Warning: Explicit Sexual Content
~ Companion ~
Bishop & I wandered the streets of Whiterun. The day was bright, warm, birds were singing, children running & laughing between the adults, laborers & farmers who sold their stock at the central square. A group of youngsters surrounded me, hands linked, dancing & laughing. I smiled, a genuine smile, down at them, feeling a bittersweet ache in my heart. I had wanted children in my past life. In my current one, it seems I would never know the joys of motherhood, given my occupation & my vow to my goddess.
“Hey lady, wanna play a game?” one blond-haired, blue eyed charmer of a girl asked me.
I heard Bishop snort behind me & shot him a glance over my shoulder. He had his arms folded over his chest, trying to look disapproving but there was a flash of something in his feral eyes I couldn’t put a name to, there & gone as quickly as a passing cloud. I looked back at the child.
“Not just now, sweeting.” I said gently, getting down on a level with her. “But…” I dug in the pouch at my belt, seeing her crest-fallen expression & drew out a few coins “why don’t you & your friends go get some honeynut treats or maybe some sweetrolls.”
She snatched the coins & she & her playmates dashed off. I watched them race away, still with that bittersweet ache in my heart. I looked up at Bishop, saw him about to open his mouth & snarled “Don’t even think about it, ranger,” as I stomped off down the street.
I felt a big hand come down on my shoulder, pulling me to a stop. I whirled on him, brows drawn down as I frowned up at him, daring him to make some smart-ass remark about what I had done. He didn’t. Only grinned at me, the cocky bastard. I threw my hands up & turned away, resuming my trek towards Jorrvaskr, followed by the ranger’s laughter.
I stood looking up at the huge upside-down ship that made up the roof of the Hall of the Companion’s. I’d heard of this place, even in my own time, but had never seen it, even tho I had very much wanted to. It was impressive, to say the least. The arch guarding the stone steps bore shields across the top, the support beams that were carved with Nordic scroll-work boasted banners with the insignia of the Companions; a deep crimson background with Wuuthrad, the famous battleaxe of Ysgramor himself, emblazoned in gold on them. A caste of warriors. I went up the steps with no hesitation.
I entered the Hall & stood looking around. It was simple, a long rectangular firepit in the center with a spit across it, long tables ranged about it with individual carved chairs. Other tables & benches for sitting, bookshelves scattered about. Red carpeting on the stone flags, more banners, shields, weapons on plaques on the wooden walls. It wasn’t bright inside but neither was it too dim. A group of men & women dressed in different types of armour were laughing in a circle on the far side as another woman & a dark elf male were trying their best to beat the ever-living daylights out of one another.
I grinned. This seemed like a place I was going to fit in just fine. Reminded me of my brothers & sisters-in-arms for Meridia. We’d brawl like this, wrestling, fighting, arguing then share a cup of mead afterwards with no hard feelings. I made towards the small crowd with determination in my stride.
“Keep your guard up!” One woman with long bright red hair, dressed in ancient Nordic armour & blue woad on her face was shouting.
“You going to let him beat you?!” A man, balding but with a tail of grey-streaked white hair wearing heavy brown leather armour decorated with wolfs fur & snarling wolfs heads shouted at the combatants.
I stopped at his side, folded my arms beneath my bosom as I observed the two fighters with a critical eye; the woman had a scarred face, didn’t look too happy & was trying to get inside the lither dunmer males guard to land a solid blow. But he kept evading her, ducking, bobbing & weaving in & out of her guard as he landed solid punches on her. “Those two fight like that often?” I asked of the balding man.
He looked down at me & dismissed me as apparently not tough enough to run with this crowd, turning back to the entertainment.
It was on the tip of my tongue to say something smart to him but I didn’t know who he was or his rank within this brotherhood. I drew a deep breath & said instead “I’d like to join the Companions,” completely ignoring Bishop’s derisive snort behind me.
The balding man looked down at me again, more carefully this time. “Would you? You don’t look like much.” I smiled noncommittally & he continued “Good thing I’m not the one that makes decisions around here or I’d throw you out the door onto your ass. The one you want to speak to is Kodlak Whitemane. He’s the Harbinger.” He jerked his thumb towards the back of the room.
I inclined my head to the man & headed that way with a rather irritated ranger following after. “I don’t see why you want to join this rag-tag band of degenerates anyway, ladyship.” he grumbled at me as we went down the stairs.
“Because I need a sure way of making some coin. Doing odd jobs here & there is fine but it doesn’t make us enough to keep up repairs on our weapons & armour let alone pay for bread or a roof over our heads. & since I’m stuck in this realm until my Lady decides otherwise, I don’t plan on starving or resorting to thieving or banditry to survive.” My lips twisted at that thought. I’d rather work honestly than steal from another or prey upon the weak & unfortunate.
Bishop merely grunted & remained sullenly silent. For anyone else, it would have been sullen; for him it was just stony & disapproving. I pushed open the door at the bottom of the stairs, turned right as that was the only way I could go & wandered down the hall.
“But I still hear the call of the blood,” a mans thickly accented voice was saying.
“Aye, some take to it more than others,” an older mans voice replied to the first.
“You have my brother & me, obviously. But the rest?” the first said.
“You leave that to me,” the elder voice said but paused as I went through the open doors. “A stranger comes. What can I do for you, lass?” The man was a Nord, he had a kindly yet strong face, old, wrinkled, scarred, a blind eye but the one that wasn’t was bright piercing blue & very keen as it fastened on me. A head of white hair that fell to the broad shoulders, pulled back out of the way. He wore the same wolf armour as the man had upstairs.
“I was told to speak to Kodlak Whitemane. I would like to join the Companions.” I stated firmly, standing tall & erect, my shoulders straight, arms relaxed at my sides even as I bristled with my weapons; bow & quiver of arrows, daggers at my calves & another at my hip, waraxe at my other hip, my greatsword’s hilt jutting high above my right shoulder, bigger than I was.
The younger man with a blue band of warpaint across his eyes, wearing the wolf armour, gave me a look full of mild distaste & turned to the older man, saying “Master, you’re not truly considering accepting HER, are you? I’ve never even heard of this outsider before….”
I arched a brow at him. Never heard of me before? Well, seems I had been doing a good job then of keeping a low profile. I still didn’t think of myself as a hero, as the Dragonborn, despite the fact Bishop called me that from time to time which got him a dirty look from me. I didn’t WANT to be the Dragonborn. Hence part of the reason I was here at Jorrvaskr. I was going to make my own destiny, come Oblivion or high water. Bloody prophecy be damned. I was NOT the Dragonborn, last or otherwise. I would, however, try to do my best by my Lady Meridia.
The elder waved him to silence. “I’m no one’s master & be that as it may, Vilkas, outsiders come to us seeking more glory or to earn a name for themselves. All are welcome…” he gave me a quick, calculating once-over “if they have a fire burning in their hearts. I am Kodlak Whitemane. Tell me, girl, how are you at fighting?”
I pointedly ignored Bishop as he leaned against the doorframe behind me. I could feel those golden eyes boring into the back of my head. “I’m decent enough. A bit rusty but I’m a quick learner. I can take a hit too without crying like a wee babe.”
Vilkas rolled his eyes & snorted. The old man smiled, laughing. “Good! Now, let me have a look at you…” he leaned back in his chair & that calculating gaze roamed steadily over me again. “Hmm. You might do. Small for a woman or a warrior. But you seem to have a spark….”
I heard Bishop snort again & mutter something I didn’t quite catch. My cheeks flushed subtly as my hands twitched at my sides. I made a mental note to throttle him later while he slept.
Kodlak went on, waving a scarred hand at the younger man “This is Vilkas. He’ll take you out to the yard, see what you’re made of.”
Vilkas gave me another scathing look as he rose to his feet to obey. “This way” he snapped gruffly & rudely brushed past me. I turned only to see Bishop & Vilkas at the doorway, eyeing one another like a couple of wolves about to go for the others throat. It was on the tip of my tongue to tell them both to heel but I thought better of it. Now was not the time for my sense of humour.
I strode up to the pair instead & smiled at them both with a dazzling display of pearly white teeth. I wriggled between them & headed down the hall. I heard their footsteps following behind me a moment later.
Once out in the training yard, I removed my bow & quiver, setting them aside, as well as my waraxe & daggers. I would face Vilkas with nothing but my greatsword & the armour that Hrongar had given me those months past. Bishop came up to me then, checking the padding of my pauldron, making sure it was settled right. I looked up at him, confused. “What?”
