Night fell on Skyhold and as winter crept in through the aviary’s window, Leliana could not contain the shiver that ran through her. Normally she welcomed darkness, feeling far more comfortable with only the luminescent moon for company than amongst her peers. Now however, she could only sit, having given up the pretence of work an hour ago, and let the slow trickle of dread continue to fill her. While night often brought a unique peace and silence, it also brought with it time for the Spymaster to worry herself in circles.
She had sent Sister Rejeanne out with explicit instructions to her Warden’s last known whereabouts. While contact with her love had been scarce over the past few years, she had always relied on one of her topmost operatives to touch base with the Warden. And they had been successful, returning every two months without fail. Except this time.
After watching her operative gallop out Skyhold’s gates, Leliana had received nothing but silence in the following weeks. No news of Rejeanne’s struggles to find the band of Wardens, no news through her operatives in the Deep Roads of any movement, positive or otherwise. Nothing. To someone who used the threat of the unknown as her greatest weapons, Leliana was most definitely rattled. The fear and uncertainty that had taken up residence in her heart had not been felt since- she shuddered swallowing down the bile in her throat- Marjolaine.
Of course, her Warden’s ultimate fate had been a topic of discussion ever since they had met in Lothering, despite Leliana’s best attempts to ignore its consequences. Solona and herself were always destined to part ways sooner rather than later and Leliana, past scorch marks be damned, found herself ignoring her lover’s macabre warnings, refused to acknowledge the reality of their situation.
Solona Amell was dying. Like all Wardens; slow and painfully, with the taint creeping through her blood. They had already laughed at fate once with the Arch Demon, thanks to last minute tampering by Morrigan, whom Leliana was eternally indebted to. However any jubilation following that particular victory had been short lived. Soon after, with their little troupe disbanding, Leliana and the Warden were pulled in opposing directions, only managing fleeting moments with one another on a handful of occasions in between their various missions and tasks.
In her heart, it had never truly bothered Leliana, instead choosing to focus on the objective at hand, leaving any troublesome thoughts an issue for the future, an imagined time for her and her love to simply be, without the stress and weight of duty bearing down upon them. It was an indeterminate later, which slipped further and further away as time marched forward. It was only when Sunny had visited her that last time, sneaking into her room in the Grand Cathedral and announcing her quest to cure the taint, did Leliana begin to see her fantasy for what it was. She couldn’t swallow the fear any further. The sense of finality of their last night together weighed heavily in her gut and now, even two years on, she refused to fully accept the most probable outcome of her love’s quest.
Now however, with only damning silence to greet her, it could be ignored no further-
She was jolted from her morbid reverie by the faint sound of a rock, tumbling from the great heights of the aviary’s walls. She would have dismissed it for a raven, if she hadn’t known they were all currently indisposed.
There was a light tinkle of metal against stone, interspersed only with light puffs of breath from just outside the window. Any surprise on Leliana’s features quickly melted. The fear that had begun to flare in her heart hardened into a cold, unbridled fury. This was simpler, anger being much easier for Leliana to digest.
She was insulted, honestly. She had made many enemies in her lifetime, certainly more than she had made friends. It only stood to reason that some foolish sod would try to convey their displeasure in this way. However, they (regardless of who they were) could have at least sent a competent assassin; not someone who would huff and puff all the way to her window. It would have been an excellent surprise entrance, if she hadn’t heard them panting and cursing a mile off.
Unsheathing a dagger, Leliana examined the point, testing its sharpness on the pad of her finger. She allowed her mind to clear momentarily, focusing instead on the cold wind whistling from the winter outside. For the first time in an age, Leliana was calm. This was her business.
One second stretched to two. A deep breath, filled with crisp mountain air.
The Spymaster barely had time to register the light gauntlet that grasped her window ledge before her dagger pierced through it, pinning it to the wood below.
An indignant yelp sounded from outside. That was not a noise assassins made. Even the worst ones.
Retreating several steps from the window, Leliana’s anger morphed to plain confusion. She could only stand with bafflement painted across her features as the impaled hand’s twin flew up to join it, grasping for purchase on the wooden ledge. A familiar flurry of blue and silver scrambled up and over, ending in an undignified tangle of limbs. slumped where Leliana had been sitting moments before.
A surprised gasp escaped the Spymaster as she stood, rooted to the spot as her mind attempted to make sense of what she was seeing.
No. Surely Not-
The slumped figure gave a groan through gritted teeth. Experimentally, she flexed the fingers on her skewered hand before giving a slow tug, pulling the appendage free with a pitying groan. Dazed, the intruder inspected the hand, dagger and all, holding it up in front of her face. Only when a shadow blocked her vision did a frown appear across her features. Blinking owlishly, it took several seconds for the woman’s eyes to adjust before Leliana’s shocked visage came into focus. At the sight, the intruder couldn’t stop a goofy grin spreading across her lips.
