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The Night Before the Deep Roads

            “Can you tell me where we are going?” Solona asked, looking down on the swift-moving figure of her lover.

            Her eyes drank Leliana in, the cellic curves of the bard’s body, the luscious hips swaying back and forth in an unconscious seduction. Solona felt certain that she would follow the red-head anywhere, not simply because Leliana owned her heart, or because Solona loved her with all of her soul, but because an invisible chain linked her eyes to the woman’s backside. It was not perhaps poetic, romantic, or enchanting, but it was the truth of the matter.

            “To another inn, just for the evening.” Leliana glanced over her shoulder and smiled, knowing that the expression would keep her curious paramour from asking anymore questions.

            Solona’s questions would be answered soon enough, for the bard had things in mind. Things which she had spent this day surreptitiously preparing. They had spent the majority of the day in the Orzammar markets, replenishing their supplies before setting out for the Deep Roads in the morning. It had been all too easy, in the clamor and bustle that was the warden’s group, to make additional purchases that had nothing to do with the upcoming mission.

            The evening had seen them all enjoying a drink in Tapster’s tavern, but as they had risen and began to return to their rooms, Leliana had taken Solona’s hand and led her from the tavern into the streets of Orzammar, towards an inn that Dagna, when bribed by information on the Ferelden Circle, had told her about. Leliana had procured a room for the evening with Solona none the wiser. The establishment was such that upon entering the door, all it took was a nod, between Leliana and the concierge, to place a key in the bard’s hand.

            Solona looked around her, at the dim lighting in the halls. What the mage did not understand was how the distinct red hue of the light had been achieved. She stopped before one of the sconces, peering into it, about to reach for the glowing crystal inside the glass cover when a delicate, small hand wrapped about her wrist. She looked down into Leliana’s piercing blue eyes and, seeing the singular raised brow, immediately abandoned her curiosity and donned a sloppy, happy smile.

            She knew what that look meant…it had been the precursor to finding herself divested of clothing, trapped beneath Leliana’s firm, dexterous body, screaming in all manner of unholy pleasure as the small, roguish vixen mercilessly had her way with the mage. A dull pulse of arousal kicked between Solona’s legs, but she silenced it, as she had these many nights now. She attuned her ears in the semi-darkness and heard what she feared hearing. The slight, sharp rasping of Leliana’s breath. To another, it would seem as nothing. To Solona, it was worrisome. Leliana lived her life more silent than a shadow, unless she wished to break the quiet. To hear her breathing outside of battle or the bedchamber meant that something had gone desperately wrong…and remained so.

            However, Solona did not voice her concerns. She followed Leliana to the door, waited as her lover opened it, then entered the room, finding it lit by the same strange crystals, only here, in this room, the color of the light was blue. Solona examined her surroundings, her thoughts veering all sorts of places when she saw the opulent bed in the center of the room. Thick furs carpeted the floor beneath their feet, except at the far end of the room, where Solona could see the burnt-orange tile so common to Orzammar. She wondered at the décor for the briefest of moments until Leliana took her hand and led her to the plush settee along the wall.

            Leliana sat down and Solona followed, looking into those sparking blue eyes with concern. They held devastating seriousness and Solona breathed deep, already foregoing her penchant for levity, irreverent remarks, and jocose statements.

            “I know you have questions.” Leliana began and Solona nodded, beaming when her lover smiled. “Ask them.”

            “First…why did you bring me here?” Solona asked, deciding to let Leliana’s answer dictate her further inquiries.

            “Because tomorrow we set out for the Deep Roads.” Leliana replied, lifting a finger to forestall Solona’s next words. “And because I wanted to be in a private place with you, alone, with no fear of interruptions. We do not know how long we will be gone, my love, and we will be in close quarters with the others, have no privacy, and my body aches for you, Solona.”

            Solona tried to hide her initial reaction, but Leliana saw the slight quivering of her lips. Solona felt Leliana’s delicate hand on her thigh and silenced, because desire warred with her desperate need to be with her lover.

            “I want that too.” Solona admitted. “I want that so much, but you were hurt so badly, and you’re still so sore…”

            Solona trailed off, remembering the horrific event that happened in Dust Town, not so long ago. A dying dwarf had flung his blade at Solona, but it had pierced Leliana’s back instead. The arcane warrior still shivered at the memory, of catching Leliana’s limp body in her arms, the confusion that had swarmed in the ocean of her eyes, the precious, vital blood that had flecked her lips as she struggled to breathe. Solona’s gut clenched as she remembered pulling the blade from Leliana’s back, struggling to stop the fountain of blood with her hands while Wynne cast a spell.

            Healing magic did so much, but Solona also knew its limits. It could not restore lost blood or burn out an infection. It could not undo frostbite or prevent the lingering bruises and soreness from an injury. Later, after Leliana had been settled and made comfortable, Wynne had confided to Solona how truly close of a call it was. That a large vein in Leliana’s body had been severed and that she had nearly bled to death. Had Wynne not been so close by, had Solona’s hands shaken any harder, and the love of her life might have been lost forever.

            Solona contemplated the woman before her; so very, very precious. So very necessary in the arcane warrior’s life. As much as she wished for Leliana’s touch, to make love to her bard, she could not endure the thought of causing her pain or hampering her healing. Not when there were battles to come.

            Leliana smiled, basking in her lover’s care and affection, even though she did not agree with Solona’s assessment of her.

            “It is nothing, Solona.” Leliana reassured the mage. “Sometimes a pang when I move too swiftly or cough, but nothing more than that. It is nothing compared to the pain of not being with you.”

            “I do not want you to hurt and I do not wish to hurt you.” Solona insisted, shoring up her defenses because she knew they were so very weak against her wicked red-head’s flashing smile, deft hands, and smoldering eyes. “I will not have our love-making be the cause of your pain.”

            A slow, calculated grin spread across Leliana’s lips and she raised a single eyebrow once again, knowing that her expression had forced Solona’s heart to kick in her ribs.

            “That is why I have brought you here tonight, mon petite chou.” Leliana’s tone changed to pure, silken seduction and she saw gooseflesh rise on Solona’s bare arms. “Because there is something I need to explain to you, something that cannot be conveyed in words. It is time you learn, and nothing would give me greater…pleasure…” Solona’s eyes closed and Leliana saw the edge of the mage’s teeth biting into her lower lip, “…than to instruct you.”

            Leliana’s words sent a full body shudder through Solona. The muscles in her core fluttered and kicked and her body screamed at her, demanding that she capitulate. The last time Leliana had instructed her in something, Solona had been faced down, ordered not to make a sound, and so thoroughly pleasured that even the memory of it made her core pulse with a swift, sudden spike of absolute need.

            “If you promise to take it easy, and to tell me if you begin to hurt, then I will agree.” Solona nodded her acquiescence, and with joy leaned forward, only for Leliana to move away before their lips met.

            “Not so fast, my love.” her tone and her eyes were wickedness incarnate. “I am the teacher here, and you must apply yourself with utmost diligence. Do not utter a word unless I give you leave to speak. Do not move without my direction. And do not even dare think to touch me without my express permission.”

            Oh, dear sweet holy Andraste. Solona swallowed the lump in her throat as her mouth went dry and her sex wet with the anticipation of what would come. When that look entered Leliana’s eyes, when she spoke in that manner, it meant that Solona would soon be brought to higher planes and echelons of desire and pleasure than she knew existed. Obedient to a fault, Solona placed her hands in her lap and waited for her lover’s instructions.