He began checking one of the straps, pulling it a bit more snug against my bicep. “You do see that he’s nearly twice your size, right?”
I arched my brows at the ranger. “So?” I wondered what exactly he was getting at but I could guess.
“You really think he’s going to take it easy on you, ladyship? He’s going to try to crush you like a bug.” Bishop obviously thought I was missing some brains right about now. Or a sense of self-preservation or any type of survival instinct for that matter.
I gave him a droll look. “& like those bandits we invariably run into take it easy on me. Or the dragons,” I snorted myself & rolled my eyes, twisting my arm out of his grasp firmly yet not angrily.
“Bandits aren’t trained warriors. Dragons for all their size are just animals. This guy, he’s a trained warrior. A killer. Don’t come crying to me when he knocks you on your ass. I’ll just say I told you so.” He didn’t look either happy with me or amused. He didn’t look like he cared one way or the other.
I patted Bishop’s cheek with a broad grin, pulled my greatsword from its sheath on my back as I stepped out into the clear space where Vilkas was waiting for me with a sword & shield in hand. I was determined to join the ranks of the Companion’s & while Bishop’s seemingly uncaring concern was, in its own way, endearing, I wasn’t going to let the ranger deter me from my set course of action.
“The old man said let’s have a look at you. So let’s do this. Take a few swings at me. Don’t worry about hurting me, I can take it.” He said in a tone that indicated he thought this was going to end quickly with me losing horribly.
I idly twirled my greatsword about my body one-handed a couple of times as Vilkas brought his shield up & began sidling around me. I waited till he was side-on with me then maneuvered my sword up, got my other hand on the grip & swung with a loud war-cry as I sprang forward. My sword clanged against his shield, drawing sparks & making him stagger. I saw surprise flash in his blue eyes before he used his shield to push me back. I went with the force of the motion, lifting up into the air & landing nimbly on my feet, sword still in hand.
My blood was singing in my veins, my cheeks flushing & I was grinning. I could feel it. I laughed & ran at Vilkas, ducked the swing of his sword to get behind him & swatted him across the ass with the flat of my blade. I danced back out of range, laughing as he turned with a snarl. “Awww, big boy gonna cry?” I taunted him, swinging my sword idly at my side one-handed.
He rushed me, intending to brain me with his shield. I ducked & rolled past him with an “Oh shit” & a laugh, coming to my feet & facing him again. I didn’t want to get entangled with him; Bishop was right, Vilkas was larger & even strong as I was for my size, likely stronger than me. The goal was to tire him out in that heavy armour of his by making him chase me & work harder to land a solid hit, make him drop his guard, make a mistake that I could benefit from. Or trick him.
We were gathering a crowd as we sparred back & forth. I could see them on the patio, watching, hear them shouting & cheering. The Companion & I kept circling each other, Vilkas swinging his sword with me parrying his attacks & dancing lithely about him, just out of range. He kept swinging & trying to bash me with that shield of his & I kept dodging. I avoided that shield as much as I could but he caught me finally in the hip with a vicious backhand swing of it that sent me rolling backwards across the stone flags.
He thought he’d hurt me, was moving in for the kill. I saw him walking towards me, his sword raised to deal the last strike but I stayed down on one knee, waiting for him to get close. As soon as he was I swung my leg out & swept his feet out from under him knocking him flat on his back. His shield went flying, his sword skittered along the stones. I lept to my feet, planted a foot into his chest as I leveled the tip of my greatsword at his throat. There was absolute silence. You could have heard a pin drop.
At first, Vilkas looked like Bishop normally did; that is, like he wanted to strangle me. But then he threw his head back & laughed. “Well done! You’re smarter & mightier than you look. Let me up.”
I swung my blade away from him, grinning, resheathed it on my back & held a hand out to him. He clasped my forearm & I helped tug him to his feet. People were cheering again, clapping, shouting raucous jibes at Vilkas & myself. I cast my eyes towards the patio where I had left Bishop & saw him standing a bit apart from the others, arms folded over his chest, his face set in its normal gruff expression. But his golden eyes glimmered & one corner of his mouth quirked up as he inclined his ruddy head a fraction of an inch towards me. That one gesture from the ranger was worth more to me than all the praise & applause of the others.
“You’ll be on a trial period for a while, until we’re sure you won’t get killed too easily or just run off,” Vilkas was saying to me. “After your trial period, we’ll give you a challenge to do with one of the full fledged members. Completing that, you’ll be inducted into the ranks of the Companions.”
That sounded more than reasonable. It was similar to how my own caste had worked. “All right. Where do I start?”
Vilkas held his sword out to me hilt first. “Run this up to Eorlund at the Skyforge.”
I glanced down at the sword then back up at him. “That’s it? Really?”
His face went stern again, his voice back to that sneering tone. “You’re not a full member yet. You’re still a whelp to us, new blood. You do as we say & show some respect. Now take it up to Eorlund.”
It was on the tip of my tongue to tell him to go fuck himself but well, he was right. I was on trial. You had to be able to follow directions, take orders when you were supposed to, as well as think for yourself. I took the sword. Vilkas nodded & left me eyeing his retreating back, envisioning sticking that sword between his ribs or cracking him over the head with it.
I went & picked up my discarded weapons then headed for the stairs that led up to the Skyforge. A large man, a Nord, with a shock of white hair dressed in piece-meal light armour stood at the anvil, hammering on something, it might have been the beginnings of a sword. I approached him, waited for a lapse in the hammering as he thrust the metal back into the fire.
“Allo. I was told to bring something to Eorlund. Have I found him?”
The big man turned towards me & smiled a bit. “You have. Eorlund Grey-Mane, blacksmith. What can I do for you, lass?”
I held out the sword the Companion had given me across my palms. “Vilkas sent me with his sword.”
The blacksmith eyed me for a moment before he took it. I looked around, at the weapons & armour stacked on tables, stuck into barrels, the racks holding half-painted shields. “Quite a forge you have here… do you do all the smithing for the Companions?”
He nodded his shaggy white head. “Aye. Skyforge steel. Best in all of Skyrim, all of Tamriel. You new here?”
I nodded. “On trial.”
He pulled the length of steel from the fire, the end glowing white & molten. “Welcome to the madness, lass. Hope you make it through the trial. Few do. Best keep in mind no one in the Companions rules anyone else. Each man is his own, each woman, hers. Don’t just always do what you’re told or they’ll think you weak & walk all over you.” He began hammering on the heated metal again.
I nodded. I would make it. I knew I could & would do so. “I’ll keep that in mind. I’ll just be going then. It was nice meeting you, Eorlund.” I raised my voice slightly so he could hear me over the din.
“Bide a bit. I’ve a favor to ask you, if you’re in the mind to help.” He stuck the steel back into the forge, pulled a dingy rag from his belt & proceeded to wipe his sooty hands on it as he went to a chest by the back wall. He opened it with a key he produced from a cord around his neck & drew out a beautifully made shield. It had Nord knotwork all over it, was cross-guarded on the front, reinforced with moulded leather. He closed the chest, locked it & came over to me, holding the shield out. “My wife is in mourning & I really should be getting home to her. Would you take this to Aela for me? You can’t miss her. Tall, skinny redhead with blue marks on her face, wears that out-dated Nord armour.”
I remembered seeing her when I had first entered the Hall. “Sure, I can do that for you.” I had thought about being a smart-ass but got the idea he didn’t have much of a sense of humour.
I was right.
“Well done, lass. My thanks to you,” the big smith said with a gleam of respect in his brown eyes.
I inclined my head to him & started back towards the stairs. Bishop fell in beside me. I glanced up at his face but as usual lately, he looked irritated. I stopped in the middle of the stairs, pulling him to a stop as well with a light hand on his arm. “What’s eating at you, ranger?” I asked him quite gently, genuinely concerned that he was in such an apparently foul mood lately.
“Why do you always do what everyone asks of you, ladyship?” he didn’t sound like he cared one way or the other what my answer would be but his golden eyes locked on mine & held them, silently demanding an answer.
I left my hand on his arm, stepped in close to him, smiled sweetly up at him. “Are you mad I won’t do as you say & crawl into bed with you?” He’d asked me, that night at the Inn after we had fought, to share his bedroll with him & he meant more than just sleeping. I hadn’t been ready. I still wasn’t, as much as he made me burn. Apparently he was having a hard time waiting for me to ask him to my bed instead.
