FIRST KNIGHT

Elissa Cousland slowly unfastened the straps of her armour, placing each piece on the ground inside Alistair's tent alongside a bottle of Antivan wine she'd picked up in Denerim.

He had come to her before his watch, sweating and anxious, his cheeks had been flushed with colour and his eyes danced in the firelight as he spoke.

"All right...I guess I really don't know how to ask you this."

She had wondered what he was going to say, what he was going to ask. Was this about another Grey Warden ritual that he'd forgotten to mention, or perhaps it was to do with his secret? Being the heir to the throne of Ferelden was no small thing and maybe he was going to ask for her support, for all that was worth. Since her family had been murdered and she was now a Grey Warden, the house of Cousland technically no longer existed…unless Fergus had survived the battle at Ostagar. Still, asking for her support was unlikely since Alistair had reacted to the suggestion of becoming king the way he did to Morrigan's jibes!

"Alistair what's wrong?" She had reached out instinctively to touch him, but he had jumped back from her like a scalded cat.

"Oh, how do I say this?" He had rubbed a gauntleted hand through the short, dirty blond hair on his head before looking up at her sheepishly. "You'd think it would be easier, but every time I'm around you, I feel as if my head's about to explode and I can't think straight!"

"Oh thanks a lot I must say!" She had been puzzled both by his words and his reaction but he just let out an exasperated sigh.

"That's not how I meant it and you know it! Here's the thing… being near you makes me crazy, but I can't imagine being without you! Not ever!" He grasped her arms and pulled her close. Surprising since he was usually so guarded in the presence of the others

"I don't know how to say this any other way…" His face had flushed a deep crimson and he leaned in close. "I want to spend the night with you, here, in camp. Maybe this is too fast, I don't know…but I know what I feel…"

She smiled as she remembered the way her heart had begun to pound as his words had sunk in and continued to undress, slipping off the padding and her soft leather underclothes to stand naked in the cool air before slipping on the silken shift she had brought from her own tent. Next she took a brush to her long black hair and smoothed it down until it shone. Alistair was inexperienced and innocent in the ways of passion, a virgin and she wanted this to be perfect for him.

"I've never done this before…you know that." Of course she knew that and she had felt him trembling beneath her fingers as he looked at her shyly.

Finally ready, she lowered herself to the bedroll and breathed deeply of its scent. It smelled of Alistair, a heady mixture of masculine sweat and Ferelden steel and she stretched languidly, imagining his body in that very spot. Just picturing him there, naked and hers for the taking sent a thrill racing down her spine and brought a rush of hot wet yearning between her thighs.

Breathing deeply to calm her nerves, she reclined on her back and tried to still the whirling emotions tearing through her body. It wasn't like she hadn't made love before…after all she had opened her flower long, long ago at the tender age of fifteen. Ser Bryan, one of her father's knights and her trainer had long ago captured her heart and taken her virginity.

She remembered it as if it was yesterday.

Her father, the Teyrn of Highever had been entertaining the other nobles at a great banquet to celebrate her birthday on the morrow. She would be sixteen and eligible for marriage into one of the other houses and it was rumoured that Arl Howe had an eye on her for one of his sons. There had been singing and dancing, the other young ladies attending parading themselves before the young noblemen in hopes of a single dance or a stolen kiss in the gardens.

Elissa had watched them with scorn, her only thoughts of tomorrow's lessons on shield defence with the darkly handsome Ser Bryan. He too had been at the feast. She had spotted him in the background looking uncomfortable and out of place in his tunic and hose, his hard muscled body much more suited to the red steel armour he wore when on duty.

He was much older than she, his face was tanned from time spent outside and his thick black hair was cropped close, like his beard. One of his eyes was a deep swirling brown, the other was covered by a velvet patch…lost in a battle against the Orlesians or so he said.

He had discreetly slunk out of the hall when no one was watching, but she had seen him and followed him to the practice yard…eager to be away from the triviality of court life and in the presence of her sword master. He had been surprised when she approached him, asking him to show her more of the sword before she took up the shield on the morrow. He had reluctantly agreed and led her into the armoury, away from the prying eyes of her family and guests.

