I’m a slave for this AU I swear, I’m so in love :3
All eyes turn to them as they enter, and her hand involuntarily clenches around the Prince’s arm, desperately fighting the urge to tear her skirts off and run, far far away from the extravagance that was the transformed main hall before them now.
Her mother hand spared no expense, the usual heraldry had been removed, now banners of bright gold and red stood proud, boasting the snarling Theirin lion. Torches glittered, the large chandelier above them stood stoic, candles glinting down, reflecting off the sea of jewelled fabric below. The old oak tables had been removed, replaced with mahogany ones that shone brightly, holding a plethora of foods imported from far and wide.
Elissa had not seen such a disgusting spectacle in all her life.
“This is ridiculous.” She hisses to Alistair, who chuckles under his breath and nods imperceptibly, nodding politely as the men and women around him dip into bows and curtseys. He cannot hide the slight curl of his lip from her practiced eyes, and she knows he loathes this as much as she does, being paraded around in all this pomp and ceremony for the amusement of others.
“Unfortunately, this ridiculousness is something we have to put up with for at least another two hours.” He laughs as she groans, her head tilting back towards the chandeliers, wondering how much trouble she’d be in if she cut the rope holding it to its bracket, and how quickly she could run from her mother.
She peeks another glance at him out of the corner of her eye, keeping a demure smile on her lips as she watches him talk with a lowly noble from the other side of Ferelden. His eyes are tight in annoyance, but she’d be lying if she said he didn’t entrance her.
How was it possible for him to go from the bumbling, stammering boy he’d been through his first days here, to this man now? His hair raked back from his forehead shows off the deep hazel of his eyes, and the noble set of his nose. Her blue eyes hover at his full lips, not realising as her tongue darts out to taste her own, hands clenching around the hard muscle of his bicep.
Elissa manages not to jerk too much in shock when Alistair turns from the nobles, leading them into a far corner near an empty table. She sits down with a sigh, propping her chin up with one hand, laughing as Alistair throws himself into the chair next to her, slouching over in a very un-princely manner.
“Why your highness!” She jests, her voice high and nasally, mimicking many of the snivelling ladies here tonight. “If I didn’t know any better, I would believe you did not wish to be here!” He rolls his head to look at her with a raised eyebrow, and she cannot help the way her stomach rolls in delight at the sight of him, broad shoulders stretching as he hangs his arms off the back of the chair, the muscles in his neck tensing as he stares at her.
“My ladyyy.” He drawls, his lips twitching as she snorts and giggles, clapping a hand over her mouth to still the loud sound. “This is by far, one of the better of these events I have ever attended, however, if a certain lady did wish to make her escape, I would not be oppoooosed!” She laughs again at the drawling tone of his voice, but can’t help the blush that stains her cheeks as he leans closer with a chuckle.
She sighs and takes a look around the room, watching the dancers swirl, swaying delightedly in their slippers as lords from far and wide twirl them about. She wouldn’t be caught dead admitting it, but dancing was one of the only things she enjoyed about these events - that and the unlimited supply of wine.
Elissa turns, seeing him sipping from a goblet of the very wine she’d been thinking of, snatching it off him with a wink when he makes a surprised noise, before his eyebrow raises as he watches her drain the rest of the very full goblet in one go.
She stands, the curls left out of her intricate hairstyle whipping across her cheeks as she holds her hand out to him quickly. “Come!” She cries, hauling him to his feet. “I want to see how Prince Alistair holds up against my dancing skills.”
He snorts, shaking his head as his fingers curl around hers. “I’m afraid then, My Lady Cousland, that I must warn you of the impending doom of your toes.” She grins broadly, feeling her heart skip as he grins back, before leading him out towards the floor, the sea of fabric parting effortlessly as the familiar tune of the Remigold starts up.
Laughing, she drags him into the dance, her long silver skirts swishing about her legs as she leads them into turn after turn, their sweaty hands clinging desperately to one another, imprints of his hands still burning into her skin from where he had grabbed her waist and lifted her high into the air, the contact gone much too soon as he sets her back down.
Dazed and breathless, they stumble back to the corner of the room they’d claimed as their own as the music moved into another fast song, the clapping of the dancers echoing through their ears as she snatches another goblet of wine, the first already gone to her head.
