DovaBunnyParticipantOctober 24, 2016 at 10:53 amPost count: 75
So I have no self-control, so here… have another chapter.
Bishop led the way into Solitude. His eyes immediately scanned the area for that ridiculous toaster, Casavir, but luckily he was nowhere to be seen. He could help but shake the feeling that he needed to keep him away from her. Then again, he wanted to keep all men away from her.
It was getting dark, and everywhere merchants and townsfolk were heading home. Delphine had told them to meet up with her contact at the Bard’s College, so that’s where they were headed.
“The bard’s college? What – am I gon’ kill the Thalmor with my terrible singing voice while Bishop recites a sonnet so epic it’ll make the women’s loins implode?” Diana had asked Delphine, somewhat irked at her suggestion.
“The Thalmor keep an eye on every industry in Skyrim, they have spies everywhere and monitor everything – except the Bard’s College. Their distaste for Nord culture and their thinking bards are useless means the college is the only place in Solitude where you will be able to meet in private.” Delphine answered, ignoring Diana’s disrespect. She had told Diana many times before that the Dragonborn needs to be someone others can look up to, a warrior that strikes fear and demands respect, while holding herself to the highest standards of morality, humility, and grace – Diana was apparently the exact opposite of what the Blades had in mind. Oh well, awkward for them. “Once there, let Viamo know I sent you. He’ll take it from there.”
Bishop and Diana exchanged quick glances as they headed for the college. From their mutual glance they both knew the other one felt it too – they had a bad feeling about this. Like it was the beginning of the end.
Bishop and Diana strolled into the impressive, ancient city. Her face beamed as she took in all the sights, sounds, and smells. The town had a colourful array of people, some Nord, some Breton, some Orc, a few Imperials, and here and there an elf or very tanned Breton with some serious war paint. They all went about their business peacefully, although there did seem to be some tense air in the city walls, especially amongst the guards.
Diana took Bishop by the hand and dragged him to the small stalls in a clearing between the huge SilverBlood Inn and the general trader. A combination of travelling merchants and farmers in the city for the day to sell their produce. Bishop followed happily. His eyes went to the Inn for a moment, wondering if they had a courier, but he shook his head and put the thought aside. Honestly, he was perfectly fine if they didn’t.
Diana bought them each a homemade pie made by one of the farmer’s wives, and a string of taffy for her that she refused to share with Bishop, calling him ‘Hagraven bait’. After they ate she lazily browsed a jewelry stand, when the city’s gates suddenly flung open and all eyes were on it.
A row of nine men were being lead in by some 18 guards. They must be quite high priority captives to have that many guards. They all had their hands bound in shackles with chains connecting them, all except one. Her eyes went to the man in the middle. He had two of the heaviest armoured guards at his sides, heavy shackles around his hands and feet that connected to what looked like a dog’s collar around his neck – to add insult to injury, no doubt.
He was not necessarily larger than the others, but he walked taller, his muscular physic tainted by scars – new and old. Soft but dirty white-blond hair fell over his face. She felt herself oddly drawn to him, intrigued. That’s when she noted, their armour, the leather and furs, the face paint, their tanned, strong bodies… these were no ordinary men. These were Forsworn!
One of the guards kicked the blond man in the back. His hands were shackled down to his hips so he was unable to use them to break his fall as he dropped face-first on the stone floor. Diana instinctively rushed out to assist him but Bishop grabbed her hand in the last minute as she reached for him, pulling her back.
The man looked up at her, his light blue eyes pained and tired, but still somehow shown brighter than Merida’s beacon. He had war paint from his eyes down over his cheekbones down to his neck. Her heart skipped a beat in that moment when their eyes met. A guard quickly yanked the man up to his feet by his hair, causing him to growl and strain.
She looked around, everyone was still, staring at the spectacle as the men were lead off down the road. Why was no one reacting to this? She was surprised to note that most faces were downcast. She looked back at the men, “This isn’t right, what could they have done to deserve this?” she said to herself, loud enough for a man next to her to hear.
“They are hunted simply because they are Forsworn,” an old man’s croaky voice next to her said. She turned to see an old warrior, ex-mercenary by the looks of it. His eyes were sad as he leaned against the Inn’s walls.
“Surely they must’ve done some grave wrong to be treated like that?” she asked desperately seeking answers.
The old man looked at her, “The Jarl, by advise of the Silver Blood family, has declared all Forsworn outlaws, placing high bounties on the heads of any and all Forsworn chiefs and warriors. That young man in the middle, he’s known as the Wolf of the Reach. A chief, wise, fair, and feared, even for his young age. Because of this, many of the Forsworn forced to flee have chosen to join his tribe when their villages are attacked, leading to him having the largest tribe in all the Reach. He is the second most powerful chief, second only to the King, Madanach, his late grandfather’s brother. He had the highest price on his head, despite the fact that his village is the most peaceful of them all, never attacking on sight, only in self-defence, keeping to themselves and even having saved travellers from wild animals and other tribes at times.” The Man’s face fell down, his eyes glistened, “And now they lead him in here, to be locked away in Cidhna Mine like some common criminal, just like Madanach.” The thought clearly hurt him deeply. He looked up to see the young woman staring at him with concern and confliction. “If you’ll excuse me.” He turned back into the Inn.
Diana stood for a moment, processing what she had just learned. She had always thought the Forsworn were these violent savages, like the ones she encountered in the ambush. But this, these men she just saw… They were just men. Innocent men.
“Oeph, sorry!” a man bumped into her and apologized politely. Where the hell did he come from? Bishop bristled and his eyes furrowed at the man for invading her personal space like that.
“That’s okay,” she responded, still absent.
“Here, you dropped this,” he shoves a small note into her palm.
She looks at it confused, it’s not familiar to her in the slightest. “No, I’m sorry this isn’t mine. It must be yours,” she hands it back to him.
He steps back, “No, no. That’s yours. Anyway, I must be going.” He gave her an intense look, like he was trying to convey a level of seriousness, before turning to walk off. Weird?
She opened the note and read, Bishop stepping up to read over her shoulder:
‘I heard your conversation. If you really want to help, meet me in the Warrens. It’s across the mine, under the city. – Eltrys’
Bishop was just as confused at everything that had just happened, but turning to see her face show she was considering it snapped him back. He plucked the note from her hand, “Oh no! Don’t even think about it!”
“Bishop!” she tried to grab it back in vain, “If it’s true what the old man says they might need our help!”
“Need our help?? Since when did you start playing ‘hero of Skyrim’?! No! These Forsworn are bloodthirsty, dirty savages who slaughter innocent people all the time! YOU were almost one of them for Dibella’s sake. They deserve this, they deserve to die!”
“THESE men didn’t attack us, Bishop!” she pointed towards the road the men were lead off, “Besides, I can’t just stand by and not do anything when innocent people suffer.”
“So what, you’re going to jailbreak them? Hmm? Going to try seduce the Jarl to pay off their bounty?”
“No. Maybe.” Bishop bristled at her words. “I don’t know! But what I do know is I’m going to see what this guy has to say. It’s the least I can do!”
Bishop fumed, “Fine!” he gritted through his teeth. “You go, but I’m going to the Inn! Come join me after you’re done with your little crusade!” Folding his arms to further show his disapproval he glared at her as she made her way in the direction of the mine, heading for the Warrens.
“Oh thank the old gods, you came!” Eltrys praised as she entered the dark, murky, foul-smelling den that looked like Skeever Land 2.0.
“Yeah don’t count your chaurus before they hatch face-paint, I’m just hear to listen.” Diana noted. “Go on?”
“I thank you for your time,” Eltrys glanced cautiously to Diana whose words were stern but whose large dark eyes were kind, “I heard you ask about the men who were lead in, and I saw your distress at what you heard. It is true, The Wolf and his men are innocent, more so than any other tribe in the Reach. The Silver Bloods have had their eye on their village’s land for years due to the rich silver vain that runs through those mountains. They’ve tried to buy the land off the tribe for the disgusting price of 200 gold, and were turned down. They then threatened them if they did not leave, again the Wolf’s tribe ignored them. Then this.” The man’s face fell.
“How were they captured?” Diana’s head ducked to catch his eyes again.
Eltrys’ face went dark, bitter, “They captured a Forsworn woman and her child, and threatened the child if she did not co-operate. She was to run up to the village, yelling that her tribe was being attacked by a Dragon and needed immediate help. They knew the Wolf and his best men would come to her aid – as they did. An ambush awaited them. They were outnumbered 3 to one by a band of ruthless mercenaries that worked for the Silverbloods. With Madanach, the King, and the Wolf captured along with their best men, the Forsworn are vulnerable to attack. I fear it’s only a matter of time before they are slaughtered or driven from their homes.”
“But… why are you telling me this?”
“Because you might be just what we need! The saviour we’ve been praying for!”
Diana didn’t like that word. “Woa, listen buddy. I’m no one’s saviour.” His face fell again. “But I’m willing to help.” His head shot up, eyes wide, smiling from ear to ear. “What do you need from me?”
“Well,” he was beaming, relieved, “Everyone knows that Markarth is built upon an ancient underground city, the ruins of which are still visible here and there, and parts can be accessed through Understone Keep.”
“…errr, yeah. I knew that.” She shifts uncomfortably. She was a bad liar. She just stupid.
“We need to find a way for the men to pin point the spot in the mine the closest to these underground ruins, so they can dig their way down and escape.”
“But what if they escape, surely they can’t run through the Keep and right through the city out the front door?”
“That’s where I come in. Close to the ruins’ entrance in the Keep is the door to the hall of the dead. The hall has a second entrance on top of a tower. If the men can get there, I will secure a strong rope from the roof to the walls of the city. All they need to do is zip-line over, and jump off to freedom in the dark of night.”
She paused for a moment to take it in. “Okay, but what do you need me for in all this?”
“Ah! Yes. You’re the outsider, the unfamiliar face! We’ll need you to go study the original plans for the city at the museum in Understone Keep. Being an outsider, you’ll be welcomed in the museum. It shows exactly where the ruins are and how it’s all structured. With this information, you’ll need to break into the mine, and show them where to dig!”
“Woa…” is all she got out. She was thinking maybe they just needed a lookout, some sweetrolls perhaps, or maybe she could go get someone who could actually help. This is crazy.
“I know this is asking much,” Eltrys continued, seeing her face, “but the Forsworn will forever be in your debt. I appeal to you as a warrior, Skyrian, and as a person.”
She looked down at the man, his face pleading.
“You WHAT?!” Bishop bellowed in fury at her. Thank the nine the walls were stone in their room at the Inn.
“I said I’ll do it.” Diana said calmly, her arms folded and her stance upright to show her seriousness.
“Ladyship, we haven’t even discussed it yet!” Bishop was pacing the room, trying to control his temper.
“I don’t need to. You’re not my owner, neither am I yours. We’re both free to do what we want. You need not join me if you don’t want to, I don’t force you to do anything you don’t want.”
“You’re damn right I’m not breaking into no fucking jail-mine! Especially not to save some criminal savages!”
