|Reviews for The Arrangement|
| Vanessa Masters chapter 18 . 5/19/2021
Loghain shook his head, wanting to curb this discussion before it really got going. "You're tired, Ellie. Go to bed. Or I'll call for a bath, if you prefer."
She shook her head firmly. "No. Not this time. For three years I've let you shut me out and push me away. At first it was because I thought it was just your habit and I should leave you alone and be there waiting when you decided to show up again. It's worse since Gareth was born, though. Now I think it is because you don't respect me. I'm your bedmate, sometimes your company, but not really your wife."
She was trying to fight the tears, but a few more slipped out. Normally the sight would have made Loghain feel desperate to comfort her, but instead it made him angry. So much for a happy homecoming to Gwaren. "You're talking rot, woman, but go on if it makes you feel better. You must have a few more complaints about me stored up. I suppose I smell bad and steal your covers at night, too."
"I might better talk to Cutha. He listens to me, at least."
Loghain snorted and turned back away, pacing towards the mantle and bracing on it with both hands, looking down into the fire. There was a silence filled by the sounds of Gareth softly snoring, the fire's crackle and Ellie sniffling. As the anger coursed through him, it brought with it flashes of memory, of Celia crying and saying similar things. His anger had been very hot then, keened on loss first of his family and then of Rowan. By the time he had married Celia, there were no more battles on which he could train it. Though he wouldn't admit it, there had been some satisfaction in hurting and being hurt by Celia. It gave him an excuse to nurse the anger, to let pride keep him from softening. He was not a young man anymore, however. Such games no longer seemed worth the price to play.
Drawing a deep breath, he spoke wearily. "All around me are vipers and cretins, or else good men whose careers and lives depend on me. I'm always fighting. Always. The enemies I can't see are the ones who worry me the most. If I come home and want a few moments of peace from it all, is that too much to ask?" Ellie didn't answer, so Loghain turned around and stepped over to face her, still keeping his distance. She avoided his gaze. Softening his tone, Loghain went on, "When I'm hunting, I can forget. I block out anything but the tracking and then the kill. I don't hunt often anymore, but when I come home and you talk about what Gareth did that day, I can forget, too. I do listen to you. Perhaps not as often as you'd like, but more often than you're giving me credit for."
Throat catching on the words, Ellie replied, "I know. That's not what I mean."
"What then?" Exasperation was pushing Loghain's patience again.
She sniffed and appeared to be thinking before she replied. "All you talk about is what you need, but I need things, too. I suppose because our marriage started with politics, I had this idea that I would be your ally. I didn't know we would love each other, but I always pictured doing important things for you and with you. But Cailan was right when he said I'm nothing. Because you never tell me anything you're doing, I wouldn't even know where to start to be an ally to you."
Loghain's head had come up at the king's name. "Cailan? When did he say that?"
Ellie gestured impatiently. "It doesn't matter."
Approaching her, Loghain slowly reached out a hand and lifted her chin with one finger. "How could you ever say you are nothing? You, of all people." He then let his hand fall. "Are you really so unhappy? Is being a mother so burdensome that you would rather be wallowing in political muck instead?"
"It just doesn't fit me." She stood, pacing, and cast a quick glance towards Gareth's sleeping form. "I love him more than my life, but I don't know where my place is. The wives of your officers can't relax around me. If Gareth is rough with one of their children, they punish them because they're afraid it might come back on their husbands. They're just as guarded with me. The noblewomen in Denerim are catty and spoiled. My only friends are servants, and it's not much of a friend who calls me 'her ladyship'. Anora might have been my friend, but she hates me. And my husband won't talk to me."
Well, glad they cleared the air.
And mention of Allistair.
| Vanessa Masters chapter 17 . 5/19/2021
Awww Loghain loves his boy.
