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  • Dodongo79
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    Post count: 67

    Edit: I have decided that I wasn’t going to scrap this fanfiction completely. I’m pretty happy with the way things are going in this, so I’m just going to include the new dialogue and scenes as they progress through the questline. There’s TONS of more stuff coming up for the Druid and Ranger so stay tuned!! Also, I will be posting a separate Glossary of Terms since explaining some of the words would take a story in its own right. Thank you for those of you who dropped me a PM asking if this was going to get finished. You have no idea how much it means to me when people enjoy what I write. =)

     

    (I originally wasn’t going to write a fanfiction of my character with her adventures through Skyrim. Everyone has done all the quests and so I really didn’t think anyone wanted to read a rehashed story of your own experiences. But then I played this mod and it blew me away. Bishop is a beautifully fleshed out character, leaving just enough mystery for a writer to fill in the blanks. And so I did. So this is my (ongoing) Dragonborn’s story in Skyrim, with this mod added to the storyline. My way of saying “thank you” for such an amazing adventure. So here it is, enjoy. I don’t mind comments in the thread and I covet criticism. Thanks for reading!)

    Prologue:

    When Mysidia started on this epic saga in her life, the words “impossible”, “difficult”, and “dangerous” where gratuitously used to deter her from going. That didn’t in the slightest, and in fact, fueled her even more.

    Bearsoul has cared for Mysidia all her life. She was brought to the Druid Grove as tiny infant, barely a month old. Civil War had torn her homeland apart and left the baby an orphan. When the tiny fist grasped Bearsoul’s long white beard, she immediately (and figuratively) also grasped his heart.

    But that was what seemed like lifetimes ago and they both aged, as all life does. The Twilight Years weren’t kind to the chieftain and his mind began to fail. Mysidia remembered the exact day that she made the promise and committed to the task: when he looked at her and didn’t recognize who she was.

    That night she packed whatever she could and tossed it over her huge black and tan mount, Thaeja (Thay-ja). Mardock watched Mysidia pack with his usual calm energy. The old wizard was the one to deliver Mysidia to the Druid Grove as a baby. When Mysidia sent word to Mardock, who at the time was living in his tower, Mardock made the week trek to Wolfsong. (Mysidia’s Druid Grove.)

    “Mardock, I have to do something. It kills me to just sit here and watch him get worse.”, she said in a quiet voice.

    “Don’t worry, child. He will be well cared for.” he said, his crystal blue eyes compassionate.

    He looked at his charge as her shoulders slumped. She took two large breaths as if she were pushing back a sob. She shook her head and placed the back of her hand to her mouth. “I…believe I got everything.”

    She threw the pack over her shoulder and grabbed her swords. Mardock placed his thin wrinkled hands on her shoulders, to calm her. She looked up at him with the same intense violet eyes he recognized as hers and hers alone. He knew that look. Nothing was going to talk her out of this. Her mind had been made before he even stepped into her hut.

    “Please, take care of him. I will be back as soon as I can.”, hugging Mardock.

    “I know.”, he barely choked out. He leaned in and hugged her. “I’m sorry I don’t have any more information on the Crimson Nirnroot, other than I what I gave you. When you arrive in Skyrim, head to the College of Winterhold. They have the largest library and if this still exists, they will have more information on it.”

    Mysidia heard sniffling behind her and turned to see Sofie, her pupil. Sofie was a lot older than she looked, but her small diminutive frame made her seem childlike. Mysidia looked at her and held her arms out.

    “My little Sofie…”, she said and circled her arms around the girl. Sofie looked up at Mysidia and Mysidia wiped her tears away with her thumbs. “Only, not so little anymore. You’ve grown up to be a beautiful, strong, courageous young woman.”

    Sofie tried to smile through the tears. “I hate goodbyes.”, she said in a whisper.

    “This isn’t goodbye, sister. Mardock tells me that you’ve taken your vows to become Hierophant.”, Mysidia said smiling. Sofie nodded.

    “The Great Mother would be proud to have you protect Her tree. You will make a fine Hierophant, my brave sister.”, Mysidia said and turned to add a few more items to her pack. “You need to help Mardock care for Bearsoul. You are the only two I trust for this. With Joffery gone…”, Mysidia said with a choked voice.

    “He was in love with you, you know.”, Sofie said sadly. Mysidia paused considering past events. She shook her head.

    “No, I think he thought he was in love with me.”, Mysidia said and closed her pack.

    Sofie stood back and clasped her hands in front of her. “As you say.”

    Mysidia sighed and gave a last hug to the two of them. “Amaya’fae bless and keep you.”

    “Wisdom guide you.”, Mardock said.

    “Ancestors be with you.”, Sofie said.

    Mysidia looked at the both of them. She was going to say the usual “I’ll be back. I promise”, but the words held in her throat. For the first time in her life, she didn’t know anything other than the determination forcing her heart to beat.

    It took her two days ride to reach the Mage’s city of towers. Her large dire wolf, Sabre was at her side as she made her way through the large cut stone gate. Her wolf’s large gray eyes blinked at her. “Are you sure about this, Pride Sister?”, Sabre asked in the manner of wolves.

    She nodded. She handed the mages the pouch of gold and told them where she needed to be. Using several incantations, seven mages surrounded an empty large gate. As their voices rose, finishing their conjoined spell, several carved runes in the stone teleport gate, began to glow green, then light purple. As they finished, a blinding flash illuminated the cavern they were in and Mysidia could see the plane of Oblivion through to the other side.

    “Once you cross over to Oblivion, you will see your destination on the far end, through another portal.”, one of the mages said.

    It would be the last thing any of her people said to her before she crossed over into a foreign land.
    From there, things went from bad to worse. Her, her mount, and her wolf crossed safely without being detected from the daedra. However, entering Skyrim was met with a Thief rushing past her yelling something with the last words being “Imperial Scum!” That distraction cost her, her consciousness. She barely remembered Sabre growling before she slumped to the ground in darkness.

    • This topic was modified 3 years ago by  Dodongo79.
    Dodongo79
    Participant
    Post count: 67

    Chapter 1

    One Year Later….

    Mysidia had navigated her way around Skyrim long enough to develop a name for herself…although that was the last thing she wanted to do. Every person she asked about the Crimson Nirnroot, no one knew what she was referring to. It didn’t stop her from asking, nor did it stop her from helping whomever asked it of her.

    She had earned the name Dragonborn. As far as she could tell, the Dragons spoke their own language, which she understood. It really wasn’t that different from her Mother Tongue, although on a much louder scale. They regarded her as an elf, based on her appearance, and she allowed the misconception. Explaining it would take longer and more patience than she had saved. She just wanted to get what she crossed over for, and get back home before Bearsoul was too far gone to be helped.

    After Helgen, Sabre and Thaeja were also missing. Her wolf was able to get free, but her horse she hadn’t heard about. Her lack of luck was really starting to anger her.

    She had gotten a lead on her horse, and was set to talk to a trapper in Riverwood. She was used to everyone whispering and pointing as she walked by. At first, she had thought it was because of the way she looked. She was taller than most Nord women, and her ears were on the pointy side because of her heritage. Her face had the stains of warpaint and a huge tattoo of the Tree of Life could be seen poking out from underneath her sleeveless armor on her back. Along with the back piece, she also had several tribal looking tattoos down both of her arms. She did not look like any elf they had come across.

    Her two swords were strapped to her back and she cautiously walked over to the fur trader adjacent to the inn. She lowered her bag and threw several pounds of furs on the table. The man paused and grunted towards the pile appreciatively. “Honest work for honest pay.”, he said and dropped a pile of gold in Mysidia’s hand.

    “I heard you would be the person I’d talk to about a horse.”, she started.

    “I might be. What kind are you looking for?”, he said raising an eyebrow.

    “Odd colored… When I crossed…”, she paused and shook her head. She wasn’t about to regale how she crossed over an Oblivion gate. She just wanted to get her horse back. “…when I crossed into Skyrim, I had him.” Then she proceeded to describe what Thaeja looked like and restate the information she had gotten in a nearby village.

    “No, sorry, Dragonborn. I wish I had better news for you.”, he said noticing Mysidia’s face fall in disappointment. “But, there’s a ranger than just came into town. Maybe an extra set of eyes tracking your horse would be helpful?”

    Mysidia looked to where the man pointed and barely could see a tall person standing in the shadows. She nodded at the man and thanked him. Walking over and placing her coins in her pouch, she climbed the stairs and almost crashed into the tall figure.

    “What don’t you watch where you’re going, wench?”, the man spat.

    Mysidia’s eyebrows raised in surprise. “Excuse me?”

    She looked hard into his face and only had seen two amber embers through the shadow.

    “Oh, I’m sorry, perhaps I didn’t say it loud enough.”, he tossed.

    “I heard you clearly. Apologies for bumping into you.”, she mumbled and placed her hand on the door knob. “I was told there was a ranger I could hire.”

    “There is.”, he said looking at her. “But I’m not for hire.”

    “Shit.”, Mysidia cursed and sat down on the bench outside of the inn. The ranger wasn’t sure how to take the reaction. He came into the light and Mysidia was able to get a good look of her rude conversationalist.

    The man was tall, rugged. While although handsome, his eyes were haunted. Clearly, there was something that weighed heavy on him.

    “You might be able to help me first. And then I might return the favor.”, he said looking down at her.

    Her violet eyes caught the sun and appeared to illuminate from the inside out. The ranger had never seen anything like it.

    She nodded considering her options. “Very well, Ranger. What do you need a wench’s help with?”, she sad sardonically.

    The ranger laughed slightly. “A sense of humor, I like that.” He looked at her for a moment and had noticed her weapons. She carried with her two one hand swords and a bow with a quiver. He thought it over for a moment and sat next to her. “It’s my wolf, Karnwyr. A few trappers were able to capture him and sell him to a group of bandits.”

    Mysidia’s look became gravely serious. “And the bandits happen to be a dog fighting ring?”, she mentioned.

    “Yeah. Do you know where it is?”, he asked.

    “As a matter of fact, I do. I had ran into them a few months back looking for my own.”, she said quietly.

    The ranger rolled his eyes. “What, your puppy? A fox?”

    Mysidia hopped off the steps and stood up, facing him. “No. My wolf Sabre.”

    He stopped and stood up slowly. This was no flippant female adventurer looking to make a name for herself.

    “The name is Bishop.”, he said looking right at her.

    “Mysidia.”, she said nodding. “Let’s go get your wolf back.”
    It took them almost two days to reach the cliff faced cave the group of bandits called home. Bishop had learned a little of his traveling companion. He didn’t put two and two together, of her being the Dragonborn, until he remembered how everyone treated her in the town.

    “Well, if you’re looking for someone to lick your boots, princess…”, he started.

    Mysidia shook her head. “Lucky for you, I wasn’t. We’re here.”

    Mysidia nimbly hopped up the slope and quietly slinked in between a throng of trees. The snap of pine needles filled the air and a light breeze gently rocked the trees around them. She looked over at Bishop and watched him unhook his bow.

    “Are you any good with that thing, ranger?”, she asked.

    “HA! I never miss my mark, princess.”, he said, almost offended.

    She looked at him for a few moments before nodding. “Good. Do you see that pan hanging on the rock?”, she pointed in the distance. Bishop walked close and followed her arm, looking down to where her finger was pointing. Her delicate scent of clean sweat and orchids filled his nose. It made it difficult to concentrate.

    “Yes.”, he said finally.

    “I will need you to hit it when I give the signal.”, she said and unsheathed her swords. She started to quietly walk up the makeshift path.

    “What are you going to do?”, he whispered.

    Her violet eyes seemed to ignite with a mischievous fire. She smirked and said “I’m going to go pick a fight.”

    Moments later, Mysidia strode confidently up the path shaking her head. Bishop silently made his way to sit behind a large pine tree to give him the access he needed. Mysidia’s voice bounced off the boulders around him, but he could hear her perfectly.

    “You know, Tobias… when I said I didn’t want to come back here. I was serious. My instructions were clear.”, she started.

    “Mysidia! I can’t say that I’m happy to see you so soon.”, the man named Tobias drolled.

    “Are you hard of hearing? Did the last thrashing I gave you, rupture an ear drum?”, she walked cautiously, speaking. Her blades were in her hands, points towards the ground.

    “Not at all. I considered your “generous” offer and decided to decline.”, Tobias said getting up. Bishop took an arrow and knocked it in his bow. You could cut the tense energy in the air with a knife. The hairs on the back of his neck seemed to stand at the feel of it.

    Mysidia stopped and licked her teeth annoyed. “I hate repeating myself.”

    “Then don’t. After our last meeting I decided to beef up staff, here. And well…”, Tobias said circling her. Several large men began to pour out of the crevasses of the mountain cliff and Mysidia found herself surrounded by seven or eight men. “…it appears you’re alone and outnumbered. But don’t worry. I’ll keep you alive just long enough to fetch a decent price with the Dunmer slave trade.”

    Tobias picked up the thick dark braid that Mysidia collected her hair in. The end fanned out and slapped the back of her thighs. He held it to his face and smelled. Mysidia looked over her shoulder disgusted. The word “Pig” was muttered. The men laughed.

    “You really have no room for negotiation, Mysidia: with us being eight and you just one.”, Tobias said confidently.

    Mysidia laughed. The other men looked around confused but began to join Mysidia in laughing. They must have thought her mad!

    “I fail to see the humor in your little situation.” Tobias said.

    Mysidia leaned in a bit and said, “You assumed I came alone.”

    It happened lightening quick. Bishop let the arrow fly and with a loud brassy BANG, the pot bounced off its hook and landed on the ground. The men jumped and looked towards the sound. Mysidia wasted no time in cutting off two of the mens’ heads before driving one blade through the stomach of another. The living turned towards the fighting Dragonborn. One of the men grabbed her braid and wrapped it around his hand once. An arrow flew through the air, releasing her but severing a good chunk of her braid off.

    “Son of a bitch!”, Mysidia swore. She shot Bishop an incredulous look.

    “Sorry, princess. I figured you’d rather your freedom.”, he shouted back.