She sighed. She had hoped he would be reasonable and join her. But, it’s his choice. “Very well. Will you at least take my armour and things and wait outside the city’s gates near the drop-off point? I won’t be able to come fetch it and they’ll confiscate all I have on me at the prison.”
Bishop gritted his teeth, dropping his head into his hand. “It’s that boy, isn’t it?”
Diana felt a wave of discomfort, like she was caught out at her bad hiding spot playing hide-and-seek with blind kids. “What are you talking about?”
“Don’t play dumb with me Diana.” He slowly walked over to her, like a sabre cat ready to pounce, “I saw the way you looked at him. You really that desperate that you’ll risk your life and mine for some blond blue-eyed boy just because you had a ‘moment’?” he came up right to her face.
Dammit, he saw that. She couldn’t deny the man’s eyes had been burned into her memory. It was there when she closed her eyes. “I’m doing this because innocent people need help. Help that I can give!”
“Yeah, whatever you need to tell yourself Princess! Here I thought you were more than just another thirsty, hopeless wench that’ll fall for any man that batts his eyes at her…” Bishop sneered and turned away.
“If you don’t like it, Bishop, you can leave.” She pulled herself up straight, blank faced to show that she was unmarked by his words, even if they did cut deep coming from him. “You’re free to come and go as you please, and I’m not up for playing stupid games. If you’re not going to come with me or wait for me, can you at least just drop my things off behind a rock at the drop-off point?”
Bishop was silent. His jaw muscles tensed.
“Fine. But that’s it.”
“Yeah. I’m dropping it off then we’ll be done. Our companionship.”
“…fine.” She wasn’t going to beg him to stay. If he wanted to go, well then let ‘em go! So long! Farewell! Don’t let the door hit ya where the good gods split ya!
Good gods the two were immature.
She got dressed in a plain blue and white tunic dress she found in the cupboard of their room. Kinda weird that it was just there. She put it on along with old shoes she didn’t mind losing. She took a small hand full of coins to pay for the museum entrance, and put all her armour, weapons, and other belongings away in her bag, placing it neatly on the table in front of Bishop who still sat fuming. He didn’t even glance at her as she changed, he just started ahead.
“Well, I guess this is goodbye.” Diana said, trying to hide the fact that she was actually really sad to see them split up like this. She saw it coming, in a sense. She always knew they’d split up eventually, or he’d get bored or pissed at her for something inappropriate she said and took off. Still, her heart felt heavy.
“Goodbye, Diana.” His words were cold, emotionless. It felt like a punch to the stomach. But she wasn’t going to let him see that.
She nodded and swallowed, heading for the door. Just as she opened it and stood in the doorway, she turned to him one last time. His eyes looked up to meet hers. She was surprised to not only find anger there, but also…disappointment, sadness?
“For what it’s worth, I really do hope to see you there.” She mustered a faint smile as some of the rage tension lifted off his shoulders and features. With that, she turned to leave.
So the museum was…. Interesting. Cool if you’re suuuuuuper into dwemer artefacts and get turned on dwarven décor. One of the guards, you could tell he was posted at the museum because he’d be near useless anywhere else, showed her around and even let her touch the stuff that had big ‘DO NOT TOUCH’ signs above them. He was short, shorter than the shortest Breton she’d seen, and a little chubby with small eyes that narrowed when he tried to read, but very friendly and very well read. He took her right to the plans, not questioning the beautiful woman’s motives, and gave her enough time to memorize it.
Now – time to get arrested!
Eltrys had suggested breaking into the mine, but being arrested was just going to be so much more fun! She’d never been thrown in jail before. Felt that was something she needed to do to solidify her street cred as a badass motherfuckn’ Dragonborn.
It was already late in the evening when she finally left the museum. The poor museum guard was so hungry for company and wouldn’t let her go without showing her every single thing in the entire place! Her brain felt like it was frying on a pan, sizzling out her ears.
She picked the drunkest, laziest-looking guard closest to the mine. She wanted a guy who would throw her in there without wasting time with paperwork, questioning, or getting a good look at her.
“Yo! Butterface!” she taunted as she swaggered up to him, “Your momma’s so fat, the Dark Brotherhood needed two contracts to take her out!”
“Wha- what you say to me?” he lifted his head. She could smell the mead on his breath as he was held up by the forge near the entrance.
“You heard me! Your momma’s so ugly, when she went to get her vampirism cured, Falion said ‘woah, how did a horker contact vampirism?’!”
“Youuu! Youuu…” he stumbled to his feet. Clearly a part of his brain was telling him he should be pissed, but he was confused as to what to do with this information. “Yoouuuu… You! …err. I should… err…”
She tapped her foot impatiently.
“I’m gonna arress… Hmmm…” he mumbled and murmured.
“Arrest me! Is it that hard?! You’re a guard! Smoldrering farting mudcrab balls… Just do your fucking job! Here,” she took his hand and put it on her shoulder, leading him towards the mine, “I’ll help you out!”
“You disrespect the law… *hick* you disrespect my mother!” he mumbled loudly, going along as she dragged him to the mine, holding his gloved hand to her shoulder.
“Yeah, well, your mother disrespected my sense of sight when she gave birth to you…” she cursed at him. He burped loudly. “Gods, and my sense of smell!” she covered her nose.
Once inside his instincts seemed to kick in a little under the bright lantern lights. He ordered her to leave all her clothes and possessions, giving her rags to put on, then shoved her into the mine, locking the gate behind her. That’s it. No run-down, not briefing of how shit works, no paperwork. Just ‘in ya go’. This went better than expected.
She made her way down the passage and over a makeshift bridge to see a group of men gathered around a fire. They looked up at her with confusion and surprise.
“Hey guys! Got room for one more?” she said confidently with a smile, trying to show them she came in peace.
“One thing that never survives this place is a sense of humour…” a large Orc says, stepping into the light. “That, and pretty girls.” He smiles creepily, showing his teeth.
“Woa there’s girls here? Where?!” she spun around, but saw only men. Most of them resembled the Forsworn. “Oh no, guess it’s just you big green feller!”
“Leave her alone Borkul!” she turns to see a young man, smile on his face, stand up from the fire. His hazel eyes and long brown hair looked vaguely familiar, he might be one of the men lead in with the Wolf. “I’m Anu. Welcome to Cidhna mine! Wow that sounds weird…”
She smiles warmly and approached the man, “Err thanks? I guess?”
He studies her face for a moment, “Wait, I know you…”
“No, you’re must be mistaken! I did not steal that bucket from the general goods store on purpose!” she teased.
“No, you’re the girl from the market? The one who wanted to help?” his features went soft.
“That’s, kinda why I’m here. To help.” She said sheepishly.
He reels back a bit, “You got yourself thrown in jail to help us? Why?”
“I’ll explain later. I need to get to your leaders – the King and the Wolf? Where can I find them?”
“I’m afraid that’s not possible. The Wolf is being kept in a separate cell down there,” he points towards a dimly-lit corridor, “All we hear coming form there are terrible screams. Wouldn’t be surprised if they tortured him to death by now. There’s a guard stationed at the entrance too. The King is through here,” he points to the gate behind the large Orc, “But Borkul is the only one with the key and he won’t let us in without the Wolf.”
Diana contemplated his words, rubbing the back of her neck as she stared down the tunnel to the Wolf. “You say there’s one guard down there?”
“Okay. I got a plan. Here’s what we’re going to do…”
“Guard! Guard! Oh thank gods you’re here.” Diana ran up to the guard standing before a large heavy iron gate, panicking and out of breath. The tall Nord filled the gap as he stood with his arms folded, feet apart, and blank anger on his face. He had a whip with tiny pieces of metal in the leather at his hip. It was bloody. It made her feel sick.
“What in blazes do you want?” he sneered at her.
“You need to come quick! The prisoners, they’re fighting each other!” she pleaded, out of breath from the running. “Something about Grisvar, who is Brig’s bitch, making eyes at Borkul, and then Brig challenged Borkul, and it turned into a massive turf war! It’s a bloodbath! I saw a man bite another man’s penis clean off!” She kept quiet for a moment so they could hear the racket and yelling coming from the mine. Anu and the boys were doing their part.
“Why the hell should I care?” he replied, uninterested in her little display.
“Because if they’re all dead, there’s no silver! No silver, means no job for you!
The guard’s eyes shot open. “Fine! Step aside.” Boy that was too easy.
“After you,” she stepped aside to let him pass, but just as he passed her, she pulled her hand out from behind her back. She had a shiv, bottom resting on the end of her palm, point between her middle and ring finger. With one smooth thrust she shoved it up the base of his skull into his brain.
He paused in place, and dropped dead, face frozen in pure shock.”
“Asshole…” she whispered to herself as she took the keys from his belt and rushed over to the gate.
Once inside she froze in shock herself at the sight before her. The blond man, shackles on his neck, hands and feet, handing from chains on the ceiling. His body was ripped apart by the whip that tore bits of flesh from his body, leaving a pool of blood below his hanging feet, still dripping. He stirred at her entering, but couldn’t make out who she was as he could barely lift his head.
She ran to him, using the keys to unlock the shackles that held him. Once she got the last one that held his arms up, the man fell down over her. She planted her feet and held him up, carefully setting down his broken body on a chair near a plate of half-eaten food. No doubt the guard sat there eating, taunting the hungry man. His blood smeared on her cheek, chest and arms where she had held him.
“Who… who are you?” his words barely above a whisper, his breathing laboured heavily.
“I’m here to help. Now keep still, I’m going to see how much I can heal.” One hand on his shoulder kept him sitting up, as her other hand brought forth golden glowing ribbons of light. She was no healing expert, but she could heal basic cuts just fine. And that’s what he had. Just, a lot of them.
She gently moved her hand over his leg down to his foot, from the other foot back up. The cuts closed and the bleeding stopped where her hand went. She moved it over his stomach and broad, chiselled chest, to his arms, shoulders and back. It was working!
Lastly, she kneeled in front of the broken man, gently wiping the hair from his face as she healed his neck and face where his eyes were swollen shut and his ears had been bleeding. She quickly tore a bit of her ragged skirt off and used it to wipe the blood from his face.
Finally, he it looked like his strength was returning to him. He stirred and picked his head up to look at her. The moment their eyes met, his mouth dropped open wordless.
“How’re you feeling?” she asked, one hand cupping his face, the other still on his shoulder helping him keep upright.
“It’s… it’s you. The girl from the market…” he stared at her, studying her eyes like he was trying to read them. “Why are you here?”
“Eltrys sent me. I can get your out of here.”
“Eltrys? Bless his heart.” The young man sat up on his own, recalibrating to his surroundings and senses. His swelling was down, and the bruising subsiding, but the blood was till everywhere. “But, why would you do this, don’t you know who we are? Who I am? I’m-”
“The Wolf of the Reach, yeah I know. I’ve heard the stories, slayer of Nordic heroes and devourer of villages. I also know none of that is true,” she said, her features certain.
