SirenBlockedJuly 22, 2016 at 1:57 pmPost count: 45
“And we’re back!” I say at last, heading up to the long table and nestling myself between Cael and Vec. He actually beat me by power walking, as I soon became distracted by some nirnroots growing at a river we passed.
“I see you made a friend, Vec.” Cael comments, looking over to the boy.
“He does a good job at eating bugs!” Vec says, pleased.
“Should we get the dartwing a jar?” I tease.
“No.” Vec glares. I flip my hands up in response to the sudden aggression, doing my best to show I was joking.
“Kidding, kidding!” I laugh, noticing how the dartwing now looks at me oddly with its crystalline eyes. “Just as long as it doesn’t fly into my mouth when I sleep, we’ll be okay.” I tilt back my bottle, downing the mead and setting it behind me as I finish it.
“Rawa, I think your drinking habit borders on alcoholism.” Cael points out, keeping me from taking another bottle.
“Probably for someone normal.” I scoff. “It’d take much more than a few bottles to get me buzzed now.” I sigh regretfully.
“I suppose being immune to strong poisons has its benefits.” He observes, tilting his head back and gazing to the mid-afternoon sky. A few clouds lazily roll overhead like delicate muslin fabric, gregarious for now but threatening for light rain later.
“I am? What?” I look down to my stomach, as if that’s going to help. “Wait…Cael…How do you know?”
Well then. Vec all of a sudden becomes very interested in the sky, and the rest of the crowd who were previously chatting at the table freeze as if time has stopped. Cael shifts awkwardly, propping his head on his elbow as he ponders what to tell me. The truth, I’d hope.
Do I lie to her? The powerful dragonborn, being fooled by my own words? Can I even bring myself to tell her something false? Though if I don’t; if I tell her the truth, will she leave? Perhaps stare into my soul with that frozen gaze of hers, wondering if my soul is worth taking? If I were to die, having it at her hands wouldn’t be so bad.
I have to say something. She can’t know; suppressing her past is of the utmost importance if he wishes for her to stay. Tell her about what she was doing before this, and she’ll skip away out of his grasp. Lie to her, and she’ll burn me away and return to the darkness; out of my grasp and back to the one who is only capable of hurting her.
The dark one…he never did say his name, but I know why he was traveling with her. Bounty papers, wedged between the leather in his pack. Even if he no longer wishes for it, that motivation still leers from the surface of his character. He was willing to sell Rowan out; to bring her to those who wish for her destruction, and yet he feels comfortable by her side? How long until he becomes angered, infuriated, confused-and goes through on the old plans?
I can’t lie to her, but he can tell her the truth. A very limited, very warped truth.
“You….did not fall off your horse, Rawa.” I pause. “You were shot by one of our brothers, and slipped asleep. Though it took you some time, so I had a pretty good idea that you were accustomed to potions.”
“Why did you tell me I fell?” She meets my gaze, and I feel the ice take hold of my thoughts. Of course one such as her can do this. Even I, a chief that I’ve thought can handle anything, cannot even meet her stare.
“We figured you would wish for revenge if we informed you where you acquired your injuries…” I look down to the table.
“No, but the truth would have been nice.” Rawa gets up from the table, staring off into the distance past the rest of us, and walking away, without another word. “I need to mix the mushrooms with the ice wraith teeth before they dry up.” She excuses herself, and walks away.
“That went well.” Fligg says from beside me. “No really, that could have gone much worse.”
“Right.” I sigh, looking up. “Well, I didn’t expect this to go easily.”
“I’ll just…eh…” Vec gets up to follow her, but I set my hand on his shoulder and sit him back down. I’ll go after her myself.
“Let me go.” I stand up, adjusting the bow on my back. Where has my sparrow gone? There can only be so many places. Her tent? No; she’s not some upset little girl. The alchemy lab? Too obvious. She’s probably out in the hills somewhere, picking more ingredients and thinking as I’ve found her doing so many times before. Rawa-no. Rowan is smart, and no matter what words I says to her, there’s no way I can take away the distrust she holds. I can only try and prove to her I mean her no harm.
I was correct about the hills. The Old Gods must smile upon her; letting her sleep peacefully in their lands. Despite what the old chieftains say, I believe they prefer one such as her over themselves. I can see her bag on one of the small ledges, indicating she’s asleep under it. Sure enough, she’s softly snoozing under the grassy outcropping, her hand crossed under her head.
Defenseless? Not in the slightest. Fire runes surround her sleeping form, protecting her even as she’s asleep. There’s nearly eight of them…it would appear Magnus has blessed her with an adept magic gift.
Someone with less skill than I would find themselves up in a pillar of flames. As for me, it’s little problem than to vault over the rune to in front of her.
Her eyes flicker open instantly, and a sword forms in her palm, pointed at my vitals. Sparrow is apparently a light sleeper.
“Oh, just you.” She sighs, settling back in. “Let me get those for you.” She releases her invisible tie to the runes, letting them fade into the ground and allowing me to safely use my feet.
“Just me.” I reply, sitting down next to her. “You’re a ways out.”
“It’s the only place I can nap without Vec trying to steal the food out of my pouch.” She explains, sitting up. Despite it being midday, she gives out a short yawn, rubbing her eyes and propping herself up by her arm as her eyes wander to me, void of displeasure to my relief.
“He’s an interesting boy, isn’t he?” I chuckle, remembering the teenage companion. He actually was a bit like her; alone and unique.
“He’s not from this village, is he?” Rowan asks, patting the ground next to her so I can sit.
“No…” I settle down next to her, crossing my legs under me so I can look at her while I speak. She’s older than me, that assumption of hers was correct. Twenty two years old, with more experience about the world I could only dream of. I know of my people and our ways; the rest is lost knowledge to me. Yet she, a young girl from Markarth, knows more about the entirety of Tamriel than I, a chief.
I’ve never been enchanted by a woman before. Due to my rank, I could choose from any woman he wished from the village, or even from the other forsworn settlements if I gave the word. Though I just haven’t felt any sort of connection between me and the fairer sex…until her. It’s true she appears to be somewhat of a disappointment-that is, until you actually hold a conversation with her or watch her in battle.
She’s not narcissistic, and prefers to quietly do her work as best as she can for no recognition. When I heard of the Dragonborn, he expected a hero who would stand atop the corpse of a dragon and bellow at the world to test them. She, on the other hand, takes on the dragon and quietly slips away to catch more of her kin. No loud curses, no challenging others to fight her, no trying to use her status with the divines as a crutch in the mortal realm. She doesn’t try to play a God, or gain wealth and fortune off of her skills.
Like a sparrow. Small and plain, until you hear it sing. And once you’ve been entranced by it, once you only wish to listen to that bird forever, it slips away. I remember wandering in the forest when I was a boy, wondering where the source of the notes were coming from, only to see only the chestnut trees and viridian foliage around me. It took careful observation to finally see the russet colored birds twittering to each other on the branches, content with the way they are. And after that much searching, they seemed to fly away without me just as I had begun to appreciate them fully.
Rowan, the sparrow. It suits her nicely.
“Where is Vec from, then?” She finally asks, staring into the expansion of the rolling hills. An elk runs a ways off, pausing in the shade of a Juniper tree and staring to the expanse of bluish dots among the green. After a brief pause of studying the elk wanders off again.
“You may not remember this, but I’m sure that before your memory loss you had heard of this. It had taken us many years, but after a long struggle, we finally overtook Markarth for ourselves again. Of course, the stories are not much like what the Silver-Bloods or the nobility of Tamriel speak of it. We did not burn houses or slaughter villagers, we just sat in our ancestral home and celebrated. Until the Imperial army came to displace us again. They are the ones who took to barbary, and Vec is one of the lone survivors of that crusade.” I sit, remembering the dark day my people lost their hope yet again. It felt hopeless after that, and not long after I found my people were so angered by the events they could have charged into Markarth themselves. It was like a child dangling food in front of an animal, only to yank it away; soon the animal becomes enraged and uncontrollable.
That event caused the cataclysmic fall of the Forsworn, bringing this age of violence and resentment. We no longer wished to take our home back; now it seemed Madanach and the other Chieftains wish to burn down the Reach with us in it, just to spite everyone who took it from us.
“Your people do have it rough.” She leans backs, looking at the clouds roll overhead. “And through it all, you’re still a nice person, Cael.”
“I wouldn’t go that far. I’m just the only Chieftain who hasn’t lost their head to an old dream.” I sigh, thinking of the angry ring of briarhearts and elders who I deal with.
“Kind, and you also don’t give yourself enough credit, Cael.” She looks back to me, staring into my eyes with that piercing gaze she has. The daytime is warm, but I still feel a tinge of rushing coolness sweep over me with her gaze as she reads me like a tome. It’s not unpleasant; the feeling is actually great. “You’re the reason the two of us are alive, aren’t you?” She says, cracking out the smile I’ve become mesmerized by. I’ve only caught glimpses of it over the past weeks, when she’s speaking to Vec about potions, when she wakes in the morning and she greets the sun, and that rare time at me, on the night of the feast.
“Rawa…” I feel my face switch to a warm tinge, threatening to make me look like some lovestruck teen. She’s absolutely beautiful; in each and every way. Humble, strong, forgiving, grateful…I can’t stand it. Rawa is so close to me, yet I feel the need to touch her…
…and I give in to that desire. I sweep her into my arms, falling backwards on accident with my urgency. She crashes into my chest with a small giggle, that smile still present on her face.
“Well now.” She looks down to me. Only now do I realize her face is as red as the berries of the tree she’s named for.
“Stay here forever, Rawa. I don’t know if I can stand not having you here.” I say, trying to control the emotion in my voice, which by now is nearly trembling. What did I do before she was here? I was so alone before. Alone in an entire village. My rank forbade me to get close to anyone in particular, and then she shows up. This breton, filled with raw unbridled power, as graceful as the goddess herself.
“I can’t even remember where I was going. You think I’ll just wander away in the night, and leave you behind?”
I raise myself up high enough to take her lips with mine. She just said she’d stay, but regardless I feel as if she’ll disappear any minute, back to the realm of whatever divine sent her. As if she senses my anxiety, she slowly calms me down, pushing back just as readily as me and with a slow rhythm, without fail.
We pull away, and without a word she settles beside me, contouring my body and pillowing herself with her arm.
“I’d say we have about an hour until Vec finds us.” She says with a grin. “Feeling sleepy?”
“Sounds good.” I grin to myself, crossing my arms behind me and shutting my eyes, pleased to feel her heat pressed to me.
Purewater run. Back here, yet again, with the stupid nirnroots. Karnwyr led him this far, but he doesn’t need to go any closer because Bishop knows where she is now. In the forsworn village, not three hundred yards from him. He’s going to scout it out after dark, and see if he can find any sign of his Ladyship. She can’t be hidden out of sight; that’s impossible for around here. So where could she be stashed…
Nightfall doesn’t come as quickly as he’d like. The sun dips lazily below the horizon, casting shadows that only reminded him how alone he really was. Karnwyr was off chasing the foxes and rabbits of the reach, leaving him here to brood on his revenge driven plan. Get near the village of savages, see if they have Rowan, try to get her out.
He creeps up to the lower platform, searching amongst the scanty clothing for a set of dragon scale armor. Would she still be wearing it? Did they confiscate it from her? It wasn’t in her things. Okay, maybe he should look for blonde hair. He scans the tops of the heads all milling about, unaware of his presence behind a pair of boulders not fifteen feet away.
The guy from the cave, Cael, walks in his vision, making his blood boil. Just watching him descend the stairs, a grin on his face, made Bishop’s vision red tinted and distorted as his body shook with rage. Oh how much he wished he could plant and arrow in that smug face of his. Who is beside him?
He didn’t even recognize her at first. The Rowan he knew had been replaced by a forsworn that looked just like her. Her hair, usually pulled back in a sloppy braid or a ponytail now swung around her shoulder and was sitting on her collarbone neatly. She wore the usual forsworn dress of a hide half tunic and a loose skirt, adorned with feathers and belts housing whatever sick gear they chose to carry. Her clothes weren’t armored like the others wore, she looked like one of the common forsworn and didn’t even carry a bow or dagger. What was she? If they converted her, wouldn’t she be used exclusively as a warrior? What was going on?
She wasn’t being bound and gagged as he had first pictured. She walked close to Cael’s side, another dopey looking man following behind and chipping into the conversation at intervals. That damned forsworn…an arm is hooked around Rowan’s waist as they walk, and of course she’s completely oblivious about it. Quit touching her! Even he can’t touch her like that! In her usual fashion, she’s too busy gabbing about potions to notice. After a few words she handed Cael a potion, letting him inspect it carefully before giving it a sniff. At her insistence he drinks it, looking around.
Bishop recognized the potion. It was for stealth; it gave the user the ability to see in the dark.
He was in full view. He hit the ground as fast as he could, fully aware the forsworn’s eyes had drifted towards his figure pressed against the rocks before. Gods damn it Rowan, you’re making this difficult…
Through the cracks in the boulder, he saw them part, lingering there for what seemed like minutes. Cael seemed like he was torn between leaving her and staying, but thank the gods for his rank, because he soon parts with her. Cael took his leave and went to the massive tent in the middle, the chieftain prick. Rowan’s tent was off to the side, seemingly put up just recently. Probably was. It’d be easy to sneak up to the side and grab her; that boy, barely old enough to be considered a man, sleeps in the tent beside her so hard he could be mistaken for a snoring troll.
A wave of relief washed over him as he sat and waited for the forsworn to settle into sleep; Rowan was okay. Rowan was alive and well. The two of them could leave together tonight. They could be halfway to Whiterun by the time that forsworn Chief even woke up.
So he waited, and waited, and waited more. After he finally heard the snoring of multiple forsworn he decided it was time to act. He slithered to her tent, hearing her sleeping peacefully not even a foot beside him. He peeks out into the middle, thankful the forsworn on watch aren’t over at the common area. He swings into Rowan’s tent, exhaling the breath he’s been holding as he sees her peacefully asleep on the pile of straw. Now to get her out of here…
She can’t scream, that’d immediately blow it. He has nothing to put her to sleep to carry her away, plus she’d probably shout him into Oblivion if he even dreamed of doing that. So he’ll have to wake her up, like so…
He covers her mouth, immediately getting a reaction out of Rowan as she snaps awake and begins to struggle, looking to Bishop with wide eyes. Now then…
SirenBlockedJuly 25, 2016 at 4:10 pmPost count: 45
- This reply was modified 2 years, 8 months ago by Siren.