Once inside, there had been no getting away from the fact that neither of them were in the mood for swordplay. She had sauntered up to him with all the swagger of youth and dropped her dress from her shoulders. Ser Bryan had made some protestations at first, but even she could tell that from the way his lips parted hungrily that he wanted her as much as she wanted him.

He had kissed her, tentatively at first and then more insistently as his desire overcame his sense of duty. She had declared her love and he had admitted feeling the same before leading her on an exploration of her own body, his fingers and tongue the guides to sensations of pleasure she had only dreamed about.

Finally, he had lifted her onto a sturdy oak chest and unlaced his hose revealing his own hard, glistening arousal. She had been afraid at first, but he had been so gentle that even the pain of his member piercing her maidenhead had seemed only to heighten the sensation of their lovemaking.

For three years they had been both master and student…lover and beloved. He was experienced both in the arts of sex and war and with him, she had blossomed into warrior of unparalleled skill and a woman of unequalled passion. Suitors had come and gone, but she had wanted none of them. Her only love had been the dashing knight who fought with her through the day and shared their secret passion through the night.

Then her mother, the Teyrna had found out.

One of the house guards, apparently jealous of Ser Bryan's rising position within the house had observed him sneaking into her room and heard their muffled cries of passion. He had rushed straight to the Teyrna.

Her mother had been furious and confronted them both the next morning but she had been quite forgiving all things considered. She had decided not to tell her father about her daughter's 'shame' on certain conditions. Ser Bryan was to be dismissed immediately and Elissa was to have nothing further to do with him.

She had pleaded with her mother, heartbroken and desperate, but to no avail. Later that morning, she had said her goodbyes to the knight. She had even begged to go with him, but Ser Bryan had held her close, spoke of her future and told her that if she were to travel with him she would be dishonouring herself and her house…and then he was gone from her life.

Elissa had vowed never to give her heart to another.

All her passion, she poured into the sword…all her emotions were hidden behind the shield. Her mother and father both introduced suitable young men whom they thought might capture her heart, but she shielded it with her armour and focused only on becoming a warrior. Ser Gilmore had taken Ser Bryan's position at Highever, but he was no match for her skill with a blade and certainly not interesting enough to take to her bed.

She had other lovers, though not many. One of the elven servants had proved quite inventive in the bedroom, but when he expressed an interest beyond the familiar she had ended their trysts.

No one was ever going to capture her heart again. No one…until she saw him in the ruins at Ostagar.

Alistair fought with the same level of passion, commitment and discipline that she did. He was glorious in battle, a master of the art. Templar trained, he was a brave attacker, a protective defender and something more…a true warrior with the heart of a lion

…and he was the most beautiful man she had ever met in her life.

His strong, masculine features were perfectly proportioned with his long straight nose and his broad, firm jaw. His eyes were a delightful hazel and seemed to dance with an inner light as he spoke and his hair was a dusty blond, adding to the golden appearance of the young Grey Warden.

It was his heart that had trapped her though, with his shy awkwardness and his silly sense of humour she had found herself drawn to him more and more. There had been stolen glances in camp, intimate talks about their lives and finally confessions of mutual attraction.

She had let him lead the relationship slowly…well…with a little prodding here and there and then they had shared a fateful kiss. His lips had been as sensitive as his soul and she felt the last wall around her heart began to tumble down as he filled her with a longing she hadn't felt since those days as a young maiden.

Voices stirred Elissa from her reverie. Sten was up on next watch which meant Alistair would be coming to her. She listened intently as she heard him walking toward the tent and then he stopped just outside. There was the sound of buckles being undone and she realised he was divesting himself of his gleaming armour before entering.

Nervously she sat up and smoothed the shift over her breasts, aware that her nipples were rather obviously erect in anticipation of their union, and she flushed like a girl…

By Andraste's Grace…What was the matter with her? Why was she so nervous?

Then it hit her…she was nervous because she was in love with him. The realisation was like a strong wind. It blew over her and swept her breath away at the same time as Alistair pushed open the tent flap and stepped in.

"Wow…I mean…you're….that is…" He flushed a deep crimson and looked up at her through his long lashes. "You look beautiful."