    Mysidia flashed around and slashed at the abdomen of the man standing behind her. Two feet of his entrails came splashing out and hit the ground with a sickening thud. The man screamed and fell almost immediately, writhing in pain.

    Tobias’ eyes widen in fear as the severity of the situation began to weigh upon him. He began to back up slowly. Once his back hit a large boulder, two men grabbed either arm of the Dragonborn. Mysidia began to struggle as she was lifted off the ground. Mysidia snarled in frustration and began to squirm. All of the sudden, the bandit on the right slumped down to his knees and landed face first in the blood soaked dirt beneath them. A fresh arrow pierced his skull.

    Mysidia swung her blade around and plunged it deep into the other bandit’s stomach. She turned her face toward his and watched with a sick satisfaction as the man gurgled his last breath. The remaining bandits ran off into the mountains, abandoning Tobias to his fate.

    Mysidia closed her eyes and quietly mouthed what Bishop could only deduce was a spell. The language was one he wasn’t familiar with. Part of the boulder cracked off and landed on Tobias, trapping him underneath.

    Mysidia held out her hands, walking towards the dying Tobias. She touched the locks of the cages that held the wolves, and they disintegrated before their eyes. The wolves all came out slowly and started to snarl and snap their jaws, throwing white foam on the ground.

    “Tobias…. what am I going to do with you?”, Mysidia said looking down at him. Two trails of blood came out either side of his mouth, making it difficult for him to breathe.

    “Don’t kill me.”, he pleaded. A large blood bubble gurgled up his throat and popped, spraying blood on his face.

    “Don’t waste your breath on me, Tobias. I suggest praying to whatever god you pray to.”, Mysidia said kneeling down by his head. “You don’t have very long.”

    “I know….”, he gasped. “…I know where Sabre is.”, he managed to choke out.

    Mysidia froze. She placed her hand on the boulder and seemed to raise it off the ground, just enough to allow Tobias to fill his lungs with the precious air it was robbed of.

    “Go ahead.”, she said.

    “What assurance do I have that you won’t kill me?”, Tobias asked, smirking. He realized that he had her, now.

    She paused for a moment and looked at Bishop. She was certain that keeping the thug alive would cause Bishop’s ire to rise. By rights, Bishop should be able to kill Tobias for capturing his wolf. But dead men don’t talk and Mysidia needed whatever information Tobias had.

    She dropped her head. “Fine. I won’t kill you, Tobias. Tell me something useful and I’ll even heal your wounds.”

    With that, she lifted her hand and a green energy circled her fist. She lowered her hand on one of the gashes on Tobias’ leg. Before their eyes, the wound began to knit itself closed. Tobias looked with wide eyed wonder, realizing that he had secured his survival.

    Bishop cursed and walked off, looking for his wolf. Mysidia turned around and raised an eyebrow. “Well? Out with it.”

    Tobias coughed and sputtered fresh blood from his mouth. “In the valley, there’s a fishing hut. I had seen your wolf sniffing around. Big thing, he was. Looked healthy.”

    “How long ago?”, Mysidia asked.

    “Less than a week.”, he answered.

    Mysidia nodded and moved the stone off of him. She stood up and brushed her hands on her leather armored pants.

    “Wait, I thought you said you weren’t going to kill me…!”, Tobias said panicking.

    “I’m not. I never make a promise I don’t intend to keep.”, she said and pointed to the wolves stalking up behind her. “They, however, have no such scruples. Sorry, Tobias.”

    Mysidia walked to where Bishop had left off and the sickening sounds of screams and flesh being torn echoed off the mountain walls.

    ~*~

    Mysidia crouched down to greet Karnwyr. The wolf smelled the air and walked slowly towards her. She extended her hand and waited.

    Greetings, pack brother.’, Mysidia said in the manner of wolves.

    Karnwyr  flicked his ears forward and lolled his long wolf tongue out. “You speak my language, female?

    She nodded. “I do.”

    Bishop, clueless as to the exchange, made the introductions. “Karnwyr, this is Mysidia. She helped rescue you, big guy. Be nice.”

    Karnwyr looked at Bishop and then back at Mysidia. “Does my pack brother know that you can speak with us?

    Probably not.”, Mysidia noted.

    Karnwyr approached Mysidia and she began to stroke underneath  his chin and down his large chest. Karnwyr was a huge black wolf and held the same amber eyes as his master. Bishop watched the exchange with an interested fascination.

    Karnwyr rolled over on his back and exposed his stomach. Mysidia smiled and began to rub the soft underbelly. Bishop snorted. “Traitor.”

    “He’s beautiful.”, Mysidia noted.

    “Let’s go, princess. There isn’t much light left and I’d like to be out of these woods by nightfall.”, Bishop said walking down the sloped path. Karnwyr jumped up and loped in beside Bishop. Mysidia shrugged and sheathed her weapons before walking in behind.

    Dodongo79
    Participant
    Post count: 67

    Chapter 2

    Karnwyr began to enjoy Mysidia’s company. It wasn’t long before Bishop realized that Mysidia was more than just the Dragonborn. Mysidia giggled to herself as Karnwyr looked back at her. Bishop looked at the both of them and grumbled. “What?”

    Mysidia stopped and raised her eyebrow. “Something wrong?”

    “Ladyship, why do I get the feeling that you and my wolf are up to something?”, Bishop said looking at both of them.

    “Why would you say that?”, Mysidia asked.

    “And how were you able to turn those locks to rust with just touching them?”, he asked nodding over his shoulder.

    Mysidia stopped and peered at him. “You don’t work with many Druids, do you?”

    “Druids? No, princess, I don’t. Skyrim hasn’t seen a Druid in several centuries.”, Bishop said folding his arms over his chest. Karnwyr walked over to him and sat on his haunches.

    Mysidia paused. “Oh… wow, you’re serious.” She said and looked down. She walked towards a large stone that sat under a tree and rested on it.

    “Most of my tribe are Druids or Shaman. It’s also customary for Rangers to be able to speak with their animal companions, too.”, Mysidia noted and nodded towards the wolf.

    “What wood elf tribe are you from? Druidism hasn’t seen Tamriel since the Third Age.”, Bishop said.

    Mysidia’s face fell. “That would explain why I haven’t seen any. I had hoped…”, she said and let the comment hang. She turned and the wind blew the few short pieces of hair away from her face.

    She turned back to Bishop. “I’m not a wood elf.”, she said bringing her knees up to her chest.

    “Could have fooled me.”, he said and rubbed his own ears then pointed to hers.

    “My people are an ancient race called Rhydians. I believe Cyrodil called us Ayleids, although I believe that’s more due to the fact that our language is difficult to understand.”, Mysidia said.

    Bishop blinked a few moments. “Ayleid?” He gave her a thorough once over, as though he were seeing her for the first time. She was gracefully gorgeous in the same manner as all elves were. Her hair was dark brown, almost black, and held few sun kissed highlights, one being above her left brow. Her eyes were violet most days, but he noticed they frequently changed color and they did this depending on how deeply her emotions ran.

    Where she differed from elves was in her height and the curves she carried. She was taller than most Nord women, yet she was a shave shorter than Bishop himself. Her skin was pale with blue undertones and the only blemishes she had were the tattoos she had, at least, only to what Bishop’s eyes could see.

    Ayleid or not, Bishop found it difficult to tear his eyes off of her for a moment while he processed the information given to him.

    “How did you get to Skyrim?”, Bishop asked.

    “Through an Oblivion gate.”, she said looking up at him.

    “By the nine…”, he swore. “What possessed you to do that?”

    She paused for a moment, realizing that she probably revealed a bit too much information. She was the one to look him over, now. She could tell that he had seen a decent portion of Tamriel and knew Skyrim like the back of his hand. He strode confidently through the wilds while they walked together.

    She relented. “My chieftain has taken ill. A close friend of mine gave me a book that talked about a plant called the Crimson Nirnroot. He said that it held mind regenerating properties. I came to find it and take it back, only I have been unsuccessful so far.”

    “You risked your life crossing through a plane of Hell to find a plant you know nothing about?”, Bishop asked raising his eyebrow.

    “Bearsoul is the closest thing I have to a father. He raised me since I was an infant. I couldn’t sit back and do nothing. His impairment is beyond my medicine or magic.”, Mysidia said quietly. He could see the muscle in her jaw twitch as she held back the tears.

    “Alright, princess. I’ll help you find this plant. Who knows what kind of trouble you’ll get me into.”, Bishop said.

    Mysidia stood up and smiled. “Trouble? Why, it’s one of the few free services I offer.”

    Bishop laughed. “Oh? There’s more than one?”

    Mysidia stopped and blushed, taken completely off guard.

    “Relax. You’re not my type.”, he said holding his hands up, walking ahead of her.

    Mysidia wasn’t sure how to take that. She shrugged and grabbed her gear catching up with Bishop.
    Stopping by a river for a break, Mysidia took it upon herself to sit on a large boulder by the waterfall and meditate. Long strands of her dark hair fluttered in the wind around her. She breathed in deeply, focusing on feeling the natural energy around her.

    Most of her Druid abilities, such as shapeshifting, couldn’t be done. She surmised it being because she wasn’t from the realm she was in. If she was able to attune herself to her surroundings, she would be able to find Sabre and Thaeja.

    The natural energy around her was different than what she was used to. There was a feral rawness about it that appealed to her on an animalistic level. Bishop started to walk up to her and paused to observe.

    “What are you doing, princess?”, Bishop asked finally.

    “Attuning myself to the energy around me.”, she said with her eyes closed.

    “Why?”, he pushed.

    She sighed and opened her eyes, searching for his face. “If I become attuned with the energy, I can find what I’m looking for a bit easier. I’m surprised you weren’t taught to do this when you decided to become a Ranger.”

    “I was a hunter, first, your Ladyship.”, he said. “My parents were hunters. Eventually, I took up their trade and learned from them. The Ranger part didn’t come until after I found Karnwyr.”, Bishop said. “But there wasn’t formal training, if that’s what you’re thinking.”

    Mysidia looked confused. “So how do you know you’re actually a Ranger, then?”

    “Because that’s what I call myself?”, he answered confused at her confusion.

    “I can call myself a tree, doesn’t make it so.”, Mysidia torted.

    Bishop smirked. “Fine. I have a bow, I track, and fight with a weapon and my wolf.”

    Mysidia grunted agreeing. She got up and wiped her hands on her legs, brushing some grass off of her. “The energy here is going to take me a little longer to get used to.”

    “Why’s that?”, Bishop asked.

    Mysidia stopped to answer him. She closed her eyes feeling a wave of dizziness overtake her and she swayed in her place. She raised her hand to her brow, uncomfortable at the sensation.

    “What is it?”, he asked not knowing what to do.

    “I’m…. not sure…”, she said nearly faint. It took everything she had not to topple over right there.

    In the distance, a familiar screeching sound of a dragon echoed off the mountains all around them. Mysidia shot a look to Bishop and a trickle of white hot fear washed over her.

    “Dragon…”, they both said.

    Mysidia grabbed her weapons and ran off towards the flying beast. And he was enormous. Thick green and brown scales covered his underside. Large tattered leathery wings flapped effortlessly in the sky around it and the sudden whoosh of air pushed off the beast and into the face of Mysidia.

    Bishop unhinged his bow and drew, aiming at the heart of the gigantic beast. His aim was true, but his arrows couldn’t pierce the thick hide. Mysidia ran to the top of the ledge, bounding from rock to rock with a light nimble grace.

    The dragon hovered in the air above Mysidia and drew in a large breath. Blue fire emitted from the eternal furnace in the dragon, and instantly Mysidia held up her swords, crossing them in front of her.

    The blue fire seemed to bend around the woman and an odd green nimbus surrounded her. No doubt her Druidic abilities shielded her from the intense fire being thrown around her. When the dragon stopped, large gray plumes of smoke rose from Mysidia’s uncharred skin. Her eyes were lit alight with a violet feral fire.

    She charged at the mouth of the dragon and jumped up, slashing down to catch the scaled nose with the side of her blade. A thick gush of black blood sprayed out, catching Mysidia in the face.

    Just as the dragon was moving his wings in a backwards motion, trying to flee from his opponent, Mysidia’s elfin form gained speed as a flash of white light formed underneath her feet. At the rock’s ledge, she leaped and landed on the dragon’s back as it started to fly away.

    “Mysidia!!”, Bishop exclaimed and fired another arrow into the dragon’s neck. Finding a weakness in the animal’s natural defenses was proving to be a challenge.

    Mysidia drew her arms up, holding one of her swords above her head, the dangerous point facing the dragon underneath her. With a swift and true strike, she plunged downwards, jamming it in the back of the dragon’s skull. The dragon screamed as the intense pain wracked through its entire body.

    Mysidia held on for dear life as the severely damaged dragon plunged towards the earth. Several tons of scales, flesh, and bone came hurling towards the ground and all Mysidia could do was close her eyes and say a prayer to her goddess.

    Just as the dragon crashed and slid across the ground, Mysidia jumped up and used the injected blade as a stabilizer while she placed one foot on either side and rode the dragon in.

    In a final action, she withdrew her blade and sliced into either side of it’s head, severing tendon from bone, vein from flesh, and delivered life unto death.

    Mysidia, breathing heavy looked up at a running Bishop coming towards her. She walked over picking up her other blade and wiped the blood off on her leg. And like so many times before, tendrils of white energy surrounded her, filling her with the very soul of the dragon. She slumped to her knees feeling the dizzying rush.

    “I will never get used to that.”, she said finally.

    “That… was incredible…”, Bishop said looking at the dragon carcass around them. “And foolish… mostly foolish.”

    “That’s never happened before.”, Mysidia mentioned.

    “Which part? The part where you flew off the cliff riding on the back or the superhuman way you surfed it onto the grass?”, Bishop asked sarcastically.

    “Neither. Their presence has never gotten me dizzy before. There was a pull, sure. A feeling I got in the back of my skull…”, she mentioned “…like an itch that you just couldn’t scratch away no matter how many times you tried. But this time…”, she trailed off.

    “What was different this time?”, Bishop asked getting her to her feet.

    “The feeling was so powerful I could barely stand.”, Mysidia’s voice trailed off. “It must be because I meditated before.”