“Hush, Rowan, it’s okay. Let’s get out of here before they wake up…” The man soothes, pulling me to my knees. Who is this guy!? He’s acting like he knows me, and there’s no blade to my throat, which calms me slightly. Somewhere deep down I knew I couldn’t hide for long; but is he friend or foe?
A heavy night of drinking, and I can barely think straight. Everyone else is drunk off their asses; I can hear many snores erupting from different parts of the camp. Barely anyone made it down into the common area; most fell asleep at the grand table or around there.
“Who are you?!” Why did I ask that. He’ll totally lie. Let’s see his face for myself…I summon a candlelight out of my palm, resting my eyes on his face. He’s speechless, wide-eyed, and searching for the right words to reply to me. I’m too busy trying to calm my racing heart…
He’s handsome, but in a rugged way. I couldn’t pin the title ‘pretty boy’ on him even if you paid me money. A scar ran vertically up the corner of his mouth, creating a gap in his stubble. His hair was messy and wild, sweeping out in front of him in jagged locks. His muscles were lean and sturdy, obviously created over trial rather than forced for looks. Did she know this man? Or was he trying to get at her, just as others were doing?
“What? Rowan…quit messing around. And turn off that light! You’ll wake everyone up!” He hisses, trying to pull me out of my tent. I sit adamantly, unsure whether or not to follow him. What do I do!?
“No…I really don’t…” I pause, frozen solid by the look of pure shock written on his face. He stares at me with a dumbfounded look at first, that then changes to a look of confusion and pondering.
“You don’t what?” He says finally.
“I don’t…remember you.” I try and form the right words. Is he trying to trick me? Did I know him? How can I be sure? I’m currently just a girl who’s lost her memory; I can’t run off with any guy who says they know me. Besides, my past no longer matters. “I don’t remember anything. Can you prove that you knew me?”
“You don’t remember me? It’s Bishop! Ah…Proof…ah…” He looks down to himself, settling on the pendant tucked into his armor. He brings it out in his palm, angling it so it shimmers in the light. It’s enchanted with a resist poison; the purplish green frosted tinge tells me that much. It houses a cut diamond, swept up and pressed against a caricature of a wolf.
“You made this for me…” He pulls off his ring, putting it in my palm to inspect. “You made that for me too.”
“Were we married?” I scoff, turning it over. “I seemed to make you a lot of things.”
“They’ve saved me once or twice.” He admits, looking to my face. “Anything?”
“No…” I shake my head sadly. No dice. “I can remember a bit from a really long time ago… but not a thing from the past few years.”
“What can you remember?”
“Walking with a wagon from High Rock.”
“That’s when you came from Markarth.” He says adamantly, thinking. “That’s as far back as you can remember?”
“It’s all I have to go on. I’m slowly piecing together some really old things, like when I learned magic, but…”
“You really don’t remember my face?” He reaches out and cups my chin, tugging my face down to look at him. He looks…sad?
“I don’t…I’m sorry, I don’t remember anything.” I shake my head. “You said my name was Rowan?”
“Wait, what do they call you here!?” He says, almost raising his voice. At his mistake he puts it back to a whisper, cursing at himself softly.
“Rawa.” I pause. “Wow, that’s…pretty close to my normal name.” My eyes drift to the rest of him as I squint in the bright light. He looks a bit… I don’t know, bandit-ish? Bounty Hunter?
“They already know who you are, Rowan.” He pauses. “I don’t know what they want from you, but it’s bad. Don’t trust them-especially the blond one. He’s not who he seems. He’s lying to you-they know who you are.”
“You say that, but…I don’t know if I can trust you eith-” Before I can even finish my sentence I’m pulled up to my feet and hauled away from the man, a strong arm wrapped around my waist and shoulders.
“You…” Bishop growls.
“Cael?” I look up at the man holding me tightly. He’s angry; infuriated, actually. I’ve never seen him get upset, let alone this mad.
“I believe I told you never to return, Dark One.” Cael says bitterly, still trying to keep his calm complexion. “And I’m sure I outlined the consequences of doing so.”
“I was never one for rules. Sorry kid.” Bishop looks to me, completely stunned by the two. Who is this guy!? I don’t understand! What’s going on!? “Come on, Princess. Time to go; get away from the savage and let’s get out of here!”
“She’s smart enough to not go with a bounty hunter like you, Dark One.” Cael says, still keeping a firm grip on me.
Bishop visibly winces, pausing. He said the B word.
I tense up immediately at the words. Bounty hunter!? I knew he looked like it…but why is he after me? What did I DO in my former life? No, you know what? I don’t even want to know. I was probably some mass murderer or something. I’m perfectly fine with taking the life of another, surely that’s a sign something’s wrong? Skyrim put a bounty on my head? That’s why I was rushing across these lands; someone was probably chasing me for this stupid bounty. It was compelling enough for this guy to try and kidnap me in the night, why wouldn’t they chase me a bit?
“Stop spouting shit, savage! Let her go!”
Savage!? He’s the savage! Between him and Cael, there’s no contest on who is the better man here. The bounty hunter, or my savior? That’s an easy choice.
My twin swords light up in my hands, and I firmly grip the oblivion-bounded hilt.
“Leave, or I’ll make you wish you never said a word.” I step forward from Cael’s grasp, ready to rip this man apart. “I swear to the Gods, if you say one more lie…”
“They’re brainwashing you, Rowan! I’m telling you, you’re wrong!” He growls, pulling back an arrow and aiming it precariously at Cael.
“What, so you’re not a bounty hunter?” I accuse. “You winced! I saw you!”
He’s losing his temper as well; both of us are about to be at each other’s throats. Cael is still speechless behind me. He’s still seething mad, as far as I can tell.
“You can’t fool her with your lies, Dark one.” Cael finally says, edging up to where I am. He has his own arrow drawn and aimed at Bishop.
So the square off continues.
“Cael, let me fight him.” I growl. “I remember something… I hate bounty hunters and mercenaries alike.”
“Be careful, Sparrow. He will whisper lies to you.” Cael warns, leaving me to my own craft.
I hate this man.
A liar, a bounty hunter, and he hurls the word ‘savage’ like it’s an official title. I can’t stand him; I can’t stand him!
Ḭ̸ ̃ͤ̒ͥ͟c͕̘͎̝͉̑͜a̻̝̿͊͊̉n̗̖̮͖̼̦̠̒͑́’̫̻̣͈̩̼ͧ͑̐̄ͨͩ͌ͅtͭ ̛͉̺̭ͪ́̿̾s̡̹͙̥͇̰͍̎̆t̻̥a͎͍͔͙͈̫͙̍̈ņ̰̙̗͙̦̗ͨ͌̿̓̏̍̚d͍̠͉̳͎͉ͪͤͩ̌̿͗̐ h̭̗̤̀ĭ̞̺͇̞͞m̧̜̫̻̺͖̻̦̃!̜̹̩̰̜̥ͧ͛̾̋̃ͬ̌
“I’m telling you, Rowan, I’m not lying…” My gaze unnerves him, breaking into that exterior of his. He’s not a good man, that much is evident by my stare. “You’re making a mistake!”
“Am I?” I ask, whisking my blades behind me. “Am I really? You’ve never wanted to hurt me, kill me, sell me out?” I search into his face, searching for the reaction. There’s an interesting thing to be had, when you can see through the mask and see a person’s heart. It’s no special power; all one needs to do is pick up the subtle cues.
Like a twitch of his eyes, and the sharp inhale he takes for a fraction of a second.
“Liar!” I bellow, planning my attack. I feel exhilarated, like this fight has been a long time coming. Perhaps it has been. Don’t get me wrong, I would never try to play a God. But some older part of me is saying if I could go back in time, severing my ties with this man early on would have been best.
I can rectify that right now. He’s questioning things, and is definitely fearful.
I rush forward, not waiting for his movements.
“Rowan!” He yells in surprise as I connect with his bow. “Wake up, dammit!” He uses his bow to block me as he kicks out at my ankles. I twist out of it, using it as leverage to bring my swords down again. One connects with the tip of his elbow, drawing blood nicely and breaking his grip on his bow. I kick it uselessly out of his hands, letting it clatter to the ground. Now he’s unarmed.
“Rawa.” I correct.
“Rowan, I’m going to give you one last chance to drop this act, or I’m going to get mad.” He warns, drawing a knife from his belt.
It’s sharp, and has been used thousands of times from the hilt. The poor handle has been gripped so often it has Bishop’s fingerprints outlined on the worn leather, marking the blade as eternally his. I’m going to have to be wary of it; although he has less reach than me, he’ll certainly be faster once I get close.
“I’d say you’re pretty mad already. You have to be a lunatic to come charging in here, bounty hunter.” Again, he winces at the word slightly. He’s making it too obvious!
“You asked for it…” He grits his teeth.
That wench attacked me! I come all this way, with the intention of getting us out of this mess, and I get slashed!
It’s the blond one’s fault. Putting ideas into her head…probably some old magic spell to make Rowan lost her memory like some doll. But now look where it’s gotten me; in a faceoff with the dragonborn, in the heart of a forsworn village. I can’t fight in here; I’m a good brawler, but I got taken out by a few of them; an entire village is suicide.
Was Rowan always so…unsettling? Her gaze reads him so easily; she can even pick up on his fear. She attacks at the height of his worry, using that moment of hesitation to cut at me. Not only that, but she’s much better than I expected. The only time we’ve ever faced off with each other was, well, when I was trying to sleep with her. It didn’t go so well, and I blamed everything on my lack of interest.
Of course, it wasn’t that. I was fully ready to make her mine, to keep her from straying away from my grasp. Give her a tether so she wouldn’t throw me away when it was convenient, to go chase after some companion dog or a scholar with an interest of teaching her. I’ve been going crazy these past two months. In the first third, I couldn’t wait to stab her and be done with it. In the second, I wanted nothing but to bed her. And finally, with this final third-I’ve abandoned both ideas completely. I was bargaining with the Gods to just see her again.
Not like this. I didn’t want our reunion to be so violent. I expected to be the hero for once; the good guy who rescues the princess with ease. Instead, I’m facing down the ends of her swords.
And it makes me so unbelievably angry.
I came here for Rowan. Rowan, not this fake forsworn copy of her. What did that bastard do with the woman he gave his heart to? Touching her so casually, something he didn’t dare to do until weeks after they met.
She’s not entirely off the hook either. Someone as strong as her surely should have been able to break out, right? But that kind natured demeanor of hers has held her back, all this time. It really angers me. She’s kind to every damn person she meets without fail, and look where it gets her.
So should I fight? I can’t win, but perhaps I can knock some sense into her. I still have half of that invisibility potion, tucked away in his belt. Well, now he has a plan.
And hell, I may as well get some of his anger out.
But do I want to hurt her? I don’t know if I can. She may be a brainwashed Rowan, but my own Rowan in still buried deep down, watching. Perhaps that daedra has taken over, and the actual Rowan has warped herself. How can I bring myself to hurt her? I can’t; it’d mean severing the tie I worked so hard to establish.
I suppose it’s time to face the truth. I love her, don’t I?
Why else would I feel so empty seeing her like this?
There’s no way I can fight her.
My fingers grab the potion without thinking, bringing it to my lips in an instant. With it, I’m gone; returning to Purewater Run so I can think about what to do next.
“He’s gone. Invisibility potion; but we still may be able to find him…” I’m still angry. Even if that guy’s gone, he still hadn’t suffered for the insults he threw at Cael. Just calling someone savage like that…
“Don’t bother. I don’t want to lose you to him…” Cael bows his head, letting out a long sigh. “Rowan…you do not need to fight my battles…”
“He came here looking for me. I think it’s my battle, Cael.” I let him sweep me into his arms, tucking my head onto his shoulder. It’s nice and warm in his grasp, just to sit here and breathe in the faint smell of oak. He’s comforting, even if he doesn’t know it. The one constant I have in my life…
“Rawa, I know you may not want to but…” He pauses, biting his lip and bearing down on the crook of my shoulder. “Perhaps it would be best if you slept in my tent, with me.”
“Uh…” I part from the embrace, feeling my cheeks heat up like a flash fire. His blush as well, and we stare at each other for moments before we both avert our gaze awkwardly. “Okay…”
“Really? Ah… “ Cael pauses. “Um…well then…”
“Stupid forsworn, he’s all viciousness until he takes a sparrow to the knee. Now he’s trying to bed her.” He stopped in his tracks. “Gods I miss her; now I’M the one making puns now!”
Karnwyr slinks out of the darkness, meeting him at Purewater Run. Gradient and Ashes are asleep, laying in the grass with their heads tucked onto each other. His stuff lay by the stream, in the same place he and Rowan slept before this nightmare took place.
If he had done something different, would he be sleeping next to her again? How could this have happened? The one person he wanted to keep with him, to protect, had her sword aimed at him. And as if by a mirror, he had his own dagger ready to swing into her vitals. Why? What’s happened to them!? This nightmare, no, this damn forsworn trial, is tearing the two of them apart.
And he has no idea what to do.
Should he leave her behind? Act as if none of this happened? Find some other thing to occupy his life, move on?
That’s a stupid question, there’s no way his ego would live after that.
Karnywyr whines, butting his head into Bishop’s side longingly. He misses Rowan as well; no doubt about it. But what can he do? She’s lost her memory. She doesn’t remember him. And worse yet, she thinks he’s a bounty hunter.
“When it comes to the occult, I can fight without thinking. But I’ve become such an awkward fighter when clashing with other humans. Bishop…Dragons are predictable. They shoot fire, slash their tails, and gnash their teeth. Humans are not. I need you around for them. Leave the dragon fighting to me; but I need you around for the more dangerous game.”
Why in oblivion is he remembering that now? She said that to him at dragontooth crater. Though she’s plenty good at fighting humans herself.
Dragons are predictable…humans are not. That’s very true. How could someone like him predict something like this? There’s no way he could have possibly known what would come out of what seemed like an easy trip.
In a sense, he’s failed that promise, hasn’t he? The first time a mere human has stood in their way, and here he is, wanting to quit. If the real Rowan was present, how could he explain his actions? He thought it was too hard, so he just decided to quit? Pathetic. That’s exactly what she’d say.
There’s no way he can give up on her. That smile, her quirky attitude, and even her damn puns…he misses them all. He has to get her back.That bastard, who does Cael think he is, taking what’s Bishop’s? He worked hard to get her that far, and as soon as he gets so close, that blonde bitch comes in and sweeps her away, a firm hand on the small of her waist.
Perhaps he is getting a bit possessive.