He deposited his armour opposite hers and knelt before her. His thighs were strong and shapely beneath the soft leather breeches he wore and she could make out the clearly defined muscles of his chest and abdomen through the white linen shirt that clung to his broad torso. He smiled and she felt herself coming undone…

She reached up her hands and cupped his face, drawing him to her as she pressed against his body. Their lips met and she marvelled at the softness of his kisses as he explored her mouth, their tongues clashing in sensual play sending waves of desire rippling through her very being, causing her sex to throb with an ache she long since forgotten.

Tentatively, she grasped the bottom of his shirt and began to pull it slowly over his head. His body was a marvel, the broad expanse of toned flesh covered with a dusting of golden hair. Self-consciously, he looked down and rested his hands on her waist.

"Elissa…I…I don't know what to do." He sighed and sat back on his heels. "Maker's breath I feel such a fool."

"Alistair you never have to feel like that with me." She lifted him back to his knees and stroked his cheek tenderly. "Just follow my lead and go with your heart."

She took his hands in hers and placed them over her ample bosom before resting her own once again upon his chest. He exhaled and began to squeeze her breasts, delighting in the pliability of her flesh. Her head fell back and she moaned softly as he pushed them together, his grasp becoming more rough and insistent with each massaging movement.

She let her fingers play over his nipples and they stiffened at her touch. Alistair followed, his strong fingers pinching at her own sensitive peaks through the silk of her shift and she let out a whimper as he gently teased her to a higher state of arousal.

With a deep sigh, she flung herself forward and brought her lips to his body. Her tongue traced the lines of his chest before she seized a hard dark nipple between her teeth. She heard him exhale sharply as she gently tugged at the skin, feeling him tense beneath her hands as she caressed his abdomen and the small of his back. Slowly, she worked her way up over his breastbone and collarbone to the skin of his throat. She began to place breathy kisses upon his neck as he pulled her to him, his hands travelling down the back of her shift to clench hesitantly, then more confidently at the soft mounds of her buttocks.

Once again, their tongues clashed as she breathed her passion into Alistair's mouth and guided his hands to the hem of her shift. He smiled nervously as she drew his hands up over her body and leaned back as she shift revealed her legs, her thighs…the dark triangle of hair over her sex. The shift finally came free and the Grey Warden sighed as he looked at her naked form.

She felt like her soul was bare beneath his gaze and she looked down shyly as his hands once again found her breasts. The moan that escaped her lips as he took one rosy nipple into his mouth was a lot louder than she had intended, but the pleasure was intense as his tongue flicked teasingly over her peak causing her flesh to prickle with sensation and the slickness of her arousal to coat her milky thighs.

"Oh Alistair…"

"My lady…"

Elissa ran her fingers through his hair as he licked her, moulded her and teased her into an almost delirious state of need. For a man who had never 'experienced' a woman, he was certainly making her desperate for his love.

"Wait…wait…" She breathed and he pulled back, looking deeply into her cool grey eyes.

Her hands fell into his lap and she gasped as she felt his stiffened length beneath the tight confines of his breeches. He looked up at her bashfully as her fingers moved to the laces that fastened him in and began to untwine them. Slowly, she revealed the dusky rush of hair that led to his member before sliding the breeches down past his hips exposing the throbbing dusky pink shaft beyond. Free of the confines of clothing, he swelled even more and she marvelled at the size of him.

Alistair blushed as she pushed the breeches past his knees, causing her head to lower toward his erect shaft. The smell of him caused her tongue to flick out over the glistening tip and he moaned loudly.

"What are you …?"

His voice choked off as she took him into her mouth. He tasted of salt and sweat, his obvious arousal coating her lips and tongue. Experimentally she sucked at the bulbous head of his cock and he thrust impulsively into her throat.

"I'm sorry…" He breathed as she coughed. "I just couldn't handle…I'm so sorry are you alright?"

She smiled through her discomfort and caressed his cheek reassuringly. "Don't worry, I'm fine."

"It's just that I've never felt…and I think I'm going to…"

She pressed her fingers to his lips and gently wrapped her hand around his shaft.