    Bishop considered for a moment. “The more in tune you get to the natural energy of this place, the more powerful that feeling will become.”

    Mysidia couldn’t even think about it. If that were true, would the feel of a dragon cause her to pass out? As far as she could tell, she was the only line of defense these people had in helping defeat the dragon threat. Passing out was the opposite end of what she wanted.

    “You look like you could use a drink.”, Bishop said. Mysidia nodded numbly. “Come on, princess. Whiterun isn’t far from here. Bannered Mare it is.”, he said and offered his hand. She smiled lightly and placed her hand in his.

    Dodongo79
    Participant
    Post count: 67

    Chapter 3

    The Bannered Mare was the finest inn and pub in most of Skyrim, save the pubs in Solitude, of course. Mysidia had nothing to compare it to since the majority of her stay in Skyrim was on the roads or in a camp she’s made for herself. She usually didn’t have enough money to pay for such an establishment since she was giving to the refugees she would pass.

    The large hall was all alight with patron bustle. Wenches with trays were talking to drinking patrons. There were men swaying their glass to the beat of a song two bards were singing in the middle of the building. A large firepit was in the middle and several smaller tables were dotted on the outskirts of the establishment. The warmth (figuratively and literally) played a lazy smile on Mysidia’s face and she found herself enjoying the energy of it.

    Bishop placed his hand on the small of Mysidia’s back and leaned over to her left ear. “Talk to the bartender about getting food served and I’ll talk to the main proprietor about rooms and a bath.”

    Mysidia looked up at Bishop and groaned slightly. “Oh… a bath… That sounds heavenly.”

    Bishop coughed uncomfortably at the sound. “Oh, well… I figured after the day you’ve had…”

    “It’s lovely, Bishop. Thank you.”, Mysidia said and walked over to the large oak bar.

    Several patrons were sitting around, all ages, sizes, and races. This was probably a large rest stop for travelers that come through, she thought to herself. One of the barmaids, behind the bar, leaned over. Her ample bosom swaying with her movements, all of her assets on display. She was certain that she too, was also on the menu if asked nicely. Mysidia was no prude and such things never phased her. What one does with their body, as long as it doesn’t harm another living thing, was up to the owner of said body. In other words: none of her business.

    “Two plates of whatever’s left in the kitchen over to his table.”, Mysidia said and pointed to Bishop. His golden amber eyes were fixated on Mysidia and with the way he looked at her, now she was the one to feel uncomfortable.

    “Hang on a moment, hun. Let me see if there’s anything left.”, the barmaid said.

    Mysidia turned around and rested her elbows on the bar, causing her hip to sensually curve out. The grin on Bishop’s face grew, that was until a large older “gentleman” sloshed in next to Mysidia.

    “You are a beautiful woman.”, the man slurred through several drinks and an accent she couldn’t quite place.

    Mysidia turned her head to look at the man. He was older and the lines of time wore into his face along with the alcoholic abuse, no doubt also ages old. He could have been handsome at one point, Mysidia thought. His hair was salt and pepper colored and kept neatly in a braid down his back. Looking at his attire, she could sense the man being a gold farmer or miner.

    “Thank you.”, Mysidia smiled genuinely.

    “But ye probably hear that a lot, huh, lass?”, he said and winked. Mysidia stopped for a moment and thought about it. The man laughed. When he did, he seemed to with his whole being and his face lit up with it. The joy was contagious and Mysidia couldn’t help but be caught up in it.

    “I put ye in a bind, did’n I. If ye said yes, that would have made ye egotistical.”, he barely could get the five syllable word out due to his inebriation. “But, iff’n ye said no, ye would have been a liar.”

    “Then I will simply say Thank You for the compliment.”, Mysidia chose her words carefully. The man laughed again and smacked his hand on the bar. The man looked Mysidia once over.

    “Do ye have a place to stay tonight, lass? I have a large comfy room and the beds here aren’t too pokey.”, he said and winked.

    “As a matter of fact I do.”, she said waiting for the barmaid to return.

    “Ye mean with tha’ ranger talkin’ to that red head?”, the man turned around and nodded towards Bishop.

    It was clear that Bishop knew the woman, based on the body language. She was standing close to him with her hand on his arm, and he was saying something angry back. Mysidia felt a pang of jealousy shred through her common sense. But she paused and shrug.

    “Well, he did help me kill a dragon earlier today. I suppose I could give him some leeway.”, Mysidia noted.

    The man’s eyes widen. “Where were YOU twenty years ago, lass? Ye should have had a conversation with me wife, may she rest in peace.”

    Mysidia laughed. “I was a very young lass myself, sir.”

    “Bah. Don’t call me sir. I know I’m older, darlin’. Ye don’t need to point it out to me and Sir makes it sound like I could be ye father.”, he said taking another drink from his wooden mug. “Name’s Shae.”, he said and held out a hand.

    “Mysidia”, she said and shook it. She paused for a moment and smiled, then leaned in and placed a gentle kiss on his cheek. “I’d say your wife chose well, Shae.”

    Shae looked confused for a moment until he felt Mysidia spin the wedding band on his finger. He was still in love with his wife and the thought that was the sweetest thing.

    “Iff’n ye change yer mind, and don’t mind an older wolf, lass.”, he left the comment open.

    She leaned in giving another peck on his cheek and touched his hand warmly. “You’ll be the first to know.”

    “Yeah, hun. Kitchen has a bit left. I’ll send it on over.”, the barmaid said as she came back.

    “Thank you.”, Mysidia said and tossed a few gold coins on the bar. “Shae’s next round is on me.” She winked at him before she made her way towards Bishop.

    “Damn, what a handsome woman.”, Shae said gathering the coins up.

    “Oh shut it, Shae. You say that with every young pretty thing that walks through here. If I had a septim for every time you fell in love, I could retire in Solitude…twice over.”, the barmaid said and went to serve her next customer.

    Mysidia walked slowly and cautiously up towards Bishop, who was having a conversation of his own.

    “I told you, flea. Not interested. Not get lost!”, he exclaimed finally. The red head turned and looked directly at Mysidia and seethed. Mysidia knew better than to jump into the middle of that spat and waited for the woman thief to walk away angry.

    “The bath’s in the back and we have the room behind it.”, Bishop said, not making eye contact.

    “What the hell was all that about?”, Mysidia asked.

    “Nothing. Do you want to go first or should I?”, Bishop said as they both were walking towards the bathing area.

    Mysidia paused. “What, you’re not coming?”

    Bishop looked at her stunned. “What?! Are you sure?” As the thought of what could happen began to play in his imagination, a wide wolfish grin played on his face. Mysidia saw his reaction and took a step back.

    “I take it your bathhouses here aren’t co-ed.”, she mentioned walking into the bathing room.

    “Uh, no, princess. The only time it becomes co-ed is if there’s more to happen, after the bath is over.” Bishop said with the emphasis on the word “after”.

    “Huh. Interesting.”, Mysidia said and began to remove her armor. “Co-ed bathing is common among my people. Safety in numbers and so forth.”

    “I really have to visit someday.”, Bishop said and grinned. When Mysidia removed the top part of her leather armor, a small cropped top was underneath, revealing a toned flat stomach. She turned in her chair and placed the armor in a neat pile behind her and Bishop could see part of the impressive back tattoo she’s made a reference to more than once.

    As far as Bishop could tell, there were a few tattoos on Mysidia’s body. She had the one on her back, one on her inner left wrist, and what appeared to be subtle runic symbols going up and down her arm. They were extremely faint and almost seemed to be giving off a golden light on their own. You didn’t notice them until Mysidia moved her arms and caught the light a certain way.

    She stopped and looked up. “Change your mind?”, she asked. He stopped and looked at her for a few moments, studying her expression. He was about to answer when Mysidia looked over his shoulder, as something else caught her attention.

    “Never mind. You’ve got company.”, she said and closed the bathing room door. Bishop turned around and leaned against the door jam, fuming mad and whoever disturbing what could have been an interesting conversation.

    When he had seen the red headed thief woman, Neena, again, he growled low in his throat. “What is it now, flea?”

    “What does she have that I don’t? What makes her so special??”, she asked tossing her hair over her shoulder and placing her hands on her hips.

    “She just is. Now get out of my sight.”, Bishop said low. He didn’t need Mysidia to hear their conversation.

    “I could be good for you.”, Neena said, pleading.

    Bishop rubbed his forehead with his hand. “Leave me alone. I don’t want you anywhere near me or her. Do you get understand?”

    She reached out and grabbed at his belt. “Come on, Bishop. Don’t you remember how good I was…? I’m a good belly warmer.”, she said and smirked seductively.

    Bishop jerked his body back. “Turn around and leave, or I will slit your throat right here and now.”, he said and unsheathed his dagger.

    Neena’s face fell and for the first time, he scared her. She swallowed and nodded slowly. “Fine. But when she turns you down, and she will, don’t come crying back to me.”

    “Noted. Now fuck off.”, Bishop said and leaned his head back on the door frame and closed his eyes. He didn’t bother to see if she left. He knew she did by the sound of soft footfalls growing quieter in the opposite direction.

    Moments later, Mysidia opened up the door and stepped out. All of her dark hair was pulled up and a few sweaty clean strands coiled down and framed her heart-shaped face. The woad on her face was also gone, traces of it cleaned off in the bath she took. She was wearing a loose tunic shirt and a pair of cotton pants. She smelled of musky woman and the orchids again. The floral smell seemed to deepen, however. Bishop found himself holding his breath at the sight of her. Lucky for him, she didn’t notice.

    He reached out and took her chin with his thumb and forefinger. He turned her face from side to side. “I didn’t realize it was warpaint.”

    “Customary of my tribe.”, she said softly.

    “It hid your beauty well.”, he noted and walked in. “See what’s taking our food so long.”

    She was about to say something but Bishop shut the door in her face. Whoever that woman was, it pissed him off something fierce.

    Shrugging, Mysidia walked over to the bar and talked to the barmaid again. The short squat woman nodded and grabbed two plates of food  stashed underneath. Browned potatoes, carrots, and a chunk of what looked like overcooked roast beef sat on unremarkable plates. Two hardtack biscuits were in the middle. Mysidia nodded a thanks and started to walk towards their rented room.

    Neena stopped in front of Mysidia with the same sour look Bishop had. “Consider yourself lucky, sweetheart. I wouldn’t let him go, if I were you.”

    Mysidia raised an eyebrow. “What makes you think we’re together?” Neena’s eyes squinted in anger.

    “I better not catch you alone on the streets of Whiterun, little girl. Accidents have a way of happening around here.”, Neena threatened.

    Mysidia looked over Neena’s shoulder to see Bishop towel dry his hair watching the two woman have their short conversation. Then she turned back to Neena and said, “Get the fuck out of my face or I will open that tight little belly of yours and play puppet master with your entrails. I’m a Druid, sweetheart, so I can regenerate you just enough to keep you alive throughout the whole ordeal until I grow bored of the torture.” Mysidia shoved her way past Neena, clipping her shoulder in the process, emphasizing her point.

    Bishop smiled and chuckled at the returned threat. Then he shut the door behind Mysidia and made their way towards the bedroom. Mysidia placed his plate gently on the table and Mysidia went over to the bed and sat down on it with her plate. She crossed her legs and set the plate in the middle.

    “So, are you going to tell me now?”, Mysidia said and pointed her fork towards the door.

    “No.”, Bishop said and took a bite of his biscuit.

    “How long were you sleeping with her?”, Mysidia pressed.

    Bishop threw his fork into his plate and sighed. “You’re not going to let up, are you?” When he didn’t receive an answer he continued. “It’s very unladylike like to grow curious about one’s affairs that don’t concern them.”

    “Let’s forget for a minute that I’m not a lady, then.”, Mysidia said and picked at her potatoes. Bishop laughed.

    “If I did that, sweetness, there would be an entirely different activity happening right now, where you’re sitting.”, he said and smirked.

    Mysidia’s eyes rose slowly and met Bishop’s. She shrugged saying “I don’t mind where you’ve kept yourself warm at night, Bishop. It’s when they threaten me that I take an interest.”

    “What makes you think I slept with her, anyway?”, Bishop asked, curious on Mysidia’s guess.

    “Because women don’t threaten another unless they feel they have some claim on who they’ve come to see.”, Mysidia said and gave Bishop a long look. When Bishop didn’t answer, Mysidia placed the plate of pushed around food on the floor next to her bed.

    “So, do I get to see this famous back tattoo?”, Bishop asked, his eyes full of dangerous possibilities.

    Shrugging and not thinking anything of it, she turned her back to him and lifted up her shirt, covering her chest out of modesty. And the back piece was worth every bit of praise she had given it. The tree itself was done in black ink and the details were done in a shiny green and golden type of ink Bishop had never seen before. When she moved, the details made the tree come to life.

    “Oh wow….”, Bishop said, lost in the beauty of the piece. Without thinking, he reached out and traced his fingers along the details of the trunk. Mysidia found herself smiling and goosebumps rose wherever he touched. That’s when he noticed that not only was she a well endowed woman, but that her hips had that seductive curve that would now haunt his dreams every night.

    He coughed a moment and felt the need to shield his eyes out of a respect he didn’t know he felt for her. “I’ve never seen it’s equal.”, he said finally. Much to his chagrin, she placed the shirt back on and turned around.

    “Joffery is the best. He’s the only one I trust doing something like that, on me.”, Mysidia said and brought her knees up to her chest, folding her arms in front of them.

    Bishop sat back at the sound of another man’s name on her tongue. For reasons he couldn’t figure, he didn’t like it. “He’s waiting for you back home?”

    “No.”, Mysidia said sadly. She closed her eyes for a moment and he saw a flicker of pain wrinkle her brows.

    “Wow,…so no one back there can stand you for a long period of time, too, princess?”, Bishop said, using his words as a defense for whatever he was feeling.

    Mysidia’s smacked of shock. She was speechless. “No, Bishop. Joffery is dead.”