Like a spell breaking, Leliana stuttered into action, her body struggling with what best to tackle first. Grabbing griffin embossed pauldrons; Leliana hauled the Warden up onto the chair before cupping the woman’s gaunt cheeks and stroking softly at waxen features, her eyes darting over the Warden’s tired, pallid complexion. She feels her heart crumble into her stomach. They had done enough research over the years to know the signs. Maker, no.
The Warden simply watches Leliana’s examination, a soft pout growing as she saw the anxiety wash over the Spymaster’s features.
“Oh no. I don’t look that terrible, do I?”
What was an attempt at a chuckle came out of Leliana’s throat as a strangled sob, reality crashing down on her. She took her frustration out on one pauldron with a hard smack, forcing out a stifled “Stop that,” before taking the Warden’s head back in her hands and allowing their lips to graze for the first time in years, finally allowing their foreheads to rest against one another as guilt and dread fill her. All she could focus on was how cold Solona was.
It’s too late-
“I- Leli, I’m so sorry-“
Fat tears burned a path down the Spymaster’s cheeks. All these years wasted, and now it’s finally here-
“Oh, Solona. We- I should have- ”
“Shhh, it’s alright, my love. There’s nothing to apologise for.” The Warden mirrored Leliana’s grip with her uninjured hand, gently prying their foreheads apart so they could look one another in the eye. Finding her Warden’s gaze, Leliana’s guts churned at soft eyes and the sympathetic smile on the younger woman’s features. She nuzzled into the soft leather that cradled her own face, greeted by the familiar smell of her lover, feeling more at peace than she had in an age.
“Honestly,” The Warden continued, voice weak as she gently stroked the crest of a high cheekbone, “We should have seen this coming. It was inevitable, really.”
Though she smiled at her love’s words, there was nothing but a crippling sadness in Leliana’s features, her heart cracking further at Solona’s blasé attitude to her mortality. She never did put much stock in her own worth. The Warden averts her gaze, her words carrying the same crushing weight Leliana feels. When Solona next spoke, her words cracked as they left her lips, lanced with pain.
“We were going to have a house. With a garden, filled with Andraste’s Grace and Schmooples Three through Nine.” Maker there are tears in her eyes. Solona never weeps. “We’d adopt, most likely. Wouldn’t plan on it, but one of the local urchins would get caught with their fingers in your pocket. You’d tut and teach them how to do it right and get someone to thank you as you lightened their coin purse. Oh!” Her dull eyes filled with a wistful mirth. “We would’ve gotten another dog! Truffles was busy during the Blight. I don’t think there’s a pup in Ferelden without at least a little Mabari in them.”
Leliana’s chuckle came out as another small sob. She pushed the Warden’s pauldron lightly in jest, even as tears stung the corners of her eyes.
“Stop, Mon Cheri. Please.”
Leliana glanced up at her Warden, only to see Sunny drinking her features in, committing every detail of her lover to memory. She found strength in the Warden’s soft snort.
“We were never destined for a quiet life, were we, love?”
Leliana could only bite her lip, offering a watery smile in return. Sunny sighed, squaring her shoulders, the quake in her voice belying any confidence she tried to exude.
“That’s why,” She set her jaw, coming to kneel in front of Leliana. “I pledge myself to you, Divine Victoria, first of your name.” The Warden moved to kneel in front of her, swallowing heavily. “Whatever you require, I shall endeavour my hardest to accomplish. Whether it take me back down to the Deep Roads or to the ends of Thedas I-“
“Wait, Sunny-“Leliana shook her head, confused by her lover’s declaration. She was dying, for Maker’s sake. Now is not the time for noble pledges. Bending down, she took a finger, tilting the Warden’s chin back up from the floor, meeting her eyes. “What are you on about? I will not have you spending your last days down in those damned Deep Roads. They have stolen enough from us as it is.”
Holding the Spymaster’s gaze, Sunny’s features softened and Leliana was immediately reminded of that blasted Mabari, petted lip and big pleading eyes as it begged for scraps at supper. The Warden’s brow scrunched in dejection. She gave a weak shrug.
“Well, you know, since the whole Higher Calling” she motioned to Leli “Thing, we can no longer be together, Your Grace.” She offered a weak smile, “And as much as I’d like to, even I can’t argue with the Maker.” She smirked. “I’ll give Him one thing, He does have fine taste.”
Leliana frowned, increasingly angered with her lover’s flippancy, especially as her heart was shattering with every passing word. Now is certainly not the time.
“Solona, what are you talking about?” She ground out, little remaining patience evaporating, willing the tears in her vision to subside. “I don’t care about the blasted Maker right now. What about the Wardens? The Taint? You’re dying.” Her heart caught in her throat, and it took all of Leliana’s strength not to break down then.
Sunny’s head tilted, puzzled for a second.
