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So About That Thing [Complete]

Constance Theirin

Queen of Ferelden
Noble
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53
#1
((OOC: Justinian 13, 9:35, Cousland Castle Gardens, @Alistair Theirin))

With the departure of the Grey Wardens, things calmed somewhat Castle Cousland. The cooks complained less as did the cleaning staff. Many were quite happy to see Nathaniel leave. Marion had many interesting whispers to share with Constance about the Warden-Commander. Nathaniel was quite the busy man. No wonder he was so eager to find someone else to raise his daughter.

Fergus Cousland would be raising that girl, a girl she knew relatively little about. A soft smile bloomed upon her lips as she glanced at Alistair. The pair had not had much time to spend together since Redcliffe. The needs of the children or other nobility often made it impossible for any time alone. When Alistair asked her if she would join him for a walk about the gardens, how could Constance refuse?

It was hard to believe that in a little over a month, they would wed and she would become Queen of Ferelden. Constance never thought to rise so high. She suspected that Roderick had designs on the throne. He was not the type of man to be content with his status in life. Roderick always wanted more. Perhaps that was why they got along as well as they had.

The day a beautiful one with a bright blue sky flecked with only a few clouds. She walked along with Alistair, her arm wrapped lightly about his. Tone conversational, she admitted, “I will deny it if you tell Fergus, but I am ready to back in Denerim.” Travel was nothing new to Constance. Prior to her engagement to Alistair, she spent a great deal of time traveling between Gwaren and Denerim. During those trips, however, she was going from home to home. Her beds. Her servants. Hers.
 
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Alistair Theirin

King of Ferelden
Canon Character
Noble
Grey Warden
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Posts
102
#2
The Wardens had departed, drawing a few more of the hangers-on in their wake, and more departed daily, unable to ignore their own affairs further in the attempt to curry royal favor. A few remained who would undoubtedly trail them to the very palace gates, but they were blessedly absent at the moment, and Alistair had taken advantage of one of the few opportunities he'd been presented to spend time alone with his soon-to-be bride.

The gardens at Cousland Castle, while not as large as those at the palace, were immaculately maintained, with every flower seemingly in full bloom, filling the air with a sweet blend of fragrances, while the fountain added its gentle burble to the sound of the breeze swirling through the leaves overhead.

Constance walked at his side, her arm looped lightly around his, just close enough that her hip brushed against his leg at each step. Nothing remotely improper, but his physical awareness of her was growing more acute with each passing day: the scent of her hair, the gentle curve of her smile, the serene look in her blue eyes. All of it had woven its way into his thoughts, and he had to remind himself on a daily basis now that this was a marriage of political expedience. That he and Constance could remain friends after they were wed was the most he should realistically hope for; love was the one luxury that kings could not afford.

But it could still be a good marriage, and he was determined to make it so, to be a better husband to her than Thomas Howe had been. She seemed content with the prospect that there would likely be no more children. For his own part, the notion of the palace filled with children, puppies and kittens had him grinning like a fool at odd hours when he thought about it.

“I will deny it if you tell Fergus, but I am ready to back in Denerim,” Constance remarked lightly.

“I am, too,” he agreed. It had been more than a month since he had departed Denerim: a month filled with tragedy and happiness, grim news and glad tidings. It had been by far the longest he'd been away from the palace since Eamon's stroke had brought his tour of the kingdom to a premature close. Much of the kingdom had come to him this time, courtesy of the Redcliffe ball, and though he still felt the need to visit the lands, see the people besides the nobles who held them, he'd had his fill of wandering for the time being. “It will be good to be home.”

Such a simple word: home, but it struck a chord of contentment in him. For so much of his life, he had yearned for nothing more than what it represented: family, belonging, love. What he had now was more than he had ever dared hope for.

Was he really such a fool, then, to want even more? “I don't imagine we'll get much of a chance to rest before the wedding preparations begin,” he began, trying to find a natural way to work around to it, with no luck. “I … wanted to talk to you about something,” he said after a quick glance about to confirm that they were still alone. “If you have time, that is.”
 

