused, trying to assemble words past the overwhelming want sparking in her brain. Finally, she gasped, “Your mouth.”
Lyanna huffed a laugh, then leaned in with a sharp intake of breath. The shock of her firm lips and tongue on Cass’s yearning flesh nearly ripped a scream from her lungs. She buried her face in the crook of her arm, no longer able to smother her whimpers with pressed lips.
Lyanna’s mouth was the center of Cass’s world. The hooking motion of her dexterous fingers was gentle, deep, inexorable, and the pressure from her mouth eased the bruised tension of Cass’s cunt while her talented tongue licked pleasure into her clit.
Cassandra had already been overwhelmed before Lyanna focused her full attention on her clit, but now? The woman’s experienced mouth brought her to heights she had never been able to reach on her own, nor with her one partner before. She was so sure she was about to come, but then Lyanna’s tongue took her higher, then higher, her fingers coaxing that winding tension tighter and tighter until — until —
Lyanna groaned against Cassandra’s flesh, deep and vibrating and as if she had never tasted anything as good, and that was what tipped Cass over the edge. Her mind went white as the first sudden crash of her orgasm came over her, and she was distantly aware that she’d bitten her lips in an attempt to stay quiet. She clutched at Lyanna’s hair, pulling it from its short ponytail in strands, until the woman drew away with a contented sigh.
“There you go,” Lyanna soothed, one palm pressed to Cassandra’s lower belly, the other coaxing the last shuddering, clenching waves of climax out of the Seeker’s sopping pussy. “There you go. So good. So beautiful. Just look at you, ma’haurasha, look how wet you made my hand.”
She withdrew it from Cassandra’s body — the Seeker’s hips followed instinctively — and held it up. The dim firelight through the walls of the tent illuminated the strands of sopping wetness between Lyanna’s fingers. A tiny moan slipped from Cassandra’s throat when Lyanna raised that hand to her mouth and sucked the wetness off her fingers, one by one.
Then, with the most beatific of smiles, Lyanna lowered her hand again to Cassandra’s pussy and ran her fingers along the Seekers lips. She traced around her entrance, lazy and cruel, then — with a teasing wrinkle of her nose — thrust two fingers into her again.
Cass jumped, clenching her teeth around a damning sound. Lyanna curled her fingers inside her as both punishment and reward.
“You’ll get us caught,” Lyanna cooed. “Imagine Varric catching us. Or, worse —” the elf laughed darkly — “Solas.”
The idea was both terrifying and exciting. Lyanna must have detected both in Cassandra’s expression, for she curled her fingers again in a “come-hither” motion and leaned forward over her belly.
“Cassandra,” she murmured. “Do you want to get caught?”
The Seeker shivered as Lyanna brushed the pad of her thumb over her oversensitive clit. “N-no.”
Lyanna chuckled. “Imagine it. Solas hearing us talking. A moan. Then a scream.”
Her fingers were cruel and exquisite as they stroked the point inside Cassandra that made her clutch the blankets with desperation. Lyanna leaned forward and covered Cass’s mouth with her free hand before a moan could escape.
“Shh, Cass, shh,” she cooed, the gentle smile on her face at odds with the growing pace of her fingers, the brush of her thumb against Cass’s abused clit, the tightening of another orgasm building in the depths of her pelvis. She kissed her again, then again, and kissed her long and deep and sweet as a sharp, shocking climax shuddered through Cassandra again. The Seeker twisted, gasping, and Lyanna released her lips and slowed the punishing pace of her fingers.
Lyanna coaxed Cassandra down from her second summit, her hand a grounding tether to the real world. “There, sweetheart, there,” she murmured, her words a low, soothing chain of nonsense. “There’s my good girl.”
She withdrew her fingers for the last time and smoothed the flat of her palm over Cassandra’s mound, spreading the evidence of her orgasms into her pubic hair with a smile. Cass shook her head and leaned up to kiss her again, wearily, then slumped back on her bedroll.
“Th-thank you,” Cass whispered.
Lyanna smiled again, sweet and kind, and touched her nose with the tip of her own. “The pleasure was mine.”
The journey back to Haven felt too easy — too contented, too happy. Cassandra was suspicious of her own good mood, and even more suspicious of Lyanna and her laid-back, calm treatment of her, as if nothing had changed. Lyanna had always been a pillar of strength in the storm, even when suspected of killing the Divine, and her behavior did not change now.
Perhaps it was guilt that spurred her towards asking, once they’d settled back down in the village. Perhaps it was the wild energy that swordplay stoked inside her — look, the training dummies were asking for it — or perhaps it was simply that Cassandra wasn’t comfortable with the ambiguity of what had happened.
So, when Lyanna approached her, bundled up warm against the snow, and told her she was a force of nature and needed stronger training dummies, all the tension in her blew loose.
“Are you going to tell me what that was all about?” Cass said, slicing another deep wound into the dummy’s belly with a grunt. “Or are you going to keep flirting with me every chance you get?”
Lyanna seemed unperturbed, and that only irritated Cass more. “I’ll stop flirting if you want,” Lyanna said in her deep, beautiful voice, “and I thought the night in the tent spoke for itself. If you’d like to try that again, we can, and if not, that’s completely acceptable.”
“No,” Cass said with a disgusted sound. “No, it’s not that simple.”
Lyanna shrugged. “Why isn’t it? You needed release and I wanted to give it to you.”
“That’s… that’s not what I mean,” Cass sighed, then sliced through the dummy’s arm. Her heart pounded in her chest. “I am a Seeker of Truth. A woman devoted to the chantry, to Andraste, to my calling. You are the Herald! And I allowed you to — to…”
“I’m not the Herald of Andraste,” Lyanna insisted levelly. “At least, I don’t believe I am. You may believe, if you’d like.”
Cassandra scoffed. “I have to have faith, even if you do not.”
Lyanna shook her head, confusion flashing in her eyes. “You’re creating problems here where there aren’t any. You’re thinking too much, Cass.”
“No, Herald,” Cassandra insisted. “This is important to me, and I was too brash before to consider it. You’ve… you’ve said you don’t believe you’re chosen. Does that mean you also don’t believe in the Maker?”
Lyanna’s red tattoos bent slightly as she frowned. “I’m Dalish. I believe in our own gods.”
Cassandra sighed and dropped her sword. “And there’s no room among your gods for one more?”
She may as well have slapped Lyanna. Red rose above her collar, flushing her dark skin even darker, before she took a few deep breaths and calmed her anger. Only the steely glint of disappointment remained in her green eyes.
“And see,” Cass sighed, “this is what I mean. My trainers always told me to think before I act, but I never managed it.”
Lyanna’s low voice was hard when she spoke. “We don’t have to continue, Cassandra. In fact, maybe it’s better if we don’t.”
The shame came, prickling, at the center of Cassandra’s chest. She regarded Lyanna for a beat of time, deliberating — I could apologize, but what should I apologize for? She is chosen, a sign of hope for us all, and she spits in the face of it. There’s nothing I can do to help her see without alienating her further.
“Perhaps you’re right.” Cassandra finally said with a sigh.
With that, she felt as if a door inside her she’d merely cracked open, just to see what it looked like on the other side, fell shut and locked. She doubted she’d ever open it again.