“What? Oh! No!” Her features blossomed, radiant once more. “No I’m not! I forgot to mention that.” She frowned again, gazing back up at the Spymaster, muttering. “Did I forget to mention that? II think I did forget to mention it. Probably should have started with that, to be honest. Maker above, it’s been so long since I’ve just slept.”
Frustration growing, Leliana gave the Warden an irritated shove. Her body was a storm of emotions, drowning her as they spoke.
Any agitation however, dimmed as she watched her lover topple back slightly, causing the dagger still impaled in her hand to catch on the edge of the table. A hiss escaped Sunny.
“Look,” Leliana sighed, exasperated. She desperately needed to get a hold of this situation. Tucking her hands underneath the Warden’s arms, she hauled Solona up onto the seat she had occupied minutes ago.
“First of all,” She grabbed the Warden’s wrist. “Fix this.”
She leaned against the adjacent table, hugging herself with one hand while perching the other in front of her mouth, gently worrying a lip between thumb and forefinger. Silence reigned as she watched the Warden remove the dagger with a not so delicate jerk, barely registering any pain as she did so.
“Doesn’t that hurt?” She cringed at the thought of causing her Warden any further harm. “It’s been lodged there for several minutes and I was hardly gentle.”
Sunny glanced back up at her, soft eyes glinting with amusement as she tugged her opposing glove off with her teeth, grimacing at the blood staining her hand, now saturating her sleeve. She gave a small shrug.
“It’s not so bad.”
“I stabbed you through your hand with a serrated blade, Solona.”
Another shrug met her as Sunny worked her now bare fingers into the tears of her gauntleted hand, discarding it before the tell tale white wisps and crackle of restorative magic flowed from her fingers
“It’s been two years since I’ve been blessed enough to hold you in my arms, Leli; any other pain is inconsequential.”
Leliana rolled her eyes in exasperation but could not stop the soft smile or flutter of butterflies in her core at the words.
“Well now you have me.”
When her eyes met the Warden’s, Leliana did not fail to miss the sadness that tinged the woman’s features.
Her stomach dropping and confusion returning, Leliana swallowed, bracing herself. Hadn’t they just discussed this? By Andraste’s Grace, she was far too tired for this.
“Perhaps we should start from the beginning, non?” She swallowed “How were the Deep Roads?”
“In a word? Shit. In two words? Incredibly shit.” Sunny scowled. “Imagine being stuck in a dingy cave stinking of rotten flesh and piss with only Avernus and his cheery disposition for company?” Receiving a sympathetic grimace, Solona nodded. “It’s a miracle I didn’t just fake my Calling then and end it all there.”
Ignoring Solona’s glib comment, the Spymaster chose to focus on the important. “But, D-Did you do it though?” Leliana’s insides squirmed, the Warden’s mission heavy in her mind. “You look like death, sweetheart.”
“Yeah, sorry about that.” Solona winced stroking at her gaunt cheeks. “I know I’m not exactly Vintage Amell right now, but that’s what two years of no sunlight and minimal rations will do to a person.” She glanced back up at Leliana, and the Spymaster’s heart leapt at the flicker of hope that burned in her love’s gaze. “But I think we did it, Leli. It’s gone.” She beamed. “I’m free.”
Leliana could not stop the relieved sob as she grabbed her Warden’s head, clutching it to her chest. All of a sudden she was light headed. After all she had hoped and dreamt of, she could hardly believe it; their time was finally here.
“Are you sure?” Leliana queried, cradling Sunny’s head in her hands, stroking her brow with delicate thumbs, searching Solona’s features for any flicker of doubt.
“Positive.” The Warden nodded as best she could. “Avernus and I had to test it to make sure, but we have a recipe to bring back to Weisshaupt. Being a Warden is no longer a death sentence.”
While her grin grew, untamed, Leliana halted the chuckle that tried to escape her. Do not get carried away just yet. There is always a ‘but’.
“So-So what happens now?”
Solona swallowed, some of her earlier enthusiasm draining slightly.
“Well, when we emerged from the Deep Roads, we were met by Sister Rejeanne. It took us a few days to acclimatise to the light and weather again, during which time she gave me your letters and informed us of your, “She searched for the word in her tired haze, “Inquisition and the... delicate state of affairs in Ferelden and Orlais.” She shook her head at the memories. “While we made haste back, Avernus and I were left with much time to ruminate and consider the situation and how we should proceed.”
“I hurried on ahead; Avernus should be here along with the good Sister in a few days.” A wry grin spread across her features. “They lacked my motivation to return so swiftly.” She glanced adoringly up at Leliana, allowing herself a moment to simply bask in her lover’s presence, bringing up a bare hand to cover the one that currently cradled her cheek.