Cailan had obviously not warned his guard to prevent Loghain from entering. That was a mistake he recognized the minute he saw his father-in-law. The king jumped up from his chair but was off balance when the blow caught him across the chin. Stumbling backward, he had not yet found his balance when another snapped his head back again, sending a spray of blood across his the bed behind him. Cailan braced against the bedpost, holding out a defensive hand to ward off another.
Loghain spoke low, in an oath. "I swear by the Maker, that is the last time you raise a hand to my daughter."
Blood dripped from Cailan's nose and lip onto the carpet. Slowly he turned his head, fingering gently at his bloody nose and the gash at his cheek. His voice was thick. "I deserved that. But no more, Loghain, or I call my guard."
Loghain grasped the cuff of Cailan's tunic and hauled him up, shoving him against the wall and pinning him there. Glowering with contempt, he spat out, "Don't hide behind your guard, you arrogant little fuck. Fight me yourself if you're so eager to hit someone."
Barely able to breathe, Cailan had to choke out his words. "This is treason."
"You'd have to be a king for that to be true, wouldn't you? You're not even a man." With a shove, Loghain let him go and Cailan slid out from his grasp, putting distance between them and finally slumping into a chair. Following his movement, the teyrn's voice seethed. "You're not your mother's son. Nor Maric's, either. I don't know what you are."
"Don't you talk about my mother. Not you." Cailan glowered at him, touching a hand to his nose to try to stop the flow of blood.
Loghain was about to say something about Rowan, about what the warrior queen would have done to a man who went whoring about or struck her, but a realization came and instead he pointed an accusing finger. "You're an Orlesian, that's what you are. You use women, you use power and title just like they did. If I didn't know better I'd swear you were that lying elven woman's son and not Rowan's."
Cailan did not meet his gaze for long, and he didn't object about his mother any longer. After a silence he asked softly, "How is Anora?"
"How do you think she is? Trying to forgive you, though only the Maker knows why." When Cailan only nodded, head bowed, Loghain turned and paced away, lifting a hand to the back of his head. After a moment he let it fall again and spoke over his shoulder. "Never again, Cailan. You are Maric's blood and I am sworn to serve you, but never again." When there was no answer, Loghain left without looking back.
And his daughter too. I like papa wolf loghain.
| Vanessa Masters chapter 16 . 5/19/2021
Ellie turned, her voice vehement. "If you choose to believe that, you're a greater fool than you look. And you can keep telling yourself that your blood will always protect you, but that isn't true, either. I just hope that you don't bring the rest of us down with you."
Cailan's ashen face turned white. Not even when they were lovers had Ellie spoken to him so frankly. She had always done just as she had advised Anora to do, always let him have his way, always smiled and gave in. Even in rejecting him, she had taken the cowardly route, ducking behind her father and Loghain. Marrying Loghain had turned out to be the best thing she had ever done, but it still made Ellie angry at herself to think of how it had come to be. Wrenching her arm free, she turned to leave. Only when she was once again in the outer hall did she realize that she was shaking.
At home, Gareth soon had her in better spirits. Nevertheless when Loghain came in and pulled her aside, Ellie expected him to bring up Cailan, perhaps to scold her for the visit. He was subdued, but only asked if she was free for dinner that evening. At her nod, he replied, "Good. You'll want to put on a nice dress." Without another word Loghain retreated to his own chambers, leaving Ellie looking after him in surprise.
There was still a mist in the air and the air had grown cool, so Ellie put on a dress of blue velvet with chain belt, and took her hooded cloak as well. They saw Gareth to bed and set off, Loghain holding her arm and steadying her as they walked through the slick, uneven streets. There was less revelry than there had been on the night before, but many were still out on the streets. The market fair would still be going on for the rest of the week.
They turned in at the Gnawed Noble Tavern in the market district, and were met at the door by a hostess. "All is prepared, your grace," she told Loghain, taking their cloaks.
Surprised, Ellie asked, "What is going on?"