He looked up at her, deep appreciation and warmth in his eyes. He had never expected such selflessness from one who is not Forsworn. She had heard the stories, she had every reason not to trust him, yet here she was.
He stumbled onto his feet. She reached out to him, allowing him to steady himself leaning on her shoulders. Once up, he pulled back his shoulders and smiled, “Allow me to formally introduce myself. I am known as the Wolf, the chief of clan Rudahan, but you can call me Cael.” He held out a stead, strong hand to her. She took it and shook firmly, her eyes not leaving his. “And what about you, my hero, what do they call you?”
“What do they call me?” she let out a chuckle and rubbed the back of her neck, “Oh where to begin… Stupid, crazy, idiot, wench, skeever-face, horker, bear-bait, falmer-breath…” she started listing all the insults that Bishop had thrown at her.
Cael laughed, “No, I mean what did your parents call you?”
“Oh my parents? Well they called me ‘mistake’, ‘accident’, err… ‘honeymoon left-over’, ‘why-can’t-you-be-more-like-your-brother’, and they also yelled ‘No! Stop that!’ to me a lot.”
Cael laughed so hard he held on to his still aching stomach. He hasn’t laughed this hard in… well… He couldn’t even remember the last time he laughed. “Your name, you silly woman, what is your name?”
She smiled, happy that she could make him laugh and smile even in here, even after what he went through. His eyes were just as bright as in the market place, but for a moment that pained expression was gone. “Well if none of those suite your fancy, you can call me Diana.”
“Diana…” her name on his lips sounded like a song. “A beautiful, strong name. Fitting.”
She bit her lip shyly. Gods why did she feel like a silly blushing farm maid in front of this man? The two stood for a moment, their eyes locked. “Uh, I guess we should be getting back. I need to talk to Madanach about how we’re going to escape.”
“Oh, yea, of course,” he awkwardly cleared his throat. “Lead the way.”
The men had their eyes trained on the entrance to the dark corridor. Their joy and relief to seeing Diana’s smiling face was soon replaced with fear and shock at the sight of their fearless leader walking out covered in blood, but his confident eyes and smile reassured them.
“You, you did it?” Anu said hesitantly, “You got him out?’
“That, and she healed me! Pretty sure I owe this mysterious beauty my life.” He smiled earnestly and warmly at her, making her feel like a swooning little girl again.
“Here you go chief,” one of the men came running with a bucket of water and a cloth for Cael to wash the blood off.
“Thank you Jashra.” Cael took it from the man, and thanked him earnestly. He turned to the massive green giant at the gate, “Borkul, tell the King what has happened, and that we need to speak with him.” Borkul just nodded and turned to let himself in the gate to speak to his master.
“So you’re telling me if we dig straight down from this point,” the large old man said pointing at a spot she circled on a map of the mine, “then we’ll eventually dropped into the ruin, that’ll lead us to the Keep, where we need to sneak into the Hall of the Dead, where we need to get onto the roof and zip-line over the town onto the walls and make our escape?”His eyes had dark warrior paint, making them seem hollow and threatening. His long grey hair was tattered and small braids fell to the side. He was old, thin from his time in the mine, but still carried the air of a Forsworn King in his large strong body that told of many battles.
She nodded cautiously. Gods why did she only now realise how stupid it all sounded! She looked over to Cael who sat opposite her at the table in Madanach’s private cell. His eyes met her and his eyes smiled, reassuring her. “Yes, that’s the plan.”
“Well…” he sat back in the chair, staring at the map, “It’s not perfect, but it’s all we got.” He turned to Borkul, handing him the map, “Borkul, tell the men to start digging straight down in this vicinity. We’ll need two diggers and one moving the dirt at all times, we can work out shifts later. Also, they need to be careful as the floor might collapse. In the meantime, the rest should continue as usual as to not alert any guards that might come around. I’ll come brief them on the rest myself soon.”
Borkul nodded humbly and made his way out. For an orc of that size to be that submissive, made her a little more than cautious of Madanach.
“So, tell me how is it you decided to help us, the Forsworn, even though we’ve done nothing for you, Dragonborn?” Madanach sat back and looked at her intently.
Cael’s eyes shot open wide at Madanach, then to her. Diana too was a little speechless. How did he know?
“You seemed surprised, Dragonborn. You didn’t think the return of the legendary Dragon slayer would go unnoticed by the Forsworn, did you? When first the rumours came from Whiterun, I sent a scout to find out more about you. From what I hear, you’re a hard woman to track down.”
“I, err… I didn’t think anyone knew about me this far West.” She sounded sheepish. Get yourself together woman!
“Nothing escapes the Forsworn, my dear.” The old man smiled and winked at her, getting up, “I need to go brief the men. It’s been months since I’ve been out of my cell, will be nice to see the faces and stretch my legs. You two both had a hard day. Feel free to eat and drink of the food in here. There are some furs in that chest if you wish to sleep, you deserve some rest. We can also not afford having the guards see you and blow our cover.” He looked back at her, “You have given us hope where we thought there was none left. Thank you for that, Dragonborn.” With a nod he left the two behind.
She was alone with him again. His stared at her like she was sprouting another head. “You’re the Dragonborn?” he finally said.
“…surprise?” Dammit that was stupid. Why did you say that! *mentally slaps herself*.MegDianaParticipantOctober 24, 2016 at 3:05 pmPost count: 11
This is such a good story please keep going i love this!!!NehstaParticipantOctober 24, 2016 at 7:47 pmPost count: 28
xD These keep getting better by the moment. I cracked up when she was introducing herself to Cael.KathyParticipantOctober 24, 2016 at 8:01 pmPost count: 2
Ohhhh girl..where are you going with this? Hmmmm love it mucho muchoDovaBunnyParticipantOctober 25, 2016 at 6:58 amPost count: 75
“What is love! Baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me… no more!”
New chapter ya’ll! Get it while it’s hot!
Ps: thanks SOOOO much for the awesome comments guys!! They really make my day 😀
Diana and Bishop cautiously give each other a knowing glance before going in. Fighting, living, sleeping, and breathing side-by-side for over two years, you learn to convey a lot by just a glance.
“It’s going to work, TRUST me!” a tall Altmer in fine clothes says, trying to calm down a visibly uncomfortable Bosmer.
“You don’t know that! What if she can’t act, what if they’re caught out! Have you SEEN them?? They look like they just crawled out of a bar fight! At a brothel! Full of Orcs!” the Bosmer almost bouncing with nervousness.
Diana ungracefully slamming the door behind her breaks up their conversation as the two mer turn to Diana and Bishop.
“Well, let’s find out why don’t we?” The Altmer steps forward to Diana, looking her up and down, “Yes, yes you’ll do nicely.”
“Why does it look like he’s trying to figure out if I’m small enough to swallow whole?” she whispers to Bishop standing equally as uncomfortable next to her.
“I dunno… Try not to look right at it, maybe it’ll go away…” he says through his teeth back at her, “I’m told it can smell fear.”
“I can also smell talent! I’m Viamo, the Headmaster here at the Bard’s College. I believe Delphine has told you to meet me here.” The dramatic, regal Altmer takes a deep bow. “This is Malborn, he’s our ‘man on the inside’, so to speak. He works as a butler at the Thalmor Embassy and has helped set all this up.”
“Set what up, exactly?” Diana asks nervously as he snakes his arm around her shoulder, leading her into a library-looking area for them to sit. Bookcases adorn the walls, and each table and surface is lined with empty alto wine bottles, lose scraps of notes, and half-read books.
“Oh Delphine hasn’t told you the plan?” he seemed almost excited that he could be the one to break the news. She shook her head. Malborn face-palmed and muttered something underneath his breath about eating firesalts.
“I expect you’ll dress us up like fancy sissy-pants nobles, we’ll go to the party, he causes a distraction, and we sneak in to steal the documents?” she suggested.
“That was the…original plan… before we knew what you two looked like.” He mutters that last bit, “But when you get Viamo involved – your plan gets the Viamo treatment!” he says picking his head up and doing flash spirit fingers.
“I’m afraid to ask…” Dian swallows as she is pushed down into a chair. Bishop takes a seat next to her, scooting close. He somehow felt he needed to protect her from this crazy tall mer, but also, he felt in need of some protection himself.
“Malborn here has arranged for the Bard’s College to do a production at the event! He persuaded his masters that, having so many Nords and Jarls there, it’ll only be appropriate to provide some of the best entertainment Skyrim has to offer – enter Viamo!” again, with the jazz hands.
“So, this production?” Bishop asks already not liking this. Neither of them could sing or play any instruments.
Viamo is visibly preparing for an over-the-top dramatic response, “A play! Of a love triangle in the midst of the civil war, with a live music! I will be playing the lead, of course, an Imperial Captain who falls in love with a beautiful blacksmith from Winterhold, “he points to Diana. Her eyes go big as she points to herself with an expression of ‘who me?!’, “Her suitor, a Stormcloak General, learns of our secret but undying love, and fakes the Captain’s death! He seduces her as she finds comfort and consolation in his arms. But of course, the Captain later emerges from the battle victorious, and goes to claim his love at long last, only to find her in bed with his enemy! In a blind rage he KILLS both of them, before realising his mistake! He wanders the tundra of Skyrim in search of forgiveness and peace, but only finds it, in taking his own life…where he and his love can be together again,” he stares off into the distance before slowly taking a bow. He kept his head low until Diana started awkwardly clapping, at which he got up again. “You are too kind! Anyway, with her killed off, you two will be allowed to scurry off into the building. I will carry the show from there for another 20 minutes of monologue, after which Inge will lead the music.”
“Okay, so what is my role in this? I play the General?” Bishop enquires. He guessed this could be fun.
“Oh no. The General will be played by one of our own, Jorn. Tall, handsome, rugged Forsworn-looking fella with long blond hair and war paint,” Bishop bristled at the description, “You’ll play the courier who takes my letters to Diana, and finally, who is given the letter that falsely states my death to her as well. No talking involved, don’t worry. Same for your role, Diana. Your role is a silent one, only some simulated crying at one point, and of course the kissing scene. Which reminds me, Malb-“
“Woa WHAT?!” Bishop interrupts him, almost vaulting to his feet, “What’s this now?”
“The kissing scene between Jorn and Diana when he heals her breaking heart? Have you not been following? Urgh, okay let me start again… So, it’ll be a play! A love triang-“
“Yeah I heard you the first time buddy, I just didn’t like what I heard!”
“Oh…” Viamo looks confused, his eyes going from Bishop to Diana, “ohhh! You two are…” he wiggles his finger between them.
“No!” Bishop and Diana respond at the same time like their being accused of something heinous. Diana continues, “No, we’re just-, we’re just companions.”
“Good! So there’s no issues then.” Viamo claps his hands with a smile, “Now we’ve been preparing the production for months, but you two have one day to learn it! So go rest up good, you’ll need it! Tomorrow, we rehearse, and the day after – we perform!”