His amber eyes flared into molten life as he rumbled down at me, hands curling into fists at his sides “You black-eyed temptress.”
I tucked the shield under one arm, reached up & got my fingers into the short hairs at the back of his neck & tugged his head down to mine. I nipped his lips gently, brushed my mouth softly over his as his arms came around me, tugged me close to his big body & held me tight. I pressed my forehead to his & said quietly “Be patient with me, Bishop. Please.” Then I released him & was stepping back out of his embrace, turning & heading down the stairs again.
I found Aela in what must have been her quarters in the downstairs area of the Hall, that balding man with her. They were speaking of a hunt. I knocked on the open door, poking my head inside with a friendly smile. “Hope I’m not interrupting. Eorlund asked me to bring this to you.” I stepped through the threshold, holding the shield out to her. She took it, giving the balding man an inquisitive glance.
“She’s the one I told you about. The new blood that sparred with Vilkas out in the yard,” he explained to her.
A light dawned & she turned to smile at me. “Ahhh, yes. I heard some of the others talking about you. I heard you gave him quite a thrashing,” The Huntress eyed me up & down as she slung her shield onto her back. “Do you think you could take Vilkas in a real fight?”
“Don’t let Vilkas catch you saying that,” the balding man said teasingly to her.
I shrugged. She laughed. “Well, I hope you make it. I think I would like to call you Sister. I’m Aela, by the way. Aela the Huntress the others call me. This is Skjor.” she jerked a thumb at the balding man.
“Pleasure to meet you both,” I replied with polite sincerity.
“You have another residence or do you plan on resting your head here?” Aela asked me.
I risked a glance over my shoulder at Bishop at the question before turning back to the Huntress. “I think I may be dividing my time actually.”
She nodded. “Well, if it’s all the same then, I’ll have someone show you where the whelps sleep. Farkas!” She shouted the name & it rang in the stone walls.
I heard a clatter out in the hall & an absolutely huge man appeared a moment later in the doorway. Long shaggy black hair, the fair complexion of a Nord, bright topaz blue eyes with that same woad blue mark across his face as Vilkas had. He was wearing heavy steel armour, carried a greatsword strapped to his back. With his size, it looked like he could wield two greatswords at once without any difficulty.
“You call me?” his voice was as gruff as Bishop’s but just a bit deeper.
“Of course we did, icebrain. This is the new blood. Show her where the others gather & sleep, will you?” She didn’t make it sound like a request.
“New blood? Oh, I remember you. Saw you out in the yard with my brother. I’m Farkas. Come on, I’ll show ya where you can rest your head if you sleep here.” He moved off without waiting to see if I would follow him or not.
Brother? THIS hulking mountain of a man was brother to Vilkas? Tho Vilkas was taller & bigger than me, he wasn’t nearly as big as Farkas. The top of my head barely came to the center of Farkas’ chest. He was even taller & wider than Bishop & Bishop made me feel small! I wondered what they’d fed him as a child to make him grow so large of if he maybe had giant’s blood.
“It’s good to have some new faces around. This can be a rough life. Not many make it through their trial period. I hope we keep you,” Farkas was saying as he led me down the hall toward where the communal barracks were. “Here we are. Looks like the others are eager to meet you. You get tired, pick a bed & fall in it. No one will bother you. You want work, speak to Aela or me first. When we think you’re ready, we’ll send you to Vilkas or Skjor for harder tasks. Welcome to the insanity.” He chuckled.
I smiled, scrunching up my nose. He might be big but he had a really bluff personality that was charming in its own way & seemed personable. “Thank you, Farkas. I’m Kalla. My companion here…”
“Isn’t interested in making friends,” Bishop broke in on me, eyeing the Companion the same way he had looked at Vilkas.
I sighed & rubbed my eyes, giving Farkas a sheepish smile. “Ignore him. He’s not exactly housebroken.” Bishop snorted at that which made me grin. Farkas grinned back at me in understanding. “So… got any jobs or anything that the others haven’t picked up yet?” I asked him.
“As a matter of fact… got some trouble here close to home. Bandits have set up shop in a cave near the borders of Whiterun & Falkreath. Interested?”
“Absolutely.” I took the map & bounty he held out to me.
“Do NOT spare them your blade. When you’ve cleared them out, return here & I’ll see you’re paid for your work.”
I nodded & Farkas left us. I stood reading the bounty; 1,200 gold for clearing the bandits out with proof of a job well done. Holy gods. That was a lot more for one job than Bishop & I made doing several small ones. I glanced up to find the ranger reading over my shoulder. I elbowed him lightly in the ribs. “& you didn’t want me to join the Companions.” I grinned. I just couldn’t resist poking at him. He rolled his eyes at me with another snort.
I began to laugh as I led the way out of Jarrvaskr, through the City streets & out to the stable where our horses were.
Weeks passed. I fought with Bishop at my side, doing the jobs that Farkas or Aela gave me. He hadn’t asked me again to share his bed but we stayed out of doors or at Inns rather than me sleeping at Jorrvaskr. To be honest, I preferred to lie in the rangers arms, listening to his breathing as I fell asleep while his fingers gently combed through my curls under a roof speckled with stars.
Then one day, Farkas told me to speak to Skjor, that the old warrior had been looking for me. I immediately went to find him. He was out in the yard with some of the newer candidates, giving a lecture on how to properly wield a sword & shield. I caught his eyes & he gave me a slight nod of acknowledgment. He’d get to me as soon as he could.
I went to the outer wall & leaned against it in a patch of sunlight. I closed my eyes, tipped my head back & crossed my arms over my chest. Since I had been here in Whiterun, training again, I was back in shape. I was still small, lithe, but I had put on a bit of muscle weight. My thighs & calves had rounded slightly, filling out the loose leather of my pants. My arms were now toned & you could see the delineation of musculature. Even my stomach had lost the softness, sporting abdominal muscles that could rival my surly companion’s. I felt more like my old self than I had in a long long time. Over-all, I was pleased with how my body was reforming itself, remembering who & what I had been. I could spend hours in the saddle now without my rear going numb, could run for miles without getting winded. I still wasn’t nearly as strong as Bishop but I was quicker in my reflexes than I had been, more sure of what my body could do & take. I had missed this. I hadn’t known how much I had missed the brotherhood & the sheer physicality of being a warrior until I had stepped back into it.
I cracked open one eye, hearing footsteps approach me. Then I felt a body leaning on the wall next to me. A whiff of damp earth, woodsmoke, leather, pine & musky male. Bishop.
“You look happy, Princess.” His deep voice rumbled down at me, low enough so only I would hear him.
“I am.” I opened my eyes & looked up at him. “How can I not be? I have the Companion’s, you’ve stuck around despite my refusal to bed you so that’s something too.”
One corner of his mobile mouth quirked up just a bit as his golden eyes glowed warmly down at me. “I’ve only stuck around for the money & the mead, ladyship. They only drink Black-Briar Reserve in that Hall.”
I couldn’t quite tell from his tone if he was teasing me, was about to say something sharp to the ranger, some smart-ass remark, asking if that was all he’d stuck around for, that I was nothing but a meal ticket to him but Skjor came up just then.
“Your time, it seems, has come, new-blood. This will be your Testing. A man came to us, a few weeks back, with information. He said he’d heard of a location where a fragment of Wuuthrad may be hidden away. Your task will be to retrieve that fragment if it’s there & bring it back to Jorrvaskr so it can be mounted in honor.” He didn’t even look at the ranger leaning on the wall next to me.
I nodded once. It seemed a simple enough task. “Do I do this alone, Skjor?”
The old warrior smiled, just a bit wolfishly. “No. Farkas will be going with you, to watch you, make sure you’re honorable. This is a simple task, whelp. Try not to get yourself or him killed. I’ll see you when & if you return.”
“I’ll return.” I assured him. He only looked at me a moment longer before turning away & walking towards the doors to the Hall.
I felt a thrill go through me. This was it! My testing. My time of trial was almost over. I turned & jumped at the ranger. He just had time enough to get his arms up & catch me as I locked my legs about his waist & wrapped my arms about his shoulders. “I did it!”