Loghain just gave Ellie a little smile and directed her to the back. There, the staff had curtained off an area near the great hearth and there was a table set for them. With as many patrons as were out during the fair week, Ellie knew that only a national hero could have secured such a good location for a private dinner. When food was brought, she saw that it was all her favorites, lamb chops with mint and roasted potatoes and an enormous tart with what must be the last of the strawberries. Finally the waitress brought a cheese plate and Ellie found on it a fabulously rare Anderfels brown cheese, her favorite since she was a girl. She laughed, asking, "Loghain, what is this? It's not even my birthday."
He simply smiled and gestured with his glass. "Eat."
Awww a fine end to the day, Loghain being spontaneous and romantic.
| Vanessa Masters chapter 15 . 5/19/2021
He did not have much time to stare, since a moment later Ellie was putting Gareth into his arms. As the sight of his son's face drew all his attention, Loghain soon forgot about the unpleasant fact of an Orlesian woman living in his house. He held the baby uneasily at first, not having had practice in such a thing in so long that he felt ungainly at it.
"See, Gareth, your da-da has come home," Ellie was burbling, leaning in to tug at the boy's garment.
Loghain's head felt light, but when Gareth's dark blue eyes fixed on him, he smiled in spite of himself. Turning, he walked a few steps away, put the elf behind him and stared down at the bundle lying on his arm. Ellie followed, watching them.
"So, here you are," Loghain finally said, his voice soft. He reached up a hand to touch the baby's silken dark hair, and Gareth caught the finger in his own hand and held on to it. Loghain laughed, then fell silent again. It was all too difficult to fathom. Somehow, by some turn of fate, he had become not only husband but father again. He had come home from many missions, but it had been a long time since he had come home to anything like this. It took him a moment to realize that his eyes were swimming.
Gareth interrupted to deliver an abrupt shout. Turning to Ellie, Loghain blinked back the unformed tears and asked with amusement, "What was that?"
"Barking an order, I think," she replied with a smile. "Like father, like son. Only the junior general really, really likes the sound of his own voice."
"Does he." Loghain returned his gaze to the squirming little boy and hesitated a moment before leaning down to plant a gentle kiss on his forehead. Gareth blinked, and afterward stared up at his father as though mesmerized.
| Vanessa Masters chapter 14 . 5/19/2021
Well, wonder where this trip will take loghain?
| Vanessa Masters chapter 13 . 5/19/2021
"Come sit," Ellie bid him, and he did so. "The cook is making goose with plums, smell it? I reminded her to go light on the cloves, the lord of the house having such a delicate palate as he does."
Loghain replied with a grunt. The fact that Ellie was in such a cheerful mood was going to make it harder to spoil it. At such times he usually went for bluntness, and so he did again. "I'll be going away soon," he announced quietly. "Cailan wishes me to do a survey of Ferelden's troop readiness and I think it a good idea. Maric and I kept track as best we could but there is no substitute for seeing such things with one's own eyes."
The room was silent but for Cutha's snuffling. Finally Ellie repeated, "You're going away. Soon? How soon is soon?"
"Cailan wants me to leave right away." Out of the corner of his eye, Loghain saw that Ellie's face had drained of its high color and that she was fighting with her response.
Bitterness laced her voice. "Cailan wishes you to go, and so you'll go. Do you not see what he is doing?"
"Of course I do. I had thought him over his childish pouting, but it appears he's still got it in his system. What choice do I have, Ellie? Do you think you are the only one who is bound by the whims of our boy king? At any rate, he is right that it needs to be done. We need eyes out there, not only on the military situation but on the political one. Or have you forgotten how much fun you had at the Landsmeet, and I in trying to get answers about Maric?"
Ellie looked unhappy but capitulated. "Alright. Alright. I know that it's your duty. You always warned me that it would interfere. I just didn't think..." She had begun to rub the bulge at her middle as though hugging the child inside it.