They’ve been digging for three days, surely they should be getting close! Not that she minded, really. With Bishop gone, she had nowhere to be. The greybeards could have been waiting all their lives for the return of the Dragonborn, a few more days (*cough* months) won’t hurt.
Diana and Cael were paired up with the digging, with Anu as the guy at the top who clears away the dirt they send up. They did their shift at night as they couldn’t be seen in the open where the other prisoners were mining ore in sight of any guard who wishes to peek in or pop down to collect ore and bring food. When they weren’t digging, they were in Madanach’s cell.
He was so easy to talk to, and she found everything he said interesting and exciting. He taught her about their customs, his life growing up, the passing of his father and grandfather, becoming chief, and their cause in reclaiming their homeland. She told of her travels, Helgen, hunting in Falkreath, Jorvaskrr, and her life as the Dragonborn. It was like they’d both been tossed into situations of great responsibility and high status before they were ready. The only difference was, Cael was pulling it off incredibly well! While she… well, she got that toned, fit body of hers by running from her responsibilities and expectations.
He was an incredibly good looking man. Tall, handsome, toned like you’d expect a warrior chief to be, while also being intelligent, gentle, and kind, with bright blue eyes that conveyed immense depth. She could see why his people loved him so. For him, she was a breath of fresh air. She spoke her mind and didn’t have any pretences. She was curious, brave, hard-working, funny, and insightful, in addition to being strikingly beautiful with her short black hair and big dark eyes, even in rags and covered in dirt.
Cael sat and lazily watched her passed out on the furs after their taxing 6-hour digging session. She mumbled something about mudcrabs in her sleep, and he let out a small smile.
“You know she likes you?” Madanach finally says, looking up from his book to watch the young man watch the snoring graceless mess of a woman in the corner.
“Hm? Diana? Oh no, being in here so long has made you blind old man,” he huffed turning to the book he was supposed to be reading, realising how awkward his staring was.
Madanach closes his book and smacks Cael over the head with it, “Watch yourself boy, I am still by all accounts your guardian! And I’m not blind, it’s clear as day for everyone here that you two have chemistry.”
Cael chuckles as he sees Madanach’s eyes are friendly and caring, right now, he isn’t his King, he’s his grandfather. “Yeah, but she hasn’t made any such notions to me, trust me I’ve been hoping she would. Besides, she talks a lot about her companion. Some ranger named ‘Bishop’.” He wasn’t wrong, she had told a lot of Bishop related stories, not realising how curious it made Cael as to what exactly their arrangement was.
“Well, I don’t see a ring on her finger, do you?”
Cael leans over to her to check, although it was one of the first things he looked for after he introduced himself to her days before when she saved him. “No…”
“And he’s not here right now, is he?”
“Well, then it seems to me, you just being scared boy! Forsworn are fearless, passionate fighters…on the battlefield and in love.” Madanach sees the uncertainty in his young nephew’s face. He folds his arms on the table, leaning over to the man, “You remember what we talked about, when we celebrated your 18th birthday?”
“Yes. How I couldn’t inherit the throne from you unless I’m married.”
“Exactly my boy! What if something were to happen to me now? One of the Briarhearts would take it and plummet the already tarnished name of the Forsworn into the ground!”
Cael just bit his lip. “Surely politics should not be confused with love.”
“You’re right, but it is a part of it. These Nords think they won by taking out the chiefs, they don’t realise our tribes still stand because we have powerful women at our side! I know in my absence my dear Brianna has been leading our tribe with wisdom and strength. And you need a mate that will match your power, status, and be an asset to your tribe – whether you’re there or not.” Madanach’s eyes float to the sleeping woman, “You can’t deny she could be an incredible aid to our cause. Just imagine, the mythical Nord legend, the saviour of Skyrim, the Dragonborn – the wife of the Forsworn King!”
It did sound incredible to Cael, like his wildest fantasy. He let his mind wander for a moment, picturing her at his side as they look over his village, her kiss on his lips. His heart skipped a beat. “Very well. I will speak to her when the time is ready.”
“Don’t wait too long, a woman like that always has another hopeful suitor not too far behind. If you don’t act, someone else will.”
The old man had no idea.
“So tell me, this Bishop fellow you keep talking about…” Cael rammed his shovel into the ground, getting a full heap and throwing it into the bucket between them in the small space they shared, “is he like your…partner?” She tossed a shovel heap full in there too, filling it up. “Pull up!” Cael called to Anu far above to pull up the bucket and empty it. The two stood a few meters underground in the tunnel.
“Bishop?” she wiped the sweat from her brow, letting out a chuckle, “Oh gods no! I’m pretty sure the man would much rather kiss a slaughterfish than be with me! No we are… we were just travelling companions.”
“Yeah, he wasn’t too keen on me taking this job and we parted on bad terms. I don’t think I’m seeing him again.”
“Well, I’m sorry that you had to lose your companion to save us…” his voice was genuinely sorrowful. They paused to catch their breath, waiting to the bucket to come back down. He cleared his throat, shuffled his feet awkwardly, “I was hoping I could make it up to you. Once we get out of here. I would be incredibly honoured if you would come with us to my village, so we can properly celebrate and thank you.”
“Wow, that… that sounds amazing Cael! But first we need to get out of here though…”
“So, you accept my invitation?” he asked hopefully.
“Absolutely! But only if I can get the full Forsworn experience! I mean riding elk, eating meat with my hands, the headdress, the layers of leathers, pouches, bones – the works! And sleep in a tent!”
He laughed, “You can wear whichever Forsworn outfit you like, and sleep in any tent in the village!”
“Well in that case, I’ll just sleep in the biggest tent…”
He smiled at the silly woman, “They’d be my tent, actually.”
“I was hoping it’d be…” she looked at him with knowing seductive eyes, a smile pulling into her left cheek as she stuck her shovel into the ground, stepping it down further.
Cael’s eyes went wide, and his mouth dry. He didn’t know how to react to his exactly. The way she was looking at him, the way the sweat from the work kissed her entire body scantly covered by the rags she wore, the dim light way down here… He’d been eagerly waiting for a sign that she might be interested in him, and here it was – clear as day. His gave in.
In a split second he had stepped over to her, his mouth to hers and his hands in her short hair. She barely had time to react, but melted into his lips as soon as they met hers. His kiss was soft, but strong and determined. She dropped her shovel, letting her hands roam up over his back before pulling him even tighter to her, deepening the kiss. The boy had fire!
Cael’s hands hungrily move down her waist, hips, and thighs, lifting her up to his hips before pinning her to the wall of the tunnel, his mouth devouring hers like he was scared if he stopped, she’d disappear. She wrapped her legs around his waist, her arms around his neck. His kiss wanders from her mouth to her neck. She throws her head back letting him have her neck and collar as she bites her lip to keep from moaning. She never expected such a passionate man from such a gentle, level-headed chief! She wondered if it was a Forsworn thing.
“Head’s up!” Anu’s voice came from above as he tossed the bucket down again lazily, without even looking like he’d done for the 100th time.
The two snap out of their moment of weakness back into reality, their eyes trained on the other’s. She can feel his heart racing against her chest, he feels her heavy breathing on his neck. Both intoxicated by in the moment.
It had been months since she’d been touched like this, she couldn’t even remember the last time she was kissed with so much passion. The last time her lips met another’s was Vilkas, and even then it was completely one sided. She was a passionate woman who felt her emotions just a tad stronger than others did. Months of being taunted by Bishop, having him so close and yet so far, getting her to care for him then cutting her lose – she had craved this. She craved feeling wanted, desired, just as any hot blooded woman would.
Sure there had been moments with Bishop, when she fell on him out of the tree, that whisper of a kiss he planted on her neck when he was trying to comfort her after the incident with the bandits – but each time he pulled back just as she was about to give in. It was emotionally (and physically, if you know what I mean) draining.
But here was a man who wanted her, mind and body. She could taste his desire, feel his hunger for her in his touch. He made her knees weak when he stared into her eyes, and she felt her body reacted in his hands.
The bucket hit the ground behind them with a thud. Cael slowly let go of her as she slid down his body till her feet touched the ground. Their eyes till locked in the aftershocks of their moment of passion, she steps around him, he turns to follow her movement in the small space they shared. She took another step – sticking her foot right into the fucking bucket. Nice going Diana you dingus! *narrator facepalm*
She loses her balance, picks up her foot but the bucket doesn’t come off, she reaches for Cael before tumbling down onto her backside, pulling Cael down with her. They hit the ground together hard, he nearly knocking the wind from her.
As the dust clears, he looks her over to make sure she isn’t hurt. Even in the dim light her cheeks light up. She let out an embarrassed chuckle, covering her face with her hands. “Oh gods… I really am an idiot…” she mumbled from her hands, Cael couldn’t help but laugh at her expense too. The two lay there entwined like a bad game of twister, laughing like school girls till they were interrupted again… this time by a rumble below them.
They paused, looking to the other to confirm.
There it was again! Louder, deeper, a rumble and cracking noise.
Oh gods… the tunnel, the tunnel was falling in!
The earth below them started giving way up as Cael jumped to grab the rope, turning just in time to grab her hand before the floor beneath crumbling away into an abyss in a cloud of dust, dirt, and rock.
“Hang on Diana!” He cried out to her, “Anu!!!”
Anu came running and saw the two dangling. He yelped in panic before grabbing the rope. “Hang on guys!” he quickly positioned his feet and secured his grip to start pulling – then paused looking down at them strangely.
“What are you waiting for! Pull us up!” Cael demanded, feeling Diana’s grip slip from his. “ANU!?”
“Err… guys? You might want to look down.” He said calmly down to them.
They slowly turned their gaze to look down. As the last of the dust settled, their eyes made out a massive cavern and dwemer architecture… and a body of water just a few feet below them. The ground that had fallen in had made the water run over its banks, but it was still very safe for them to just drop down.
Diana looked up at Cael, a smile of relief and joy. They did it! They found the ruin! She gave him a wink and let go, dropping into the water below like a cannonball.
“I’ll go ahead, and whistle to you if the coast is clear!” Diana whispers to Cael and Anu. They nod in agreement. She very slowly and quietly opens the door into Understone Keep, peering in. She could still hear faint dripping noises from the men’s wet bodies as they all jumped down into the water below in ecstasy. It was already night-time so they were able to move immediately.
“Shit! There’s four guards out there, and some old fellow at some makeshift lab off in the corner. No way we can sneak by, we’ll need a distraction…” she turned back to them. The three looked down, brows furrowed, trying to think of a Plan B.
“Hold on, Brig, where is that Dwarven armour you found a while back? Give it here!” Cael calls to one of the men in a hush. Brig sighs deeply and hands over his find.
“What are you doing?” Diana asked cautiously.
“I’m going to distract them, then you make a run for it.”
“Ohhhh no! They’ll recognize you! Give it to me, no one but that museum guard here knows my face. And the drunk ass who ‘arrested me’ would not be able to pick me out of a line up, even if it was just me and his mother. I’ll do it.”
“No, it’s too dangerous!” Cael protested.
