SirenBlockedMay 26, 2016 at 9:36 pmPost count: 45
Synopsis: The shenanigans of a coin-driven ranger and a dragonborn possessed by a daedra. (no really!) If you’re looking for a casual read, this is your story. Angst will be kept to a minimum. This story is supposed to be (somewhat) funny and pun filled, and mainly lighthearted.
That being said, there’s not too much gore, but it’s there. Also, swearing. And that’s bad.
*If you like the story, leave a comment! It’s tough to write sometimes, but knowing you guys enjoy reading this keeps me going!
Well, Ancient’s Ascent is really kicking my ass, isn’t it? Perhaps not as much as Miraak, or Lord Harkon, but I’m struggling. The past few days have been brutal; Hircine has obviously begun to loathe me because my arrows refuse to hit their mark. I missed a goat this morning. A goat! My ebony bow, missing a goat.
Only a bad tradeswoman blames her tools, I understand that. Artemis-yes I name my weapons-isn’t to blame, I am. But currently, as I’m being knocked around by this dragon like a child’s doll, it’s the only thing to keep me from just laying down and counting to ten. I can’t ask the damn dragon for a rain check, can I? It’s just going to keep barfing frost at me until I keel over. Which isn’t going to be soon because my dragonscale shield is pretty frost resistant.
Why am I here again? The cold is bitter, and the dragon is becoming uninterested in our stalemate. It roars longingly above my head, sparking the memories I’ve held since my first days of Skyrim. A chopping block, a dragon attack; of whispering walls and prophecies.The continuous cycle of being one with dragon’s blood.
Immediately I’m here because I need more dragon scales to make my gauntlets. Long term, I’m here to kill dragons and help people. Or something like that.
I should get to it, shouldn’t I? All the hypothetical and self reflective questions are beginning to scare me. And regardless of my introspective break, that dragon needs to fall. This dragon, although it may look different from the rest, can still be eaten by me. And yes, I say that in the best taste I can.
I grip my bow again, nocking an arrow with serene grace. I know this. The rhythm of a warrior, the quietness your soul experiences before shooting. The world slows, making my aim true. The arrow pierces the Ancient Dragon’s flesh with an ear splitting groan as it lands before me, shaking the arrow out of its hide and rearing its snake like head to me. Scars split its face into neat sections, implying I’m not the first to question its authority. And if I don’t be careful of its lance-like incisors, I won’t be the last.
Its jaws snip at me, scuffing my armor pauldron. The blades and I worked hard to make this armor! I can’t let this oversized salamander just ruin my things. I sling my bow over my back, instead replacing my palms with a ball of purplish mist. A flame atronach snakes out from Oblivion where I summoned it, appearing before me with a crackle and slight bow. We both turn towards the dragon, locking eyes and forming a strategy between us. It may not be human, but I relax with a partner. The mentality of not fighting alone against this thing does wonders on both my fighting skills and my self-confidence, though I know it can’t last. Housecarls, friends who have offered, sellswords…none can accompany me. I refuse to let them become easy kebabs for the dragons, or to join the ranks of the dead in the countless ruins across Skyrim. I have yet to come across someone who can prove themselves to even handle a few bandits, let alone draugr deathlords and dragons.
With that mentality, my policy is to work alone. Every time I’ve tried to have someone accompany me, it’s turned into a disaster that will forever scar my thoughts. I’m tired of that.
I need to focus. The dragon swings its head towards me, as if challenging its tiny sister to attack. I’m happy to oblige. I conjure a sword, ducking under the swing of its tail and lacerating its right wing. Now it can’t fly away. With a roar, the dragon slings the atronach into the stone pillar behind us, dissolving it with a sizzle. Just me, and I don’t have time to summon another. It opens its mouth to bellow frost at me again, when a spark ignite in my brain.
“Yol…Toor!” comes a voice from a body larger than mine. Flames burn the dragon’s face, closing its eyes and making it rear back in pain. I use the space of time to swing myself up onto its neck, plunging my sword into the dragon’s skull. It rolls over on its side, breathing a single breath before growling in submittance. The skin flakes off and burns, and with it its knowledge.
It’s quite an awkward thing, just standing around watching a dragon’s life. Lots of stuff I don’t understand, like foreign lands and nesting grounds. Some of it I do, like the language battles they like to carry out for fun, or the pleasure of soaring over the lands below at breakneck speed.
Once I was sure I had seen everything, I walk up to the word wall the dragon was guarding. Animal Allegiance? Well that’s a bit shit, isn’t it? I kick open the chest at the foot of the wall, adding the gold and gems to my coin pouch and adding the armor to my pack. I’ll sell it off in Riverwood. Less people know me there than in Falkreath-I’d like to avoid trouble if possible. And hell if I’m going to stay anywhere upwind of Helgen while there’s more dragons around.
It’s a much longer walk than I’d like, but it’s worth it to find some peace and a decent cup of ale. Walking into the city walls and listening to the mill turn in the river is pleasant, and the scent of the pine forests puts me at peace. If I ever had the chance to settle down, it’d be somewhere around here, someplace I could be away from my duties as dragonborn and from everyone. The forge makes my nose crinkle as I pass, the blackish smoke rising from the pit making me think back to my younger days as a goldsmith’s apprentice. That seemed so long ago, but in reality it had only been a few years. I was still young, despite feeling middle aged and weary. How old was I again?
I walk to the edge of the river, peering into the water with curiosity. My soft blue eyes, dark lashes, and blonde hair still stare back, same as always. Weary and battle torn, my face still somehow carries the lightness of my youth despite the large sabre-cat inflicted scars on my right cheek. My hair is still straight and golden despite being strung in a braid all this time, and my pointed nose hasn’t been broken enough times to become crooked. I was still in my early twenties. Speaking of time, what day is it? Or, more importantly, what month? I see Gerdur, the mill owner, chopping wood near me. Best to be the fool for a moment than a fool for eternity, I guess.
“Hey, Gerdur.” I call out softly, watching with interest as he fumbles with the axe. He swings around, axless, and pulls a grin when he sees my face.
“Rowan? Is that you?” He asks, pulling his hair back. I’d helped him with chores around the mill when he was having financial issues.
“I’d hope so; though I’ve been gone for so long I could have been swapped.” I laugh lightly, tugging at my hair. I know I’m a mess. “I haven’t seen a proper four-walled house in months. What’s the date?”
“Tirdas of Last seed. The…fifteenth? Fifteenth.” He grins. “You been around town yet?”
“Naw, just got here.” I reply, unused to the sound of my own voice. “I’ll make my rounds yet.”
“Yeah. We got a weird guy snoopin’ about though. Real sour look, too. Mayhap you can drive him off, he’s scarin’ the kids.” He paused. “But don’t push yourself, you look like you’re going to fall apart at the seams any second.”
“I’m tougher than that.” I grin, flashing teeth before making my way to the trader. I open the door, nearly jumping out of my skin with the bell jingling. Anytime I do something and it’s immediately followed by a chime, I nearly digress into a cavewoman. Traps will forever be a fear of mine.
“Sup…Lucan.” Nearly forgot his name. I pull out the scrap collected over the weeks gone. Some orcish gauntlets, glass swords, random books, and a couple gems. Oh, and a few useless scrolls for spells I can just cast myself.
“Cleaning me out again?” He sighs, counting out coin. I gaze to the golden claw sitting on his desk, remembering the pain I had to go through to get that damn oversized cat toy. That was at the start of my journey; I was so naive. I barely got out of there, despite the presence of only four or so bandits being my opponents.
“I’m sure I’ll just pay it back, honestly.” I pick out some fresh food, a new waterskin canteen, healing potions, arrows, and a couple lockpicks to refresh what I have.
“Eh, I still owe you a bit.” He shoves some gold across the desk to me.
“Thanks.” I sigh, swiping it into my coin purse. I exit the shop without another word, figuring my next move. Delphine was no longer at the Sleeping Giant, but I could still stay there the night for a bath. The light is already retreating from the sky, washing the lush forest in a honied light. I missed this place. A few months in nothing but permafrost territory or volcanic marsh and you go a bit crazy just to see a bit of green.
I stand in the middle of the road, looking out the path from Riverwood. The light streamed onto the cobble road, glinting off in beautiful colors I hadn’t realized before. The chirping of cicadas and the wafting of pine made this scene absolutely perfect.
“Buddy…” Embry croaked. Even without being close I could tell he reeked of wine.
“I’m not funding your drinking problem.” I reply without even looking, moving on to the inn.
“Leave Rowan alone, Embry.” Sven walked by, pausing in front of me. “Hello again, friend. Glad to see you in one piece.”
“I am too.” I chuckle, nodding to the lute. “I see you’re still at it.”
“Course.” He grins. “After all, I still have to win Camilla over.”
“Right.” I look to the inn, dreaming of the hot bath within. “I’ll be going then. I’m sure I’m a mess after this long. And I definitely need a drink.”
“Oi Lass, I’ll buy you a drink.” One of the men standing by the fence chimes in. I roll my eyes, groaning internally.
“No, ‘ow bout I lip wrestle with her?” The other says, wiggling his eyebrows at me. I groan even harder.
“I’m good, thanks.” I sigh, shouldering my bag and heading onto the inn patio. As I go to open the door, my pack swings and bumps into the arm of someone. At the contact, I freeze and look to them, about to apologize.
Golden eyes and dark rugged looks glare at me from beside the door, stunning me into silence. I look at his attire. Handmade leather armor, a knife sharpened so sharp it could probably slice a butterfly wing. Best yet was his bow, so large and sturdy I nearly mistook it as a staff. “Ah, sorry, ranger.” Was the best I could manage.
He grunted in reply, I suppose dismissing me. As soon as I went to open the door, I heard a small mutter under his breath.
Alright, if he wants a fight, I’ll fight him. Tavern fighting had always been a favorite of mine, drunk or not. My leg swings itself towards where it would hurt him most, my steel horned dragonscale boots sure to make certain he never had any kids.
He raises his knee in retaliation, catching my swing as best as he could unprepared. He grunted under the force of the blow, shoving my leg away and forcing me to face him again. I shove my hands in my pockets, staring at him with the icy fury I’ve been told my eyes carry. No fire, no restlessness. Pure, unwavering, and most of all petrifyingly cold. Despite my expected outcome, he stares right back, even going as far as to crack a grin. Well, now I really hate him.
“Fiesty.” Was all he said, his rough voice forming the word in a way I couldn’t explain. If I didn’t know better, the way he said it almost made it sound like a compliment.
“Whatever. Say anything more and I’ll really have to hurt you.” I confirm, opening the door into the warm tavern space. Orgnar sat behind the bar, serving as a crude check-in desk. I walk up, slapping ten gold on the table, plus a separate stack with a weary grin. “And a few pints of mead, if you please.”
“You know the room.” He said, nodding. “Glad to see you back, Lass. I’ll bring the mead over in a thrice.” He clears the gold away, letting me go pick a spot on one of the benches. I choose the farthest away from everybody, where I can use the wall as a backrest as I look out into the crowd. It’s been awhile since I’ve really seen anybody, it feels so odd. Going from complete isolation to a crowded tavern is really a weird experience. The boisterous tavern and my own cold complexity clash, and I’m definitely losing. The cheery atmosphere of merry laughter gets to me as I finally break out a giggle to one of Sven’s made up songs, or Faendal coming in a dancing merrily despite not being a bit drunk.
Orgnar, as promised, sets three tankards of mead in front of me. I thank him with a quick nod, downing the first one nearly immediately. To my displeasure, before I could pick up my second, a familiar figure sat down next to me and picked it up, adding extra sass by lifting his pinky finger.
“Little girl can down her mead, can’t she?” The dark-haired man laughed. “That was some kick you tried to give me.”
“By the nines I’m not going to hire you.” My eyes flicker to his own. They still held that unchanging gaze, like an animal whose gaze is only fixed on a target. They nearly gave me the shivers, and I’ve given daedra the creeps.
“Never said you could hire me, Princess.” The man said. “You can’t just expect everyone to lick your boots.”
“Normally the people looking to do that come over here and try and break the ice with a drink.” My gaze fell to the drink in his hand. “You, however, did the exact opposite, but I figured you’d want training or something.”
“No.” He replied simply. “But hey, if you did want to hire me, I might be persuaded to follow you on your adventures if you do a favor for me.”
“A…favor?” If I have to retrieve five ice wraith teeth or some book halfway across the continent I’m going to scream. I’m happy to help those who genuinely need it, but sending a stranger to do a chore you’re too lazy to do drives me crazy.
