A/N: A scene from my ficlet and comments have inspired this one-shot. This takes place somewhere in act II and in the continuity of 'Freelance Mage'.
Disclaimer: Yadada do not own the characters, EA and Bioware does. Story's mine though.
Kirkwall's Knight-Commander Meredith. A person as important as her was routinely invited to the dozens of balls held in the city-state on a nightly basis. She hardly, if ever, attended any though. Her attention was already divided between the unruly Circle mages, possibly-possessed templar recruits and the ever-increasing blood magic practitioners. She cannot be bothered with the nobles' frivolities and trifles. Oh, if only her new sword's done. It would do her work and Order a lot of good.
But tonight's not such a night. The de Launcets have always been generous with their tithes, and a personal invitation from Comte de Launcet would have been too rude to turn down. That and they have magic in their line. Meredith frowned when she saw her templar escorts actually mingling with the guests. They'll have some explaining to do later. For the meantime, she attuned her attention to any sign of magical practice in the estate.
"Wine, Messere?" an attendant with a tray of sparkling white wine diverted Meredith's watch. She declined by raising her hand to the young man's face and returned to surveying the gathering's lot. The attendant bowed and proceeded to offer drinks to the other guests.
She lingered for a while until she felt a pair of eyes burning a hole on her armor. The line between her eyebrows deepened as she skimmed her gaze between the ball-goers, deciding that a blood mage or something similar were among their midst.
Much to her consternation, however, even her skill in surveillance did not yield the offending stalker. Meredith thought for a moment as her eyes landed on the mansion's second floor library. No one seemed to be in the room. Her lips thinned as a plan formed in her head. She withdrew from the crowd and walked up to the library, careful not to attract anyone's attention, save for that of the one watching her.
A cold wind blew on the Knight-Commander's face when she walked into the library. One of the room's walls opened into a balcony. "Hmph. Nobles." If they really gave a damn about reading they would've known exposing books to Kirkwall's weather will never end well. Meredith's heavy armor clicked and clacked as she walked around the room, searching for tomes on magic. Decades of mage-hunting have taught her that if there's anything a mage cannot resist, it's magical treatises. That and blood magic.
She began flipping through a book on the history of the Chantry and pale eyes skimmed through the words. Nothing she already knew. She was simply waiting for her quarry to appear.
"Lacks originality. I could recommend better titles," a woman's voice echoed in the room. A soft click indicated that she locked the library's door behind her.
Meredith stiffened. She didn't even feel her presence until she spoke. Still, she kept her cool demeanor when she placed the book on the table before her and turned her head to her company. It was a noblewoman, she could easily tell with the arrogant and regal bearing. She had a bottle of wine in one hand and two wine glasses in the other. Meredith could feel the other's luminescent blue eyes piercing her. She thought she had seen the noble before but couldn't remember where.
"Who are you?" Meredith's eyes narrowed at the woman, attuning her senses for any presence of magic. She could not feel any.
"Olivia Reinhardt," the stranger with much grace strode to Meredith and set the glasses on the table beside them. "Fereldan cousin thrice-removed from Kirkwall's Reinhardts." Olivia poured wine into the glasses, then smiled at the templar. "And you are?"
Meredith cocked her head and felt slighted. The gall of this Fereldan, not knowing the most powerful Templar figure in the Free Marches. Only her looks, pity about the scar, redeemed her; Meredith observed. Still, the Knight-Commander had the civility to remain reverent towards any noble, Kirkwaller or not. She crossed her plated arms with palms open over her chest and made a small bow towards Olivia. "Knight-Commander Meredith of Kirkwall's Templar Order." Not one to mince words, she got right down to business. "Why did you follow me here? You're the one who's been observing me downstairs, correct?"
Olivia laughed; a soft, lovely sound. She offered the extra glass to Meredith. "Guilty as charged."
"I do not drink on duty." Meredith raised a hand to the other woman.
The noblewoman kept holding out the wine glass to the templar. "Does your duty ever end?" she chided.
"Do you have a reason for following me?" Meredith snapped, her thinning patience was evident with her tone.
"Other than your dashing bearing and beauty, not much I suppose," Olivia casted her eyes downward to the glass in her hand, watching the idle swill of the dark fluid.
Meredith's jaw hung open. She carefully examined the woman, no, girl, before her. Olivia's barely more than half her age and Meredith supposed she'd have no shortage of suitors. She decided the girl was either insane or a noble pervert for flirting with her.
"Are you courting me, young lady?" Meredith couldn't believe the ridiculousness of the situation. Her usually tense jaw muscles relaxed into a smile.
"Courting? Perish the thought!" Olivia emptied the glass she was offering to Meredith in one gulp, only to fill it again with the wine bottle, right up to the brim. Alcohol tinted the younger woman's smooth skin. Olivia offered the refilled wine glass to the templar, winking this time. "I'm propositioning you."
