Anima shifts rather uneasily in the white Orlesian styled dress she was forced to wear by Leliana and Josephine. Her reddish brown hair was tied in a lavish bun done up with jewels and white flowers, an insistent suggestion from the two ladies as well. Sighing heavily she makes her way to the Commander's quarters walking rather awkwardly in glass styled heels. "I can't believe I let those two talk me into dressing up like a painted shemlen doll," she huffed softly. Reaching the door she takes a deep breath, she could hear the flitting melodies of Cullen's piano echoing from the other side. Butterflies fluttered about in her stomach as she knocked loudly on the door.
Cullen sits at the cherry wood grand piano, dressed in a noble, stately red tunic in the style of Ferelden aristocracy. He keys lovely notes on the piano, displaying a serene gentleness in his motions as he turns to look at Anima. The sight of his Inquisitor nearly takes his breath away as he ceases his playing to acknowledge her, giving her a charming half-smile "My dear Anima, you look quite lovely tonight."
Immediately her scowl faded from her elvish features and replaced by a pinkish hue as he smiled at her. Erm, good evening ... C-Commander, you are looking ... quite charming. Two long locks hung down by her face in a spiraling style only to reveal the deepness of her blush. The Inquisitor curtsies for Cullen nearly stumbling over herself. Cullen notices the distressed look she had previously, standing up slowly and walking over to Anima. He embraces her softly, kissing her forehead with gentle lips. "Are you all right, Anima? You looked a little troubled." He gently pushed the locks of hair away from her face and kissed her again on the cheek.
Her cheeks glowed a deeper hue from the gentle contact Cullen's lips gave her. Instinctively she wraps her arms around his back and nestled her face in his chest a contented smile gracing her face. "Nothing's wrong Cullen ... now that I am here with you. The other advisors insisted they play Dress Up with me for when I came to see you tonight."
"That's quite alright, you should see what they tried dressing me in after I lost a game of Wicked Grace to them. It was... rather embarrassing," He chuckled, taking her hand and walking her to his piano, sitting down on the cushioned seat as he kisses her knuckles gently. Anima looked up smirking at Cullen. "Oh is that so, it's a shame I missed that opportunity." As he led her to the grand instrument an idea flashed into her mind. She would wait until a little later in their quality time to put it to the test. For now she stood loyally and protective at his right side, laying a hand comfortingly on his shoulder. "So what will you be playing tonight, Commander?"
"I shall be playing a piece from the Free Marches titled Graceful Silk. It's about a secret love between a noble and an elven servant. It's really quite touching." He beamed to her, inspired to play the piece by her consoling presence. Cullen keyed the first few notes, the sound of them like sweet raindrops echoing in the room, tender and hauntingly beautiful. There was no sheet music in front of him, the notes entirely within his memory.
Intrigued by the song's title the Dalish Mage began to listen to the melody. Her heart suddenly became drenched in the emotion of the music as the tale played out vividly in her mind. Cullen begins to sing, his voice low and enticing, like the flavor of dark honey given audible form.
Come come, my elven maid,
Throw down the shackles of your disheartening past.
Allow my lips to place kisses of love
That will sure be to last.
My darling be not afraid.
With the notes of his voice, the Commander’s fingers follow along on the console of the piano as his foot gently presses down on the sustain to match. The way he played his music is nearly as artful as his voice itself, as a fond smile lit up his face. Anima parted her lips in wonder upon hearing such a sweet tenor voice filling the chambers. Her heart becoming overwhelmed by the tale he was singing of carrying the strong bond of their love together. She gently caressed his shoulder as he continued.
The tale of the unwavering affection of the lovers in the story builds his own affection towards his beautiful elven maiden, Cullen’s voice rising in pitch as the song intensifies, as does his voice, the dark honey sound almost more like a tart but satisfying cherry, sweet but powerful.
Dear elven lass of mine no one
I shall protect you from the cruelties
Of this world.
We do not have to hide our passion.
Just let your emotions be unfurled.
His fingers dance across the keys, beautiful chords echoing off the walls, in perfect harmony with the sound of his voice. Anima couldn't help but let out an adoring sigh to her Commander's beautiful voice. Simultaneously she felt something moist slide down her cheek. Reaching up she drew back a glistening tear that had unknowingly sprung to her eyes. Leaning forward she pressed her lips into a kiss upon his head melting in the moment.
We shall run from this place of sorrow,
And live in a better tomorrow.
Dearest Ellyna will you pledge to be mine?
My elven maid whose eyes are as green
As the brine.
Will you leave this all behind?
For your words of pining are like graceful silk.
Cullen finishes the last notes of the song, the music slowing and lowering, like the sunset of a peaceful day, his fingers lightly stroking the keys as he does so. After he has finished, he noticed the droplets coursing down his beloved’s cheeks. Cullen turned to Anima and brushed the tears from her face. He then kissed her with heartfelt emotion and love, a generous affection in his lips. He speaks with a soft, alluring voice "I... feel as strongly about you as that noble in that ballad. More so in fact, Inquisitor."
Anima felt her cheeks glow from the sweet kisses Cullen bestowed on her, his words causing her heart to skip a beat. She breathed heavily trying to find her own power of speech only to discover her throat was tied in knots.
Cullen filled the silence with another kiss, pressing his lips against hers, embracing her closely as he does so, his arms wrapped behind her back. He then moves up to kiss her ear, whispering softly into it "I love you Anima, more than anything. I will never leave you or break your heart." Anima gazed into the Commander’s gentle amber colored eyes reflecting in the silver moon. A strong invisible current drew her lips tenderly and full to his own, her arms embracing him lightly but not absent of love. "I love you too, Cullen more than all the stars in the Creators’ skies. I would never harm you or ever let you down. My life without you would be an empty shell,” she replied her voice thick with passion.
