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Nicolette O'Hara

Prominent member
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
209
#21
Nicolette could sense the tension radiating off Celeste as she led her captain amongst the trees. She could not blame her. Not only was this sharply removed from the open ocean, but even though Nicolette had spent a good portion of her life traversing forests such as this one, she had rarely travelled through them in the dark. Anybody on the road with an ounce of sense made their camp long before dusk fell, allowing plenty of time to choose a safe place with plenty of firewood and get a tent up to protect against rains falling in the night. Only on a handful of occasions had she walked straight through until dawn, and those had been dangerous territories where she had dared not run the risk of lighting a fire and being spotted.

But she knew this trail well, and she kept her fingers curled with Celeste’s, guiding her easily through the darkness until they reached their destination. Apparently it had been worth it; the pond could not rival the sea, but Celeste seemed pleased by the pretty tableau laid out in front of them.

She seemed more pleased when she turned back to find Nicolette shedding her clothes.

They held their distance for a few moments as they both disrobed. They both liked temptation games, finding holding their desire back a few minutes adding spice to the moment when one or the other of them broke, but they had not teased each other in such a fashion since Nicolette’s return; the need had been too great. However there were shades of it as Celeste prowled towards her, devouring her with a slow kiss that left Nicolette weak at the knees, as her own hands roamed her lover. Celeste’s lips followed the line of her jaw and all Nicolette’s attention was drawn to that point, the thud of her pulse quickening as Celeste’s teeth grazed her ear…

“Last one in’s a bronto’s ass.”

Oh, that was unfair! Nicolette had no chance whatsoever of pulling herself together in time, and Celeste was already diving into the water by the time she actually registered the words. Nicolette thundered in after her - drawing further comparisons to a bronto’s ass - and splashed into the water with none of her usual grace, but she was laughing all the same. Six months of heartache and fear had been lifted away entirely, and the cool water made her feel so clean, and Celeste was close by, her legs skimming by Nicolette’s fingers as she dived towards the bottom.

Nicolette came up for air, then dived again as Celeste came back up. This time her fingers followed her lover’s leg all the way down, and she turned her head to playfully nip at Celeste’s backside as she went, before swimming between the other woman’s legs and popping back up in front of her, grinning.

“I may be a bronto’s ass, but I do not have teethmarks in mine.”

She then dived away from Celeste. They were both strong swimmers, although Nicolette would not deny that Celeste outstripped her. Still, she was not planning on playing fair. She turned about under the water, doubling back to her lover, fingers tickling along her ribs on the way past.
 

Celeste Monroe

Shenaniginstigator In Chief
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
316
#22
The game was one that they had played countless times over the years, though usually in the balmy waters in the coves of Rialto Bay. Celeste was the stronger swimmer, but Nico was close behind her, and for a time, splashes and laughter rang in the stillness of the night air as they ducked and dove through the waters of the spring: now chasing, now being chased, fleeting touches followed by fast retreats, gliding past each other beneath the surface with only a fingersbreadth of water between them.

It was great fun, but each close pass and teasing caress stirred the flames dancing in her blood a bit higher; two days together had only barely touched the yearning that had grown over the months of separation and uncertainty, and Celeste wasn’t too proud to admit it. As the rapidly eddying currents announced the minstrel’s proximity, Celeste twisted, hooking a leg out to snag her lover and drawing her into a kiss, a light nudge on the sandy bottom with her free foot sending them drifting toward the surface. Lungs that were good for extended forays underwater had other benefits, as well, but Celeste was still breathless and pleasantly lightheaded when the kiss ended.

“Feels strange,” she murmured, pulling her gaze away from Nicolette’s face to glance around. “So peaceful here.” Nevarra had largely been spared the chaos of the rifts, but half a year of near-constant vigilance was not easily set aside. “Anywhere you want to go after we leave?” she inquired, once she had confirmed that no rifts had popped up while they were submerged, fingers drifting lazily up and down along Nico’s spine. The temptation to lift anchor and head north was strong, but they needed to pick up some paying work to make up for the time spent searching for the minstrel and aiding those fleeing the demons. And Celeste suspected that Nicolette would not be satisfied with swimming and sunning off the coast of Rivain when so many in the south remained in danger.

Neither would Celeste, if she was being honest with herself.
 

Nicolette O'Hara

Prominent member
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
209
#23
The air was cooler here than it had been in the first cove they had played this game. The air had been hot and dry but clean, the water deliciously cold, and she had been unable to stop herself watching Celeste. The sunlight had turned her hair golden, and beads of water had gleamed like diamonds scattered across her skin whenever she surfaced. The captain had moved so swiftly through the water that Nicolette had been hard-pushed to keep up at first, but she was up for the challenge, and when she had caught her, breathless and laughing, she had wanted never to get out again.