So what can he do now? He knows he has to get her back, but how? Cael is probably using her as some sort of warrior, he has to be. But it also seems like he has…a romantic persuasion when it comes to Bishop’s ladyship. He knew as soon as Rowan was away from him, some guy would take her away!
It seriously pisses him off, really.
But how can he get her back? Surely if he gets her to remember, she’d come with him. But would Cael go for broke, and try to kill them both? But it’s his only shot. There’s no way he can drag Rowan away from the village without her being her old self again. She’s completely lost her memory; how can he help her recover it? He has no clue.
He should go to Markarth; do some research. That lady at the Hag’s Cure knows her. Perhaps she’d have some potion for her mind, or at the very least point him in the right direction.
SirenBlockedJuly 26, 2016 at 4:45 pmPost count: 45
- This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by Siren.
A/N: Don’t ask why Bishop is so mean to Apolinus, it just happens.
Back in this accursed city again. Where everyone looks like they’ve bit the dust too hard, and the entire city reeks of blood secrets. Thonar, that bastard, is here as well. Should he swing by, kill him real quick? It’d put Rowan at ease. She was too soft to kill someone she didn’t immediately need to snuff out, but he wasn’t. He was content with hiding in her shadow, cleaning up those who needed it without her knowledge. Her job was the prophecies; his was to attend to the more dangerous game.
It felt nice to have a purpose, something definite he had to do. It made the world feel slightly less transient to him, or at the very least like he was anchored to something. And that something was Rowan. Being away from her still felt so odd; completely unknown to him. He’s alone, and without her by his side, the world seemed to lose any color or emotion. These past few weeks have been utter hell to him. The companionship Karnwyr offers no longer seemed enough to give him any solace.
The absence of her made him revert back to the bitter self he was before, walking amongst throngs of people but never feeling as if he belonged. It was such a shitty feeling; and now that he had learned what it felt like to be alive, it drilled into his heart and made him that much angrier.
The Hag’s Cure…it had taken half an hour of wandering, but he’d found the damn place. Set into the walls of the city themselves, it was legitimately hiding behind a crevice out of sight. And all the places here look the damn same, so he’d completely missed the apothecary sign hanging above the door at first glance. God he hates this city. Rowan is probably the only good thing this place has ever produced.
He walks into the Hag’s Cure, setting eyes on a woman with some serious face paint behind the counter. A young Breton works at the alchemy lab, muttering to herself. Looks like Rowan picked up some of her practices from these people.
“We’re out of Stallion’s potions!” The clerk screeches, her voice shrill and hoarse. “Stop asking!”
“Good to know, but trust me, I don’t need anything like that.” Bishop replies calmly, entering the shop and leaning onto the counter. “But I do need some help in a different sense. Do you remember a girl…Rowan? Breton, blond, says she worked here?”
“Ah! Rowan! Such a shame they ran out of here, she was such a great assistant.” The woman with facepaint pauses. “I’m Bothela, I own this shop. Why do you ask about her? She’s no longer here, if you’re another one looking for the bounty.”
Always back to the bounty. Those damn things are probably going to follow her forever, despite his best efforts. Maybe he will slip into the Silver-Blood household, and cause a bit of a scandal.
“No, I’m actually a friend of hers.” He looks around at the shop. “An old lady like you surely has to be a healer, right?”
“I can heal any ailment you have. But don’t think you’re getting a discount just cause you know ‘er, boy.”
“Fair enough.” Bishop pauses. He supposes there’s no harm in telling her, but at the same time, the last thing the city needs to know is that she’s lost her memory. “But I need your word that you can be discreet about something…”
“I already told you, we’re out of Stallion potions!” She shrieks again. “Gods, just give up if it’s that difficult!”
“Not that!” Bishop booms, smacking the counter with his fists. “Gods damn it, I’m not even thirty yet!”
“Then what is it!?” She yelps. Bishop knows the assistant is looking at him oddly now, but if it gets Rowan help, he can take the rumors.
“Rowan…has lost her memory. Can’t remember anything past coming to Markarth as a young girl. I need something to help her…and I have no background in the medicinal field, so…”
“You came to me. Smart boy, but I’m afraid I can’t help you.” Bothela leans onto the counter, looking into the ranger’s eyes. “The potion coaxes the body into sharpening something it already has…sight, adrenaline, you name it. However, it can’t fix something that isn’t there. If her memories are gone, they can’t come back unless they want to. Some scholars at the college have been trying to crack that one for a long time, boy. It’s hopeless.”
“You’re saying there’s no way to help her?” He heaves a sigh, slumping against the counter. “There has to be something, doesn’t there!?”
“I said you can’t get them back unless they want to. Doesn’t mean you can’t tempt ‘em out.” Bothela crosses her arms, huffing at the boy. “You gotta make her remember. Find something sentimental she’d recognize in a heartbeat. Something that she saw everyday, or never left home without, or something she did constantly.”
“Only thing she did constantly was alchemy.” Bishop sighs.
“She a silver smith, ain’t she? Show ‘er somethin she made!” Bothela scolds. “Gods boy, do I have to figure everything?”
“I already tried that! She made me a necklace and a ring, and nothing!” Bishop growls, fed up with this hopelessness.
“Let me see ‘em.” Bothela insists, waiting for Bishop to fish out his necklace and twist off his ring.
“Come on lad, she’s made hundreds of these in her lifetime.” Bothela groans. “What’s something she’s made, that she’s spent days on? Or even a month? She ever made something like that for ye’?”
“No, but I know someone who has such a thing.”
“Well, I suggest you go get it, boy.”
“Quit calling me boy.” Bishop snaps.
“I call anyone who can’t figure out how to help themselves ‘boy’.” Bothela grins as he exits. “Good luck.”
Shitty woman, calling him boy. He got the information he needed, though. That stupid ring she made for Apolinus would wake her up, surely. Now he just needs to find the stupid smith. Where would he be right now?
The forge. So where would that be? Close to the mine? He can smell the earthy, pungent odor of coal burning from below him. It’d have to be down there, surely. He wanders his way down the steps, eventually hearing the strain of miners from below. Well, this is the right place, surely. He can see the forge on a bridge next to him, pumping away as black fumes billow out of the top.
He walks across the bridge into the forge, looking around for the nord. His back is to him, and Bishop only now realizes the muscle mass Apolinus has on his body. Gods, he wonders if Rowan was ever just as bulky too? That’d be quite attractive.
As he walks in, Apolinus turns around, setting eyes on Bishop with a hot bar of silver. He drops it back into the smelter with a scowl, walking over to greet the ranger.
“And what do you want!?” He snarls, throwing down his apron.
“Your engagement ring.” He says calmly.
“Why in hells would you want it? And why would I give it to you?” Apolinus walks up to him, knocking Bishop back with a forearm. “Get out of my forge.”
“Well, you’re certainly not going to marry our favorite young adventurer, and I need it for something.”
“You’re out of your damned mind.” Apolinus barks. “I’d never give it to you!”
“You don’t have it, do you?” Bishop grins, hitting the mark perfectly. “She told me you threw it off of you while chasing her out.”
“No! I didn’t, I still have the ring!” He says, flustered.
“Where is it? Can I see?”
“I don’t believe you.”
“So be it, I don’t care.”
“So…would the ring happen to be in the river, or would it be in a crevice somewhere?” Bishop looks down at the water running below them, roaring over the rocks. “Is that where you keep it?”
Apolinus sighs, putting his hammer down and sitting on a stool nearby. He rubs his face with his hands and looks up, meeting Bishop’s accusatory gaze. Well, the man definitely doesn’t have the ring, and whether or not he still feels guilty is up to him.
“I don’t know where it went…I searched for it, I really did. Even waded in that river for hours trying to find a glint of silver. Couldn’t find a trace of where that ring was… I was chasing after her up on the path on the west side of town, and it just kind of…bounced down here.” He motions to the mine area. “That was so long ago. There’s no way you’re going to find it! Why do you want it anyway!? Do you just want to take her away from me fully?”
“A little bit, yeah. The sooner she cuts away from you fully, the sooner I can move in. But that’s not my reason for coming here.” Bishop pauses. “Don’t tell anyone or it could be dangerous, but your little ex-fiance hit her head and lost her memory. I’m looking for things to spark it.”
“You think that’ll work to help her?” Apolinus scoffs. “She’s made thousands of pieces of jewelry in her time, friend. It’s not going to help.”
“Sure, thousands of pieces of jewelry. But only one she spent months on, making it over and over, and inlaying a gem in so hard she has a scar from it slicing her palm.” Bishop crosses his arms, watching how Apolinus bristles at the news. He buries his face in his hands, making muffled sounds before finally emerging and refusing to meet Bishop’s leering gaze.
“You lost her. Screwed her over and showed her she didn’t need you for her happiness. Now quit whining and move on with your life.” Bishop condemns, walking away from the forge.SirenBlockedAugust 2, 2016 at 5:27 pmPost count: 45
A/N: The Epic update that’s taken me three days of dedicated writing. There is a sexual part here, so shield your eyes kiddies. It’ll be much, much worse in the next update.
Damn; how is he supposed to find a ring in this? Besides, it’s been nearly a year. There’s no way he can find it, right? Someone either picked it up by now, or it’s been swept down the river from Markarth.
He has to try. It’s the only way to spark Rowan’s memories. If it means getting her back to normal, he’d go to Oblivion and back with no complaint. So where to start… There’s a strong-looking Orc overseeing the smelting, supposedly the foreman. I can ask him; surely if anything was found, it’d pass through him.
What did the ring look like? Silver, obviously. But Rowan described it to him once. He should have asked that bastard Apolinus before he walked off, but it was for the sake of dramatic effect so he can’t go back now. She liked Bretonic patterns that looped on themselves, so it’d definitely have that.
Silver, and something about the plains of Markarth. An emerald, then. With the same intricate knotwork she had on her necklace, probably.
Speaking of necklaces… The one she made for her still sits under his armor. Without even thinking, he pulls it out of his tunic, pressing it against his lips like she did at the forge. It was a good luck charm to him; not just because of its anti-poison enchantment, but the fact that something she made sits so close to him is both comforting and irritating simultaneously.
He wants the real Rowan, not just these dead thoughts of his.
“Are you in charge of…” Bishop looks to the mines. “Whatever sad excuse for a workplace this is?”
“Keep talking like that, and I’ll bash your face in.” The orc scoffs. “Now go away- I have work to do.”
“Yeah…I actually kind of need some information, so if you wouldn’t mind answering a few questions I have…” Bishop jingles a few coins in his pocket, signaling his intent.
“Fine. What do you want, milk drinker?”
What is it with Orcs and that insult? Normally he’d toss out a threat or throw a punch, but he can’t do that here. Not when he needs something from this green-skinned boar. He grinds his nails into his palms, thinking of the correct words to ask.
“Has there ever been a ring found down here-turned in by someone perhaps-that was incredibly intricate with a cut emerald? Had some Bretonic patterns on it?”
“Nope. Never found one.” The Orc replies quickly. “Now get out.”
“You’re absolutely sure?” Bishop narrows his gaze, scratching his boots on the markarth rock. He’d beat this guy senseless if he needed to; and it may just come to that. For now, he doesn’t know if the Orc’s lying, so it’s not worth a confrontation with the Markarth guard. It’d be best not to get into trouble for the time being.
He turns to walk away from the smelters and check somewhere else, when he sees movement on his gaze that pulls his eyes in involuntarily. One of the men at the smelter is waving him over subtly; and averts his gaze as soon Bishop looks to him. Well, that’s a bit odd.
He saunters his way over to the smelter, crinkling his nose at the smell of burning coal and melting slag. It’s sweltering hot this close to the fire; the smelter base emits a heatwave that threatens to make him break out into a sweat.
“You waved me over?” Bishop asks, looking to the man.
“No, I don’t know what you mean.” The man says, shoveling more coal into the exposed flames. “And Mulush will beat me if I quit working. Man…I can’t wait to get to back to the Warrens…”
Hello hints. Bishop’s plans for the evening just changed.
“Well then, I’ll be on my way.” Bishop replies, flashing a look back to the Orc. So his name is Mulush, then. So where are the warrens, exactly? Certainly not among the houses on the middle spire, or along the walls near Understone Keep?
He’ll need that man’s help again. Not that he needs it, of course. But just to make the search easier. Look at him, asking for help from others for this. Though this situation is more delicate than he’s willing to admit; Rowan is attached to him still by a thread. If it gets severed, he’ll lose her forever, to the clutches of that Forsworn Chieftain.
And he doesn’t like the idea of giving anything to that kid.
Another hike up these damn stairs it is, then.
“Apolinus, I was going to leave you be for the sake of drama, but I need you to answer a few questions.” Bishop calls. “Also, I really hate this city.”
“So why don’t you leave!? The damn door is right down those steps, so why don’t you use it!?” He snaps from the forge, turning around with a red hot bare of steel. “Leave before I decide to throw you into my smelter.”
“First off, harsh. Second off, they’re pretty easy questions.” Bishop pauses. “Where are the Warrens, and that ring she forged for you…what’d it have on it?”
“Warrens are in the underbelly of the city, across from the mine.” He grunts. “And I don’t think you have a right to that ring, whoever the hell you are.”
“Ah, I’m Bishop.” He leans against the wall. “And I’d say you don’t have a right to that ring either.”
“You know, I’m really getting tired of you coming in here and taunting me.” He sets the bar of steel aside, thankfully, before tearing off his gloves and scrunching them into fists.
“Calm down.” Bishop sighs, rubbing his forehead. He doesn’t have time for this. “I’m too busy to fight.”
“Yeah!? Then don’t come back!” Apolinus growls.
“If you insist.” Bishop walks out, in search of the Warrens.
“This place smells like ass.” Bishop exhales immediately as he walks in. The Warrens is a pretty ratty place; most definitely some former dwarven storage room. He looks into the dim light, searching for the same man he saw today. This place degenerates once the sun goes down, and anything unlucky enough to stay here is greeted with a faint chill that would never go away. Of course, that means it’s a pretty good place to sleep if people are looking for you, you’re sick, or happen to be one of the poor bastards who work at the smelter.
“You.” The man comes out, not bothering to stand as he sits against the rocky side of the glorified cave.
“Yep. Me.” Bishop walks over to stand in front of him, awkwardly shifting in the loose rock. “Who are you? Why’d you call me out?”
“Name’s Omluag. Obviously, I work at that God forsaken smelter.” He chugs heavily from an open bottle of mead sitting near his boot, continuing on without much of a pause. “Now, that ring you’re talking about? I think I know the one.”