He chuckled, got a good grip on my rear & turning, pinned me to the wall. “Congratulations, Princess. What say we celebrate by letting me take you to bed tonight so I can congratulate you properly?” One hand slid under the fall of my loose hair to curl about the nape of my neck as the other dipped under my reinforced leather top to cup one of my breasts. I hissed softly between my teeth, feeling his warm, calloused palm against me, my nipple puckering hard against it. I hastily glanced around but we were the only two out here. His fingers teased small circles over the skin of my breast as his eyes glowed with heat. I felt him, hard, heavy, pressed intimately against where I ached. I wanted to. I truly did. I couldn’t deny that I was attracted to the ranger, that I had dreamed many times of what it might be like to lay with him. Still, I couldn’t, not quite yet…
I dropped my legs from his hips & he let my feet touch the stones. I saw his jaw clench tightly but he made no protest other than a low growl as he readjusted himself in his leather pants while staring down at me with dark amber eyes. I reached up a hand, brushed my fingertips over his lips. “Soon. I promise, Bishop…. Besides, aren’t you enjoying the other things we do?”
Those amber eyes of his flared to golden life as he grabbed my hand & started leading me away. I was laughing, tugging back. It did no good. “Where are we going, ranger?”
“To find a hay pile or a bed so I can show you what you do to me, sweetness.” he rumbled at me.
I blushed scarlet & bit my bottom lip, grinning, as he led me off.
As it turned out, we were back at the baths in the Bannered Mare with the door closed this time. Bishop held me against his side, my head resting on his chest as I listened to his heartbeat start to slow, his breathing to even out. I still hadn’t seen him naked in a fully aroused state but I knew what he felt like in my hands. Hard & soft at the same time, silk overlaying steel, large, thick & pulsing with life. My touching him, stroking him, was enough for now. I knew one day soon, it wouldn’t be. I both feared & looked forward to that day. But today was not that day.
The water was growing cold & I made to rise but Bishop’s arm tightened around my shoulders, keeping me in place.
“Not just yet, Princess.” His deep voice sounded drowsy, almost content.
I subsided against him, humming softly as I ran my fingers through the soft yet wiry mahogany hairs that dappled his chest. His own fingers played amid the ends of my hair that were submerged in the water, occasionally brushing the small of my back. I shivered when his fingers grazed me & he chuckled.
“Ticklish are we?” his lips were curved upwards just a touch at the corners, his dark eyes sparking in the candle-light.
“Like I’m dumb enough to tell you!” I shot right back with a similar smile & a laugh.
Before I knew it, he had me up in his lap, straddling his hips with his arms locked tight about my narrow waist. My breasts, water-slicked, wobbled against his chest as I wriggled in his grasp, laughing. His hands came up over my shoulders & he bent me back, burying his face into the deep valley between them with what would have been a purr in any other man but him. I threaded my fingers through his damp hair, brushing it back from his face with a soft sigh as his breath fanned warm over my skin. He nuzzled, brushing his lips over my chest, tracing his tongue up into the hallow of my throat before he drew me close, tucking my head onto one of his shoulders.
“Bishop… I really should get back to Jorrvaskr….” I said quietly, with a note of genuine regret.
“Go in the morning. That’s soon enough.” His chest vibrated under my hands with his low-voiced words.
I hesitated, feeling him start to harden against me again. I was glad he couldn’t see my face; I was blushing so bright a crimson my cheeks felt incandescent. “Bishop…” I giggled nervously, squirming.
He growled softly. “I know, Princess. Not now. I told you I’d wait & I meant it…. Then. But I didn’t know you were going to make me wait this long or that it would be so hard.”
I bit my bottom lip, shaking with silent mirth. I could, I SO could make the obvious comment. I knew he was expecting it, especially from me. I was torn between tenderness for the ranger & the imp in me wanting to make a really bad joke. I settled for standing instead & got another growl as my hips drew level with his face. He turned his head away, jaw clenched, breathing heavily as I stepped out of the bath, wrapping myself in a large fluffy towel.
“Come to bed, ranger. Stay in that water much longer & your problem will shrivel into a prune.” I teased him. I had just enough warning of the sound of the water splashing before I was darting for the door to the room that housed our narrow bed, laughing as I went, droplets flying from the ends of my long wet hair.
“You black-eyed temptress….” the low rumbling growl followed after me.
Bishop held me through the night, refusing to let me touch him or give him any sort of release. Instead, he stroked my skin, ran his fingers through my long pale curls, laying over me as he had me on my stomach so I could feel the warm weight of his body, the insistence of his need between my thighs. But he did no more than that. I almost let him take me but a part of me was afraid that if I did he’d be gone in the morning & I’d never see him again. I didn’t know if my heart could take that.
But I never said any of this to him. The ranger wasn’t a man of words. He didn’t talk much about himself, only told me about the places we traveled through, the towns, villages, hamlets. Gave me brief glimpses into his past & life with unwary comments. We fought well together, made a great team at fighting bandits, draugr, & dragons alike. I felt he was my friend after these many months of traveling together.
But for some reason, I couldn’t bring myself to take that final step, to let him into my body. It wasn’t just my vow to my Lady Meridia holding me back either but that too was a big hurdle. I feared, sometimes, what my Lady would do to the ranger if I lay with him & She found out he had taken my chastity. Meridia guarded Her own jealously. For the first time in my existence, I was regretting my vow of celibacy.
Sleep that night was fitful at best. When I woke at sun-up, I saw Bishop was already awake, watching me with hooded eyes. I looked up at him, brushing my fingertips along his stubbled jaw. “I have to do this alone. You can’t come with me,” I murmured quietly.
“Whatever you say, ladyship. Just don’t let that mutt paw all over you. I’ve seen how he & that brother of his look at you when you train out in the yard with them. Like you’re a nice juicy bone they want to sink their teeth into.”
“You mean like you do?” I arched my brows at him, lifting my head up to be able to better look into those warm, golden eyes.
Bishop grunted softly, buried his hands in my hair & drew my mouth up to his. His lips brushed softly over mine, breath fanning warm against my skin. I moaned softly, fingers curving over the muscles of his shoulders as he brushed his lips back & forth over mine, finding just the right fit before he sealed his mouth to mine. My lips softened, became pliant, parted beneath his, inviting him in. His tongue delved deep, teasing along my own, twining, dancing wickedly. “You’re mine, ladyship. I’m not going to let one of those hounds steal you from me,” his voice was lower, rougher as he growled those quiet words against my lips.
I stilled. Part of me was thrilled at what he said…. Another part, an older part, one I could ignore most of the time, warned me I was likely just prey, a prize to this man, that I really knew nothing at all about him other than he was surly, had a tongue as sharp as that dagger of his but was capable of great gentleness when the mood struck him. That he was a hunter at heart. But I still loved him, regardless. & I would never tell him that. I swallowed hard & slid off the bed, dressed quickly & left.
Farkas & I returned from Dustman’s Cairn triumphant two days later. The fragment of Wuuthrad had indeed been there, in the grand chamber.
So had a wall with that odd writing on it I couldn’t decipher. I had heard that same chanting as I had at Bleakfall’s before I even entered that room. It had echoed in my head, making fighting the draugr even more difficult. Farkas had saved my ass when I had gotten too close to the wall & the room had gone blank, dissolving into chaos before my eyes as that power reached out & grabbed me.
I’d come to on my knees, Farkas grinning down at me with a hand extended. I took it, he hauled me to my feet & we finished off the last of the draugr that had been hiding from us before we made our escape.
I felt restless still, wanting to fight or go outside the City for a moonlight run as I sat in Jorrvaskr Hall with my new brother’s & sister’s, drinking & feasting in celebration of my induction into the ranks of the Companion’s. Bishop lurked in the shadows, a flagon of mead in one hand. I could feel the weight of his predatory gaze on me. He wasn’t at all happy with me, that I had been gone so long. I had the niggling suspicion that he thought I had let Farkas into my bed after Dustman’s simply because the Companion & I were closer than we had been. Fighting alongside someone, & especially someone who had saved your life, you forge a bond. Farkas was like my brother, nothing more. I doubt that Bishop would have believed me had I told him that tho.
“To our new Sister!” Farkas shouted, standing & raising another cup of mead. Cheers resounded & hails as everyone drank again. I raised my own glass in salute but I still needed to get out of here, if only for a little while.
I drank my last cup, pushed my seat back & stood. I was heading towards one of the doors when Skjor stopped me. “Come to the Underforge tonight & come alone. You’ve more than proven yourself, whelp. Aela & I have something special planned for you, something more befitting a warrior of your distinction into the ranks of the Companion’s.” He spoke quietly, then clapped me on the shoulder with a nod as I nodded back in assent. I trusted these people, rowdy bunch that they were. A rag-tag lot of misfits that had formed a family. I wondered what Aela & Skjor had planned exactly?