Loghain stole a look at her. She was always her best in the firelight of evening, the warm light catching her red hair just so. He thought it surely a trick the Maker had played on him to make his young wife that much more bewitching. Pregnancy had not diminished her appeal, and in fact he found the fullness around her chin and in her breasts to be an arresting change. Reaching a hand over to touch her stomach, he said, "I'm not going to leave before the baby is born, of course."
Ellie turned her head. "You're not? I thought you said you had to go?"
Loghain chuckled drily. "I do, but I made you a promise. Do you think I would let Cailan's petty jealousies cause me to miss the birth of my son? If there were any real urgency, that would be a different matter. As it is, papers will get lost, the men I need won't be available for another week, and then another week if necessary. Military life is like that."
Her smile returned cautiously, and some tension went out of Ellie's limbs. "There is more than one way to skin a nug, as the dwarven traders say?"
And baby is there and Anya saves Ellie, so mother and baby are safe.
| Vanessa Masters chapter 12 . 5/19/2021
Ellie's voice wavered as she spoke up again. "Do you think that way now?"
Loghain turned to look at her. In the relative dark of the window seat, she saw only his profile and a glint of blue eyes. "If it was a mistake, it's my favorite one."
A little sob wrenched up involuntarily in Ellie's throat and though she tried to fight it, her shoulders shook. Loghain reached over a hand and brushed at the tears on her cheek with a roughened thumb. "Don't cry," he hushed her. After a pause he went on. "Obviously if you are thinking about this, then you consider it a mistake. You're probably right. I'll do whatever I can for you and our child, Ellie, whatever is in the bounds of my duty. Tell me what you want."
She hesitated, not wanting to talk when it might come out as a blubber. Finally she answered softly, "Would you spend the night with me? You don't have to, you know... I mean, I don't expect..." Ellie was fairly certain that she looked as hideous as she felt, and they had not lain together in several months. Apart from her self-consciousness, the physics themselves were too daunting. At the very least, however, she did not want to wake up alone.
Loghain expelled a breath and his shoulders relaxed. "Is that all?" His smile flashed. "I think that can be arranged."
With his help, Ellie managed to extract herself from her blankets without tripping on them or on her nightdress. If she were on her own, she would then likely have flopped back on the bed like an overloaded pack oxen, inclusive of the grunts and groans, but made an effort this time to be more delicate about it. Loghain circulated the room to douse the lamps before joining her, sliding in under the covers and putting an arm over her belly. His hand rubbed across the slope where the baby was pulling her skin as taut as a bursting flour sack.
"He's going to want out of there soon, isn't he?" Loghain asked, grinning.
Ellie grimaced. "Thank the Maker. I can't take much more of this."
"You're doing beautifully." At her snort of laughter, he insisted, "I mean it. I know it is difficult. Celia never complained, but I could see it."
Pursing her lips, Ellie reflected on the fact that Loghain's first wife had not been trained as a warrior, yet apparently had had more fortitude than she did. The limitations and discomforts were not the only thing on her mind as her time drew near. Ellie was afraid of the birth, too, not only of the pain but of the fact that births were always dangerous. That was not something she would admit to her husband, however. It was not really her own life that worried her the most, but the idea that the little person she was carrying was at risk, too, and was depending on her. Placing a hand over Loghain's larger one where it rested on their baby, Ellie forced a smile. "It will be over soon, one way or another."
His expression grew serious. "I am going to help you, Ellie. I was not much help with Anora, but I shall try to do better this time. You might end up wishing I kept my nose out."
Abs yeah, loghain knows how to please his pregnant wife.
| Vanessa Masters chapter 11 . 5/19/2021
Yeah, Fergus, a soft heart and hard muscles is what a girl wants.
Trying to stay polite, Ellie kept her voice low. "Please, good woman..."
"So, you're wed to the Hero of River Dane. Pardon me, m'lady, I mean no offense. It's just that me and the girls in the neighborhood was chattin' about how he took himself another wife and a young lady like yourself." Leaning in, she went on in a whisper. "He looks like a mean one, begging your pardon. He doesn't... you know..." She made a slapping motion at the air.
