They were less than a day away from Redcliffe, but despite her attempts to sway her companions to continue on through the night- they simply would not listen.

Morrigan claimed that she could no longer travel with Alistair until he had bathed because 'even your dog avoids him,' Alistair- betrayer that he was- agreed (though somewhat bashfully) with the witch, and Leliana complained that her feet were too sore to go any further in 'these poorly-made Ferelden boots'.

Indeed, the only two willing to suck it up and solider on were Sten and Dog, which didn't exactly add credence to her cause. It was with much resentment and quite a bit of exaggerated sighing (that no one seemed to be listening to) that Elissa was forced to halt their march to Redcliffe.

"Now, Alistair," Morrigan commanded as soon as they'd found a suitable spot for camp. "And take the mongrel with you."

Dog huffed indignantly but otherwise obeyed, following an embarrassed-looking Alistair out of camp, leaving his owner to brood on her own.

It was just the whole principle of the thing! Yes, she realized Alistair's stench had gotten out of hand, and yes, under normal circumstances she wouldn't have dreamed of letting him go so long without bathing, but didn't they realize that you couldn't possibly be properly cleansed in a river? A dirty, questionably colored, insect-breeding-ground hardly qualified as a place to wash one's self.

And Redcliffe was just so close! If only they could carry on for one more night, she was sure the Arl would welcome the Wardens (and their guests) into his estate where they would find a much more suitable place to rest and tend to their needs. Even if the Arl was as sick as had been rumored, Isolde would not turn away a Warden.

She let out another sigh and sourly began pitching her tent.


Sometime later, after Elissa had finished with her tent, Dog dashed out of the woods and flopped down next to her, followed shortly by Alistair- a very top-exposed, dripping wet, Alistair- who announced that the river was now free.

She immediately began rummaging through her pack, trying to look anywhere but at her fellow Grey Warden.

It was awkward each time Alistair came back from bathing. It wasn't as if she couldn't tell just from looking at him that he had a body built for battle. It was one thing to acknowledge it when he was fully armored, but quite another to be faced with his gleaming muscles that flexed rather attractively when he-

No.

Just…no. She was not going to go down that road.

Naturally, he would choose that moment to walk right in front of her, giving her an exquisite view of his hardened chest. And of course he caught her, staring at her like he did when he thought she wouldn't notice. With a scowl, she turned away.

Why on earth couldn't he just go to bed? she thoughtscathingly, What business did he have parading around camp like that?

"What?" she barked- as if he were the one who got caught.

"Nothing," he mumbled uncomfortably and she silently thanked the Maker he wasn't very perceptive when it came to women.

She then turned her back to him, in an effort to salvage what dignity she had left and busied herself with her maps. Getting to Redcliffe would be easy. Hopefully, they could figure out what was ailing the Arl and obtain a pledge for troops without too much delay, and it looked as if the Circle Tower would be the next logical stop, if only for its close proximity to Redcliffe.

She had to admit though, if the mages in the tower were anything like Morrigan, she would rather not go at all. Perhaps they could send a messenger with their summons? Or perhaps they could get along without the mage's help.

She squeezed the bridge of her nose. That was ridiculous. She had seen Morrigan's power in battle. The mages would be an invaluable force when fighting the darkspawn.

"Something the matter?" Alistair asked from an alarmingly close distance. She nearly fell off the log she was seated on, in an effort to put more space between them.

"No, no, I'm quite alright, thank you," she said, eyes flicking to anywhere but him.

"I know you're upset about stopping," he whispered and leaned in, "But maybe tomorrow we can get an early start and reach Redcliffe before noon."

She didn't really hear him, though. He was far too close and she was far too occupied with averting her gaze, to listen to what he had to say. In an act of desperation, she closed her eyes completely.

"Yes, well… I appreciate your concern," she fumbled, "But I assure you, I'm quite alright." Aaaand now she was repeating herself.

"Riiight," he said skeptically.

She tried again. "…It's just that…"

She opened her eyes just a fraction, before promptly squeezing them shut, tighter than before.

"If you must know, I'm not used to traveling in such conditions. Before Ostagar I…" She stopped suddenly, furious with herself.

Duncan had cautioned against letting the others know of her origins. They might treat you differently, he'd warned, if they don't already. When she'd questioned his meaning, he vaguely mentioned that there weren't many women in the Grey Wardens, and refused to elaborate.

Now she was in an even worse mood than before. She had almost revealed her identity all because of her neglected libido decided to make a stand.

Well, she was not going to be bested by this. She was a Grey Warden now, and pushed into the position of leader- she simply did not have time to tend to her wounded sex-drive.

Marshalling all her will, she sat up strait and opened her eyes, careful to look only on his face and spoke.

"Andraste's Blood! Will you put on some clothes? I can't concentrate with your gleaming pectorals in my face!"