Constance Theirin

Queen of Ferelden
Noble
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53
#3
“I am, too,” Alistair agreed. “It will be good to be home.”

Constance owned many homes. There was her estate in Denerim and her houses in Gwaren. But if she had one house she called home, that was her family’s estate in Gwaren. No matter the events in her life, her marriages, her changes in title, she always returned to that house. Even when Roderick and she lived in the teyrn’s estate, she would sometimes spend a night in the Carringstone family manor. There were few things Constance viewed with sentimental affection. That house was one.

Would she ever view the palace in Denerim the same way? Perhaps yes. Perhaps no. She long since stopped making assumptions about such things. Saying never around Alistair proved more often than not a fool’s pursuit.

”I don't imagine we'll get much of a chance to rest before the wedding preparations begin.”

Constance nodded in agreement. “There are many things to do. Some of the work should have begun already such as construction of the tournament ring.” She squeezed his arm lightly. The wedding and all the preparations were not something Alistair looked to with the same level of enthusiasm as she did. “I promise I will keep your duties to a minimum.” A small smile crept upon her lips. “And no tights.”

“I … wanted to talk to you about something.”
Something that was bothering him and made more than apparent by the speedy manner in which he looked about to see if others were nearby. “If you have time, that is.”

Curiosity angled the tilt of her head. “Of course. My afternoon is yours to do with as you please,”she replied.
 

Alistair Theirin

King of Ferelden
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Noble
Grey Warden
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102
#4
“There are many things to do,” Constance agreed when he spoke of the wedding. “Some of the work should have begun already such as construction of the tournament ring.” She sounded considerably more sanguine about the whole thing than he felt. Was it because she'd done it twice before, or was this one of those things that women were born knowing how to do?

“I need to come up with a prize for the winner,” he remarked. A purse would be simple enough, and likely welcomed by most of the entrants, but it would not be particularly memorable. He'd considered a horse, but the winner might not have the wherewithal to care for a mount. A set of armor commissioned from Wade, perhaps? He'd need to talk to Nathaniel -

Evidently, he looked as though he was thinking too hard, because Constance gave his arm a gentle squeeze. “I promise I will keep your duties to a minimum,” she told him, a faint smile touching her lips as she added, “And no tights.”

“That's one less thing to have nightmares about, anyway,” he quipped. Not that it shortened the list by much. Forgetting the vows, forgetting her name, losing the ring, stepping on her skirt, tripping, passing audible gas in the middle of the ceremony … and those were just the ways that he could mess up! Add in other people, the weather and sheer blind chance, and the potential for getting through the day without some sort of catastrophe seemed dismally low.

“If there's something that you need me to do, I'll do it,” he told her. “It's just that most of this is not exactly my area of expertise.” Him. Her. Priest. That was all that was really necessary for a wedding, right?

Not even close.

He hadn't expected her to refuse his request to speak; she never did, but it was a courtesy that he felt necessary. He'd never really gotten comfortable with the idea of people feeling as though they had to speak with him because he was the King.

“Of course. My afternoon is yours to do with as you please,” she replied at once, a hint of curiosity touching her features.

“All right.” He guided her toward the fountain, settling himself on the edge. It gave him a clear view of anyone entering the gardens, and the sound of the water would confound anyone attempting to eavesdrop … he hoped. “Let me start by warning you that I'm probably going to butcher this royally – pun very much intended. Just bear with me, please?”

Taking a deep breath, he pushed forward, staring doggedly at the grass. “I've told you that I don't have any real experience with women,” he began, feeling his cheeks heating already. “And I've told you why, and I still feel that way, but – well, there's not any real way to get experience, except to – I mean, there are books, of course, but they can only explain so much – not that I've read a lot of them, but one or two that were in the library – I just happened to find them when I was looking for something else, and I looked through them, glanced through, really, not like I've read them cover to cover or anything, I just know that I don't know what I need to know, and I don't know how to -” He broke off, his face flaming. He was babbling like an idiot. He scrubbed his palm over his face, not daring to look to see her expression.