For the second time in the same hour Meredith found her jaw slack from shock. She suddenly felt parched hence grabbed the wine glass from Olivia and downed it in one swig. Too strong, probably Antivan. Maybe even dwarven. Meredith could feel herself getting light-headed as she slammed the delicate wine glass on the table, crushing it from the impact and weight of her gauntlet. "I have a good mind to arrest you," she huffed, deathly glaring at the other woman.
"For what, responding to your irresistible charm?" Olivia giggled softly with a hand over her mouth. She took a sip from the surviving wine glass then loosened the stiff collar of her gown, exposing the neck beneath. "A simple yes or no would do, and I'll be on my way." Olivia paused. "Except for yes. I'll be on my way after we're done."
The Knight-Commander focused her eyes on the girl's long neck, then upwards to the elegant face. Olivia's skin was already glowing from the alcohol, which only heightened her allure. In stark contrast to the rosy skin were those blue eyes, seemingly innocent but also threatened to swallow her whole. Meredith shook her head and tried to drown the drowsiness and bubbling desire in her. When was the last time she's been intimate with a man? Woman? Anyone? She scowled.
She cannot remember.
"Is scowling part of templar training?"
Meredith ignored the question as she scanned the woman for any trace of possession. What else can suddenly stir her desire but a demon? She couldn't feel any. She still can't believe it. "What foul magic are you using?", she barked at Olivia.
"The kind that leaves you glowing the next morning," Olivia whispered as her eyes met with Meredith, all the while her long fingers unlaced her gown further, exposing the better expanse of her bosom.
The older woman swallowed loudly and took to a panic, unable to draw her eyes away from the seductress.
"I suppose that's a yes?" An arrogant smile pulled on Olivia's face. She stepped close to Meredith, a hair's breadth away from her. The younger woman's fingers curled around the red hood of the Knight-Commander's armor and pulled it down to her neck, revealing the soft blonde curls beneath.
Meredith grabbed the bottle from the table and drank straight from its mouth. She did not stop. Meanwhile, Olivia removed the crown from the templar's head and casually tossed it on the carpet. Long fingers played with the Knight-Commander's hair until she tossed the empty bottle behind her. Meredith wrapped an arm around Olivia's waist and pulled her close, the alcohol nowhere dulling her ferocity. Olivia moaned from the impact of hard steel against her frame.
Meredith hissed as she started unbuckling her gauntlets. Once her hands were liberated she seized Olivia's face and pulled it close to hers. Lust glazed over the Knight-Commander's usually sharp expression. "I'm already regretting this."
Olivia licked a remnant of wine on Meredith's lips. "You won't later."
"You used the Reinhardt name? I don't believe you." Aveline shook her head. "Even you're not that stupid to do that with the..." she shuddered. "Knight-Commander."
Isabela raised her hand. "I for one, totally believe her. I saw that Meredith and she is mmm-mmm-mmm!" she shivered, as if ingesting something sweet then toasted Hawke's mug. She then frowned at her. "Why don't you ever sleep with me?"
"Because, my sweet 'Bela," Hawke picked up her mug and returned the toast, "I prefer seduction to sex."
"Bah, same thing."
Aveline kept staring at her mug as if it had the answer to all her questions. "I don't get it Hawke, you're an..." she mutely mouthed 'apostate', then continued. "But you claim you willingly lured and seduced the most powerful templar this side of Thedas?" The guard-captain shook her head. "If this is some kind of sick protest, I'd say 'well-done'."
Hawke sipped on her mug, all lady-like. "Aww, you give me too much credit, Aveline. I'd slept with her even if she wasn't Knight-Commander." She and Isabela laughed when Aveline groaned. "What can I say, she's hot."
Merrill returned with a mug of ginger ale and a plate of fish and chips. "Did I miss anything?"
"You're lucky you did. Now if you'll excuse me." Aveline was rubbing her forehead as she stood from her seat, "The sooner I get back to barracks, the sooner I'll forget about this."
As soon as Aveline left, Hawke turned to Isabela. "You don't believe me, do you?"
"Me, not believe the infamous philanderer Hawke?" Isabela raised both hands. "Nonsense."
Hawke raised an eyebrow at Isabela.
"Not believe what?" Merrill asked, barely comprehensible with the food in her mouth.
Isabela sighed. "Fine. I mean, Meredith's hot but I just can't imagine her putting out." Before Hawke could open her mouth, Isabela pointed a fillet at her friend. "She's an even bigger prig than Aveline so unless you've got proof..."
Hawke smiled. Wickedly.
"Proof of what?" Merrill asked again after downing her food with ginger ale. Still, no answers for the elf.
Isabela watched in haunted anticipation as Hawke calmly placed her pack over her lap, hidden from the pirate's view. Her eyes widened as soon as she saw Hawke take out a neatly-folded article of clothing. Finally, she laid out the article on the table, which turned out to be an elegant red hood, gilded with gold on the hem.
"Is that..." Isabela gaped.
"Yes," Hawke absently fed Merrill with a chip. "Yes it is."
"Maker's balls Hawke." Isabela wiped a tear from her eye. "You're my new hero."