“Let her do it.” Madanach’s low commanding voice came from the back.
“But my King, what if-“ Cael started, but was interrupted by Madanach.
“If the Dragonborn wants to risk her own hide, let her. She knows what she’s doing. Trust her.”
Ohhh boy. If only he knew Diana had NO idea what she was doing! She’s just making it up as she goes along – just like everything in life. Cael nodded, his eyes downcast, and handed the armour over to her. She quickly put it on over her rags. It was huge, but the straps held it in place.
“Be careful… please.” Cael asked just as she was ready to go. His eyes meant it, he felt awful sending her into potential danger while a group of men stood watching, even after all she’d already done.
“Of course,” she beamed a smile at him. She gave Madanach a sharp nod and turned to go out.
She slammed the door behind her, stomping down the stairs, “Hold the courier, this isn’t Blackreach! Here the hell am I!?” She cried out, drawing every eye in the room to her. Nobody reacted. “Say, you there! Old man. Pray do tell, am I still in Hammerfell?” she walked over to the old man’s station in the opposite corner of the room, drawing the attention away from the space between the ruin’s door and the hall of the dead.
“Excuse me?” the old man said from his hooded purple robes. “Who the hell are you?”
“The name is Sharine, I hail form the Imperial city, but last time I was above ground, I was in Hammerfell.” She lowered her voice to talk softer, drawing the guards away from their posts to stand closer so they could hear this mystery woman’s tale.
The old man walked out from behind his tables to her, his eyes were big, confused. “You’re in Markarth, the capital of the Reach in Skyrim. “
As he reached her, she quickly brushed passed him, standing on the other side on the steps looking down at the old man and the four guards, all looking in the opposite direction. Her eyes shot up to Cael peering through the door. Now was their chance. One by one they sneaked out and headed for the second door.
The old man started to turn his head to see what she was looking at when she started up again, “Markarth you say?? Fascinating! Do you get visitors popping in quite often?”
“Actually… you’re the first person to come out of those doors in, well, ever! We sent in a team of researchers three weeks ago, but they never came back, neither did the guards we sent after them. How exactly did you manage to get her alone?” the old man inquired, studying her armour, “And where did you get such exquisite armour?”
She looked over to see the last man sneak into the hall, and the door close.
“Oh I just…found it… Say, is that the Hall of the Dead? I need to go pay my respects to Arkay! For keeping me safe in my journey, and what not.” Crap, she was hoping that was the right devine to say that about, “I’ll be right back!”
The old man called out to her with more questions, but she darted off towards the door, leaving the man and the guards completely dumbfounded, wondering if they’d just seen a ghost.
The men were already making their way to the roof, but Cael hanged back to wait for her. Upon seeing her entered he let out a breath like he’d been holding it. She smiled at their success, he reciprocated. She quickly took off the armour and left it at the door. Kinda hoping the old man finds it, he seemed so interested in it.
Cael took off his shirt, throwing it over the rope as they stood in the breeze of the night on the roof. Diana looked at his chiseled, perfectly defined strong upperbody and bit her lip to stop from swooning out loud. His arms, broad shoulders, musculine back and chest were marred by scars that danced as he moved. HOT DAMN the man was fine! Especially when his body wasn’t…you know…drenched in his own blood as it was when she saw it before. It was overcast so there was no moonlight to fall on their bodies and give them away.
“You sure you don’t want to go first?” he asked, somewhat insistently.
“Positive! I want to see you do it. You know, so I know what not to do if you mess up! Don’t worry, I’ll follow.” She smiled. He nodded, and pushed himself off, riding it down till the wall where he jumped blocked his decline with his legs, and climbed onto the wall.
“Okay Diana, you can do this…” The real reason she let him go first is because she had to take off her shirt too, and she didn’t feel like playing ‘made you look’ with a guy she just met. Although she was hoping she’d get to kiss him again! Brother can lip wrestle in the arena!
She took off her shirt, just her tattered skirt and skimpy bra left, hooked it over the rope and kicked off.
Of course, this being Diana, there was no graceful end to this. Nope. She got distracted watching the pretty city lights below, revelling in how much fun this was and how much she wanted to go again. Till SMACK she hit the wall. Cael reached down to catch her hand and pull her up, biting his bottom lip trying not to laugh and pretending like he didn’t see it, but the muffled giggles slipped through. She got him back for it when he saw she wasn’t wearing her shirt and started blushing so hard she could practically feel the steam rise from him!
“Okay, that’s all of us.” Madanach confirmed as Cael and Diana joined them, Diana still adjusting her shirt. “We made it!”
“My village is the closest, I suggest we make for it and in the morning, the rest can depart from there.” Cael said, standing proudly, very chief-like. Diana had a little mini-swoon at the sight.
“Agreed. Lead the way Wolf.”
Just as they turned to head out, Diana remembered something. “Oh yeah, shit I almost forgot!” Diana turned towards a nook behind the wall a few meters back where Bishop had said he’ll leave her stuff. “I’ll be right back, hold up!”
She trots away from the men, hugging each other, enjoying the fresh air. A few paces on before turning into the nook, only to find something that felt like it gripped her heart.
Hidden away in the little nook, far away from the city gates, and away from the walls, sheltered from the wind and the cold, sat Bishop, clenching her bag in his arms, fast asleep. He must’ve passed out from exhaustion for him to not have woken up to her approaching, even if she did sneak. A frown on his face as she saw his chest steadily rise and fall, his arms wrapped around her bag protectively. His shirt that she slept in had been pulled out halfway, and draped over his chest below his chin.
For a moment, the world stopped as she looked at her Ranger. He didn’t run. She’d been gone for days, and he’d been here – waiting for her.
ElashaParticipantOctober 25, 2016 at 8:49 amPost count: 73
- This reply was modified 1 year, 12 months ago by DovaBunny.
the feeeeeels <3 I wanna know what happens soooo bad!MegDianaParticipantOctober 25, 2016 at 11:36 amPost count: 11
The ending to this chapter though!, ?NehstaParticipantOctober 25, 2016 at 12:14 pmPost count: 28
Ahhh it’s so beautiful. And the Queen of the Forsworn has my name!! 8DDDDovaBunnyParticipantOctober 28, 2016 at 3:37 amPost count: 75
“I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to share his ale…” – Diana to Bishop after he cut her drunken ass off.
YAAAY NEW CHAPTER!! Firstly, yes I have been using some of your names here and there where I needed a name! Hope that’s cool? I just love my fans so much! ALL THREE OF YOU!
Also, sorry for 1) the delay for this one, it’s been a shitshow of a week, and 2) that this one is a little longer than usual, I couldn’t cut any of it!
“Again from the top!” Viamo yelled, displeased with Bishop’s “insistence to not COMMIT to the role of courier!” Bishop gritted his teeth and walked back to off stage to his starting point. The band glared at him, Viamo rolled his eyes, and Diana sat happily chewing taffy with a big-ass smile on her face watching Bishop get in trouble after eight attempts. “It just doesn’t feel like you’re embodying the essence of the courier! You have to give it your whole self!”
“I’ll give you my whole fist…” Bishop muttered underneath his breath. He knew they both had to be in the production, and neither of them could sing or play an instrument, so it was this or not at all. But still! How much more “committed” does he need to be to just walk on stage, hand her a letter without saying a word, and walk off.
The music started up again and Bishop stood ready at his post off stage. Diana stood on her mark, and gave him a mischievous wink. He shook his head and narrowed his eyes at her, but he couldn’t stop the smile on his face. He walked up determined, keeping his eyes on her, paused for a moment in front of her, reached in his bag for the letter, handed it to her, and marched himself off.
Viamo lept out of his chair, “That’s it! It’s perfect!” he rapidly clapped in pure glee, “Bishop – that was perfecto!”
Diana gave him a sturgeon face and a small applause. He stuck his tongue out at her.
“FINALLY! Now we can move on,” Viamo continued, walking towards the stairs to call up at someone, “Jorn! Get in here butterbiscuit! You’re up!”
A few seconds later, the mysterious ‘Jorn’ appeared. Diana’s eyes went wide and the piece of taffy in her mouth just dropped out onto her lap. Bishop hated him immediately.
Diana was speechless at finding Bishop, waiting for her, her bag wrapped tightly in his arms. She didn’t know quite what to make of it, but something in her heart tugged to him. She quietly knelt at his side and whispered to him, “Bishop?”
He stirred at her softly saying his name. The furrow in his brow lifted a little. “Bishop…it’s me,” she added a little louder but still under her breath. She reached out and gently put her hand on his shoulder to give it a little shake. “Wake up.”
Suddenly, without warning, a hand grabs hers by the wrist, another darting out to grab her by the neck, pushing her off him with enough force to choke. Bishop’s eyes burst open with fire and ferocity.
Diana desperately grabs at his wrist trying to pull his hand off her neck as he was crushing her windpipe. Seeing that it was her, Bishop immediately release and recoiled at what he had done. She fell forward on her hands in the grass, coughing and regaining her breath, her eyes red and wet.
“Diana… I’m- I’m so sorry, I… I had a bad dream,” he recalibrated himself, adjusting to what was going on. He reached out to her but she batted his hand away before wiping away the tears from her eyes. “Are… you okay?” He was in shock himself, he couldn’t believe what he had just done.
“I’m fine, Bishop… Jus-, just give me a moment.” She finally got her breath back and got up to her feet, still rubbing her throat. Bishop awkwardly tucked his shirt back in the bag, hoping she didn’t see it, and got up too. “Thank you,” she took the bag from him, “I’ll… I’ll change once we reach the village.”
“The what now?”
“The village. Cael has invited us all to stay at his village for the night, it’s the closest and we’ll be safe there if the city guards realise we’re gone and gives chase.”
“So what, you’re one of them now??” Bishop’s burning eyes under his furrowed brow searches her figure as if looking for a sign that she’d been turned into a briarheart.
“They’re not what we thought they were, Bishop. Yes, some of them have grown violent and territorial in their frustration, but these men are as civil, kind, and intelligent as any Skyrian.” She shook off his agitation, throwing the bag on her back. “Now, are you coming or not?”
What lies did they tell her in there? What primal, Forsworn magic was she under? He couldn’t abandon her now, he wouldn’t. He couldn’t shake the feeling that she wasn’t safe with them. He’d cursed himself in the days waiting for letting her go alone, he’s not making that mistake again. He grunted and followed her, making sure she knew he wasn’t exactly pleased at the idea.
As Diana emerged the men turned to her but immediately bristled at the sight of the shadowy, dark figure following her. Some instinctively plucked out their shivs, Cael stepped towards Diana visibly concerned and protective as he reached to pull her to safety.
“Woa, woa there! It’s okay! He’s with me!” she raised her hands and moved in front of Bishop. The men calmed, lowered their shivs and fists, Cael stepped back. “Everyone, this is Bishop – my companion. Bishop, this is Cael – the chief who’s invited us to his village.” Bishop and Cael exchange glances, sizing up the other as they both almost involuntarily buff out their chest. Bishop was much more attractive and rugged than Cael had hoped he’d be, although Cael had sorely hoped Bishop wouldn’t be waiting for her at all. Looking at Cael, Bishop immediately knew why he felt Diana was in trouble.