“Do you wish to marry a virgin?”
he asked bluntly. “If you would prefer that I be more … experienced, I can arrange something. Someone from the Pearl, maybe … not that I want to do that … I don't. It's just that ...”

Turning his head to meet her eyes was one of the hardest things he'd ever done. “I want to please you,” he said simply, “and I don't have any idea how to go about it. I don't want to disappoint you.”
 

Constance Theirin

Queen of Ferelden
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53
#5
“All right.” Alistair led them toward the fountain. While he settled against the edge, Constance stood next to him and waited patiently for him to begin. “Let me start by warning you that I'm probably going to butcher this royally – pun very much intended. Just bear with me, please?”

Well that was an interesting beginning and brought along with it the faint arch of Constance’s brows. She did not interrupt him, though. She learned it was best to let him ramble on when he got like this. Ultimately, he would get to the point and only then would she respond.

He sucked in a breath and got to it, turning his gaze way from her and toward the safety of the grass. The words flowed in a babbling torrent of his inexperience, not at all what Constance expected he might have to discuss with her. When he initially asked, she thought it might have to do with Eunice or their inability to have children. But this? The smile that curved her lips was a small but pleased one.

A bright red bloomed upon his skin that the scrub of his hand across his face was unable to wash away. “Do you wish to marry a virgin?” he asked direct and to the point. “If you would prefer that I be more … experienced, I can arrange something. Someone from the Pearl, maybe … not that I want to do that … I don't. It's just that ...”

Alistair looked to Constance once more, stating simply, “I want to please you and I don't have any idea how to go about it. I don't want to disappoint you.”

Disappointment was inevitable in any relationship. For every high, there was often a low. Alistair’s sexual inexperience, however, was not one of those disappointments. Her eyes lit in the way they often did before she teased him. “Do you not think one of us should be a virgin on our wedding night?”

Gently, she cupped the side of his face, her expression matching the gentleness of her touch. “Alistair, I greatly admire and respect your reasons for being chaste all these years. I wish more men showed your restraint and will.” The kiss lain upon his lips was light and brief. “I promise that you will not disappoint me.” The teasing smile returned, small and playful. “You have no bad habits to break you of."
 

Alistair Theirin

King of Ferelden
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Noble
Grey Warden
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102
#6
Constance listened, as she always did, without interrupting and – Maker bless her – without laughing. Alistair knew that he sounded like a stammering fool, so he couldn't really begrudge the smile that touched her lips when he finally worked up the nerve to look at her.

“Do you not think one of us should be a virgin on our wedding night?” Her query was a light one, gentle mirth dancing in her blue eyes.

“That … would be my preference, yes,” he replied with a weak smile, relief washing through him. And since she was twice married and a mother, that obviously left him.

Her hand touched his cheek, cool and soft, and he leaned slightly into the gesture. Her touch, her presence … it surprised him, how familiar they had become in so short a time … how wanted. He'd had his share of erotic dreams in his life (including one involving Wynne that had made him swear off pickled cabbage and give serious consideration to sewing Zevran's damned mouth shut for ever bringing up her 'magical bosom' … some things were just wrong), but lately they'd all centered around blue eyes, blonde hair, fair skin, and even if he spent himself in his sleep, he still woke up yearning for the real thing.

It was more than sex, though. The easy familiarity between them, the way that she knew how to set him at ease by teasing him, the way she listened without laughing … it was more than he'd ever dared hope for when he'd asked her to marry him.

“Alistair, I greatly admire and respect your reasons for being chaste all these years,” she told him. “I wish more men showed your restraint and will.” A soft kiss pressed to his mouth sent a pleasant frisson down his spine. “I promise that you will not disappoint me.” Her lips quirked, the teasing light back in her eyes as she went on, “You have no bad habits to break you of."

“There is that,” he agreed, sitting up straighter, his smile growing stronger, but then he realized that the frisson in his spine had settled somewhere else entirely and slouched a bit. “We hadn't discussed a honeymoon,” he added hastily. “Did you have any place you wanted to go?” Antiva, Rivain, he listed silently, trying to distract his wayward libido. Val Royeaux, Kirkwall - no, not the sodding City of Chains for a honeymoon! Cumberland, Montsimmard, Wycome ...
 

