I gaze into the frozen distance
I hear the echoes of my tears
Holding pieces of
Those wasted years
I know there's something better waiting
I just can't see which way to go
Fighting shadows only makes them grow
Lead me through this
Darkness in my soul
Shine love, comfort me
Give me some sign that
I'm not alone
I feel part of a greater wholeness
The fire that feeds me is the sun
In the end everything is one
Lead me through this
Darkness in my soul
Shine love, comfort me
Give me some sign that
I'm not alone
SHINE LOVE ~Laura Powers
Perhaps it was irresponsible of them, by Kya didn't care. Instead of staying on the Imperial Highway towards Denerim, they veered north instead, into the Bannorn. Although it was still early spring, and the Blight had ravaged much of the land, life was returning.
Here in the countryside, the farmers had returned to their plots, and were busy plowing and planting. They refused to let the horrors of the past year stop life from continuing. What was even better, was that here, no one knew who they were. Certainly these simple folk knew about the Hero of Ferelden, and knew about Loghain Mac Tir, but wouldn't recognize them from Andraste herself. These weren't the sort of people that visited court and knew the faces to go along with the legends.
All these people saw were a man and woman, walking and leading a pair of horses slowly through the farmland. A young woman with a child smiled at them; the older man behind her winked at the two of them, giving Loghain a knowing nod. To this man, Loghain was a just a lucky bastard with a young woman at his side. Kya figured they had that exactly right.
Whatever else was to happen, these days were sure to be the sort that became branded into her memory. She hoped that someday, when the Calling came for her, and she was in a bloody heap somewhere in the Deep Roads, she'd remember this feeling. This unexplainable rightness of walking silently, one hand tangled in the reins and the other hidden in Loghain's. The gentle warmth of his skin, the smell of spring air and horseflesh and leather, and that just barely there tang of sweat that she knew belonged only to him. It was the sort of scent that could sweep in under the pungent smell of death and the taint and give her just one sweet moment of happiness in that darkness she knew was to come.
Kya turned her head to look at Loghain and discovered him staring, smiling faintly in that nearly smug way of his.
"What is it?" she asked, running her thumb along the side of his hand. He squeezed her fingers in response.
"Nothing really," he said, still with that same sardonic half smile. "Just considering the inexplicable workings of fate."
"Well," Kya smiled. "That's rather a deep thought for so early in the day."
Loghain chuckled. "Old habits die hard, I'm afraid. I am notorious for over-thinking."
"So have you a conclusion to your pondering?" she asked.
"Not as of yet," he said. "Nor do I expect to. I am just trying to take the advice a wise and beautiful woman gave me once."
Kya frowned a little at that. "And that would be?"
"Acceptance," he said, stopping and turning to face her. He dropped the reins, putting his hand softly on her cheek. "Because quite honestly, I don't think I've felt this free in thirty years."
All Kya could do was blink at him. Suddenly her hero was complimenting the wisdom of a half mad blood mage? Thedas was beyond belief, clearly.
"Is that so?" she asked, leaning in a bit, trying to hide her shock.
"More than you could possibly realize," he said and kissed her forehead. "It never occurred to me that I could stop hating, without forgiving. But here it is. And I am thankful for it." He paused, kissing her forehead again and then her eyelids. First one and then the other with his breath warm and tickling her lashes. "And I'm thankful for you."
Kya made a sound, something like a sob and a laugh, all at once. Her eyes felt hot. "I'm not sure I can handle this level of adoration."
Loghain laughed. "Should you prefer it, I can return to sarcasm at any time." Humor still glinting in his blue eyes, he stepped back and gave a little bow. "My lady."
"Maker's breath," Kya laughed, slapping his shoulder. "You are completely mad, Loghain Mac Tir."
"Indeed," he said, straightening and taking the reins again. They took a few more steps, both still chuckling under their breath. And then, quieter, he spoke again.
"Madly in love with you, anyway," he said.
