Brittle Truth

A Dragon Age fanfiction

By Lywinis

Nathaniel Howe took refuge behind the stable, knowing that the deepened shadows would hide them from passing guards. If only he could convince her to be quiet this time – last time had nearly gotten them both skinned. Elaine Cousland was forever muffling herself in his shoulder, but he wouldn't have it any other way. At the moment, however, she was doing marvelous things with her hands, trying to distract him while he was checking to see that they weren't followed.

Satisfied at last, he pulled her to him. She had the dignity not to shriek at him, instead voicing a low hum of approval and raking her hands through his hair. Her own burnished gold strands were bound in a plait that he dared not disturb; a pity, for it was a rare chance that he got to twine the soft locks around his fingers. Elaine had other ideas at the moment, however, squeezing him through his trews as she caught a generous handful of his backside.

"Minx." Nathaniel nipped at the delicate shell of Elaine's ear, the rasp of his teeth bringing a pleased gasp from her parted lips. He gave a feral smile and traced the curvature of her neck with his lips, reveling in the taste of her even as he tried to hurry. There wasn't much time before either his father or hers would notice them missing and draw conclusions. He kneaded her breasts through her bodice, hands rough with want.

"Nate, slow down, you'll tear something." Her voice was rich with laughter, and her eyes glinted at him in the twilight of the stable yard. "We have time."

He pushed her back against the wall, slanting his mouth over hers and brushing his fingers over the ties to her bodice. He untied it and tugged it down, calloused fingers roaming over the delicate pink areolae that were already pearling from exposure to the warm summer air. She gasped and arched against him, and her fingers hitched in the soft velvet of his doublet. He could feel her nails in his shoulder and grinned.

"You don't sound like you want me to slow down, Elaine." His voice lowered and he could feel her shudder against him. It was the sweetest thing, next to the warmth of her breath against his ear and the low mewling sound she made when he ground his hips against hers. "You sound like you want me to push you up against the wall and take you rough."

She gasped, her fingers flying to the ties of his breeches. "You act like you don't want the same thing."

He was smug for only a moment until he felt her hands cup him through the cloth of his smalls, the heat of her searing his already aching flesh. He made a strangled sound between a sob and a growl and captured her mouth, pressing her against the wall as he'd promised. She canted her hips against him as he removed her hands and rucked her skirts up.

Breaking the kiss, he panted down at her. The sight of her eyes half-lidded and her cheeks flushed with desire was the cue he needed, and he slid his hands up her thigh, only to suck in a breath when he encountered no resistance beneath.

"You absolute temptress," he said, and her answering smile as she hooked a leg around his waist was one that would send him to the Void if he thought about it too long, he was sure; so, he didn't. He gripped the rounded swell of her backside, hoisting her up and bracing her against the wall as her other leg wound about him. He freed himself at last and sank into her glorious heat, the answering hiss from her as he hilted himself into her slick channel was all he heard as he eased in.

"Oh, Nate, yes," she said, and the whimper almost made him spill right then. He held on, however, and he rolled his hips once, her walls twitching around him. His reward was a muffled moan from his lady, and he did it again, glorying in the sounds he could wrench from her.

"You do like it, don't you, Elaine?" he asked, his voice hoarse but still full of smug male pride as she nodded against his neck, teeth worrying the muscle there as he rocked his hips again. "You thought about this all day as we rode, didn't you? You wanted me inside you, instead of being seated on that saddle. You wanted me to ride you rough and break you to the bit, didn't you?"

"Yes," she said, and she bit him harder. He snapped his hips up again, quickening the rhythm.

"You thought about the feel of my hands on you, in you, and my mouth, tasting you. You'll never get enough of me, will you?" He grunted as she clenched herself around him, stars exploding in his vision as he had to pause for breath.

"I wanted you, Nate. The whole week I waited for you from Amaranthine I was wicked," she said, and by the Maker, he hadn't thought it was possible to be harder than he already was, but he managed it.

"Tell me," he said, his hands squeezing as he adjusted his grip. "Tell me how wicked you were, the noble scion of the house Cousland."

This was another part of the game, another part of the dance they did that made the distance bearable. Her breath, hot in his ear as he pressed her against the wall was like liquid fire dripping into his belly to curl and join the rising tide of arousal that carried them.

"I thought of you, and your fingers inside me, and oh Maker, Nate," she said, as he slipped his fingers between them to mimic her words. He found the swollen bud, and the calloused pads of his fingers slid over the slick flesh. She jittered at his touch, teeth clacking together as she dragged her nails down his back and voiced another low moan into the velvet of his doublet.

"Tell me," he said again, not letting up the pace. "Tell me what you want, Elaine."

"I want you, Nathaniel Howe, and I want you to fuck me," she growled in his ear. He snapped his hips upward, rewarding her, and she drove her own hips downward as talk was forgotten. The slap of flesh was loud enough to make him paranoid, but he kept on as she muffled herself in his shoulder.