    Bishop immediately regretted saying what he did. He shook his head and put his utensils down. “I’m sorry, Mysidia. I didn’t…”

    “Two weeks before I crossed over from the Oblivion gate, there was battle that we were fighting in. We were betrayed by a double agent, who was working for the enemy and Joffery figured it out. He was killed to hide the secret. He was dead before I could get to him so there wasn’t anything I could do to help him.”, Mysidia said and shook her head, disbelieving what Bishop said. She laid down on the bed, her back facing him.

    Bishop felt like an ass. One of the few times he could have had a chance and he screwed it up by talking. He took in a breath to say something but Mysidia cut him off.

    “Good night, Bishop.”, she said and forced herself to go to sleep.
    In the early morning, Mysidia gave up the fight to sleep and sat up on her bed. She looked over at Bishop, who was snoring lightly next to her on the floor. She decided to let him sleep. No reason for both of them to be exhausted and it gave Mysidia time to think about things. For the eight hours prior, all she did was seethe with anger and hurt. Both kept her awake.

    She gave Karnwyr a pat on the head and quietly left the room, heading to the bar for breakfast. The tavern staff was quietly bustling about, preparing the food that was to be on the menu that day. Smells of spices and cooking meats filled her nose and she felt her stomach gurgle. She chided herself on not finishing her dinner the night before. Karnwyr was all too happy to alleviate her of that task.

    “Good mornin, m’lady. What can I getcha?”, the large busted barmaid asked washing her hands on a towel next to her.

    “Tea if you have it, please.”, she said giving a yawn. The barmaid placed a large mug on the counter and poured a steamy brown liquid into the mug. Mysidia smiled a thanks, and grabbed a biscuit as she made her way to the Bannered Mare’s front porch.

    The sun wasn’t too high in the sky and the air around her still held the smokey pink hue of early morning. The fog that had covered the town at night, hadn’t yet burned off from the sunshine. A few early risen birds chirped around her. All was quiet. This was one of the reasons why Mysidia liked to wake up in the morning. Although,  if given the choice, she would have rathered have slept.

    She wrestled with the decision on leaving Bishop where he was and setting out by herself. She convinced herself that his opinion of her life didn’t matter and what he said shouldn’t have mattered. But it did, and she was left with a grudge picking at her mind.

    As she was finishing up her small breakfast, she watched in fascination a garden spider weaving its delicate web between two bushes. The sun made the strands shimmer as though the tiny creature spun silver on the bush underneath it. Remnants of the previous web were stuck next to it, and like all spiders that have had their webs destroyed by one reason or another, this one too, rebuilt such a delicate and fragile thing from scratch. Such creatures never feel sorry for itself. It simply does as it had before.

    Understanding the metaphor in front of her, she poured the little bit of tea out of her mug and glanced at the remaining leaves on the bottom. If she believed in such things, the leaves told her of several admirers coming on her horizon. She rolled her eyes and walked inside.

    Bishop awoke to the sound of Karnwyr whining and the scent of orchids filling his nose. He unconsciously smiled at it. He opened his eyes to see Mysidia leaning on her legs, peering at him, completely dressed in her armor. Her long dark hair was piled in a messy bun on the back of her head. She didn’t place the woad on her face. Her light violet eyes were shining in the shade she was in.

    “Good. You’re up. I was about to wake you. Wherever you were, in your sleep, it wasn’t where you wanted to be.” Mysidia said with her violet eyes peering at him. She leaned over and picked up his armor and clothes. She tossed them his way. “Get dressed and meet me out front.”

    She left him to his privacy. All the while, dreading the conversation he knew he was going to get into. He thought about walking away several times. Yet, for unknown reasons, the thought of leaving her left a hollow feeling in his chest. He managed to convince himself it was merely to conquer…to add another name to the faceless others on his list.

    When he walked out, he was attaching his dagger to his armor belt when he looked up and saw Mysidia standing in the morning sunlight. Her leather armor was similar to his and whatever womanly figure she had revealed the night before, was well hidden under the layers she wore. If it wasn’t for her face and her thin build, you’d never know Mysidia was a woman.

    Bishop sighed and hung his head down, ready for whatever tongue lashing Mysidia was about to give him. He had practiced the apology over and over again until it seemed genuine. However, at the moment of execution, all he could do was look at her beautiful face and forget everything he had wanted to say.

    “Listen, ladyship… Mysidia, I’m sorry. I didn’t know…” Bishop said starting. Mysidia held up her hand and cut him off.

    “Let me stop you there.”, her voice direct. “I thought about just packing up and leaving without saying goodbye, this morning. You would have woke up and I would have been long gone. I’m not going to lie, ranger. That thought was extremely tempting.”, she said giving him a hard look.

    She sighed and continued. “In the time that we have been together, I would hate to think that you would have said that on purpose if you had known.” Bishop looked up quickly giving a look of surprise. “You’re abrasive, not cruel.”

    Bishop nodded. “You’re right. I wouldn’t have said it. I’m really sorry.”

    Mysidia walked slowly up to him looking at him in the eyes as if searching for something. Bishop found himself holding his breath so close to her. Her voice was soft spoken but assertive. “You hurt me.”

    Bishop couldn’t look at her while she said that. He closed his eyes and dropped  his head. What was this feeling he had? Guilt? He was walking in uncharted territory and he didn’t like it.

    “Yes.”, he said quietly. Mysidia nodded and backed off.

    “Don’t do it again.”, Mysidia said and made her way towards the front gate of Whiterun. He watched her for a few moments. In that instance, he came to a realization. This woman wasn’t like the usual barflies or random wench that warmed his bedroll on any given night. This rare creature, this woman, was worth the respect he had yet to show her.

    Being a competent fighter was just a part of her. She did something to him that he never recognized before; he felt the need to become a better man around her… to be worthy of her respect. Karnwyr looked up at him and blinked.

    He felt the need to say something to his four legged companion. “I don’t know, buddy. She really is different.”
    When Bishop caught up to her, Mysidia was leaning over a table with a map of Skyrim in front of her. He stood next to her, cautiously. He was used to women simply going on and on about whatever mistake he had made. And he expected Mysidia to do it as well. When she didn’t, he realized that she was giving him a second chance. A quiet voice in the back of his mind gave the warning he already knew; “Don’t fuck this up.”

    “So, where to next, princess?”, Bishop said.

    Mysidia sighed and shook her head. “I really don’t know. You know this country better than I do. What do you suggest?”, she said looking at him.

    “We’re here.”, he said and pointed to a spot on the map. “And we’ve searched through this valley and east to, here.”, he said and reached over, placing himself close to her. This time, it was Mysidia’s turn to get nervous.

    Mysidia noted that he smelled like pine needles and campfires. She found it difficult to concentrate. Finally she snapped out of it and asked, “Surely you have wild herds of horses around here, yes?”

    “As a matter of fact…”, Bishop said nodding. It was then that their conversation was interrupted by a man fast approaching them both and calling out Mysidia’s name.

    Mysidia picked up her head and looked to where her name had been called. Her face lit up with a genuine smile. “Shae!”, she said calling out to him.

    The man, who was a few inches taller than Bishop, stopped at the table breathing heavy. “I thought I had missed ye, lass.”

    “And I thought you’d be passed out some place, still half crocked.”, Mysidia jested. It probably wasn’t too far from the truth.

    “Normally I would be, but I had to see ye before ye left.”, Shae said and looked at the map.

    “I understand ye are lookin’ for yer horse.”, Shae started. “There’s a breeder of rare colored horses that travels from city to city, this time of year. He owns several unique colored horses and owns several of the feral herds that are all over the mountains around Solitude. He’s in Markarth now and will be for the next two weeks.”, Shae said and moved his fingers on the map in the areas he was referring to.

    “In about a month, there’s a huge round up of all the wild herds and a census is taken. If yer stallion is anywhere, I’d bet good mead he’d be there.”, Shae said and tapped on Solitude.

    Mysidia was breathless with joy. She leaned over and snatched the man in a huge hug. “Shae, thank you so much. You have no idea what you’ve done for me.”

    “No, lass…. What ye did for me last night…”, he said and looked hard into her face. Mysidia remembered back to their conversation. She smiled softly. “This is the least I can do.”

    Mysidia turned back to the map and noted the distance between where they were and where they had to be. She shook her head doubtfully. “Even if we traveled all day, I doubt we’d make it to Markath in time. Solitude, maybe…”, she pursed her lips together.

    “No way, princess. The higher we head into the mountains, the worse the weather for this time of year. The main highways are for vendors, traveling merchants. Unless we rented a horse each, it’s against the law to travel on foot on the highway.”, Bishop said doubtful. He watched the disappointment creep into her beautiful features. “The law is for safety reasons. Unless you carry a torch, riders can’t see you. Too many people have been ran over because of it.”

    Mysidia nodded at the logic of it. Shae looked at them both and smiled. “Dun worry ye pretty head about that, lass. I hired the carriage outside of Whiterun stables. When yer ready to leave, he’ll take ye to Markarth. If ye ride hard, ye should get there in a week. It’d be cutting it close. And if ye miss him, securing another carriage to Solitude shouldn’t be a problem.”

    Mysidia squealed with joy and jumped into the man’s arms. She gave him a tender kiss on the cheek. “Dear gods, Shae!! Thank you. Thank you so much!”

    The man laughed and his entire body shook with it. She kissed him on the cheek again and looked at him in the face. “I meant what I said, before. Every. Word.”

    “Come on, Bishop. We have to hurry!”, Mysidia exclaimed.

    He really shouldn’t have felt jealous of Mysidia’s affections to the old man. But he did. He managed to choke back the grumble he felt in his throat. He wasn’t about to ruin Mysidia’s excitement.

    “Ye take care of this girl, son.”, Shae said seriously. “She’s one in a million.” Then he turned to Mysidia and held a playful look in his eye. “Iff’n ye find yerself back this way, lass and ye still need a place to sleep, my offer stands.”

    She gently squeezed his hand and winked. “I’ll think on it.”

    “You wouldn’t last twenty minutes, old man. She’d give you a heart attack.”, Bishop said half serious.

    “What a way to go, though!”, Shae said and waved to them both.

    Karnwyr was the first to get into the cart and Mysidia hopped on after. When Bishop sat on the ledge, the cart started to move.

    “What was that all about?”, Bishop asked nodding to Shae.

    “He needed to be reminded of someone.”, Mysidia said kicking her legs back and forth off the cart.

    “Who?”, Bishop asked, raising an eyebrow.

    Mysidia smiled. “Himself.”

    “Markarth, is it?”, the driver spoke. “Did you know the entire city was carved from a mountain? Legends say Dwemer built it…”

    Dodongo79
    Participant
    Post count: 67

    (Writer’s Note: Some of the lines Cael says are taken directly from the mod.)

    Chapter 4

    The party arrived at Markarth and it was pitch black in the middle of the night. Mysidia hopped off the cart and gave a long stretch before meeting the driver. She handed him a pouch and nodded at him.

    “Now, remember what I said….”, she looked at him. “Make a tea out of this twice a week. If you find that your stomach can handle the medicine, no more than three times a week. Ok?”

    “Thank you, Dragonborn.”, the driver said taking care of the pouch in his hands.

    “You should see results after your second dosage, but keep at it for a month. You have to make sure it is completely out of your system or you’ll get a flare up again.”, she said closing her herb pouch. “Realistically speaking, once a week after the symptoms completely subside, but I don’t know if you have enough medicine. At any rate, most herb shops should carry what I gave you, if you do run out.”

    “Thank you so much.”, the driver said full of gratitude.

    “And this is for you.”, she said handing him a few coins for a tip. The driver shook his head.

    “No, great lady. You’ve given me more than enough with the medicine…and well, I’d be lying if I said taking you here was completely selfless. Once people hear that this carriage carried the Dragonborn, I doubt I’ll get a moments rest.”

    Mysidia smiled and nodded. “Very well. Wisdom guide you.”

    Bishop shook his head annoyed. He had rolled his eyes when she was giving the driver the medicinal instructions.

    Mysidia watched the carriage ride off towards his next fare. When he was out of earshot, she faced Bishop and placed her hands on her hips. “Why are you so angry when I’m helping someone? Does it bother you that much?”

    “Why do you feel the need to help them so much?”, Bishop snapped.

    “I heal people. That’s part of my job. Dragonborn is part of their lexicon, but even if I wasn’t, I’d still be a High Priestess with the ability to heal the sick.”, she watched as Bishop rolled his eyes. “And I don’t see you complaining all that much when it’s your wounds I’m healing.”

    “That’s because it’s MY neck I’m putting on the line.”, Bishop yelled.

    “I never asked you to do that. You have this hero complex that throws yourself in between me and whatever is attacking!”, she yelled back.

    Bishop snorted. “Hero complex.”

    Mysidia growled and looked down. “Look, I didn’t travel over a week to have a shouting match outside of the city. Let’s just get inside and see if we can find this breeder.”

    “Fine by me, princess. If you need me, I’ll be at the pub.”, Bishop said and stormed off.

    “Mead or a woman, clearly you need one.”, Mysidia shot back. She watched Bishop stop dead in his tracks and turn around. His amber eyes filled with fire as he tried to find something to shout back at her. She merely strode confidently past him and into the city. After a few mugs of whatever he was going to drown himself in, he’d pass out for the night and leave her in peace. It would do them both a world of good.

    As they continued to travel together, he took great lengths to get under her skin. And for the life of her, she couldn’t figure out why she let him. It’s as if she walked into every argument blind. But it was the same outcome after each one, she was left breathing heavy from her blood pressure rising and was sure she was red from her toes to the tips of her ears.

    She stopped on the steps of the city and looked around. She had never seen such architecture. Even the impressive wizard city of Algoria, on Rhydia wasn’t nearly as impressive and she had thought that was the most beautiful city she had ever seen. Markath blew it away. One thing of note was how clean the city was. She figured that a city carved into a mountain would produce a lot of dust and dirt.

    The walls and streets were pristinely kept and clean. They seemed to gleam white as the moonlight shone down on the whole city. There was hardly a need for the large sconces lining the city walls and streets.

    Mysidia approached a guard and had asked about the horse breeder. They were holding a quiet conversation when she heard a soft spoken males voice from off to the side.
    “Who is this lovely creature that I see before me?”, the voice said.