And somehow, with the sun blazing as it was already, the sunlight was just that much brighter still.
And then it was raining. That torrential downpour type, where no matter what was done, clothes were soaked through in moments and it wasn't even worth the effort to try to find shelter. And they were laughing again, like deranged children, running about looking for somewhere to get out of the mess.
Mud squelching under her boots, Kya led the way, weaving through the sparse trees. Luckily, Ferelden was rough terrain and rocky, and they found an outcropping of stone, partially shielded from the wind. Leaving the horses to their own devices, both seemingly unperturbed by the rain, Loghain and Kya scurried underneath, wrapping arms around each other with water from their hair splashing wildly in every direction. A drop of rainwater slid down the slope of Loghain's nose and splattered onto Kya's upturned face.
"Not to ruin the moment," Loghain said, wiping away the drop, although it was hard to tell where it had fallen against her already soaked skin. "But we should probably try to light a fire and dry off, before we freeze to death when the sun goes down."
Kya smiled. "Always so practical. You make me proud."
"Yes, I suppose I am," he said, stepping out of the circle of her arms and looking around for something dry to burn. Kya leaned back against the stone and watched him with amusement as he gathered what little he could from the sheltered cove, making a sad pile of sticks and then attempting to start them alight with soggy flint.
Naturally, it wasn't going well, and he swore under his breath a few times before sitting down next to the distinctly not burning pile of wood and twigs. Kya did her best not to snicker, but failed and she snorted in a completely unladylike fashion. Loghain looked up at her irritably.
"I'm sure it's very entertaining, but I doubt you'll feel the same when the Hero of Ferelden is shivering in wet clothes," he said.
Shaking her head, Kya crouched down behind him and conjured a flicker of fire from her fingertips, easily setting the wood ablaze, soggy or not. The logs could have been soaked completely; it didn't matter when the fire was mage lit.
"You were saying?" she smirked, looking at him from across the flames.
"And you chose to watch my ineptitude because?" Loghain sneered, although there was a touch of humor behind it.
Kya shrugged. "I felt I needed to give you the chance to continue to be my hero," she grinned at him. "It's the thought that counts."
Loghain shook his head. "Of course, how foolish of me." Kya could tell he was trying very hard to look annoyed, but it wasn't completely successful. He leaned back, and started to untie the thread at the ends of his braids. Grinning, Kya made her way to him, kneeling down in front of him, taking the hair out of his fumbling fingers.
"Here," she said, " Let me."
Loghain gave her a sad, wistful smile. "This is familiar."
"It is," Kya said, slowly unraveling the strands of hair. "I am still not completely sure what possessed me to do that; that day by the lake."
"I'm glad you did," he said. "Although at the time, I was mightily confused by it."
"I . . . I think I just wanted to touch you," Kya admitted. "To make sure you were real." She finished with the first braid and moved on to the next, her fingers moving slowly. She relished the silky feeling of his damp hair again her fingertips.
"Am I?" he asked, grinning.
"I'm still not completely sure," she said, the last of the braid falling away under her fingers. "Honestly, sometimes I expect that I'm just going to wake up back in the tower, and it will all have been a long, twisted dream."
"I've considered that myself," Loghain said, reaching up and twisting a damp lock of Kya's hair around his finger. "Because I can't imagine a real world where a beautiful young woman would be here with an old man."
"Old man?" Kya snickered, running her fingers through his hair before leaning over and tucking her head under his chin. "Hardly."
Loghain chuckled, the sound rumbling through his chest against Kya's ear like distant thunder. It was a comforting feeling, the vibration of the sound and the slow, steadying beating of his heart against her cheek. She snuggled in closer, wrapping her arm about his waist.
"Well, perhaps its delusion, or vanity," he said. "But when you say that, I almost believe it."
"Almost?" Kya said, lifting her head to look at him with a mischievous look in her eyes. "What do I have to do to convince you?"