Ellie whitened. "Certainly not!"
"Is that so? Good, good. I'm glad to 'ear it. I didn't think so m'self, never in life. But some of the girls said it, on account of he's always got such a sour look, and 'cause those soldierly types can be rough on a woman. But I said, 'not the Hero of River Dane', not him."
"My husband is a gentleman."
"I'm glad to 'ear it, m'lady, truly," the woman replied, appearing genuinely relieved. She paused and glanced at Fergus, rubbing at her fingers nervously and seeming to weigh what to say next. Finally she leaned in, whispering, "And if you don't mind me askin', how is he... y'know..." When Ellie made no reply, the woman took it for misunderstanding and scooted forward, bosom dangerously close to spilling her ale. "How is he y'know, in the sack?"
Ellie did not know whether to burst out laughing or shout at the woman leave them in peace. If the prattler had been a noble, she no doubt would be asking about Cailan rather than Loghain. At least, Ellie reflected, there was some relief in that it was about the right man. After a pause she decided to indulge the woman a bit, if not on that particular subject. Despite her presumptuous questions, she had a pleasing earnestness in her pretty smile, and Ellie considered that it wouldn't hurt to hear what the common people were talking about. "Fergus, go check on Anya," she directed.
"What? No, I want to stay." The lad had apparently decided that it was not so bad being squeezed between a wall and a stack of female flesh, especially with the turn the conversation was taking.
"Go on. See that she's not cheating again over there. I don't want any trouble." Grumbling, Fergus made to go and the curious woman moved aside to let him get out, sliding back into her place and looking at Ellie expectantly. The teyrna gave her a spare smile. "So. I suppose you should tell me your name. You may call me Ellie."
Yeah, like a bull.
| Vanessa Masters chapter 10 . 5/19/2021
Elissa shook her head, approaching the desk. "It's not a good idea. In fact, it is an impossible one."
"If you are uncomfortable, then certainly..."
"...certainly I would not..." Loghain froze, and slowly looked up. "What? What did you just say?"
"I said I am pregnant. Pregnant. Baby. Little person who is going to split me in two in but a few short months." She stood back, arms crossed, and even through the haze of his own shock Loghain could hear the nervous edge of fear in her voice.
He leaned forward, bracing on the desk while he sank into the chair. His words came out in a choked whisper. "Maker's breath. Are you sure?"
Ellie nodded. "I'm positive. I didn't want to tell you with everything that's been going on, but I've known for a couple weeks. I had my suspicions, then the healers confirmed them." When he didn't say anything, she went on, sounding desperate. "What am I supposed to do with a baby? I can't be a mother."
Loghain blinked in surprise. Setting aside his own sense of unreality, he asked with concern, "You are unhappy?"
"I... I don't know. No. I'm worried. This baby is going to take one look at me and ask to go back to the Fade."
Despite the numbness that had overtaken him, Loghain chuckled. Recovering slightly, he offered, "You mean once he gets a look at his father. The sight of his mother will be much more impressive." Father. Baby. It was not possible that these words might have anything to do with him again, not after so many years.
Elissa fidgeted. "I can't believe you didn't notice. My ankles!"
He was at a loss. Elissa's ankles appeared fine to him, and what ankles had to do with a baby, Loghain had no clear recollection. "I didn't notice anything, I'm sorry. Several weeks, you said?"
| Vanessa Masters chapter 9 . 5/19/2021
believe you will. You are that sort of man." Loghain regarded her, surprised by the confidence in her voice. After a moment he reached up and touched her cheek. Ellie's eyes were red-rimmed and looked sleepy, and the skin of her cheek was hot where she had been weeping earlier. He was surprised to see how pained she was. He had barely been aware of the fact that she was grieving, too. As he stroked her cheek, Ellie caught his hand and held it there. Whispering, she said, "I miss you."
