Setting: Dragon Age – During Inquisition (After the Arbor Wilds, but before the defeat of Corypheus) Canon-divergent
Characters: Telsin Mahariel, Zevran Arainai, Abelas
Pairing(s): Zevran&Mahariel, eventual AbelasxMahariel
Summary: Warden Commander Mahariel decides it’s time to meet the Inquisitor, and maybe request some help in finding a cure for the Calling. On her way there, she runs into Abelas and the rest of the Sentinels from the Temple of Mythal.
Genre: Adventure, Smut
Warnings: Game-level Violence
Word Count: ~5000
Alright, first chapter is done. There’s some “Antivan” near the end, which is just Google-translated Italian (which means it’s probably wrong), and I have a translation at the very end of the chapter; along with a translation of my attempt at Elven (courtesy of: Katie’s Best-Guess-At-Elvhen). Anyway, please enjoy. :3 This was originally posted on my writing Tumblr blog: Grymmtales.
The silence of the wood around them was almost deafening, how those in the clearing had not yet noticed was beyond comprehension. Exasperation pushed Telsin to rub at her nose and trace the raised lines of her vallaslin, small ticks she hadn’t quite rid herself of. The smell of the earth wafted upward from shifting body weight, fresh and green, and musky sweet from a recent rainfall. The sickening scrabbling at the edge of Telsin’s mind was growing with alarming speed; the number of darkspawn in the area was far greater than her original estimation. The only way to reach the roving party, before they fell upon the campsite before her, was straight through. So much for keeping a low profile; she’d just have to hope they didn’t attack her on sight.
‘We have to go through,’ she signed behind her back. ‘Be careful. These elves seem… different.’
There was the faintest rustle of leaves, easily mistaken for the wind, and Zevran appeared at her side, smirk already in place, like a piece of armor.
‘Trouble?’ he signed back to her, one eyebrow cocked in amusement.
‘Plenty. Don’t get cocky. Follow me.’
Zevran’s grin grew, his eyebrows waggling. Telsin huffed to cover the amused laugh that threatened to spill past her lips, and stepped out of the tree line, moving quickly toward the camp with her hands held aloft to indicate she was no threat.
“Name yourself,” a voice called out. She heard the sounds of several bodies shuffling about, perhaps grabbing weapons to wield against her, but she ignored them.
“I am Warden Commander Mahariel. Aneth’tel ma, ven’nadas.”
Telsin never stopped moving, her gait determined as she neared the halfway point of the camp. Zevran was her shadow, barely three steps behind her the whole way. So long as they kept this pace, they would make it to the other side before the darkspawn broke through the treeline. One of the elves stepped into her path, his face hidden by a hood as hers was, but she merely pivoted on one foot to glide past, ducking when he reached to grab her.
“If you must question me, do so quickly.” She pulled the bow from her back as they neared the far edge of the camp, glancing sidelong at the rather tall elf pacing at her flank.
“We do not recognize your authority, shemlen,” he said, his tone was matter-of-fact and held no malice, though that didn’t keep her from rankling at the name.
“I don’t give two nug shits if you recognize my authority,” she hissed while she nocked an arrow, causing Zevran to bite back a snicker, “If you don’t leave, your clan will be overrun by darkspawn and you will die.”
“We will not flee from this enemy. We will-”
“You will flee or you will die,” she bit out, stopping abruptly and drawing the bow easily, aiming for a spot near the top of the treeline, “Any blood that lands on a wound, an eye, the corner of your mouth, will be enough to taint you. Then you will die slowly or you will die quickly, but you will still die.”
She saw the hard set of his jaw and huffed, angling her shot just a smidge higher before releasing. The arrow sailed through the air, disappearing into the darkness provided by the trees. A roar of pain echoed from its path and an ogre burst into the open, the arrow protruding from its eye. With a nod and a grin, Zevran pulled a leather mask up over his mouth and nose, and melded easily into the shadows away from the ogre.
“If you must fight, do so from a distance. I haven’t the means with me to perform a Joining.” With that she was moving again, pulling her bow over her shoulder and head to secure it, and drawing her daggers.