“Any friend of our Diana is a friend of ours, she saved us and we are in her debt,” Madanach stepped forward, holding out a hand to Bishop, “I am Madanach, King of the Forsworn, and as her companion, I formally extend our gratitude and welcome to you too.” Bishop’s eyes tore off Cael to look at Madanach. He’d heard many stories of the great Forsworn King – beloved by his people, feared across Skyrim, but the man standing in front of him was kind and warm, and almost fatherly in his affectionate greeting. Bishop nodded politely and shook his hand.
“Anu, nice to meet you Bishop!” Anu interjected with his goofy and friendly demeanour, “It’s so good to put a face to all Diana’s stories!” Bishop let out a small smile as his chest warmed, the fact that she’d spoken about him was a glimmer of hope he needed. “I can’t wait to hear more about your travels! She said you’ve even been to Morrowind??”
“Calm yourself Anu,” Cael chuckled watching his friend get over-excited, “There’ll be plenty of time for that later. Right now, we need to get to the village. We have celebrating to do!”
Cael’s village was massive, colourful, and beautiful! The news of their beloved chief’s return spread like a wildfire, and before they even reached the heart of the village, just about everyone was gathering to welcome him home.
Fires were lit, cooks scurried off to get food started, crates and crates of mead came out, and music started to fill the air. The celebration was afoot! Cael himself was almost trampled as people were eager to greet him and hear what had happened. Bishop and Diana awkwardly hung back, watching the spectacle.
“Diana!” Cael called out to her. She looked up to see him smile towards her, an outstretched had beckoning to her over the crowds. She sheepishly made her way through to him, Bishop on her heels. “Diana, this is Ella, my sister,” Diana greeted the beautiful young woman he gestured to. Her hair was red, but she had his bright blue eyes and warm smile. “She and her friends are going to help you get ready in the full Forsworn attire like you wanted!”
Diana beamed, he had remembered! “Wow, Cael, that’s awesome! But I couldn’t just wear your clothes, I’m dirty and I smell…”
“Oh nonsense!” Ella interrupted her, “We’re all going to go get ready, and we girls wear each other’s clothes all the time anyway! It’s basically just a big pile of furs, leathers, and skirts that we pick out of,” she laughed. Diana’s eyes shot to Bishop who’s amazed eyes confirmed he heard it too, that theory they had was right! “And there’s bath in the tent too, so don’t worry! Now come on!” Ella giggled and looped her arm around Diana’s leading her off.
Bishop wanted to follow, but hesitated. Did she just desert him in the middle of a Forsworn camp? Wench. Madanach who had been conversing with an older villager saw Bishop’s discomfort.
“Bishop, come my boy! Let the women do their women things, we do the men things!” he said warmly, putting his arm around the Ranger. His fatherly air he extended to the young men in the village he shared with Bishop.
“And what is that?” Anu teased, “Drinking, farting, and arm wrestling?” He and Cael burst out laughing.
“Well,” Madanach responded, “Yes to the first, already-done on the second, and do you really want to take me on on the third, boy? You know what happened last time.” The old man winked at Anu who swallowed nervously.
Madanach, Cael, and some of the other men nearby chuckle at Anu’s expense. Seeing Bishop’s confusion, Madanach leaned to him, “Last time this boy thought he could take me on, I beat him so hard he teared up like a kid whose sweetroll was taken from him!” The men burst into laughter. Anu fumed.
Bishop felt kinda bad for Anu, so he saved the guy from the laughing men who were making their way over to the tables of food and mead. “So, what did you want to know about Morrowind?” Anu’s eyes lit up at Bishop’s reluctant but polite invitation
“You’re very lucky, you know…” Meg, one of Ella’s friends says as she braids strands Diana’s shoulder length black hair, finishing it off with white beads and flowers. “Cael is a good man. Honest, wise, and kind.”
“And hot as all hell!” a woman added from behind her, making the girls all burst into giggles, all except Ella who just rolled her eyes.
“You know him well?” Diana enquired.
“I guess you can say that.” Meg continues, “We all kinda do. As all Forsworn men, he is passionate and forthcoming with his feelings; he holds no secrets.”
“Although…” Ella interjects, “He hasn’t shown any interest in a woman for so long that we started to suspect he might’ve had one secret… A secret interest in dudes.”
“But judging by the way he looks at you, Diana – I think we can safely put that theory to rest!”
Diana thought about what they said for a moment, biting her lip. He wanted her? She’d never felt so ‘special’ before. With Loran it was always just because they were the only two of the same age in the village. She felt like the luckiest girl in the world, to have been picked by the Chief!
“By the way, who is that studmuffin you brought with you??” Meg asked.
“Oh, you mean Bishop? He’s my companion.”
“You MUST introduce us to him!” Ella joins in, “And what’s with the whole ‘mysterious brooding, rugged stranger’ thing he has going on?”
“Oh yeah, that. Well, he…” she thought for a moment. Bishop really was like that to everyone else, rude, cold, keeping to himself, not trusting anyone beyond what he could see – except with her. He was her shadow, and despite everything, he was the most reliable and steady thing in her crazy life. “He’s just a really private guy, I guess. He comes off as a bit of an asshole sometimes, but that’s just because… he is a bit of an asshole!” She chuckled, “But he’s really a good guy deep down, once you get to know him and he starts to trust you.”
Ella and Meg make swooning noises.
The sudden giggling and chattering of women disrupted them as they turned to see the source. Ella and her friends, all adorned in their finest, faces painted, white flowers in their hair, and bangles around their ankles as their bare feet already walked to the rhythm of the music. They made eyes at the young men who all rose to their feet, appreciating the beauty in abundance before them. Now the fun can begin! They paired off and headed for the clearing around the fire where the music beckoned. Cael stood looking over the crowd, looking for a face, for those dark eyes – then he saw her.
His breath caught in his chest as she tucked the hair behind her ear all coy, one foot awkwardly hooked behind her ankle. She was breath-taking – literally. Spots of white face-paint lined across her face from ear to ear, just under her eyes and over her nose, in contrast with her dark hair and eyes. She wore a wipe strap of dark, soft leather around her upper chest, with a skirt of layered leather and cloth that came to the middle of her thighs, her midriff exposed showing off her toned abs and waist. Around her neck hung various necklaces of polished bone, with beautiful moonstone bangles around her ankle. She was the most glorious vision any Forsworn boy could dream of.
His eyes wide, he let out smile as he stepped down to meet her. She bit her bottom lip – to think that the handsome Forsworn chief – the man who could get any women in the village – was walking to her, his eyes glued to hers. She was so caught up in Cael’s full chieftan glory and the way he approached her that she never even saw Bishop, standing off in the corner, his mouth dry and his eyes wide but soft, staring at the beauty with the dark eyes.
“You look…incredible! Like a Forsworn goddess!” Cael breathed as he looked her up and down again, his eyes worshiping her figure. She lifted a hand to her neck to awkwardly play with a strand of hair that had been braided with white beads.
“You really think so? I feel kinda ridiculous…” she admitted, her eyes breaking away from his to stare at her bare feet as she shuffled uncomfortably. “Contrast to popular belief, I usually wear clothes that cover more than this to parties… or at least, at first.”
“You wanted the Forsworn experience my dear,” Cael laughed at her discomfort, but considered it for a moment, a smile on his face, before undoing the deep red shoulder cloak around his broad shoulders and draping it over hers, pulling her in tenderly to fasten it. “Maybe this…will help?”
She looked up into his beautiful face, her lips slightly parted as she took in his features – those bright blue eyes brimming with excitement while still seeming dreamy and level, his strong cheekbones and jawline with his fresh warpaint that ran from his eyes, over his cheeks down his neck. He wore traditional Forsworn Chieftan armour than drapped from his left shoulder to his right hip and skirt of matching leather, furs, and bone. Her eyes followed the line of the paint till to landed on the sides of his throat so close to her face she could see his heartbeat. Cael’s hand shifted from her shoulder to her chin, lifting her face to meet his again, “Do you wish to stand here all night, or would you like to go join the festivities and dancing, my sparrow?” his gaze dropped to her lips, “Know that I’m happy with whichever, as long as it’s with you.”
The butterflies in her stomach felt like they had started a most pit. She actually considered just staying there, getting lost in those eyes, but realised how stupid that would sound. “Dancing… Dancing sounds good! Although I must admit, the only style of dance I’m proficient in is the ‘bad, drunken’ variety…”
Cael laughed, snaking a hand over her back settling on her bare waist as he led them to the clearing where all the other young people had started dancing while the elders feasted and conversed, Madanach telling stories to the kids in the corner.
Again, Diana was so lost in the arms of the handsome young chief that she didn’t even notice her Ranger standing in the shadows, his face fallen, his eyes pained, and his heart heavy. He was losing her, and it felt like there was nothing he could do but watch as the one person in this dammed world he actually cared about…give up on her hopes and dreams, give up on herself, on them. All for a silly crush on a pretty chief. How do you save someone who doesn’t know they need saving?
They had barely reached the platform before Ella and one of the other young women plucked her from Cael’s grip, pulling them into their circle where they danced to the drums and strings while the men surrounded them. The women danced seductively, their feet and hips guiding their movements as if it had a mind of its own and the rest of their body just obeyed. The men moved more gracefully, stronger almost to impress and draw them out. Each seemed to have their eyes glued on a partner.
Seemingly at the centre of it all, she looked around to try and figure out what to do, feeling like she’d been thrown in the deep end! She looked to Ella, her eyes asking for help. Ella just laughed at the silly, insecure tall woman, brushing against her shoulder and gesturing to Cael. Diana looked up to see Cael, standing out from the crowd of men like a daisy stuck in a horker’s ass, his eyes hungry and alluring. “He’s trying to impress you,” Ella said to her over the loud music, “if you want him, you need to entice him, tease him. It’s to see who will break first and approach the other!” Ella winked at Diana and turned back Anu who had been visibly discouraged and a little hurt by Ella’s distraction. Ella blew him a kiss and all seemed forgotten.
She couldn’t break her eyes away from Cael’s. He moved for her, buffing out his chest, smiling mischievously – he had the upper hand and he knew it. Dammit gurl get your act together! Diana used to lavish in the fact that she could make powerful squirm, time to tap into that – although it has been a while and to be perfectly honest, Cael was making it really hard for her already limited mental capacities to focus on anything else than the way his body moved to the music in the light from the fire and the way his eyes invaded her mind (and loins).
Alrighty then… Time to turn on the ol’ Diana charm! And hopefully turn on the Chieftain too! She snapped back into consciousness and set her aims on the young chief. Slowly warming up to the beat, she starts to move and sway her body to the music. The light from the fire flickers over her waist and belly as she lets her hips and feet guide her. She can see Cael a little stifled by her sudden confidence, adding fuel to her fire. She runs her hands up from her hips, over her waist and the dark, soft leather wrapped around her chest barely covering her breasts, biting her lip. She dips her head down to gaze at him, her eyes dark laced with temptation, invitation, and mischief. Cael is visibly losing his level-headed upper-hand as he takes a step towards her.