“Don’t flatter yourself, Princess. Not that kind of favor.” He growled. I sighed with relief, then realized he thought I meant a sexual favor. Oh well.
“Then what?” I look to him. “Either way I’m not leaving until I’ve had a bath and slept in a bed proper-like.”
“My wolf, Karnwyr. He’s been captured by some people and I’ve tracked him to a cave a ways from here. If you help me get him back, I’ll consider tagging along.” His words hung in the air. On the one hand, reuniting someone with their puppy is a good change from fighting the undead and selling my soul to multiple daedra, but I’d rather he not travel with me. Eh, fine. I can always send him away or ditch him somewhere.
“Fine.” I agree, nodding. “We leave first thing tomorrow.”
“What do they call you?” He asks.
“Rowan.” I reply simply. “No last name, I’m not that proper. You?”
“Bishop.” He paused. “And ditto for the proper thing.”
SirenBlockedMay 29, 2016 at 10:14 pmPost count: 45
- This topic was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by Siren.
A/N: If you see any mistakes, it’d be much appreciated if you pointed them out. I tend to do my best writing at midnight, when my grammar isn’t holding me down.
“That’s a cave.” I sigh, looking into the gloomy tunnel of nothingness. Wolf cages line the entrance, flanked by two guards. If this is a wolf fighting ring, there’ll be more on the inside.
“Good job pointing out the obvious.” Bishop snorts. “Go put those amazing powers of observation to work and go behind that boulder about twenty paces to our right. Wait for my signal. I’ll walk up, and-”
“How about…we don’t?” I ask, looking to him. “Look, I got this. Just stay here.” I pop out from my hiding spot, focusing my entire conscience on the two bandits.
“TIID, KLO!” I shout, watching the world slow. I fire two arrows off, amused at how I can watch them flex from being shot from my bow. The time creeps out, hastening back to normal. I see the arrows quicken their flight and sink into the necks of the two, each uttering a gurgle and a gasp before collapsing. I look over to Bishop, grinning as he narrows his gaze quizzically on my face. The smile fades when I realize he nearly looks angry. What’s with that?
“Sorry, did I not let you show off or something?” I laugh, pausing as he stays silent. “No, I can’t do that constantly so don’t ask.” I put my bow over my back, standing up.
In an instant he was on top of me, shoving me forcefully under him as he surveyed my face.
“Well at least buy me dinner first.” I choke out, surprised. Now, if only I could free my knee, perhaps I can kick him in the groin or shove my boot up his ass…
“Shut up. You’re the almighty dragonborn?” He snarls, seemingly disappointed.
“…Sorry?” I shrug as best as I can from underneath him, trying to ignore his hot breath tickling my collar bone and inner neck. I shiver at the sensation; I haven’t felt air this tense in ages. His hands still pin my wrists to my sides, and we simply lingered there for a few seconds, staring at each other. He studied every inch of my face, supposedly scrutinizing every detailed he deemed odd for a dragonborn. Eventually I couldn’t take it anymore. The intensity of his stare and the static between us was driving me insane. “Are you going to let me up, or am I going to have to shout you off to prove it again?”
“Not necessary, Ladyship.” He rolls off me, getting to his feet and drawing his dagger. “Though I hope you don’t expect me to believe you’re the dragonborn. Probably picked up dragon tongue like that Ulfric guy.”
“Whatever you want to believe.” I scoff. “Anyway, baby needs his wolf.”
“Yes, and little girl needs to shut her mouth more.” He growls, eerily mixing into the sounds of the nearby pit wolves. Well, that’s a bit odd. And creepy. Who the hell am I with right now, and why is he so…lupine?
“Yeah I’m not going to do that.” I scoff, keeping my cool. He freaks me out a bit. Together, we creep into the entrance of the cave, both locking eyes onto the doorman. Before I could even raise my bow he had fired off a shot of his own, smirking as I blinked with the arrow in hand. The doorman fell with a silent thump, soiling the straw strewn about the space. It would do nicely to soak up the blood.
We creep past the man, but not before Bishop and I have a silent squabble over who gets the gold. I win in the end by threatening to rattle the man’s iron armor and cause a clamor. Bishop groans, letting me swipe the gold with more glaring. The cage is on the inner part of the path, supposedly to keep the beast separate from the others. If the wolf is anything like its owner, I expect it to be just as unruly.
“Karnwyr, there you are. What are you doing, making me come find you?” The sound of the boisterous laughter and canine aggression come from within, earning an unsavory countenance from Bishop. “How about we go rip those bastard’s faces off?”
“Alright, just putting in my two-cents, that’s pretty much impossible for both of you.” I point out.
“Figure of speech, ladyship.”
“Shut up.” I actually listen that time as our exchange has echoed down the damn pathway. We hear hushed voices and the clinking of weapons, followed by footsteps up wooden ramps. So much for stealth. Karnwyr pounces forward with the grace of an animal half his size, letting the sound of teeth meeting soft flesh reverberate. Bishop follows suite, vaulting over a barrel before joining the fray with his dagger. As for me, I’m best with my bow, so I’ll hang back here on this piling and fire over my companion’s heads.
Arrow meets skull, dagger meets neck. As soon as the group heard our group, everyone took up arms to meet us. Even the damn barkeep brought out a dagger of his own. Not to mention the wolves decided they’d like to rip us to bits too. I’m going to have to be careful; Bishop could easily be overwhelmed. I can pick them off as they come up the ramp…
I squint in the dim light, trying my best to not be nauseated by the smell of damp earth, blood, and cheap mead. I take down two before they can reach the ramp, but my third arrow sinks uselessly into the hired mercenary’s armor. Karnwyr starts to jump to try and snap at the man’s neck, but the hilt of a blade meets his side and he’s stunned into submission onto the floor.
Slowly, they’re pushing forward into us, forcing us to back up ground. There’s seven men all itching to fight with the three of us, and none too keen to die. The ones still alive are armored, and are aware of my presence. One in the group with a battleaxe decides to come for my head, splitting off from the brawling group and charging at my piling. He raises his arm to swing, allowing me a fraction of a second more than I needed to duck out of the way. His axe sinks into the soft wood, splintering the beam as he frees the axe. I summon two swords into my hands, praying my conjuration to hold. Honestly my heart is pumping so bad, the spells may fade on their own.
He turns to me, flashing his tusks. Of course it’s an orc. Why would it be anything but the race known for smashing heads for fun? I’m just an average sized Breton. Who, mind you, is still very tired after Bishop woke me up early to come here.
I decide it’s my turn to charge him. With no shield, I can only use my speed to my advantage over this fight. I dash a few steps towards him, watching the movement of his elbow to tell where he’s going to block. I plant my foot onto the platform, using the forward force to swing both blades horizontally, bypassing his block and earning a stagger from the bull of a man. Except I miscalculated a bit. It’s quite moist in here, and moss had been growing like crazy up on the walls and in the cave. The scaffolding was no exception. I lost my footing and came crashing to the platform, hitting my head so intensely I slipped into tunnel vision. The orc stands there, dumbstruck. He takes one look at me and laughs so loud Bishop and the other gamblers stop and look towards us. I feel his eyes pierce into me at my predicament, wondering what the little dragonborn can do.
The orc swings down the axe just like an executioner. If I could never have another flashback of Helgen, that’d be utterly fantastic. Unfortunately, that isn’t going to happen. However, no one laughs at me and gets away with it. Especially not in front of someone who’ll tease me about the blunder.
“Now wait just a moment, fucker.” I spit, thrusting my abdomen up and catching the axe on my boot. I feel the blade bite into the leather soles of my boots, but it’s a small price to pay. I kick the axe away with ease, using the force to propel me onto my knees. I slash my sword at his ankles, catching him across the shins. He steps back in surprise, letting me get to my feet. It’s my fight at this point; my rage may be short lived, but once I’m angry I’m not satisfied until I get revenge. It’s a useful thing to be angry about petty things; it actually saves my life quite often. Once, a man cut off a length of my braid, and I decapitated him nearly twenty seconds later. But enough bragging.
As for reality, my sword is already in his stomach. I shove his body off the side, letting it fall to the ground with a soft thunk. On to Bishop. I decide my swords are useless now; if I can shoot my bow, I’d much prefer that. I grab my swords by the blade, picking a target. That skeever looking nord will do nicely. I step forward, using my arm as a catapult to throw the sword forward. They hit him in the hip, followed by the other straight in the sternum. I release the spell and the swords fade into nothingness.
Back up on my pillar, my bow and I take to observing the situation again. Bishop’s been doing quite well so far, methinks. He and Karnwyr haven’t had any close calls yet.
In my usual fashion, irony really wants to bite me in the ass. Above the crowd, a warhammer raises high above Bishop’s head. I freeze unexpectedly; this is my worst nightmare. I can’t lose someone else, not again, not after the others. My bowstring cries with how fast I pull it back in panic, slowing time down until I aim at the attacker’s jugular. I release the arrow along with my own breath, waiting for it to sink into the neck of the elf. The man staggers, losing his life and slumping to the floor with a clatter. Bishop realizes what has happened and swings his head to me, eyes alight with something I can’t describe; admiration? I somehow doubt that’s what it was. With a slight nod he turns back and joins the fray again, finishing off the few that stood remaining. With every successful blow more and more decide their life is worth more than this wolf pit, and flee towards the surface. They may run; let it be a lesson learnt to them.
My eyes are locked on something different. Bishop, his muscles rippling as he fought, looked like a God to me in these brief moments. He certainly fought like one. His breadknife of a dagger was a blur as he expertly used it, attacking arteries and nerves alike. I shivered in fear; it had been so long since I had actually reveled and cowered at someone at the same time. This is terrifying. I had thought that I was in good shape, that despite how I had felt in the months prior that I finally had my grip on being a dragonborn and had risen to meet the challenge.
Yet here was Bishop, with no dragon blood aiding him, doing something I couldn’t. I didn’t have that sort of skill with weapons, and I certainly couldn’t take hits like him. That fact terrified me.
With the last one down and Karnwyr rending him to bits, Bishop finally stopped and assessed what had happened. Six bodies litter the ground, both on the platform and the ramp. I crinkle my nose, all too familiar with the iron smell.
“Where’s the last one?” He looks to me, eyes still filled with killing intent. Does he really plan to go after the guy?
“Ran out. I shot him through the midriff, he’s probably going to bleed out. No use chasing.” I reply, twirling an arrow between my fingers.
“Well I feel like chasing him. And so I’m going to chase him.” Bishop glared at me. “Those bastards will die by my hand. Pit fighting like this…” He looked down into the ring below, to the carcasses of two wolves. “They deserve to die.”
“Fine, fine.” I say, stepping off from my pillar. “Just do it quickly.”
“The only thing I don’t do quickly, ladyship, is bedding a woman.” He grins.
“I’m going to ignore that.” I pause, listening. “Laas!”
“What in hells?” Bishop looks to where I was facing, looking around for whatever damage I caused.
“The guy is hiding up near the entrance, behind the boulder to the left. I guess he’s trying to stop the bleeding.”
“You know, those shouts of yours take the fun out of everything.” He grunted, heading up to the front.
“Yes, because your satisfaction is my priority.” I roll my eyes.
“I’m going to not say the obvious sexual comment, but please know I thought it.” Bishop brought out his bow, crouching once he got to the entrance. Sure enough, I could hear the sound of muffled sounds of anguish coming from our left. Poor guy must be scared out of his wits.
“I’ll make your satisfaction my priority.” I hear him chuckle after he believed I was out of earshot.
Bishop slithered around the bend, popping up on the guy just to be an ass. The gambler yelps in surprise, beginning to plead with Bishop. As if that’s going to help. I pause, hearing Bishop’s dagger sink home. So much for that.
“So, shall we loot the cave?”
“I thought you’d never ask.” I snort, heading back inside. He and I immediately take to the barkeep’s station, me pulling out the moon sugar under the shelves with great interest.
“Don’t eat that stuff! Messes you up.” Bishop warns, kicking open the chest and taking out the sack of gold within. As for me, I take the few scant healing potions and a strange white bottle. I take off the bottle and sniff the contents, truly curious. Nirnroot and…vampire dust? Invisibility? That’s great, I’m sure it’ll be useful. I replace the cork again, stuffing it into one of the holsters along my belt. I meet Bishop in the back room, which housed some shelves and another large chest. I sweep up every potion ingredient I can find. If I had a house, I’d definitely be labeled a hoarder.
I step back to the chest, peering at the contents from a safe distance. A few pairs of enchanted boots, some fancy sword, gold, a few gems, and a necklace. I swipe the gold and necklace before Bishop can realize, earning myself a glare with hooded eyes.