I gave myself a mental shake, caught Bishop’s eye & jerked my head towards the door. He pushed off the wall he’d been holding up & prowled over to me. I slipped outside, moved out from under the patio & stood in the moonsglow that bathed the training yard. It was chill but after the heat of the Hall, the coolness felt good against my flushed face.
I felt Bishop’s arms come about me before he drew me back against his body. I let him, leaning into his solid bulk as I rubbed my arms with my hands. What had happened at Dustman’s in the main chamber had me disquieted. The strong, reassuring presence of the ranger, his arms enfolding me, calmed me, gave me peace & I didn’t know why. I just knew I wanted & needed it just then.
We stood like that, his arms about me as I leaned against him, for quite some time, in silence. Finally tho, he asked me “What’s wrong, Princess? Did that mutt say or do something to you while you were off alone with him?” There was the hint of a jealous snarl in his low, rough voice as his arms tightened about me just a bit, almost possessively.
I brushed strands of my hair out of my eyes that the light wind had blown across my face, shaking my head in the negative. “No, he didn’t try anything or say anything to upset me….” I paused, chewing delicately at my bottom lip. “You remember that one dragon we slew, over at the place you called Skyborn Altar? What happened when….” I stopped & shivered, not quite able to continue.
Bishop held me tighter. “When you got knocked down by that wall. Yeah I remember.”
“There was another of those walls at Dustman’s, Bishop,” I said quietly.
“So? You’re the Dragonborn. Aren’t those walls something to do with you & that prophecy people keep talking about?”
“I’m NOT the Dragonborn, ranger. He’s supposed to be this great hero from legend. A warrior of boundless courage & unmatched prowess in battle…. not a farm-girl who became a virgin priestess to a daedric prince!” I said in exasperation.
“Hey, you’re the one that told me you were a Ningheim, an Ancient Nord brought back & put here in this time by your goddess. If that’s true, as you say it is, maybe that’s the reason She brought you back. & don’t doubt yourself, ladyship. You’re a helluva fighter, more than a match for any of these mongrels in the Companion’s.”
I clenched my teeth, keeping my mouth shut. He was right, had said almost the same words to me as my Lady Meridia had. I still didn’t want to be Dragonborn tho, I still didn’t feel like a hero. I was just… Kalla Lightheart in my mind. Nothing special, nothing exceptional. I rubbed my hands over my face. “It doesn’t matter. Forget I said anything.”
I could feel my fate creeping up on me, the jaws of the cage inexorably closing about me. Try as I might to fight it, it would snap shut at some point & I would be trapped. Fight it all I wanted, it still didn’t make it UN-true. All I was doing was just prolonging my misery.
But I was nothing if not stubborn. I was not, COULD NOT, be the Dragonborn, regardless of what happened to me when the dragons died, what happened with those walls with the strange writing, that I could Shout. No matter that my Lady said I was, that She had brought me back, to this time & place to be the saviour of these people. It was just… a coincidence. A really weird, freaky coincidence. Yeah, that was it.
I caught movement out of the corner of my eye & turned my head to look. It was Skjor & Aela, heading for the hidden entrance I had found weeks ago when I had gone investigating the grounds. Skjor caught my eye & jerked his head, motioning for me to come over. Bishop must have caught it too because he let me go, turned me around to face him & leaned down to kiss me softly.
“I’ll be back as soon as I can, ranger. Skjor & Aela have something planned for me, they said.”
He brushed the knuckles of one hand under my chin, a slight smile on his lips. “Don’t keep me waiting too long, Princess.”
I went to join my fellow Companions & after what seemed a warning look at Bishop from Skjor, we entered the Underforge.
What met my eyes when I stepped inside made me press back against the closed entrance. A giant red werewolf stood by a huge stone basin, its eyes glowing blue in the dimness. I instinctively reached for my sword over my shoulder only to realize I’d left it in the Hall.
Skjor watched me with dry amusement for a moment before he waved a hand at the beast. “I’d hoped you’d be able to recognize Aela, even in this form.”
Stepping closer, I saw the soft swell of fur-covered breasts, met the beasts blue glowing eyes & recognized them. “So it IS true. The Companion’s really are werewolves,” I breathed. I looked at Skjor. “I’d heard things said in the Hall, of course. Secrets. The way you & Aela are always going on night hunts. Some of the whelps think you & she are… well,” I flipped a hand without stating the obvious; many of the other recruits thought Skjor & Aela were lover’s & were simply going off to be alone together. “Are… why did you bring me here, Skjor? Why show me this?”
He stood looking at me intently. “I hope I haven’t misjudged you, Kalla. I brought you here so we could give you this gift. The few toasts & the feasting that Kodlak deems enough of a celebration for completing your Trial doesn’t befit warriors such as us. It’s rare that a heart like yours joins our ranks. Aela has agreed to be your forebear, if you accept it. Accept to join your blood with the blood of the wolf.”
‘Only trust the wolf…’ the words floated through my mind. Had this been what my Lady had meant? Had She been guiding me, telling me that I was to trust myself, that I was meant to join the Companion’s all along & become a werewolf? In a way, it made sense. I had trusted, relied on no one but myself for many many years. True, there had been my caste but I had quickly risen through the ranks & become a leader amongst them, the one others turned to for guidance, came to for training & advice.
“I’ll do it.” I said without hesitation.
He paced out in the training field, watched Kalla disappear into the Underforge. Every instinct he possessed wanted him to follow her but she had said she would return & he believed her. She’d kept her word to him thus far, especially about not letting him inside of her.
He pressed the heel of his hand against his groin, trying to loosen the leather of his pants where he had an incipient hardness everytime he got near that waifish pale-haired pain in his ass. “You are SO fucking broken.” he muttered to himself. He should have moved on to easier prey by now. But he didn’t want to. Since that kiss out in the middle of the woods under the waterfall had happened, he’d felt the desire growing in her, her resistance to him crumbling, bit by bit. He was close to winning & getting his prize.
Prize. If he was honest with himself, Kalla was more than a prize. He was starting to care about her. He actually missed her when she was gone, off on some errand only her & the other Companion’s were allowed to go on. Missed her smart-ass comments. The scent of her skin, the feel of her hair, the warm solid weight of her sleeping on his chest. Hearing her soft breathing next to him at night, the way she would hum when they rode through the woods. He even missed her cooking.
He smiled, recalling how a week or so back, he had coaxed her out to the tundra for a short camping trip. They’d made camp in the foothills, staying up late, & he had shown her how the aurora’s blazed & danced clearer. He’d seen the avid absorption on her delicate features, her black eyes glowing with silent pleasure as the fire flickered green, blue, purple & pink in the midnight sky. She’d looked beautiful, as much a part of the wilderness as he or Karnwyr were. A woman made of starlight.
Then she had turned to him, silently, & kissed him blind. He’d wanted her badly then, had asked her to share his bedroll with him & he’d meant more than just sleeping next to him. He wanted to be inside of her. She had refused him, saying she wasn’t ready yet & wouldn’t say anymore. He hadn’t pressed her but had held her through the night after she had taken him into her small hands & given him release of a temporary sort.
It wasn’t enough. Not anymore. Very soon, he was going to push a bit harder. But not just yet. She was on the brink of giving in. He didn’t want her to get second thoughts by pushing too hard or at the wrong moment. He could be patient. But damn, she was giving him a good chase.
Just then, the hidden door to the Underforge opened. Bishop turned sharply, hearing a strange, muffled whine above the scrape of stone on stone. He half expected it to be one of the dogs that the Companion’s kept or maybe Karnwyr. But no. What he saw had him reaching for his bow on his back.
It was a pale silvery-gold female werewolf roughly the same size as he was. The beast was swinging its head from side to side, appearing confused. He heard the whine again; yes, it was a definite sound of animal confusion & fear. The lupine head turned towards him & he saw the beast had one vivid glowing green eye & one bright glowing blue eye. It took a step towards him, head lowered, ears straight out to the sides of its skull as its pink nose twitched.
He grabbed an arrow, nocked it, raised his bow. The beast stopped, whined again, lifted one great claw-tipped paw towards him, the leathery pad upward. He hesitated as a sense of familiarity washed over him. The beast came closer, whining low in its throat. As it moved into a shaft of moonlight, he saw that it had a scar that ran down the side of its face, curving towards the lupine muzzle, that its eyes held no hint of threat, only panic & a silent plea for help.
