Alistair often found himself staring at his fellow Grey Warden. At first he thought he simply admired the small elven girl; after all, she was very strong for such a delicate creature and defeated their foes with even more ease than he did. The way she'd murdered that ogre, driving her blades into its throat and heart... It was the most spectacular thing he'd ever seen.

When he caught himself thinking of how her pouty pink lips would taste, how her round breasts would feel in his hands or how it would sound if she whispered sweet words into his ear with that melodious voice, the Warden realized that what he felt for her went beyond admiration. The increased heart rate and sweaty palms pretty much gave it away. And the naughty dreams, of course.

But little did he know that beautiful, soft-spoken Hylla Tabris had a deep, dark secret. The only ones who had ever known were her parents. Her mother had even taught her how to fight, wielding sword and dagger, because if anyone were ever to uncover her secret, or even be able to guess at what it was, well... Suffice it to say that it would not go over well. So Hylla trained and practised until she was strong and skilled. Not even her dear cousins Shianni and Soris knew, even with all the time the three of them had spent together. The thought that she might be different hadn't crossed the siblings' minds for one moment.

Despite her attractive appearance, the young woman had no experience with men, none whatsoever. Her upcoming wedding had made her both scared and excited, but it was actually a relief the whole thing got cancelled. The reason it did, was a terrible one, one she didn't like dwelling on. It had led to her being conscripted into the Grey Wardens to avoid certain death and her life drastically changing. Hylla regretted nothing though; those humans had got what was coming to them.

She thought she'd lost faith in humanity, but then Alistair came along. He was strong, handsome and so sweet. Hylla often wondered how it would be if the man would take her in his arms and kiss her, oh so gently but passionately. Only the thought of that made her feel so hot she would start sweating and breathing heavily. This often brought on concerned questions and she was running out of explanations. She tried very hard not to think of Alistair that way, but failed most of the time.

One day, the young man just got sick of being tormented by vivid, frustrating dreams, shaking like a leaf whenever she was present, fearing she would find out the reason behind his constant blushing and stammering. It was time he got these feelings off his chest.

"Hylla?" Alistair looked down on her as she was idly poking into the fire. Somehow he managed not to openly stare at her long legs. "Can we talk?" He nervously shuffled his feet. What if she didn't like him? Surely he'd never be able to live down that disappointment. He'd even made the effort to dress properly, in nice pants and his best shirt.

The elven girl stared up at the taller human. "Sure." Simply his presence alone got her heart doing somersaults in her chest. "I learned at an early age. You?" Hylla always kept her answers short , simple and sarcastic to prevent any unwanted words from escaping her.

"Har har, very funny. I meant, might we talk alone? Just you and I." The Warden's face turned a deep shade of red and he uncomfortably cleared his throat.

She gave him an unreadable look as she rose. "Understood." Before Hylla turned to march off, she gestured for Alistair to follow her. Twigs snapped under their boots while the two made their way through the undergrowth.

Each were caught up in their own musings: Hylla fearing he had discovered her secret, Alistair contemplating how he should tell her how he felt. He nearly crashed into the object of his affection when she suddenly halted. They were in a moonlit clearing a fair distance away from their camp, a lonely owl hooting somewhere in a tree.

"We're alone now. Speak," Hylla said curtly. She feared that if she stayed alone with him for too long, she would faint, or worse, tell him how she felt. That certainly couldn't happen, not with the way she was.

Alistair awkwardly scratched his head. "Er, yes. What I wanted to say..." He began pacing around, hands deep in his pockets. "Oh, Maker. This is really difficult."

"What is?" The elf watched his movements with eyebrows raised high. "Is there something you need?"

The Warden shook his head. "No, well, yes, maybe... I-I just really like you, and..." Here he stopped his pacing and hopefully eyed his companion. Who just gave him a blank stare. Letting out a long breath, the young man gathered all of his courage. He was just going to be honest. "What I mean to say is, I think I'm in love with you."

Hylla's heart skipped a beat. She shook her head and slowly sank to her knees, clasping her hands to her face. "No! You can't be!" Tears began streaming from her eyes. Why? It would be so easy to deal with if he didn't care about her at all, but here he was, telling her he was in love with her. There was no way he would accept her. No way.

"What are you talking about?" Alistair kneeled as well and carefully pried the girl's hands away from her face, forcing her to look at him. "Why not?"

"You d-don't know me," she sobbed. "You don't know what I am."

Gently he began wiping the tears from her cheeks. "Of course I know what you are. You're strong, beautiful and kind. What else do I need to know?" The pity he felt at seeing Hylla cry so miserably had wiped away all nervousness, as if by magic. All he wanted to do now was hold her and make her feel at ease.

"You don't understand. Nobody knows. Nobody." The tears had stopped flowing, only dry sobs racking her body. "You could never love me."