It was a risky thing, but that heightened the sensation because every second could be their last alone. She bit his shoulder through the blackened velvet, and he hissed, driving harder into her. He whispered encouragement as he felt her tighten around him, the thrill of it driving down to his toes as he stuttered his hips against her.

He pulled away, easing her to the ground even though every part of him ached for the completion of spilling himself within her. He drew a shuddering breath as she knelt, her tongue lapping at him as he felt the thin thread of his release snap, the warmth of his seed eclipsed by the warmth of her mouth and tongue. He panted as he leaned against the wall, resting his forehead on his arms as he regained the use of coherent thought. She hummed in pleasure again, helping him to right his clothing before seeing to her own.

"Elaine," he said; the smile in his voice was unmistakable. "My Elaine."

She turned to him, and he brushed a stray lock of hair that had fallen free from her plait. She smiled as he held her to him, and they enjoyed the quiet of the darkness for a moment longer before slipping back inside to rejoin the dinner party.

His father accosted him in the courtyard as soon as they reached the Vigil.

"Wretch," he spat, his eyes flinty. Nathaniel flinched, but it wasn't the first time in recent memory that his father had rounded on a member of the family like this. First had been Thomas for mouthing off about an appearance at a minor bann's home for a dinner, next had been Delilah and their mother for speaking too close to his study.

There was something different now, though. Something had changed between them from the time they had ridden from the Vigil to the time they arrived home. Rendon Howe's eyes were manic, filled with an intensity that was unnerving.

"Father?" Nathaniel said, venturing a glance at his father.

"Did you think I wouldn't notice you sniffing around the whore's skirt?" His father cuffed him on the ear. The blow was strong enough to stagger, sending his ears ringing. "What have I told you about the Couslands?"

"What?" He shook his head, trying to clear it of the tinny noise that overrode his father's words. "The Couslands have ever been our friends, father. Since you and Teyrn Cousland fought in the resistance."

"If you think that, then you are worse than that lap dog Loghain!" Rendon struck him again, sending him staggering to the ground. "You have betrayed everything this family stands for, and I won't tolerate it any longer."

"Father, what are you saying?" Nate spat blood. His lip bled onto the cobbles of the Vigil's courtyard, but Rendon Howe ignored his son's injuries in favor of planting a boot into Nathaniel's ribs. "Please, stop this madness!"

"Madness?" His father knelt next to him, fisting a rough hand into Nathaniel's hair and raising his head to force him to look into his eyes. "This family deserves more than that bitch in heat. I won't rest until the Howe name is once again associated with the respect it deserves."

"Father, you and Teyrn Cousland agreed that Elaine and I were to be wed."

"I have altered the bargain. You'll marry someone else, someone worthy of my legacy."

"No." Nate's eyes narrowed, and he rose to his knees. "That's enough, father. There's something wrong here."

The refusal sparked something in his father. His eyes narrowed as well, and he took a step forward. Nate scrambled to his feet and held his ground, meeting his father eye-to-eye.

"You would defy me, boy?"

"On this, only. I have always been an obedient son, but I love Elaine Cousland. I will wed no other."

Rendon Howe's nostrils flared as he stared at his disobedient son. Nathaniel felt the quiver in his stomach, but did not waver.

"So be it. You will live in the Free Marches, and I will ensure that you never see her again. She'll marry another."

He had been locked in this cell for a week now, as far as he could tell. His eyes were gritty from lack of sleep, but he had endured worse in the Marches; he needed to be on his guard against more Warden treachery. The sound of footsteps in the hallway made his head snap up, and he narrowed grey eyes at the bright light the opening door admitted.

"He's been in here since just before the darkspawn attacked, Commander." The rough male voice would be the seneschal overseeing the keep since it had been handed to the Wardens by the bastard king. Varel, Nathaniel had heard someone call him once. He squinted against the light, trying to see more. "It took four Wardens to bring him in after the ruckus he caused."

He tried not to feel too smug about that. He had still gotten caught, after all.

"You'll need to decide what you want to do with him," Varel said. Harness creaked and jingled in what Nathaniel thought was a short bow and then the door closed, leaving him in the dim light of the torches once more.

He blinked, his focus still off as the figure approached the bars.

"Nathaniel Howe," she said, her voice stark with naked hatred, and his vision cleared at last.

"Elaine?" My Elaine.

A/N: Another of my commission pieces, this was done about two months ago, iirc. (I told Min that I would let her have it before I published it, and I gave her plenty of alone time with it before I did. :P ) Meet Elaine Cousland, the Queen of Ferelden and the canon Warden for Celeste's playthrough.

I swear I have been working on Obeisance. There's a bit of a change in the air, however, and it might disappear. Not to worry, there's a sort of director's cut going up that will be replacing it. I've rewritten a lot and even added a couple of chapters where they were needed.

If you would like to commission me, you are more than welcome to email me! Rates and rules are in my profile, as is my contact info. Anyone who has commissioned me for something in the past, drop me a reminder if you're still interested!

As always, Constant Readers, thank you for reading!