“Once he arrives, we’ll need to reacquaint ourselves with surface politics. Rejeanne mentioned you had a Warden or two passing through Skyhold? After that we’ll most likely head to Ferelden and offer our antidote to the King.” At this Sunny deflated, her crestfallen gaze dropping to the floor. “If Alistair will even see me.” Leliana’s heart wept at the sight.
“My love, have no fear, Alistair has yearned for your company as much as you have his.”
“Even after Denerim and Warden Loghain?” Sunny scoffed bitterly at the memory. “I don’t know Leli. He seemed rather sure of his parting words.”
“That was ten years ago, my love. And you know Alistair; he speaks from his heart often forgetting to engage his brain. I’ve met with him on several occasions since. He does not hate you, Solona, far from it, regardless of what he implied when you last met.”
Sunny gave a despondent sigh.
“I hope so.”
“My love, I know so.”
Allowing nothing more than an acquiescing nod, Solona continued, a pained expression fluttering across her features as she considered her next steps.
“After Ferelden, We were hoping to visit Weisshaupt and take our findings there. But there are dangerous rumours about the place, and my last scrap of information regarding the castle; a woman suspiciously matching Cousin Marian’s description was seen headed in their direction.” She glances up at Leliana “You know as well as I do that Hawke wears chaos like a cloak, wherever she goes.” She gave a soft smirk. “Is she still with the Pirate? I liked her.”
Leliana returned the gentle smile, that ever so common trickle of dread beginning to seep back into her soul. This was it. This is where she and her love part ways.
“What then? Will you take up residence at Weisshaupt?”
“Oh, no.” Solona shook her head vigorously. “After we’ve dropped off the antidote, I’m resigning my mantle.”
“What!?” Leliana all but squawked. As much as Solona grumbled, being a Grey Warden was in her blood. Literally. It defined her, she had said so herself. Waiting for a response, Leliana stood silent, only receiving a shrug from the Warden Commander in response.
“Well, I mean, I can’t in all good faith stay. I lack the Taint. I can’t sense Dark Spawn or Arch Demons, which makes me a rather poor Grey Warden. And anyway,” she pouted lightly, anger welling in her features. “If it wasn’t for Morrigan, I’d have already died for the order and I’ve spent practically the past ten years attempting to cure the Warden’s curse, which I have. I think I deserve my happy ending.”
Leliana could only nod, agreeing most vehemently with her lover. Clearing her throat, the Spymaster attempted to regain a little moisture in her mouth as she closed in on the answer she was waiting for, the answer she had dared not dream for.
“So what will you do with yourself after?” She tried as nonchalantly as possible, cursing the desperation laced in her tone. Solona only glanced up at her, looking broken.
“I was going to find you. Make good on that Happily Ever After all those stories go on about. But alas,” Her whole body shuddered, drained and defeated, her attempt at a chuckle strained and choked. “T’was not to be.”
Leliana paused, breath caught in her throat as she waited for the other foot to drop. The couple only stared at each other in silence a few moments longer, confusion growing on both their faces.
“The Maker has deemed otherwise,” Solona spoke slowly, as if every word pained her. “You are to be made Divine.”
“Yes?” The Spymaster ventured, still struggling to follower her lover’s train of thought. The Warden gave an exasperated sigh.
“You can’t take a lover, let alone marry, Leli. I know I’m not the most religious, but you are, or at least, you will be, very soon. Even I know the rules.” Solona grimaced, and prepared herself before forcing out her next words, clearly rehearsed and gone over several times. “That’s why, while I know I cannot be with you as Solona Amell, and I cannot pledge myself to you as a Warden, I can promise you, Most Holy, to serve as a devout Sister and carry out your bidding with utmost trust and profession, regardless of where that may take or require of me. I love you Leli, in every which form I am allowed. I’ve already travelled to the ends of the earth so we could be together. I’d go there again if you’d ask it of me.”
The knit in Leliana’s brow lessened slightly and she fought the small quirk of her lips. She could see where Solona’s train of thought was taking her. Her lover was completely wrong, but Leliana couldn’t help but tease her a little.
“Why would I send you back to the end of the world after finally getting you back?”
Solona’s shoulders fell as her face crumbled, gaze falling to the floor.
“Honestly? I couldn’t sit and pretend you weren’t the centre of my world Leli.” With a shuddering breath, Solona’s eyes shot up to the ceiling and Leliana’s heart caught in her throat at the glassy sheen of tears her lover was struggling to keep from falling. “And not the Divine, or Andraste or the fucking Maker. It’s you, Leli.” Solona finally met her gaze and Leliana was shocked to see such beaten defeat on the Warden’s face. When she spoke her voice was little more than a whisper. “It’s always been you.”