He nodded and took a breath. It was not only Maric's disappearance that was causing her grief. Loghain hadn't wanted to admit that, but deep down he knew. Celia had once said the same thing and likely for the same reasons. It had seemed so important for him to keep his distance, but he was finding it difficult to recall why. With Celia, he had kept meaning to try to put things right someday, but then never got a chance. When the message came that she had died of the sweating sickness, it had been six months since they had seen each other. It was over so quickly that her death messenger caught up to her sickness messenger on the road to Denerim.
Caressing Ellie's cheek, the thought came to Loghain that he had already begun to take her for granted, but that he could someday lose her, too, just as with Rowan, with Celia, and now with Maric. Though he was still incredulous that someone actually felt his absence, the idea that Elissa might leave him in some fashion seemed terribly chilling. Leaning down, Loghain kissed her. She tensed with surprise, but after a moment embraced him and returned the kiss.
He was still kissing her as he pulled her towards a settee, sat and lifted her astride him. Only after he had already freed himself and had started to slide the linen shift up her legs did Loghain stop, suddenly ashamed that after weeks of barely speaking to her that he was acting like a randy youth. "You don't have to do this," he whispered hoarsely. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have."
Ellie had paused as well, but after hearing him, she leaned forward and pressed her lips to his once more. "Talk later," she commanded between kisses, reaching to complete the skirt lifting herself. "Do this now."
Loghain needed no more encouragement than that, heaving a sigh as she slid herself onto him. Ellie leaned forward, turning her mouth towards his ear, and they held each other while they rocked gently, letting their closeness do most of the work. She came first, sliding her hips forward against him to gain friction. Afterward it was only a few more movements until Loghain's wetness spread between them and he grew slack once more. They remained locked together, Ellie's face pressed into his neck.
"I have missed you, too, Elissa," Loghain spoke into her ear. Holding her in his arms, her warmth and weight and fragrance becoming familiar to him again, this was plain to him. He embraced her tightly, letting his own head rest, the weariness in him still evident but some of its bitterness relieved by his wife's closeness.
Awww they missed each other and be back together
Better or worse.
| Vanessa Masters chapter 8 . 5/18/2021
She was still shakily sipping from her glass when a figure moved up beside her. "Not dancing, Elissa?"
"Your Majesty. Prince Cailan favored me, but..."
"Yes, he's the only man here who dares Loghain's wrath." Maric chuckled. Ellie stole a look at the king and wondered if he could really be innocent of the implications. Perhaps he was just too good-natured to believe anything but the face value of a situation, or he didn't want to see that his son was in a tangle. They were both silent a moment before Maric spoke up again. "If it's not too forward of me to ask, it seems that there is a genuine affection between you and Loghain. Is that true?"
The question was telling. Perhaps the king did see, and he was wondering what everyone else was wondering: Which man had brought her to Denerim. Nodding, Ellie answered without hesitation. "Yes, it's true. I care for Loghain, and I believe he is coming to care for me."
"Good. That's very good." Maric spoke with conviction. "He's the strongest man in this room, but it only means that he needs you all the more."
Ellie did not know what to say. She was known for her frankness, but hadn't ever been so open with the king before. "Needs me?"
"Yes. Certainly, yes. He might not even know it, but all the more reason he does. Don't let him tell you otherwise, or make you think otherwise by his standoffish ways."
"I will keep that in mind, Your Majesty."
"And since I'm making presumptuous demands of you, I would ask you one more. In the days ahead, Cailan will need friends, too. I know there has been some history between you two, though not exactly what. I don't want to know. If you can see your way clear, please just help him, in whatever way you can. Be a friend to him." Ellie was surprised to hear the earnestness in the king's voice. He was pleading with her. Searching for the hidden meanings behind Maric's words, for whether he was trying to warn her or pry information from her or something more subtle, she soon decided that it was likely that he meant only what he said. Of all the political animals in the room, the king was the least political of them all.