The ogre barreled toward her, head bent, and she waited. When the stench of its breath finally invaded her senses she rolled to the side. After pushing off the ground with one hand to land on her feet, she pulled a dagger through the ogre’s back knee and danced away from its angry swipe. It didn’t take long for the rush of battle to sweep her up and become a game of slipping under the ogre’s defenses to land what hits she could; and slipping away before it could snatch her from the ground. With each new injury it grew angrier; its growls turning to snarls turning to outright roars. And it grew swift in its anger.
Zevran’s muffled whoops of laughter bounced between the trees, creating a positively eerie effect, something he’d always been quite good at. As familiar as she was in their routine, she couldn’t help the split second worry for her companion. That split second cost her. The ogre grasped her about the middle before she could respond, lifting her toward its mouth. She began stabbing the webbing at the base of the Ogre’s thumb, not stopping when it began to squeeze. Then, three arrows punched into the ogre’s throat in quick succession, sunk to the fletching, and she rolled to her feet as the ogre released her as it fell. Catching sight of the elf with his bow drawn, she tilted her head in gratitude and turned to meet the wave of darkspawn she could feel crashing against the back of her mind.
“There are quite a lot of them, piccola volpe.” Zevran danced out of the trees, black blood coating his arms. “I have felled quite a few, yes, and still they come.”
“And there are two more ogres.” Telsin’s voice was tight and worried. She turned to see all of the elves with their bows drawn, waiting. Pointing toward the trees, she called out to them, “Set your aim just inside the treeline, spanning 20 feet centered on me. Fire on my mark. Understood?”
There was a moment’s hesitation where Telsin feared they would disregard her, before they all nodded as one and adjusted their aim. The darkspawn were three breaths away. She lifted her arm above her head. Two breaths away. She nodded to Zevran who slipped back amongst the trees, outside of the volley’s range. One breath away. She dropped her arm and arrows soared over her head, disappearing into the darkness with wet thunks and garbled screams.
“Again!” she yelled, raising and dropping her arm for another volley. “Focus to the sides, do not let them close!”
The wall of dead darkspawn impeded their brethren, allowing Telsin to intercept them two or three at a time. The faint whistle of her blades slicing through the air to destroy her enemies was music to her ears. With each body felled she was able to better discern where the darkspawn were; the large number of them was no longer blanketing her senses. Which, unfortunately, meant she noticed the Emissary far too late.
“Zev!” she screamed as she felt the magic constrict her, bearing down on her with pressure so immense she could feel her bones creaking.
“Braska!” Zevran’s curse echoed out to her.
The elf who’d spoken to her一she was sure he was their leader, of sorts一charged in to fight the darkspawn around Telsin with blades that sang. Lightning danced along his blades, searing paths along darkspawn flesh and arcing to each new arrival as though it meant to seek its own battle. He moved like water, flowing across the battlefield and crashing upon his enemies like a river against stone. He forced the darkspawn back to the edge of the trees in slow increments. She wanted to tell him to be careful, avoid the blood, but with the magic crushing her all she could do was bite back the screams that fought to break free. With a flick of his wrist, a wall of fire sprang to life in front of him, halting the advance of the darkspawn for the moment.
Then the press of the spell lifted with a snap, an indicator that the caster had perished, and Telsin collapsed to the ground with a groan. She spit to rid herself of the taste of magic and blood, and took a mental stock of her injuries. At least three fractured ribs. Plenty of bruises. And if that pain was any indicator, possibly some internal bleeding. What she wouldn’t give for Wynne or Anders right about now. To her right, a second ogre lay, full of arrows, just inside the edge of the camp. The tents crushed under its mass were unrecoverable, but none of the other elves seemed to be touched.
Thank the Creators for small favors. She thought, picking herself up to finish the battle.
The rest of the darkspawn were dealt with quickly, the final ogre stumbling out of the treeline, oozing so much ichor it was a wonder it could still move, and dropping dead with one of Telsin’s daggers buried to the hilt in its throat. Then Zevran was placing an Elfroot potion into her hands, his hand squeezing hers before removing the stopper.
“We must thank our Dalish friends here, yes?” Zevran’s cheerful voice helped loosen the tension across her shoulders, and seeing his face mostly clear of darkspawn blood allowed her a moment of relief.