“Really? You know something about where it is?” Bishop says, feeling the cloudy aura hanging around him lift slightly. There’s hope. “And what information do you have?”
“Yeah, but my information comes at a cost. You look like the type to know that well, right?”
“Don’t make me beat it from you…” Bishop snarls, immediately feeling the tension increase.
“Hey, it’s nothing crazy.” Omluag flips up his hands, showing his palms to try and quell Bishop’s sudden flash of anger. He’s too tired to fight; a hard day of work at the smelter under the watch of that Orc drained him far beyond the point of being able to stand for too long, let alone brawl. “Something small. And I’d repay you with what I know.”
“I’m a proud nord. I don’t take money.” He pauses. “It’s that damn Orc, Mulush. He’s ruthless on us at the smelter. We get worked too hard, and beat too often. Talk to him, make him lessen his treatment of us, maybe punch him once or twice. He’s a big baby through it all, so it won’t take much.”
“That’s it? Just to talk to the overseer?” Bishop sighs, scratching his stubble. “I’ll do it tomorrow.”
“That’s the spirit, friend. I promise it’s worth it.”
After the sincere promise, Bishop wanders the streets of Markarth again. The light coming from the braziers is barely enough to illuminate the streets he walks on, casting flickering shadows that seem so foreign to him. Rowan grew up here, amongst this rotting earth and sickly moss. No wonder she’s so afraid of being tied down; a life in this city, never to venture outside the walls as a lowly housewife is one worse than death.
The Silver-Bloods…their control of the city seemed to rot it from the inside out. And as it seems, they’re the opposing force that keeps the Forsworn out. He’d heard about the incident with Markarth perhaps twenty five years ago. Ulfric, the very man Rowan stared down in Windhelm, retook the Reach from the forsworn. That would have been before she was even born, or just as she had been.
How old is she again? He’d never asked. At twenty six, there’s no way she could be older than him…right? Of course he is! Now back to the Silver Bloods. So she’s against them, so is she technically with the Forsworn? No way, surely? They’d kill her in a second if they realized she owned property in their ancestral home. Which, coincidentally, they took from the Dwarves.
He reaches the Silver-Blood Inn quietly, propping open the doors and shoving himself inside before the warm air inside escapes. The chill air in Markarth is evident even this early in fall, furthering his hatred for this damn city.
“Four meads, no tankard…” He slaps some gold down. “And a room for the night.”
“Yessir.” The man takes the gold. “My wife will be right over with the mead. Here’s the room key; door on ya right, straight up the hall.” He slides a small key over to Bishop, nodding to an empty chair near the fire.
There are no tables, only stools at the bar and a few spindly armchairs settled near the hearth. It’d have to do; he’d rather not share elbow space with the scraggly looking Bosmer muttering to himself.
He walks over and settles himself in, setting his bag down at the foot of his chair in his line of sight. Another man sits in the chair next to him, with face paint and a heavy broadsword leaning against the armrest. The man’s pack sits precariously behind him, just asking for it to be stolen. He nods politely, essentially the extent of his manners, and stares blankly into the fire while waiting for his booze.
“Hey, you.” The man says, catching Bishop’s attention. His gaze swings to the other chairs around the fire, which as it stands, are either empty or occupied by ghosts.
“Well? What is it?” Bishop says, sighing and rubbing his forehead awkwardly. “I’m quite tired, so don’t think I’m going to agree to a drinking contest.” He accepts the mead brought to him, popping the cork on the first and downing half of it at once. He’ll need to get pretty drunk to deal with this guy.
“Nothing like that.” The man pauses, weighing options internally. “You…wouldn’t happen to know a girl named Rowan, would you?”
“Hm….” He pretends to think, throwing his head back. “Anything to spark my memory?”
“Average height, blonde, tinkers with stuff a lot? Silversmith?” He calls out hopefully.
“Maybe. What do you need from her?”
“She’s uh, a friend of mine. I have a few words I need to tell her.” He finally says, setting off every bullshit detector Bishop has. Even a cursory glance over the man’s things say he’s a mercenary, and the paper jutting out of the fold of his pack speaks of a different story entirely. Well, it would seem the Silver-Bloods can corrupt anyone. Perhaps Thonar hasn’t exactly given up on the girl. Or, maybe, it’s the entire family being bitter enough at the situation. A girl, making a fool of the most powerful family in the Reach? The bastard nobles in Skyrim already cling to their stupid honor as it is, the last thing they wish is for some other family to make a mockery of them. Well, they can continue sending the bandits, but it’ll have no effect. Bishop will see to that.
“Why did you ask me?”
“Well, uh, a while ago I thought I saw the two of you together in the city.” He says, trying to keep casual, as if discussing the weather. “I figured you were someone who, ah…”
“You know…” Vorstag flaps his hand. Bishop remembers this man; he actually was her childhood friend. Or at least something close. What he wants with Rowan now is evident; she mentioned something about him falling on hard times, but she spoke so highly of him he doubted he’d be a threat. Perhaps the same illness the Silver-Bloods carry has begun to affect the citizens; the promise of coin would be enough to make this man sell out an old friend.
“No, I don’t know.” Bishop does his best to try and seem oblivious. Stupid girl… It seems like these days all he’s been finding has been more and more brooding blood stacking up against her. Not that she can help it; apparently by living her life as she wishes, she’s made a plethora of enemies. Being the Dragonborn is difficult.
“Someone who…collects…for some people?” He finally says. “I’ve heard whispers of her and some very shady people…I think she wanted revenge on Apolinus and you…well…”
Bishop couldn’t help but laugh. What, her? Want revenge on that idiot? Perhaps she would, but she definitely wouldn’t hire someone else to do it. Rowan would march in, look him square in the eye, and swing a punch before he even got the breath to say her name.
“Nope. I just traveled with her from Falkreath to here.” He says finally, pulling himself out of the chair. “Now then, I’m going to get some air.” He announces as he walks out of the dusty atmosphere and back into the streets of Markarth. He won’t wander far, but leaning against the threshold and drinking has already made him feel much better than inside.
A rock falls from the top of the door, grabbing his attention. He always knew that Markarth was crumbling.
“What am I doing again?”
“Stealing the Thalmor’s copy of the Markarth agenda.” Prel explains. Cael asked me to help him on whatever it is they’re doing in Markarth, and as of current I’m crouched on the city wall with Vec. “We wanna see if they plan on attacking us anytime soon.”
“And Vec plays into this…how?”
“Well, if you’ll turn to him…” I turn around to see him emerge from the darkness into the light of Prel’s torch, illuminating his face. His shaggy brown hair has been cleaned and combed back to reveal his hazel oculars. But what was particularly interesting was his attire; the usual forsworn kilt had been scrapped, and replaced with the clothes of a noble. A smooth green tunic with tanned britches; a coinpurse at his hip and a dagger on his thigh. He carries a simple gold chain around his neck, along with some cheap looking circlet around his head. “You’ll see how much of a gentleman he looks like. I think he cleans up well.”
“What is that for? Could one of us just sneak in, invisible, and take it?”
“Nope. Issue is, Ondolemar keeps it on him at all times. And I swear, that man never sleeps. We need a pickpocket for this one.” Prel looks me over, meeting my gaze and letting out a sigh. “You, out of all of us, have the most experience in that area. The forsworn aren’t thieves, we’re warriors. Clumsy warriors.”
“I’m not a thief either!” I protest, looking to Vec. “Why…isn’t there another copy?”
“No. The rest are fragmented pieces. Ondolemar’s log has blank pages where he fills in the agenda; Markarth’s version is a stack of dusty scrolls. They get a new one each month-it’d be useless to us. We could get attacked in a month and one day and never know.”
“And how does Vec looking like a noble factor into this?”
“He’s your distraction.” Prel says proudly. “I’m your lookout on this. Ondolemar likes to roam through that old dwarven museum they have occasionally, muttering to himself. However, guards roam freely through there, too, so Vec’s going to draw them away.”
“And how is he going to do that? Cry, flail around a bit?” I snigger from the side, feeling Vec push my side roughly.
“No! I’ll say empty advice about the economy, and then talk about some investments I may or may not be going to make, and then frown when I hear a reply, even if it’s good. I’m going to complain a lot, and say some stuff about how the cities aren’t safe, and how the guards need to escort me back to the inn.” He says, putting his hands on his hips proudly.
“Then, when a majority of the guards are gone, the ones from the museum will be either reduced or missing entirely since they’ll be shifted outside. You can pickpocket him while he’s in there looking at shiny things, and then bail over the balcony outside. Easy!”
“Yeah, because you’re not doing it.” I roll my eyes. “What are you signaling?”
“When the guards leave, I’ll make an owl hoot four times.” Prel says smugly.
“Well, if that isn’t cliche, I don’t know what is.”
“I read it in a book, and I can make the noise. Don’t spoil my plan now.” He rolls his eyes. “Besides, that being said, I’m the only link you two will have to each other tonight. Are you sure not being in direct proximity won’t kill you both?”
“I think I may suddenly catch on fire.” Vec jokes.
“I may implode.” I shrug.
“Shut up.” He snaps at our sarcasm, dismissing us. “Now then, Rowan, make your way to Understone Keep unseen. Vec, look really grumpy and march to the keep. I’ll meet you two at the right side pillar.
“Alright.” I agree. Vec nods, taking on his role of stoic noble quietly. He hops down from the wall, leaving me and Prel…
No, no Prel anymore. He’s run off too. Just me on a wall, then. I sneak around the ramparts, figuring I can cut through the spire and dash across to the keep. The guards seem to wander there less, presumably because if they outline the streets, anyone within the middle would have to pass through their path eventually. Good logic, bad practice.
I fumble out an invisibility potion out of my belt pouch, staring at the vial awkwardly. It’s my own, legally questionable concoction, and I’m not too sure what’ll happen. I’ve mixed an invisibility potion halfway comprised of nirnroot and vampire dust, adding in beehive husk until it absorbed the mixture, and then added in powdered mammoth tusk with some water and boiled the mixture down. Hopefully it won’t kill me.
The potion is disgusting, but that’s a given. I couldn’t add anything sweet without risking the effect. But it does seem like it’s working, and I haven’t died yet, so my hopes are still high for this experiment. The melting feeling in my head and freezing in my toes clash in the middle, flashing me into invisibility and changing my vision into a sepia tinted frame. Seeing in the dark and being invisible? I’d call it a success.
I make my way until I’m out of sight from the pseudo-marketplace, and jump down onto the rocks below. With my impact I’m immediately in motion, springing across the bridge covering the small stream and latching onto the earthen wall. My avoidance was for naught, as I soon discover. I’ll need to climb over the door to the inn so I can reach the staircase on the spire, so for that I’ll need to pass in plain sight of the market. Damn these people and their late night shopping habits; they’ve created a wall of people that I need to get through. Well, I’m invisible anyway, so I may as well.
I boost onto the doorframe, slowly creeping across the edge as I cling to the spire awkwardly. A rock slips from one of my handholds, breaking on the frame and tumbling onto the ground below. A slight grunt catches my attention from one of the tenants loitering, but he doesn’t seem to question it any further, so I’ll take that with a quick memo and move on. I jump across to the stairwell, bouncing up the stairs past a guard who only marginally noticed the wind, and sit perched on top of the railing at the top. I can see the keep, along with Vec pacing in the front as if annoyed. It’s all a complete ploy; I still have little faith Vec can pull this off.
Either way, if it’ll help the tribe, I’ll do it. I’m visible now, but thankfully the stealth aspect has stuck with me. I can see each crevice I can use to climb down to the front, and easily scale the wall without a second thought. Once the guards pass me by I hop across, ducking behind the pillars with Prel.
“Well, that seemed highly unnecessary.” I comment, looking to him. “Why couldn’t we just go together?”
“I…may have wanted to recreate a scene from my book, sorry.” He admits. “Though the rest of this is all for a purpose, okay!”
“Keep your voice down.” I hush. “I’m going to hop over the wall and climb in through the balcony. Make sure you don’t forget the signal!”
“I won’t forget something I created!” He huffs, looking to Vec. “You know the plan, right?”
“You’ve told me a million times! It even rings in my ears when I’m alone.”
“Well, ah…” I look to the wall, summoning twin swords. “I’m going to abuse my blades and reach the balcony. Good luck.”
“Be careful, Rawa. We don’t want to lose you. If you botch something, bail, and we’ll figure something out.”
“Will do, but it won’t come to that.” I grin. I was never a thief, and certainly never a pickpocket, but stealth is my forte when it comes to combat. I’m familiar with scaling walls to get out of reach from trolls and the like, and am fully comfortable with the state of my upper body.
Which, that’s nice and all, but these swords make bad picks. In the end, I let them dissolve at my belt, and I do this just as I normally would. Absolute bullshit. Boulder scrambling is quite fun though, once you get the hang of it. My nails dig into the soft earth, worming into the small handholds I can see in the light of my potion induced senses.
The balcony, a large stone bridge connecting the laboratory to a tower, sits nestled perhaps thirty feet above the outcropping I’m currently on. Time for more climbing.
My worn fingers finally reach the ridge, and I pull myself back up onto rocky civilization. Now then, I wonder if Vec’s doing okay? Should I just loiter around in plain sight? Probably not, but I want to be able to hear Prel. I can hear the echo from the top of the tower, surely? More scrabbling and I’m sitting on the dwarven awning, looking down at the door over the museum.
The darkness returns with the fading of my potion, leaving me once again in the shifting shadows I’ve come to despise. The boisterous lifestyle of life in the tribe has become addicting, with the companionship and good work fuels me like coal to a fire. I love my home, and I’d do anything to protect it. That includes going up against an entire city, and stealing a pretty important document. But it would be worth it.
The poor forsworn. I suppose being with them constantly I’m biased, but I can’t help but feel there’s an unspoken atrocity that’s happened to them. Cael told me about the massacre at Markarth, but something runs much deeper than that. The forsworn don’t wish for survival. They wish, above all, to stand atop their ancestral home, watching the plains of the Reach quietly as they have for hundreds of years. They may never attain it at this rate; the suicidal goal of the forsworn is unreachable here.
Where do I fit into all of this? I should help them as best as I can, this odd family I’ve been dealt. I’m something powerful, but I’m not sure what. Whether I was right or wrong in the eyes of the law are unknown to me, but regardless I walk a delicate high wire when choosing my actions. As I’ve discovered, I’m actually a very decent warrior who can crack the heavens with a few words. But who am I really?