    Mysidia stopped mid sentence to the guard and looked over to see a young man in a metal cage. Instantly her heart fell. Her compassion was written on her face. “What happened?”

    “Don’t talk to him, Dragonborn. He’s one of them Forsworn.”, the guard said full of malice and disdain.

    “Thank you, guard. If I need further assistance, I will seek you out.”, Mysidia said curtly, dismissing the guard. The armored man grunted and walked away, patrolling.

    “Beautiful lady, lovely sparrow, do you have time to talk to an imprisoned man?”, the caged man said.

    Mysidia smiled and walked over. “Of course.”

    “You have such lovely eyes. I can see your soul in them. A dragon spirit, fearsome and mighty.”, he continued.

    “I bet you say that to all the women who’s crossed your path.”, Mysidia smirked.

    “No, my dear sparrow. You are unique among all I’ve seen.”, he smiled and walked to the edge of the cage, close to Mysidia. His brilliant blue eyes stared into Mysidia as if he was reading every thought and seeing every flaw. It made Mysidia feel very naked, even though she still wore her armor.

    “A dragon spirit? It couldn’t be further from the truth.”, Mysidia mumbled. She looked back at the blue eyed man and couldn’t help but blush. “…but as you say.”

    “Have you come to deliver me unto death? Or are you a spirit of the afterlife come to beckon me to the heavens?”, he continued.

    “You do have a way with words. I’m beginning to think that you’re not in here because of violence…”, she smirked.

    “At this point, words are all I have, dear sparrow.”, he said sadly. “If I could, I would touch your delicate hands and place them on mine. I’m sure they are as soft as petals on the wildflowers that grow in the fields…like the flowers I played with as a youth.”, he said.

    “As a youth?”, she asked surprised. “How old are you?”

    “I’m nineteen, dear sparrow. I know that is young, but the life expectancy of a Forsworn isn’t very long. We’re hunted, you see, simply by being what we are.”, he said.

    Mysidia’s face grew deadly serious. “That I know all too well.” She approached the cage and gently held out her hands, touching his. The man closed his eyes and swayed from the touch.

    “Who would want to hurt you, beautiful sparrow? I can’t think such a thought.”, he said and meant every word. There was no guessing with him. He wore his emotions on his sleeve and everything was written on his face.

    “Where I’m from, Druids are hunted. They fear us because of what we do. And so…”, Mysidia said looking down.

    “They kill what they do not understand.”, he said nodding.

    “There aren’t very many of us left.”, she said swallowing hard.

    “We are not so different, you and I.”, he said, coming closer to her.

    “No, Forsworn, you are probably the closest thing I’ve seen to a Druid here in Skyrim. It pains me to see you caged. How can I save you?’, she said looking around at the bars.

    “You would set me free? Then maybe I can return the favor. I can release you from your bonds. You can be wild and free. You would be welcomed by my people. Your spirit cannot be harnessed or broken, nor should it. You belong fierce and free, Dragonborn. Anything less would do you a great disservice.”

    “Well said, sweet talker.”, she heard Bishop say behind her. She turned her head and held back a snarl.

    “You must be the bumbling companion she travels with.”, the caged man said, equally unimpressed.

    “Do you really think she’s going to fall for the mind games you’ve been playing?”, Bishop asked, standing dangerously close to Mysidia. If she didn’t know any better, she could have sworn he was being possessive.

    “I see. Your tongue is just as sharp as your knife, Dark One.”, the prisoner said.

    “I couldn’t care less what you think. So here’s what’s going to happen, she and I will leave you here and walk away, or I can slit your throat right now. Your choice.”, Bishop said in a calm voice.

    “If I am to die, I want it to be by the Dragonborn’s hands. Not yours.”, he said and turned back to Mysidia. “So what will it be, my sparrow? Do you kill me here or will you set me free so that I can return the favor?”

    Mysidia sighed and cut the man’s bonds loose. She opened the cage and stepped back. “Go. Flee this place before you’re caught.”

    “I owe you a blood debt, Dragonborn. And my offer still stands.”, the freed prisoner said

    Mysidia was amused on the prisoner knowing what a blood debt was. Perhaps his people were more like Druids than Mysidia realized. “In order for it to truly be a blood debt, we would have to know one another.”

    “Then call me Cael.”, he said extending his hand.

    “Mysidia.”, she said and gently clasped the hand given to her. In a swift movement, Cael yanked forward on her arm and kissed her. Mysidia wasn’t sure what she was more surprised with; the fact that it happened so quickly or that such a quick movement could be so tender. His kiss was soft and it left her blushing and speechless.

    Then Cael jumped on top of the cage and bounded over the city wall, into the darkness ahead of him. The guards were caught unawares and were unable to scramble fast enough to catch him. Mysidia knew she made the right choice. “Good luck, Forsworn. May you stay free.”, she said softly.

    “Ugh, he called that a kiss?”, Bishop said and snarled.

    Mysidia touched her lips and smiled softly, almost wistfully. “It was lovely.”

    “Anyway, I secured us a room for the night. Get any leads on that horse breeder?”, Bishop said wanting to change the subject.

    “No. But the guard that was just here, said that there was one outside the main gate that might have more information.”, Mysidia said and walked out the city.

    They both continued to ask the people who were milling around in the front of the gates. Mysidia was talking to a guard when Bishop came over after conversing with several miners. He caught the tail end of the conversation.

    “Yes, Dragonborn. He left last night, but he didn’t have any horse like the one you’ve described. Doesn’t mean he doesn’t have one like that, though. He just didn’t have one with him then.”, the guard said and walked away. Mysidia cursed.

    “Shit. Back to square one.”, Bishop added. “We’ll rent the cart for first thing in the morning. It won’t take us long to get to Solitude.” When Mysidia didn’t answer, Bishop turned to her and blinked. “…or we could rent separate horses. Whatever.”

    Mysidia was lost in thought and her fingertips were on her lips. No doubt replaying the kiss Cael stole before. Bishop rolled his eyes.

    “Really, princess? You’re still thinking about that kiss?”, Bishop scowled.

    “Yes, Bishop. Contrary to your opinion, I happened to enjoy it.”, Mysidia snapped. She was annoyed her daydream was cut short by Bishop’s foul mood.

    Bishop strode right up to Mysidia, close enough that their bodies touched. He lifted her chin with his thumb and forefinger and looked deep into her eyes. Being this close to her, he didn’t realize that her eyes held more color than just the violet he was used to seeing. They had flecks of blue and a rim of blue green around the iris. Her eyes were as complex as she was. He couldn’t help but catch his breath at the sight.

    And she too, was caught in the moment. His amber eyes were the color of golden honey that shone in a setting sun. It was like looking into a wolf’s eyes and the hunger he felt reflected in them. Flecks of dark brown and even red were speckled in them.

    “That’s not a kiss, princess…”, he said, his voice rumbled. She found herself describing it as rugged velvet dipped in honey. But it was as rough as gravel just then and she was sure it was due to the tension they were feeling between them.

    He lowered his lips on Mysidia and nibbled gently, tasting the softness Mysidia had waiting for him. His hands slid up her neck and into her hair. Waves of soft dark brown locks feathered and tickled his fingers and he felt the gooseflesh prickle up under his touch.

    Much to his surprise, however, Mysidia was not a novice in the affection department. Her hands were equally as nimble as her fingernails traveled up the back of his neck, and the other hand, touching his face.

    She parted her lips and her gentle tongue licked his lower lip, playing with him. A low groan escaped him and he felt his entire body light up with energy. He had every intention of showing her how she should be kissed and simply leaving it at that. What he didn’t anticipate was her being so good at it.

    As if perfectly timed, they both broke the kiss and her long lashes fluttered up looking at him. A delicate pink blush touched her cheeks, indicating her arousal. And oh… she was so lovely at that moment. It took everything he had to keep himself in check.

    This was to make a point….
    This was to make a point….
    This was to make a point…

    He kept repeating it to himself, as if the words themselves were a spell of self control and he kidded himself pushing whatever attraction deep down within him. He had to back away from her. Back away or be forever lost.

    She gently licked her lower lip and exhaled the breath she was holding. Her heart was pounding like a war drum in her chest. The kiss did exactly what Bishop wanted; it left her breathless.

    “That… is a kiss.”, Bishop said, his voice nearly cracked. He walked away taking slow, deep, controlling breaths. “I need a drink.”, he whispered, inaudible to Mysidia.

    Mysidia watched him walk away, her chest heaving heavy from the breath her lungs were surprisingly deprived from. Bishops words echoed in her mind. “That… is a kiss.”
    Why yes, yes it was, and one she would never forget.

    Dodongo79
    Participant
    Post count: 67

    Chapter 5

    The travel to Solitude was an uneventful. The lack of dragon sightings put Mysidia on edge. Alduin was proving to be a worth adversary, and it seemed out of character for him to simply “give up”. Mysidia found herself disbelieving the lack of force the all powerful dragon seemed to keep for the moment.

    Mysidia leaned back in the back of the carriage that they had rented to head to Solitude. Karnwyr allowed her to rest her head. He gave her a small lick on her face and she smiled up at him. Bishop watched the exchange out of the corner of his eye. Truth be told, his mind wasn’t anywhere near the lack of dragon sightings. His mind was burning with the kiss he had given her the night before.

    He was kicking himself more than anything else. Something inside of him warned doing it to her. He somehow knew that kissing her would start to be his undoing. Yeah, she was beautiful. She explained that her race was elfin. He’s never met an elvish female that wasn’t beautiful. But Mysidia was different. She held this overly sensual energy about her. It drove him crazy. And what was the worst part about it? She didn’t do it on purpose. This was just the way she was.

    “Say, Ladyship…”, Bishop started.

    “Yes?”, she said her eyes lazy lidded with sleep.

    “Tell me about becoming a Hierophant.”, Bishop asked. Mysidia popped open an eye and looked at him. Up until that moment, Bishop really didn’t care about where she came from. Seeing that he was genuine, she relented.

    “It’s one of our most sacred rituals and one of the most painful. Not every High Priest or Priestess goes on to become Hierophant. Usually it’s one every hundred years or so. The start of the process is to take your vows to commit to the process. Hierophants aren’t allowed to marry, for instance.”, Mysidia said

    “Well that’s something I can relate to. Why is it painful?”, he asked curious.

    “The sap of the Great Tree is deadly to everyone but those who go on to become the Dryad. After the main ritual is over, you consume a tea made from the sap. If you are among the blessed few, you are then turned into a Dryad and become part of the tree. If not, you die.”

    “Why would anyone want to peruse something with such a high risk?”, Bishop asked. “Sounds like there’s very little reward by becoming part of a tree.”

    “It’s considered a huge honor. The Great Tree is the last living thing Amaya’Fae touched before leaving the realm of the living and going on to live with the other gods. So, it is said that her essence is still in the tree. You are becoming part of a goddess. It’s why it’s so dangerous. That kind of power can’t be wielded by just anyone.”, Mysidia said playing with her amulet she always wore. From what Bishop could tell, the front had a moonstone in the middle. On the back was a sigil he didn’t recognize. It was the same sigil that was on the front of Mysidia’s armored breastplate.

    “It is said,” Mysidia continued, “that Amaya’Fae has a direct line. That other than creating the natural world, she also gave birth to twin daughters. And those daughters went on to have daughters, and so forth, and so forth… and it’s those daughters that go on to become the Dryad, but it’s never been proven.”

    “It would make sense if it was true, Dragonborn. It would explain why only certain women become the Dryad when given the tea.”, the driver of the carriage added. “Is it only your tribe that can become a Dryad, or can any Druid go through the ritual?”

    “Oh, any Druid can. There have been Hierophants from all over that have been given the honor. But only women. A man has yet to become one.”, Mysidia noted.

    “Your goddess seems sexist to me.” Bishop said dryly.

    “It’s not my place to question Her will.”, Mysidia retorted. “I’m merely mortal.”

    “And are all your tribe such proficient fighters, Mysidia?”, the driver asked over his shoulder.

    “Yes. We learned long ago that Death doesn’t discriminate between the sexes. You either learned how to fight or you died just as quick.”, she said sadly.

    Bishop’s hand grabbed Mysidia’s left wrist and turned it up to face him. While his grip was strong, his finger ran over the brand on her wrist gently. It was a triangle with a circle in the middle made of vines. It was completely different from all the other tattoos she had on her person. At the feel of his skin, she jumped.

    “What’s this?”, Bishop asked leaning closer to look. With him so close to her, it made her heart flutter full of anxiety. Memories about their kiss began to flood her mind and her throat went all the sudden dry.

    “It’s a brand for the Emerald Order.”, she said, her voice cracking. She cleared her voice and gently pulled back her arm. Bishop couldn’t help but notice the tension and he smirked, his amber eyes dangerously predatory.

    “What’s the Emerald Order?”, the driver casually asked, completely missing the sexual tension between them.

    “It’s a group of selected Druids, Rangers, and Shaman that are inducted during a time of injustice and imbalance. Druids are normally neutral with most things. We believe in balance and the sanctity of all life; from the flea to the tree and everything in between. During a time of severe imbalance, say…during a war, the Emerald Order is enacted and a select group is given special dispensation to right the balance by whatever means necessary.”, Mysidia said.

    Bishop thought about it for a moment and then sat back. “Druidic assassins.”

    “Sort of.”, Mysidia said. “Once the imbalance has been corrected, the Order is dissolved and everyone goes back to their tribe.”

    “And you’re obviously part of the Order.”, Bishop noted.

    Mysidia nodded. “Yes. Each person chosen represents a Virtue. There’s usually seven people chosen for each of the 7 Virtues.”

    “Which one were you chosen for?” Bishop asked.

    “Courage.”, Mysidia said looking at Bishop. He smiled and nodded agreeing.

    “That explains a lot, princess.”, he added.

    “And the Order is still active, where you live?”, the driver asked.

    “As far as I know. I came to Skyrim in the middle of a war.”, she answered.

    The driver grunted. “Exchanged one war for another, eh?”

    Mysidia shook her head. She wasn’t about to answer, however. In her time traveling in Skyrim, she learned that each faction, Imperials and Stormcloaks, were fiercely loyal to their cause. Mysidia vowed to stay out of it. It wasn’t her business nor her fight.