“Hey, you can keep the gems and the sword!” I protest.
“I’m just going to sell it.” He grunts, hoisting it out and tucking it between his pack and his back. It was a simple orcish sword, glittering with a fire enchantment. I think a professional may have actually done it.
“It may actually be a good sword. Maybe you should give it a try.”
“I prefer my dagger, it’s faster.” He replies flatly.
“Where’d you get it? It looks sharp as hell.”
“Took it from a bandit’s corpse when a group of them attacked my village. Killed the last one with it when he figured me a lad who couldn’t make a quick decision. And believe me, darling, this dear cuts deeper than my words.” He brought it out, flipping it into the air like a toy. I nearly winced as he caught it, half expecting a finger to come off somewhere.
“How…sentimental.” I figure. “I’ll enchant it for you if you want.”
“No.” He denied outright. Whatever, his loss. He paused for a moment. “Well, princess, I must say….I’m impressed. I’ve never seen someone throw their swords like throwing knives, even if they were just summoned.” He chuckled, amused at how I frowned. “If you’re this interesting with your fighting style, I wonder what other trouble you could get me into.”
“Woah woah woah, I never said you can travel with me!” I protest. “I just wanted to help you get your wolf, nothing more. I didn’t expect anything in return.” I look down. Karnwyr pressed his weight into my thigh, leaning on me. At my attention his head snaps up, his big tongue lolling out of his mouth. That’s actually pretty adorable, in a really unfitting way. Like a husky’s smile, but much more primordial.
“What reason would you have to turn me away?” He raises an eyebrow, stepping forward to me. “Some sort of dragonborn code?”
“No…I just work alone.” I say flatly. After saying it so harshly, I suppose I should fill him in. “I’ve never met anyone who can fight both draugr and dragons the same day and be alright.” I add. “It takes a lot of practice to be dragonborn.”
“And you don’t think I can do it.” He rolls his weight to his hip, looking at me very unamused.
“Well damn if you want me to come outright and say it, yes.” I take a step back. “I don’t think you could handle it, and I don’t want to babysit you.” Aha! Insult him, make him go away with his ego injured. Then he won’t come back!
Karnwyr repeatedly pokes my leg, forcing me to crouch down and scratch him behind the ears.
“I think he likes you.” Bishop says finally.
“Nah, I think it’s the food.” I say, bringing out a strip of the jerky I had purchased at the trader. I toss it to him lightly, listening to the distinct snap his jaws made. “Guy’s probably hungry, being here for a few days.”
“True.” Bishop stretched, giving me another glance over. “Well then, ladyship, if we’re splitting ways, I need to get going. I have a sword to sell and a wolf to feed.”
“Good luck with that.” I linger, trying to remember what I’d forgotten. “Oh right! Here. It’s on me.” I take one of the potions off my belt, tossing the phial to him.
“Potion of regeneration. Health potions in my opinion hurt a lot because they’re so sudden. I much prefer these after a battle. You get fully healed in a half hour or so, and don’t even notice it.” With a final nod, I turn to walk out of the cave. “Well, ranger, may our paths cross again.” I wave without turning around, deciding to head to Riften. I guess I’ll stop at Shor’s stone for the night.
SirenBlockedMay 30, 2016 at 5:16 pmPost count: 45
- This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by Siren.
A/N: No Bishop in this part, but he’s implied and will be popping up in the next one!
Shor’s Stone sucks, why did I come here? There’s no where to stay. There’s only three buildings, plus a mine I can’t even enter for some reason.
I walk up to the blacksmith, checking over everything he has for sale. I purchase nearly all the leather he has, earning myself a grunt and a glance over.
“You new here?” The blacksmith grunts. “Name’s Filnjar. I’m the blacksmith.” The guy looked old, tired, yet still somehow strong and wise. He had the usual complexion of a male nord, with long shaggy grey hair that surrounded his face. He’s seen better days.
“I’m Rowan. Self-proclaimed adventurer.”
“You gon’ try and repair that old armor, lass?” He motions to the remnants of my dragon scale. It’s been more than worn over the months, to say the least. The pauldron is lopsided, there’s an obvious hole on my side, and don’t even get me started on the holes in the pants. My boots are alright, but they still have a deep gash in the leather.
“Yeah…was going to at least try.” I look down at myself. “It was a really rare set of armor…once.”
“I can tell, but that ain’t gonna protect ya anymore than cotton cloth.”
“I know.” I sigh. “Think it’s salvageable?”
“Nah.” He affirms. I sigh even harder. “That…is that chaurus chitin? Along the pauldron and the front?”
“No, it’s dragonscale.” At my words he snaps silent, blinking. “No really. I have a few more rolls of it…” I dig through my pack, pulling out the bundles I had gotten from the dragon at Ancient’s Ascent, setting them on his workbench.
“By the nine…” He breathed, turning them over in his hand.
“Oh yeah, and why is the mine closed?” I look at the entrance, flanked by guards none too keen on letting me in. I was actually going to sleep in there.
“Spiders.” He replied, eyes still locked on the scales. “Bastards took over the mine, now none of the miners can get any work done.”
“Why haven’t the guards dealt with it? They’re just spiders.” I raise an eyebrow, leaning over the railing of his forge.
“When I asked, they gave me some horseshite about keeping watch for enemy soldiers.” He sighed.
“Want me to take care of it?” I ask, pulling off my bow. “And in return, you make me a new set of armor? Just the main set of armor and a pair of boots.”
“Out of the…scaling?” He picked it up. “Got any idea how to even work with this stuff?”
“Same way as leather, I’d assume.” I nod. “I don’t need any fancy spaulders or anything, just something so when I get hit with stuff it doesn’t pierce my organs.” I shrug. “Can you do it?”
“I think I can, lass.” He bounced the scales in his hand, a glint in his eye. “Aye, no thinking. I can. I’m excited to try my hand at something new.”
“Good.” I nod, swinging my bow to my front. Just as well I got him to do it. As an ex-silversmith, I can use a forge, but leatherworking was never my strong suite. Regardless, now it’s killing time.
I disregard the guard’s word to turn back, and kick open the doors to the mine. A musty, ancient smell permeates throughout. It’s been closed for quite a long time. All the lanterns have gone out, which is to be expected. What was that spell again? Oh right, candlelight. I think of my words, opening my palm slowly. The cheery white ball of light slowly rises out, greeting me and hovering just over my right shoulder. It’s adorable, in its own way. Like Navi but much less annoying. The entire space is just as it should be, plus a few additions. Spiderwebs crowd each of the walls, tying up pickaxes and carts alike. They must have overtaken the mine while the workers were still in here; it looks like everyone dropped what they were holding and ran. Pickaxes littered the floor at regular intervals, followed by bits of rock and ebony ore.
I creep down the passageway, finally making it into the main room. I can see many glowing eyes in the darkness; my light can only do so much. It would be much easier to do this stealthily. Against my better judgement I extinguish my poor light, creeping onto the suspension bridge. I try to maneuver my way across using just the dim light available. From the echoes and the location of the spiders, I think the mine is just a spiral down. So I’m in a perfect spot for some practice. I stand up on the bridge, peering over the side at 3 sets of glowing orbs, firing off three arrows. The lights go out with a sickening squish, making me cringe all the way up here.
“That all of them?” I whisper, looking around. Just three nearly baby frostbite spiders? That can’t be it. “Laas!” I whisper, looking around for red. I find two more blotches, but unfortunately for me, they’re dangling above my cranium. I see them lowering themselves on their silk, crashing to the bridge and sending dust flying into the air. By the divines I hope this holds…
I summon the candlelight again, drawing an arrow. These guys are bigger, and what’s worse is they’re on either side of me. I can’t summon an atronach, it’ll burn down the bridge. What do I do?
I fire an arrow into the spider, catching it on one of its pincers. The one behind me charges, crashing into me from behind. I get sent flying forward, nearly off the bridge. I catch the rope siding, making the mistake of looking down to my dangling feet. I’m up pretty high; if I fall I’m dead. The entire mine is just a corkscrew down. Absolutely nothing but the bottom to break my fall. The spiders pause, realizing my predicament even if they have the intelligence of a sweetroll. They look at me with their combined sixteen eyes, their pincers flailing as if tasting me. What can I do? If I climb back up it’s straight into their jaws, if I let go my head is going through my ass at mach speed. All I can do is swing, and even then I can hear the rope straining to hold my weight, with the strands snapping periodically. I have to do something….anything! Come on Rowan, think dammit!
I turn to look down the bridge, finding nothing. The other way proves little more use. A fallen pickaxe a few feet from where I am is all that’s here with me. What, get it and throw it at the spiders, make them play fetch?
I snort at the idea, laughing at tiny spiders playing fetch like a puppy. Though actually, the pickaxe may just save me here. I swing my left hand down towards the pickaxe, grabbing onto the rope. I let go with my right hand, grabbing hold of the pickaxe by the handle and swiping furiously at the Spider’s eyes to ward them off. I have one shot with this.
With a last swipe, I use my momentum and let go of the rope. I fly across to the mine’s walls, digging the pickaxe into the soft earth and swearing as all the air flies out of my lungs. But I’m safe. I scramble up the wall, hauling myself onto the mining ramp and pulling out my bow again.
The spiders have shimmied down to meet me, looking at me with dripping pincers. One fires poison, which nicks my armor and dissolves a bit of the leather. I feel a buckle break, and my chestplate nearly falls off. Now I’m really going to need that new set.
At least now they’re only in front of me. I take the nearest wooden cart and push it in front of me, looking the spiders straight in the eyes before lighting it aflame with a quick firebolt spell. The dry wood burns nicely, letting me shove it with all my might forward into the two of them, making one bail out over the sides and to its untimely death below. The other, I suppose the smarter of the two arachnids, backs up far enough for gravity to take control of the cart and send it back to me. I curse, pressing myself against the wall as the literal chariot of fire hurtles past me, breaking a wheel and splintering into a near instant campfire a ways down the ramp. Can’t use that trick again. Gotta fight.
I draw an arrow, nocking it with muscle memory and aiming it at the eyes. It charges me, fangs raised to try and pry my head off my shoulders, more poison dripping from sheer anticipation. In my panic I fire two arrows into its exoskeleton, alarmed it keeps charging.
“Yol!” I yell, flames bursting from my words. They envelop the spider, making it rear back in pain as it emits a horrifying screech. A last arrow of mine makes its way underneath its stomach, skewing it and flipping the beast over. Another well placed arrow to its face and the monster’s dead.
I sigh, that wouldn’t have been nearly as difficult if Bishop were still here. Or, in my defense, if it wasn’t such a small bridge. I don’t need him. I don’t need anyone. I survived, sure, and now I know to check around in the dark first before making noise.
I make my way back up the platform, opening the doors with a quick prayer to Stendarr for having mercy on me, and a quick damn to Kynareth for making such stupid creatures exist. The guards seemed surprised to see me again, that much was evident. Both turn to me, and I witness a quick exchange of gold between the two.
“They’re all dead.” I reply shortly, jerking my thumb over my shoulder to the entrance. “Dunno how long it’s been closed for, but methinks you need to open it. Now.” Mutters come from them, probably filled with empty promises or excuses or something. I keep my pace, walking up the steps to meet Filnjar. He takes on look at me, sighs in relief, and pats me on the back.
“They all dead?” He asks, wiping a bit of dirt off my face. “Your armor is in shambles.”
“Yeah. Turns out that acid or poison or whatever cut straight through the leather buckles of my spaulders.” I toss the useless scraps of leather and scale onto the floor. “I guess I’m lucky I got here before doing anything big. How’s it going?”
“I’m doing the armor first to experiment. Can you come over here so I can size it?” He asks, taking the sheet of scale and draping it around my midriff. He marked some lines in charcoal, muttering to himself as he takes measurements of my shoulders, waist, and embarrassingly my boobs. I get it’s necessary, but my face still heats up at a man’s touch there.
“No need to get flustered, lass!” He laughs, making a final mark. “You’ve still got your clothes on!”
“I know, I know, I’m sorry! I’ve only just adjusted back to being with people again. I’m more of the type to stay away from settlements for as long as I can.”
“A hermit, eh? Just like that other guy.” He paused. “There must be something weird today. We never get any outsiders, yet two of you come through here on the same day. Mayhap it’s a sign.”
“There was a second?” I ask, my brows furrowing.
“Aye, cove. Really angry looking. Dark haired, tanned skinned, looked like the type to kill a cat for fun. Called himself a ranger. Wait-you should know, he went into the cave after you!”
“He went…after me?” I pause. What?