Alistair tilted her chin upwards. "Hylla, please don't say that. I can and I do. Whatever it is that troubles you, I will deal with it." Gazing deep into her hazel eyes, committing their shape and colour to memory, he said solemnly: "I promise."

"Really?" She sniffled. Hope flared up in her heart. "You mean that?" Could he mean it? Judging from the affection in his eyes, she would say the answer to that was a wholehearted yes. Wordlessly she flung her arms around his neck. Tears were flowing copiously again, but this time they were tears of joy.

Alistair froze when he felt her breasts press against his chest, surprisingly yielding through the stiff leather of her armour. His arms wrapped around her waist to draw her even tighter to him, burying his face in the crook of her neck to drink in her scent as deeply as he could.

A soft whimper escaped Hylla's throat upon feeling the Warden's lips on the sensitive skin of her neck. No man had ever been this close to her. "Alistair," she whispered in a moan.

"Yes, my dear?" He detached himself from his love and smiled warmly at her. Lucky. He felt so lucky to hold this beautiful woman in his arms. That content feeling soon turned into something else as he noticed her shortness of breath, blushing cheeks and swollen red lips. Her eyes looked like they were glazed over with desire. Much like his own probably were at the moment.

The elf bit her lip, her innards twisting into knots. "If you... If you want to be with me, there is something you should know." Might as well bite the bullet and let him know right away. She grasped his hands and opened her mouth, trying on various words to say. Finding the right ones seemed impossible. "But I can't say it. I will have to show you."

Hylla rose to her feet, taking Alistair with her. The chaste little peck she pressed upon his cheek left him aching for more, but apparently he would have to wait. The young woman took a few steps away from him. "Please don't speak," she murmured. There was longing in her eyes, and uncertainty. The Warden had no idea why she should be so insecure, for he saw nothing but utmost perfection every time he looked at her.

Eyes cast downwards, she slowly stepped out of her boots. Her heart was pounding like crazy. Was this the right thing to do? Of course it was. She wanted him to know, and she knew he wouldn't turn her down. He promised, didn't he?

Boots gone, socks gone. Now her belt she dropped in the grass, her fingers working to remove her leathers. Alistair gasped when the girl's chemise came into view; the garment was slightly transparent and offered him a glimpse of her breasts. It was difficult not to reach out and rip the flimsy fabric away, to scoop her up into his arms and shower her with kisses. He had never touched a woman, true, but no doubt she could teach him how.

When Hylla turned her back to him, he could almost cry. But with the disappearance of her skirt came the sight of her behind slightly peeping out from underneath that short chemise. Alistair fidgeted nervously; his pants were beginning to feel a little tight. And then that flimsy white thing hiding her figure was flung into the grass as well, taking the string that held her hair in a high ponytail with it. Dark tresses cascaded down her back, long and lustrous. Not long enough to hide all of nature's bounties from the Warden's wandering eyes, however.

Fumbling awkwardly, Hylla undid the ties to her smallclothes and finally peeled them off too. She took a deep breath to steady herself. This was it. The girl turned around and caught Alistair staring at her, a big stupid grin plastered to his face. This grin turned even wider when his eyes fixed on her chest.

Oblivious to her apparent discomfort, the young Warden's eyes were immediately drawn to her breasts. These were the first pair he'd ever seen. And what a pair they were: round, large and firm-looking, adorned with lovely pink nipples. Unconsciously he licked his lips, imagining what they would feel like against his tongue. But there was so much more to see. His eyes travelled lower, down her flat stomach. There she showed a slight definition of muscle, just enough to still be seductively feminine. Alistair sighed happily and thanked his lucky stars for providing him this opportunity to see something he'd never seen before.

Even lower his eyes went. His breath caught in his throat. No... He had seen this before. How was this possible? His mind was boggled. Alistair rubbed his eyes and looked again. It couldn't be! Eyes flitting between her shapely breasts and the engorged, twitching thing that shouldn't be there, his brain couldn't comprehend what his eyes saw. But it was there. And it was bigger than his own.

All hope fled her when Hylla witnessed the changing of expressions on her fellow Warden's face. First, utter bliss. Then, confusion. And finally, disgust. "A-Alistair?" she whispered tentatively.

"You... Y-you have a... a... You have a thing!" he gibbered. His mind was reeling. "Like me!" He shook his head, all desire gone from his being. "I'm sorry, I can't do this." Swiftly he turned on his heel and walked away.

So it was as she had feared it would be all along. Again Hylla buried her face in her hands and sobbed. She was a freak, and nobody would ever love her. How could they? She wasn't exactly a woman, but she wasn't a man either. Alistair... He had promised her he would deal with it. And now he was walking away. Her sadness abruptly shifted into a different kind of emotion. The kind that had sent an entire estate of humans to their death. A red mist appeared before her eyes and red-hot rage consumed her, drowning out everything else.

Read 'em and weep, my friends. It only gets worse in the next chapter.