    It was midday and the cloudless blue sky was vivid and bright. Several birds chased after mates or prey and their song scattered on the winds. The quiet sounds of nature started to lull Mysidia asleep. The rhythmic breathing of Karnwyr took the tension of reality away.

    At first, Bishop tried not to pay attention. He had seen his wolf gently envelop his large soft body around her, protecting her. He hated to admit it, but he was jealous of the relationship she had with Karnwyr. She was able to understand him on a level that Bishop simply couldn’t, no matter how he tried. She kept promising to teach Bishop how to “listen”, she called it. But something always came up when there was a lull in their travels. Some always needed help, there was always another dragon, someone needed healing, another dragon, another bear, another lost child, another, another, another.

    Here he was, sticking his neck out for her, putting himself in harms way. The least she could do is take time for him… even if it was to say “thank you.”

    He wanted to be angry with her. He wanted to just toss in the towel and leave. He told himself that as soon as she had gotten word of her horse, her wolf, or the plant she came for, he was going to say his goodbyes and move on.

    But then something happened he didn’t anticipate… and gods help him, the kiss they shared left him sleepless and edgy. She was fire, and passion, wrapped in a sensuous package…and everything too dangerous for anyone else to handle. At least, that’s what he told himself. Heavens help him, but he wanted a repeat. Preferably someplace private where he could stroke that flame to see how hot it could get.

    He watched her sleep for a few moments. Her braid was off to the side and her delicate fingers wrapped around a tendril of her hair. He was sorely tempted to smooth the remaining pieces away from her face, but he didn’t dare wake her. He had taken note exactly how much sleep she had been getting. (Or not, in this case.) The exhaustion was written on her face every morning, though she never complained.

    The sleep she was getting now, the little bit it was, wasn’t restful. He saw her brows knit in a painful expression. Who knew what horrors she fled from? It was a rare thing to talk about her life before Skyrim. Every time it was brought up, he could see the strength holding back the tears that should have fallen but never did. She never felt sorry for herself.
    Her body flinched. She mumbled something incoherent. She unconsciously brought her knees up to her chest and placed herself in the fetal position. Whatever she was dreaming about, she was afraid. Her mumbling began to get louder.

    Out of the corner of her eye, a tear streamed down the bridge of her nose. The sight gave his heart a twinge of sympathy. When she started to shiver, he placed his hand on her arm and gently tried to wake her.

    “Ladyship.”, his voice called out.

    A tiny scream began to build in her.

    “Mysidia.”, he said, using her name. “Wake up.”

    At the sound of her name, her eyes opened and she sat up, gasping large breaths of air. She swallowed for a moment and looked around, as if unsure what had just happened.

    “You were having a nightmare.”, Bishop said, his face close to hers. Her violet eyes, full of fear and tears, looked at Bishop for a moment before allowing reality to settle in. She nodded for a moment and scoot back, bringing her knees to her chest. She clasped her arms around her legs.

    “Just as well, Dragonborn. We’re almost there.”, the driver added quietly.

    Mysidia didn’t say anything. She placed her chin on her knees and tried to force her body to stop trembling. Karnwyr sniffed at her and licked her face. She placed a gentle hand on his head and scratched behind his ears. Even the wolf knew there was something wrong.

    Bishop leaned in, concerned. “You ok?”

    It took a moment for Mysidia to look at him in the eyes. All he saw was terror and pain at the memories that haunted her dreams. She shook again, diverting her eyes. He placed an arm around her and gently pressed her to his chest. To his surprise, she allowed him

    His armor held a thick barrier between her face and his skin. At that particular moment, he hated his armor. There was only so much the stiff hug could offer.
    She relished the feeling of the embrace. She missed the feel of human contact. She bit her lip to keep herself from crying, and she was successful for the most part. She kept telling herself that she stayed close to Bishop because of the terrifying nightmare she had previous. It was true… at first.

    She lifted her head and looked up into Bishop’s face, taking in the scent of his neck. He smelled of pine trees, sunshine, leather, and male sweat. He smelled like him and it was a scent that Mysidia grew fond of.

    He turned his face and looked down at her. Those eyes of hers… Every time he was able to look into them for more than a moment, he felt himself staring more than he was comfortable with. There was so much he could see and so much she kept hidden.

    He swallowed, suddenly feeling his mouth go dry. She gently and slowly, lifted her hand and touched his hair, feeling the soft light brown waves between her fingers. He couldn’t help but close his eyes at the feel of her. A soft rumble emitted from his throat. Mysidia recognized the wolf sound of approval. A soft smile tugged at her lips.

    Bishop opened up his eyes and looked down at her again. She flinched her hand back at the sudden movement. He was about to tell her not to stop when the driver looked over his shoulder.

    “We’re here. Solitude, capital of Skyrim.”, he said enthusiastically. Mysidia pulled away from Bishop and hopped off the cart to have a look around. Karnwyr went beside her and sniffed the air. Bishop grumbled to himself and gave the driver a dark look. Mysidia walked up beside the cart and handed him his fee.

    “Thank you, Chaddam.”, she said and placed a friendly hand on his arm. The man’s eyes grew wide.

    “My lady… this is much more than what I normally charge.”, he said feeling the weight of the coin purse.

    “True, but you got us here safely and without incident. I’d say that’s worth a decent tip.”, she said and winked.

    “Uh… why thank you, Dragonborn… I’ll be in the area for the next few days, buying supplies. If you need a ride back, give a holler.”, the driver said and snapped the reigns to get the horse moving again. Mysidia waved him on his way and turned back to see a scowling Bishop.

    Mysidia shrugged and rolled her eyes. “What is it now?”

    Bishop peered at her, reading her facial expressions. “You have no idea, do you?”

    Mysidia shook her head confused, but highly annoyed. “You were fine not even ten minutes ago. What could have possibly wrecked your mood from then to now?”

    Bishop strode past her and into the city. Mysidia ran after him to watch him duck into the first pub he set his eyes on. She shook her head and muttered to herself. “Your moods are worse than a woman’s.”

    Elessia
    Participant
    Post count: 23

    Oh my, I would have almost missed that you added some new chapters to this fan fiction. Am I glad that I got curious and checked it again. ^^ I love the idea of having druids in Skyrim and never knew that there was a druidic mod where you can be just that. I should probably check this out some time, being a druid myself in any games where this is possible. ^^ I love animals, I love nature and I love the peace and quiet nature brings if it isn’t throwing thunder and lightning at me, that is. Thanks again for sharing your story and I can’t wait to read more. This time I pay better attention. 🙂

    Dodongo79
    Participant
    Post count: 67

    Thank you for reading it! I try and write a bit, each day. I have the entire story planned out in my head, just gotta commit it to paper (or in this case, computer). I think if you “favorited” the post, you get notifications when a new comment has been added.

    Again, thanks for reading. You are taking time out of your day to give my writing attention. IMO, there is no greater compliment. 

     

    Dodongo79
    Participant
    Post count: 67

    (Writer’s Note: Some of the dialogue is directly taken from the mod itself.)

    Chapter 6

    Mysidia spent the better part of that afternoon speaking to guards, asking about the horse breeder she had been chasing across Skyrim. Sure, people have heard of him. And just her lack of luck, no one had seen him for a day or so.

    Mysidia flopped down on a bench outside of the alchemy shop when a man clad in plate mail from neck to feet, approached her curiously. She had seen him following her around the town, just outside of ear shot. And judging by the way he looked at her, she knew he needed something from her. She inwardly groaned. She was in no mood to help anyone but herself, at that moment.

    Her horse was close. She could feel him. The familiar pull of her animal bond made her hair rise and her senses were working keen enough for her to hear crickets softly conversing to each other.

    “Pardon the intrusion, my lady, but are you the Dragonborn by chance?”, the armored man asked.

    “Yes, Sir Knight, I am.”, she said and sighed. It was obvious he was a paladin. Knight in shining armor was a turn of phrase, but held truth in the meaning. However, if the Knight was worth his or her salt, the armor held signs of being tested in battle. Mysidia gave a casual once over on the Knight before her and had seen a few deep scratches unable to be hammered out.

    “I was hoping to run into you… My name is Casavir. I couldn’t help but overhear your plight on trying to find your mount. Word had traveled from Markarth, my lady. When the description of your mount came with word of you searching for it, I had a few stallions matching your description pulled to the side. The breeder is here. He goes by the name McGreggor, my lady. He is just around the corner…”, Casavir said and was cut off by Mysidia jumping to her feet and rushing where he was pointing to.

    The crowds made it impossible to see anything. The dim was too thick to pay attention for long. There were men standing on auction blocks shouting prices and several beautiful colored mounts prancing in place while patrons shouting prices back. Standing in the back, on a larger block overlooking everything, was a larger man with his arms folded.

    “My lady….”, Casavir shouted. Mysidia was in a trance. Her eyes were closed as though she were concentrating on something.

    She looked up at Casavir and exclaimed. “I feel him!”

    From out of no where, a stallion shrieked as though in pain and several of Solitude guards had ropes around the beast, trying to subdue him. Mysidia saw the flash of black and she yelled, “THAEJA!”

    It was total chaos. People milling about, shouting, and because of the sounds Mysidia’s mount made, the horses all started to react. Women were screaming, people were scattering to get out of the way. And Mysidia was trying to push through everyone to get to her horse.

    And there he was. Thaeja was in a large makeshift enclosure with a layer of hay placed over the cobblestone town center street. Five guards all around him trying to calm him down. The moment Mysidia approached the temporary fencing, the large man watching the auctions came down and stood next to her.

    “Be careful, lass. That stallion is a real demon. He is too feral to be of use to anyone.”, he said placing a hand on her shoulder.

    “He’s not a demon. That’s horse is mine!”, Mysidia said looking at the man.

    “Back up, Dragonborn, or you’re going to get kicked!”, one of the guards said.

    “Stop it, you’re hurting him!”, Mysidia yelled.

    Thaeja thrashed at the men trying to tie him down and ended up knocking two of them over. He was a massive war horse complete with feathers covering his hooves. From what Mysidia could tell, he wasn’t abused in this man’s care. His coat was shiny black and his thick well cared mane seemed to move in slow motion as he reared about. The feathers on his legs were what stood him apart from all others as they were a dark brown color and his eyes were slate gray.

    Before anyone could pull Mysidia back, she hopped the fence and stood by her horse holding her arm out. “Let go of the ropes. I’ll calm him down.”

    “You’re crazy, lady.”, one of the guards said and every one of them cleared out leaving Mysidia and the horse to each other.

    The large man named McGreggor watched the exchange between the two, still not entirely believing that the horse belonged to her. “If you can get on his back and ride him out of that corral, he’s yours.”

    Mysidia flashed a glare to the man. “He’s mine whether I ride him out of here or not. I’ve spent the last year looking for him when we got separated at Helgen. I’m not about to give him up now.”

    She turned and spoke quietly to the horse, “Thaeja, it’s me.”

    The horse extended his muscular neck and sniffed at the hand Mysidia offered. He sniffed carefully, flicking his ears around. Mysidia sat quietly as if an unheard conversation was taking place. By this time, Bishop had pushed his way through the crowd and watched the exchange between Mysidia and her horse.

    “He is indeed an impressive mount, my lady.”, Casavir said quietly. “Worthy of the Dragonborn.”

    Then Mysidia walked slowly to Thaeja and scratched under his chin. She was speaking to him in a language none had heard before. Bishop knew it was her mother tongue, as he had heard her whisper it during spell casting. He had never heard her speak out loud like this and found himself soothed at the sound of it. There was an unusual musical lilt to her language. Of all the languages he had heard through the years, this was the most beautiful.

    Mysidia placed her arms around the horses neck and two tears fell off her face. “I’m so sorry, my friend. I thought I had lost you for good.”

    If Casavir and Bishop didn’t know any better, they would have sworn the horse was hugging her back. Thaeja threw his head over Mysidia’s shoulder and pushed her into him with a gentle force.

    Mysidia wiped her face and smiled softly. “Ready to show him?”

    Thaeja nickered softly to his Druid caretaker. In a swift movement, Mysidia jumped and pushed up on Thaeja’s back, throwing her leg over, ready to ride. She leaned down and stroked his neck speaking Rhydian to him again. The horse snorted a reply.

    “I don’t believe it!”, McGreggor said “I’ve had that stallion in my care for almost 6 months and I’ve never been able to touch him, never mind put a saddle on him. I thought he was unridable.”

    Mysidia chuckled. “No horse is unridable, as long as they’re sound.”

    “How did you manage to break him to ride? Is it some Dragonborn trick? A thu’um you’ve learned?”, McGreggor asked.

    Mysidia looked at him for a moment confused. “No…” She paused for a moment. “It never occurred to you to simply ask permission?”

    McGreggor laughed. “Ask permission..? Of a horse…? Now I know you’re pulling my leg.”

    “Not at all, horse master. I’ve never “broke” Thaeja to ride. I had made a promise to him. I told him that as long as I breathe, no one else would ever get on his back. And when I no longer needed him to travel, I would turn him loose until I needed him again. So yes… I asked.”

    Mysidia squeezed her thighs together gently to nudge the horse trotting out of the corral. Using her left leg to squeeze, Thaeja turned in that direction to face McGreggor. “Perhaps you should try it.”

    Nudging gently, Mysidia grabbed onto the lush mane and off they flew towards the front of the city. The large war horse flew like the wind and Mysidia laughed at the exhilaration. They thundered down the main drag of the city, out the front gates and down towards the stables. Mysidia missed being able to ride at such break neck speeds and truth be told, Thaeja missed having his two legged friend riding on his back.

    Sometimes the best therapy a girl could need is her horse, an open area, and riding like a demon chasing her. For a brief moment, she had forgotten all of her losses, all of the exhaustion, the killing, the helping, the dragons, being in a foreign land. She had forgotten all of it. It was just her and her horse and not a care in the world.

    ~*~

    When Bishop caught up to Mysidia, she was brushing her horse and speaking to Casavir. The instant he saw him with her, Bishop’s ire rose. He didn’t want that lying sack anywhere near Mysidia. Who knows what lies that paladin was feeding her? She had no idea exactly how much of a wolf in sheep’s clothing Casavir was.