Constance Theirin

Queen of Ferelden
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53
#7
“There is that,” Alistair agreed but shifting about in his seat some until he settled upon a slouch. “We hadn't discussed a honeymoon,” he said, seemingly flustered. “Did you have any place you wanted to go?”

The honeymoon. With all that was going on, Constance had not considered the honeymoon. A thoughtful cast overtook her features and she considered their options. Roderick and she did not have what some would call a typical honeymoon. It was exactly what they wanted to celebrate their nuptials, though. They came to Denerim shortly after their wedding for the Landsmeet and officially became Teyrn and Teyrna of Gwaren.

A new title awaited Constance with this wedding and it was all she needed. But was it all Alistair needed? This was his first wedding and for all his indifference to the details of the ceremony, she was quite certain the ceremony did mean something to him. There was a bit of a romantic hiding behind the self-deprecating humor and love of cheese.

“I will leave the honeymoon entirely up to you, Alistair,” she finally replied. “Whatever you decide, I am sure I will be pleased with.” Of course, that did not mean she was without a suggestion. “I think staying in Ferelden would be perfectly lovely. ” She turned the question on him, asking gently, "What would you like to do?”
 

Alistair Theirin

King of Ferelden
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Noble
Grey Warden
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102
#8
"What would you like to do?”

Alistair frowned a bit, considering. Being given charge of the honeymoon plans did make him feel a bit more useful, but it was also another thing that he could mess up. “I'm not sure,” he admitted. “I don't think I've ever gone anywhere, just to go there.” He'd traipsed the length and breadth of Ferelden, but the destination had always been determined by their mission.

Traveling abroad had a certain appeal, but he knew that regardless of how non-official their visit to someplace like Antiva or Orlais might be, there would be pomp and circumstance and all sorts of attention. Visits of state were definitely on his list: trade ties needed to be strengthened, agreements of mutual aid worked out. Just not on his honeymoon, please.

“I'll think about it,” he promised her, turning over ideas in his head. She'd given him a hint that he intended to make use of. “What would you think about a tour of the kingdom?” he asked. “I tried that once, but then Eamon had his stroke, and -” He shrugged, unable to feign any sorrow at the fate of the man who had tried to keep Goldanna's children from him, even if he kept that secret for the good of Ferelden. He wondered if he could – or should – share that secret with his future Queen.
 

Constance Theirin

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#9
With a frown, Alistair confessed, “I'm not sure. I don't think I've ever gone anywhere, just to go there.”

Truthfully, Constance could not recall a time when she traveled somewhere simply to visit. Her trips abroad always had a secondary motive. It was no surprise that Alistair had not either. Childhood lived in a stables. Adulthood (what there was of it for him) lived as first a templar, then warden and now King. There was not a lot of time for leisurely travel in that timeline.

“I'll think about it,” he said after taking another moment to consider her question. “What would you think about a tour of the kingdom? I tried that once, but then Eamon had his stroke, and -” He finished the sentence with a shrug, a notable lack of sadness in his manner.

Constance witnessed only one person truly seem to mourn Eamon - Isolde. She obviously saw something in the man that the rest of Ferelden did not. Or she mourned her new social status. Going from someone the nobility where forced to tolerate to someone no one wished around could not have been easy. With a word, Constance could have made things easier for the Orlesian. She had no desire to do so then nor now. She never liked the woman and she was Orlesian.

Her hand pressed gently upon Alistair’s arm in a comforting gesture. If he was sad by Eamon’s passing, he kept it welled up tightly. And if not, that was something else to add to the column of things shared. “I think a tour of the Kingdom would be lovely.” A playful glint swirled within her eyes as she leaned forward once more. Words rather than a kiss dusted Alistair’s skin as she whispered, “Though not Redcliffe. I think we have both seen enough of that place for a while."

The conversation that brought them to the gardens not forgotten, Constance leaned back, sure to have a good view of Alistair's expression as she asked, "What experience do you have, Alistair?"
 