With her own measure of earnestness, Ellie assured him, "I will try. I am Cailan's friend, for my part. I wish only his good as well as my husband's."
Maric smiled. "I believe you. Loghain is lucky to have you, Elissa. We all are." Shaking his head and laughing, he added, "The Maker knows, even if no one else does, that it is not the men who keep this kingdom together. It is women like you. You remind me of Cailan's mother, Queen Rowan, do you know that? Has Loghain ever told you that?"
She shook her head. "No, he hasn't mentioned it."
Maric was silent, thoughtful. "Ah. Well, never mind. It's true, and that is a high compliment."
And then, chatting with loghain, and convincing him that she loves him, and there can be love and happiness in their marriage.
| Vanessa Masters chapter 7 . 5/13/2021
Oh poor Maric.
Anora spoke up. "I've made sure your rooms here were kept clean and otherwise untouched, Father."
"Thank you, Anora." Loghain noted that his daughter was obviously at home in the palace, already "making sure" of things. In addition to continuing her own education, her unofficial role at court was as advisor to Cailan. There had been something about dancing and etiquette lessons for the prince. Much as Loghain knew the boy needed to settle down, he pitied him thoroughly all the same.
Maric added, "You can keep your old quarters anyway, Loghain, not just until the ambassador leaves. Meanwhile Elissa can be given a guest room for now..."
"She'll stay with me." Loghain realized late that he had uttered this too quickly and firmly. The king's mouth twisted in a grin, and after a moment he uttered a little noise that was part triumphant "ha!" and part laugh. I told you so was written all over his bloated face. Anora's reaction was even more pointed. She looked up, startled, and glanced between her father and Elissa. Loghain ignored them both, heading for the door but qualifying over his shoulder, "Unless the lady wishes it otherwise."
Elissa answered quickly, as well. "No, that will be fine. Thank you, Your Majesty. Thank you, Anora."
When he was in the corridor and safely away, Loghain swore softly. He should not have stayed away so long, that was plain. Walking at a fast clip and deep in thought, he waved Cauthrien off and was barely aware of Ellie following him until they had reached his old quarters. Only when the door closed behind them did he turn around and realize, finally, that there was a woman in his rooms. A woman who would be staying in them. In Gwaren Loghain had gotten used to the sight of red hair spread out on his pillow and women's smallclothes tossed on his desk chair. That was there, however, and his quarters in Denerim had always been his own. Celia had never set foot in them.
Oooh and a little bath time fun.
But yeah, don't tell Elissa what to do.
And mention of Alistair!
| Vanessa Masters chapter 5 . 5/1/2021
Oh mention of alistair.
Loghain watched her. She did not seem upset, but assurances were probably a good idea anyway. "We'll be in Denerim by spring," he began. "It's not so far from Highever, you could always..."
Ellie turned and stepped over to him, pulling him inside and shutting the door behind. Cutha just got through the door in time, and ambled to his new favorite spot, the bearskin rug by the hearth. Incredulously Loghain watched as Elissa began tugging at the laces of his tunic. "What..." She shook her head and pulled him into a kiss. He only remained impassive for a few moments before he gripped her arms and moved with her to the bed, his body responding to her urgency even if his mind had a hard time catching up to what was happening. So much for caution.
Since the wedding they had spent afternoons strolling around the village, watching the minstrel players and visiting the fair merchants, and evenings they attended dinners hosted in Maric's honor and theirs. Every night he and Ellie had then come home late and made love with little talking or fanfare. Loghain had very quickly adjusted to the idea that for now, until she tired of him, Ellie meant their marriage to be a physical one. A life of celibacy had never been his choice; it was something that his position and a reluctance to bring another wife into those pressures had forced upon him. He had been prepared to restrain himself also with Ellie, but since she was willing, his body had already begun to feel a new vigor and new expectations. Simply the sight of his young wife could cause a stir in him.