"Shhh…just let it happen." She could feel the pulse of his imminent climax beneath her palm and placed a tender kiss upon his lips. "I want you in my mouth first. Trust me, making love will be so much more intense after…"

Slowly she lowered her head, once more taking him deeply into her mouth, curling her tongue around his length. He moaned and gasped as she closed her lips around his girth, but he held firm as she began to slide the velvet softness of his foreskin up and down, pumping him to new heights of ecstasy. Once more she sucked, tasting his secretions and feeling him begin to throb as he neared the peak of his orgasm.

"Yes…yes…I…Maker!"

With a desperate cry on his lips, Alistair's seed spilled forth into her mouth filling her with the salty flavour of his release. She swallowed quickly, lest his cum overwhelm her and she milked the last salty drops from his tip as he collapsed back on his heels, his member temporarily spent.

"Give me a moment my heart…" She whispered into his ear and poured herself a goblet of the Antivan wine. She drank deeply, letting the crisp liquid wash his taste from her mouth before pressing her lips once more to his and surrendering her body to his eager touch.

"My lady Cousland…" Alistair sighed. "They never mentioned that in the Chantry!"

"Oh there's more to come!" She giggled at her pun and Alistair's face broke into a broad grin.

"Oh! Oh, oh, oh! That's…bad!" His eyes danced as he placed his hands on either side of her body and leaned over her until she was lying flat on the bedroll.

His eyes travelled over her body as she relaxed and he lay next to her, propping himself up on one elbow.

"So…that was just a taster?" He chuckled softly. "Because I'm not sure that anything could feel as good as that!"

"I'll take that as a thank you!" She laughed and stroked the soft hair on his chest. "I just wanted to please you, to make this…special."

"My dear…" Alistair leaned down and kissed her deeply, passionately. "Being here with you is the most special thing I can imagine!"

His lips brushed against her throat sending shockwaves of sensation rippling over her skin and his free hand caressed her body lovingly.

"Tell me Elissa." He whispered into her ear. "How do I please you?"

"I will show you." Elissa breathed, sliding her hand down over her warm flesh to the moist opening of her sex. "Watch."

She parted her legs and slid a finger between the folds of flesh hiding her damp slit. She was wet and slick with the cream of her arousal and the scent of her desire drifted up, grabbing Alistair's attention like a fox scenting a rabbit.

His hazel eyes widened as she began to rub her clitoris, the feelings intensified by knowing he was watching her, studying her movements and learning the geography of her body.

"Touch me here, Alistair." She moaned, her fingers dancing at her entrance drawing out her own ecstasy as she gazed at the Grey Warden above her. In profile, he was just as handsome with a strong chin and perfect ears. A thick cord of muscle ran down from his neck to the great bulk of his broad shoulders and his arms were toned from years of practice with sword and shield.

Hesitantly he reached down and touched her hand, his fingers learning from her movements and his touch lightly echoing them as he leaned back to better see the secret of her pleasure.

She felt her will beginning to fray as he slid his fingers between hers and started to take over her stimulation, playing her body by listening to the whimpers and cries as she pushed against his hand. His breathing became heavy as her wetness increased, coating his fingers with her essence and making her body tremble with need.

As if by instinct, his fingers delved down to the circle of her opening and she heard him gasp before looking at her questioningly.

"Yes…yes my Grey Warden..." She panted and thrust her hips up, sliding her sex over his finger and feeling the exquisite ache as her inner muscles clamped down, silently begging for release from the tension of her need for him. "This is where I want you."

She reached up and curled her arms about his neck, pulling him down on top of her and thrusting her tongue into his mouth as he pumped his finger in and out of her moistness. His lips stole the breath from her body as she strained against him, determined to hold onto her orgasm until she felt his throbbing member inside her.

Beads of sweat dripped from his forehead onto her face as he explored every inch of her with touch and taste and she began to smile as she felt his member swelling once more against her thigh.

"Alistair…" She paused, drawing a deep breath and slipping her leg underneath his body. "I want you. I want to feel you inside me."

He slid over her thigh and she felt his hips fitting against hers as he positioned himself between her legs. He rose up on his arms and stared down at her, his expression full of care and with a question in his gaze.