                Leliana rose to her feet, examining the room she had rented with great satisfaction. It reminded her of some of the bedchambers she had frequented in Val Royeaux. As the proprietor had promised, the lighting was so very conducive to her plans and a fire burned in the hearth, warming the room. Leliana also knew what her lover did not…the crystals that emanated the low, blue light had also been enchanted with the ability to absorb sound. No one would hear them, and that was as it should be, for Leliana had plans to hear her lover scream.

            Leliana reached into her tunic and withdrew a leather pouch. She had always carried one with her and filled it with the tools of her trade. Tonight, however, she did not carry her lockpicks, her garrote, or her small vials of poison. Tonight she carried other tools, and she would ensure that Solona, by the end of the evening, would have known the use of each and every one of them.

            She unrolled the leather pouch atop the table, examining every item, nodding when she had been satisfied. Then, she turned to her lover. The mage remained seated on the settee, her hands in her lap, her eyes alight; but she made no sound. Leliana’s heart filled with the warmth of knowing that this woman, this powerful, exquisite woman, trusted her implicitly. She trusted Leliana with her body and her soul…no one had ever given her that. No one had ever let her dictate to them.

            Her diminutive stature and slight frame had always given others the belief that they possessed the power over her, and her past was proof that the assumptions of those sorts had never been wrong. She had been stripped of her power several times over, especially by Marjolaine. Solona, however, had never done so. She had never used her greater strength or her magic as a threat or a way to declare power and possession over the bard. Solona had never wanted ownership so much as she had shown Leliana her desire to be owned.

            And if her raw power, beauty, and grace are mine to possess and to own, then I shall never tighten the leash or make her bend the knee. Not in earnest. For in letting me own her she has claimed me entirely. A mutual pact, a blessed partnership. As it should be.

            Leliana felt the searing heat of love bloom in her very soul. This fire served as her foundation, her bedrock, an anchor that she could always depend upon. As the flames within her kindled, her surety in her love of Solona, her steadfast trust in her cherished arcane warrior, she allowed mischief to dance once more in her heart. Her eyes flickered and danced and her body quivered with anticipation. She would teach Solona an aspect of love the mage had never known, and possibly could not conceive of.

            And it shall be glorious.

            “Take off your boots.” Leliana ordered, her voice snapping across the room like the crack of a whip.

            Leliana watched, a gluttonous smile on her face as her lover complied, reaching down and untying the laces of her boots, drawing them off of her feet and setting them aside before returning to her position of perfect submission. Leliana could see the tension in the strained set of Solona’s shoulders, could read her arousal in the taut tendons of her neck. The bard knew that soon, decadent sweat would pool in the hollow of that delectable, statuesque throat. She would be able to drink her lover’s desire, and all in her world would be well.

            “Stand up.” the whip crack voice again, followed by Solona’s compliance.

            The mage rose to her full height and Leliana felt a shiver run down her spine. All of that body was hers to command, hers to lavish with kisses, torment with touches, sate and soothe and stoke with her tongue. She sauntered over to the mage and reached for the laces at the collar of Solona’s shirt. She was nearly desperate to get the woman naked, but she also knew that Solona wanted to be so, and that made Leliana’s movements all the more languorous.

            Leliana watched the accelerated rise and fall of Solona’s chest as the bard finished undoing the laces. Leliana opened her mouth to speak, to give the order, but before she could, Solona pulled her shirt over her head and tossed it onto the settee. Leliana frowned. She was not truly upset, but in the spirit of what was taking place between them, she could not let such gross negligence of her orders go unpunished.

            Almost too fast to see, Leliana snaked out her hand, cupped Solona’s sex and squeezed her through the leathers. Solona’s slate grey eyes flared and she bit her lip, straining not to cry out, realizing her mistake. Another firm squeeze and Solona nearly doubled over, her gasp echoing in the room, thrilling Leliana to her core.

            “Do not disobey me again.” Leliana warned, a harsh whisper in her lover’s ear. Solona nodded and Leliana continued. “Your blatant disregard for the rules of this evening has a cost, Solona. Finish removing your clothes.”

            Solona’s eyes dimmed and Leliana let a smirk cross her features. She knew that Solona would behave herself, would not get angry, and would follow her every order. Not out of fear, but out of love. Love was what made the difference, what made this beautiful and new and exhilarating. Leliana watched Solona remove her clothes in almost a frenzy, her mouth watering as every inch of that dark, perfect skin came into view.

            Leliana noticed, to her immense satisfaction, that Solona’s nipples were already rock hard with arousal. She could see the light glinting off of the moisture slicking the white curls above Solona’s sex. Leliana wanted to kneel before her love and drink at that fountain, but this evening was not for that. They would make love, yes, but first, they would have fun. Leliana planned on opening a door and showing her indomitable, though inexperienced, lover an entire new world.

            “Close your eyes.” Leliana ordered, satisfied as the white lashes descended.

            She walked to the mage and took a muscled arm in her hand, leading Solona off of the thick, rich furs and to the tiled portion of the room. She surveyed the area with content, taking in exactly what she would need, and planning her movements accordingly. With another fluid, lightning movement she turned Solona and shoved her against the cool stone wall, kneeling and grabbing the heavy iron shackle to her right, latching it about Solona’s ankle. The cuffs were lined with bearskin, soft against the flesh, so Solona would not be hurt.

            A jolt ran through Solona’s body and Leliana smiled as she reached for the shackle to her left, affixing it to Solona’s other ankle. She rose to her feet and took the other two shackles hanging from the wall, latching each one around a dark wrist. Leliana glanced to the corner of the room, smiling as she saw exactly what the proprietor had promised.

            “Open your eyes, Solona.” Leliana commanded, and the mage’s eyes flashed open, beginning to burn when she saw the chains affixed around her wrists and ankles. Leliana saw questions in her lover’s eyes. “You may speak.”

            “What good is this?” Solona asked, extending her arms, listening to the rattle of chains. “This is no restraint.”

            Leliana said nothing, simply turned, tormenting Solona’s eyes with a purposeful sway of her hips as she walked to the corner of the room, where a spoked crank stood. The bard leaned against the wall and lazily turned the crank with both hands. The chains on Solona’s wrists began to tighten. The mage watched as the crank pulled the chains tighter and tighter until her arms were against the wall, unable to move forward, but not so restricted as to damage her shoulders or cut off her circulation.

            The chains around her ankles also tightened, pulling her feet shoulder width apart, the perfect distance for a certain red-headed vixen to move between her legs, if she so chose. Solona so hoped she would choose. Leliana sauntered back to her lover, standing close enough that they shared breath, but not touching Solona.

            “You are no longer permitted to speak.” Leliana declared.

            Solona swallowed hard and nodded. They both knew that these chains were merely a symbol of their trust and devotion to one another. Solona could use her magic and shatter them without thought, but she would not, because her lover desired this. Leliana knew that if Solona became uncomfortable, or asked to be freed, that her hands would remove the shackles faster than she had placed them.

            Leliana moved her hands, resting them on Solona’s hips, her heart surging as those hips bucked into her hand. Her lover was so eager, so ready. Keeping one hand on Solona’s hip, Leliana moved her other hand between Solona’s legs, feeling the heat emanating from her lover’s center. With practiced ease, she found the bundle of nerves with the tips of two fingers. The precious organ was aflame, engorged with Solona’s raging, powerful blood, already pulsing and pounding with her need.