Does that matter? I have a home, and a family. Cael and Vec have seen to that. I’m alright where I am, in this comfortable limbo of ignorance. Spending my days quietly, fighting the odd group of bandits and brewing potions.
But that man…he hasn’t left my head since he left that night. My heart seemed upset, but I can’t figure why. He was quite rude, and seemed like he was fighting something in him even when we were dueling. When I cut his flesh, my heart nearly tore, and something told me his did as well. It was like a heart attack, with enough force to make me lurch forward and pause, giving him the time to slip away. He was handsome, but his personality seemed vicious. Did I really know him? Cael called him a bounty hunter, but a small piece of me wanted to go with the man. Bishop, was his name, wasn’t it? Our relationship must have been bizarre. I can’t imagine how we could have met, unless I really was a different person before my amnesia.
His eyes…the piercing gaze he gave me stunned me into silence before I could even say anything. The sincere anger on him when he saw Cael grab me was terrifying, like a beast that’s just been let off a collar. Bishop never acted rash, but the underlying urge to rend Cael to bits hung in the air like fog, threatening to suffocate. The gesture had made Cael on edge for over a week after that, insisting I stay within close range of him.
If anything, the acts of the bounty hunter drove us closer. The night I slept in his tent banished any awkwardness between us, and introduced a very new concept to me; romance. I hope Vec takes a bit of time to get the guards, because I’m certainly excited to remember how that night went.
“Sparrow, is it possible you’ve never…?” Cael spoke of such things so easily, but I could see him just as red as me under his face paint. How would I know? Well, I guess I do. My body is screaming; I’ve never done anything in the realm of things he’s implying.
“I guess not…” I look away, tucking my hair behind my ear, trying to avoid his gaze. My face blushes as I think about it, then about him…Gods, this new wave of perversion is tedious…
“I only wish for you to be safe, Rawa…” Cael says, extinguishing one of the candles on the deer antler candelabra. “I’ll…I…I can sleep sitting up, I’ve done so many times…”
“No, I’d feel terrible kicking you out of your own bed…” I laugh, fumbling with my hands. I eventually just throw them down to my sides, stepping up and taking him by the hand. With a tug he’s to me, pressed against the bare skin my half tunic leaves exposed to the air. He’s burning hot, heating my chilled skin and yet making me shiver too.
Being so close, with the space between us only enough for me to tilt my chin up, dissolves any cowardly thoughts the two of us may have had before. He grins slightly as he sees me there, lingering in wonderment, yet still trying to guess where this is going. He grabs my hands in his own, massaging my palms as we linger for a moment.
In a moment he’s closer to me than before, with our lips pressed against each other’s. With my approval, his hands wind themselves behind my head and drift to my hips, gently squeezing what he finds there. It only serves to spike something in me, craving to come out and play. I make some unholy sound while connected to him, encouraging him to explore further as I feel a desire in my core.
He takes the offer, guiding us both to his bed. I land on the soft furs with a quiet thump, cushioning me as I open my eyes. I can’t look away; his blue eyes are captivating to me, like the glint of blue sky on a rainy day. They’re comforting and pure.
“Rawa…” He’s on top of me, supported by his hands with a knee planted in between my thighs. How do I feel with this? Ah, screw it, and me. His skin brushes against my exposed sex, making me want him more. It tingles and drags me down, forcing me to desire him as my thoughts only go to the man in front of me.
“Go ahead…” I bite my lip, surprised at my own feelings. I’m surprisingly calm, and not only that, something is urging me to yield. I’m just as interested in exploring him as he is me.
“We chieftains choose a mate quite early on, and it’s usually before they take on the role… I almost chose at random.” He pauses his exploring to drink me in, his gaze softening. “You arrival made me rethink that choice.”
“I’m going to be making other women jealous? Interesting.” I giggle, letting him continue. He grins too, dipping low and catching the bottom of my tunic with his teeth. Which frees his hands to explore every inch of my curves, massaging my breasts and thumbing the soft bumps he finds there. He unhooks my skirt, discarding it on the ground beside the ground. His strong hands grab a hunk of my flesh down under my belt, gently circling my sex as he drags his fingertips back up. He returns to my top, playing with my nipples unrelentingly, planting a kiss along my collarbone that sends a shiver down my being.
I can’t help but let out a quiet whimper at the foreign sensation, but the feeling in the pit of my stomach has gotten much stronger than before. He’s turned me on so easily I can’t help but blush, enjoying the play with my nipples. I’ve heard of how much pleasure they can give you, but the burning in my stomach and the fire in my lower regions threaten to spiral me into ecstasy. His soft tongue burns the feeling into my core as I shudder again, grabbing onto the back of his neck and back unwillingly as I’m threatened to go insane.
Meanwhile, I’m dealing with my own captivation. Once I make eye contact with them, I run my hands over the muscles on his shoulders, reveling in the amount of scars he holds. Multiple arrow wounds spot his sides, and a particularly long scar that runs from his side to his upper thigh. I’ve always thought scars were beautiful, in a way. The silvery lines tell their own story, as if speaking your life for you. His has been laced with violence, and it shows on his very skin. Cael has not had an easy life. As a chieftain, I have no doubt that he’s had more than his fair share of battles and close duels, and yet here he is. Still standing, and still alive and well. It counts for something.
“You have your own share of scars, Rawa.” He comments, running his fingers along one of the splits on my stomach, sending sparks through me as if I was nothing. Of course after he finishes, he quickly flicks his hand to my folds. His touch is electrifying as it drags on my skin, plastering a smirk on his face as he traces each of my scars, amused at how it makes me twist. Once I finally adjust, he takes to massaging my nipple softly while grazing my inner thigh, which amps up the sensation and sends me into a fit of shudders.
He’s relentless, yet gentle. Just like before, as soon as I settle in, he ups the ante and does something else to shock me. A tongue lazily traces around my breast, and he settles to lightly flicking the tip after what seems like ages of torture. I grab the sheets and twist them in my fist, feeling such an intense tingling lust that needs to be sated.
“Ah…Cael…” I finally let out, unable to speak anymore. “I need you, Gods….”
All at once, we hear the cry of alarm. Cael and I blink at each other for a few seconds before we hear the footsteps of someone coming up to the tent. He reacts faster than I do, which doesn’t come to much of a surprise, and flips a fur onto me as covering as he yanks his kilt up in a flash. We’ve been interrupted, through and through.
“Bandits!” Vec says, ripping open the flap on Cael’s tent. He spots Cael, then me, pauses, and slowly backs out and rejoins the scramble.
“Someone is messing with us…” I sigh, jumping up and reclaiming my tunic. “Dammit Vec!”
“Agreed…” Cael grabs his bow from the nightstand.
Four quick hoots snap me out of my daydream. It was over anyway, I guess, but it’s an unpleasant thing to be shaken back into reality so suddenly. The guards are gone, then. I drop down to the balcony quietly, using as much grace as I can to muffle my fall. I dash across the stone, flipping myself through the door and shutting it quietly. I’m in the laboratory, staring down a conglomerate of metal pipes that seem to stick out awkwardly at each bend. They hum with steam, masking my footsteps perfectly as I walk through the hall with wonder. Calcelmo has everything in here, from an arcane enchanter to replicas of dwarven automatons. I can see why Ondolemar would be captivated, as the elves have a fascination for their scholarly predecessors.
I continue on to the museum itself, careful not to activate the laceration traps set into the floor of the laboratory. If I were to be caught in that, I’d surely be sliced in half, and there’s no healing from that. Dwarven traps are ruthless; from impaling their foes to frying them with electricity, they have no mercy. How did I know that?
I’m just about to reach the door when I hear it open on its own, ushering in the Thalmor Justiciar himself. He grunts, looking around smugly before pacing through the halls, thinking. Perhaps he’s less fascinated by the Dwemer, and looking more for some quiet solace away from the keep. He’s deep in thought, ignoring everything along the walls and simply just striding through, content in his own mind. When he gets to the balcony, I can steal it and meet Vec and Prel in the front. It’ll be easier when I can bail directly out instead of racing through the halls like a lunatic.
I still have one last invisibility potion left, and I roll it in my palm impatiently. He’s nearing the end, and I suppose he’ll walk out onto the balcony, walk over to the tower, and either go in or turn around. I’ll pick him once he gets to the tower. That way, once he realizes it’s gone, he’ll be in an enclosed space and will only look there, with any luck. He’ll realize he had it all across the balcony and mark that off his search, leaving me scot-free.
He reaches the balcony, walking across in quick stride. I down the potion and sneak across the expanse, seeing the book sticking out of his jacket pocket. Shit-it’s on the inside! How am I supposed to get it when it’s in his inside pocket!?
Screw everything I just said, I’ll just need to speed by him and rip it off of him, then escape. He’ll blame whoever, but it most likely won’t fall to the Forsworn. He’ll blame a Talos worshipper or some bitter nord. Once he reaches the end, I’ll cut open his coat, steal it from him, and shove him in the tower, giving me time to escape. It’ll work.
Fear takes hold of my stomach as I stare at him from the ramparts, waiting. It’ll work…it’ll work...at this point, I’m more convincing myself more than anything. I can do this…without killing him. I need the book, that’s it.
I can see the subtle imprint under his glittering black robes, in full view. It’s in his inner right pocket, tucked near his hip. I can do this.
He reaches right where I need him to be, and I lurch into action. I grab the inner part of his coat, slicing it open and grabbing the book, wedging it between my belt on my back. Time to escape! I use my force and suddenly stop, bouncing on my heels backward to flip over the balcony. Freedom!
He catches himself well, swinging around with an open palm. His height advantage over me lets him grab my neck with ease, earning a wheeze from me as my windpipe takes a sudden hit. Shit! Shit! I can’t break free, his grip is crushing my neck, sending my neurons into a frozen panic as I search for a solution. I can’t get free, there’s no way; in this state, I don’t have any chance to overpower him. My hands grip his arm, squeezing as best as I can to help steady myself as I gulp hard. He’s quiet, feeling the invisible thief writhe in his grasp with a benign smirk on his face. Gods! He’s psycho!
What do I do!? Stendarr, help me! Akatosh! Cael! Someone!
I feel my toes leave the ground as I’m hauled into the air. My brain is slowly fading through the lack of oxygen, leaving me in empty cluelessness that grips me harder than Ondolemar. He grabs an elven dagger from his belt in his left hand, swiping it across my cheek as if I were nothing but air. I fade into the visible spectrum helplessly, whimpering as best I can with my suppressed state. Blood leaks from the wound on my cheek, falling down my front like unholy tears. It burns. It hurts so much. He wasn’t just going to graze my cheek to dispel the potion, he actually wishes to mar my face. I can’t do anything but struggle endlessly-he was much faster and stronger than I could have imagined…!
“Glad you could join me in this world, sneak.” He condemns, giving me a quick shake that rattles my jaw painfully, sending my eyes going crossed. I grab his wrist, trying to relieve some of the pain and give myself a gulp of air, but it’s useless. I’m going to pass out in a matter of seconds. My vision ticks away uselessly, forming into a narrow tunnel and expanding out into a blurry nothingness I can’t make sense of. All I can comprehend is a greenish black smudge in front of me, and the entire world around that is gone. Nothing. I can no longer think.
He drops me. Thank the Gods he drops me…
I gulp in air as fast as I can, feeling my senses rush back after their abandonment. I cough, unable to even say something insulting as a boot pushes me back to the ground, grinding a heel into my shoulder. The best I can do like this is look up to him with one eye, setting my gaze on his own to at least try and appear defiant. Gods, please!
“I’d have thrown you off by now, but you happen to look like a woman I’ve been searching for.” My reprieve is short lived as I’m hauled up again by my tunic, forcing me onto my toes, letting him search my face for something. “But she’d never be some lowly forsworn. I am the head of the Justiciars in Skyrim. I will not be done by some long lost race, riddled with an inferior religion.”
“Screw off…” I struggle, trying to force his hands off of me. “Let go of me!”
“If you insist, you primitive scum.” He says, hauling me fully off the ground this time. Oh Gods-! My eyes widen as I settle my terrified gaze on his face, silently pleading as I can no longer find words to say, not that my throat would let me. My body tilts back, stopping my heart for a beat as I feel him let go of my tunic as it rips, giving me to gravity.
I scream as I feel my body surrounded by empty space, plummeting me to the ground. I’m…seriously going to die, aren’t I? No God wanted to save me? They’re just going to throw me away!? Dammit! I’m going to die, and just be a splatter on the rocks below…completely unrecognizable. Maybe it’s a fitting end, maybe I deserve it, but I can’t help it. I let out a sob as I fall, feeling a pain I can’t control in my heart. I won’t be returning to that village. I’ll never see them again! Vec, Prel, Cael…I’m sorry, but it looks like I won’t be coming back…
Stendarr, please! Please, I’m begging you…!
SirenBlockedAugust 6, 2016 at 2:55 pmPost count: 45
- This reply was modified 2 years, 8 months ago by Siren.
A/N: Props to Corwyn for the assist on the first part. Also, a quick thanks to the few of you that talked to me before this came out; I actually wasn’t going to release this part for another day or so, but I got a good amount of inspiration after talking to you guys. Thanks!
*Warning: Sexual content and gore in this part. Not simultaneously, I promise.
Bishop wanders his way back into his room, roughly unlocking the door and shoving it hatefully behind him. He’s drunk. It’s pretty obvious to just about anyone with a pulse who lays eyes on him. He’ll regret it in the morning for sure, but this drunken numbness suits him to help ease his mind into a restful sleep. He hasn’t been able to get any sort of rest since he saw Rowan like that; all his mind can think about is the empty horse that rides beside him on the roads of the Reach.
This lonely city can burn for all he cares.
His eyes finally close as he lays on his bed, doing his best to empty his mind. Any stray thoughts could lead to another crash, and he’s just gotten a shred of hope for himself. Best he can do is roll over, shove his head on the crappy rock pillow, and hope he doesn’t freeze to death on the cold platter that this inn calls a bed.
He hears a door open, shredding his hope for dipping into sleep. Bishop snarls in frustration, grabbing his knife from his pillow and rolling out of bed, only to find his knife pointed at Rowan.
His Rowan. Rowan in her full dragon gear, her hair tied back for battle, not show. His Rowan, with mischievous eyes that wander all over him, relaxing him into a mesmerizing stupor. The Rowan that knows how to mix a potion strong enough to kill a god, and can heal the deity once he falls ill. The Dragonborn, Rowan.
Gods…she was more beautiful than he remembered.
