Dragon territory/Target practice

Liliana didn’t know she had fallen asleep until the cart doors opened and startled her. She gasped and sat up trying to see who it was but her eyes were adjusting to the light

"Liliana, it's safe now," said Turan. "We are far from the dragon's lair, so it shouldn't be on the defensive now, and we are outside of the Templar territory. We are stopping to let the horses rest and have some lunch."

She nodded and got out of the cart, right away she started cooking, after a little while the food was done and everyone started to eat, except her. Instead she started to do inventory, it was clear she was trying to keep her mind busy, Nugget and Higran where chatting about random things and liliana did not dare look over to turon to see what he was doing, know he would consume her thoughts instantly and right now she need to make a plan about how she was going to get to the temple by herself.

"Come eat, Liliana," Turon said, making her a plate of fruits and veggies. "You are thinking far too much. Your brow is scrunched. Talk to me and share this burden."

She looked over at him and knew if she didn’t he would be more suspicious, she went over and sat down next to him and took the plate, there was a good bit of room between the both of them and she made sure it was that way for a reason. She started to eat slowly “it’s nothing just....a lot has happened..”

"And you think that trying to go off on your own is the answer?" He smiled when she tried to hide her shock. "I am the master of that look. Know it inside out. We are married as well. Whatever happened when the marks were put upon us connected us in the ways of ancient elven magic. I find myself fascinated by it and how deeply we have been connected in mind and body."

She looked to make sure that nugget and Higran were not listening “I.....” she sighed and leaned over slightly to whisper to him “I need to got alone...and marriage...and this connection it so new...I ...swear I can feel” she looked up at him and met his eyes and didn’t realize she was leaning towards him more

"It's new for me too," he said, moving closer to put his arm around her. "We will work it out."

She jumped slightly as his arm went arm her, she gave in and let him pull her close, it was weird for elven people to show affection in public but it felt right to be near him, almost like it was a need. She sighed and knew she now had be be very careful on how she planned to get away to go to the temple alone, they were only a few hours away from it and she knew the plan was to go in the morning, which meant she would have to go tonight

He knew Nugget and Higran were distracted and didn't feel the need to hide his affection for her. But he knew she meant to go off without him. It made him want to hold her to him or tie her to him in some way so that she wouldn't leave. The thought made him tighten his grip. His gut told him that her going to the temple alone was a bad idea, that something would take her from him. This possessiveness in him was new, but he couldn't say he didn't like it.

She sighed next to him and he felt her nearest on his shoulder “Turon...if...if we make it through this would...” she trailed off and then moved away to look at him “would you like to actually get married...in the way of our people? I mean I know we have not know each other for long and that you are trying to change the world and I know you said that you don’t want such things like a relationship and I’m not being bold in assuming that I am even to your liking in such a way I just know that...something has changed and it was out of order to lay with you before a binding ritual and I don’t want you to think I have loose morals but...” she said and looked down nervous and embarrassed “but if you wouldn’t mind being married to me I will stand by you...I will be a dutiful wife and support you...I’m not saying we have to be married for me to support you...” she sighed “I’m rambling I’m sorry..just forget it” she said and went to stand up

He pulled her back to him and said, "I would be honored to have you as my wife. I have learned that life often forces one to adapt their plans. Simply put, I will make mistakes at times as I try to continue my duty to the elven people as I add our relationship to my plans." He looked at her. "Before, I could die for my duty, knowing I did what I could. Now, I no longer wish for that possibility and must change my plans to ensure not only your safety but my own."

She smiled softly yet he saw sadness in her eyes “please understand I have lived a different life then you... I may not be what you have hoped for” she said in a honest tone “but I will try...” she said in a sincere tone “but as for tonight we should rest we have a big day tomorrow “

"The horses are distressed after the dragon," he said in agreement. "And as long as you are true to yourself, you could never disappoint me."

She smiled but it did not reach her eyes, she sat up a little “will you be joining me?” She asked

"To the temple or your bed?" he whispered in her ear. He saw her cheeks flush and her skin grew warming under his hand. Her saw her breathing quicken slightly " if I say both...would you find me shameful?" She said in a low tone that turned him on in such a way it was new to him

"Not at all," he said, his arm around her waist. "Enticing is the word I would use."