“We are not Dalish, we are Elvhen.” The helpful elf approached the two of them, his face thankfully clear of darkspawn blood as well.
Telsin studied his face for a moment, brows furrowed in thought. There was something old about him, something different; a sense of long life like she’d felt from Zathrian, though without the malevolence of a curse. His gaze never wavered from hers, studying her as she did him. Finally, the corner of Telsin’s mouth quirked upward, pulling a short chuckle from Zevran, and she placed her right fist over her heart as she bent forward into a bow.
“My name is Telsin Mahariel, I am the Warden Commander of Ferelden. I apologize for being so abrupt, I had not intended to bother your camp at all. The darkspawn forced my hand, as it were.”
“I am called Abelas. I thank you for your timely arrival. I fear we may not have fared so well had you not intervened and provided us a warning.”
“And I am Zevran, formerly of the Antivan Crows and constant companion to my dear Warden.” Zevran bowed with a flourish, cocky grin already in place.
Telsin shook her head and surveyed the area, finally drinking the bitter potion; it would take a while to burn all of the corpses and she would need to drag all of the bodies out of the trees as well. “I would like to request your people clear that area there,” she gestured to the side, just past the ogre and the crushed tents, “so that we can burn the bodies without the fire spreading. It’s important that they not touch the bodies if they can help it; I’ll move them myself when we’re ready. And I need you to come with me, momentarily.” There were times when the mantle of Commander settled strangely on her shoulders, even after so long, and this was one of them.
Abelas considered her words carefully before calling instructions to the rest, in a form of Elven she couldn’t quite understand, and turned back to her. “Lead and I will follow.”
The small camp Telsin and Zevran had constructed wasn’t terribly far, nestled against an outcrop of stone on the edge of a clearing with two buckets of water, and two mabari, warming in the midday sun next to a single tent. A pile of cloths, three bars of soap and a brush sat in a pile next to the buckets. A stream burbled about 50 feet away. Both mabari were on their feet in the blink of an eye, only settling back down at a gesture from Telsin.
“Zevran,” she nodded at him then looked to Abelas, “Abelas, you need to strip and wash, I’ll clean your gear.”
Zevran wasted no time stripping completely naked to vigorously scrub at his skin with a soapy cloth. Abelas hesitated only a moment before following suit. Telsin ran to fill two more buckets with water to scrub away the darkspawn blood on the armor and weapons. Several trips were required to the stream for more water, and the dirty water was dumped in a hole lined with charcoal, several feet away. Zevran passed Abelas a spare shirt and breeches to wear while Telsin continued to work, making sure every inch of his armor was taint free.
Finally, with everything cleaned and oiled, Telsin sat in front of Zevran with her hands hovering just above the skin of his cheeks. Her eyes closed as she concentrated, searching and seeking out any miniscule sign of the taint in her friend. One of the mabari, dark grey in color, fit as much of their body as possible into Zevran’s lap with a whine, waiting for a verdict. Telsin repeated the process with Abelas, once again getting the sense of ‘old, timeless’ from him, but no taint.
“You’re both clean,” she smiled, dried darkspawn blood flaking away from her cheeks. Then she scritched under the mabari’s chin with a smile, “Don’t worry, da’len, your favorite elf is perfectly fine, traitor.”
The mabari wuffed out a breath and grinned with its tongue hanging out.
“And now it is your turn, dolcezza. I assure you, darkspawn blood is not nearly as attractive as you think.”
Telsin sent a mock glare at Zevran for the name and stood. “I will, after the bodies are taken care of. No need to worry about me catching the blight after all.”
“The bodies are being taken care of as we speak,” Abelas stated, pulling his clean armor back on while the other mabari, its coat the color of rust with patches of grey, sniffed around his feet, “My people are not touching the bodies, but they can control the flames to keep them from spreading to the forest.”
Telsin paused. She hadn’t noticed any mages among the elves besides, perhaps, Abelas himself, but if they had magic they would be able to dispose of the corpses without fear of infecting themselves, so long as they were careful. With everything going on with the Wardens now, she was loath to put anyone through the Joining. She only hesitated a moment more before nodding in acceptance.