            “This is mine?” the bard asked, her words innocent.

            “Yes.” Solona rasped, her voice throaty and raw.

            “To do with as I please?” Leliana questioned.

            “Maker, yes.” Solona’s reply was a plea.

            “Then I choose to ignore it.” Leliana smiled at the high pitched whimper that pierced the room from behind closed lips.

            Leliana took several, calculated steps backward, examining the picturesque view of her lover. Solona’s muscles were strained, an unconscious struggle against the chains she wore. Her slate-grey eyes were wounded by Leliana’s rejection, but also fired with the anticipation of what would come next, for she knew her lover would never abandon her for long.

            Leliana reached down and took off her boots, sighing in content as her bare feet touched the bearskin rug. She glanced up, pleased to see Solona’s eyes riveted to her body, watching Leliana’s every move. With great care, Leliana unlaced her shirt, turning her back to Solona before shrugging out of it, baring her back to her lover’s eyes. Leliana could feel the heat of Solona’s gaze on her skin; it warmed the scars on her back and pierced through her skin, to her heart, where it wrapped her once more in warmth and comfort. A contented smile on her face, Leliana unlaced her breastband, letting it fall to the floor before turning around and facing Solona.

            The mage’s eyes widened, her nostrils flared, and her lips quivered at the sight of Leliana’s breasts. The bard knew that Solona wanted nothing more than to reach out, touch, taste, feel the skin pucker and harden and yearn towards her touch. This was the point. To torment, tease, and titillate until Solona lost her mind. With that goal ever present in her thoughts, Leliana reached for the laces of her trousers, pulling them off with motions that were almost a dance, baring her entire body to the cool, blue light.

            Solona whimpered but did not speak, however, her hands tightened into fists and the chain-links rattled against the stone wall as the mage pulled at them in frustration. Leliana laughed low in her throat, walking towards her lover, standing before her, just out of reach. The songstress noted with glee that Solona’s breathing had become heavy. Soon, that heavy breathing would be ragged.

            “You know,” Leliana spoke, her tone maddeningly conversational, “that you are perfect in every way to me. But there are some days, my love, some days that I simply wish you were not so statuesque and tall. For there are times, like this, when I want to devour the whole of you.” Leliana reached out, her fingertips whispering over Solona’s throat, her collarbones, at the bare outer edge of her breasts and down her sides. “But for me you are such a banquet and I simply do not know with which course to begin.”

            Solona parted her lips to reply, but, just in time, remembered that she had not been permitted to speak. She closed her lips and shook her head and it thrilled Leliana to her very depths. In answer, in reward, she laced her hands around Solona’s neck and pressed her naked body against the mage’s heated flesh. She pressed her lips against Solona’s, ravaging the woman with a deep, ravenous kiss. Solona’s lips parted and Leliana engaged her lover’s tongue in a gentle duel. She felt Solona’s low groan vibrate down her own throat, stoking the fire of passion already burning within her.

            Leliana broke the kiss and withdrew, licking her lips with sensuous sweeps of her tongue. She knew Solona watched with eager hope, hope that Leliana’s lips and tongue would soon sate the pulsing need between her legs, the savage arousal threatening to engulf her.

            “Delectable.” Leliana drew out the syllables of that simple word, turning it into its own seduction.

            She watched its effect on Solona’s body, the ripple across the abdominal muscles, the tightening of the throat, the slight arch of the back. Leliana had spoken true. She did wish to devour her lover, to kneel before the warrior’s restrained form and without mercy bring her to roaring climax again and again until that peak could no longer be achieved. However, Leliana had become expert at denying her own desires, and she would utilize that training now.

            But, Leliana thought, her desire pounding in her chest like a clarion bell, a little taste can do no harm.

            Leliana moved forward once again, pinning Solona further against the wall. She straddled one of the mage’s long, shapely legs, allowing her lover to feel the slick heat of her arousal pressing against her skin. Solona shifted and would have broken the rules, moved upward, applied a delicate pressure to her lover’s sex, but the chains kept her from doing so. Leliana smiled as she moved her head closer and parted her lips, darting her tongue out, swiping it across Solona’s nipple.

            Leliana rejoiced as a choked whimper punctuated the air and Solona’s body jerked against the restraints. She indulged Solona’s need and her own desire, closing her mouth across the rigid flesh, testing it with her teeth, curling her tongue about it and whipping it across in a lashing motion that made Solona writhe against her and a ragged cry break from the mage’s lips. Eager to hear more, needing to hear more, Leliana continued to torment her lover’s breast with tender touches and gentle nips. Solona’s breath turned to a series of harshening pants as Leliana abandoned the left breast for its twin.

            Solona cried out again as Leliana’s ravenous mouth descended on the second portion of her feast. The bard’s agile, talented fingers lifted to the neglected nipple, tormenting it with feathering touches as she suckled its opposite. The skin beneath Leliana’s assault stiffened until the bard knew it must be agony to be touched. At any other moment, any other time, Leliana would have relented and given her lover release. But this was not another moment, or another time. This was now: a lesson, and a joy.

            Leliana pulled her mouth away, glorying in Solona’s flushed cheeks, the skin of her lips that had begun to look a little chapped from the gasping breaths that dried the skin. Solona’s eyes were shining, glistening with need.

            “Tell me what you want, mon amour.” Leliana whispered, baiting a trap for her love to fall into.

            “Oh, Maker.” Solona breathed, free to speak; to, for at least a moment, to unleash her desires. “Please, Leli, please put your mouth on me.”

            Smiling as Solona fell into the trap she had laid, Leliana pushed and pulled two fingers through her lover’s slick, swollen folds. Solona gasped, her hips bucked as much as the chains would allow as she pushed herself towards her lover’s touch.

            “Is that what you want?” Leliana asked, reaching up, cupping her lover’s cheek with her palm.

            “Yes.” Solona breathed, smiling at the stars that gleamed in Leliana’s eyes.

            Leliana drew Solona’s lips down to hers, giving her lover a searing kiss that left both of them breathing heavy and wanting more, wanting everything, wanting to engulf and devour and possess. Solona pulled away to gather her breath and looked to her bard for an answer. When Leliana said nothing, the mage dared to speak.


            At that, Leliana smiled and cupped Solona’s breasts, relishing the mage’s sharp inhale. She rubbed her thumbs across her lover’s erect nipples, teasing the tortured flesh further into unrequited need.


            A shattered, cracked gasp broke from Solona’s lips, but Leliana would not feel guilt. She would compensate her lover for the denial. Solona did not know that of course, but Leliana knew that she was trusted. She, the mistress of lies, the crafter of secrets, the fear in the shadows…had the trust of a woman whose heart was pure, whose intentions were golden, and who lived her life in the way life should be lived. She would prove, at the end of this night, that Solona’s trust in her was not misplaced and never would be.

            Leliana walked to the settee and pulled it to the center of the room. She sat down on it, feeling once again the heat of Solona’s hungry eyes upon her, feeding her ravenous spirit. Leliana reclined against the furniture’s overstuffed arm and stacked the pillows beneath her leg, raising it up. Her other leg she let dangle over the edge, baring the glistening folds of her sex to her lover’s eyes. Those slate grey stars ignited at the sight and Solona leaned forward, her brow creasing in frustration at the chains that restrained her.

            “You are so far away.” Leliana spoke, her voice wistful, longing, carefully constructed to undo her lover in every way. “And I miss you.” Leliana closed her eyes as though she slept and dreamed. “I can picture you standing before me, unclothed, your talented fingers spread wide. My breath shudders in my chest. I want you so much.”