Loghain laughed again. That was a sound Kya could most definitely get used to. When she had first met him, she wasn't even sure he was capable of such a thing. If she'd asked him, he might have agreed. But now it seemed so natural, like perhaps a part of him had been missing before, and now he was whole again. A terribly vain part of herself hoped that she was at least one reason for it, but she knew that whatever had happened inside his soul was of his doing. He might even think she'd had a part in it, if she asked. But Kya knew better. There was no convincing Loghain of anything. If he decided to accept what was, then he'd done it on his own.
She looked at him carefully, memorizing the sharp planes of his face, the long sweep of his eyelashes, the arrogant cant of his eyebrows. The dark circles that he'd worn beneath his eyes for so long were gone, and his skin, usually so pale and wan was flushed slightly. Kya realized she was staring. In response, Loghain was just smiling faintly, his eyes moving slowly as if he was doing just as she was. Burning this moment into their memories, the both of them.
"I have an idea," Loghain replied finally, reaching up and tucking her hair behind her ear, simultaneously pulling her closer.
"Oh?" Kya said, feigning coy. "Whatever could you mean, ser?"
He smirked. He appreciated this game as much as she did. "Shall I demonstrate?"
In response, Kya lowered her lashes and managed a maidenly blush. It was beyond ridiculous, considering. But it gave her a thrill nonetheless. She let him move her forward, as if she had no will of her own, until she was firmly in his lap with her legs curled around him and her soaking wet robes hitched up around her waist in a complete un-maidenly fashion.
Instead of the sarcastic reply on the tip of her tongue, Kya leaned in and kissed him. Both of them already talked entirely too much as it was. And if that wasn't ironic, she didn't know what was.
When the sun finally crept up in the morning and the fire burned down to nothing but ashes, Kya was thrilled to discovered that she was unexpectedly warm and comfortable. She was curled in the crook of Loghain's arm, her face cradled against the bare skin of his chest. He was awake already, tenderly twisting her hair around his fingers and watching her sleep.
The calm, satisfied look on his face nearly took her breath away. He was happy. And by the Maker, if she had anything to do with it, she could die right now and be a happy woman. Kya tilted her face up to look at him and he rewarded her with a smile, teeth and all.
"Good morning," he said quietly. "How was the fade?"
"Uneventful," Kya replied. "Thankfully. But even if it hadn't been, I think I'd be over it now."
Loghain smiled again and with her hair still woven through his fingers he set his hand softly on the side of her face.
"Glad to be of service," he said. "For whatever I can do."
Kya stretched a bit, then settled back against him. "For now, this is all I need."
"Then I'm successful, it seems," he said. His voice changed a bit and he tensed almost imperceptibly. "But I fear I do have to ruin the moment."
Kya sighed. "It figures."
He laughed at that. "Yes, some things are inevitable. Like Denerim."
"Oh Maker," Kya groaned. "We do have to go, don't we?"
"They are going to declare us dead if we don't show up soon," Loghain said. "And as much as that is not a completely unappealing prospect, you know we can't."
Kya burrowed her face into his shoulder. "Andraste's ass," she said, muffled by his skin. "Never ending duty."
"I wish it didn't have to be," he replied, kissing the top of her head. "But you know neither of us can resist it. Even if we tried."
"I know," she sighed. "You're right. You always are."
"Not always," he said, echoing her sigh. "But this time I am."
Reluctantly, Kya sat up but instead of being appropriately dutiful, she slung a leg over him and straddled him, pinning him down with the heels of her hands. He gave her a wry look, perhaps even mildly annoyed, but she wriggled herself against him and instead of a practical and responsible reply, he closed his eyes.
"Perhaps a bit of a delay is acceptable?" Kya asked lasciviously.
Loghain's tongue flicked out over his lips and he looked up at her with one squinting eye.
"Are you trying to kill me?" he said.
"Not at all," Kya laughed. "Just trying to see if the famous Grey Warden stamina is working."