Oh no. No, this would not do. Solona could not go one more second doubting Leliana’s love and need for her, to think her well of affection and love was not matched likewise. She closed the distance between them, inhaling the scent that was indescribably, irrefutably Solona; A heady mix of forest and steel and strength and sweat that lifted Leliana’s very spirit. With Solona by her side, she was unstoppable. Cupping the Warden’s face, she traced the line of her cheekbones with a thumb, coaxing the mage to meet her eyes once more.
“My love, I am not parting ways with you again.”
“But Leli, I have to go to Ferel-“
“No. We will send word to Alistair. If he wants the cure, he will come to us. We are too busy saving the world.” A smirk, “Again.”
“After, I do need to go to Weisshaupt. No amount of letters will solve that.”
“Then I’ll come with you.”
“Leli, your coronation-“
“Leliana. You can’t just make them wait for your return.”
“Yes I can. I am to be Divine. What higher authority will they complain to? The Maker? Hold on, He’s sending me a message right now.” She moved one hand down from Solona’s face down to her shoulder as she gazed up at the ceiling questioningly, a private conversation going on in her head.
“Oh yes, He says all those Nug Humpers can sit down, shut up and deal with it. We’ve waited enough, my love. The world can march to our beat, for once.”
Solona swallowed deeply, taking a few moments to compose herself before finally managing to make her mouth cooperate.
Leliana gave a small shrug.
“The Maker is apparently part Dwarven. Who knew?”
Wet laughter escaped Solona’s throat, and Leliana couldn’t help the flood of relief that swept through her. It lasted only a moment however as the Warden grew sombre once more.
“But what about after though? It’s against scripture. There are some rules that weren’t made to be broken.”
“No, but they can be changed. Sunny, if the Maker is allowed a bride, so am I.”
The Warden gave a soft huff of laughter, even as tired tears spilled from her eyes.
“But nothing, Solona!” Leliana begged, all but desperate. She closed her eyes, bringing her forehead to rest against her lover’s. “The Maker has chosen me to be his messenger to the world because of my Faith and experiences. You are intrinsically tied in my faith, my sweet. Do you honestly think I would have been chosen if not for you? If I were still a lay sister from Lothering like all those years ago?”
“Well, no...” She could feel as the mage’s brow furrowed against her own and she smiled, enjoying everything that was Solona Amell, in this moment and beyond.
“No. I was broken. I was.” She reiterated, stopping the interruption that was on her love’s tongue.
“I was hiding and hating and pretending I was a different person with different experiences from everything that had come before. Marjolaine’s shadow hung over me, tainted, unlovable, a monster, a waste of humanity for the misdeeds I had carried out. I begged and pleaded for forgiveness that I knew would not come.”
She was laughing and by the Maker, she was crying. But Leliana could not find it within herself to care.
“But you did. You came along, Solona. My ray of hope, a sign from Andraste so obvious you have sunshine in your name. You put your trust in me, even when you had no real reason to do so. You allowed me to reconcile who I was with who I wanted to be. You lent me your faith and your strength and allowed me to rebuild.” She paused, gathering her shallow breath and tears fell down her cheeks only to be caught by Solona’s callused yet gentle fingers.
“The Arch Demon did not kill you but it should have. Fate kept trying to pull us apart yet we kept finding our way back to one another. When mere duty could not separate us, the Calling came for you. And you left, vowing to stop it for good. There was no cure, Solona! There should not be. Yet here you stand before me, cleansed. I prayed to the Maker ever night for your safe return. But my Faith was not in Him. It was in you. As always, to keep your word. To find your way back. You shouldn’t have. But you did!”
She was a mess now. They both were, sobbing and whimpering as eleven years of strain, stress and fighting finally caught up with them. When she spoke again, the fervour had left her voice but her tone remained resolute.
“And I am done letting you go, my love. Our future will not be the one we dreamed about, cuddled under the stars with a little house and pets and children, but I do not care, as long as you are there. I want you there, Solona. I need you there.”
Leliana eyes were screwed shut, terrified, feeling more exposed and raw than she had in a long time.
The silence stretched on, even the pair’s intermittent whimpers tailing off. Uncertainty filled her with dread, and unable to withstand the torment any longer, Leliana carefully opened her eyes.
Her breath caught once more at the sight before her.
Solona was watching her reverently, a dark fire and passion rekindling in her gaze, threatening to swallow Leliana whole.
Before she could begin to process it, there was a clash of teeth as Solona’s mouth descended upon her. Leliana hissed at the bite to her bottom lip before returning the favour, determined to be swept away and drowned in the fury of Sunny’s passion, the slight sting of salty tears offering an under bite to the ferocity of love and feeling currently devouring them.
Finally pulling back, lips swollen and giggling like school children, Leliana was taken aback as Solona’s worn, tired features crinkled with mirth, reminding her oh so much of the nervous Warden she had met back in Lothering many years ago.
“So I am to become a kept woman then, Leli? A body servant, concubine to the Divine herself?”