            Leliana heard a sharp inhale, but kept her eyes closed. To lock eyes with Solona would be to invite her into this moment, and she was not allowed. The bard placed her hands on her stomach, slowly moving them over her abdomen until she cupped her breasts with them. Her fingers reached out and traced delicate circles around her areola. She let her head fall back, her hair fall across her face in a way that made her look wanton.

            “Oh, yes, please.” Leliana begged inside her constructed fantasy. “You have an exquisite touch, Solona.” she taunted the woman in chains as she tugged at her nipples, sending spikes of white hot sensation shooting through her body, pulsing into her core. “I want your hands on me lover…your mouth…oh yes…yes…just like that.”

            A pained, primal sound echoed through the room and Leliana forced herself not to smile. She knew that if she were to open her eyes, she would find her mage straining against the chains, sweat glistening on her face, running down the lines of her powerful body.

            “Solona, please.” Leliana begged, sending desperation deep into her voice so that it would slice into her lover’s very soul.

            She took her breasts and lifted them up, towards her face, then leaned down and laved at her nipple with her own tongue. Leliana’s need pulsed between her legs, insistent and fierce, but she endured it. It would not be long now. She continued to pleasure herself while the woman who watched, forbidden to speak, groaned in the agony of being denied and restrained.

            Leliana threw her head back, squeezing her breasts in her hands, tormenting her nipples still with her thumbs. She dramatized her need with careful gasps and moans, true of the sensation felt, but also constructed especially to drive Solona wild.

            “Solona,” Leliana panted her lover’s name, “why do you torment me so?”

            A guttural growl cut into Leliana’s ears, spurring her on.

            “Please,” Leliana threw her head back, baring the elegant line of her neck, “please touch me. I need release at your hands, my lover, my heart. Why do you deny me?”

            Leliana moved her hands away from her breasts and began stroking the soft skin of her inner thighs, her fingers traipsing over old scar tissue, still more sensitive after all these years. Electric shivers struck through Leliana’s body and she quivered. Soon, now. Very soon.

            I promise, Solona, you will forgive me for this.

            Leliana drew her right hand up her thigh, guided it across her hip, and tangled her fingers in the fiery hair over her sex. Her hand rested in the place where Solona loved to bury her nose and tickle the bard’s intimate flesh with her breath. Leliana began to gently pull the hair and knead the skin, massaging herself, feeling her own blood pounding in her ears.

            “Touch me, Solona.” Leliana begged, moving her hand lower, feeling the tight, erect, twitching bundle of nerves, her body screaming for satiation. “Yes. There. Oh…oh…” a true gasp broke from Leliana’s lips as she began to circle that beautiful pleasure point. She could have driven herself over the edge then and there with but a few well-placed strokes, but she had not yet finished. “I…” she gasped out her words as her body demanded that her touch become frenzied and intense. “…I need you, Solona.” she moaned as her jaw tightened. “I need you inside me.” Leliana’s hips bucked upward of their own accord. “I want to…spend myself…in your hand.”

            Leliana slowed her motions and moved her other hand to her entrance, soaking her fingers in her own arousal, tormenting herself and her lover who watched. With practiced ease, she sought herself out, feeling the pulses of her own muscles against her hand, preparing herself for her next action.

            “You…tease.” Leliana moaned, and she heard Solona echoing the same piteous sound. “Must I go…to my knees…and beg?” she increased the pressure that she applied to the bundle of nerves and inhaled sharply at the onslaught of sensation. “Solona,” her lover’s name emerged on a fabricated sob, “I swear I will worship you but please…” Leliana speared her fingers into herself and cried out. “Oh.” she punctuated every word with a thrust into herself, “My.” she curled her fingers upward and pulsed them as she circled that nerve cluster with frenzied abandon. “Dear.” She neared the edge, hips thrusting against her own hand, a single finger mercilessly assaulting her own body at its pleasure apex. Leliana began shaking, every muscle in her body wire tight. Her back arched and her breasts jutted out as she stepped to the edge…and over. “Maker!

            Climax struck her like a hammer blow. Wave after wave and spasm after spasm shook her like an earthquake. Leliana knew her body well, knew that another cliff awaited her, and with a few more skillful strokes brought herself to another climax, less triumphant but still bringing a cry from her lips as her hips thrashed beneath the skilled ministrations of her hand.

            Leliana’s body felt sated, but she knew that her satiation was temporary. The night had not yet even begun. At last, Leliana opened her eyes and turned them to her lover. The sight that greeted her could never truly be described in words or in paintings. It was beauty. It was desperation. It was love and trust and perfection.

            Every muscle in the mage’s body stood out in stark relief. Her supple lips were parted as she took gasping breaths. Her grey eyes were wild, stormy, and Leliana could see flashes of lightning in them. Her hands unclenched and Leliana saw the four half-moons in each palm where the mage’s nails had bitten into the skin. Not deep enough to draw blood, but enough to perhaps leave a bruise.

            Solona’s chest heaved with her labored breathing. Her dark skin looked flushed, making it appear even darker, more exotic, something fine and rare and precious and expensive. The muscle in her straight, elegant jaw spasmed in a rapid, rhythmic tattoo. A delightful sweat sheen covered the delectable banquet of her body, but even more prominent and precious was the heavy sheen of moisture slicking the mage’s thighs. Leliana suddenly felt the need for release yet again. But she could wait. She had tormented Solona enough…hadn’t she?

            No. The bard decided. I will make love to her in such a way that she will not forget it…ever.

            Leliana pulled her fingers from her core and a high pitched keening broke through the room, a voiceless plea from Solona’s lips. The nightingale rose from the settee and walked to her lover, her steps somewhat unsteady after her vicious and victorious climax. She drew close to her lover, feeling the heat that rolled off of the woman in waves.

            Leliana reached up and took Solona’s jaw in her hand, turning the mage’s eyes to her own. Solona whimpered at her touch and Leliana saw tears gathering in the arcane warrior’s eyes; she saw that Solona did not understand them. Never had the mage been forced to endure this, forced to wait this long or to watch her lover pleasure herself in such a manner. Leliana could see the need wracking her lover’s body in every tremor and twitch.

            The bard reached out and touched Solona’s hips with a bare graze. Solona’s hips surged into Leliana’s touch and as Leliana moved her hands upward in a slow, easy caress the mage’s hips bucked in minute, swift, shuddering pulses. Leliana continued to trace the contours of Solona’s body, eliciting a low wail of despair, aching, and raw desperation.

            Leliana’s hands made their way up, her palms whispering over Solona's tightened, rock-hard nipples. Solona’s lips parted and an anguished sound peeled out of her throat, a wordless plea for mercy. Slow, steady, Leliana traced her way up Solona’s throat, to the lobe of her ear, down her cheek, and to her lips. The skin was dry, made so by the panting breaths.

            “My poor, darling love.” Leliana cooed. “Your lips are so dry. Do they pain you?”

            Solona nodded with swift sharp movements, her eyes darting to the chains that held her with both frenzy and restraint. She wanted what Leliana had planned, but also, she had needs. She had watched her lover take her own body to the heights of pleasure, and Solona was trapped at the base of that mountain, growing more desperate by the second to begin her ascent.

            “Shall I wet them for you?” Leliana turned her eyes towards the pitcher of water on the stand beside the bed.