"Stop." Elissa Cousland reached down to grasp Alistair's mighty shaft and took a deep, steadying breath. Her body was open to him, waiting to claim his virginity and draw him deep inside, but it was her heart that he was really penetrating. Taking Alistair into herself now was the last symbolic act of letting him fully into her soul.

What if she lost him? What if the darkspawn claimed him? What if he left her, just as Ser Bryan had left her all those years ago? Would she, could she take a chance on love with this naïve, sensitive, honourable, wonderful man?

She pushed his member down, the smooth tip now nudging against the tight circle of her entrance. To stop now would be unbearable, both for body and her spirit.

"Alistair." She nodded slowly. "Now."

His hazel eyes locked onto hers as he began to push his cock into her body. She screamed his name as he slid into the slick wetness of her sex, groaning with the emotion and sensation of it. Her muscles worked out the deep ache inside as she expanded to accommodate his girth and length and she cried out again as he filled her, slowly inching forward until his entire shaft was buried in the fleshy sheath of her organ.

He felt magnificent, hard and throbbing with a passion that she felt throughout her entire being. His face was a mixture of ecstasy and surprise and she smiled happily as he grinned lopsidedly at her.

"Take me." She panted breathlessly. "Go with your heart."

She gasped as he pulled back, leaving only his smooth tip inside her before he plunged into her once more, only this time his stroke was fast and smooth. Again he pulled back and again he impaled her, using his entire length to fill her with his desire and she cried his name, raising her hips up to meet his thrust with a desperate thrust of her own.

Like a hungry predator, he dropped down upon her and sought her mouth with his, stifling her screams with his kisses and crushing her to his chest as his hips continued their unrelenting rhythm, thrusting and stabbing into her with a force that she hadn't expected from someone so gentle and tender.

Her body began to quiver as her orgasm began to build in intensity, each one of his thrusts forcing more awareness into a body already overloaded with sensation and emotion and she was dimly aware of his cock swelling inside her, filling with the promise of an orgasmic release of his own.

Together the warriors fought their impulses, each waiting for the other, both unwilling to travel into ecstasy without sharing their joy. The agony of it was an exquisite experience and Elissa wept with the intensity of her feelings.

Suddenly she tensed, her nails digging into the smooth, well-muscled back of the man on top of her and her sex began to spasm about his cock. Pleasure beyond anything she had ever felt surged through her body and she screamed Alistair's name as she felt the release of her climax flooding her senses, draining her strength and soothing her pounding heart. Then Alistair let out a cry of his own as he finally let go of his orgasm, his organ pulsing madly as he pumped his seed into her filling her with his own creamy heat.

Exhausted beyond measure, they collapsed together on the sodden bedroll. Their limbs still entwined about each other and their hearts beating in a steady tandem as the echoes of their orgasms ebbed away leaving only restful sleep to fill its place.

Alistair woke through the night to find his fellow Warden sleeping peacefully with her back to him. He leaned over and watched her as she slept, her face looking soft and content after the exertion of their earlier passion and he smiled. Whatever battles they faced in the future, be it with Loghain, the darkspawn or even the Archdemon itself, he would never leave her.

He knew she was the one.

He'd known it since Ostagar when she'd found him arguing with the mage. She hadn't looked at him like other girls had. None of that silly fluttering of eyelashes or swoony, girly, fainty nonsense.

No. She had looked like she could quite happily fight off an army of darkspawn which was quite…well…convenient obviously, and then get down to the warm, fluffy stuff afterwards!

They had both lost so much recently. He'd lost Duncan who was like a father to him and as for her, she'd lost her entire family.

Whatever was to come, he wasn't going to lose her as well.

She stirred slightly and he stroked her soft black hair soothingly. Tomorrow he would tell her. He should have told her tonight before they, well, you know. Still, he flushed at the thought of admitting it to such a strong, powerful woman but it had to be said. Maybe he could throw it into the conversation casually. Shouldn't be too hard and if he practiced now…

Alistair leaned over and whispered softly.

"I love you."

She hadn't stirred again and he smiled. For now his secret was safe.

Tomorrow…well, that was only a few hours away, so he'd better get the rest while he could. Sighing contentedly he curled his body against hers and drifted off once more into dreamless sleep.

He never knew of the smile that crept across the face of his beloved, Lady Cousland.