“Yeah! He asked about where you went, I told him to clear out the mine, and he went in after you.”
“I never saw him.” I blink. “I was alone…or at least thought I was. Never heard the door open, and it was too dark to see much of anything.”
“That’s…odd. Maybe he wimped out?”
“I doubt that.” I looked around, relieved Filnjar takes the scales off of me. “Did…he leave already?”
“I have no clue where he went if he’s not with you.” He looked up at me while cutting the scales. “Lass, is he stalking you?”
“I didn’t think so…” I freeze. “He was a pretty decent tracker though. Found his pup halfway across Skyrim. Takes skill to do that.” He has to be following me. Or is it just a coincidence? I can’t tell. Perhaps I should leave, see if he follows me.
“Say, how long do you think that armor is going to take?” I realize it’s still just a sheet of dragon leather. “I know it’s early, but…”
“By tomorrow morning.” He declared. “Noon by the latest.”
“Really?” My ears perked up. That’s not too long. “You don’t have any other work?”
“Do I look like I get many orders around here?” He scoffed. “There’s only two other houses besides my own. I’m happy to be working for a change.
“That’s good. Anywhere around here you think I should go to wait?”
“Hmmm. Clearspring Tarn? There’s a pond there. I’d think it’d be pleasant for a bath if you want to clean yourself off.”
“West. Right around the mountain. If you reach Darkwater Crossing you’ve gone too far.”
“Alright. Thanks, I’ll be back tomorrow.” I said, gathering my stuff and heading out. Finally, time for a bath!
SirenBlockedMay 31, 2016 at 8:17 pmPost count: 45
- This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by Siren.
I reach the pond, a small pooling of water that was so crystal clear I didn’t bother to boil it before putting it into my waterskin. I set my pack down by the edge of the pond, unrolling my sleeping pad and looking out onto the water. Dragonflies skittered across the surface of the natural mirror, dancing with each other in the retreating light. The early fireflies lazily flew around the edge, balling up tight together as they became attracted to each other’s light. It was breathtaking. The warm spring night reminded me of back home in markarth, where the cicadas never shut up and the smell of juniper is always lingering.
Clearspring Tarn…I’ll have to remember this place. I should make a fire first, and then get to washing myself and my clothes. There’s a good array of sticks and fallen log pieces to build a proper cone out of, so a few minutes and a little bit of magic gave me a roaring fire by my bedroll. Now time for me.
I sit by the pond, surveying myself. I set to washing myself off, slowly erasing what seemed like a week’s worth of grime. My hair finally returns to its normal honeyed sheen, and my skin no longer seems splotchy. I was never one for warpaint, but considering how much dirt was on my face people probably thought I had some on. I massage my feet while sitting on the bank, pleased at how the cool water feels on them. Bathing is so refreshing; I’m so glad Filnjar recommended this place. Not only is it perfect, it’s secluded as well. I’m sure I’d be able to tell if anyone was trying to get up he-
“Bathing alone, are we?” A calm voice says from behind me. I nearly jump out of my skin,standing up and turning so fast I nearly fell over.
“Bishop?!” I squeak, alarmed. So much for my prior words.
“Oh come now, ladyship. Bathing’s no fun on the shore.” He grinned, picking me up in his arms like a little kid.
“Wait, no, Bishop, I can’t-” Before I could squeeze out that last word, he had thrown me into the middle of the pond where I couldn’t touch.
I hit the water in a way I can only describe as sack of potatoes. My heavy armor still clung loosely to my waist, making it impossible to even struggle against the water.
I can’t swim, I’ve never been able to. My last near drowning experience was when I was a kid, and fell into one of the rivers near Markarth. Thankfully my fiance was there to save me. Now…not so much.
I flop around a bit, giving my best attempt to struggle towards the surface. I scream instinctively, letting out my precious oxygen. Great going, me. How am I going to struggle my way out of this? How do people swim, anyway!?
I do my best, swinging my hands as I’ve seen people do. It’s no use, it just disorients me further. I kick my feet, but just like my hands, they don’t get me anywhere, they just sink me to the bottom. I open my eyes, seeing nothing but murky water. I’ve kicked the dirt up into the water, meaning I’m somewhere near the bottom. I flip onto my stomach best I can, pushing off with my hands and feet to shoot me to the surface.
Precious oxygen! I take a gulp of air as quick as I can, and it’s back to struggling. I try to tread water like I’ve seen people do once or twice, but of course in my panicked state it’s not working. The extra weight starts to sink me again, and my tired muscles can’t contest the force. My head starts to go under again, and I swallow straight water before submerging.
All at once I was hauled out of the water, thrown over Bishop’s shoulder, and set on shore. While I was coughing up pond water he sat next to me, patting my back until I could finally breathe.
Immediately I took off my armor and bow, setting them near my roll and distancing myself as far as I could from the water. By Oblivion, could he have not helped me sooner?
“I’m…sorry.” Bishop finally said after a minute. “I figured you’d be able to swim.”
“You figured!? You figured! No!” I snapped, looking around to him. My eyes were red from coughing so badly, and after speaking so quickly I went back to coughing my lungs out. “I can’t! And what else? I have my damn armor on!”
“Are you alright?” He went to come help me, but I batted his hand away angrily.
“Do I look okay?” I nearly wheezed, finally looking back up at him. “What the hell were you thinking!?”
“That a dragonborn wouldn’t be done in by a bit of water.” He said, his eyes genuinely sorrowful. Though I wasn’t ready to forgive him yet. Why would he do that? Who in oblivion would just throw someone into the water?
“If I didn’t know better I’d say you were trying to kill me and claim the reward.” I said, ripping my armor off of me and laying it on the log near the fire. “Gods, Bishop. Don’t ever do that again.”
“I said sorry!” He protested. “You’re probably one of the only people in Skyrim who can’t swim!”
“Shut up, honestly! Who do you think you are, following me all the way out here, scaring the wits out of me and half drowning me?” I wring the water out of my hair, smoothing it back from my face.
“Well I wanted to see what a day in the life of the dragonborn was like, but apparently that’s just running around, risking your neck for other people. I’d expect you to be a bit more of your own person!” He defended himself. “Who, may I add, could swim.”
“I help people because they need help, Bishop! No one could get that mine open but me, so I did. And because of it, I get a new set of armor. I see no issue in that.”
“Yeah, except you almost died because those stupid miners didn’t have enough sense to make a bridge wider than four feet across! Or make anything even remotely sound!”
“Then why didn’t you help me!?” I spit. “You went in the damn mine too!”
“Because a certain little girl said she worked alone!” He snarled. “And rejected my help when I tried to give it to her.”
That was true. I immediately shut up, staring into the flames to try and warm the chill that had formed after my scare.
“Today was an exception.” I mutter.
“Yeah? Because what I’ve seen, you really need someone by your side. But you’re just too stubborn to see that.”
“And why do you care so much? I thought the great ranger Bishop wasn’t for hire?”
“Not to just anyone, but the dragonborn I’d make an exception. Particularly a keen-eyed dragonborn who needed some help. I’m sure that with you’d I’d get a fat coin purse and more people to rip apart than I could alone.”
“So you want to use me? Typical.” I shake myself off, looking up into the now starry sky. “I don’t know what use you see in it, but don’t blame me for your untimely death.” The words are bitter in my mouth. I’ve said the same thing to more than a few people, and nearly all have been severely injured or died. Because of that I studied restoration so intensely, and yet still don’t have the knowledge to save everybody.
“Ladyship?” Bishop towers above me, leaning over at the waist with a very unthoughtful look on his face. “I’m coming with you. Even if I have to follow behind at a hundred paces, I’ll always be there. Or, I could walk beside with you, and give you someone to talk to.”
I bit my lip, thinking it over. I can always lose him, right? I can always hurt his feelings, send him packing? Pay him off? Something.
“You’ve already seen my tracking abilities, don’t think I can’t do it.” He says smugly. “Me an Karynwyr’ll do it. For as long as we need to.” The wolf came out from the brush, circling around his waist as if to make a point. He sat on the ground lazily, staring at me with piercing orange eyes, reminding me of a dragon’s tongue flower.
“Fine! You win.” I fling my hands in the air in defeat, glaring at him with my icy glare. “Don’t come running to me when you get impaled by a falmer arrow, or your arm bit off by a dragon! Okay!? I won’t be responsible for it!”
“Sounds like the little girl has had some bad experiences.” He hit the nail on the head with that one. “Don’t worry, ladyship. You’ve never met a fighter like me before.”
“That’s what they all say.” I reply dryly. “Now for the love of all things holy, can we please just get some sleep? I’m tired and have armor to pick up.”
“‘Course.” He grinned, pleased at the use of ‘we’ in that sentence. “Night, ladyship. Sure you don’t want me in your bedroll?”
“Yes.” I say, tucking myself into my bedroll and trying to pretend like none of the past twenty minutes happened. “And I will get you back for nearly drowning me.”
“I look forward to it.” He purred, leaning against the fallen log.SirenBlockedJune 1, 2016 at 8:52 pmPost count: 45
“Good morning, Princess.” Bishop greets, waking me from my slumber.
“The sun’s too bright!” I mumble, rolling over. All of a sudden, I can no longer feel the sunshine on my skin. “Hah?” I open my eyes to see Bishop crouching over me, his huge back blocking out the sun. “You know, that light probably traveled millions upon millions of miles to reach the ground, just to be stopped by you.”
“No, it would hit you. And that’s just a waste.”
“That could either be a compliment or an insult depending on how I took it.” I pause for a second. “I’ll take it as an insult.”
“Forever bitter, are you?” He stands up, brushing himself off. “Let’s get moving. I don’t like this place for some reason.”
“Why? What’s going to attack, foxes? Maybe a sabre cat?”
“That’s what the scar on your cheek is from, isn’t it?”
“…Maybe.” I reply, standing up and rolling up my bed. I tie it to the bottom of my pack again, swinging the whole thing onto my back. Time to get my armor! “Though in my defense, I was little older than a kid. Didn’t even have a bread knife, let alone a sword or bow.”
“You met a sabrecat when you were small, yet you’re from Markarth? How does that work?”
“Wait, how did you know I was from Markarth?”
“You got a pretty considerable bounty in the Reach, ladyship.” He took out a paper from his belt, handing it to me.
“A hundred gold? Little old me?” I snort. “Wow, I thought it was higher.”
“What do the Silverbloods got against you?”
“It’s too early for questions.” I say lazily, bringing a piece of flatbread out of my pouch. “Save it for later, will you?”
“I’ll weasel answers out of you yet.” He promises.
“Why, you plan on collecting?” My hand clenches, ready to summon something if need be.
“No.” He replied quietly. “I don’t. And I don’t lie, ladyship.”
“Then don’t worry about it.” I snort. “Know any shortcuts back to Shor’s Stone?”
“Lass!” He calls out. “I just finished your armor!”
“Awesome!” I run forward from Bishop, ignoring the snort. I bound up the steps of the forge, whirling around the space to find the armor.
“First off, here’s the rest o’ the scales.” He tucks them into my pack. “Second, try the boots.” He sets them in front of me, making me gasp and my eyes twinkle. They were glorious. Steel-toed with tapering scales, topped by a buckle to keep them from slipping off under any circumstance. I take off my old, tattered ones, putting the new ones on with pride. They fit perfectly, and instead of of leather soles the new ones house a sort of diamond pattern on the bottom, with rows of steel beams with leather in between.
“I saw the slice taken out of your boot.” He chuckled. “Figured if you use your feet to protect ya, I may as well make it safer. Without making it much heavier, mind you.”
“Thank you so much!”
“Now for the armor!” He brings it out from the workbench, draping it in front of me. I blush at seeing the cups, my face flushing red. I hear Bishop snort in the background.
“Go somewhere private and switch out, girl.” He instructs. “Just duck in my house, there’s no one in ‘ere.”
“Alright.” I agree, taking the armor and slipping into the house.
I take my tunic and leather pants off, looking around the place. It looked like any common house. A bed, a few chests, a bookshelf, and food and smithing supplies littered everywhere. I look around, pleased at the warmness of the hearth and the comfort the house would provide. It was small, but cozy. I always wanted one, but I know deep down it won’t happen.
Not to be depressing, but realistic. That would require a husband to make me settle down, and I love adventuring too much. And I’ve already learned I’ve finished with marriage. It’s bad business.