            Another nod for the affirmative and Leliana smiled. She placed a gentle kiss to the top of each of Solona’s breasts, wrapped her left arm around Solona’s waist, reaching down and kneading the woman’s perfect ass. With her right hand, Leliana reached between her own legs, coating her fingers in her fluids. She reached up and her fingers hovered beneath Solona’s nose.

            A bladed gasp tore from Solona’s throat as she inhaled the rich, heady scent of her lover’s arousal. Solona’s heart thundered in her chest as Leliana painted the mage’s chapped lips with the essence of her desire and climax. Solona’s tongue darted out over her lips and a massive shudder ripped through her body. The taste of her lover drove her mad even when she was free and they lay alongside each other in the night, gently rocking on the other’s hands, or taking turns worshipping the other between her legs. Now, however, that taste made her need ten-fold and, had she been able to, she would have doubled-over and begged to be able to touch and taste and hold and devour.

            Instead, all she could do was look into Leliana’s dancing blue eyes and honor her word not to speak. Leliana watched Solona’s body speak for her. A perfect tear fell from each eye, but they were not tears of sorrow or pain. They were the tears of need and love and lust and trust. Tears of hope, because Solona knew that what she had chosen to endure was temporary.

            Again, Leliana reached between her legs, but this time her slicked fingers spread her essence across Solona’s breasts. The mage trembled as the tightened flesh, so sensitized by her lover’s assault, became the object of Leliana’s fixation once again. The bard leaned down and, bit by bit, licked her juices off of Solona’s nipples. Every slight brush of her tongue sent a shockwave pulse of volcanic desire between Solona’s thighs.

            When Leliana finished, she stepped back, admiring the shuddering, taut, gorgeous form of her lover. She knew that Solona hovered close to the edge, but she would ask what she needed to know. She would assume nothing, because assumptions in situations such as these, with machinations such as hers, could lead one so easily astray. She would honor Solona’s trust in her.

            Leliana leaned close, beckoning Solona to lean her head down so that the bard might whisper in her ear. Solona obliged and Leliana pressed a delicate kiss to the shell of her mage’s ear.

            “Answer me honestly, Solona.” Leliana ordered. “If I touched you now, would you come?”

            “Yes.” the word emerged as a scarified rasp.

            “How badly do you need your release, my love?”

            “So much.” Solona let her head sag, pillowing her forehead on Leliana’s shoulder. “So very, very much.”

            “You are so very beautiful to me.” Leliana whispered, darting her tongue out and licking along the shell of Solona’s ear, making the taller woman whimper and quiver. “And you have behaved so well. I want to give you a reward. What would you ask of me?”

            Solona pulled her head up, staring at Leliana, incredulous. She wanted to ask but was afraid. All of her other requests this night had been denied, and yet her trust and her faith in Leliana’s love remained.

            “Release.” Solona whispered. “I...I want…Maker’s breath, Leli, just fuck me.”

            Leliana tilted forward and took the soft flesh of Solona’s neck between her teeth. She gently bit the skin and felt her lover’s body straining, frantic to touch some part of her, to supply the heavenly friction that would throw her off the precipice over which she had been hanging.

            “I want to.” Leliana murmured between nibbles. “But I promised you a lesson, and so must ask you, so that I might teach it properly: is your need of my touch causing you pain?”

            Solona moaned as Leliana deepened the pressure of her teeth. “I’m…in…agony.” Solona admitted and Leliana pulled away from her.


            She watched her lover sashay to the small table beside the bed, removing items that Solona could not see. Her body shuddered with uncontrollable need. Watching Leliana touching herself, listening to the tormenting words from the bard’s lips, had sent fire and blood between her legs. Her breasts and her core burned and ached, pulsing with every beat of her heart, every breath that she took, a perfect triangle of absolute pain.

            She needed her lover’s touch, those skilled, slight hands manipulating her body, playing her like an instrument. Her chest burned with restrained cries, her lips ached to be kissed, her body screamed as Leliana approached. Her hands were closed, but Solona did not need to know what they held. All she needed was their touch.

            Once again, Leliana stood too far out of reach, her eyes impassive as they surveyed Solona, a bound, shuddering mess of something that might once have been a woman. But, if she were to be honest, Solona felt her humanity slipping away behind the impulses of her primal needs. She felt almost aflame.

            “So lovely.” Leliana reached up, scratching the short white hair on the sides of Solona’s head.

            In any other situation, Solona would have found the touch soothing, relaxing, but now it felt as though Leliana struck lightning through her skin. The sensation of her nails raking over the skin in gentle caress turned into promises of pure ecstasy flooding down Solona’s chest, into the tight coil of heat in her belly, down to the veritable flood between her legs. The mage could not restrain the desperate whimper that peeled from her lips, eliciting a chuckle from her beautiful, giving, patient, despotic lover.

            “So silent.” Leliana stressed the word and Solona knew its meaning. Before she had been forbidden from speaking, but now she was barred from even making a sound.

            Leliana watched understanding dawn on Solona’s face and she beamed at the mage in absolute approval. “Oh, you are perfect.” Leliana crooned, melting Solona yet further. “Right where I want you. Quivering. Shuddering. Desperate. You see, my darling, you have been so concerned about hurting me, and I love you for it. But I am going to show you that, given the right circumstance, pain can be turned into absolute pleasure.”

            Solona shuddered again, feeling as though a fever wracked her body. She ran hot, then freezing, then burning again, as though immersed in lava. Leliana’s words did concern her, but she also trusted her lover. However, that trust began to shake the slightest amount as Leliana opened her hand to reveal two golden rings that would have been perfect circles, but for a portion missing, and a large, intimidating needle.

            “However,” Leliana’s tone grew very serious, the playful note, the seductive note, had vanished, and Solona realized that her lover had faded out of character for a moment, “if, at any moment, I make you uncomfortable, or you do not wish to follow where I am leading, you need simply say ‘éleos’, and I will cease immediately, ask no questions, and push you no further. Have you any questions, my love?”

            Solona smiled even though every part of her throbbed. She wanted to please Leliana, wanted to make her happy, but she did have a single question.

            “What does éleos mean?” she inquired, feeling giddy as she saw mischief and devilry dancing in those precious sapphire eyes.

            Leliana reached up, laced a hand behind Solona’s neck and pulled her head forward, capturing her in a bruising kiss that would have made Solona fall to her knees in abject subjugation had she not been chained to the walls. The kiss broke, too soon, and Leliana whispered the meaning against the mage’s ear.

            “Mercy.” another nip at Solona’s earlobe and the woman struggled to remain silent. “It means mercy.”

            Solona swallowed, hard, by turns terrified and titillated to think about what that word might mean. She had no idea what Leliana had planned, but her eyes were fixed to her lover’s eyes, trusting that she would be safe and cared for, even though the screaming needs of her body attempted to convince her to believe otherwise. Leliana had never before left her in this state for this amount of time.

            Once more, Leliana’s lips found Solona’s taut nipple, suckling it, laving it with her tongue, sending fiery hot spikes of pleasure deep into Solona’s belly. This time, however, Solona did not even have the release of sound. She trapped her cries behind her teeth, pinching her eyes shut as Leliana’s teeth nibbled across the pebbled flesh in an onslaught as dedicated and pinpointed as her lover’s arrows.

            “Open your eyes.” Leliana ordered and Solona’s eyes flared open.

            The ocean eyes were staring into Solona’s grey gaze, and dancing with devilry. Leliana’s tongue snaked out, whipping across Solona’s nipple, and the mage inhaled, sharp. Leliana raised her hand and Solona’s eyes fixed on the sharp needle held in the bard's fingers.

