He was a son of the Cousland line, a noble second to the King Himself. In the off chance that the entire royal family was to die, his father would be on the throne. As such, it was his duty to conduct himself in the most proper manner possible. He was trained as a gentleman, respectful and polite. He answered every question with "Yes, Ser" or "Yes, My Lady". It was a duty.

He was trained as a true warrior, in the tradition of Ferelden's nobility. Unlike those soft Orlesians whose commanders sat in gilded chairs leagues away from the battlefield, Ferelden commanders fought alongside their men, often in the vanguard. He was no different. From a young age he'd practiced, mastering the arts of archery, swordplay, and carrying a massive shield into battle. He was taught of Ferelden's history, of the nature of magic, of great heroes and despicable villains.

He was given extensive training in how to manage a castle estate, how to lead forces into battle. His father was renowned for doing both, and thus made an excellent teacher. It was expected of him to know these things, if he should ever need them.

He mingled with others of his stature; guests come to visit with his parents at his mother's frequent salons. He knew by name many of Ferelden's upper crust, and knew many of their stranger quirks. He found himself often on the receiving end of affections from other Ladies his age, many of whom were eager only to inherit the Cousland name.

Rarely did he return these affections, finding his peers to be largely insufferable. Many were concerned with their treasuries, their fiefs, or other trivial matters. He was above and beyond such pettiness. He desired honor. Nothing more, nothing less. And often he would sit alone in the castle library, musing over the total lack of honor that pervaded the noble classes. He'd met plenty of veterans of the Orlesian Occupation, of which his father was just one, alongside Arl Howe. And yet, few enough of them seemed to recall that warrior spirit, that bravado, that ethos that called them to fight alongside each other for their very honor.

Oh that he was cursed to live in an age of peace!

It was childish, he knew, but he longed for warfare, for glorious battle. He longed for the chance to lead regiments of men on charges, to ride on one of the elite purebred horses of the nobility, to swing left and right, cutting down Orlesians or Chasind, or anyone that dared oppose Ferelden.

But no. He was born into an age of peace. Even the great Dragons were returning, having had centuries to wait out the hunters that drove them extinct. It was an age of good relations and good times. It was a boring age. And even as rumors of another Blight crept up from the south, even as father and Fergus prepared Highever's martial forces at the King's command, he knew that he was to remain behind and wallow in peace.

But it was his duty to do so. He was a son of the Cousland line, raised to be the pinnacle of nobility and to conduct himself as the shining example of integrity and honor, no matter what indignity he faced.

And so it was with great relish and a sense of adventure, as well as a pinch of secret revenge, that Lance Cousland hurriedly made love to one of the servant elves in the castle larder.

Her name was Marna, and she'd been whispering innuendos to him ever since she started at the castle. He had to admit that he shared her attraction, and the prospect of a roll with an Elf was altogether too exciting to pass up.

And so, with one too many coy whispers of "I will serve you while the Teyrn is away" Lance Cousland had given in to one of his baser instincts. The fact that they were doing it in the larder was just icing on the proverbial cake. Think if they were caught! The scandal!

She was a good sport, though, and was a full participant in their antics.

"Oh, My Lord is too kind!" she giggled, one leg on a nearby barrel.

"What sort of Teyrn could I be if I didn't allow those under me to share in my blessings?"

"I should say that My Lord is very noble to allow myself to be under him."

"It is the majesty that is me."

"And what a majesty it is."

He knew that Nan could enter at any moment, or one of the other servants could be ordered to get something from the larder, so Lance had to make it as quick as he could, much to his displeasure. He wondered if Marna wasn't getting an even bigger kick out of it than he. A noble, willing and ready for her? Maybe it was more common than he thought, but for the moment he allowed his ego to flare, thinking himself the only noble ever to have bent a servant to his will, as it were.

In a few more moments he had to stifle her moans with his mouth to keep her from making too much noise, and she tugged on his black hair that he knew needed a trim. They finished together, the thrill of the whole scenario enough to bring them to climax faster than usual.