He saw her breathing quicken even more and the tips of her ears turned red

He chuckled and said, "Later then, love. For now, enjoy the evening and the friends around us."

She shook her head "I need to cool down" she said in a embarrassed tone

He said, "Why? The blush suits you."

She looked away from him to hide her inflamed cheeks “good night everyone” she said and walked away without giving any of them a chance to respond, turon noticed she barely ate anything but a couple of bites of fruit, her plate was still full.

"Nugget, as much as I don't care for you, I need help," said Turon.

Nugget looked just as shocked as Higran “with?” She asked in a cautious tone

"Guard duty," Turon said. "Darkspawn still roam this area, hence no one claims it. Dwarves are better at dealing with Darkspawn than elves."

She looked at him with a suspicious glare “you have never said such words before..”

"I thought it common knowledge," he shrugged. "Elves are better in the woods, Humans in the cities, and Dwarves in the mines and with Darkspawn."

Nugget looked at him another moment “fine but if I’m staying up I better not hear any funny business, you sleep alone and leave lil alone...you already taken advantage enough” she said with a glare “and we both know you ain’t the settle down kinda type”

"Perhaps not right now," Turon said, "but I do care for Liliana. And I know you know these markings mean I am married to her. She has consented to a ceremony in the way of my clan and people. I am the one pursuing this, not her."

“Why? It wasn’t that long ago that you were insulting her and claiming how you didn’t have time for such things and just because you tricked her in giving herself to you doesn’t mean...”

“Excuse me?” Liliana voice said interrupting her “tricked me? Like I am some naive woman?” She said in a upset tone. Nugget sighed “you are when it comes to relationships and sex lil and you know it, how do you know he doesn’t want something from you hun?” She said in a serious tone “just because I don’t go on my back on a whim like you doesn’t mean I’m naive” she said and nugget stood up “ what’s you trying to say lil...you calling me loose?” She said with a angry tone

"Ladies, let's take a breather," said Higran. "Buttercup, Skippy isn't like other men. Trust me. I've tried to get him to loosen up and relieve some stress at my establishment. He refused everyone, even the elven women. Honestly, I don't know if he has bedded anyone before Red." He looked at Liliana, who now had Turon next to her like a guardian. "Red, Buttercup is just trying to stay sane in a world gone crazy. Can you blame her for that?"

“Yes I can...” Liliana said and grabbed turons hand and walked away with him. Nugget sighed and sat down putting her hands over her face “this is getting bad...”

"She is in love," said Higran. "So is he, for that matter. Everything is perfect for them right now. He says the right things, she blushes. She moves the right way, he stands to attention. All sunshine and rainbows. It's our job to be there when the sparkle goes away, Buttercup. We've seen the hard side of life. Those two just need time. Just, don't let them go through with the wedding until they are sure they want each other when the newness goes away. And if they still want each other after that, it will no longer be our place to stop them. 'Kay?"
———————-

Xavier walked the lover hall that lead to the court yard were the men practiced. He was on his way to speak to his second who was on the training grounds.

Neriel took aim. She wasn't used to shooting from the ground and took her time in lining up the shot. Every shot she made, she cursed her brother. Soon, she was missing, the anger taking over and causing her to forget aiming and just shoot. The tears in her eyes didn't help either.

Suddenly a voice came from behind her “ let your breath out when you shoot” the low male voice said

The voice surprised her, causing her arrow to land in a tree far behind the target. She jumped around and nearly fell down, her heart beating fast and her large eyes wide.

A strong hand grabbed her arm and steady her and then let go when she regained her balance. The man was much taller then her, wearing shining heavy armor that sparkled with silver and blue hues “sorry I didn’t mean to startle you” he said as his piercing blue eyes meant hers, the were deep like the sea

She stared at him in awe for a moment before blinking. He was a gray warden and a shem... human. It was forbidden by their Keeper to enter into relationships with humans outside of alliances.

"I should have been more aware of my surroundings," she said, trying to sound mature. "I let my emotions control me, something a warrior of my clan cannot afford." She glared at him when he couldn't keep his amusement hidden. "What's so funny? I'm serious!"

