Wicked Graces: Chapter Fifteen

A/N: Thanks for everyone who dropped by to read. I hope you enjoyed the story.

The festivities following the announcement of a royal bun in the oven prompted a celebration that carried on in Starkhaven for well over a week. Hawke was used to being at the center of attention, but never for something others considered so positive. During his time on the throne, the usurper Goran Vael had no family to speak of but a barren wife who produced no heirs during his reign. It had been a dark time, predicting uncertainty and despair for the failing city-state, but Sebastian’s return to rule had lifted many spirits. He brought promises of prosperity and peace again, and with a legitimate Vael heir on the way people knew hope for the first time in almost a decade. Continue reading

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Wicked Graces: Chapter Fourteen

Responsibilities kept Sebastian busy throughout the day, and for that he was grateful. If left to sit and fester with his thoughts, he would have been a lot angrier with Hawke as the day progressed, but distractions kept him levelheaded. By the time he sat down at a table made ready by the servants in his apartment, he was calmly prepared to confront her if she didn’t confess her secrets.

Of course, she managed to keep him waiting even though his invitation was for promptly seven o’clock. He was relatively sure she did it on purpose; she liked to get under his skin in every way imaginable. That extra fifteen minutes made him angsty, his mind finally able to churn over all the things that had been bothering him since he woke up hungover that morning. Continue reading

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Wicked Graces: Chapter Thirteen

Varric spent the remainder of his afternoon kissing up to Hawke, making sure she wasn’t actually mad at him for spilling her beans. Not that the Wardens actually cared, but it was the principle. He really shouldn’t have told them, but for a second he was actually worried they might try to drag her back to the Deep Roads with them. Someone like her would clean the place out in no time flat; the wardens had to know that.

She insisted she wasn’t really mad at him, but sometimes he couldn’t tell with her. She was that good at pretending to be an asshole. She was even better at actually being one. The fact that she was still laughing at his jokes boded well, but he might want to check his room for traps later… you know, just to be safe.

The last thing he said to her before they parted ways was, “You still love me, right?” Because he genuinely couldn’t imagine living out the rest of his life if the answer was no. Sure, he’d find a way to muddle through, he supposed, but it would be a drab existence. Continue reading

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Wicked Graces: Chapter Twelve

“Explain this to me again.” Hawke pressed her shoulders into the back of the chair behind her and ground her teeth together against the faint nausea that should have passed well after losing her breakfast on the way to the very meeting she was enduring now. Thank the Maker for Varric, and the pouch of little mint candies he produced, promising they would settle her stomach a little, and help get the bad taste out of her mouth. She drew in breath through her nose, both nostrils flaring slightly, and then exhaled as she turned eyes around the table at all three Grey Wardens before them.

Varric sat beside her, absently rolling small shreds of parchment from his notebook into obscure little balls and lining them up in front of him. Definitely one of his nervous quirks, though she guessed it was better than that thing he did with his knuckles from time to time. She didn’t think she could stand the sound of them cracking as he stretched each finger back and popped it one by aggravating one.

Despite the Warden-Commander’s presence, Warden Stroud did most of the talking, explaining far more about archdemons and darkspawn than Hawke ever would have guessed there was to tell. She killed her fair share over the years: during the blight, fleeing the blight, later on in Kirkwall, but to say she knew much about them would be comical. She stuck her blades in and pulled them out again when the body stopped twitching. She made sure her daggers were thoroughly cleaned after any such encounters because of all she’d learned during that trying time escaping the Primeval Thaig. Blight sickness killed her sister. It was a hard lesson. Continue reading

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Wicked Graces: Chapter Eleven

It was very late when Sebastian staggered up the stairs and into bed. The kind of late that evolved the sky beyond the palace windows from pitch to smoky amethyst and promised sunrise was only a few blinks away. He’d gotten roped into philosophical and spiritual debate with an old friend once destined for Chantry service just as he was, but who managed to convince Lord and Lady Kenric his talents would be better utilized at the University of Orlais.

Sebastian had been too hot-headed for such negotiations at fifteen, an attribute his father assured him was not behavior suitable to a young man who wanted nothing more from life than the position his eldest brother was born to serve. He only got to introduce Bram to Hawke when she meandered over, looking exhausted beyond recall, to let him know she was heading up to bed and would see him in the morning.

When the party died down, save for a few stragglers engaged in conversation of their own, Sebastian and Bram snuck down the stairs to his study for a harder drink, only to discover the decanter on his desk contained little more than a single swallow. Continue reading

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Wicked Graces: Chapter Ten

Hawke had been to many high society gatherings since reclaiming the Amell family home and making herself a prominent figure in Kirkwall. Even before she was the Champion, people seemed to know who she was, and they were always inviting her attend functions and festivities. She always dreaded going, as she more often than not wound up leaving covered in someone else’s blood, ruining a perfectly good outfit. Sebastian teasingly made her promise from the top of the stairs before descending into the party not to kill anyone, but as he winked over at her she was sure there was an actual hint of pleading in his eyes. He’d been to several of those parties with her—he knew what to expect.

“Oh stop,” she waved him off, “I’m not going to kill anyone. Not anyone important, anyway.”

“Hawke,” he warned as the herald announced their entry. Continue reading

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Wicked Graces: Chapter Nine

Their escort back to the castle for the banquet and festivities seemed to take an eternity. The entire city of Starkhaven lined the streets for the procession, children throwing flower petals and confetti and colorful bows made of ribboned paper into the white cobbled streets as the royal couple passed. Sebastian reveled in the sweet smell of blossoms crushed under foot, and the beaming smiles of nearly every face in the crowd.

The road that led him back to his kingdom was long, and the trail of enemies left in his wake bloody, but he’d never lost sight of his due. Hawke made sure of that. He held her hand, glancing over at her every time she reached out to catch flower petals in her hand and toss them back to eager children hoping to catch the eye of their fair princess.

And she was fair. More than fair. Never in his life had he seen a woman more beautiful, more graceful, more deserving of a crown than Marian Hawke. “You were amazing today,” he leaned into her and kissed her cheek, his voice raised above the cheers so she could hear him. “You’re amazing every day.” Continue reading

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