Voices called from close at hand. He turned to look in the direction they had come from. When he turned back, he saw the pale beast leaping the stone wall in one bound & disappear into the night.
She ran on two legs, & again on four, shifting shapes easily. The wolf was free, joyous, bounding down the riverbank, swimming across to the other side, avoiding the guards that patrolled the roadway. A sleek silvery-gold blur of power, strength & speed as she hurtled up the opposite riverbank. She stopped at the top of the hill, looked over her shoulder. Saw a man on a black horse stop at the road, dismount & inspect the ground where she had entered the water. His ruddy head turned in her direction & he spotted her. The wolf met his eyes briefly then took off at a dead run, heading higher into the mountains.
‘Am I wolf or am I woman?’ I thought, inside my wolf body. I met my dark-sister in the depths of my mind. My black eyes met the beasts dual-colored ones & we shared a single thought; freedom. I lifted my muzzle to the sky & howled as I raced fleet-footed away from the City & deeper into the wilderness.
I came to, blinking in confusion. Light blinded me. I raised a hand, skittering back away from the source. It was a campfire. I lowered my hand slowly, still blinking. My head was pounding, my mouth felt like I had been chewing on dry moss.
It was then I noticed I was naked, covered by a heavy, soft fur blanket & laying on another mound of soft furs. I sat up, clutching the blanket to my breasts. Bishop sat across the fire from me on a tree stump, sharpening his dagger on a small whetstone.
“Evening, ladyship. Enjoy your midnight run?” He asked me, casually enough.
I eyed him warily before I took a look around. We were in the woods…. somewhere. I opened my mouth to speak but nothing came out, not even a croak. I put my hand up to my throat, rubbing it gingerly. Then I noticed my amulet was gone. I felt a moment of truly sickening panic as I began to scramble through the furs searching for it. I made a very wolfish noise of distress, deep in my chest, somewhere between a whine & a snarl.
Bishop was there in an instant, down on one knee before me as he took my shoulders into his big hands to steady me. “Easy…. Breathe, Princess.” His deep voice was soothing me as much as his touch.
I looked up into his face with stricken eyes, patting my chest as I made that wolf sound again. He took a hand from my shoulder, reached into one of the pouches on his belt & pulled my Lady’s amulet free. I immediately relaxed, shoulders slumping, giving him a slightly sheepish yet relieved smile. He fastened it about my neck, adjusting it so it lay centered on my bosom. Then he sat back on his heels & looked at me, hands dangling loose between his thighs.
I couldn’t quite gauge his emotional state from the expression on his face but I could smell he’d been worried not that long ago, an acrid almost sour tang overlaying his normal scents of damp earth, woodsmoke, pine, leather & musky male. I found myself leaning forward towards him, pressing my nose into his chest & breathing him in as my hands rose to grip the fabric of his tunic shirt. I rubbed my face against the skin exposed, closing my eyes & sighing deeply as it enveloped me in peace & calm. Sanctuary.
Bishop sat then with his back to a fallen log, lifted me onto his lap & held me, tugging my head down onto one shoulder as he stroked my bare thigh with one hand, his other arm curled about my waist to keep me in place. My wolf was rolling around in a field of wild flowers somewhere, basking in the sun as she chased butterflies. ‘You’ I shot the thought at her ‘are completely out of your fucking mind.’ The wolf didn’t care. Just smiled a very wolf-like smile at me, long red tongue lolling as she flopped down & wallowed in the long stems in wild abandon, all four paws up in the air.
I felt the ranger’s hand in my hair, fingers rubbing me behind the ears. I closed my eyes in bliss with a very lupine grunt of pleasure, going limp in his arms; one of my legs even twitched. He chuckled & I realized what I had done. I blushed from my bosom to the roots of my silvery-gold hair, peeking up at him through the thickets of my wayward curls.
“Can you speak yet, ladyship?”
I wasn’t at all certain but I gave it a try. “M-may…maybe,” my voice was hoarse & scratchy, a raspy whisper. I cleared my throat lightly, wetting my lips before I tried again. “Drink?” Better but not by much.
He unhooked a canteen from his belt & held it out to me. I took it between both hands & drank the entire contents. I shouldn’t have; it was mead & my stomach was empty. I handed it back to him once I was done, a nice little fire burning in the pit of my belly, the warmth starting to seep out along my limbs as I lay quietly in Bishop’s arms. “Want to tell me what happened?” he asked, setting the empty vessel next to him.
I shook my head in the affirmative. Then the negative. Then the affirmative again. I rubbed a hand over my eyes with a deep exhalation. “I’m… I’m not sure what… happened.” I dropped my hand, pulled the fur blanket more snugly about myself, up under my chin. I closed my eyes, leaning heavily against the ranger’s shoulder. “I remember… the testing, going to Dustman’s. The wall in the main chamber. Coming back to Jorrvaskr & the celebration afterwards…. I remember standing in the training yard with your arms around me…” my lips curved, quite without my knowing it, into a soft, gentle smile that quickly faded. “After that… I don’t remember clearly. It’s all fragmented, like pictures in my mind. But they don’t make any sort of sense to me. Moonlight, trees, white snow & then snow spattered with blood.” I blinked open my eyes, looked up at him with confusion.
He was looking down at me, golden eyes warm, almost tender. “You’re a werewolf, ladyship. I’ve been tracking you the last two days….” I jerked, startled, but Bishop tightened his arms about me, preventing me from moving out of his embrace. “You know… you’re a lovely white wolf. Odd eyes tho. Fast as hells too.” He chuckled quietly.
I closed one eye, peering at him through the wild tangle of my curls with the other. “Not going to kill me, are you?” I asked him a bit suspiciously, ready to bolt.
“Why would I do that, ladyship? Besides, did I want to, I could have, many times over, before now.”
I was actually reassured by that, oddly enough. “Two days, you said?” My mind jumped back to his earlier comment as I began to relax again against his broad chest, lulled by the warmth of his body, his scent & just his very nearness. “I didn’t… I didn’t hurt anyone, did I?”
He remained silent so long I didn’t think he was going to answer me. Then, “You killed a group of bandits. Tore them up pretty good. Ate their hearts & left them looking like a beast had definitely done them in,” he finally said, as if he were telling me I had just slaughtered a herd of cows.
I flipped one hand, waving the deaths of the bandits aside. “I actually ate their hearts?” I couldn’t quite keep the distaste from my voice. I had much the same view on bandits that Bishop did; they deserved to die, slowly, painfully. & I normally relished their demise.
I met with my wolf in the darkness of my mind. We conferred about the eating of human hearts; she was indifferent. Strength was strength, it was the nature of the beast. Did I wish to run by moonlight as my dark-sister, I would need to feed her. We agreed only those deserving to die would be the sacrifice. She left me alone then, content in our bargain, easy in my mind.
“You should smile like that more often, Princess,” Bishop rumbled low.
“Huh?” I came back to myself, looked up into his citrine-flecked amber eyes that were gazing down at me, unblinking. He brushed the curls off my brow, tracing his fingertips down the side of my neck, over the sweep of my collarbone till they rested at the hallow of my throat where my pulse fluttered. I felt the skin glow wherever his fingers roamed. I touched the tip of my tongue to the center my bottom lip, took a deep breath &… said nothing. The ranger cocked a brow at me; he knew me well enough by now to know there was something on my mind. ‘Fuck it,’ I thought & tossed my caution & reserve to the winds. “Are we far away from everyone? Civilization?”
His other brow rose to match the first. “Far enough. Why?”
I felt a very wolfish grin spreading over my face. “No reason, ranger. None at all….” I almost purred, oh so very quietly. I reached a hand up, threaded my fingers through the short coppery hair at the back of his neck & tugged gently until his mouth brushed mine. “My wolf is hungry but not for food. What do you think about feeding her?” I murmured low against his lips, brushing my nose along his jaw to his ear. I nipped the upper flange lightly, nuzzling into his hair then down the side of his neck. I felt the chills shoot through his big frame as he pressed me back into the furs & lay his body along mine.
“I say as my lady commands….” Bishop’s deep voice rumbled as he slid the fur blanket from me, leaving me naked & exposed to his increasingly hungry gaze.
I was still awake, laying next to Bishop as he slept. He was naked now too, the fur blanket pulled down to his hips, dappled with firelight, speckled with moonglow. I let my eyes feast on his face & form, wandering over the beauty that was the man that called to my hidden heart. I could still taste the essence of him on my tongue, salt & musk all at once. & I relished it. Felt marked by it, like somehow in some way he’d claimed me as his.