Bishop felt like he had been punched in the chest. He stood off in the corner away from the light. He preferred to keep to himself. He preferring to be away from here, with her. He watched as Cael seduced her, as he stole her away from the crowd without even touching her – by capturing her attention, her imagination. He had come across a warrior from Hammerfell who was kidnapped and held by the Forsworn for months who told him of their customs. During celebrations all the unwed young people would start the party by gathering to dance around the fire to beautiful music of various drums, lutes, and flutes made of polished bone. Intimidation and strength are virtues for the Forsworn, so the dancing usually starts where each young person will pick a potential partner who they will try to entice, whilst withstanding their advances. As soon as one breaks and touches his or her partner, he or she is given the ‘fool’s crown’, a headdress made of the pelvic bone of a sabrecat to suggest the person only things with their hips instead of their head. “Dibella please no, not Diana…” escaped his lips as he watched her.
But no, it wasn’t Diana who broke first, it was Cael. In a rush, like his lead had snapped, he moved to her and scooped her up into his arms, much to the amusement of the rest of the tribe who broke into cheers and laughter. Anu eagerly rushed to retrieve the headdress, placing it delicately on the chief’s crown as playful taunts were thrown at him.
“Never in all my years did I think you’d even wear this thing!” Anu commented.
“Well maybe if you hadn’t been hogging it, he might’ve had a chance at it too!” Ella teased Anu who just awkwardly muttered something at her with a blush.
“I guess I just hadn’t found the person who’d make me want to wear it, if that meant I didn’t have to wait another moment to touch her…” Cael said, his eyes entranced by Diana’s as he held her in his arms. His words were met by cooing from the ladies and taunts from the men. Madanach had looked up from his story-telling to smile at his nephew.
Now the party could start! The music picked up, and young and old all joined in as the festivities were kicked into gear. The earth nearly trembled with the rhythmic movement of feet as celebration and laughter filled the night air.
Diana and Cael were still locked in their little world. “Come with me, there’s something I’d like to show you…” he finally said, putting her down. She was a little sad to be put down, being swooped into the arms of a handsome young chief that then stared at you like you were his source of life had been quite pleasant!
“Lead the way…” she said, offering him her hand.
Cael led her away from the crowds. They had slipped out unnoticed amongst the frenzy. The village was made up of various tiers, the bottom ones being the common area where they ate and celebrated, the middle where they slept, the one above that where they worked, and the top was the Chief’s outlook and where Cael and his most trusted warriors were stationed. As they reached the top, Cael took off the headdress and placed it above his throne with a smirk.
“You brought me up here to watch you hang your new hat on your throne? Showoff…” she teased.
He chuckled at her, “No, actually I brought you here to show you this,” he turned her to look down over the village. From here she could appreciate its size, its location and layout, and its raw beauty. She stood in silence taking it in, he stood in silence taking her in. A cool breeze hit her body, but Cael’s cloak around her shoulders kept her warm.
“..soo,” she finally spoke, “Is this the part where you say,” she began in a deep, manly voice, “‘Diana, everything the light touches is our kingdom…’”
“What? Diana, it’s night time,” Cael replied confused.
“And its overcast.”
“Nevermind then…” she shuffled awkwardly, the cool breeze whipping through her hair.
Cael couldn’t help but smile at the strange woman who made his heart so light. “Actually, my dear sparrow, I didn’t just bring you out here to admire the view – I wanted to have you alone.”
“Oh?” she turned to him. He stepped closer, putting his hands on her waist. She was a little taken aback at his forwardness, not that she was complaining!
“Tell me, Diana… what do you think of the Forsworn, now that you stand here?” his eyes told here this question was an important one to him.
“Cael, I must admit… with all the stories I’ve heard and the ambush I barely survived,” Bishop’s face popped into her mind, she felt strangely calmed by it, but shook it off as random and strange, “I would’ve called you savages, criminals even. I would’ve killed one on sight.”
Cael’s face fell a little as he swallowed, seemingly hurt at her words.
“But now,” she reached out a hand to cup his beautiful face, “Now there’s no place I’d rather be than here in the arms of a Forsworn chief in his village.” She gave him a reassuring smile that put the wind back in his sails. He gently moved his hand from her waist down a little to the rise of her hips. Feeling his strong, calloused hands on her exposed skin like this sent little shivers through her body. Cael noticed this, deeply pleased of how her body reacted to his touch. He steadily gripped her hips and pushed her to him.
“Tell me, my beautiful saviour, what is it you desire in life? What is there that I can offer to make you stay here with me?”
“You… want me to stay?” she asked a little sheepish.
“I do. I made it known to you and my entire village tonight that I want you,” he tucks a strand of hair that has blown in her face behind her ear, “but I also want you to be happy. So what is there that I can do, that I can give?”
“I-, I don’t know, to be honest…” she admitted. It was true, in that moment, she had no answer. Almost like she’d forgotten who she was. [Narrator yells at Diana: “Ask for ale, money, and stable boys!”]. Cael saw her uncertainty.
“Do you perhaps, desire jewellery, clothes, and items of beauty?” he moved his body around hers to her back, brushing his hands over her collarbones, tugging at one of the necklaces she wore. She trembled a little at his touch. “Because I will scour all of Tamriel to find you the finest wares.” He tenderly ran his hands down her arms.
“No…” is all she could let out, barely above a whisper. That wasn’t something she wanted.
“How about knowledge and power?” her eyes fell shut as his hand roamed up her neck into her hair, the other gripping her wrist. She lowered her head back onto his shoulder. “Because I will have every spell book and master teacher at your disposal before the winter.”
She bit her lip, shook her head in the negative. Her eyes still closed. Seeing her body react to him just aroused and spurred him on more. He wanted her to come undown at his touch, he wanted her to give in to him.
“Then what about, love?” she bristled at the word as he breathed it to her ear. “If it is a lover my beautiful saviour seeks, I will be that and more for you.” His hand now back on her waist moves over to the centre of her exposed midriff, pressing her against him fully. The other on her neck as he kissed just below her ear where his words lingered. “I will love you fiercely and passionately, I will satisfy you in more ways than you can fathom.” His hand slowly descends over her navel, down to where her skirt of leather and fur hung low in her hips. He brushed his cheek against hers, planting a soft kiss on it. “Whatever your heart desires, I will make it yours – if you’d take me, and be mine.”
Her eyes flutter open at this, her chest suddenly felt heavy. She turns to look into those bright blue eyes that seemed to shine even in the dark, “Cael, what are you asking?”
“I’m asking you,” Cael took a deep breath, the overwhelming confidence he had a second ago suddenly wavering, “if you’d stay and be mine. If you’d rule the clan with me at my side, if you’d fight for us the way we will fight for you, and if you’d give yourself to me…the way I want to give myself to you.” With that he stuck his hand in a pouch on his armour, pulling out a beautiful silver and emerald ring of exceptionally fine craftsmanship.
She inhaled sharply. Seeing the ring made her realise…he was proposing. She froze in place, speechless.
“You need not answer me tonight,” he took her hand and slipped the ring onto the ring finger of her right hand, “Just, promise you’ll think about it, please?” His voice was sombre from its previous intoxication, but still, almost pleading.
She looked at the ring on her right hand, then back up at him. It wasn’t on her left hand where an engagement ring would normally go, she assumed he was hoping she’d make the switch when she decided. He let out a breath of relief when he saw her face beaming at him. “I’ll think about it Cael, thank you…” She reached up hook a hand around his neck, pulling him down for her lips to briefly meet his.
He smiled with delight, cupping her face to go in for another – when a single raindrop fell on his nose. He looked up into the black night sky – another drop hits his cheek. One drops on her forehead, then on her arm around his shoulders. Before their eyes could meet, the heavens started opening up, rain pouring. He tried to shelter her from the rain, but she pulled his shoulder cloak over her head and ran.
The party was over. The rain extinguished the fire and torches as everyone ducked into their tents. Bursts of laughter, giggles, and curses could be heard between the determined patter of the rain on the tables and tents. Cael took her by the hand and led her to the tent that had been prepared for her as they dashed through the village.
Finally, inside, they both took a deep breath and let out a chuckle. The lantern illuminated them, showing their face paint nearly washed off, their hair clinging to their faces as their clothes were doing to their wet bodies. They caught their breath as their gaze deepened again. Cael moved first, stepping to her, a hand on her waist and another in her neck, his eyes falling to her lips.
“Hello Ladyship! Am I interrupting? I hope so.” Bishop burst into the tent, as drenched as they were. Diana pressed her lips together to glare at him, Cael didn’t seem too happy at the interruption either.
“Bishop, we have prepared a tent for you across the platform. I believe Anu has showed it to you?”
“He did,” Bishop said casually, swinging his bag off his back and dropping it at the foot of the bed, “but you see – as Diana’s companion, where she goes – I go, what she eats – I eat, and where she sleeps – I sleep.” His voice definitive, low – as if growling at Cael, daring him to test him.
Cael stepped back from Diana, running a hand through his wet hair to push it back as he buffed his chest. “Very well, if Diana consents to this, I have no right to interfere. Although, Diana,” he turned back to her, “I do hope you’ll consider my request? Maybe then we’ll make some…alternate sleeping arrangements.” He turned his glare back at the cock-blocking Ranger, but being careful not to come off as disrespectful to his saviour’s companion. “If you’ll excuse,” he brushed passed Bishop for the exit, turning back only to smile at Diana before leaving.
Diana turned to Bishop, only then noticing the stripes of red paint on his face. “What the-?” she looked at him funny and pointed to her face. She proceeded to remove Cael’s cloak with care, draping it over a chair to dry.
“Some Meg woman…” he huffed, clearly not very stoked about it, “Tried to get me to join the dancing just as the whole stupid stare-down competition ended. When I ‘politely’ refused, insisted on ‘keeping me company’!”
Diana grinned. She knew Meg liked Bishop. She also knew Meg was a smart woman and a warrior who was observant and intuitive enough to know Bishop needed some distraction for Cael and her to get to know each other.
“Where the hell have you been?” he asks, almost accusingly. That’s when his eyes fall to the ring on her finger. His whole body turned cold. It can’t be. Surely she’s not that naïve and desperate… surely?
Diana sees his eyes burn a hole through her hand. She plucks it to her chest, shielding it with her other hand from his molten gaze. “If you must know, I’ve been with Cael. He took me to the top of the village to show me the view.”
“Diana…” he fumed. His eyes dark. She actually felt a little scared.
“What, is that?” he pointed to her hand. Yes, it wasn’t on her left hand’s ring finger, but it was still on a ring finger, and it was way to impressive and exquisite to be just a gift. Bishop nearly started trembling with rage as he thought of Cael slipping the ring on her finger.