“I just don’t see you as much of a warrior type...maybe a healer or a more creative profession would suit you better” he said

"I'm trained in the ways of a bard and an assassin," she said, kicking a rock. "My gr... Keeper said that it was the path the gods chose for me while my brother is a true warrior. I know no other way. So, I must practice to make the gods and my clan proud."

“The gods are not always right” he said with a serious tone and his eyes darken “anyways like I said exhale when you release” he said and began to walk away

"Wait!" she said, reaching for him. "What do you mean, the gods are not always right? I know I didn't do the ritual to find out like my brother did but my grand... Keeper knows best. She wouldn't lie to blood kin..." She looked like she expected a reprimand. "I mean... She is very wise, our Keeper."

“You are far from home maybe now is the time you figure out for your self who you are, war has a way of doing that, if you are not a warrior you will die quickly and it will be a waste” he said in a plain tone as he kept walking “feel free to walk around, maybe something will call to you”

She ran after him, her bow left on the ground, as she said, "You talk strangely for a human or even a Gray Warden. The tales my grandmother... my Keeper would tell me say all humans despise elves. But you seem to not see that, giving me advice freely. Why?"

“Some elvens depose humans and some elves don’t why can’t it be the same for me? It sounds like your keeper was biase and closed minded “ he said simple “I judge others for who they are, not what they were born as it’s that simple” he said

She felt ashamed as she admitted, "I have no real experience outside of our clan, so I judge off of the stories I have heard. My brother has pointed out that I am narrow-minded because of it. I know I have much to learn, and I want to, but... the tales told of humans makes me frightened of them and angry."

“And the tales of the horrendous acts of the elven people do not?” He asked without stopping

"I have not been told any beyond the tale of Fen'herel," she said, unable to look him in the eyes. "The tutors would look to our Keeper for the tales to teach us children, so I have only heard of elven heroes."

"Then your sheltered as well, maybe it's best if your first stop is the library, you might learn something then" he said in a not a judgemental tone but a matter of fact one

"A human made my mother fall for him and he took her from us," she said. "She left my brother and me for a human. I was young and asleep, but Fenros became so angry at everyone, and my training began. Being an assassin and bard are all I know. This is my first real mission outside of the forest and the clan's camp."

"Well even warriors need to strengthen their mind" he said "now please excuse me I must make my rounds, the library is to the west wing"

"I'm trying to learn," she said. "Thank you... for the help."

She didn't know it, but her eyes sparkled as she looked up at the man. There was a blush and though she didn't intend it, she screamed innocence and temptation.

His eyes darkens "blackheart...that's mine name if you need anything" he said and walked away.

"Blackheart..." she said in a dreamy state before realization hit her. "Warden Blackheart?!" She covered her cheeks in embarrassment. "I can't believe I just talk to him! And I made a fool of myself!" She looked back at him. "But he's handsome, more than any man has a right to be." She shook her head. "No, he is a commander of the forces here. I am to work under him only." Her face turned even redder. "I shouldn't think like that! I am an elven warrior. I have a strong lineage in my blood." She walked to the library, whispering, "Away dark thoughts! Away dark thoughts!"

“That was embarrassing for both of us “ said her brothers voice from behind her

Neriel jumped with a squeal. She backed into a table and nearly knocked it over. She glared at her brother "I have no idea what you are talking about," she said, but her blush told him more than she meant.

“I saw the whole thing” he said with a shrug “and here I thought you hated humans...maybe your more like mother then you want to admit sister” he said walking past her

"Says the guy who hit on a donkey in a drunken stupor two weeks ago," she said. "What does that say for your tastes?"

“I like them wild” he said with a wink and continued walking “why are you here anyways?”

"I thought I'd get a bit of reading done," she said, her blush returning. "I... couldn't concentrate on my aim." She cleared her throat. "Why are you here? I didn't know you could read."

“I can read a lot of things” he said and she knew he meant he was reading her

"I..." she began, but she grabbed a book. "Go soak your head." She noticed that it was on Elven lore. "Good, something I might be familiar with. Elves."

“I doubt it” he said and walked away, leaving her alone

She waited for him to go around a bookshelf, unaware he was watching her. She started to put the book back, but stopped. She wanted to learn, to experience the world to better help her clan. She took the book with her, along with books on elven beliefs. While not the outcome he expected, he could sneak the book from their tent after she fell asleep. Still, a kind of win.

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