Alistair Theirin

King of Ferelden
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Grey Warden
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#10
“I think a tour of the Kingdom would be lovely," Constance agreed readily. She leaned closer, and he felt his pulse quicken in anticipation, but her lips stopped just shy of his ear as she whispered, “Though not Redcliffe. I think we have both seen enough of that place for a while."

He laughed, hoping she didn't notice that it sounded a bit strangled. The heat of her breath against his skin had scarcely less effect than a kiss might have, and his trousers were definitely feeling tighter. “I think that Teagan would likely agree that Redcliffe has seen enough of us, as well,” he said. Not to mention the rest of Ferelden's nobility. “I'll draft an itinerary when we get back, but I think that Gwaren should definitely be included.” Apart from the fact that the folk there would likely be glad of the chance to see a daughter of the region become Queen, he'd yet to travel to the kingdom's second Teyrn since taking the throne. It was time to put the ghost of Loghain Mac Tir to bed, once and for all.

Constance leaned back a bit, blue eyes watching him. "What experience do you have, Alistair?"

He frowned a bit. “Experience? Well, I've pretty much walked the length and breadth of Ferelden, but like I said, I've never actually gone anywhere, just to -” He broke off, realizing that was not what his betrothed had been asking about and feeling his face flame like the sunrise.

“You're a cruel woman,” he told her plaintively. “You know that, don't you?” Rhetorical question; she definitely did. “Well, I've done a lot of kissing … and some touching, but as far as having enough time alone to get a woman out of her clothes … never even close.” He'd seen to that after the first close call; there had been more than a couple of young women who had evidently been given instructions to seduce him in hopes that his honor would compel him to wed her after he'd bedded her, but he'd set contingency plans in place with Donal and Ingram to have the pair burst in with papers that had to be signed whenever any session alone with an eligible young woman went past a certain time.

“So, to answer your sneaky question, very little,” he concluded. There was not a power under the sun that would get him to tell her about the dare that had sent his twelve-year-old self sneaking into the bathing chambers while the Chantry sisters were inside, only to come face to – well, not a face with Sister Hortense, whom rumor held had been one of the original disciples of Andraste. “Never even seen a woman naked.” That particular episode couldn't possibly be considered to count, anyway. Not when his traumatized memory couldn't recall anything but Sister Hortense.

On the bright side, his little swelling problem had resolved itself.
 

Constance Theirin

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#11
After a bit of laughter, Alistair agreed, “I think that Teagan would likely agree that Redcliffe has seen enough of us, as well. I'll draft an itinerary when we get back, but I think that Gwaren should definitely be included.”

Gwaren. Alistair had yet to visit the southern portion of Ferelden during his time as King, not from Constance’s lack of trying to get him to pay attention to the region. That first letter she wrote him was so long ago. That anger she felt at reading his respond had long since melted away. Still, a tinge of disappointment remained and probably always would to have her home so easily disregarded. Forgiveness did not mean forgetfulness.

“I would like that,” she replied with a small smile before leaning back and turning the subject back toward uncomfortable, at least for one of them, waters and asked Alistair of his experience.

The corners of his mouth pulled down. “Experience? Well, I've pretty much walked the length and breadth of Ferelden, but like I said, I've never actually gone anywhere, just to -”

The slender line of one of Constance’s brows rose. He knew very well that was not what she meant by her question. But as usual, she allowed him to ramble on until the words had worked their way through him.

“You're a cruel woman,”
he said, very much the wounded puppy. “You know that, don't you?” No answer was necessary. They both knew she did. “Well, I've done a lot of kissing … and some touching, but as far as having enough time alone to get a woman out of her clothes … never even close. So, to answer your sneaky question, very little.” He added, “Never even seen a woman naked.”

“I would hardly call my question sneaky,” Constance chided before moving to take a seat at his side. Lightly, her hand dropped atop his lap. Sneaky was something else entirely all together. “So the wedding night will be more than one first you then,” she stated plainly, though the glimmer within her eyes was anything but plain. Ribbing the King easily became one of Constance’s favorite ways to pass time over the last months. The hue his skin turned was easily becoming her favorite shade of red.