            “Trust me.” Leliana pleaded and Solona trembled.

            The bard pressed the tip of the needle to Solona’s rigid nipple and the mage’s eyes flared. Surely Leliana would not, how could…with a sharp push, Leliana pushed the needle through the skin. Solona’s mouth opened in a wordless cry as absolute agony tingled across her skin, radiating down her side and up into her neck. She stared at the needle pushed through her skin, at the sluggish streams of blood slipping down.

            She wondered how Leliana could have done this, why she would have damaged her, but then the bard’s tongue whispered out once again, barely grazing the tip of her abused nipple. With the touch of Leliana’s tongue, the deep, scathing burn in Solona’s breast deepened, mellowed, and changed into a hot spike of longing that sheared between Solona’s legs and made her back arch.

            “Do you feel that?” Leliana asked and Solona nodded. “That is your body realizing that it desires fulfillment so much that any sensation, even one of pain, only drives you further to that point. But you will see, my darling, that this pain is not without its reward.”

            Leliana took the pointed tip of the needle between her fingers; with her other hand, she lifted one of the golden rings. As Leliana pulled the needle through the skin, she followed it with the ring until the circle of gold adorned Solona’s nipple. Sweat ran down the mage’s face at the sight of blood. On the battlefield, she could heal herself instantly. Pain, while it existed for her, was always a temporary malady.

            However, she knew that to tap into that arcane energy now, to make the red hot fire searing through her breast and somehow, straight into her center, would do nothing but incense the small, slight woman who held Solona’s very life and breath in her wicked, talented, devious fingers. Attempting to distract herself, Solona looked down at her lover, attempting to figure out and understand what Leliana had done to her body. She watched her blood stream down her skin; felt the pain radiating through her breast and outward, a rippling pulse that pierced and burned. Somehow, she still craved Leliana’s touch. It was as though her lover’s hands had changed the sensation, molded it into its own sort of ferocious, sadistic pleasure.

            “Close your eyes, Solona.” Leliana’s voice slipped into her hearing. “I want you to focus on nothing but what you feel.”

            Eager to listen, to obey, to place that shimmering light in Leliana’s eyes, Solona followed the instruction. She closed her eyes and she waited. Searing, shearing pain shredded through Solona’s left nipple as Leliana pushed the needle through it. Her entire body tensed. She wanted to rebel, to fight back, because pain was not pleasant. However, she knew that Leliana would not lead her astray. She knew that she had been given a way to free herself from the pain, but she wanted to know why this felt as it did.

            Solona fell into herself, almost in a deep, meditative state. She endured the sharp stinting in both of her breasts, endured the half-panicked inner voice screaming at her to heal her own injuries and wounds. Instead, Solona focused on the foreign sensations rippling through her. The pain had a savage edge with gnawing teeth. It was bright, blinding, dominating and yet…behind that savagery, at the heart of the pain as it translated itself through her body, lay something entirely different.

            Beyond the loud, serrated edge lay a slow burn like that of fine alcohol. It had a consistency and quality that tantalized the arcane warrior, drawing her deeper into the vortex of its sensation. Basking in that calm constant, that mellow flame that lay behind the wrenching bite, Solona felt a pressing need. It was fiercer, deeper, and more desperate than her internal plea for release, but it joined in harmonic tandem with her body, awakening Solona to a new level of awareness.

            The mage shivered as she embraced both places of consciousness, the pleasure and the pain as her mind re-aligned, accepting that, given the right circumstances, they could be one and the same. They could not, however, be so closely related were it not for Leliana’s hands being the ones bringing her to this place. Solona’s eyes flared open, captured by Leliana’s blue, impassioned gaze. A slow, devastating, seductive smile crossed the red-head’s features. Solona knew her lover could read her understanding, and Leliana proved her knowledge, reaching up and spinning the needle embedded in Solona’s nipple.

            The arcane warrior gasped, her knees buckled, leavin her suppoted by the chains attached to her wrists. She hung for a moment, attempting to get her feet under her, failing when Leliana’s lips crashed against her own in a savage kiss. Solona moaned into her lover’s mouth, growling as the hand belonging to the lips that kissed her twisted the needle in her nipple once more. Another stream of blood slipped down from Solona’s impaled breast, accompanying a veritable flood between her legs.

            Leliana laughed against Solona’s lips and, for a brief moment, the mage entertained the idea of breaking her chains, capturing the smaller woman in her arms, and ravishing her with such thoroughness that both of them would be sated for weeks. However, the teeth suddenly sinking into her lower lip dissuaded her from that course of action, making Solona believe that the lithe, wicked vixen before her truly could grasp the mage’s thoughts. Solona reagained her feet and Leliana pushed her against the wall, her fingertips flying to the needle and pulling it out in a blur of motion so swift that Solona did not realize what had happened until another absurd, intoxicating wave of pleasure/pain assaulted her senses and pierced through her chest. She could not restrain the desperate cry that peeled from her lips as Leliana took the tip of the savaged nipple in her teeth, then pushed another gold ring into the skin.

            Solona’s entire body trembled against the stone walls; her breathing came in ragged gasps that ended on nearly animalistic whines. The heady scent of copper, salt, sex, and desire hung in the air. Even worse, even more tormenting, was the perfume of her lover’s arousal, taunting the mage with that delicate aroma, screaming at her of the one flavor that she could never have enough of. She closed her eyes as she shuddered, and in her mind’s eye she saw the image that had been permanently stamped there: Leliana, pleasuring herself, crying Solona’s name out into the room.

            “You are doing so well, my love.” Leliana whispered and Solona moaned as that talented tongue flicked her new adornments, the rings of gold threaded into her nipples.

            Sharp, piercing shivers braised her breasts and her hips pumped the air frantically as she bit her lip, imagining pressure against her flooded, swollen folds, the feel of her archer’s strong fingers inside of her, the bliss of oh so needed release. Her eyes rolled back in her head as she felt Leliana’s heated hand against the slick flesh of her inner thigh. Her lips moved in a single word that she did not give voice to.

            “Please.” she mouthed, casting a silent wish in the air.

            The hand moved from her thigh and that iron, steady grip was on her jaw, turning her eyes to her lover’s.

            “Please?” Leliana asked. “You think you have the right to beg of me anything? You believe that you are permitted even to move your lips? I have allowed you to voice your reactions, even though I ordered you into silence, but you would abuse that allowance by calling out to me? You know that I can read lips, mon amour. Mouthing a word is the same as speaking it. You will be punished for this aberrant behavior.”

            Am I not punished enough!? Solona thought, her eyes wide. Leliana, my darling love, I am in agony!

            Leliana said nothing more, but her hands reached for the rings threaded through Solona’s nipples. The bard grasped them and twisted them sharply, sending waves of absolute agony shredding through Solona’s body. The mage screamed out in the room…not out of pain, but out of the obscene exhilaration coursing through her body. She felt as she did when she took a glancing blow in battle, battle when she turned that pain into force and used it to strike back at her opponent and felled them. Now, however, with no enemy to turn that pain against, it flooded to her center and sheared through the muscles of her core, making them flutter and pound and kick and…

            Solona screamed out again, not from pain, but in the exquisite thrill of unexpected release. Her body pitched over that razor’s edge as though she had been thrown off of it. Her hips bucked into the air, her back arched and her breath froze in her lungs as she felt slick heat once more coating her inner thighs. This climax was unlike any other she had experienced. It had not come from the kind, playful, loving, or occasionally rough touches that Leliana employed. It had come from somewhere deep, twisted, and primal. A place in Solona’s mind that she did not even know existed, but now that she had found, wanted to explore more of.