“Going to dress or what, Ladyship?” Bishop pokes his head in from the door, immediately being yanked out by Flinjar. I yelp in surprise, shoving myself into the armor with haste. I can’t see myself in the mirror, but I feel good. Just like the boots, it fits me perfectly. The top scales layer down into my belt, splitting off to cover my hips and thighs. Just as I had asked, it bore no spaulders, just a groove diagonally from my shoulders to my hips used to house my bow. I slap the armor with my hands, walking out of the house confidently. I feel much safer in this than my tattered armor.
“By the nine!” Flinjar claps. “It fits!”
“And fits perfectly.” I nod. “Thank you! The bow channel is quite nice.”
“You like that? I figured I may as well put something there.” He nods, approving. “You look ready for battle, girl.”
“I feel ready for battle.” I chuckle. “None too soon. I have places to go and people to shoot me.”
“I think it’s ‘people to shoot’, princess.”
“I know what I said.” I raise an eyebrow. “I gotta pay you something, Flinjar. It’s too nice.”
“Call it a gift if you must, girl. You did save this settlement.” He winks. “Off with ye’! You got adventurin to do!”
“I do, don’t I?” I look to Bishop. “Well, if you ever need someone to kill a few arachnids…”
“I’ll send a courier.” Flinjar snorts. “And if you need someone to repair that, come on back. Or go to any blacksmith. Stuff wasn’t too much trouble.”
“That’s a relief. It’s touchy as oblivion to get, trust me.”
“I believe ye’.” He paused. “Begone! You have adventures to do, young’uns!”
“Fine! Fine!” I step down from the blacksmith, walking off down the road north to Windhelm. Bishop ran to catch up, Karnwyr at his heels.
I bring my map out from my pack, holding it open. I mark Clearspring Tarn on the map, using my quill to impatiently tap the paper. We should go to Ralbthar, I haven’t been there yet. Jorleif-the steward of Windhelm-said there were some bandits in there. Although I really hate the stormcloaks, I can’t pass up some coin. And getting on Ulfric’s good side may be beneficial later one. I’m not one for this war, I’m more concerned of the dragons, but I see the imperials as the lesser evil. Losing worship of Talos-which we’ll do anyway-is much better than taking every non-nord and seperating them from society. Including me, kind of. The inhabitants of High Rock are accepted a bit more, especially since you can’t really tell a nord from a breton if they’re old.
“If you let an old guy touch your boobs, why not me?” Bishop breaks the silence.
“Are you really thinking about that?” I sigh.
“You seemed flustered.” He pointed out. “Imagine you, looking like some sort of smitten market girl at the sight of some fitted armor.”
“I never realized they were that size, shut up okay!?” I snap. “Now keep quiet, I’m trying to figure out a path to Ralbthar.”
“That old dwarven ruin? Why are we going there?”
“Oh. Dibs on the biggest one.”
“Whatever.” I reply, putting the map away. “Alright, I know where we’re going.”
“So do I.”
“But you didn’t see the map.” I quip.
“I don’t need maps, ladyship.” He smirks. “I always know where I’m going. Right Karnwyr?” The wolf whines a bit, I suppose to agree with him. Or saying he’s full of shit. It’s hard to tell.
I sense a presence behind us, nagging on my Id. Should I ask about it? No. Then he’ll think we’re crazy. But it really does seem like every time we pass an outcropping, I see movement as if the rock was alive. Or something was behind it. If I use aura whisper now, he’ll call me paranoid!
But there it was again! As we turn the corner on the road, something darts out of vision. There’s no way I’m going crazy.
“Do you feel like we’re being followed?” I finally ask.
“No.” Bishop looks around. “If there was something, Karnwyr or I would sense it. And I’m picking up nothing.” He turned around, looking back the way we came and walked backwards. “I think it’s just your imagination, sweetheart.”
“My imagination? I definitely keep seeing things.” I scratch my head. “Or maybe you woke me up too early.”
“You talk in your sleep, you know that? About black dragons and random people.”
“That’s why I woke you up so early. You think I wanted to do that? You resembled a cave bear just coming out of hibernation.” Bishop snorts, turning back around. “So about Markarth…”
I didn’t even get the chance to reply before an arrow plants itself into my arm, knocking me into Bishop. He catches me, pushing me steady and whipping his bow out. I yank the arrow out best I can, displeased the arrowhead remains. Whatever.
I grab Artemis off my back, nocking an arrow and searching the hillside for any life.
“Laas!” I shout, searching urgently for red mist. I see three dotting the hillside, each sliding down to the road. “Three, by the rock there! One archer.” The light fades, leaving me adjusting back to normal colors. Another arrow comes flying towards us, burying itself in the road by Bishop’s foot. I hear a soft curse come from afar.
“I can’t see him anymore!” I say, exasperated. I run forward to the best of my ability, a flame emerging in the palm of my hand. I throw as many as I can manage into the side of the hill, lighting the green brush aflame to try and flush them out. The archer leaps out onto the rock in desperation, firing another arrow at me. It hits me square in the chest, and to my utter amazement, bounces off as if it was nothing. Thank you, Flinjar!
“Nice!” I react, nocking an arrow. I leave the archer duel to Bishop, instead preferring to take to shooting the two swordsman as they come near. One with a glass shortsword, glowing with a fire enchantment and the other with a greatsword tingling with a frost. Great. Two elementals that will burn me two different ways!
I fire off an arrow, bouncing it off the short swordsman’s shield. It barely even bothered the fellow Breton. That’s not going to work. I fire another into the greatsword user, a khajit with a tail half cut off. Seems like he doesn’t have much to lose. It plants itself in his side, though he doesn’t slow him down.
I hate to be stereotypical here, but I think he’s on skooma. There’s no way that didn’t hurt.
The Breton got to me first, knocking my bow aside and slicing the exposed flesh between my hip scale and the armor bodice. I wince at the pain, knocking the man aside and stepping back as far as I can in the few seconds it provided. I summon a frost atronach; the best I can do with my mediocre mage talent. The thing rises out of oblivion, greeting me with its giant popsicle body.
“Bishop!” I call, throwing a potion from my belt over to him. His head whirls around at my voice, and thankfully he catches the vial in time. He looks to the vial, and back at me, and to the vial again. With a doubting glare he pops it back, drinking the thing in one chug. I do the same to myself, pulling another one off my belt and calling bottom’s up. It’s bitter and tastes of Juniper, but I down it and watch my vision blur momentarily before being replaced with what seemed like markers. I pick up my bow again, my mind melding with my aim completely. It’s no longer my aim guiding my bow, but the bow guiding me. It’s only momentarily, but in this moment I feel like a divine.
I draw an arrow, turning to the Breton. I sink an arrow into his sword shoulder, and not even before he can stagger back I’ve sent another through his stomach. In my haste I draw a third, watching the world slow as I hear the arrow kick onto the bowstring. I point it at the khajit, my eyes immediately lining the shot up with its breast. I fire, listening the the twang of the string and the evenness of my breath.
The potion, as long as it lasted, leaves me finally, surrounded by two bodies and a frost Atronach. I look to Bishop who is also crouched over his quarry, pawing over the man’s gold pouch with a grin.
“You’re an alchemist, Princess?”
“I dabble.” I comment. “Anything good on ‘im?”
“For some reason, he had a bunch of gold on him. And….” He opens the man’s side pouch. “A note.”
“What does it say?” I ask, mimicking Bishop. I pull off the two men’s coin pouches, adding them to my own. I yank off a ring, and decide the elven dagger this one has on him would do me nicely. I slide it into my belt on the back, holstering it onto the small of my waist. It fits snugly, exactly what I wanted. “Oh come on, I know you’re literate. What does it say?”
“Ladyship.” He says without expression. “I’m going to ask you again. What. Did. You. Do. In. Markarth?” He raises the note, waiting for me to jog over and read it.
Here’s the sum we agreed upon.
I trust that you will make Rowan pay for crossing us.
Return to me with proof of the deed.
If you run afoul of the law, I will pay your bounty.
-Thonar Silver Blood
“Well then.” I breathe, stumbling backwards. “That’s very rude, don’t you think?”
“Why is the most powerful family in Markarth after your skin? And why did they send hired thugs?” I fall silent, trying to find the words.
“Why, you going to leave once you find out?” I scoff, crossing my arms.
“I just want to see the Dragonborn a bit flustered.” Bishop purred. “A reasonable request.”
“What, you want me to throw my hands in the air, cry a little bit, tell you a sob story about my past? Go running through the woods, hurt, and forever tell the tale of you?” I crouch down next to him, our noses a mere inch from each other.
“Ranger, I’m wanted in Markarth because a certain Silver Blood tried to have an affair with me, and when I denied, accused me of stealing silver from them, since I was a training silversmith there at the time. I came out and accused him of it outright.” I shove him over lightly, glad he’s paralyzed by the story. “Betrid Silver-Blood apparently was up his ass with it for a while, but he finally converted her to his story, and once that happened everyone turned over. I was run out as a liar and as a thief, and haven’t been back since.”
“Well, that’s interesting.” He sat himself back up. “Funny how money can change society so readily.”
“Yeah.” I stand up, helping him to his feet. “I’m an open book, ask away.” I pause, amused he opens his mouth to ask another question. “Only if I get to ask a question each time too.”
“Hm, now that just isn’t fair, Ladyship.” He smirks.
“What do you mean? That made it fair!” I snort. “Cold feet, or did you kill someone in Black Marsh or something?”
“Very funny.” He scoffs. “Morrowind, actually.”
“Really?” I laugh. “Nice!”
“Kidding. You should know I wouldn’t get caught.” He waits for me to shove the last body near the edge of the road, and off we go down the path again. I take both my hands and place them on my hip, willing my restoration magic to work their stuff. Skin stitches together, replacing flesh and purifying the area. Good enough.
“You got wounds?” I look over to him.
“One in the shoulder.” He replies. “So, everyone in Markarth was against you?”
“Yeah. Even my fiance, Apolinus. Though in his defense, he was the last to be converted. He was convinced once he saw my coin pouch after sneaking into my house. I had actually just been helping out at the Hag’s Cure, a potion store, but he didn’t believe it. Even when I told him to go ask the owner.” I smile a bit, switching to his shoulder to heal it. “He was so embarrassed he led the charge to chase me out. Funny, really. He was pretty scrawny, I’m sure I could’ve taken him out.”
“But you couldn’t, because feelings, eh Princess?”
“Nah. Every bit of a bond two people have is split with a knife of betrayal.” I smile pleasantly. “As far as I’m concerned, my childhood friend died and has been brought back to life by the Silver-Blood necromancers.”
“Can’t spell necromance without romance, Ladyship.” Bishop grinned, pleased with himself. I laugh too, I never realized that about the word.
“That gives necrophilia a new twist.” I laugh, immediately clasping my thigh. “Ow!”
“You’re twisted.” He said finally.
“J’accuse!” I accused.
“What the hell does that mean?”
“Fuck if I know.” I scoff. “Something something foreign language, probably.”
“I’m sure.” Even Karnwyr snorts, calling my BS.
“So, my turn for a question.” I call, tipping my head towards the noon sky. “Where ya from?”
“Here. From a secluded little gathering that no longer exists anymore.” He grinned. “Met Karnwyr when he was a pup.”
“Damn, two answers for the price of one.” I curse. “Alright, you get two.”
“Hmmm.” He thought. “How did you meet your fiance, and how long were you engaged for?”
I eyed him weirdly, as it was definitely justified. Rooting around with my fiance, of all things? Not the dragonborn thing, being a wanted criminal thing, or wearing a giant lizard?
“Childhood friends. When I came to Markarth to be an apprentice, he and I were just some small kids. He asked me when we were nineteen, and we were engaged for three years while we got enough money for a house. Didn’t happen, he kicked me out a few months before the wedding.”
“Your turn.” He declared deviously.
“Favorite color, and favorite city in Skyrim?”
“Red, and definitely Falkreath or Riverwood. Anywhere green.” He paused, thinking of his next quest. “What’s your favorite color, and the most annoying thing you hate?”
“Favorite color is grey, annoying thing I hate is how large the dwemer ruins are.”
“Why?” He blinked. “I expected skeevers, or spiders, or…”
“No, I hate dwemer ruins. They were dwarves, right? So why is everything either oversized or human-sized? It’s like they were trying to ignore their dwarfism! And then, because of their damn vanity and inability to compact simple rooms, there are huge gigantic caverns just collapsing and filling up with falmer. Everything could have been avoided if they had just made rooms them-sized!”
“…Interesting argument.” He notes.
“Anyway, map, where is Ralbthar?” I look around. “Thought it was over here.” In an instant the ranger had grabbed me by the shoulders and spun me to the left, forcing me to look over the ridge. I could see the tops of one of the towers just over the crest. “Oh…”
“Right.” He says, pulling out his bow. “Bandits.”