And as she did whenever she teased him, Constance followed with a bit of comfort, “When the time comes, you will know what to do.” Maybe not well, but he would know the how.
 

Alistair Theirin

King of Ferelden
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Grey Warden
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102
#12
“I would hardly call my question sneaky,” Constance disagreed in that mild tone that he knew meant trouble, then confirmed it by settling close beside him and resting her hand on his lap. High on his lap. “So the wedding night will be more than one first you then,” she observed, the playful gleam in her eyes proof that she knew exactly what she was doing … as usual.

He waited for a moment, adjusting to the pressure of her hand, until he was fairly sure his voice wouldn't come out as a squeak. “That describes it pretty well, yes,” he told her with a wan smile.

“When the time comes, you will know what to do,” she assured him, the teasing done for the moment.

“That's what Donal tells me,” he replied, not adding some of the other advice his well meaning guard had been offering. Without doubt, the man had more experience by far, but surely the things you did with a tavern wench were not the same things you did with a queen? Or were they? “I want you to tell me … show me … what you like, what will please you,” he pressed on, determined to get it out. “Not right now, I mean. Just … when the time comes … please?” His face wasn't flaming, but it definitely felt a little warm.
 

Constance Theirin

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#13
“That's what Donal tells me,” Alistair replied making Constance wonder just what the knight also shared with the king. Alistair shared a closeness with his knight much like Constance shared with Marion. Though she did not know for sure, she was fairly certain he confided much to Donal. That he shared his virginity with Donal was testament to that supposition.

“I want you to tell me … show me … what you like, what will please you,”
Alistair continued, and much like before, Constance let him get out all he had to say before replying. “Not right now, I mean. Just … when the time comes … please?”

Her fingers bent, allowing the pads to brush feather-light against the material of his pants in their retreat. “We both have much to still discover about each other,” she commented softly. “I suspect we will be discovering things for many years to come.” She could not speak for Alistair, but not all her secrets she was eager to reveal just yet. Like with all people, she was selective with what she let Alistair see and how she behaved in his presence. That would not cease upon their marriage.

“You do not need to worry, Alistair. You will know what I like and do not like easily enough.”
When she allowed him to went unspoken.

“I know this is far easier said than done but…”
She paused, drawing her hand back to her lap and ending the physical contact they enjoyed the last few moments. “…you should not worry quite so much about these things. I assure you,” her mouth spread into an easy smile, “I will not ask you to wear tights. That is not one of the things that will please me."
 

Alistair Theirin

King of Ferelden
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102
#14
“We both have much to still discover about each other,” Constance observed, her fingertips stroking ever so lightly against his pants, warmth sparking in the skin beneath. “I suspect we will be discovering things for many years to come.”

Alistair nodded. “That … actually sounds nice,” he admitted, managing to substitute sounds for feels at the last second, wondering if Constance had ever wanted something as simple as someone to grow old beside, and if she would ever tell him if she had. What he knew of her first marriage suggested that it had been one that would have crushed romantic fancies.

“You do not need to worry, Alistair,” she assured him. “You will know what I like and do not like easily enough.”

“I've been told I can be a bit slow on the uptake,” he warned her. Actually, Morrigan had called him an idiot on a regular basis, but she didn't count. He'd lost any number of battles of wit against Zevran, however, and even Leliana and Wynne's gentle teasings had frequently been prompted by remarks that had sailed smoothly over his head. Granted, he'd been educated in more than politics and etiquette in the last few years, but his education in carnal matters had been largely theoretical to this point. “Just be patient with me.”

“I know this is far easier said than done but…” Constance trailed off and withdrew her hand, to his combined relief and disappointment, “…you should not worry quite so much about these things. I assure you,” she went on with a smile, “I will not ask you to wear tights. That is not one of the things that will please me."

“Well, that's one more nightmare I can cross off the list, then,” he joked, then grew serious again. “Thank you,” he said simply. Whether it was calculated or not, she always seemed to know how to put him at ease.
 
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