“I trust that you wouldn’t put your people in any undue danger.”
Zevran was already returning with two of the buckets full of water, the grey mabari bounding around him with a stick in its mouth. She stripped out of her armor, her ginger hair falling around her shoulders in loose, sweaty waves as it was released from her hood, and knelt down to scrub her own armor before bathing herself. If this had been 10 years ago, when she’d first become a Grey Warden, she probably would have died of embarrassment, standing naked in front of a strange man. But it wasn’t 10 years ago, and she’d learned not to sweat the small stuff; Zevran may have had a hand in that way of thinking. The rusty mabari let out a sound between a huff and a sneeze, and went back to its original spot, clearly unimpressed with their guest. Telsin snorted in an attempt to control her laugh as she grabbed a bucket of clean water.
“Fenedhis, that’s cold,” she hissed, emptying one of the buckets over her head to rinse off. She emptied the dirty bucket and looked over to Abelas as she dried and dressed. “You said you’re Elvhen and not Dalish. What exactly do you mean by that?”
“We were alive at the fall of Arlathan and have only recently awoken from Uthenera, this is why we are Elvhen.”
Telsin sat across from Abelas with a shiver, making sure to situate herself in as much sunlight as possible. The rusty mabari grumbled, heaving itself up to slump against her side, nearly knocking her over in the process. She pinched its ear in retaliation, but it just nipped at her knee in return.
“Cheeky pup,” she laughed as she patted the mabari’s side. The grey mabari flopped against her other side with a bit of a dramatic flair and Zevran plastered himself to her back, wrapping his arms around her waist and nuzzling his face into the damp hair at her neck. She rolled her eyes, but was grateful for the warmth they all provided as she turned her attention back to Abelas. “That’s why you referred to me as shemlen. I’m not sure how the word was intended in its original inception, but it’s only used as an insult now, hurled at humans with hate. I suppose it fits, though I’d watch who you say it to in the future. Where are you destined?”
Abelas regarded them strangely, though it was hard to accurately read his facial features with his hood pulled up once more. “To Skyhold. We were offered a place with the Inquisition, though we initially refused it. With the vir’abelasan gone, we search for a new purpose.”
“Vir’abelasan?” Telsin quickly held up a hand as he began to explain, “You can educate me later.” She fought back a smirk when Zevran chuckled darkly against her neck. “The Inquisitor tracked me down several weeks ago, and I’ve been meaning to make the trip to Skyhold to speak with him, if you wouldn’t mind a couple tagalongs?”
“I would not be opposed,” he said simply, standing and tilting his head in her direction. “From what little I know of darkspawn, there is likely to be more along the way and we would be remiss to turn away someone who could sense their presence.”
“Then allow us to pack up our camp here and we’ll move to join yours. If any of your people came in contact with darkspawn blood, have them wash and I’ll check them for the Blight when we arrive.” Telsin smiled, mirroring the tilt of his head.
“Of course. Ma serannas.” Abelas turned and strode from the clearing, taking the heavy air of decorum with him.
Telsin sighed and leaned back into the cradle of Zevran’s body. His arms tightened around her, leaning back to allow her to rest against him. The heat of him was comforting, with his thighs wrapped around her hips and his chest molded to her back, a comfort that she’d needed more and more lately as the fake Calling crashed against her psyche every second of every day; she almost wished she was back in the Blight feeling the Archdemon’s presence pressing down on her.
“Lui è molto bello,”1 he chuckled into her ear, breath tickling against the delicate tip.
“È tutto tuo,”2 she sighed, tilting her head to the side as he pushed her hair out of the way, fingers ghosting across her skin.
“Ah, così generoso. Penso che lo lascerò per te.”3 That startled a laugh out of Telsin and she cocked her head to look at him, noticing the mischief dancing in his eyes.
She should have known. There were only a few reasons Zevran reverted to Antivan; and the two of them alone, in their camp, was no reason to revert to Antivan.
“Are you ever going to stop playing matchmaker? You do realize you’ll have to find someone else to warm your bed if you succeed, right?”
“Such cruel words, but I am ridiculously handsome, yes? My bed will not stay cold for long,” his face turned serious then, moving around her body. In one swift, fluid motion, he was straddling her lap and cradling her face with his hands, displacing both mabari in the process, “And you are deserving of the love and adoration you have avoided since Alistair took the throne.”
