“Oh, this is beautiful!”
Leliana glanced up from the book she was reading and called across the room, “I take it your designs came to fruition?”
Marjolaine smiled widely in response – though the joy behind it was twisted and dark like the dankest dungeon, something she had been noticing more and more lately – and held up the note that had been slid under the door of their little house in Denerim. “One of our spies in the Palace had come with news. Our pawn has been spotted on the road and their would-be Prince is fleeing the city.”
Arching a russet eyebrow, she asked, “How is his fleeing within your plans?”
“Dear pet, without the boy fleeing, the game would be over all too quickly,” replied the other woman. She then moved to toss the note onto the coals of the fire and added, “I have a mission for you.”
Sitting up, Leliana folded a ribbon between the pages of her book and let it rest on her knee. “You want me to follow them.”
Marjolaine nodded with a smile and reached out to caress her cheek. She resisted the urge to pull away from the touch which she had once welcomed and smiled back.
“Wise pet. You will follow and observe for now but, should the need arise, I may have you play the helpless maiden. Would it not be sweet irony to lure the boy into a relationship and then to dash all of his dreams?”
Leliana didn’t see the point in such a venture as she’d never taken pleasure in the suffering of others but she didn’t voice such. She’d learned her lesson the first time she had spoken against one of Marjolaine’s ideas. The scar had faded considerably but it was still enough there to serve as a reminder.
“Very well,” she said as she rose.
“Oh, don’t look so put out, pet,” purred Marjolaine from behind her as Leliana turned to gather the ready satchel that held her essentials and her bow. “Just think, it will be all over soon and we can leave this dog-ridden pit for the beauty of Orlais once again.”
Nodding, Leliana murmured, “Of course.” Turning to smile at her teacher, she added, “I do look forward to seeing Val Royeaux again.” Her heart was not in the words, however, despite the fact that she did long for what had been her home for so long. She longed for freedom more and there was none of that with Marjolaine or in Orlais.
With a smile, Marjolaine moved forward and kissed her lightly, lips ghosting over hers as she breathed, “Play the game well, pet, and we shall indeed see it again. Now go, you have a would-be Prince to chase.”
Without another word, she left the little house and slipped through the streets of Denerim, heading towards the Palace to catch up with her target. All the while Leliana tried hard not to think of how cold that kiss had been and how it had felt less like their normal parting than a harsh goodbye.