    Casavir said something to Mysidia, as Bishop approached and she paused for a moment. Whatever he said to her caused such a beautiful smile. She was on her knees, brushing down the feathers on her horses hooves. She smoothed away a piece of hair away from her face, and gave a gentle smile. Bishop almost smiled at the sight of it, until he realized that Casavir was the reason for that smile.

    “She never smiles for me like that.”, Bishop childishly thought to himself.

    “You needn’t answer, my lady. In any case, I’d like to offer my assistance in helping you defeat the dragons and keeping Skyrim safe.”, Casavir offered.

    “Well, well, well, if it isn’t everyone’s favorite white knight. You just can’t help yourself, can you, Casavir?”, Bishop’s voice heavy with sarcasm.

    Mysidia looked up and the flicker of annoyance lit her eyes. “Sorry, Casavir. What my traveling companion lacks in manners, he makes up for in…”, she paused and looked up. “knowledge of good mead… apparently.”

    “Oh, HA! Funny, princess.”, Bishop said, faking laughter.

    Mysidia turned to Casavir. “You look like you can handle yourself well, Sir Knight.”

    “I’m pleased that you think so. I’m proficient in the arts of battle and healing.”, Casavir added.

    Mysidia turned to Bishop, “Another healer wouldn’t be a bad idea.”

    “Oh no, nuh uh. No way. If he comes along, I’m out.”, Bishop said, his body movements full of jerky anger.

    Mysidia stood up and threw the brush on the ground. “Oh for fuck’s sake, Bishop. Is there ANYONE you get along with? In case you didn’t notice, but fighting dragons is a dangerous life and sooner or later one of us is going to get an injury that I won’t be able to heal. Big a big boy and pull up your fucking britches and DEAL with it.”

    Casavir’s eyes widen at Mysidia’s gratuitous use of the “f” word. “Clearly you’ve already plummeted her morality, Bishop.”

    Mysidia looked at Casavir just as angry. “Are you fucking kidding me? I don’t need anyone chasing behind me telling me to “act like a lady” because your ears can’t handle a strong woman speaking her mind. News flash, I’m not a court lady. I’m a battle harden Druid that’s seen exactly how much suck humans throw at one another. If you’re here to keep me chaste or pure, you’re a few decades late.”

    She picked up her grooming supplies and tossed them into their holding container and shook her head. “Gods damn it, just once I’d like to go to some area where YOU don’t have an episode if I happen to have a conversation with someone OTHER than YOU. This isn’t the Bishop Show and MY purpose isn’t to make sure that YOU feel like the center of attention or my world.”

    She stormed right up to Bishop’s face, her eyes gray with anger. “Weren’t you supposed to be knee deep in mead anyhow? Why aren’t you getting shit faced or have your hand up some wench’s skirt, or whatever it is you do when you’re pissed at me and I’m not around?”

    She turned back to Casavir. “As a matter of fact, yes, Casavir. I will attend that ball of yours. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a gown to buy and a bath to take. Do you think I can trust you both not to kill yourselves in my absence?”

    The rest of what she said was in her native language. She threw her hands up into the air and started rambling off syllables either one of them couldn’t understand. Everyone that saw her walk, scattered out of her way as she made her way back into Solitude.

    ~*~

    Mysidia found herself sitting in the Winking Skeever, by one of the windows. She had the bartender serve her a bread bowl with a fresh batch of rabbit stew with root vegetables. Along with her lunch, she had two bottles of mead next to her. The fight with both men left her chomping at the bit angry and while although she wasn’t hungry, chugging two bottles of mead on an empty stomach wasn’t going to help her situation any. The last thing she needed was to be around anyone inebriated.

    Bishop went to great lengths to get under Mysidia’s skin and for the life of her, she couldn’t figure out why. If she was that much of a burden or if she bothered him that much, he was free to leave. After their argument that afternoon, she decided that maybe she should be the one doing the leaving. She definitely had enough on her plate. Traveling with someone who made her angry all the time shouldn’t be among her issues.

    However, the thought of leaving Bishop behind put her in an even worse mood. She rubbed her chest for a moment and shook her head. Now that she had her horse, Thaeja could help her find Sabre. She really didn’t NEED Bishop. So why did the thought of leaving him catch a lump in her throat?

    Mysidia played with her stew. She took a long swig from her mead bottle. The longer she sat there thinking about the ‘what ifs’, the ‘maybes’, the ‘could haves’, the more angry she got. Feeling sorry for herself wasn’t in her nature.

    She was about to bring her plate up to the bar, when she heard Bishop and Casavir talking right outside the window. Against her better judgment, she decided to stay and listen in. Lucky for her the acoustics of the tavern allowed her to hear every word.

    “If you’re willing to talk to me about the Dragonborn, you must really be desperate.”, she heard Bishop say.

    “It has nothing to do with her.”, she heard Casavir say with an edge in his voice. Whatever bad blood was between them, they made it abundantly clear when they talked to one another. She made a mental note to ask Bishop about it later. Although, knowing him, he probably wasn’t going to tell her anything.

    “Asshole”, she muttered to herself.

    “Cut the bullshit. It is about her and you know it! You know what? I think you’re jealous. You’re here now trying to scare me away.” Bishop said, his voice dripping with the angry wit she grew all too familiar with.

    “I’m watching you, Bishop. I do not trust you. And she shouldn’t either.”, Casavir said

    Bishop chuckled softly to himself. “Really? That’s the best you’ve got? Funny, though. That’s literally the exact same thing I plan on telling her about you. That you’re not to be trusted.”

    “What do you mean?”, Casavir asked.

    “You’re not the saint you pretend to be. You’re the worst kind of liar, Casavir. You want so badly for people to accept the image that you present that you convince your own self that it’s the truth.”, Bishop said making a vague reference to something in their past. “Tell me, when you look at a mirror, do you see a saint? Or a man?”

    “Hold your tongue, Bishop!”, Casavir spat.

    “No. You dwell in the caverns of deceit in the darkness behind your eyes. She’s too much of a woman for you, paladin. She will see through the false mask you present to her. You may begin the night as a saint, paladin, but the man in you will want that wench in his bed just as any red blooded man would.”, Bishop said.

    Mysidia chuckled. She couldn’t help but think that Bishop was projecting his own desires in that conversation. That kiss they shared burned an image in her mind and up until that moment, she thought she was the only one who felt anything. But hearing Bishop speak to Casavir the way he was, perhaps that kiss meant a little more than at face value.

    “Do not speak of her that way!”, Casavir said raising his voice.

    “Oh come now, don’t play the martyr to defend her honor. She’s quite capable of defending it herself and doesn’t need anyone to take her place. Your lust blinds you to that fact. To the fact that she’s more than you can handle. No… she wants a man who’s not afraid of making the hard decisions. Who will do what must be done. She wants a man who’s a sight more honest than someone who wears a templed cloak on his shoulder and walks around like he’s come kind of saint.”

    Mysidia sat up “Do I?”, she said to herself. “Well, that’s news to me!”

    She was to become Hierophant. Anything resembling of what she “needed” in a man was strictly for ceremonial purposes. Relationships or marriage was not among them.

    She gave her plate to the bartender and headed out of the tavern to see a Casavir round the corner and Bishop fold his arms watching her.

    “What?”, Mysidia asked with malice.

    “Enjoy eavesdropping? That’s not exactly morally virtuous, Ladyship.”, Bishop smirked.

    Mysidia rolled her eyes and started to walk towards The Jewel. “When I need someone to remind me of my morals or virtues, I’ll be sure to let you know.”

    Bishop reached out and grabbed Mysidia’s arm. She looked down at his hand then at him. Bishop sighed and shook his head. “Look, I didn’t mean to get you angry before.”

    Mysidia’s eyebrows rose, surprised at the apology. “Go ahead. Keep going.”

    “I’m sorry.”, he mumbled.

    Mysidia tilted her head. “I’m sorry, I didn’t quite catch that.”

    “I said I’m sorry.”, Bishop said quickly. Mysidia looked at him and nodded.

    “Apology accepted. Now you’re going to come shopping with me.”, she started to say. Bishop shook his head with his eyes wide. “Oh no… nope. You are NOT going to leave me to shop for a gown by myself. I don’t know anything about ball gowns other than they’re far too frilly and fancy for me.”

    Bishop sighed and slumped his shoulders in defeat. “Lead the way, princess.”

    ~*~

    Inside the dress shop, several women were milling about quietly talking amongst themselves. Several were touching various gowns of every color and shade. Some where trying on jewelry. Others where looking at themselves in the mirror.

    The building was made of cobblestone and brick. There was a woman playing a harp in the back of the store and several delicate ladies were whispering as they looked at Mysidia. The store smelled of lavender and candle smoke. Mysidia looked around uneasy.

    A shorter woman parted through the crowd and approached her. She gracefully curtsied and introduced herself. “Welcome to The Jewel, my lady. Casavir has stopped by earlier and dropped this off for you.”, the woman said and handed Mysidia a wax sealed letter. Shrugging, she opened it up and began to read:

    Lady Mysidia,
    Please accept my deepest apologies for earlier. It was not my intent to offend you. I have instructed the shop owners to handle whatever it is you need at my expense. It is the least I could do for the way our previous conversation was handled.

    I look forward taking you to the ball.
    Casavir

    Mysidia folded the note and placed it aside. Not knowing exactly what to do or say, she stepped forward, uncertainty written on her face.

    “We have chosen several gowns that you would look lovely in. But, first things first.”, the woman said and clapped her hands. “My lady, off with you to a bath.”

    Two women approached Mysidia and gently took either arm. Mysidia looked over her shoulder at Bishop confused. “Oh boy”, she mouthed to him. Bishop held back the laugh building in him.

    Mysidia was whisked off to a bathing room where several women worked quickly scrubbing Mysidia’s skin roughly and washing her long dark hair. The whole bathing process didn’t take more than ten minutes and a staff of women gathered around her tugging at her hair, replacing earrings, necklaces, circlets. It was a flurry of limbs working on her and she wasn’t quite sure how she should handle the fuss.

    Mysidia’s hair was swept off her neck in an updo with several ringlets that framed her heart-shaped face and delicately hung in the back. A silver and moonstone circlet sat on her head, a crown truly fit for a princess. The women took delicate care in applying Mysidia’s makeup, although with her angular features and willow like stature, she didn’t need much.

    Then it came time to choose the gown. Gown after gown was tried on and each one was prettier than the one before. And each one simply didn’t fit right, or it was the wrong color, or it didn’t flatter her. The shop owner made the most fuss with trying to find the perfect one. The shop owner carried a beautiful emerald green medieval style gown to Mysidia and was going to help her, herself.

    Once the gown slipped over Mysidia’s head, taking care not to undo her hair, the gown’s skirt flared out as gravity pulled it to the floor. Mysidia loved the color and the gown was worn in such a way, it looked like it was made just for her.

    The shop keeper came around the back to pull the laces tight on the corset waist cincher and that’s when she noticed the tree on Mysidia’s back.

    “Oh… I thought that my staff had already given you a bath.”, the shop keeper started.

    “They did.”, Mysidia said over her shoulder.

    “Oh. So the back piece is….”, the question trailed off.

    “A tattoo.”, Mysidia finished.

    “Ah, yes.”, the owner forced a smile. “It is a very large tattoo.”

    By now Mysidia knew that the shop keeper was delicately trying to tell her that hiding the tattoo was probably in her best interest since most of the people at court didn’t have any showing. Mysidia didn’t care what they thought. If Casavir invited her, he was going to get all of her, tattoos and all.

    “That’s because it depicts a very large tree.”, Mysidia joked. She knew that the ladies were talking about her, now. Her image was not “Proper” or “lady like”. At Mysidia’s comment, she heard Bishop laugh. The sound of his voice calmed her and whatever anxiety she felt that the women were giving her, melted away and she held her head high.

    Mysidia came out from behind the privacy screens and stood in front of the full length mirrors. If she didn’t recognize her own reflection, she would never have thought it was her. Mysidia looked as regal as a queen.

    They applied the finishing touches and Bishop came around the corner to look. Even he couldn’t hide his expression. The women whispered envious of her beauty. Bishop came up behind her and looked over her shoulder at her reflection.

    “You look incredible.”, he said.

    “Thank you.”, she said softly. Bishop gently traced his finger down Mysidia’s bare shoulders and down her arm. She closed her eyes at the feel and exhaled gently.

    The shop keeper walked to the other side of Mysidia and noticed the green metallic writing on Mysidia’s arms. She used her thumb to try and wipe off what she thought was war paint. “What is this stuff?”, the woman said in distaste.

    Mysidia had enough. She got it. Her tattoos weren’t something that those women got. So instead of flying off the handle and undoing everything the other women worked so hard on her with, she decided to joke with the shop owner.

    “NO! Don’t touch them! They’re poisonous!”, Mysidia exclaimed. The shop owner immediately flinched as though her life depended on it. Bishop shot her a look and Mysidia winked at him. Bishop turned around and laughed loudly. Mysidia couldn’t help but snicker. Shaking her head, she walked away from them and left the store.

    Bishop came up behind her, still laughing. “That was worth what you put me through.”

    Mysidia laughed with him. She sighed and turned to Bishop. “Are you coming to the ball?”

    “No! Do I look like one of those sissy-pants nobles that would enjoy that sort of thing?”, Bishop mocked.

    “Actually? It wouldn’t surprise me at all to find out that you’re a noble and found the politic game distasteful. So you shunned your heritage and became a ranger instead.”, Mysidia said coyly.

    “Couldn’t be further from the truth, princess.”, Bishop said amused.

    “Do you think Casavir would be all right with my back tattoo showing? I know it’s not what he’s used to…”, Mysidia started to ramble.

    “He’ll love it and he’ll hate it. You represent something that he can never have. A gorgeous flesh and blood woman that would make a man’s blood boil.”, Bishop said trying to calm her fears. He surmised that Mysidia wasn’t used to being treated differently because of the way she looked. He despised even thinking of it and wanted to rip that shop owner to pieces for making Mysidia doubt herself.