“I-” Telsin let out a defeated huff, her mouth twisting into a wry smile. “You know, if we’d both stop being so bullheaded, we could make a go at it.”
“True, but we both know it will not be enough, do we not. So it seems I must still hand you off to a strapping man who worships the ground you walk upon. Or perhaps a darkly handsome merchant prince? Or a brutish Ferelden? You do seem to enjoy those. Or-”
Telsin laughed and stretched up to silence Zevran with a kiss. He made a pleased noise in the back of his throat, using his hands to angle her face just so and deepen the kiss. His lips slid across hers with practiced ease, drawing breathy sighs and choked back moans from them both. Telsin gasped against his mouth when he dragged his thumbs down the sides of her neck. Zevran chuckled, nipping along her jaw until he could drag his teeth across her earlobe to send her writhing against him, hands clenching tightly into his shirt. The distinct sound of tearing fabric went completely ignored by both parties.
“Nnnngh… fuck me,” Telsin cursed, the tenor of the words sounding more like Maker’s Breath as she tilted her head back.
“Mmm, that is the plan, yes. Why must you always spoil my surprises, dolcezza?”
Zevran slipped her shirt off and her soft laughter turned into a moan as he moved teeth and tongue down the column of her neck, paying special attention to the space just above her collarbone. Calloused fingers danced up her sides and along her ribcage, drawing out another laugh turned moan as his mouth and one hand converged on her breasts, the other hand wrapping around to splay across her back and hold her firmly against him. He was always like this with her; keeping everything lighthearted and fun while slowly pulling her apart at the seams.
Well, two could play that game. Telsin pushed Zevran’s torn shirt out of her way and slid one hand up his chest, brushing lightly past one pierced nipple, to slip around the side of his neck and grasp a fistful of hair. He moaned against her breast and rolled the nipple of the other breast between his fingers with a pinch. The mix of pleasure and pain shot straight south and she rolled her hips upward, barely managing to control the instinctive bucking motion. Zevran groaned again as her hold on his hair tightened reflexively. He moved off her breast with a tug from his teeth, causing her rolling movements to stutter, and moved his mouth to the side. The dragging of his teeth along her skin made her shiver, caught between huffing a laugh and biting her lip against a moan.
Then he was pushing her backwards, shifting down her body, mouth never once leaving her. Her breeches were pulled off when a nip to a particular spot had her hips twitching upward. Zevran chuckled against her stomach when Telsin grumbled a ‘smooth bastard’ at him between gasps. Gasps that turned into giggles when he pulled back to ghost his breath around her belly button with a self-satisfied grin.
“Creators,” she hissed, “Get on with it you damned tease.”
His only response was to drag his fingers down her inner thighs with just enough pressure to be both arousing and ticklish. Telsin squirmed, not sure if she was trying to get away or get closer.
“You’re the worst.”
“Mmmm, I rather think not.”
Before she could continue their banter he buried his face between her legs. His tongue flicked across her clit, pressing just so against the bundle of nerves that it had her arching up into him, pressing herself closer to his face. With a quick movement he snaked one arm around her waist, holding her hips down to continue his ministrations while his free hand pushed one of her legs up and away to give him more space. With teeth, and tongue, and lips, he tugged, and pressed, and sucked at the tiny nub until all Telsin could do was gasp and squirm, bucking up against the arm holding her down. Telsin could feel her orgasm building, the sensation that had her toes curling and warmth teasing at the edges of her abdomen, but it wasn’t enough, it was never enough. She let out a frustrated growl and bucked harder, dislodging Zevran’s hold and nearly smothering him with her sex. His chuckle sent a jolt through her body before he pulled back, nipping at her thighs playfully.
“Is there something you need? You seem rather impatient.” His smirk was so cocky she just wanted to grab his face and shove it back between her legs, but she restrained herself.
Instead, she hauled herself up to press her lips hungrily to his, tasting herself on his tongue. He groaned as she pulled on his lower lip with her teeth before closing her lips around it and sucking. With him momentarily distracted, Telsin wrapped her hands around the backs of his thighs and lifted quickly, depositing him on his back and slipping his breeches off before he could recover.