“Not quite, mon cœur,” Leliana giggled, unable to tease back quite yet. “When I ascend, there will be an opening for the Left Hand. And I will have network in need of a Spy Master. Only my most trustworthy could lead it.”
“But of course,” Solona played along, utmost seriously. “You’d need someone who knows all your agents, has years of experience in dealing with them. But how could you truly trust them?” She smirked, shooting Leliana with a smouldering look. “What if they turned out to be a villainous cad, out only for personal gain and glory?”
“Ah, you see my dear Warden, to determine trust and supreme conviction; I need an Act of Utmost Devotion.”
“Utmost devotion, ay?” The smirk on Solona’s lips was sinful. “I can manage that. Prepare for premature ascension, my love, for you are about to meet the Maker.” Solona advanced on Leliana, until her senses were filled with the Warden. Leliana shivered as her lover leaned down, lips tracing the lobe of her ear as she growled, hot breath washing deliciously over the Spymaster’s skin.
“You’ll be screaming His name soon enough.” A smirk. “Or mine. I don’t really mind.”
Any retort Leliana was planning melted into a groan as Solona pounced in to action, claiming the Spymaster’s lower lip with her teeth, only to soothe the tender flesh immediately with the stroke of her tongue. Backing off minutely, Solona instead pecked at Leliana’s jaw with insistent kisses, as if unable to decide on which part of the Bard’s skin to dote on first. Idly, Leliana noted one of the Warden’s hands had drifted upward, fiddling with the clasp to her hood. She felt a shift and sudden lightness. After years it was as if she could breathe again. Whether that was from her Warden or the heavy material now pooling at her feet, Leliana did not ponder, too engrossed in her lover’s increasing ministrations.
Hands drifting upwards still, Solona thread fingers through the Spymaster’s hair, firm grip succeeding in grounding them both as her mouth returned once more to claim Leliana’s. Their bodies surged together, the layers of leather and chainmail allowing the pair to attack with a fervour they had only imagined in the deepest recesses of loneliness during their years apart.
Deftly unbuckling the Spymaster’s leather and chainmail shift, Solona allowed herself a smug smirk at the gasp that left Leliana, as the breeze from the Frostback’s skirted over newly bared skin. Taking a second step back, to better give herself space to breathe and collect herself, Solona finally allowed her gaze to properly take in her lover. In their years apart, the Warden could see the pinch of stress and duty in every rigid detail of Leliana’s body. From the permanently knit brow to stiff jaw and tightly coiled strength in the Spymaster’s every movement, as if expecting an attack at any moment, Solona’s exuberance diminished slightly. All the work she and her friends had done into allowing Leliana to relax and come into her own again had been undone in her absence. Her heart clenched at the thought. Luckily, they had all the time in Thedas to work on it once more.
Certainly not for the first time in her life, Solona found her gaze drifting to the electrifying blue of her Lover’s and took a moment to bask in the glory of all they had accomplished. While they still had much fighting to do, and she could see herself offering support once more to this Inquisitor everyone had been eager to discuss, the Warden couldn’t help but feel elation at the sense of finality this night brought.
She was alive and she was here. Where here was exactly, was irrelevant, as long as her Bard was present. Her life’s work, their lives’ struggles had all led up to this moment and Maker be damned, Solona considered herself victorious. She had won. No matter what came next, whatever Fate deigned to throw their way, Solona knew, it would be her and Leliana. After what they had endured, the Warden was certain, if not for the precise outcome, that once it was all said and done, there they would be. Sunny and Leli; standing together in the rubble of whatever remained.
Suddenly choked with an onslaught of emotion she had not felt in a long while, Solona could not find words to function. Wry quips and smart comments deserted her. Instead she had the overwhelming urge to translate this overwhelming surge of sentimentality to the woman standing before her. Once again she was the awkward teenager back at Kinloch Hold, struggling with rampant hormones and feelings and ugh. So she fell back on her teachings. What she knew.
While never truly religious, Solona had taken comfort in the words of Andraste; a taste shared by a certain Bard and allowed them to bond at the beginning of their relationship. Looking into her lover’s features, weathered by the trials and tribulations that had followed them over the years, Solona was transported back to simpler times. If one could count battling Blight summoning Arch Demons as simpler times. The thought brought a small grin to her lips and air returned to her lungs as the words she had been searching for flooded her mind. Cupping each of Leliana’s cheeks with calloused hands, Solona leaned in, murmuring gently to her.
“My Protector, hear my cry:
Guide me through the blackest nights.
Steel my heart against the temptations of the wicked.
Make me to rest in the warmest places.”
She trailed a line of kisses, decorating the Bard’s skin from her lips, to her chin, growing insistent as she traversed the column of her throat, teeth lightly grazing the pulse at the base of her neck. At the breathy moan she received, the Mage rewarded Leliana with a searing kiss to the spot, which would most certainly bruise by morning. She was equally thankful and disappointed that the Spymaster had such an affinity for high collars.