“That’s one hell of a greeting, Bishop…” She says with a smirk. “How have you been?”
“You…you remember…” He says, sitting down before he topples over. “Rowan…”
“Yep. Took me long enough, right?” She laughs, sitting beside him. “I had another fall, and it canceled the first.”
“No more Rawa?”
“No more Rawa. Only Rowan.” She pauses. “I remember everything, Bishop. Let’s keep going from where we left off…and let’s not speak of…well, the past few weeks. That…what happened with the forsworn…”
“You were scared and confused, I know.” He reaches over, pulling her to him. Her cheek seems so soft on his shoulder as she leans into him, probably exhausted from the whole ordeal. They both were. “We’ll spend the night here, and leave in the morning. We can work out the rest then. For now, I’m just glad you’ve come back.” He picks her up, moving her between him and the wall. She’s lighter than he thought; living amongst the savages must have been taxing on her muscles. No matter; everything can be fixed later. She’s safe and with him, and if the Gods think they can take her from him again, they have another thing coming.
“Well, if the theme of my month has been ‘forsworn’, yours has definitely been ‘forlorn’. You look like you haven’t slept well in weeks.” She cradles Bishop’s cheek in her hand, turning his gaze to her own. “What have you been doing, then? Without me, you’ve probably been fooling around with prettier girls.”
“Yeah, tons.” He snorts. “Been trying to get you back like mad, woman. You owe me more than one bottle of Black Briar.”
“I’ll be sure to pay you back.” She chuckles. “Bishop…”
“Yes?” He turns to her, seeing her gaze meet his.
“I’m sorry…you know, for the thing at the village. I didn’t mean to…”
“Shut up.” He growls, reaching under her arm so he could push her to him. It’s been nearly a month, but he still remembers every inch of her. Her hands wind themselves in his hair, tugging her closer to him by habit. Her desire burns out on him, taking the lead and sending his mind spinning again. She’s much more fired up about this; the month apart has torn at her just as much as it did on him. “You aren’t to blame. You did what you could.”
“Forget about that Chieftain. We’ll be long gone in the morning. Nothing but a bad memory.”
“My mind is only on one man, Ranger.” She pauses. “What, did you seriously expect me to just drop everything I had for you?”
“My only fear is that blonde haired boy would whisk you away, out of my reach. You’re mine, Ladyship. If some other man thinks that…well, I can’t promise he’ll walk away once I find him.” He initiates a short kiss, trailing down Rowan’s neck and planting them along her collarbone. She gasps at the contact, gripping Bishop’s hair as she does her best to keep in control, squeezing her eyes shut. “Besides, I still need to pay you back for Purewater Run…” He breathes against her skin, smelling the light scent of Juniper that seemed so empty without her.
“I’d have to be out of my senses to push you away, Bishop…” She breathes, straddling his waist nonchalantly. She keeps her gaze planted on Bishop’s face, watching with divine pleasure as he grunts slightly at the new heat on his groin. She rubs herself against him, slowly torturing his sanity with great interest. His eyes glaze slightly as she lingers, watching him bite his lip to keep himself in check. He grunts again, trying to keep himself still with the new sensations.
“Ladyship, if you stay there, I’m going to start thinking this isn’t going to end us with us sleeping tonight…”
“Oh?” She says as if it’s an afterthought. Is she really just messing around? He takes her mouth again, slowly winding his fingers in her hair, brushing them away from her eyes. She’s cold; the chill outside must have gotten to her. Well, only one way to fix that…
Her fingers find their way to the front of his chest, and she clings to his tunic for dear life. That is, until they part, and she shakily takes off his tunic before he can even register what’s happening. He opens his mouth to try and say something, but all he’s met with is a hushing finger and a soft gaze. Rowan pushes him down gently, giving out a small smirk at the shock on my face.
“As ready as I’ll ever be, Ranger. The question is…are you?”
“If I ever say no to that question, I’m either delusional or dead.” He growls, untying the back string on Rowan’s tunic. The neckline falls slowly, letting him tug it off and toss it to the foot of the bed. “Though I never expected you to be a top. I’m not sure I approve…” Bishop grins. “But I’ll allow it.”
“I’m not!” She blushes her signature red, going to cover her face. Bishop pats her hand back down to her side, stunning her slightly.
“Let me see your face, Princess.”
“You’re beautiful, Ladyship.”
“Am I now? You don’t think different?” She laughs. “I seem to remember quite a few occurrences when…”
“Lies.” He scoffs, reaching up from his place on the bed to run a hand up Rowan’s hip, earning himself a shiver from her. He smirks slightly, running a second hand over her stomach, settling it on a breast as he cups it lightly, pulling himself to a sitting position. “That bashful expressing suits you, Ladyship.”
“Oh shut up…” She quips, rubbing herself even further up Bishop in retaliation. She earns herself a lustful moan that he tries to keep from escaping, making her grin with her newfound position of power. He bites his lip, looking up at her with one eye that can barely stay open. “Bishop, I haven’t even taken my pants off.”
“Time to change that!” He says quickly. “And while I’m at it…” He spins Rowan into his grasp, delving a hand into her britches. She gasps in surprise, feeling Bishop’s fingers find and play with her clit, circling it slowly. Her lack of experience leaves her open to this sort of thing, handing the reigns to Bishop to toy with her body. He’s gotten the green light; her slow-burning pleasure is up to him. He frees his hand from her breast and uses it to yank down her pants, exposing her fully to him. Using the action of displacing Rowan, he kicks off his own coverings, revealing them both just as they were under the waterfall.
“Bishop…” She starts, but Bishop wasn’t about to let her speak freely. Her calling his name is enough to get him itching for more. He leans her onto the bed itself, flipping up on top of her with a lupine grin sweeping across his countenance. He’s been waiting months for this…longer than he could ever fathom waiting for something. He’s not going to blow his chance so easily. He’ll drive her crazy, make her beg for something she knows nothing of; get revenge for the seemingly hundreds of times she’s driven him into want and never followed up.
Her breasts seem to be a good target. She’s sensitive there it seems; leaving him open to a world of possibilities. He runs his hands over her inner thighs, parting her legs with one of his own to keep it open to his play. He runs his hands from her hips to her nipples, tweaking them gently to get a reaction. Rowan can barely contain herself; she gasps and shivers at his every touch, trying to will herself to keep her sanity. He thumbs them harder, rubbing himself on her swollen clit teasingly, sensitizing her body. Her eyes roll back slightly as she closes them in lust, wrenching her head to the side as she grabs onto his back to steady herself.
“What, are you close to cumming already, Princess?” He asks teasingly, dragging his hands across her skin; the callouses and scars sending sensations into her spine. He grabs her hips, giving himself leverage to lean down to her sex, smugly grinning. He sighs, intentionally trying to torture her slowly as he circles her opening with his tongue, making sure to “accidentally” slip a bit towards the center once she becomes too accustomed with it. He won’t let her climax here; he wants her first to happen while on him. But this play is too intoxicating…
“Bishop…Gods…” She winces as he slips in playfully, enjoying the strained look in her eyes. “Please…I…”
“You what?” He grins, continuing. He caresses her inner thigh, sliding it to her hip and gripping her. She curls her toes, stretching her head back as she grasps the side of the bed.
“I…Gods, Bishop, I want you.” She says calmly, swallowing hard. A little too calm for Bishop…he spikes his tongue, flicking it across her clit suddenly. “Gah!”
“That’s better.” He says, pulling her down the bed to match with his hips. “Ready, Princess?”
“Shut up…I’ve been ready for a while. The forsworn incident only delayed it…” She mumbles.
“Wrong answer…” He warns, teasing himself on her sex. “Perhaps I’ll just have to fuck that memory out of you.”
“You…ah…” She moans as he lines up. He can see her brace, expecting an impact she can never prepare for. He’s waited much too long for this; he pauses to revel in the scene before him. Rowan, splayed and abashed, lays before him waiting. He’s never been this invested before…sex is much sweeter with the owner of his heart.
He slides in slowly, grunting slowly as he feels her around him. She exhales her bated breath, writhing under the newfound pressure and gripping the sides of the bed with all her strength. As much as he wants to have no mercy, he’ll take this slow. It’s the first time he’s ever cared for mutual pleasure, which seems odd for him. But still, looking down at what lays before him; she’s his. And this Dragonborn of his is testing his self control.
“Are you okay?” He calls softly, still trying to keep a check on himself. Something leers at him under the surface, trying to get him to bear down on her; to mark her as his in both her mind and flesh. Gentleness? That wasn’t ever close to being one of Bishop’s traits. However, this is Rowan. He couldn’t forgive himself for hurting her. It stayed his hand at the forsworn village, and it’ll stay him here.
“Yes…Bishop, you can move…” She calls out weakly. He pushes fully in, leaning forward over her. A deep kiss serves as a distraction; and once they linger together, Bishop’s glad she pushes back just as readily as before. She isn’t regretting this… that’s good. That’s great. Fantastic. She loves him, just as he loves her.
She’s squeezing him too tight for what he can even consider comfortable, but she’s adjusting. Just like a warrior, she can take the pain easily, breathing out a sigh as it subsides. He moves more, slowly, pulling out as he still watches her face. She’s picturesque; her hair out of its messy braid and streaming out from her face in disordered locks, and her blue eyes locking with his, slightly glazed over. He grips down on her hips, a genuine smile tugging at his lips.
“Bishop? Smiling? What is this?” She says, breaking the awkward tension. Well, he’ll show her. He thrusts back hard, teasing her as the quick sensation echoes up her spine. He lingers in her fully before repeating, the grin still on his face.
“I’ll tell you what it is…” He bends down to kiss her, feeling her wrap a hand around his neck and another grip onto his back. She passionately bites his lower lip in imitation of his tendency to do so, and lets out a slight laugh as Bishop attacks her out of indignation, thrusting hard and grinding his hips to show her who’s the top at the moment. She yelps shortly, about to say something until she meets the sight of Bishop’s sniggering face. “It’s the best moment of my damned life, that’s what.”
“Well then, Ranger…” She asks, biting her lip shyly. “What can I do to make it better?”
“Keep biting your lip like that, and…well…” Before she can respond or even question what he was saying, Bishop sweeps a hand under her back and pulls her so she’s sitting in his lap, fully on his cock. “This…Gods, Ladyship.” He squeezes his eyes, feeling Rowan let out a giggle as she squirms.
When he opens them, she’s still blushing, but it’s retreated to just her cheeks as she slowly regains her balance after the sudden movement. She plants her feet on the bed, getting help from Bishop to bounce slightly as she watches his face, cupping his face in her slender hands.
“Now I have you!” She says gleefully, planting a kiss on the corner of his mouth. She slowly rotates her hips, watching how Bishop’s face contorts as he struggles with himself. “Come on, Bishop. Just give in. It’s okay.”
“You’re not in charge, Ladyship…” He manages to get out, falling backward onto the bed. She collides into his chest, letting him lock her to him with an arm as he leans up, whispering next to her ear, “I am. Now I think it’s time I broke you in… Who am I?”
“Bishop…You’re Bishop…” She replies weakly, gripping on to him with her eyes squeezed shut. Hearing his name come from her mouth- the proof that she knows who he is- washes him with relief and gives him an even fiercer edge to try and satiate with her.
He barely gave her time to gasp before he’s pushing into her again, repeatedly slamming against her walls without mercy. She grabs fists of his flesh as she fights her own sanity, moaning from the onslaught of feeling from her sex. That only pushed him further on, pulling her to him in a dangerous hug as he feels his climax threaten. His thrusts become rougher; more urgent, as they both sense what’s coming.
“Ah….” She says, half fear, half absolute pleasure in her voice. Hers comes first, ripping through her as her entire mind bursts like a multi-colored firework. She bucks against him violently, sending him into his own climax. He inhales sharply, feeling his core overheat as he grips her tighter, waiting for the intense release…
…that knocks him straight out of his dream.
He lays alone in his room at the inn, now with quite a mess on his hands…
“No. Five more minutes.”
Ǹ̟̪͚͉o͔t̹̲͜ ̠̦̳̯y̥͈̝ou̝̰̤͢r҉̖̟͉̘ c̡̭͔̝̦̟̜ͅh̯̖o̝i̧͕̰̻͇̠͔̝c̫͔̪̩̱̀e̦̟̭̘,̻̀ D̛̤r͉a̗̝͈̳͍̥̫g͇͖͔̪̲̹o̦̩̫̰͎n̺͖̦͈͉ͅb̜̮̪͈̣͓̝o̰͎͉͔̭r̥̞̰n͇̖͎̰.͞ ̝̱̗̦Ǹ̯̬̣̮͚ͅo͍̝̲͍͍̦w̴̮ ̕w̷̱͚̻͎̠̼͔a͖̙̭̱͈͠ḳ̞e u̧p̼͔̭̟.̧̬͇̼̼̰̟
“Fuck you, talking voice. I’m dead, that means I get to sleep forever.”
Y͉̱̳͈͔̪ou̺̳͔ ̧͔a̹r̼̫̳e̜͈͍͝n’͖͉̳̞t̨ ̮̪̖̩͇̞͢d̠̯͕̞̻e͏a̛̦̘͎d̮͜.̹͍
“Yes I am. Shut up. Let me sleep.”
I̛̭̗͖͚̱͇̱ ҉̻h͖̥̞͞ͅa̖̖̪̰d̝͘ ̻͇t̼̺̻o͓̻ ̛̻̗̱͉͙dr͚̹̺̭͈á̜̩͍̫g̟̩͍̜̣̩̖ ̳̻͟y͢où͎̯̟͕̱r̪̰̳͡ ҉̱̫̲̯̻͍s͚̞̠̟̀o̸̺̞̥u͓̤̣̳̼͖̼l̴͖̼ b͇ͅa̹͈̰̹̩͈c̢k͉̘̤ ͙͚́f̤r̨͔̞̺̪o͓̦̝͕̱̱͉m̪̮̞͎ ͘O̟̖̣̥b̞͙l̤̦̻͇̣̫ḭ͍͞ṿ̣̘̩͡i̥̫̗̖͎̭̳o͇̣̗̗͚̬̰n.̬̼͖͚̣͉̹́ ̡̯Y̜̘̳͓͈o̲̘̯̯u͚͔̦̥ ̹ͅa̗͢r̤̠e̷̪̦n̷’̹͈̘͙͓t̳͉͈̖̻̦̲ ̨͓͍̻̱̩d͖̗ͅḛ̜͇̼͚͇̘a̰̺̻d̢̰.҉͈͇̟̳
“That’s cool. Wait, you did? For me? Why would you do that? I thought you abandoned me!” I feel a darkness shift into my core, gazing at me with a onyx gaze. How did he get in here? Normally he’d have to wait patiently at the sidelines, saying abuses from safely out of range.