She had honed her technique over time and could now be a fair match for Celeste, and as they splashed and squealed beneath the moonlight, she simply forgot everything else that had transpired. All of her mind now was on darting away from Celeste’s touches while simultaneously trying to get close enough to swipe at her – a cheeky pinch, a swat slowed by the water, and far more often a suggestive brush of her fingertips.

But she did not want to be out of Celeste’s grasp for too long, and when her captain snared her leg, she easily let herself be drawn forward, into a kiss. Weightless in the water, drifting upwards, the warmth of Celeste’s body a wonderful counterpoint to their cool surroundings, she could have stayed there forever if her lungs had not started to burn.

Her head was spinning as they broke the surface, although that was only part of the reason she stayed wrapped around Celeste in the moments after. Their game had shattered the silence of the grove, but now it fell again; except not silence this time. The leaves were rustling softly, water lapped slowly against their bodies, and there was the slowing pace of their breathing. It was welcome, but deeply unusual after so long.

Celeste mirrored Nicolette’s thoughts. “Feels strange. So peaceful here.”

“It caught me off guard when I first got here as well,” Nicolette admitted. “But once I had stopped thinking that something bad was about to happen at any moment, it was…helpful.” Of course she was far better off surrounded by people, but anywhere crowded these days carried the strained air of an over-tightened string. Everybody was either recovering from something horrible or expecting the worst to happen. Taking time away from that sense of foreboding had helped her a little, enough that she could start acting a little more like herself again.

“Anywhere you want to go after we leave?”

Nicolette softly purred as Celeste’s fingers drifted down her skin. Her own hands were engaged with exploring the muscles of her captain’s back. Whenever she encountered a point of tension, she pressed it, easing it until it relaxed. She smiled lazily. “I imagine shutting ourselves in our cabin for a year would be a touch impractical.”

Her fingers skimmed Celeste’s sides, the smile easing a little as she gave consideration to the question. For months her sole aim had been finding her captain. Even long before Celeste, she had not been much of a one for making long term plans – even when she did think of places she wanted to go, a whim could send her hundreds of miles in the opposite direction because of something interesting she had heard. She had given no thought as to what would happen next at all.

The temptation to run was strong, of course. It was what she had done most of her life. Now she had Celeste back, she could ask that they run northwards, away from all of this – maybe back towards Rivain and leave the rest of ravaged Thedas behind.

She could, but she would not. For all she had been through, she was one of the fortunate – she had found her lover again, and her family lived in comfort still. She had even escaped mostly unharmed. Absently, she traced one of Celeste’s scars. She would give so much to ensure that her captain was never harmed again, but there were no guarantees for that even if they did flee. She took a breath.

“Anywhere we can help. I am not saying signing up for the Inquisition properly and fighting demons, mind,” she added, quickly. “I think I have had enough of that for one lifetime. But more – running supplies to stricken towns, or helping refugees where we can, or…anything along those lines. There were a few times when I was helped along by strangers. It would be good to be able to give that back, somehow.”
She glanced up at Celeste. “Could we do that? Or would it be too much to ask? I know you and the crew had a worse time of it than I did.”
 

Celeste Monroe

Shenaniginstigator In Chief
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
316
#24
From childhood, Celeste had seldom been one for overt displays of affection; Reginald had certainly not been the type to give or receive hugs easily, even on the rare occasions where he was not exasperated by his wayward daughter. Even with Daniel, who had been considerably more demonstrative, she hadn’t been much for cuddling, except in the languorous afterglow of lovemaking. The almost instinctive way that Nicolette sought physical contact had left her nonplussed, particularly once she realized that it was not always intended to initiate sex. But she’d accepted it: the warm hand that would find hers as they walked together; the head or chin that would lean upon her shoulder when she was at the helm or standing at the rail; the arms that would twine about her waist, molding their bodies snugly to each other.

Then she’d begun to reciprocate, first because it pleased her minstrel, then because she discovered that it pleased her, as well. She’d missed it more than she had thought possible during the weeks of separation and searching, and even now, with desire simmering, the feel of Nico arching into her touch, deft fingers massaging her back in turn, was a pleasure to be savored on its own merits. The peace of the moment, and the setting, was a profound change from what she had become attuned to since the Breach had occurred; it was hard not to expect something to happen to shatter this bit of paradise.

“It caught me off guard when I first got here as well,” Nico admitted when she voiced her thoughts. “But once I had stopped thinking that something bad was about to happen at any moment, it was…helpful.”

Celeste didn’t miss the faint hesitation. “I’m glad that you found them,” she told her lover, “glad they were all right.” And not simply for Nicolette’s sake. She genuinely liked Saul and Michel … and even Clarice, for all her occasional flares of temper. They were born out of concern for her daughter, after all.

Regardless of how peaceful it was here, it wasn’t the Wicked Grace or the open ocean; they’d be leaving here soon enough, and Celeste was willing to give Nico a say in where they sailed to. The Wicked Grace could find work anywhere, and she wouldn’t blame her minstrel for wanting to escape the insanity that had gripped the south.