SirenBlockedJune 3, 2016 at 8:48 pmPost count: 45
- This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by Siren.
“Are you sure you’re good to stealth? That leather armor looks a bit…jangly. That leather armor of yours has way too many metal belts.”
“Ladyship it’s literally made of hide.”
“That was a fantastic pun and I hate you.”
“No you don’t.” He drew his bow as we crested the hill, looking down onto the dwarven ruins. Snow fell around us, bringing an unwelcome chill into the air that nipped at my nose. I was used to the southern part of Skyrim; this cold was unwelcome. I don’t have a cloak to pull over me; I’ll just have to deal with the bitterness.
“You haven’t given me a reason yet.” I scoff. “Give me time.”
“Now that’s just harsh, ladyship.” He grins, waiting until I drew my bow. “Looks like there’s quite a few to welcome us. How are we getting paid?”
“The gold is only on the bandit leader. He’s probably somewhere inside.”
“Of course he is. Probably safe behind the rest of his cronies, sitting on his ass drinking mead.”
“Well that is how this works.” I scoff. “The high rankers get to be protected.”
“Yeah. And those with coin stand behind those who don’t.” He pauses. “You know, I haven’t met anyone who’s as bitter as I am about society.”
“Oh please. I’m from Markarth, run by a family literally called the SILVER BLOODS. Don’t talk to me about rich snobbiness.” I scoff. “I’ve seen opulence and decadence beyond your imagining. The silver I worked with was just a day’s sweat an’ blood for some poor guy or gal, and they just treated it like dirt.”
“Boils your blood, doesn’t it?” He asked.
“Yep.” I say bitterly.
“Want to take it out on them?” He asks again.
“Yep.” I survey the situation, watching two bandits sit at a table in front of the ruin. “I’ll take out the one on the right, you take the left. We’ll do this silently.”
“Sounds good.” He whispers.
“Oh yeah.” I look behind us. “Where’s Karnwyr?”
“Probably chasing bunnies, I have no clue.” He looked to me, eyes testing my gaze. “Why, need something to protect you?”
“More like protect you, asshat.” I creep up over the hill, careful to stick to the trees.
“Ouch. That’s scathing, Princess.” He scoffs.
“Good!” I huff, looking back to him. He has an arrow nocked in, and with his slow descent down the hill I can see the glint in his eye. He enjoys killing. Wonder if he’ll ever decide to carry on his hobby with me. Despite his actions until now, I’m still wary of him.
Back to what we’re doing. Due to our detour, we’re on the east side of the patio, on the slope above the entrance. We have the actual drop on these guys. I wait for Bishop to get closer to his target before moving on my own, creeping down the roof of one of the towers to the ground above the entrance. I sit on the lip of the entrance front, nocking an arrow and looking to Bishop. He’s staring back at me, waiting for us both to be prepared. We look down and back to each other, silently deciding that on three is when we strike.
I peek out from over the lip, sending my arrow through the skull of the bandit. I hear the other bandit yelp in agony before a second thunk shuts him up.
“Lost your aim a bit, haven’t we?” I chuckle to myself. I survey where I am, deciding that the quickest way to the door is straight down. There’s some rubble below for me to jump onto. Won’t break my fall softly, but I won’t break my legs from that height. I swing myself over the lip, dangling my feet until I line up with a broken pillar. With a last look down I let go, hitting the pillar into a crouch before grasping the sides with my hands. Better than expected. I swing myself over the side, hitting the stone cobble with a thump before turning to see Bishop furiously running down the slope over towards the door.
“What happened to that legendary aim of yours?” I tease.
“Shut your mouth.” He warns.
“No really?” I ask, a smile curling on my lips.
“Oh come on.”
“I missed! I missed, damn it! Now shut your mouth before I cut your tongue out!” He snarls, whirling on me.
“Rude.” I comment, putting some space in between us. “Have you recovered your aim and sense of humor, or should we turn around?”
“I’m good.” He hisses. My smile infuriates him even further; I suppose he’s the perfectionist type.
“If you say so.” I grin, cracking open the door and listening in. Only a few in the entrance hall. “Three or so.” I whisper.
“That it?” He tries to look into the small space, squinting.
“Probably more further in. I can hear a fire trap on.” I sigh, opening the door. “Let’s go. Follow me!”
“Only if I can stare at your hips.” He chuckles. “Gotta make up for your teasing.”
“Whatever.” I sigh, slithering in. I wait for him to hide behind a pillar before closing the door again. We’re up against four bandits that I can see; a female breton, a male khajit, a male orc, and a female bosmer. Bishop’s staring at them deep in thought, acting as if the world has stopped. Sorry, but we can’t really have that right now. I take out a potion from my belt, going to hand it to him. It’s another archery one.
As soon as my hand reaches into his eyesight, I feel intense pressure on my wrist and a dagger at my breast. His angle is far above what I’d define as comfortable, digging under the plates of my armor and ripping at my bare flesh through my tunic. I freeze, unable to formulate words in panic. His amber eyes pierce into me with primordial hunger as if I was prey. My mind is no longer able to formulate thoughts, just stare and hope he doesn’t devour me.
“Just you.” He whispers with a deep sigh. “Potion?”
“Archery…” I whisper back, still thoroughly terrified. I hand the bottle to him, trying to conceal just how much my hand was shaking. I’d never admit it, but that startled me worse than the spiders. “I’m…just going to go over there.” I roll across to the other side, crouching behind a mountain of rubble. I down an archery and a stealth potion, waiting momentarily for my vision to blur, only to return with the shapes and knowledge from the effects.
I wave my hand open-palmed towards him, urging him to take the ones diagonal from him. If we shoot the ones on our side, they’ll slide out the door or clang on the metal gate. If we hit them from the side, with any luck the force will push them out of the way and more importantly, kill them unnoticed.
He nods, still glaring at me with hooded eyes as if not trusting my judgement. I raise both eyebrows, making a funny face before drawing an arrow. I hold up three fingers, dropping one every second before releasing at zero. The Bosmer slams into the wall, followed by the orc. Round one completed, now for round two.
Before the other two could alarm the rest, Bishop and I sent an arrow through their ribs. We hadn’t given them time to draw their weapons, so the sheathed blades and arrows gave little noise to warn the others. Besides, with that fire trap roasting that skeever so loudly, I think we may have been able to wage war with the four of them and still get away with it.
We creep up to the grate, both taking a moment to pull our arrows out of the bodies. The fire blocks us from the back passage, forcing us to head straight through the bandits in the side hallway. I raise my hand up, making Bishop pause.
“Laas!” I chant, watching the peaks of red in the other room. I hold up three fingers; there’s two people and the bandit chief.
I creep into the doorway, peeking through to the three of them huddled around the hearth. The smell of fire and food wafts through the hall we’re in, making my nose twitch angrily. I’m starving.
“You take the one closest, I’ll take the archer, and we’ll both fire at the chief.” Bishop whispers, wrapping a hand around my forearm and tugging me to him. “Careful, you’re out too far.”
“Thanks.” I whisper back, shifting to allow him to slip past me. We both pull our strings back, making a quick glance to each other before letting go. His falls to the ground with a clatter; mine, however, takes the arrow to the chest like a champ.
“Plan B.” I mutter, yanking us both to our feet. I wait, summoning myself dual swords. This might be tricky. The bandit leader has a nordic carved warhammer in her hands. One or two swings with that and I’m done. At least there’s no archer to deal with. “I go after the chief. You go after the other.”
“Wait a second, other way around!” He says, yanking on my sleeve. I shake him off, pushing past and jumping up onto one of the benches, using the height to my advantage to jump onto the bandit chief. She raises her hammer to block my blow, recovering badly from the second strike. She bashes with her huge monster of a hammer, nearly knocking me off my feet. I can hear Bishop behind me angrily throwing arrows into the other guy, his words a string of curses.
I grin, I can’t help it.
The warhammer comes down, distracting me from Bishop’s issue behind me. I deflect it with my sword, sliding to the left so it strikes the ground to my right. While she’s hauling that weapon back up, I slash at her side and arm, pleased I get a hiss in response.
“I’ll have your head.” She tries to spit on my boots. I go in for another strike, upset she raises the hammer in time to block it. Her newfound advantage sends her thinking; she shoves the hilt of the hammer into me, slamming me into the pillar behind us. My knees buckle from under me and I slip to the ground, shoving a hand behind me and pushing off with a roll. With my best impression of a drunkard I totter to my feet, steadying myself as she turns to face me. I push a flame atronach out of Oblivion with a spell, pleased it begins hurling firebolts immediately. The flame atronach throws a fireball at her, sending her on the defensive. With my bow out again, we’re in business. She can’t approach either of us without taking a huge amount of damage. And fire and arrows are not a pretty combo.
A heavy grunt by Bishop sends me spinning around, ready to run over there if need be. “Bish-”
“Rowan!” He yells back, his face full of worry. What?
A hammer blow connects to my side, slamming me to the floor and sending me spinning over to the wall. From my sideways vision I can see my flame atronach on the floor, lifeless, about to explode into a fiery wave.
My head is blurry, and my vision is going in and out of focus. At least I’m still awake. Still…awake.
I shake my head, trying to clear it as best I can. I regain a bit of my vision, drawing my swords again. It’s the only thing I had enough magic for. I look over to Bishop, seeing his dagger keeping a sword from slicing his face. Their power struggle means I’m not getting any help with this.
I cast a quick healing spell on myself before the chief arrives, rolling past her and attempting to strike at her back. My blade simply bounces off her tin can of an armor.
“That all’ve got?” She laughs, swinging her warhammer sideways. It swings inches from my nose as I jump backwards in surprise. I’m reeling; if that had been a little closer I wouldn’t have a head. She’s strong.
“No!” I say, raising my two swords in front of me. Remember what I did back in Cragslane Cavern? Let’s go for broke. I sweep forward, my knuckles scraping the ground to get the right angle.
I throw the first of my swords, trying my best to keep it existing despite not touching me. I feel my hand twitching, channeling magic to the flying object. It cramps my palm, making me wince as I struggle to hold the other. The sword bounces off her with only a dent, as I knew it was. But my aim was true; the angle I threw it at ricochet’s the sword up into the air, forcing her gaze up too. I focus everything to my legs, pushing me as fast as my body can go to reach her. At the last moment I split to the right, running past her with my elbow in the air. Before her gaze wanders back to me I’ve already rammed my sword into her neck, wrenching it to the side with a sickening, fleshy, slice.
She falls to the floor, blood spilling out the side into the cracks in the stone floor.
“That was incredibly stupid.” Bishop comments, stepping up to the body. “Princess, really, we need to get that head of yours checked.”
“Ow…” I say, bringing up my right hand. It’s spasming by itself, twitching from the over exertion.
“Look at you, falling apart after just a few bandits…” He sneers. “Alright, we’re heading to Windhelm, right mighty dragonborn?”
“Actually, why don’t we go through the ruins?” I ask, surveying the room we’re in.
“You’re kidding.” He scoffs.
“No, really.” I bring out a restoration potion, handing him one too. “Bottoms up.”
“Why do you have so many tiny vials?” He looks down.
“I’m a Breton. At high rock, even the smallest kid can make an effective potion.” I scoff. “I haven’t been familiar with weapons for too long. But alchemy and magic are in my blood. I had friends who could conjure a wrathman from the soul cairn. I’ve never seen that hellish draugr lose to anything.”
“Yet you don’t have the common sense to look at your opponent.” He comments. “Ladyship, generally, when you’re fighting someone you keep your eyes on them and not on me. I know I’m handsome, but really. It’s a bit much.”
“You’re the one who yelped like a barmaid who got groped.” I accuse.
“And that’s the sound to pique your curiousity?” He grins. “Do you swing the other way, Ladyship?”
“No!” I blush, waving the thought away. “Whatever! Shut up and help me loot them!”
“I already did.” He held up a silver necklace, swinging it in front of my face as if to hypnotize me. “Shiny.”
“Let’s get the bandit chief, then.” I kneel in front of the body, taking her coin purse and dumping it into my own. I pull a few healing potions off of her, and the scant lockpicks she had even if they were bent. “Eh.” I look down the chamber to the door at the end of the hall, still locked tight. Looks like they haven’t explored yet. I turn around, laying eyes on a dead dwarven spider and a dwemer chest that’s obviously been smashed repeatedly with a hammer. The chest won, as it would look.
“Junk.” Bishop follows my gaze. “Let’s get to Windhelm.”
“Hey Bishop.” My eyes lock on the spider, particularly the cracked soul gem in the top.