“It’s… Cael gave it to me.” She said, backing away from him a little. Wait, why was she afraid of him? She had nothing to hide, nothing to be ashamed off! She’s never apologized for being who she is – and that wasn’t going to start now. “Bishop,” she stood up straight, determined to not be wavered by his response to what she was about to say, “Cael proposed. I haven’t given him an answer yet, but I’m considering it.” Her voice was calm and controlled.
Bishop saw red. His mind went blank with blind rage for a moment. He blinked till he came back into reality, regaining a measure of control. It took everything in him not to charge out of that tent and go kill the boy! “HE WHAT??!!” he bellowed. Thank the nine it was raining so hard and her (‘their’ in his mind) tent was quite separate from the others – or else the whole village would’ve heard that.
“He asked me to stay here with him, and rule at his side.” Her voice still calm and even, unfazed by his outburst. With how he reacted to Loran asking her to hunt with him, hinting at the possibility of her coming back – having a man propose off the bat like that, and that she was considering it – she didn’t expect it to go down easy, and a spoon full of sugar isn’t going to help. A spoon full of moonsugar might!
“Diana, you’re not thinking straight! Listen to yourself for fuck sake! This isn’t you – this isn’t who you are! Are you really going to throw away your dreams, hopes, ambitions, and plans to be someone’s WIFE??”
“A CHIEF’s wife, Bishop! And so what if I do! It’s my decision to make.”
“Because you’re thinking with your cooch and not your head!” he took her by the shoulders, looking deep into her eyes trying to talk sense into her, resisting the urge to slap it into her, “Diana, he’s seduced you, infatuated you, and tricked you – and now you’re giving youself to him on a silver platter without question?! Have I wildly underestimated your stupidity…?”
She snaps, throwing her arms up and pushing him away, “SO WHAT, Bishop! So what if I’m being seduced, and I’ve fallen for it?! I’m a woman with desires and needs, just like any other! I want to be held, touched, and feel wanted – just like any other woman! Gods I’m so tired of everyone expecting the Dragonborn to be some fucking perfect non-human, unburdened by the desires and needs us mortals face! I’m weak, I’m flawed, and I want to feel wanted, Bishop! Is that so terrible??”
Bishop pressed his lips together tight, his eyes shooting flaming daggers at her, the muscles on his jaw clenching. He didn’t dare open his mouth in fear of saying something he’ll regret. He turned to slam his fists into the small table in the corner. She paused. There was something else there – something, more than jealousy. Anger, definitely; frustration, probably, … hurt?
She contemplated this and studied his body and the expression on his face, the look in his eyes. “Bishop… why didn’t you leave, back at Markarth? Why did you wait for me?”
Bishop sighed, hanging his head between his propped up shoulders, his face turn away from her. “…because I want you,” he says to himself under his breath.
“Bishop! Talk to me!” she snapped in frustration at the difficult man.
“Because I WANT you! You stupid woman!” He sneered at her, spinning around to face her.
The two stood frozen, staring at each other, unsure what to do in light of his confession. The sound of the heavy rain beating down on the tent.
“… Since WHEN?!” she finally responded, narrowing her eyes in disbelief at him. He growled deep and long in frustration. “Let me guess, since a certain young, handsome chief wants me too? How do you expect me to believe that bull-”
“Then open your eyes woman! Don’t you see it?? Can’t you feel it? What you’re doing to me…” he clenches his fists, as if straining with all his might against an invisible tether not to jump at her, “You drive me insane! You have been since I met you that-, that-…cursed day in Riverwood!!” he stops to regain control of himself and let the unbridled rage leave his body before saying in a low, earnest voice: “If you think for even a second that I don’t want you… then you really are as stupid as I’ve always said you were…” he steps up to her. She’s speechless, breathing heavy, confused, conflicted.
“Bishop, I-“ but no more came out.
“Princess, do you trust me?” he finally said, in a low, soft but throaty voice, almost pleading.
She thought back over their time together, it flashed through her mind like recapping a favourite storybook. He was always at her side when the worst came, and had saved her life more times than she could count. He carried her, comforted her, and protected her – without ever demanding something from her. He was the most insufferable and private man she knew, but for some inexplicable reason, she knew he cared for her … why? And as much as she wanted to strangle him, she knew she could trust him.
“I… I do…” escapes her lips. Her body still as he steps forward, towering over her frame which suddenly felt small and vulnerable to his presence.
“Then close your eyes… and for the love of Mara keep your mouth shut.”
She did as told, closing her eyes and mouth, completely surrendering their power struggle, trusting him.
She heard him take a deep breath, the patter of the rain on the tent calming her. Then, she felt his lips on her neck.
She inhaled sharply, but didn’t resist. He wrapped one arm around her waist, another hand cradling her head tenderly as his lips passionately kiss the cool skin on her neck, trails of rain water still dripping from her hair. He pulled her tightly to him, she could feel his heart racing and the determination emanating from his body.
She tightly shut her eyes as his warm tongue met with her neck between his soft, passionate kisses, while his hand on her back roamed over her wet exposed skin, moving over her butt and grasping it hungrily as he grinded his hips against hers. She didn’t know where this came from, or where this was going, but she was lost – her mind a complete blank as her senses took over.
Bishop was determined, driven by his burning desire for her that had finally overwhelmed him, and his insistence on proving to her that the Forsworn boy was just an infatuation; a stupid, meaningless school-girl crush that wasn’t real – he, Bishop, was real.
Suddenly she was swooped up in the Rangers arms, “Keep your eyes closed…” his low, husky voice came to her like warm honey just below a whisper. He set her down gently on the bed, settling himself beside her. She could still feel his heart race as his lips again found her neck, his warm, wet tongue tracing down to her collarbone. He paused for a moment, gripped the necklaces and pulled them off over her head to toss them aside before returning his velvet, hungry lips to her neck. She reached up to him, grabbing a fistful of his hair as a soft moan escaped her lips. She felt his body stir at the sound.
Unexpectedly, she felt his hand on hers, tenderly. His was stronger, larger, rougher than hers, but his touch was gentle. He curled his fingers around her finger with the ring on, and in a swift pull, he yanked it off. She heard the faint sound of a ring hit the floor across the room.
The sound of a dagger being unsheathed took her by surprise. She felt the cold tip of the blade on her belly, blunt side down. She winched at the sensation. The metal traced up till it snagged the bottom the soft, dark leather that wrapped around her chest. At push of his hand, the dagger cut through it like a hot knife through butter, slipping off her chest.
Her eyes still closed, a hand hooked around his neck, she sensed him stop to take her in before dropping his dagger. An eager, strong hand started on her bare stomach, roaming agonizingly slowly up to her exposed breasts. At the sensation she bit down on her bottom lip taking a deep inhale like she’d stepped into icy water. The tip of his finger traced around her nipple, before trailing off, running gently over every scar and mark on her exposed torso like he was seeing them for the first time. From her navel moving up his fingertips traced, up over her chest to the scar across her neck. His placed his lips over the scar for a long, tender kiss. He lifts his head but lets his hand linger against her neck, this thumb resting just next to her throat where he can feel her heartbeat. He pulls her body tight to his, so he is almost leaning over her, enveloping her with his presence.
After a moment’s pause, his hand pulls up into her hair. Carefully, he pulls out each little white flower from her hair and loosening the beads that have been weaved into her soft midnight black hair, till her hair was all loose and wild as it always was.
That’s when she realised what he was doing – he was trying to remove any trace of Forsworn on her body, his touch and brushes of his lips on her skin trying to erase the Forsworn on her mind. Her eyes snap open to see the expression on his face as he pulls his hand through her hair, bringing it down to rest on her neck. His eyes gave him away when he thought she wasn’t looking, the agony and wonderment in them took her breath away.
She wraps her hand around his wrist, calling his eyes to hers. A reassuring, tender smile puts him at ease after being stunned to see her looking at him – like he’s been caught red-handed stealing candy. That distant, dreamy glaze her eyes wore earlier was gone, he was the only man she had eyes for now. He felt something in his chest swell at the sight. He watches as her eyes fall to his lips.
Like ice slowly melting at dawn, he feels himself being drawn in as he slowly lowers his head, his eyes on her eager lips awaiting his. But something in him was fighting, kicking back.
He stopped just as his lips hovered above hers. She could feel his breath and watched as he closed his eyes tight.
“Please don’t do this Diana…” he whispered to her, “Don’t marry him.” He kept his eyes shut tight, like he was bracing for a punch.
“Okay. I won’t.” she softly breathed to him. His eyes shot open. A strong mixture of relief and amazement in his expression. She was conflicted and confused- where did this side of him come from? But judging by the way he looked at her, the way he touched her, he really did want her. His timing in letting her know was a little shit, and she wasn’t sure do to deal with it, but it made her happy – and it showed on her face.
Bishop softly smiled back at her, dropping a kiss on the tip of her nose, “That’s my smart girl.”
“Yeah, yeah…” she chuckled and gently pushed him off her as she sat up, pulling her legs to her chest, wrapping her arms around her knees to rest her chin on. “Gods… I’m-, I’m not ready to get married!” She stared into nothingness, realising how stupid this all was, “And to a Forsworn chief??”
“Good! Then don’t! Take off that ridiculous skirt, put on some real-people clothes, and let’s get the fuck away from this place!” Bishop said almost irate, jumping to his feet and grabbing his bag.
“I can’t just run off like a thief in the night, Bishop!” she protested.
“Why the hell not?!”
“Because I’m their honoured guest! But then again… if I stay till the morning I’ll have to turn down Cael’s proposal to his face… I can’t do that Bishop, I can’t hurt someone like that! Not to their face.” It was like the weight of the situation hit her just then. “Shit, what’ve I gotten myself into!” she dug her hand into her hair, dropping her face down on her knees.
Bishop thought hard for a moment. He guessed they couldn’t just run-off, the guards will spot them and alert Cael. “I have an idea…”
He fished a small white vial from his bag, “I’ve been saving this for an emergency. It’s an invisibility potion.” Her eyes lit up. “We can trash the tent a little, make it look like I abducted you.”
“But Bishop… they’ll send men after you? What if they find you?”
“Hah! Let them try! I’ve escaped much worse. Besides…” a small smile appeared in his eyes as the corners of his mouth curled up, “you seem like you could use a hero right about now.”
Her chest swelled and as she beamed a close-lipped smile at him. “Thank you Bishop! My hero.”
He pulled his shoulders back and ginned all smug. He liked the way it sounded. “Anytime ladyship, now get your stuff, I’ll start making it look like someone stepped on a lighting-rune in here.” He turned to assess his options.
He chuckled and turned back to her, “Yes, princess?” His eyes met a very smug and very nude Diana standing, hands at her hips.
“Made you look!!”
*Facepalm*MegDianaParticipantOctober 28, 2016 at 10:24 amPost count: 11
“Some Meg woman” aha i love it, this was such a brilliant chapter and i love the game of made you look ?❤️HelenaParticipantOctober 29, 2016 at 5:50 pmPost count: 159
I really am enjoying this story
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