I’d been more bold than I had previously in this little love-game, but still couldn’t quite bring myself to look at his nakedness full-on. Truth be known, I wanted to see him in all his masculine glory & yet… I was still a bit too shy to commit to it. He’d agreed to blind-fold me, letting me rely on my senses of touch, taste & smell instead. & I had marveled at the complexity of tactile sensation that met my fingertips, my lips, tongue, teeth & even my cheeks. He was smooth, silken, warm, almost hot, like he burned from within.
I had explored every inch of his body in minute detail, from his lips to the soles of his feet with my hands, lips, tongue, & teeth. Had licked the salt-sweat the sprang up along the groove of his spine with relish, reveling in his low growl as my soft tongue had swept over his tawny skin. I had moaned at his moulding my own flesh, head thrown back in unabashed pleasure at the feel of his calloused hands roaming wickedly where they would. I hadn’t stopped him, I had let him do as he wanted with me.
& I had enjoyed every moment of it. He hadn’t taken me, we had just touched, aroused each other to the highest peaks before calming with touches, kisses that lasted a life-time, gentler caresses. Only to start the game all over, again & again. Finally tho, he had let me take him into the wet heat of my mouth & I had tasted him on my tongue, felt the powerful thighs quiver under my hands as I stroked him with my lips & tongue. His hands had buried deeply into my silvery-gold curls, whether to stop my movements or encourage them, I didn’t know or care at the time. The sound of his laboured breathing was music to my ears, the growls, the groans, the way he gasped my name when he finally spilled his seed. & I drank him down greedily, relishing every drop he gave me.
When he was spent, I had wrapped my arms about his hips, pressed my cheek against his lower belly & held tight as he stroked his trembling hands over my head, very gently. I was glad of the blind-fold then, that he couldn’t see the tears of joy that clouded my eyes & wet my lashes. He had lain down then, pulled me down next to him. The smell of him was satiation over-laying his normal scent. I had murmured happily, curling snugly against his side, satisfied that I had given him completion & pleasure. I’d listened, carefully, as his breathing shifted, slowed, became deep & even as he fell asleep.
Now, I lay watching him, the way the low firelight played in his coppery hair, flickered over the bold planes of his face. Lightly, lighter than a feather, I brushed a fingertip over his lush bottom lip, grown fuller & more lush in the utter relaxation of one deeply asleep. His breath caught a moment & I stopped, letting it resume before I lay my head back on his chest, curled an arm about his ribs & simply gloried in the affection & tenderness I felt towards this gruff man.
We didn’t return to Jorrvaskr or Whiterun right away. Instead, we spent a few more days out in the woods, hunting, fishing & enjoying this new sense of intimacy. We were both decent hunters, both equally skilled with the bow tho I do admit I thought him better at it. I, however, was not nearly as good as he was with daggers. He suggested I learn how to use one-handed weapons as well, just in case it came to a close quarter fight.
“I’m not as strong as them, Bishop. Even with my wolf blood, if I let someone like you or even Athis get that close, I’m done for.” I tried to reason with him.
He arched a brow at me, standing shirtless in the little clearing next to a pond that he had chosen in which to start teaching me how to properly wield a dagger. “Princess, you’re stronger than you think. True, you’re not as strong as most men but you have other attributes, other strengths, you can use. Didn’t they train you properly at your temple?”
I grumbled, picking up my dagger that he’d yet again disarmed me of. “You really want to know? Or are you just being an ass?”
He flipped his own dagger idly in one hand, seeming to not even pay attention to it as he stood looking at me. “Tell me.”
“Let’s sit then & have some mead.” I went over to where our packs & camping gear had been set up under the trees, pulled out a bottle of mead & sat sipping, knees drawn up as I rested my arms atop them. “Well… I told you how I’d fled to Meridia’s temple. The man in charge of training the warrior’s, he thought with the… the pent up rage & fury I had, & my size, that a two-handed weapon would be best. I’m small, as you know, but I’m quick.” I took another sip with a snort, holding the bottle up to the ranger as he leaned against the trunk of the tree nearest our tent. He took it & drank. “Said I could evade bigger opponents, use my size to my advantage. Use my quickness too. No one ever expects a lass my size to be able to actually wield a huge sword.” I nodded to where my Nordic greatsword leaned against the side of the tent.
Bishop flicked his eyes towards it then looked down at me again. “So because you were pissed off they didn’t teach you how to use a one-handed weapon?”
I picked up a pile of soggy browned leaves & threw them at the ranger. “No, that’s not what I meant!” I said, laughing as he neatly dodged them. “I meant that… I prefer my greatsword. It disconcerts people & they don’t expect me to wield it with anything even resembling skill so they underestimate me from the start. I learned a long time ago not to become entangled with a larger opponent. I might be strong for my size, Bishop, but I’m still at a disadvantage in close combat. A greatsword gives me a greater reach to keep the attacker at a distance so I don’t run the risk of becoming entangled with them.”
“Not necessarily.” He said, referring to my size as he pushed away from the tree. He set the bottle down & beckoned me towards him. We were both just wearing leather pants & boots; he’d presented me with a soft undyed short-sleeved woolen blouse, a cropped vest made of rabbit fur & wide leather belt this morning & I had donned them to please him. I stopped before Bishop, looking up into his face.
“Trust me?” He asked, something I couldn’t name moving in the back of his beautiful amber eyes. My heart skipped a beat at his question but I nodded in the affirmative. He held one of my daggers out to me, drew his own. “As you said, you’re small. That makes you a harder target to hit. But a weapon like a greatsword swings slower. I saw when you sparred with the Companion mongrel that you’re quick, you got in close to him. I think the only way you managed to get the drop on him was he underestimated you & he was wearing heavy armour, which slows you down. Now. Come at me, Princess, with your dagger.”
I stood a moment uncertainly, tightening my fist around my weapons grip. “I don’t want to hurt you, Bishop, even on accident….”
I saw a flash of pure surprise cross his face before it was quickly replaced by his cocky grin.“You won’t hurt me, Princess. C’mon now.” He dropped into a fighting stance, dagger held low, blade upwards, his feet about shoulders-width apart, side-on to me.
I stood eyeing him dubiously for a few seconds before I shrugged. I tightened my hold on my daggers grip & ran forward. Bishop lashed out in a sweeping motion from left to right & I ducked under his arm, shot behind him & popped him in the ribs with the flat of the dagger. He spun around to face me almost immediately, flipping his dagger so the blade was downwards & slashed at me in a murderous overhand arc. I jumped nimbly back, feeling the cool steel just barely graze over my chest. He advanced, I backed quickly, dodged to the side & shot past him again. His arm snaked out & he caught a hold of my vest, yanking me back towards him. I let out a screech, raised my arms, & dropped to my knees, leaving him holding my vest as I rolled forward, away from him before he seemed to know what I was doing. I jumped to my feet, dashed over to where my weapons were & snatched up my waraxe in my other hand.
I spun just in time to block his blow with the haft of my waraxe, swung my body to the side, hooked my ankle to the back of his knee & jerked his leg out from under him. He went down on that knee laughing, grabbed my wrist & flipped me up & over him. Both my dagger & waraxe went flying as I hit the leaf-strewn ground with a thud that knocked the breath from me. He took my other wrist, added it to the hand he had on the first & tugged my arms above my head as he swung his body over mine, trapping me between his thighs as he sat on my chest, the tip of his dagger dangling right above my nose.
“Give it up, Princess. Yield,” there was a wicked gleam in his eyes & a very wolfish smirk on his face.
I smiled ever so sweetly up at Bishop before I raised my lower body, got my legs locked about his chest & literally flung him off of me. He went tumbling backwards & I scrambled to my feet, racing to get my weapons back, laughing the entire time. I was actually having fun sparring with the ranger.
“How the HELLS did you do that?” Bishop’s slightly bewildered voice rang out.
I stopped, turned to find him eyeing me with an odd mixture of approval, surprise & amusement. “How’d I do what?”
“What you just did. Damn, woman.” He laughed again, hands on his hips as he pinned me with a penetrating glance.
I rubbed the back of my neck, blushing as I ducked my head a bit. “Oh. Ahhh…. I’m uhm…. I dunno, I’m just really flexible.”