Elissa's urgency now was obviously more than physical, however. When a few tears slipped down her cheek, Loghain stopped his motions, turning with her until they lay side by side. He regarded her silently. She seemed to be fighting the reaction, trying to wipe away the tears as fast as they fell. Finally Loghain reached up to help, brushing at the remnants with his thumb. Leaning forward, he pressed his mouth to her ear and said low, "I am not your family, and I know I am not the man you would have chosen. I am sorry, Elissa."
The words had the opposite effect he intended, for she wept more vigorously then, putting her arms around his shoulders and burying her face in his neck. Loghain could do nothing but hold her, rather stiffly. The storm was brief, however, and when she finally rested her head back on the pillow, she laughed, apparently embarrassed at the show of emotion. Reaching into the bedside table, Loghain pulled out a kerchief and handed it to her. Afterward he waited, hand resting on her hip, wondering where the wind was going to blow next. He had never been any sort of judge of women to begin with, and his new wife left him more perplexed than usual. After a moment Ellie reached over to brush the hair from his eyes and pulled him back to her. With relief, both at having a line to charge and at being able to finish what they started, Loghain readily complied.
Poor Ellie, missing her fam already.
| Vanessa Masters chapter 4 . 5/1/2021
Ooooh, a steamy wedding night, and a nice gift giving.
| Vanessa Masters chapter 3 . 5/1/2021
Maric was silent, waiting, and Loghain was buying time for himself to answer the king's question by fiddling with the cloak, trying to settle it around the pauldrons of his armor. As Maric approached to help him fix the clasps, he finally declared, "The future takes care of itself when one does what one must. I shall serve the kingdom, of course. And keep you out of trouble. Beyond that, what am I to say when I know so little of this girl?"
"You know you'll still be thinking that after years of marriage, so you might as well get used to it," Maric replied with a sad smile. "But I didn't ask about the kingdom or about what Elissa wanted. I would like to know what you hope for. I don't buy all these long faces for a minute. There must be something you want out of all this."
Loghain was silent, tapping his gloves on his hand, and after a long moment gave a reply that surprised even himself. Quietly he said, "I would like a son." Even as he spoke the words, their truth became plain to him, striking deep. Never consciously in all the wedding negotiations or preparations had he formed the thought, but in years past he had wished the same, while Celia still lived but their different spheres made it impossible. She told him that she did not want to raise another child on her own, and Loghain let the matter drop without another word. Perhaps the Maker had given him another chance, however unlikely. "Yes, I would like a son, "he repeated. "If Lady Cousland will suffer me that much."
Maric appeared startled, obviously not expecting that reply, or at least for it to be so plain-spoken. Loghain glanced at the king, uneasy with his admission. They had been joking about this very thing a few nights before, but at the time the idea had sounded far-fetched. It occurred to him that simply seeing Ellie the previous few days had called the idea forth again. It was a strange thought. Defensively he explained, "Gwaren needs an heir. Anora will be queen, so there is no one to inherit here. Ferelden is not exactly rife with noble stock and there are even fewer who are worthy of their titles, so who else would there be?" That was not the whole reason and he knew that Maric could see through it, but Loghain let the justification stand.
Maric gathered up his own cloak. Coming round to where Loghain stood, the king reached out to clasp his friend's metal-clad arm. Mac Tir regarded him evenly. No matter how many years passed, sometimes when he looked at Maric all he could see was the blonde-haired youth who stumbled out of a forest, mud- and blood-soaked, so many years before. He had been a terrified princeling then, fleeing the Fereldan lickspittles who had just put a sword through his mother. Everything had changed in that moment for both of them. Without Loghain, Maric would have been dead of cold or of the sword before that night was out. Without Maric, Loghain's father might have lived longer, but they both would likely have ended up hanging from a gallows eventually. Instead Loghain went on to fight in the rebel army that unseated the usurpers and sent them back to Orlais.
Oh, and Calhain loves Ellie, but did she love him back?