“While you decided to have your forsworn sojourn, I figured it was time for some personal endeavors. I was having dinner with Sheogorath in Pelagius’s mind when I felt your soul in distress. I come back and you’re plummeting to your death. You should be thanking me; a pathetic death like that doesn’t suit you.”
“Why are you talking normally? How are you fully in my head now? Can I know your name now?”
“Coincidentally, this is going to answer your prior answer as well.” The daedra pauses, and I feel the sickle-shaped smile ebb onto its face, shivering my soul to the core. Am I really in my body? All around me is nothing but empty, gray space. “You think I would just let my perfect vessel die on me? Of course not. And now my own life force is intertwined in your soul. No Stendarr weakling is going to pry you from me, my dear. And my name is P̝͔i̩̟o̸͔̥̬t̞h͚̗̤̰. Memorize it well, Breton.”
“You know, I still can’t understand why you want to be here. I would think Oblivion would be much better.”
“I fought to get to the realm of mortal men and plant my stronghold. You men of the dirt are disgusting creatures…but even with your perversions, this land bears much more opportunities for one such as I to gain power. Sweet Rowan…I only leave you in control because I wished to be entertained. Your body and soul are mine.”
“No, they aren’t.”
“Yes, they are. But you continue to steal them from me…” He sighs. “Us daedra have these tedious rules when it comes to humans. You may be mine, but you still have to willingly give me your body if I’m to permanently take it from you. It’s quite pathetic.”
I didn’t have time to flick him off before he disappears into the void of my brain, leaving me with a pit for a stomach and an aching so bad it threatens to crack my conscience. My eyes barely function as I stare up at the rising sun, watching the fuzzy ball of light wash the world in even smudgier light.
Where am I? My head rolls to the side painfully, letting me look up the mountain to the balcony. I was correct in becoming a red smudge; in the light of day, I’m sure from up that high, this pool of blood simply looks like a reddish-brown dot. I sit up, feeling a sharp pain twinge from near my scapula; threatening to lop my shoulders off. Gods! What is that? I twist around as best as I can, finding the offending source of pain. A sliver of granite has embedded itself in my flesh, cutting cleanly through my tunic. I wrench my fingers around it and pry it out of my back, wincing as I feel it tumble out onto the exposed rock face. My half tunic falls to my lap, tattered beyond use. It can’t even function as a handkerchief at this point, let alone an article of clothing.
“Cael…Vec…” I mutter under my breath, helping me focus through the white, piercing pain that holds every inch of my being. The daedra chuckles from under the surface, watching me gleefully. He would keep me alive, but he was not nice. He wouldn’t do it for free; he wished to watch my struggle and failure. “Vec…Cael…” I attempt to stand, summoning a sword with my spindly supply of magic to lean on. “Vec…please…find me…” I stumble back onto the rock sadly, looking to my broken legs. My entire torso was exposed to the sunshine, probably offending an entire village. I don’t care; it feels good. It also gives me a pretty good view of the ruby blossoms that splattered my chest from my broken ribs. My right arm is fine; only a broken finger, but my left hand has gone numb. All of my potions shattered, not that I expected them to survive. The glass shards in my thigh that pin to my flesh through my waist pouch pair nicely with the feeling of empty channels in my body that indicate I’m out of magic. I sigh mournfully, looking to the state my body is in. I peel rocks out of my neck and arms, trying to think of what to do. Shout? Neither screaming nor my voice could help me. It’d attract the guards or a wild animal.
I was barely outside city walls, on one of the boulders lining the mountain Understone Keep was in, but I feel miles from civilization. Stendarr…Mara…Kynareth…please help… fix me, please… I don’t care what you take…my arm, my eye…just give me legs so I can walk back to them. I finally had a home; how cruel is it to gift someone that, and rip it away from them? I’ll give you anything, just please…
“The Gods would never help you.” Pioth laughs evilly, manifesting himself in the shadows of one of the rocks. He’s a mage dremora, with tattered black robes and rune face paint that end at his horns, giving his smug face more dimension as he laughs at me. “Why worry? You won’t die. Even if you stay here forever; even if you starve yourself, or go insane…”
“Shut up, Pioth.” I sit, brushing rock shards out of my legs.
“Give me your body, Rowan. You’ve done it before.” He says, tempting me with a calm, empathetic tone. “You’ll lose all your senses, and let me take care of everything…”
“And never regain them.” I scoff, watching a vulture land nearby. “Oh, great.” I roll my eyes.
“Will you become their meal for eternity, or will you let me take over? I promise I’ll give you some time in the reigns every once in awhile, and I’ll take good care of your soul…”
“Quiet.” I silence him, taking my right hand and picking up my left in it. I have a bit of magic; only enough for a few seconds. I press what I have into my wrist and elbow, slowly shaping my hand into a fist. Almost, but… I curl my fingers only slightly, letting my right hand mimic and pick up my left. I slowly bend my thumbs to create the mouthpiece, and…
I hope this works.
I press my lips to the knuckles of my thumbs, blowing across the gap I created. A hoot screeches across the rocks, spooking the vulture into a hasty retreat and echoing into Markarth. Three more and I’m getting ideas, while Pioth is losing ground.
“He won’t come for you! Those idiots have no clue…”
“Very well then…” With the absolute last of my magic I summon another sword, standing up on broken legs. “I’ll go meet them.” I say, gritting my teeth as the piercing pain eats at my bones. As it stands- or doesn’t- my right leg is the most fractured and can’t hold my weight. Left is alright…at least as alright as a broken leg can be. I can bear some weight on it, letting me hobble between it and my sword.
My effort accidentally pops the scab on my face, sending blood to mingle with the sweat on mycheek. Sure, I was pulled back from Oblivion. But this is as close as it’s come to ever appearing on Nirn.
Walking across this cliff feels like walking on broken legs. Because it is. But it’s the best I can do; this sword may not even hold. I put half as much magic into its creation than I would have liked, meaning it could shatter at any moment and send me tottering to the ground. A blackbird screeches as I near too close to its nest, spreading its wings as a threat.
“I can’t hurt you,” I reply simply, seemingly calming it with my monotone voice.
“Did you know blackbirds eat berries of the Rowan tree as a delicacy?” Piouth transforms into a blackbird to match his story, hopping along the rocks next to me. “If you keep going, maybe when you keel over, he’ll mistake you for an actual Rowan and eat your remains.” He hops in front of me, tilting his head as only an avian can, giving me a cockeyed stare. “Rowan, I don’t like seeing you in this much pain…I know what I said, but I can only help you if you let me.”
“Go back to Oblivion.” I spit, worming my sword tip into a crevice in the rock. “I’ll get out of here. Without your help.”
“Don’t put on the tough girl attitude. You’re in so much pain it’s hard to think, aren’t you? Those bodies you mud crawlers carry with you are so fragile…” He flies up to a spindly branch of a Juniper tree, perching where he can watch me. “Give it to me…I’ll take care of everything…and you can go back to sleeping. Isn’t that what you wanted?”
“No, it’s not.” I mutter.
“You don’t want to just leave everything behind; to get a feeling of numbness forever? Leave your duties behind…just becoming one with something that will let you stay in peace…” It lulls. “Or would you rather struggle through this pain, only to fall short and rot into the earth around you? Become a faceless skeleton, damned to Oblivion as a failed Dragonborn?”
“Piouth.” I finally make it to the edge of the grass, pausing.
“Will you do me a favor?”
“Of course…” He purrs.
“My binding cloth was cut. It’s pretty breezy up here…” I look down to my loose breasts, feeling my face try to heat up and fail due to the blood loss. Fantastic. “If I’m going to die and you’re going to take me over, let me at least keep a bit of dignity, please. And as for giving my body to you…it’ll probably happen. Be patient, and let me at least feel as if I struggled properly like a human so I won’t have to live with that regret scarring my soul.”
“You are very smart, Rowan…” He disappears for a moment, coming back with a few yards of beige colored cloth in his beak. “Now hold still…” He reverts to his human form, steadying me with his hand so he can reach around my body. With burning hot fingers he wraps the cloth around my torso, securing me back into something more dignified.
“Thank you, Pioth.”
“Thank you.” I pause. “You know, what you say when someone does something nice?”
“We don’t have such a phrase.”
“That’s too bad.” I look to the three glowing dots on the horizon, surely screaming something I can’t hear. “Do you have ‘you lost’ in your language?”
Pioth looks around in a panicked frenzy, sensing what I see. He disappears with a quick glance to me, dissolving back into the abyss. Serves him right. Don’t underestimate me or any other human; we’re surprising creatures. I walked half a mile on two broken legs just to spite a dremora, and I’ll do it again.
I hope that’s them coming up to me…if it isn’t, I’m screwed. Let’s go for broke and make sure, then. I wave frantically with my right hand, sword nearly swinging out of my palm. One waves back just as enthusiastically, jumping up and down like a lunatic. That’d be Vec. To the right of him is a skinny, short figure. That’s Prel. And on the left…is a tall figure with a bow slung across his back. Cael.
I feel another drop of blood ooze from my face, stinging my eye painfully. And as if that drop was the only one keeping me conscious, I keel over into lovely, numb, senselessness.
adventurezebraParticipantAugust 7, 2016 at 12:02 amPost count: 4
- This reply was modified 2 years, 8 months ago by Siren.
awesome!!! LOVE the fact you gave pioth a human form, it reminds me so much of Death note, which is great because, i was in love with that show. great work!!!adventurezebraParticipantAugust 7, 2016 at 12:03 amPost count: 4
ps; you realllly wernt kidding when you said you are mean to bishop.. T.TSirenBlockedAugust 7, 2016 at 2:38 amPost count: 45
Thank you! I’m glad you liked it! And bullying Bishop is one of my favorite things to do! (Hence why it’s so often)SirenBlockedAugust 14, 2016 at 11:45 pmPost count: 45
“Good morning Sir…” A Thalmor guard grumbles, yawning on cue as Ondolemar steps out of his study. “Why the dour look?”
“I’ve just been reminded of a sniveling annoyance we’ve run into in the past.” He pauses. “I must stop wandering around here in this dead, filthy city. I’m the head Thalmor Justiciar in all of Skyrim- I have no need to keep these brainless nords in line. Call Elenwen. I’ll look for the dragonborn and bring her to justice.”
“If I may ask, honorable Justiciar…why the sudden change in heart?” The guard bites her lip, thinking it over. The dragonborn of Skyrim; the one who made a fool of the Dominion and stole important documents, only to get away scot-free. Not only did she disappear without a trace, she even whisked the traitorous Malbourn away in time before they could snatch him and torture him like the rat he was.
“I was suddenly reminded of her last night…it was so abrupt it made my blood boil. She shan’t be allowed to waltz around, reminding everyone of our stained reputation.” Ondolemar stops, inspecting a nearby table in front of his rooms. “And has anyone seen my schedule book? I could have sworn I had it with me this morning.”
Right…so where is that orc again? He has to go ‘talk’ to the poor foreman to get more information on Rowan’s ring. He’s never been one for a fist fight, but at this point, being detained by the Markarth guard is not something he needs. Keep it clean, get her back. And he’s even doing some good, to boot.
Physically, he’s nowhere close to ready for a fight. Last night was…embarrassing, and he’s quite glad no one saw. He’s completely not against replaying the events in his mind, though. In retrospect, he should have guessed it was a dream. Rowan having full dragon armor, and then suddenly being in her blue tunic? Also, there’s no way she would go from having a dagger pointed at her to on top of him so quickly. But a man can dream.
Now then. What to do now. Beat up the orc, find the ring, get the girl. Seems easy enough. Though as he’s come to learn, it may be a bit more difficult than expected. Anything with Rowan involved is always more complicated than meets the eye; it’s simply in her nature. And that nature of hers extends out into anything she’s barely mentioned in.
He reaches the smelters without even realizing, the smell of sulfur, burning coal, and melted slag hitting him before the sight. Mulush stands on the raised platform, yelling threats to one of the smelter workers who wasn’t shoveling fast enough. Well, Omluag was correct; he is a cruel master. But that doesn’t mean Bishop really cares. It’s their fault for working for him. However, he needs to do this for Rowan.
“Hey, pigface.” He calls, catching Mulush’s attention. The orc sneers, turning to Bishop with his tusks in full view.
“What do you want?” He snarls, bowing his head threateningly.
“You to shut up. Why don’t you lessen up on the workers? You’re working them half to death.”
“So be it. I got deadlines to meet. If you want me to let up, why don’t you go help em? I’ll be happy when I meet my goal.” He turns away from Bishop, scowling at Omluag down at the smelter. Well… The orc is playing tough.
“How about this?” Bishop swings, catching the orc on the jaw. He staggers backwards, otherwise unfazed by what Bishop deemed to be his heaviest slug. This orc is going to be difficult to take down in a fistfight. He has no need to kill green skinned-pig, so he’ll settle this with his fists, not dagger. Though its presence at his hip taunts him ever slowly, calling out to him like a siren.
He won’t give in; he can’t. The worst part about this is how his actions now affect both of them. Granted, so do Rowan’s, but he’s the one more likely to get the two of them pinned for murder. The last thing they need are petty bounties tagging the two of them around; he’d hope to let the bad blood lie for now instead of forcing it to fester and rot. Blood and sweat got them this far, but he won’t generate more on purpose. As soon as he gets the ladyship back, they’re laying low for quite a while. And from said hiding place, hopefully he can close a bit of that gap between them that tortures him in his dreams. Fight her to sleep with her? When he thinks about it more and more, it seems so absurd.
A graze to the face sends his mind spinning again, trashing his hippocampus for making him remember things in the middle of a fight. This orc stands in his way. And that isn’t particularly pleasing to Bishop.
“Bastard…!” The orc finishes his punch, leaving him wide open. Bishop ducks under his next swing, rocking on his heels slightly, and with everything he has he wills his feet to keep balance. Once that imminent threat has gone, Bishop springs up on the balls of his feet, aiming for the triangle between the orc’s jaw and chin as he lands a left hook, staggering the orc further back. He counterbalances his own swing with a right jab, swinging forward and ever closer to his target.