The Commander smiled sweetly, pressing his forehead against hers. His gaze fell to the piano. "Was there another song you wanted to hear my love? The night is still young, and I enjoy your company." Anima looked thoughtful for a moment or two. In a shy voice she finally said, "Actually I have one I would like to sing for you." Her cheeks turned beet red again. "Do you mind that?" A deep chuckle escaped from Cullen. "I do not mind at all, my dear." He takes both of her hands and kisses them each, his lips delicately brushing against them as he gives her his undivided attention, anticipation building for her sweet voice.
“Would you mind providing the accompaniment? I heard this song play in the Fade and I can transfer the notes to you magically, if you are comfortable with that.” The Dalish Mage fumbled with her hands nervously. "I trust you, my Inquisitor. I would not mind that." He concentrated, trying to listen in his mind for the notes. Gently she placed two fingers upon his forehead as her Anchor transferred the memories of the Fade to Cullen allowing only the musical notes to pass through. He situated his strong fingers upon the ivory keys and began playing the notes he heard in his mind, working a slow, serene pace.
The feeling was foreign and strange, but he could sense his love's soothing presence with it; however he was comfortable with it, playing perfectly to the notes he received from Anima, the chords flawless as he follows her lead. Sensing the inner connection to his mind and trust she removed her fingers from his temples. Her voice then suddenly rang out in a mezzo soprano range.
Every time you kissed me
I trembled like a child
Gathering the roses
We sang for the hope
Your very voice is in my heartbeat
Sweeter than my dream
We were there, in everlasting bloom
The secret is inside the pain
Winds are high up on the hill
I cannot hear you
Come and hold me close
I'm shivering cold in the heart of rain
Darkness falls; I'm calling for the dawn
The lyrics were heavy with a mixture of sorrow and happiness as she poured her soul out in song. Anima's voice was deeply touching to Cullen, as were the words of the song. His heart thumping forward in his chest as though it wanted to embrace Anima itself. He harmonized perfectly with Anima, his timing helped by his mental connection with her. In this state the Commander felt his soul intertwine with hers, and he smiled, his fingers dancing across the keys as he played each note.
Silver dishes for the memories,
For the days gone by
Singing for the promises
Tomorrow may bring
I harbor all the old affection
Roses are the past
Darkness falls, and summer will be gone
Joys of the daylight
Shadows of the starlight
Everything was sweet by your side, my love
Ruby tears have come to me, for your last words
I'm here just singing my song of woe
Waiting for you, my love
Her heart was burdened with the emotion as it connected to the events they have faced together in the past. Battling through the Raw Fade to confront the Nightmare Demon shone brightly in her mind causing her to sing more strongly. Cullen thought of how essential it is to keep her safe. He was worried about her perilous quests and how she had fought many High Dragons as he attended to duties at Skyhold, unsure of whether she would return victorious or within a casket. A tear dripped down his face, all of his emotions for her obvious in his eyes. This emotion spurred him to play even stronger and unrelented. He would forever lock away this precious moment with his love in his memories.
Now let my happiness sing inside my dream...
Every time you kissed me
My heart was in such pain
Gathering the roses
We sang of the grief
Your very voice is in my heart beat
Sweeter than despair
We were there, in everlasting bloom.
Anima recalled the countless times she had fought to protect Cullen when on the field of battle. There had been one occasion when a large Fade Rift torn asunder near Skyhold. What emerged had been the very Desire Demons that tortured Cullen during the slaughter of Kinloch Hold. She recognized them by the names he had given her, Caresisheia and Allurus, after he had confided in his Dalish lover. Upon coming face to face with this terror the Commander nearly froze in fear ... but Anima stepped before him a look of determination in her eyes. In a brilliant standoff she defeated them sending their doomed souls to the Void. Her own motivation to defend her Commander even at the expense of her own life lingered constantly in her heart of hearts. She would stand in the very face of fate and death to ensure Cullen was defended.
Cullen sensed that connection, more tears streaming down his face as he keeps playing. His emotion matching hers as he thought of that moment, how his love protected him and destroyed those foul creatures that wounded his soul in such a way. As he dwelt on this, he admires her powerful voice and plays the melody just as powerfully, the combined sound and emotion enough to move mountains.
Underneath the stars
Shaded by the flowers
Kiss me in the summer day gloom, my love
You are all my pleasure, my hope and my song
I will be here dreaming in the past
Until you come
Until we close our eyes.
Anima softens her beautiful singing as the song rounds its final bend. Tears that sparkled like diamonds cascaded down her cheeks. She calmly sat beside Cullen caressing his own wet cheeks to bring a soothing aura to his heart. "Cullen my love, are you ... all right?" she asked concern weighty in her voice. He caresses hers as well, their motions almost mirroring each other as he smiles to her, some tears still falling down his face "I... am. I was just thinking of all of our moments together. Our tense ones where anything could have happened."
Pressing her forehead to his she softly brushes away his tears. Her traits crinkled into a small but content smile knowing their love is built to stand the trials of time itself. "Cullen know this, the world may not approve of a Dalish Mage leading the Inquisition nor being in the arms of a human warrior. I do not care, all that truly matters is sitting right in front of me." She leaned in and drew a passionate kiss to his lips. Cullen returned the passionate kiss, lost in his devoted spirits for her, gripping her close to him, their chests pressed together in such a way that they can feel each other's heartbeats.
(Songs Everytime You Kiss Me is owned by Yuki Kajuira from Pandora Hearts Graceful Silk is owned by me, Cover Art owned by Mistiquarts)