“Mmmm, I do like someone who takes control in the bedroom,” Zevran murmured, pulling Telsin down into another searing kiss.
Telsin grinned into the kiss, fingers trailing down his chest until they reached his cock. Disregarding his pleased hum, she merely ghosted the tips of her fingers up and down his length, occasionally brushing down across his sack for just a moment.
“Now who is teasing, mm?” he was propped up on his elbows, watching her hands intently while she nibbled on the side of his neck.
“Payback’s a bitch, Zev. I thought you already knew that.” She grasped him and then returned to teasing to emphasize her point.
“You are being naughty. How shall I reward you?”
“You could always finish what you started. If you think you can handle – ah!” Telsin startled as Zevran flipped them both over.
They both fell into a fit of laughter, swapping light kisses in between chuckles and giggles. Telsin’s next round of giggles cut off with a moan. Zevran was sliding slowly into her, filling her up just how she wanted.
“Is this what you wanted?” he asked, echoing her thoughts back to her.
His pace continued, sliding in and out of her with a languid rolling motion. All of those nerve endings alighting in a wave of sensation had her toes curling and her head thrown back with a litany of gasps and moans. He always knew exactly how slow or fast to go to get the best response from her body. When a hand and his mouth began teasing her breasts anew she buried a hand in his hair with a sharp shout.
“Nngh, Zev. Zev..” she gasped as he got particularly rough with her nipples.
Her body bucked and rolled up into his, but a hand on her hip prevented her from increasing the pace he’d set. With each stroke of his cock inside of her she was pushed closer and closer to the edge; she could feel it, the distant lick of heat that precluded that wonderful fall, but..
“Not. Ah! Not enough. Zev please.”
“As you wish.”
Zevran pulled free and motioned for her to roll over. She complied, knees tucked under her and hands already scrabbling for purchase in the grass as he slid back in. The sensations doubled at the new angle; her fingers dug into the dirt. With the same slow and steady motion, Zevran brought a hand around to pinch and tug at one nipple while the other skimmed down her stomach, stopping just before their goal for a moment. Telsin moaned and bucked, earning an amused chuckle and those fingers exactly where she needed them.
“Right there, dolcezza? Are you ready to come apart for me, hmm?” his fingers moved rhythmically over her clit, pulling her ever closer to her release.
The heat was so much closer now she could almost taste it in the back of her throat. Even then, it was still a waiting game for her; like her body had to wait until just the right amount of stimulation over time was reached before her orgasm would hit. Occasionally it was a short time, but more often than not she would sit on the cusp waiting, waiting until her body finally succumbed to Zevran ministrations. The dirty talk tended to help, though… especially when it was in Antivan.
“Proprio così,” he whispered into her ear. “Disfare. Voglio sentirti cantare.”4
“Fu- Zev!” she screamed, writhing as she climbed higher. “Close. Ah!”
“Mi permetta di sentire. Vieni per me.”5 He growled the last few words, pressing his fingers just a bit harder against her clit.
And she was toppling over the edge, the tingling curling her toes and the heat spreading deliciously through her abdomen. She could feel herself clamping tightly around Zevran. As soon as the first of her orgasm clenched around him, he snapped his hips into hers in a frantic pace that kept her at the height of her orgasm; drawing it out and out until, within minutes, she was toppling over again, crying out as spots danced across her vision and her whole body was as taut as a bow string. Zevran stilled behind her as his own orgasm took him, unable to hold it back any longer. They collapsed to the ground on their sides, slowly catching their breaths.
“You feel much better, yes?” Zevran said, placing a kiss to the back of her neck.
“Much. Though I’m not sure if I can move just yet, so we’ll be a bit more late than anticipated.”
Elvish: “You’re not safe, you must leave.” (roughly)
Antivan (Italian) 1: “He’s very handsome.”
Antivan 2: “He’s all yours.”
Antivan 3: “Ah, so generous. I think I’ll leave him for you.”
Antivan 4: “Just like that. Unravel. I want to hear you sing.”
Antivan 5: “Let me hear you. Come for me.”
Piccola volpe: Little fox