"Well, allow me to be so bold as to say that was an especially pleasing experience," said Lance. Marna giggled, lightly pushing him away so she could adjust her dress.

"Yes, My Lord, I've certainly never been so well taken care of. My Lord must certainly love his servant more often."

"That could be arranged," said Lance, smiling devilishly. "We'll have plenty of time when the Teyrn leaves. I might even find a reason to have you made my personal chambermaid."

"My Lord would be most generous," Marna said, straightening out her clothes and working to still her breathing. "I would very much like to serve more vigorously."

"You can call me by my name," said Lance. "In private, at least."

"But what if I prefer 'My Lord'?"

"I wouldn't be opposed to that, necessarily."

"Well, then maybe I'll just save it for special occasions… Lance."

"I like the way that sounds," he said. It truly was a different experience to have her call him by name, and not just a little gratifying. He had to admit a subtle resentment of his station; forever cursed to be apart from society, to be lumped into the same category as the obnoxious nobles that characterized the rest of Ferelden's elite.

It was dangerous, exciting, and very satisfying.

"Are… are you not afraid of ruling the Teyrnir by yourself?" she asked, buttoning up her shirt. He shrugged a bit as he fastened his pants.

"No. It's hard to be afraid of something you've been groomed your whole life to accept. Truth be told, I am nervous."

"You are a great man," said Marna. She reached down for her underwear, grabbing them and holding them awkwardly. "I think you were born for great things."

"Thanks for the vote of confidence," he said. He adjusted his shirt a bit, making sure it was comfortable. It wouldn't really matter in the long run, seeing as he always wore his chainmail. Marna stepped behind him, kissing him gently on the back of the neck and slipping her underwear into his pocket.

"I wish I could go with them, though," he told her. She reached up to adjust his hair.

"You aren't glad to be safe from harm?"

"Not when it's my family riding in my place. Besides, it's so damn boring being cooped up here at the castle all the time."

"That's what you have me for, My Lord," she told him. "I'm sure we can think of something to ease your boredom."

"That sounds fantastic."

They kissed once more before leaving the larder, Lance carrying his chainmail under one arm as he went. Nan was in the kitchen, apparently angered by some matter or another.

"There you are!" she declared, spotting Marna. "Where have you been? I've been scouring the entire castle looking for you."

"Oh, mistress, I was…" she hesitated, either unable to come up with a good lie or worried about implicating Lance in something less than savory.

"She was with me," said Lance. "In the larder. We were in the middle of some very urgent business."

Marna was barely able to keep from giggling. Nan scowled at them both.

"Boy I looked after you since the day you came screaming out of your mother. You have some nerve to be so darn casual about it," she said. Lance grinned at her. Marna's cheeks turned red. He put one arm about her shoulders, and looked as bold and brazen as he could.

"Cut me a break, Nan," he said. "I've been in this castle so long you should be glad for me."

Before she could reply he leaned in towards Marna and kissed her, turning her an even brighter red even as she returned the kiss.

"What say you go easy on her," he said, even as he let his hand slide down to her waist. "I've taken something of a liking to her. Oh, by the way this is her last week in the kitchen."

He nodded curtly to Nan and gave Marna a kiss goodbye as he left the kitchen, putting the chainmail hauberk over his head as he went. Marna was probably going crazy in her head, astounded that he would be so open about something so scandalous. But she didn't know Nan like he did. She didn't realize how unwise it would be to tattle on the man that would be her boss for the next few months. Nor was it wise to hassle the servant Elf who would be sharing a bed with said man.

Lance Cousland continued down the castle's walled paths, nodding to guards and otherwise feeling on top of the world. He'd even forgotten that he wouldn't be participating in glorious battle.

"My Lord," said a guard, rapidly approaching Lance. "The Teyrn has requested your presence while he meets with Arl Howe."

"Very well."