“My Saviour, know my heart:
Take from me a life of sorrow.
Lift me from a world of pain.
Judge me worthy of Your endless pride.”
Her lips continued down, pausing to reverently pay respects to the area just above her heart. So lost in the Warden’s devotions; Leliana failed to register as her lover liberated one of the many daggers hidden on her person until the cool blade caressed her skin, gliding through her chest bindings with casual ease. She chuckled lightly at distant memories. While Solona had confided that Leliana had been her only Lover of the fairer persuasion, they had certainly got in their fair share of practice in the art of love making. Clearly the Warden’s talents had not atrophied in years gone by.
“My Creator, judge me whole:
Find me well within Your grace.
Touch me with fire that I be cleansed.
Tell me I have sung to Your approval.”
Leliana had always sworn Sunny used her magic when touching her, from the way warmth erupted from every graze and gentle stroke they shared. As it did now, her Bindings falling only for Solona’s hands to quickly replace them, cupping her breasts oh so delicately yet assured in their devotions. A sharp hiss escaped her as a mouth, hotter than the depths of the Deep Roads themselves, descended on one peak. The gentle scrape of teeth and lavish attention from a pointed tongue shot a pulse of need directly to her core. She fisted her Warden’s sleek hair, longer than the last time she had seen it, in an attempt to balance herself. Her efforts faltered, however, as nimble fingers set to work on her other breast, the soft flesh on the pads of Solona’s fingers working in delicious tandem with calloused edges, ensuring neither of the pair was left neglected. Her breath growing heavy, Leliana revelled in the soft, steady comfort of her lover’s strong embrace. She could feel herself melting into the touch. Both wanting the Warden to continue onwards and never stop.
“O My Holy, see me kneel:
For I walk only where You would bid me.
Stand only in places You have blessed.
Sing only the words You place in my throat.”
Leaving one of her most favourite spots in all of Thedas, Solona let her mouth drift further still. Skirting the planes of Leliana’s taut stomach, the Warden allowed her lips and fingers to explore the long forgotten lands. She noted with muted pleasure as Leliana shivered as she caressed every scar and mark available to her. Solona allowed herself to celebrate and show appreciation for every score on the tapestry of her Bard’s body, every blemish being a reminder that, despite the horrors her lover had endured, she was still here, she was still breathing, and despite it all, the pain and misery and torture – Marjolaine - Solona was still hers. And she was Leliana’s, in body, spirit and mind.
Urged by the hand still entangled in her hairline, Solona dip once more, nipping determinedly at a starburst just above her lover’s navel, distracting Leliana so that she barely noticed as her hands drifted to her hips, beginning to unravel the ties to her breeches.
“O My Saviour, hear my cry:
Seat me by Your side in death.
Make me one within Your glory.
And let the world once more see Your favour.”
Leliana could not help the nervous jolt as wisps of the Warden’s hair tickled at the crease of her hip bone. The reverential blessings bestowed by Solona’s lips to the smattering of hair on her mound only serving to stoke the flames of her arousal higher still. She was ready to combust as it was. Her body was wracked with shivers at the tease of her Warden’s strong fingers at her lips, gliding along the edge collecting moisture but refusing to dip in further. It was driving her insane.
Unable to contain herself, she tugged Solana’s head back an inch, forcing the woman to meet her eyes. The Warden’s hot breath was as ragged as her own, if the feeling of it puffing against her nether lips were anything to go by. Glancing down, Leliana’s heart was in her mouth at the flare of pure and wild devotion in Solona’s eyes. As if she was looking up at the Maker himself, as if Leliana held the answers to love, life and the universe within her. Looking down at her love, she had never seen the Warden so fulfilled and at peace.
“Sunny- Solona-“ She managed to choke out, enraptured as she was by the gentle smile and unending joy in the woman’s features.
“For You are the fire at the heart of the world,
And comfort is only Yours to give.”
Without breaking gazes, Solona lowered her mouth, further than it had gone in years, and Leliana could do nought bet let out a sinful moan as heat engulfed her once more. Wet fingers came up to cup her, delving deep, two strong, steady fingers finding little resistance as they slipped home like they had never left.
She was nearly overwhelmed by the stimulation; of Solona’s steady kneading of her clit with a studied tongue, of the pleasant burn as fingers slightly thicker than her own stretched her deliciously for the first time in what felt like forever, of the reverential gaze and pure, undiluted love pouring out of Solona’s features as she brought Leliana to new and increasing heights. It would not be long before she crashed.
And indeed it was not. With the practiced curl of rough fingers and familiar tug within her, Leliana allowed herself to fall; comfortable in the knowledge her love would catch her. A sob escaped her as Solona guided and prolonged her orgasm, the magister knowing just where to touch and how to let Leliana become truly boneless.