            Her breath fluttered between her lips in ragged, panting whimpers as she sagged against her chains. Her knees had almost locked with the force of supporting her during climax and she struggled to get them under her again. When she could stand at last, her eyes lifted to Leliana’s. Her lover wore a delighted, triumphant smile.

            “You need no longer remain silent, Solona.” Leliana restored the mage’s power of speech. “For I believe that you have learned the lesson I wished to impart. What do you wish for, my darling?”

            “What…whatever that was.” Solona panted, her chapped lips curving up in a bleary, almost-intoxicated smile. “I want more. I want…I want release with you inside of me. Because that…that wasn’t enough. I still…I still…need you.”

            The absolutely wicked smile that illuminated Leliana’s countenance told Solona all that she needed to know. Her bard had planned on this happening, had anticipated how Solona’s body would react, and taught her lesson with such skill that Solona did not even care about the burning sensation still blazing through her tender, over-sensitized breasts and swollen nipples. She wanted more of what her lover was willing to give. And this time, this exquisite, twisted, torturous time between them was nothing but a gift.

            Leliana returned to the table and Solona’s core pulsed as she watched the minstrel pore over her tools. Solona licked her lips in anticipation and desperation as she watched Leliana light a candle under what looked to be a ladle supported on a stand. The mage had seen such a device in the Circle Tower. First Enchanter Irving had used such things to melt sealing wax…Solona wondered what in the void Leliana had in store for her yet.

            The bard had one hand behind her back, concealing whatever new tool she had taken up and Solona shivered, but soon forgot when her lover took her lips in a searing kiss. Solona returned it, a low groan flooding from her chest as she felt Leliana’s tongue slide against hers in a delicate, satin duel. The kiss spread from then into eternity, molding everything they were to each other into a perfect sunrise and sunset, an amalgamation of precious moments both harrowing and heartfelt.

            But the kiss ended, as did all moments, and Leliana went to her knees before her lover. Solona’s breath hitched at the beautiful sight. The gentle blue light of the room illuminated the patchwork of her lover’s back, every single lovely scar. Solona’s hands clenched into fists and pulled a little harder at her chains. She wanted to worship those scars, to press her lips and whisper her tongue across every inch of that once mutilated flesh.

            Remembering that she had freedom to speak, Solona smiled. “I love you, Leliana.”

            Leliana looked up, her blue eyes deepened by the same-hued light, darkened so that they looked like the night sky, shimmering with stars. “I love you too.” she answered, then, somehow, a straight razor appeared in her hands and with a swift, decisive movement, she sliced across the delicate skin of Solona’s inner thigh.

            So sharp was the blade that Solona did not even know the skin had broken until she felt the searing heat of Leliana’s tongue swiping through the cut. She cried out from the burn as it ate into her flesh and crawled through her nerves to the bundle of them at the top of her sex, making it pound like the drums of war. She bit her lip and moaned as Leliana’s tongue probed the shallow tear made in her flesh.

            Every upward push of that talented muscle made Solona flinch as her mind, newly opened, let the pain flood through her until it became a pleasure so sweet that she needed release yet more, then again, and again…and again. Her body felt more primed than it had ever been, more eager than she had known it could be.

            “You are beautiful when you bleed.” Leliana whispered, her breath striking the engorged folds of Solona’s center and making the woman shudder, both from the sensation and the sordidness of Leliana’s words, which should have been wrong, but instead sent a thrill of joy through the mage’s soul.

            Again, Solona saw the silver flash of the razor and this time, prepared, she felt when it struck in a gentle sweep across her opposite thigh. Instead of a cry of pain, she now felt only the pleasure that lay behind the agony, and threw her head back with a groan. Again Leliana’s tongue laved the wound, assaulting the already piqued nerves and sending more shockwaves through Solona’s body. The bard withdrew her mouth and Solona endured the sensation of the cool air striking her open wound. She shivered as that slow burn radiated through her body, the fire moving upward and flowing into her sex, driving her wild and near distraction.

            “Solona,” Leliana whispered and the mage looked down, falling into the night sky once again, “I want you to touch your breasts as I did. Do this for me, and I will do as you asked and put my mouth on you.”

            Solona’s hands immediately flew to her breasts, her fingers pulling on the golden rings, sending fire through her body. But that horrendous and delectable sensation was nothing compared to the unequaled bliss that swallowed the mage whole. Leliana’s tongue slipped through the folds of her sex, parting the engorged skin with a torturous touch. Solona threw her head back, not caring as her skull struck stone. Her shoulders bunched, the muscles shrieking in anticipation as her body lit up and sang.

            A keening, breathless wail ripped out of Solona’s chest as the flat of Leliana’s tongue pulsated with light touches against her throbbing pleasure point, while her deft hand reached up, making delicate, light incisions across the flat of Solona’s abdomen. The shred of the razor against her skin juxtaposed against Leliana’s insistent tongue undid the mage. Agony and ecstasy blended to one as her body bowed outwards and another powerful orgasm struck.

            Solona shrieked her lover’s name as pleasure wracked her. The muscles of her core contracted and pulsed out in spasms of pure bliss. The razor and the tongue continued to move, writing patterns in Solona’s skin as the mage came down from another crest. Solona was gasping for breath, her chest heaving, her nipples burning and panging, her thighs and abdomen shuddering with every breath, sending ripping heat and chill across the open wounds.

            The mage felt ragged, tormented and torn, blistered and bruised, but her core still pulsed and thrummed. Leliana felt this and acted upon it. The razor went to the floor and Leliana’s left hand played over the cuts on Solona’s taut and twitching stomach, while her right went to the mage’s entrance. Solona gasped as she felt the hint of her lover’s perfect fingers poised to enter and claim her.

            “Maker’s…breath.” Solona panted, feeling Leliana’s fingers apply the barest amount of pressure against her heated, pulsing center. “Leliana, please, please go inside me. I need to feel you.”

            Leliana answered with a smile that Solona did not see, because white flares burst behind her vision as, simultaneously, Leliana raked her fingernails along the edges of a cut, sucked Solona’s clit into her mouth, and barely entered her lover, allowing her fingers to push in only past the fingernail. Solona mewled as those fingers worked in and out of her in the most unfulfilling and tantalizing of ways as that tongue did all sorts of masterful things to the nerve cluster and currently defined her existence.

            It did not take long before, once more, Solona was pitched into orgasm in a maelstrom of suffering and scintillation. She struggled to fill her lungs so that she could cry out as her body spasmed and the chains rattled as she pulled against them in the throes of her climax. Somewhere in the cosmic upheaval that was her existence, she heard a low, mesmerizing laugh leave her lover’s lips. Leliana’s lips brought her down from the peak and Solona sagged against her chains, utterly spent.

            They had made love so many times, occasionally doing nothing but ministering to each other’s needs and sleeping for the entirety of the days of rest sometimes taken along the road. Each time it had been wonderful, each time fulfilling, emotionally if physical release could not be achieved. Solona had brought Leliana to orgasm multiple times on those days, and Leliana had returned the favor with a skill that put the mage to shame, but never had Solona climaxed so fiercely, so wantonly, and so close in succession. The mage felt as if she could set her entire body on fire and come out from it unscathed, so deep were the burning embers of ultimate satisfaction.