“Yes, Ladyship?” He took a step towards the exit.
“Want to go in?”
“No.” He replies immediately.
“I don’t want to die from some trap the dwarves put up. They may have been short, Ladyship, but they’re smart.”
“We can be smart too, you know.” I walk over to the dwarven spider, checking the joints on its legs. Only one is bad; I yank it off in order to disconnect it from the soul gem in the top. I take out a lesser soul gem from my pack, bouncing it in my hand in order to size it up to the one in the spider.
“What are you doing?”
“Making it obvious that I’m from Markarth.” I say finally, popping open the top of the spider and releasing the clamps on its broken soul gem. I plug in one of my own, flipping the top down and waiting.
A slight hum begins from its metal workings, and soon enough steam pours out of its sides like a double sided tea kettle. It orients itself to me, flailing its attacking arms in greeting before turning to Bishop. It does the same, and once done with its ritual, contently stays by my side as I stand up and walk to the chest.
“I’d say something, but it’s vulgar and I don’t know if that thing has ears.” Bishop says finally. I pick the lock on the chest, pulling out a gem and a few ingots. “I don’t care what friends you have, I am not stepping foot in there.” He says finally. “I’ll leave!”
“Excellent.” I look over to him. “Then I won’t have to worry about you moaning during a fight!”
“You’re so cruel, Ladyship.” He sighs.
“In truth, I would rather have you with me.” I turn to him, folding my arms to my chest. “I’m beginning to like the idea of a traveling partner.”
“Yeah? If so, let’s go travel. To Windhelm. For our money.” He jerks his thumb behind his shoulder, motioning with his head. “Out!”
“Hey Bishop, why were the dwarves underground?” Obviously I know why, but it’s best to convince him this way.
“To…dig…and get ore?”
“What kind of ore, Bishop?”
“Corundum and…oh.” He sighs. “Gold.”
“I seem to remember reading a book that this was a gold trading post.” I grin. “Untouched.”
“Alright, let’s go.” He sighs. “My need for gold is higher than my common sense, it seems.”
SirenBlockedJune 4, 2016 at 12:11 pmPost count: 45SirenBlockedJune 4, 2016 at 10:36 pmPost count: 45
- This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by Siren.
“Ow, ow, ow ow.” Bishop comments, wiggling his arm.
“Careful, you big dummy! Quit moving!” I coax, wrapping my arms around his wrist. “Let me heal it!”
“I knew it was a bad idea to go in there! Really!”
“You say that, but we got so much loot!” I say happily. The dwarven post was stocked with gold bars and ingots, along with enough dwarven armor to keep us set for months. Not to mention the odds and ends in the dwarven spiders and spheres. I had collected quite a mass of soul gems, meaning I could enchant this armor. I’ve never been good at enchantments, never really had an eye for them, but I can do a few basic protections. With the gems and gold we found, I can also make some jewelry for us in Windhelm.
“I hate the falmer. If there’s one thing to make my skin crawl, it’s their smushed faces like they can’t understand a joke.” He sighs.
“I know, I know. The snow elves are a bit of a hassle.”
“We had to deal with them, and one of those centurions. At once. In a cave half filled with water. Which you were nearly a hundred feet from.”
“I can’t swim. What happens when I fall in, and you’re not around to fish me out?” I frown, genuinely worried. How have I made it this far anyway? Screw bringing me to Hermaeus Mora’s realm, Miraak could have just shoved me in a bit of water and watched me splash around for a bit before…I don’t know, doing whatever he does. Taking over the world and eating dragon souls or something.
“Then…you drown.” He figures. “Ladyship, I need to teach you how to swim.”
“Yeah. But I don’t see any ponds around, and we’re nearly to Windhelm.” I worm my way to his side, using him to block out the wind. “And remind me to get a decent cloak.”
“Will do.” He grunts, looking over to my cowering figure. “You’re cold?”
“By Oblivion man, are you not!?” I gasp.
“I’ve had worse.” He shrugs.
“What is wr-wrong with you!?”
“Cold is subjective!” He laughs.
“Dear divines it’s bitter…” My teeth chatter. “The sun going down isn’t doing us any favors.”
“We’re not even down the mountain, Princess. Deal with it for a bit longer.” He says, half chuckling.
“My f-fingers are about to f-fall off…” I complain, pulling a resist frost potion out of my pack. I down it, shoving the phial into a pocket and pulling out a half of bread. Next I pull out a cheese wedge, slicing the bread in half and roughly stuffing the cheese inside. With a little bit of fire magic my grilled cheese is gooey and warm, heating up my insides happily.
“God dammit.” Bishop grins, eyes on me. “That’s a good idea.”
“Want one?” I pull out more bread, doing the same for him. In another minute both of us are chomping on piping hot sandwiches, steam filling the cold air around us. “Say, Bishop.”
“How do you stand on this war?”
“I don’t give a skeever’s ass, Ladyship.”
“Mmm.” I mutter, taking another bite.
“Why?” He looks at me. “What, do you feel like you have some stake in that damn war!?”
“No.” I pause, letting him calm down. “But as Dragonborn, I’m going to have to ma-make a choice…right?” I sigh. “I think what Ulfric is doing… hi-his blatant racism for all other races but Nords is a blemish upon Skyrim. But at the same time, the Imperials yield so easily to the Thalmor… I can’t see that going all too well…”
“Then don’t choose!” He laughs out of frustration. “Let them kill each other, and watch from the sidelines. Then, once everything’s done, we can go and pick out their gold. Simple!”
“I c-can’t…feel right doing that.” I sigh, puffing out a cloud of mist. “I feel responsible for this war, somehow. Or at least…I feel I need to contribute, even a bit.”
“Well th-that’s your choice.”
“No, I mean you don’t need to contribute.” His amber eyes flicker to my face, tracing their every feature. “Ladyship, you are the dragonborn. You wage war on the dragons. I don’t see anyone helping you out in that war. You don’t owe them anything.”
“Are you…going to help?” I look to his face. “I won’t blame you if you run.”
“Damn you to Oblivion woman, I don’t care about safety. I’m just trying to live an interesting life.” He takes a chunk out of his food. “Fighting dragons seems pretty damn interesting.”
“If you say so.” I laugh, handing the bottle of mead to him. “I just find it terrifying. They’re all wing and claw. Let them out of your sight and they’re spitting fire at you, so hot it melts your armor to make it cling to your skin.” I shiver. “And they just keep coming.”
“Lighten up, Ladyship.” He scoffs. “We’ll worry about that once we find one.”
“I guess so.” I sigh nervously. “How much farther, Ranger?” I blow warm air into my gauntlets, rubbing them together. It does little to ward away the cold in my fingers.
“A ways.” He sighs. “Think we can set up camp?”
“We can try…” I say, looking around. “Any caves nearby, anything?”
“Afraid not.” He shrugs. “Uttering Hills cave is long behind us.”
“Th-this sucks…” I curse, looking around. I see a sheltered area, right under a cliff face. It’ll have to do. “Over here.”
“Do we have any wood for a fire?” Bishop looks around. “I’ll get some. You get a fire going and set up camp.”
“How am I supposed to make a fire while you’re ge-getting wood to make a fire!?” I ask, but he’s already retreated into the snow. It’s nearly hailing; the snowfall is coming down much heavier than before. I shiver down to my core-the past food is no longer doing much to warm myself. With the numbness in my hands, I can barely feel the soft furs as I pile them above my bedroll. Once they were stacked on, I can’t help but crawl inside to duck away from the cold. I wiggle around inside, trying to do my best to generate heat. As soon as I was getting toasty, I hear Bishop return with the firewood.
“Dammit!” I curse, crawling part way out. No way, my legs are staying in there where they belong.
“Hope you have a bit of magic, Ladyship. I couldn’t find anything dry.” He takes one look at me, rolling his eyes with a smirk. “You look like a slug.”
“I’ll take that if it means keeping warm.” I watch as he piles the wood into a cone, and with all my might I blast the logs with as much fire as I can manage. Finally, after I’ve nearly depleted my magic, it ignites and begins to blink with fire. “Thank the nine…” I sigh. Out of the corner of my eye I see Bishop grab his bed roll, and I fight an internal desire.
Personal space heater, or getting my own bed. Heat, or space? Heat and space? Space or Heat? Space heat. Space heater. Which he is. Get over here, Ranger.
“Come over here. I’m going to freeze even with the fire.” I motion to the bedroll, undoing the hooks on the sides to make it bigger. “Bring yours over, we can overlap to make one big one.”
“What, are you suggesting something?” Bishop grins, poking the fire with a twig.
“Yeah, I’m suggesting you get over here so I don’t freeze my ass off.” I huff, my cheeks slightly warming up. In the cold, he can’t see me blush. “You’re a free heat source, and I intend to use it.”
“Well, I definitely don’t want your ass to freeze off. I quite like it.” He grins even wider at my struggle. I want to reject him now; revoke the invitation. But I am really cold.
“Grope me and lose something.” I warn, still opening the flap to the bedroll.
“Alright Ladyship…I’ll behave.” He walks over, wiping his hands off. “For tonight, at least.”
“Good enough.” I confirm, letting him drag over his sleeping roll and unbutton the sides to join it with mine. He clambers into the double roll, settling down beside me while using his arm as a pillow like some unnatural heathen.
“That’s going to fall asleep, and when it does, you’ll be sorry.” I mutter.
“I’ll be fine.” He looks down to me buried under the covers. “You, on the other hand, might suffocate.”
“No!” I realize how stuffy it is, sliding up to about his shoulder level. “Maybe!” I immediately regret this decision as the frost nips at my nose again. I wrap my hands around my poor face, doing my best to forget about the cold and get some rest. First I tuck my face into my shirt, then my shirt around my face. Next is to try lying face down, and that didn’t work for obvious reasons.
“For the love of…” Bishop mutters, and an arm wraps around my shoulders. He pulls me in closer to him, letting me tuck my face into the crook of his shoulder.
“Warm…” I say blissfully.
“Shut up and go to sleep.” He sighs.
SirenBlockedJune 5, 2016 at 9:45 pmPost count: 45
- This reply was modified 2 years, 10 months ago by Siren.
A/N: No clue what’s up with the forum text format all of a sudden, but I hope the text isn’t two small or anything.
“Ladyship…” Bishop calls to me, softly tapping my arm.
“Hmmmmmmmmmm?” I say sleepily, opening my eyes slowly. “Bishop?”
“Who else would it be?” He raises an eyebrow. “You sleep with a lot of guys?”
“No.” I roll back over, pressing my back into his chest and tucking my nose under the covers. “Just making sure you’re still there.”
“What, are you thinking I’m a figment of your highly stupid brain?”
“No, but now that you’ve said it, it certainly is a possibility.” I close my eyes again, willing myself back to sleep.
“If I wasn’t real, could I do this?” He reaches down to my sides, tickling me under the covers. I squeal, wiggling myself around in the bedroll to try to get away from him.
“Stoppit!” I urge, trying to catch his hands. “Stoppit! Ha! That tickles!”
“That’s what I’m doing, ladyship.” Bishop rolls his eyes. I move to kick him in the stomach to make him stop, but he senses the motion and catches my poor foot. “More fodder!” He chuckles, switching to tickling my toes. “That just made it worse for you.”
“Staaaaahppppp!” I spasm, pushing off his hand and bucking out of the bedroll. “Cold!” I exclaim, scrambling to my feet. “Agh!” I ignite the remnants of last night’s fire, clearing a spot in the snow and sticking my bare feet near the flames.
“How have you been adventuring for this long and not been in the cold?” Bishop crouches to the fire next to me, tugging his armor over his tunic.
“Because I used to have a cloak…” I shiver. “Dragon burned it off of me. I forgot to get one in Riverwood, and here we are.”
“What if you cast a…flame cloak or something on yourself?” Bishop unhooked his bedroll, packing our things back up.
“Then every time you got too close, you’d burn. And I’d be exhausted by the time we got to Windhelm.” I pull my boots to me, sticking them on my feet. I tug my armor on over my smallclothes, sighing as I recover the security the armor brings. I always feel so vulnerable without it. “Casting spells takes a lot out of me. I’m a bit of a failure of a Breton.” I grin.
“Doing well enough with the healing.” Bishop quips, watching me buckle my armor. “Ready to go, Ladyship?”
“I…think?” I look around. “Not to be paranoid, but does this kinda seem odd to you?”
“What seem odd, the armor? You look fine.” He stamps out the fire.
“No…just today in general. It just feels wrong.” I look around. The snowstorm from last night had stopped, replacing the world with just fresh, open silence. A pale blue sky above us, although charming, made me feel more uneasy.