The orc moves to kick him, but Bishop’s peripheral vision catches it far too soon. Years of hunting and stalking more dangerous prey has left him with a quick-witted algorithm to counter wolf pounces; a palm strike to the chest. Before he can even register that the offending object is a orsimer leg and not a wolf, he’s slammed his palm midway up the poor man’s thigh, feeling him pound through muscle to the bone. Mulush reels back, yelping in surprise at the sudden sensation, and swings out a panicked punch that connects just barely with the bridge of Bishop’s nose, bouncing off his face awkwardly and sending the orc off balance and toppling to the ground.
Bishop pins him to the ground with a boot, stamping on his sternum, challenging the orc to test him. The poor orsimer lays there reeling, clutching at his leg as he feels the numbness fades away, leaving his leg in shock. It wasn’t broken; but the sudden crack to the muscles would mean it’d do more than lock up on him.
“Well? Or do I break your ribs?”
“Alright, alright! I give! Let me up!” He cries. “I’ll ease up!”
“Right.” Bishop gives him one last test stamp before moving his boot, letting Mulush shakily get to his knees. “You’re going to change?”
“I will, I will!” He sighs, getting to his knees. “Look-I don’t like fighting…”
“Then keep it light, friend.” He warns, walking off. He glances to Omluag, nodding slightly to make him aware, and walks off before Mulush has a chance to call the guards.
“That was great!” Omluag grips at his hair as he walks in. “He was so stunned he barely said a word the rest of the day! That was the best day at work I’ve had in my life!” He said. “Gods bless your kind heart!”
“Not kind, and I also don’t need the Gods blessing me, thanks.” Bishop leans on the wall. “Talk.”
“You’re a ‘Straight to the point’ kind of man, aren’t ya?” He pauses, shifting himself on the rock. “Alright fine. That ring you were talking about…well I found it.” At his words Bishop growls, gripping his thumb as he feels his hands form into a fist.
“And…I don’t have it anymore.” He sees the amount of rage Bishop builds, and hastily adds, “Mulush took it. Took it to his house, and that’s where I thought it was. But it ain’t anymore, because someone stole it from him. Serves ‘im right, but your ring is with some sneak thief now.”
“Where is the thieve’s guild located?” Bishop crosses his arms. “They’d know about a ring like that switching hands.”
“No thieves guild in Markarth, friend.” Omluag chuckles. “You’d have better luck wandering around yelling for it than to track down someone connected to the guild. By Oblivion, the only person would probably be one of the Silver-Bloods!”
Bishop paused, mulling this new revelation. This certainly cleaved through his confidence, that was sure. What was he to do now? That ring could be anywhere by now. What were his options? He had to keep looking, right? Or could he go back to the village and get Rowan, keep her with him for a bit while he finds a healer who can break through to her memories. It probably wouldn’t take very long; he could easily keep her under wraps for a few weeks. Sure, she was smart and resourceful, but by this point he had memorized the ins and outs of her. It’d be easy for him.
“She’ll drive you mad. So mad you’ll want to lock her away.”
Shut up Apolinus. What do you know? Though strangely, everything the ex-fiance had been saying seemed to be coming true. He shook his head- much to the confusement of Omluag- willing those thoughts away. He’d find the ring.
But how? What thief would steal the ring? There’s no thieves guild. They’d sell something like that off in a heartbeat. Though that ring was special; they could be looking for the right buyer. And stealing something from the overseer of the smelter? He’d be half-crazy. So what kind of thief could fit that bill? Odd item collector, and with enough guts to fill two men.
“What’s the craziest account of theft you can think of from here, recently?” Bishop asks, looking back to him. A plan slowly forms in his mind; perhaps this may be much simpler than he first thought.
“Well…ah…” Omluag begins, pondering the question. “Well a few months back, someone tried to steal one of the statues of Dibella, but… I don’t know who it was.”
“That’s enough, thanks.” Bishop says as he trudges back up the stairs.
He knocks once, twice, three times….this is getting ridiculous. He swings open the door, strolling inside and looking around. It’s ornate, which is to be expected in the golden city of the dwarves. However, the stiff looking shrine priestesses seemed on alert as soon as he walked in. Once they see his armor they bristle, suspicious of him.
“Um. Hello.” He calls out. “I have a few questions about the statue…”
“If you think you can try and steal it from under our noses I…” The eldest one sitting near the pool turns on him, sparks fluttering in her hand.
“Woah! Calm down. I’m looking for the guy who tried to steal it. I couldn’t care less about the statue itself.”
“Why would you want to know about it…?”
“The thief may have something of mine. I need to find him.” Bishop leans against the wall near the door. “Well? Can you help me?”
She seems to ponder over the ramifications of doing so, wondering if it’s truly okay to tell him. Sure, Bishop looks suspicious, but really, it shouldn’t be that difficult. Damn people and their gods…
“I don’t know who it is for sure, but he had tattered clothing and reeked of wine.” She pauses. “That enough?”
“Anything else to distinguish him? You didn’t see his face at all?”
“Well, my eyes got caught by something else. He was wearing a ring of some kind, though I couldn’t see much of it. Just a glint of silver and emerald.”
“That’s all I need.” Bishop says, heading out the door. “Protect your stuff better next time.”
He’s wandering the streets of Markarth again for what seems like the billionth time. How often has he circled around this stupid mountain? He wasn’t sure, but it was definitely enough to earn him some sort of recognition for dedication. He’ll send Rowan to oblivion for causing this much trouble for him…
So a drunkard with tattered clothes. Only issue with that is that means there’s way too many suspects to count. All the mine workers, the prisoners in Cidhna mine, the workers in the Left-Hand mine nearby, anyone living in the Warrens… Great. Where does he start looking?
His feet lead him back to the market in front of the inn, making him scowl in frustration. Still no plan, and he’s just done an entire lap around Markarth! Perhaps he could ask the shopkeepers; they could know about something like that. The jewelry stall may even deal in stolen jewelry. A few punches may reveal that. It’s empty at the moment, but as it stands, he has plenty of time on his hands.
People mill about aimlessly, examining cuts of beef or jewelry down at the square, making snide comments and clinking coin absentmindedly. The sheer amount of noise they make reminds Bishop just why he hates people.
He wanders through the crowds of people, figuring his next move. That butcher…he sits directly in front of the inn. Surely he’d have a good idea of people around here. He pushes his way past a female orc and a tall bosmer slowly, as if fighting a current of people. The guards watch him like eagles; perhaps no one here is trusting him. Or are they vigilant on something else? The tenseness in the air is menacing to him; it’s turned sour and painfully obvious over the past few days. What could be going on? Something wrong with the mines, or perhaps a death of a noble? No; that isn’t it. But he doesn’t know what it can be.
Just as he reaches the vicinity of the crowd where the group thins out slightly, a flash of steel demands his attention. A knife in the crowd? Where? He looks to its owner, a dark skinned Breton with a crazed look in his eye. Bishop’s hand flashes to his thigh, drawing his dagger and shouldering his way to the man in, watching the knife raise in anticipation of being buried into the fair haired nord in front of him.
Bishop reaches them just as soon as the tip reaches the skin of her back, and Bishop’s far sharper dagger drives into the assassin’s spine with little mercy, cleaving the disks apart with ease.
“I die…for my people.” He manages to spit out before death takes him, gravity taking care of his body and Arkay with his soul. Or whatever god of death he believes in; it makes no difference to Bishop.
“One less brain damaged fool in the world.” Bishop shrugs, turning away. A slender hand grabs his spaulder and pulls him back around, ignoring how he tenses at the contact.
“Hey…By the gods, that man nearly killed me. You saved my life. Thank you. Here, I was going to bring this to my sister, but I think you should have it.” He half hoped for the ring to magically appear to him by fate, but it seems luck is never on his side. And, as if taunting him, an emerald necklace is pressed into his palm. If only it was a ring of the same characteristics…
“No. It’s alright. Give it to your sister.” He gives it back, suddenly aware of the weight of Rowan’s pendant on his chest. “But I do have a question for you. Have you seen an ornate emerald ring on anyone’s finger? It would have been completely out of place on them.”
“Let me think…” She pauses, shifting her weight to her hips and tapping her lips in thought. “No…but if it’s out of place, it’d be on someone desperate to steal it, but for some reason was deranged enough to keep it. Know anyone slightly deranged?”
Bishop’s hand hovers to his dagger again, amusing the woman. “Who are you?”
“Margret. I’m just here to buy jewelry, love. But I’m trying to be of use to you, since you saved me.”
“Well as your savior, any way I can tap a bit further into that knowledge of yours?” He asks, flipping on his charm. “Like why everyone is acting like nothing happened?” He looks to the guards, who seem oblivious despite the major space in the crowd.
“I’ve noticed it too. I am not a fool like these others; something is wrong with this place. I’d leave as fast as you could, stranger.”
“Don’t tell me what to do…” Bishop kneels down beside the body, looking it over. He takes the gold and lockpicks, adding them to his own. Nothing seems particularly out of place…
“He was a forsworn spy.” A man whispers over his shoulder. “Meet with me at the Talos Shrine in a few minutes. I’ll explain.”
Bishop turns around to face the man, meeting only air. And when he turns back to talk more to the Margret, she’s gone too. Well, there goes the interrogation. However, she did have some good points. It’d be someone a bit cracked who could still steal and get away with it. The search has apparently narrowed significantly. He may as well meet that man at the shrine; perhaps he knows something. He may be grasping at straws, but it beats helplessly sitting by. His feet walk without his knowledge, letting him delve deeper into his thoughts.
“Come on, you outsiders always have plenty of gold on you. Spare a piece!”
Wow, what a bitter old man. He sits near Bishop’s boot, just tempting him to spin a kick straight into his jaw. He won’t even look at the beggar; he was never one to donate anyway. His feet keep taking him up the stairs, with his mind elsewhere.
“Hello?” Bishop calls out, opening the doors to the shrine. Sure enough, a man sits near the shrine itself, idly fumbling with his fingers.
“You…!” He calls, standing up.
“Me.” Bishop confirms, walking down the suspiciously long hallway. “What did you want?”
“You know all the strange things happening around here…a woman nearly murdered in the streets, a guard who won’t react… Something is going on. And I want you to help me figure out what. That Margret girl…she and that man…Weylin, I think his name was, what was their connection? Someone needs to get to the bottom of this…”
“And what exactly do you think it is?” Bishop shifts to one foot, quite annoyed at the distraction.
“It’s the forsworn; that much is evident. I just don’t know what’s going on. I’m Eltry, and I’m just a concerned citizen..but you, you look intimidating. You could get it done and get to the bottom of this!”
“The forsworn?” His eyebrows shoot up as he feels his heart race in panic slightly. The forsworn are murdering those from Markarth. What about Rowan? Have the tides shifted in the forsworn’s faction? He has no clue. There’s no time to help this man; all this conversation has done is make the search that much more urgent. “Gotcha. I can’t help you; I don’t have the time. But I feel like the struggle is going to break sometime soon.”
“How do you know that?”
“A bit of a gut feeling…” His mind flips to the pacifist of a chieftain. With nothing more to say, he turns around and walks out, leaving behind an infuriated man.
The night air feels good to him; and for some reason, Markarth’s is especially calming to him. Perhaps that night he and Rowan spent on the top of the spire is starting to eat at him. Where could that damned ring be!?
“Alms. I said “alms” you backbiter. Give a crippled worker a helping hand.”
Where could that beggar be here!? Bishop’s gaze wanders down the cliff face to the street below, where he sees the beggar has gotten up to terrorize the city. As of current he’s holding up some poor noble who looks like he’s about to wet himself.
“Ah…” The noble starts, taking out his coin purse with a shaky hand. The beggar looked half-crazed, with a half-scraggly brown beard, stained pants, and a ragged roughspun tunic that looked as old as the city.
Bishop watched the gold and alcohol exchange absent-mindedly…until he saw a flash of silver and green. On the beggar’s hand…a ring. Well well well. We have our scruffy, alcoholic, misfit beggar. Perhaps the gods don’t hate him too much! He sprints down the street, eyes fully on his target. He won’t fight the old man, but ‘gentle’ persuasion may be needed for this one. He arrives at where the scared noble still stands, and quietly watches the beggar slink to the Warrens. He may have a better idea in store…
He walks into the Warrens a few hours later, noting the same musky smell as before. He knew it never changed. Everyone was asleep; mead and other miscellaneous bottles were strewn about on the floor, clumped around the unconscious bodies that litter the area like a part of the rubble. The beggar sits like the rest, slumped over and utterly intoxicated. The only one still on his feet was the doorman Garvey, who still clutched his bottle.
“The Warrens isn’t a place for your type. What do you want?” He manages to say.
“Nothing much.” Bishop growls. “Who’s the lunatic over there?”
“Thas…that’s Degaine.” Garvey sniffs, pointing to him. “Poor guysa cripple!”
“Hm.” Is all Bishop could say to the drunken man. He walks over and squats down in front of him, not wanting to touch the beggar. Well, it was Rowan’s ring all right; but it was so dirty he could barely make it out. The delicate knotwork around the emerald had been filled with dirt, and the gem had a slight crack in the corner. However, it was hers, and it would most certainly do.
Even in its age and wear, he could see how beautiful the piece would have been at its creation. The knotwork, obviously done by hand, looped around continuously around the band, painstakingly etched in by a tool Bishop could only image was as large as a sewing needle. The emerald was perfectly cut with a small floral caricature of a juniper tree. It was more like art than something to be worn; Apolinus must be crazy himself to ever treat something like this as he did.
Well, Bishop’s his now. He slowly slips it off the man’s fingers, replacing it with a common silver band Bishop had snagged off of one of the bandits back at the dwarven ruin. That’ll confuse him in the morning. He grins to himself; he has it. He did it! He found the ring in the haystack! She’ll definitely remember this, right!?
But what if it doesn’t?
What if he gets back, shows it to her…and nothing? She doesn’t remember it; doesn’t remember him, and just stares at him blankly, a mix of sadness and confusion on her gaze like their last meeting? Could he even take that again? The forsworn would probably take that as a sign to close things out and would kill her. They had to have some way of damage control; Cael was probably sworn to take care of her until she either died or found out about her past self. If it goes wrong, what will he do? He should leave her there.
Where did that thought come from?
He wants her back. But he also wants her safe. If he goes after her to get her back and the ring fails, she’s dead. If he leaves her there, not only will that Chieftain make a move on her, she’ll also end up dying later on. And there’s always the hanging doubt that the ring could have worked. He groans despite being alone; what is this paradoxical limbo?
In the end, it comes down to one simple rule: What would Rowan want? To rot as a forsworn, but alive, or to die as herself?
That made it obvious.
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