I saw his amber eyes flash an instant before he was stalking towards me with a low feral growl. “You black-eyed temptress,” he rumbled.
Shit. Shit shit shit. I backed up hurriedly, holding my hands up, palms-outwards. My back connected with the rough bark of a tree. My hands met the steely hardness of his chest as he leaned into me. His big hands rested on the swell of my hips, his head dipped so he could brush his lips along my neck. Chills raced down my spine & I closed my eyes with a long, fluttery sigh. He took my wrists again in one hand, raised them above my head, tugging me up onto my toes. His other hand trailed down my side, got a hold of my leg behind my knee. He lifted it, higher, higher, until my ankle was over one of his shoulders & his hips rested dead center between my thighs as my other foot remained on the ground.
“Well I’ll be damned….” he murmured low, that wolfish grin on his face that displayed those gleaming white teeth & flashed his canines. “This doesn’t hurt or bother you?”
I shook my head in the negative, surrendered my weight to him & lifted my other leg, getting that ankle over his other shoulder so I was essentially folded in half. “Nope, not one bit.”
He growled at me, molten eyes narrowing to golden slits. “Don’t tease me like this, Kalla. It’s cruel.”
I pressed my lips together to keep from smiling, removed my legs from his shoulders so I was just on my tip-toes instead. “You could let go of me, you know.”
He took my wrists in both his hands now, one in each, his thumbs tracing over the sensitive skin on the undersides in slow little circles. “Now why would I want to do that?”
“Bishop….” I said in a warning tone that fell on deaf ears. I might as well have been talking to a tree.
The ranger wedged a knee between my thighs, wiggling it from side to side until my legs opened. He moved in, pressing the heaviness between his own legs into the aching center of my body. He thrust his hips subtly against me, making my eyes roll back in my head & my eyelids flutter, my stomach drop to my toes & my skin to prickle into gooseflesh. I gave a low, wolfish sounding whine in the back of my throat as his head dipped & he buried his nose into the side of my neck.
“Bishop….” I tried again, feeling my senses starting to scatter, my body to thrum.
He pulled the belt holding my blouse in at my waist loose, dropped it to the ground. He tugged my shirt off over my head, leaving me standing there half-naked, using it to tie my wrists together. “Keep your arms up, just like this, Princess,” he rumbled down at me. I licked my dry lips & nodded, feeling breathless at the feral look in those citrine-flecked amber eyes. His hands dropped to the lacings of my leather pants. He had them off of me as well as my boots & socks in a matter of seconds until I was completely naked, exposed to that predatory gaze.
“Bishop….” I was getting a bit worried. I wanted him, badly, but I still wasn’t ready to forsake my vow to my Lady, still wasn’t prepared that should he get what he wanted, he would still remain. I still harboured a fear that Meridia would fry him on the spot.
He rose to his feet before me, cupped one of my cheeks gently in his palm, tracing the pad of his thumb softly over my bottom lip. “Shhh. You said you trusted me, ladyship.”
I felt my heart pounding like a trip hammer in my chest as he spread my legs by gently kicking my ankles further apart. I still hadn’t moved my arms from where he’d told me to keep them. He pulled a length of cloth from his own belt, placed it over my eyes & tied it at the back of my head. My breath caught in my throat. I could hear my wolf howling inside of my head. I consulted her, my dark-sister & she simply grinned back at me. She wasn’t worried one bit. She too trusted the ranger; a reliable pack member. Sure, he snaps & snarls, but in a fight, he’s right there at your side in the thick of it. She left me then to what Bishop had planned.
I drew my breath in sharply as I felt his naked body come to rest against mine a few moments later. The smooth, silken hardness of his cock slid between the slick gates of womanhood but he still did not enter me. His hands cupped my bottom, he lifted me & shifted his hips so his length rested against me again, the rimmed crown clicking over the small hard nub of my clit. I shuddered from head to toe. His chest pressed to my breasts, one hand fastened about my wrists, the other lay against the small of my back, a warm, heavy weight.
“What…?” I began but got no further. Bishop’s mouth came down on mine, warm, insistent, as he held me pinioned. He kissed me, long & deeply, tongue restless & lazy in my mouth as it sparred with mine.
He felt me start to relax as he kissed me, my body to go limp & pliant. That’s when he began rocking his hips slowly so his hardness glided between my slick folds. I moaned against his lips at the sensation, feeling my skin prickle into goosebumps again, a flush creeping up into my cheeks.
He let go of my wrists, guided my arms so they were about his neck before his hands came to rest on the swell of my hips. I shuddered again, my hips jerking, making his manhood slide harder against me. I could hear his ragged breathing, smell the scent of lust & arousal that rose from his skin like incense. I could smell my own arousal, mingling with his. “Bishop…” I whimpered, trembling in his arms.
“Shhh, Princess. Just move. You don’t have to take me inside of you. Just move how you want against me,” his deep voice rumbled in my ear.
I wrapped my legs about his narrow hips, locking my ankles at the small of his back. I bit my bottom lip hard enough to taste blood as I felt his girth press against the opening to my sheath. Using his bigger body as a fulcrum, I shifted my body upwards then let it slide back down, my breasts rubbing against his chest, his cock riding hard against my folds & frills. I was rewarded with a low growl of pleasure from the ranger, his fingers digging sharply into my flesh. Each movement made the rimmed crown of his member pop over my swollen clit. This was an entirely new sensation for me & not at all unpleasant. In fact, it was driving my desire higher & higher.
We moved like that, together, for what seemed an eternity, Bishop grinding his hips hard against me as I slid my body over his. I wanted him, badly, so badly I could taste it. What he was making me feel, what he was doing to my body, was simply amazing. I burned from the inside out. I felt the muscles of his body moving against me, bunching & flexing, sleek & powerful as he pressed me back against the tree. I didn’t even care if I got splinters.
“Bishop…” I panted, “please!” the please came out a a half-choked cry.
He growled low in his throat, took my face between his hands & kissed me deeply as he rocked his hips harder against me, my legs dropping from his waist. I couldn’t breathe anymore, I couldn’t even move. My body betrayed me, came apart at the seams as I felt electricity sizzle along my nerve endings just like chain-lightning, radiating outward from the aching emptiness inside of me. I broke my mouth away from Bishop’s, flung my head back & let loose with a long howl of pleasure that was more wolfish than human as I melted from the inside out. I was barely conscious as I felt Bishop’s own body crush me hard against the tree, heard his low rumbling growl & the warm silken feel of his seed spurting against my lower belly a few moments later.
I heard his ragged breathing, then, a few long moments later, his deep chuckle. “I didn’t kill you, did I?” His voice was an octave or two deeper, roughened from what we had just done. He removed the blind-fold from my eyes. I blinked in the brightness.
“Huh?” I was smiling like a fool, almost purring with contentment, still lost in a daze.
He chuckled again, cupped my backside in his big hands & kept me held against him as he walked towards our tent. He didn’t break contact as he lay me down on the pile of soft furs, coming to rest over me. He supported his weight on his elbows as he placed soft kisses along my jaw, down my neck, my shoulders & chest, eventually returning to my lips. I writhed under him, lifting my hips so I could feel the heaviness of him against me again. But he was at rest. I settled for tugging my arms from about his neck & holding my bound wrists before his face. I cocked a brow at him.
He chuckled again, untied them & tossed my blouse aside. I immediately sank my fingers into his hair & tugged his head down to mine where I rained kisses over his face. “I’m not dead, ranger,” I murmured against the side of his neck. “I’ve never been more alive.” He sat up then on his heels, looking through one of the saddle-bags for something. He came up with a leathern bottle of water & a cloth. I stopped him with a light hand on his forearm. “No. I like having your scent on me.” My eyes went huge & round, crimson creeping up into my cheeks as soon as the words left my mouth. “That is…. I mean… uhmmm…..” I bit my bottom lip, shrugged & smiled albeit a bit shyly. Fuck it. No going back now.
Bishop raised a brow at me, a grin lurking in the corners of his lips. “Do you now?”
I nodded with that same slightly shy smile, still blushing.
His grin slid out, roguish, wolfish, almost looking like my admission pleased him. He set aside the cloth & bottle, prowled up my body & lay himself over me again, carrying his weight on his elbows so as not to crush me. He buried his nose into my hair, rolling his hips against me so I could feel him beginning to harden again.
“Consider me your personal fragrance then, Princess,” he rumbled, sinking his teeth delicately into the point where my shoulder met my neck, making me shiver in expectation.