“I don’t see why, today’s a good day for travelling. Let’s get going.” He takes me by the arm, tugging me in the direction of Windhelm. “Let’s go.”
“There’s a dragon nearby.” I snap, looking him in the eyes. “Not too close, but it’s around.”
He bit his lip, looking up at the skies.
“Let’s get to Windhelm before he shows his ugly mug, then.” He says at last.
“What if it attacks people?” I look up. “We gotta find it.”
“What is it going to attack around here!? All it can blast is some snow trolls and an odd pair of bandits who deserve their fate. Quit being so righteous; not everyone needs you!”
“But what if they do…” I whine, eventually following him down the mountain.
“Then too bad! The Dragonborn has more important things to do than protect the weak like some sort of world bodyguard.” He sighs. “I’m going to knock some sense into you if you try and run off, by the way.”
“I won’t, I won’t. I’ll be good.” I huff, pressing into his side for warmth.
“Finally! Walls!” I exclaim, running forward to the bridge. The stone pillars block the chilling wind from me, earning a sigh of relief. Bishop catches up with a scowl to the nearby guards, who took to eyeing me oddly. At our approach one says something to the gatekeeper and disappears into the city.
“They’re warning Ulfric.” He mutters, his eyes glaring at the cold walls of Windhelm. The icy winds whip at the torn flags up on the buttresses above the bridge walls, covering the city in a sinister cowl. You can feel the tension in the air; the Dragonborn has arrived, and whether or not she is friend or foe is yet to be seen.
“Jokes on them. All I’m here for is to collect some money.” I pause, looking to Bishop. “Hey. In all honesty, I’m not a very badass Dragonborn when I don’t need to be.”
“Correct.” He nods slightly, not breaking eye contact with the gate.
“Well Bishop, this is one of those times when I need to be. So even if I spout straight bull, just go with it. Okay?”
“I don’t know Ladyship…” A grin appears on his face as he looks over to me.
“Bishop.” I say softly. Once he realizes the seriousness in my tone he nods, patting me on the back.
“As my lady commands.” He looks back to the gate, where the guard has reappeared.
He-or she, rather, stands stoic at the gates, waiting for us to arrive.
“What, are you suddenly quarantined like Whiterun was?” I ask jokingly, narrowing my gaze. “I have business with the Jarl’s steward. Let me through.”
“And who are you?” She asks, searching my face.
“Rowan. The Dragonborn.” I glare at her with my frosted gaze, ensuring she opens the doors for us both. I walk inside, keeping my glare the same.
“That…is certainly a different face, Ladyship. Reminds me of when we first met.” He responds. “It gives even me the shakes.”
“Although I may seem like a push over to you, Bishop, I do speak with the authority of a dragon.” I sigh. “You may think otherwise, but I can still fight. Although you may see me struggle, It’s unlikely I’ll die. If I’m ever cornered I usually black out and find everything in ruins.”
“Well aren’t you just full of surprises.”
“More like survival instinct.” I scoff. “It’s terrifying. If that ever happens, run. I don’t know if I’d hurt you or not.”
“Ladyship, are you a werewolf?”
“No. I got possessed by a daedra once and haven’t been the same.” I scratch my neck, sensing the awkward topic. “It messed with my noggin a bit, if that makes any sense. The person I was with, some warrior hothead by the name of Benor, ran out on me halfway through. So when the thing got into my mind I was tired, injured, sleep-deprived, and most convenient of all, alone.”
“So a daedra got into your brain, and controlled you for a bit.” He raised an eyebrow, completely unbelieving.
“Yeah…” I pause, remembering the event. “I woke up once we reached the sunlight. I had been afflicted with vampirism at the time, so the pain snapped me out of it.”
“Princess, if that is an everyday occurrence, I sincerely pity your life.” He crossed his arms loosely as we walked, throwing murderous glances at the townsfolk.
“Well, it was pretty helpful, really. It’s saved me a few times.” I look up at the sky, still a pale blue without any clouds. “I don’t think he’s in me anymore; I got the Vigilants of Stendarr to clean me up, but on the bright side the blackouts help me not to die…”
“Isn’t that just neat.” He snorts. “And I’m a spriggan, did you know?”
“You really don’t believe me?”
“No. No I don’t.” Bishop states flatly. “Perhaps once I’ve seen some proof. Of both daedra and this instinct of yours.”
“You aren’t religious, are you?” I giggle. “That makes sense.”
“No! And what have the aedra or daedra ever done for me? Nothing! I’ve never seen them, heard them, or felt them. If you have any logic in that brain of yours, it means they’re not real.”
“Bishop, I’ve met several.” I scoff. “Mainly the daedric princes. Sheogorath, Azura, and Hermaeus Mora are the most recent.”
“And how do you intend to prove this?”
“Exactly.” He shakes his head. “That’s what they all say.”
“Will this convince you?” I bring out Azura’s star out of my pocket. It had certainly been a pain to fix. Kicking someone’s soul out of a soul gem is quite a task. I had been in a fire shoot out with Malen Varyn for at least six hours while I was trying to…evict him, in a sense. It still held its radiant light; after it had been cleansed it still glows with a brightness of a dull torch, and no matter where I am it’s forever warm to the touch. In truth I actually tuck it between my bag and tunic as a poor man’s hand warmer, but I’m not telling Bishop that.
“Ladyship, did a daedra give this to you?” He turns it in his hands.
“Yup.” I nod, taking it back from him and tucking it back in my bag.
“Did you consume any sleeping tree sap before this exchange?” He says with false sweetness.
“Oh bite me, no, I didn’t. Azura gave it to me for repairing it.”
“Not some khajit with a white face, or a drunk orc who had a crazy mage friend?”
“Bishop, I don’t care if you believe me.” I look at the incoming entrance of the Palace of the Kings. I sigh, rubbing my hands over my face before looking up, willing my steely-eyed gaze back to my countenance. Fake it ‘till you make it would not be a misplaced saying for what I’m about to do.
“Well Ulfric, I see you’re still faring well.” My eyes gaze to the shaggy man sitting on the throne, his head propped up by his fist. His blond hair was smoothed back into a braid, falling onto the bearskin vest draped around his shoulders. As advertised, his nordic clothes and hunting boots make him the epitome of the race.
“The arrival of the Dragonborn,” He says, his voice carrying throughout the hall, “in these troubled times is a welcome sight. And to what do I owe this unexpected campaign?”
“I have business with your steward. I seem to remember there being a price on the bandit leader’s head in Ralbthar.” I pull out the simple silver necklace I found in her coinpurse, a family crest inscribed on the locket. “I intend to collect.”
“Yes.” Ulfric nodded slowly. “I’ve heard you’ve been roaming Skyrim. From the Silver-Blood family, no less.”
“Interesting. Tell them to keep their brown noses out of my business and put it back into being rich snobs where they belong.” I smile sweetly. “Cidhna mine would crumble if it wasn’t for their sheer arrogance holding it up!”
“I will speak no ill of the Silver Bloods.” Ulfric pauses, slightly taken aback by the ferocity in my tone. “But although you may not have business with me, I have business with you.”
“I’m assuming it’s of the state of this…civil war, is it not?”
“You catch on quickly, Dragonborn.” He pauses, glancing me over. I stand firmly planted, my legs shoulder-width apart, ready for any trouble. The various collection of Ulfric’s advisors and supporters litter the grand table in the middle, each eyeing me curiously as if I was a relic. Several brandish things larger than a dagger. I brush the hair that had fallen out of my ponytail back, tucking it behind my ear. I may hate this damned scar, but it does help to impress. “Do we, or do we not have your sword in the coming armed conflicts?”
I pause, mulling the question over. Bishop’s words echo through my head. He was right; this war wasn’t mine. I had other business to deal with. They can squabble all they wish, but in truth, deep down I know this country will forever stand the test of time, and a simple civil war can’t change that. The Talos statues will stay, and the presence of Imperials will never waver. Some blood will be shed, yes, but this nation won’t topple due to lack of my help.
“Well, Jarl.” I formulate the words. “I will not raise my bow for your cause. I wish to remain like Whiterun and keep neutral in the matter.“ The look of pure shock on the Jarl’s face was amazing. “That being said; if the imperials ever get some gigantic flying wyverns, send a courier. Then, and only then, will it be my fight.”
With those last words, I turn and drag the stunned Bishop down the hall to our left, seeking out the Steward.
“Jorleif! Come out!” My call echoes down the cold, stone hallways. At my cry a man’s head pokes out of a doorway, cracking open the door. His stringy mustache is dewy with mead, and despite my self control I let out a slight sigh. Drunk.
“Huh? Yes! Dragonborn! To what do I ow-”
“I killed the bandits in Ralbthar and need my money.” I say before he can finish.
“Oh, uh…” At his words I hold up the necklace.
“Here’s proof.” I finish.
“…Alright, a hundred gold, then.” He disappears into his room, only to reappear and toss me a bag of coins. “There you are. Count it if you must, but I would never shortchange you.”
“I’ll take your word.” I bow shallowly, walking back down the hall. “Let’s get out of here, fast.” I mutter to Bishop.
“I just made a really powerful enemy, didn’t I?” I ask once we get outside. I begin walking towards the forges, ready to make some jewelry to enchant.
“You did. But…I think he respects you a bit.” He looks to me, meeting my gaze. “I’d be more concerned by the slander to the Silver-Bloods.”
“He has direct contact with the family, I know.” I sigh. “But I’ll shout their name in a string of curses on top of the Throat of the World, really. I hate them to my very core. Bishop, I despise two things; sell-swords and the Silver Bloods. Oddly enough both have no respect for the beliefs of other people, and will do the unspeakable for a few septims.” Bishop shifts uncomfortably.
“So where are we going?” He asks, looking to the black walls. “This place is a damn maze!”
“I agree.” I take him to the blacksmith, warming my hands on the forge. He’s gone, and the general rule in the country is leave it like you found it. That’s one thing I love; sharing is a common theme for many of the facilities in Skyrim. For some reason it’s quite touching, in a way.
“What are you going to forge?” Bishop asks, sitting on the wall and watching me with an unwavering gaze.
“Some jewelry with the gold we found. I can enchant it. If you’re insistent on traveling with me, I may as well make sure you’ve got the best I can give you.” I load the gold into the smelter, busying myself with pouring the gems into my palm. Two diamonds, a garnet, and a sapphire tumble out.
“Pretty.” Bishop comments from the wall.
“I know.” I breathe. “The dwarves did a good job cutting them.”
“Wasn’t talking about the gems.” He crosses his legs. “But good try.”
“What?” I look up at him, suddenly realizing the gold has melted. I ready the ring molds, locking them over the forge, and pour the gold out of the smelter basin. I wait, letting the gold flow into every crevasse of the mold, and slowly cooling it down to where I can eventually let it cool in the open air. With a lockpick I scoop up the slag that has formed on top, leaving only a honied gold color inside. I take them out of the forge, setting them up on the anvil.
“Shouldn’t take long to cool. It’s cold enough.” I comment, looking up. The dragon had gone; clouds had again begun to form on the sky. Crisis avoided.
I set to making the necklaces, popping more gold into the smelter. Every time I wander away from the forge, my skin begins to freeze again. I’ve still forgotten to buy a cloak.
“It’s not going to be done before tonight.” I say finally. “Bishop, can you go down to the merchant and buy me a cloak? I’ll give you extra money so you can buy mead afterwards.”
“What supplies do we need?” He hops down from the wall, waiting in front of me.
“Uh…” I look up at his rugged face, trying to remember the words. I eventually just close my eyes, knowing full well he’s grinning. “More food, definitely. The cloak, some salt for curing…there’s a potion shop here so I’ll go there in a bit…oh! Any spellbooks if he has them, especially if they’re conjuration. I already know the sword one. And no restoration ones; I’ve read them all. Arrows, but I can always forge some.”
“Why don’t I just buy the entire shop?” Bishop takes the gold I present to him. “Sure sounds like I’m going to.”
“Sorry. I just always feel so unprepared for some reason…” I look back to the smelter, hauling the basin out of the opening. “‘Scuse me.”
“Be careful, Ladyship.” Bishop walks away in search of the grey quarter. “Who knows what’s lurking behind these walls.”
“You know what I mean.”
“Quit trying to be dramatic. If you hear an angry dragon voice and the sound of someone getting blasted into the wall, you’ll know there’s trouble.” I give him a grin, flashing my teeth. “Go now! And make sure you save some mead for me once you reach Candlehearth hall!”
“Will do.” He grumbles, wandering off.
- This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by Siren.
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