Feeling her twitches lessen, the Warden eased her fingers from her lover, licking them clean before returning her attention to the Bard above her. Making sure not a trace of Leliana’s essence was wasted; Solona’s kitten licks now bred a tender comfort as opposed to stoking her arousal. Receiving a soft sigh and gentle tug upwards, Solona brought herself to standing between her lover’s legs, placing her hands on strong thighs as her forehead came to lean against Leliana’s, the pair finally enjoying their simple closeness. They remained in silence for a moment more, the sound of the soft breeze outside interspersed only with their panted breathing as the lovers began to collect themselves. After a moment, Leliana’s gaze found Solona, a gentle mirth dancing in her eyes as arms wrapped around her Warden’s shoulders.
“You know, Mon Cheri, The Maker will be most pleased to hear of your undying devotion.”
“Who says I was talking to Him?”
Leliana chuckled, opening her mouth to retort when the door behind them slammed open with a bark and harried cursing.
“Leliana – Sister Nightingale! This bloody War Hound was battering on the door downstairs, he wouldn’t take no for an answer and I’m pretty sure he made Solas literally shit himse-oh,”
Turning her head at the interruption, it only took a cursory glance for Solona to surmise the identity of their gatecrasher. A broad grin erupted over her features.
“Ah! You must be the fabled Herald of Andraste everyone is talking about!” She turned to face the Inquisitor “I see you’ve already met Truffles,” She glanced down lovingly at her aging companion, who gave a proud bark before bounding over to reacquaint himself with Leliana.
“Y-You’re-,” The Inquisitor stuttered out, their brain clearly failing. She couldn’t blame them, this happened to lots of people, in the Warden’s experience.
“Solona Bethann Amell, Warden-Commander of the Grey Wardens, Arlessa of Amaranthine, Champion of Redcliffe and Hero of Ferelden, at your services.”
She proffered a hand to shake, only to frown when the Inquisitor merely stared in horror at the appendage. Glancing down she saw the bloodied sleeve still stained and her hand freshly scarred and glistening with saliva. Well it was mostly saliva. Her body tightened in realisation, now painfully aware of the breeze bring to attention the embarrassing amount of arousal now painting her chin and cheeks. She swallowed, slowly bringing her hand back to wipe clean on her tunic.
“I-um, see you and Sister Nightingale are currently, uh- indisposed.” The Inquisitor stammered, their face an alarming shade of beetroot, eyes rooted to the stone floor. “I shall let you get... settled, tonight. We can do introductions at breakfast tomorrow.”
“That- idea... good.” Solona responded weakly, wishing for the ground to swallow her whole. Closing her eyes, she barely registered as the Inquisitor made a hasty exit, the harried cries of Josie! Josie! Dear Maker! Going unheard.
Glancing back, Solona took her place once more between the Spymaster’s legs, pouting down at her dog, sulking.
“You know I broke camp early in the dead of night so you wouldn’t follow me? And yeah, I get it, Leli’s my favourite too, but you have to wait your turn, I was here first.” Receiving only a smug chuff in response, Sunny’s pout bloomed into a full blown glare. Leliana shook her head, giggling at the two children. How I’ve missed this.
“Do you know monsieur Truffles, who else is currently visiting Skyhold?”
At this the Mabari backed up, ears twitching, alert, as his big head cocked to the side, listening.
“Morrigan is here. And she’s got a pup now!”
If Mabari could gasp, Leliana swore the mutt in front of her just did as he pranced about excitedly, chasing his tail for a rotation or two.
“Yes! If you go down, right now, I think you might be able to find them in the gardens doing a little lesson on m, a, g -“
Before she could finish her sentence, the Hound was off, barrelling excitedly back down the stairs he had just traversed. The pair watched him go, before Solona returned her gaze to Leliana, one brow quirked inquisitively.
“Is Morrigan really here?”
“She is, Kieran too. She’s done well with him.”
“Wow,” Solona trailed off, lost in memories of the past. “How did the Inquisitor manage that? We practically had to drag her with us every time we broke camp.”
“The Herald can be very persuasive when they’re not suddenly faced with the Hero of their childhood covered in the bodily fluids of one of their chief advisors.” She smirked. “You can apologise in the morning.”
Solona only shot her lover a puzzled look, wry grin on her face.
“Why would I apologise for that? Leli, I would wear it into battle as Kaddis if I could.”
The worrying thing was, The Bard mused, Solona most likely would.
“Be still, my love, I feel we have gotten distracted.”
“Oh? Where were then, Most Holy?”
“Well,” Leliana teased, wrapping powerful thighs around the Warden’s waist and in one smooth motion, reversing their positions so she sat astride Solona. “You have already pledged your Heart and Soul to the Divine, all that is left now is to claim your Body.”
And By the Spirit of Andraste, did she love doing the Maker’s work.