“Your warning for my toes was sorely misplaced your highness.” She grins as he blushes, watching as he quickly rubs the back of his neck, before taking the goblet of wine she offers. Elissa turns her eyes back to the crowd, scanning across the sea of faces, before gasping as she sees one she knows particularly well.
Alistair’s shocked eyes snap to hers as she grabs his arm. “We need to go. Now.” She whispers, her eyes never straying from Nathaniel’s head as he turns in the middle of the dancers, no doubt searching for her, having seen her dancing just a few moments ago.
Alistair doesn’t even question, merely nods and grabs her hand, yanking her from the seats as they dash across the stone floor, giggling and laughing all the while. She can hear Nathaniel’s cry of her name and the shouts of the guests as he elbows through them, but all she can focus on is the sway of Alistair’s shoulders, the way his hand feels wrapped around hers, and the breathless rush of elations she feels as they burst out of the main hall, sprinting away towards the kitchens.
They slam into the room, still laughing as he shoves the door closed. She strides into the room clamping her hand over her mouth to try to stifle her giggles, and sets to work on pulling out all of her favourites from Nan’s hiding spots.
“What… are you doing?” he asks when he turns to see her climbing up on top of the table, tongue between her teeth as she stands on her tiptoes, reaching into the hollow beam for the honeyed mead. She grabs it, and with a flourish, leaps off the table and presents it to him. He raises an eyebrow as he takes it, grabbing two glasses to pour them a glass.
“Nan likes to hide all of my favourite foods to ‘protect my figure’ “ Elissa raises her fingers into the air at this, quoting her beloved nursemaid. Alistair laughs, shaking his head as he gestures for her to continue.
She grins wolfishly, turning to shove aside a barrel, reaching into a sack hidden underneath a cart of apples to pull out a wrapped packet of Ostwick strawberries, as well as a block of chocolate gifted to her from Antiva.
She presses a finger to her lips as she deposits the items in front of a grinning Prince, before she jumps up onto Nan’s workbench, grunting as she hauls herself up onto a nearby beam, tucking her skirts between her calves as she quickly tiptoes across to the thick beam that they all connected to.
Elissa reaches out with nimble fingers to pry loose a thick block of wood, reaching in with a loud AH-HA! before she’s jumping, landing on top of the table before Alistair, holding a tightly wrapped package in between her fingers.
Alistair raises an eyebrow as she hands it to him, her bottom lip tucked between her teeth as she tries to fight her grin. He unwraps it quickly, his hazel eyes brightening as its revealed whats within.
“Sweet rolls!” He cries with a large grin, she laughs, sitting down right on top of the table, her skirt pooling around her like starlight as she reaches forward for a cup of the mead. He shakes his head at her, a disbelieving look written over his features as he chuckles breathlessly.
Elissa blushes under his gaze and laughs nervously. “I really enjoy sweets a little bit too much, I train quite a lot so I never really gain any weight, but Nan got it into her head that my eating habits would end up rotting my teeth.” Alistair bursts out laughing, and soon she’s laughing with him at the ridiculous situation.
“How…” he has to pause as he takes a deep breath, trying to combat the breathlessness of their laughter. “How did she even get up there?” He breaks down into laughter again, no doubt imagining the old woman trying to pull herself up into the rafters.
“She… she got the elves to get up there!” She manages to say through her persistent giggles. “They told me where they put them straight away!” He looks up at her in awe, his mouth agape as she laughs, taking another sip of mead.
“You really do have everyone in this castle wrapped around your finger don’t you?” He breathes, his eyes scanning her features as she looks at him curiously, hands on her knees and her head cocked inquisitively.
“Maybe.” She replies cryptically, reaching out to pop a strawberry into her mouth, humming as she bites down and tastes the sweet nectar on her tongue. She feels a slow drip across her lip and chin, but before she can even raise her hand, he’s leaning forward.
His warm hand caresses her chin, the rough pad of his thumb running across her porcelain skin, before it moves further, collecting the juice staining her plump lips. Her lips pop open with a sigh as he finally traces them, their eyes never straying from one another, his hazel burning into the deep sea of her own.
She loves the feeling of his calloused finger lingering against the soft skin of her red lips, but she loves it even more when he draws away, his own lips closing around his thumb to suck whats left of the strawberry she’d just eaten off of his thumb.
Maker, she was in for a long night.