            However, she could not deny that all of the strength had left her in those powerful, earth-shattering convulsions of perfect satiation. Her skin burned from the myriad, deft cuts that Leliana had made, but the sight of her blood on her skin, coating her lover’s hands and lips, made her dizzy with satisfaction and fulfillment. Leliana rose to her feet and pressed a gentle kiss to Solona’s lips.

            “Heal yourself, my darling.” she breathed.

            Solona inhaled and reached into her well of magic, that place where the Fade lived inside of her, and brought forth the bright energy within. She wrapped her phantom hands around it, breathing on it with phantom lips, sending it throughout her body, knitting together the tears Leliana had made, bringing down the swelling, leaving the delicate bruises on her nipples from where she and Leliana had tugged on her new adornments. When she looked down there were no marks on her body, simply rivulets of blood proving that her skin had been broken. She still felt boneless, suffused with the pleasant lassitude that often fell over her after climax.

            Leliana knelt again and Solona felt her clit pulse with another treacherous twitch. She shook her head. Her body could not endure another orgasm. Her nerves had simply been overworked, leaving her wrung out in the most pleasant of ways. The manacles fell from her ankles and Leliana stood, unlocking the restraints on her wrist with deft hands. The chains fell against the wall and Solona pitched forward into her lover’s arms. Leliana helped support the boneless, bleary-eyed, sloppy-grinning mage to the bed, where Solona fell onto her stomach, burying her face in the covers and groaning in satisfaction and the comfort of lying prone after being chained and so thoroughly and bizarrely satisfied. A sigh of content left her lips and her eyes fluttered closed.

            She felt the weight of her lover behind her, Leliana’s silken smooth skin at last against hers and a sigh of utter, replete contentment left her lips. She began to turn around, to look her lover in the eye, to touch her as she had been touched, but the moment she pushed herself up she felt warmth at her center, then pushing inside of her as Leliana’s fingers once more claimed her.

            “Leliana, please.” Solona panted, a startled noise falling from her lips as Leliana curled her fingers upward. “Please, I can’t take anymore. I’m spent.”

            “Oh?” Leliana leaned forward, pinning Solona against the bed, her teeth grazing the back of the mage’s neck. “But I am not finished with you, Solona.”

            “But it…it hurts.” Solona winced as Leliana’s fingers pulsed inside of her once more.

            “Then I shall show you another benefit of pain.” Leliana murmured, biting Solona’s throat just slightly too hard, making the woman beneath her shiver and growl. "It will awaken you when you believe you are tired. It can ignite the scorched earth where nothing is meant to grow. I will have you again, Solona. Here, it is who will dictate to you your limits."

            Placing a brief kiss to Solona’s shoulder blade, Leliana pushed herself up, but kept her fingers where they were, inside of her lover. The mage turned her head and saw Leliana take hold of the wax-melting apparatus. The bard gripped it by its long handle and as she brought it closer, Solona smelled something sweet and intoxicating. She knew this scent from the Circle was honey.

            “Put your head down, love.” Leliana ordered and Solona obeyed, reaching out for one of the pillows and cushioning her head with it.

            The mage quivered, wondering what her mischievous lover intended to do to her. She remembered the feel of Leliana threading the needle through her skin and her core pulsed around Leliana’s fingers in anticipation. With no warning, a scalding, blistering wash of heat splashed across her shoulders and flowed down her back. Solona buried her head into the pillow and cried out as molten honey spilled across her flesh; the fire of it flooded into her skin, making her shiver, scouring through her nerves and enlivening them again.

            She had thought she could endure no more; that her peak of pleasure had been attained, but then she felt Leliana’s hand pulsing within her from behind, felt the bard’s delicate tongue licking at the sweet-smelling heat that lacquered her back and Solona moaned from the pleasurable agony of it all. Leliana began moving inside of her, each thrust shoving Solona up the mountain she had thought not to ascend again this night.

            Her lover’s touch, though not kind, was exquisite. Solona reveled in the ungentle movements of Leliana’s fingers inside her, the graze of teeth against her back as Leliana coerced the mage’s expended body ever closer to the brink of one more, impossible climax. Solona writhed against the silk sheets, gasping, cursing, and crying out. The motion of Leliana’s hand did not cease. Solona’s clit felt as though it had caught fire, a burning point of need that felt like the point of a sword pressed at the top of her sex, sending lightning bolts through her entire body.

            The burning did not stop, and neither did Leliana’s insistent thrusting. Needing to end the tremendous, transcendent torment that threatened to rip her in half, Solona snaked a hand under her stomach, pushing it down between her legs, her fingertips straining to reach that screaming bundle of nerves.

            Immediately, she felt Leliana’s free hand on her, fingernails hooked into claws raking down her back. Solona stiffened as her lover raised angry welts across the expanse of dark, muscled flesh. Leliana kept one hand inside of her lover while her other arm slipped around Solona’s throat and her teeth grasped the shell of Solona’s ear.

            “Whatever made you think you could touch yourself?” Leliana growled, pulling back against Solona’s neck, forcing her lover to rise to her knees.

            The bard held the mage from behind, fucking her mercilessly, free hand straying from her throat down to her nipples, playing with the rings there, tugging on them until Solona cried out. The arcane warrior’s breath grew stilted and heavy and only then did Leliana’s hand move down, over the defined muscles of Solona’s abdomen down to that precious thatch of white hair above her lover’s sex. Solona whimpered, the tendons in her neck stark and prominent along her throat as her entire body began to quake. She needed release so desperately, yet her body felt as though it would stay pinioned on that razor’s edge, that she would find no relief because she simply couldn’t.

            However, the moment Leliana’s hand dipped lower, the moment those talented, callused fingertips touched Solona’s anguished, burning clit, the mage parted her lips in a primal scream. Her body bucked and shuddered, inner walls all but convulsing against Leliana’s fingers, clenching them so tightly that the bard could not move them within her. The sensation was so fierce, the climax so strong, that tears formed in Solona’s eyes and slipped down her cheeks, burning her parted lips as she gasped for air.

            Solona sagged against her lover as the aftershocks faded away, leaving her truly exhausted, boneless, and wrung out. Leliana guided her back down, cushioning her head with the down pillow. Solona’s chest heaved as she attempted to even out her breathing. Gentle, Leliana eased her fingers from Solona’s core and the mage whimpered at the loss of the bard’s intimate touch.

            “You are so beautiful when you come.” Leliana whispered, touching Solona with careful tenderness, tracing the edges of her cheekbones, the color of her apostate’s mark. “So vicious and vulnerable, so abandoned and primal. You are fierce and fallible and in every moment a joy to be with. I could spend the entirety of my days making love to you.”

            Solona drank in Leliana’s words as though they were water, and she herself parched. She could hear the love and trust and truth in the bard’s speech and it warmed her in ways that made her forget that her back still burned, that her breasts ached, and that her sex felt raw. However, all the pain, ache, and discomfort she felt was superseded by the inordinate, exuberant bliss flowing through her veins

            Solona reached out and cupped Leliana’s sex, feeling the folds swollen with arousal, the heat pulsing against the palm of her hand. The bard smiled and answered Solona's question with a nod of her head. Permission had been granted. Sparkling grey eyes fixed to those of ocean blue, sky met water, and the world resolved itself. No matter what would happen on the morrow, they had this night, these memories, inexorable trust, and graphic dedication between them.