Nicolette considered her question, her touch finding a knotted muscle and going to work at it. Celeste sucked a breath between her teeth, then groaned softly as the tension eased under her lover’s ministration. “I imagine shutting ourselves in our cabin for a year would be a touch impractical,” she murmured with a smile that sent swirls of warmth dancing along the sailor’s skin.

Celeste laughed softly. “Impractical, but tempting,” she agreed, “but I’d imagine we can manage a day here and there.” She’d guarantee it, in fact. Gideon was more than able to run the ship while the captain was otherwise occupied.

She waited, her expression giving no hint of her own preference, but she was fairly sure of what the ultimate answer would be. For all the minstrel’s gentle nature, she possessed a rare courage. She might choose flight over fight where her own safety was concerned, but she could be almost reckless when others were being threatened.

“Anywhere we can help,” she said now, adding, “I am not saying signing up for the Inquisition properly and fighting demons, mind. I think I have had enough of that for one lifetime. But more – running supplies to stricken towns, or helping refugees where we can, or…anything along those lines. There were a few times when I was helped along by strangers. It would be good to be able to give that back, somehow.”

The glorious eyes turned questioningly to Celeste, the moonlight touching them with the gleam of amber. “Could we do that? Or would it be too much to ask? I know you and the crew had a worse time of it than I did.”

Celeste had a decidedly different opinion on that, but she only said, “It’s pretty much what we’ve been doing, so it won’t be hard to keep on doing it.” The crew would have accepted a few months’ reprieve for their minstrel’s sake, but they’d all seen the same suffering that Nico had and all felt the same way. “Can’t say we won’t wind of fighting demons or crazy templars, mind you,” she added, “but we fight together.” And Nico would have the option to remain on the ship if combat seemed likely … though she probably wouldn’t.

“Jader first, then,” Celeste decided. “The Inquisition has an outpost there for trade; we can hopefully find out what the truth behind all the rumors is.” Because if Sati Adaar hadn’t actually survived, then nothing they did down here was going to be worth a piss in a windstorm, and they might as well find out what lay north of Seheron.

“We don’t have to leave right away.” She didn’t need Nico to tell her that packing up and heading out tomorrow morning would not be well received by Clarice, nor was she averse to spending a few days here, in this place that clearly held fond memories for her lover. “I seem to remember seeing a hayloft in the barn,” she remarked, angling her head to nip lightly at her minstrel’s ear as her hands shifted subtly from soothing to seduction. “I’ve been told they can be interesting places to visit.”
 

Nicolette O'Hara

Prominent member
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
209
#25
Of course Nicolette wanted to spend as much time as she could with Celeste. Each moment felt like a new gift, a fresh celebration of their reunion. But she’d also missed the rest of the crew, and the ship itself. Over their months together, she had developed a love of the sea not far short of Celeste’s, She wanted to be on board, the wind in her hair, feeling the ship move beneath her feet, and the horizon stretching wide ahead of them. That would hold for a few more days; she owed her family that much.

But just because she had been granted her wish did not mean she was suddenly carefree. It would be so easy to sail away from everything, explore the places north and east of Thedas as they knew it. And yet, she could not countenance turning away. There were so many people who needed help, and had lost what could not be regained. She wanted to at least try to assist.

Celeste was with her. “It’s pretty much what we’ve been doing, so it won’t be hard to keep on doing it. Can’t say we won’t wind of fighting demons or crazy templars, mind you. But we fight together.”

Nicolette nodded, a smile curving her lips. “Together.”

Skies, she had felt so alone over the last few months, even in crowds of people. Even in the context of fighting, it was good to be part of a ‘together’ again.

Celeste knew more about what was useful to the Inquisition right now than she did, and selected Jader as their first destination. “The Inquisition has an outpost there for trade; we can hopefully find out what the truth behind all the rumors is.”

“That seems a good plan.”

Nicolette was about to add that it seemed a good idea to stay put for a few days, though, but Celeste was ahead of her. “We don’t have to leave right away.” Her teeth closed gently on Nicolette’s earlobe, creating a pleasant rush of heat as fingertips that knew exactly where to touch her teased patterns on her skin. Nicolette’s breath hitched a little as she leaned into her lover. “I seem to remember seeing a hayloft in the barn. I’ve been told they can be interesting places to visit.”

Nicolette’s chuckle rolled up from her belly, catching a little as Celeste brushed the soft swell beneath her navel. She drew her fingernails lightly down her lover’s back, smiling broadly at her, eyes lidded. “I hear good things about them as well. Perhaps we should go and see if they hold up to their reputation.”

But first, she drew Celeste into a slow, hungry kiss, fingers winding in her hair, one leg pressing between the other woman’s, before pulling away with a grin. “I may start to run, before we get there. You will have to catch me.”
 
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