    Mysidia smirked, her eyes full of possibilities, “Do I make your blood boil, Bishop?”

    He wasn’t ready for that question. Just being near her, looking the way she did right then, was causing his higher judgment to short out. He watched her gracefully move her arms to the side and the curve of her hip swayed. He sucked in his breath.

    “You play a dangerous game, Ladyship.”, he said softly. “You’d make any man’s blood boil.” He slowly stood in close to Mysidia and took a delicate strand of her hair, one of her highlights, and tucked it behind her elfin ear. The silken strand slid through his fingers and brushed against her neck. At the feel of it, she quietly gasped.

    Bishop leaned into her ear. “Any man not tripping over himself carrying you on his arm is a fool. Would I lose control? Not a chance. That doesn’t mean I haven’t thought about it a few times.”

    Mysidia lifted her head he felt her breath at his neck. She felt Bishop chuckle to himself. “Your knight awaits, princess. I’ll see you later.”

    Mysidia turned to watch the ranger walk away without so much as a glance back. Shrugging, she turned and headed towards the Blue Palace. It was time to play royalty, if only for a little while.

    Dodongo79
    Participant
    Post count: 67

    (Writer’s Note: Some of the dialog lines are directly taken from the mod.)

    Chapter 7
    Mysidia entered the ball room taking in a deep breath. Holding her head high and walking as delicate as possible, her eyes fixated on the lavish tapestries that adorned the high stone walls and cathedral ceiling. As she made her way out of the entrance way and closer to the dance floor, several women were pointing to her and whispering to nearby friends.

    The cold white fear of anxiety began to creep its way up Mysidia’s back and her heartbeat began to quicken. It took every ounce of will to not break out in a clammy sweat right then and there. She felt someone walk close in behind her and she felt a gentle but heavy hand on the small of her back. When she turned to see Casavir smiling at her, all of her anxiety began to melt away.

    “You look absolutely beautiful, my lady.”, Casavir noted.

    Mysidia fluttered her eyes down and smiled. “Thank you, Sir Casavir.”

    When it was apparent that Mysidia was with Casavir for the ball, the whispers really started to snicker around. Mysidia was there for Casavir. As long as he didn’t mind having her on his arm, let them whisper. His opinion was the only one that mattered at that moment.

    “So, tell me about being a paladin, Sir Casavir.”, Mysidia said trying to take any attention off of herself.

    “Well, being a Holy Knight, I must maintain vows, constantly upholding the course of virtue and light.”, he started.

    “The paladins of my home have taken similar vows. As a Druid, I too, have taken some. Once I become Hierophant, the vows become more astringent.”, Mysidia said.

    “What vows, my lady?”, he asked curious.

    “Well, a Druid’s first allegiance is to Nature herself. We are to help maintain balance in all thing. If there is an imbalance anywhere, it is considered an enemy until the balance is set right again.” Mysidia began. Casavir offered her a goblet of wine. She then noticed that he didn’t take one for himself.

    “Anything that impairs judgment is forbidden?”, she said nodding.

    Casavir’s eyes lit up at acknowledging some of his vows. Mysidia smiled and nodded saying, “One of my closest friends became a paladin. And like you, he takes his vows very seriously.”

    “I cannot take any food or drink in the fermented variety. I also musn’t succumb to worldly temptations.”, Casavir said.

    “While the Hierophant vows are very specific on worldly temptations, the ones that remain behind are allowed certain leniencies.” Mysidia said and softly smirked.

    “Such as…?”, he asked curious.

    “Mid Spring is one of our most sacred ceremonies. The High Priestesses that go on to become Hierophant, they take their final vows. But because it also depletes our population, as it were. The rituals are for fertility…in ALL things. It’s a bit more hedonistic than most outsiders are comfortable with.” , Mysidia hinted and danced around the subject. When Casavir didn’t quite get the drift, Mysidia leaned in. “It’s a sexual ceremony. The ceremony itself represents fertility. Some of the women become pregnant, ushering the new generation of Druids. And the act itself is said to aid in the fertility of the land, aiding our crops for harvesting. It’s because of that fact that everyone wears a mask, so we cannot see who it is we lay with since it isn’t our pleasure that the ceremony is for. …But, it is definitely one of our more fun ones.”

    Casavir began to cough and he was beet red from his hands to his ears. He just sat and stared at her for a moment, not quite believing what he had heard. Mysidia laughed.

    “Apologies, Sir Knight. My culture is a bit freer with topics such as sexuality. I tried to be as delicate as possible in the beginning.” Mysidia said apologizing.

    “It’s quite all right. I was taken unawares.”, Casavir said. He placed Mysidia’s goblet down and held out his hand. “May I have the first dance?”

    Mysidia grabbed her skirting of her gown, flared it out, and gracefully curtsied to him. “It would be my pleasure.”

    As they both made their way to the dance floor, the orchestra kicked up a waltz. Mysidia placed her hand in Casavir’s and she was whisked away like in a fairy tale.

    This wasn’t Mysidia’s first time in a royal court setting. Druids from her clan had been called on from time to time to oversee weddings, consultation before large battles, healings and the like. As Bearsoul’s caretaker, she was to travel everywhere with him.

    “You are as graceful on the dance floor as you are on the battlefield, my lady.”, Casavir flattered.

    “Years of life on horseback, Sir Knight. However, I’ve been called to court a few times in my life.”, Mysidia noted.

    Everyone that watched the two of them, they noted how well they looked with each other. And of course, a visit from the Mighty Dragonborn always held good gossip.

    Out of the corner of her eye, she saw someone cutting through the dancing throng. Colors of their gowns swirling around him. She looked over and recognized Bishop striding right up to her.

    “I’m here, darling. Mind if I cut in?”, Bishop said and bowed.

    “Bishop!”, Casavir seethed. “What are you doing here?”

    “Why I’m here to rescue a little boy from himself. Get lost, Casavir. She’s mine, tonight.”, Bishop said, smirking on how angry he was making Casavir.

    Mysidia raised an eyebrow at Bishop. “Am I, now?”

    “Bishop, you keep your hands off of her!”, Casavir said raising his voice.

    “And I must say you look very sexy tonight, Ladyship.”, Bishop added. “All that armor you wear usually covers up the best parts.” He leaned in and tilted Mysidia’s chin up to place a delicate kiss on her lips.

    Casavir angrily broke them apart. “Unhand her at once!”, he snapped.

    Mysidia, very confused, turned to Bishop. “I thought you said you weren’t coming to the ball.”

    “I feel like these clothes are strangling me!”, Bishop exclaimed.

    “After the stunt you pulled, I thought Casavir was going to be the one to strangle you. Not your clothes.”, Mysidia admitted quietly.

    “HA! I would have taught that self-righteous knight a lesson.”, Bishop mocked.

    Mysidia, seeing the larger picture, kept her comments to herself. After the ball, she was going to have a fairly different conversation with Bishop.

    “So why are you here?”, she asked finally.

    “I got bored! They wouldn’t let me in unless I had the “proper attire”, or whatever the hell they were going on about.”, Bishop said.

    “Awww, getting gussied up in sissy-pants for me? How sweet of you.”, Mysidia retorted back

    Bishop clicked his tongue. “I couldn’t let you have all the fun.”

    Mysidia rolled her eyes and turned to Casavir. The knight’s gaze was blazing in Bishop’s direction and she was pretty sure that if she gave the signal, Casavir would have ripped Bishops’ head off with his bare hands, right then and there.

    She placed a gentle hand on Casavir’s armored forearm. “Don’t worry, Casavir. I’m fine.”

    “Do you wish me to cut this wild animal’s head off, my lady? It would be my pleasure.”, Casavir snarled.

    Mysidia paused and stepped back. “No, Casavir. That’s unnecessary and frankly barbaric.”

    Casavir snapped out of whatever blood lusting anger he felt and started to fluster. “I… I’m sorry, my lady. I don’t know what came over me. Please, accept my apology.”

    “Very well.”, Mysidia said curtly.

    Mysidia began to slink back while Casavir and Bishop casually tossed insults at one another. Before they noticed, Mysidia slipped out back and into the courtyard.

    The night was cool, but held the sweet smell of wildflowers in bloom. She thought back at what Rhydia would be like and what season her home would be in. The smell of the flowers indicated mid spring. Had she been back home, she would have taken her vows and finishing the final preparations to drink the sap. She would have become part of the Great Tree and none of this drama would have happened. She would have given anything to be back there.

    She reached up and ran her fingers over the petals of a large magnolia blossom. The soft texture tickled her fingers and she smiled at the feel.

    “Ah, there you are, princess.”, she heard Bishop say, walking up behind her.

    “Here I am.”, she responded, not taking her eyes off the blossom.

    “Clever of you to sneak away without saying anything. The moment you were out of sight, the single ladies of the court flocked to Casavir, filling his dance card for the rest of the night.”, Bishop said smirking an approval.

    “I didn’t say anything because Casavir was already embarrassed by you showing up and crashing the party.”, Mysidia chided. “And considering anything I would have said would have further fueled an argument, I just left.”

    “Oh.”, Bishop said not sure how to respond.

    Mysidia dropped her hands and walked right up to Bishop. He knew that look in her eyes. He had poked the bear long enough to know when he was in trouble.

    “Whatever bad blood is between you both is none of my concern. Not that you would have told me even if it was… However, I’m not a pawn in whatever little games you play with the people who’ve wronged you.”, Mysidia said and pointed towards the ball room. “That little stunt you pulled, doing everything you could to piss him off? That won’t happen again. And if that’s all you’re about, I will take my leave of you now, never to return.”

    Bishop came closer to Mysidia, his voice soft spoken. “Is that what you thought? All of this”, he said and touched his clothes, moved his hand around the castle, “to get him angry?”

    “It certainly wasn’t for me. I’m not your type, remember?”, Mysidia mocked.

    Bishop lifted his head and laughed, hearing his own words used against him. He reached out and moved the ringlets away from her neck. “You have no idea, do you?” When Mysidia didn’t answer and just looked at him. He nodded, turning his face away. “I suppose I earned every bit of what you threw at me. I haven’t been exactly fair.”

    Mysidia’s eyebrows rose. Of all the things Bishop could have said, anything resembling “I was wrong” was not among them.

    “I asked a question earlier, princess. I didn’t receive an answer.”, Bishop said, placing a hand behind his back. When Mysidia’s brows wrinkled in confusion. “May I have this dance?”

    Mysidia shocked, looked around. “Here?”

    “Why not?”, Bishop asked.

    “There’s no music out here, for one.”, Mysidia pointed out.

    “Is that all?”, Bishop said and walked over towards the door entering the ball room. He leaned over and grabbed a loose stone from one of the gardens. He cracked the door open just enough to let the music and dim of idle conversations echo out into the court yard, where they were. He placed a stone in the door jam to prop it open.

    Then he turned and walked towards Mysidia. “You can hear that, yes?”

    Mysidia nodded dumbly. She really wasn’t expecting any of this, least of all Bishop putting forth an effort to be charming.

    He placed an arm behind his back again and bowed before her. “May I have this dance, my lady?”

    Mysidia looked up at him and was about to answer. Then Bishop shook his head and leaned into her. “No, this is all wrong.” In a swift motion, he reached behind Mysidia’s head and undid her hair, allowing billowing dark tresses to fall across her shoulders and down her back. Thick dark brown waves shook themselves free from the updo she had and a breeze blew her hair all around her.

    Bishop sucked in his breath at the sight of her. “Much better.”, he said. Then he held out his hand. “Well?”

    Mysidia picked up her skirting and curtsied in front of him, lowering herself gracefully to the floor. “For my ranger, anything.”

    He placed a hand around her waist and held her other. Trying to remember the vague lessons he was given as a boy, by his mother, he started to move around the court yard. For her ranger… he really liked the sound of that.

    Mysidia kept up with him and she could feel him struggle with some of the movements. She looked up at him. “Close your eyes.”

    “What?…why?”, Bishop asked confused.

    “It’s easier to move to the music if you’re not caught up in the steps. A waltz like a rhythm… a heart beat. Concentrate on your breathing. The movements come from that.”, Mysidia said.

    As he closed his eyes, he found it easier to navigate and his body began to remember the movements his mother had taught him all those years ago. Once he was comfortable, he opened his eyes again. Seeing Mysidia watch him, made him smile.

    “You do dance very well.”, Bishop added.

    At the sound of the implication, Mysidia looked at him. “How long were you watching me?”

    Bishop laughed. “Clever girl.” He didn’t think he was going to get caught. “Long enough to know that one, I really REALLY have to travel to Rhydia someday…say mid spring? And two, the women were whispering because of jealousy, princess. Not because you didn’t belong there.”

    Mysidia began to blush. She flustered and looked to the side. “Even if you did travel mid spring, Bishop, you’d have to be part of the tribe to take part in the ritual.”

    The music ended and the two of them stood, still joined. Mysidia, curtsied again, ending the embrace. “Thank you, my lord.”

    Bishop tilted her head up so that the moon shone brightly on her face. Violet gave way to blue as she was caught up in the moment. Bishop lowered his lips to her mouth and tenderly kissed her. The feel of her was unreal. Everything was too much. Too soft, too sensual, too real. He couldn’t help himself, but that was the effect that she had on him. What blew his mind was that she didn’t even know it.

    As much as he didn’t want to, he broke the kiss and smoothed her hair away from her face. She slowly opened up her eyes, her full lashes giving way to violet irises full of wonder and promise.

    “Thank you, my lady.”, he said and left towards the Winking Skeever.

    Mysidia was left replaying the events rapidly through her mind. Something had changed, she was sure of it. The longer they stayed in each other’s company, the harder it was going to be to say good bye when it was over. The very thought made tears sting in her eyes.

    Dodongo79
    Participant
    Post count: 67

    (Writer’s Note: TRIGGER WARNING!!! This chapter talks about emotional and physical abuse as well as rape. If you are sensitive to such subject matter, you might want to skip over this chapter. Also some of the dialogue lines are taken directly from the mod. )

    Chapter 8

    Bishop lay with his eyes closed, refusing to move. After leaving Mysidia the night before, he needed something strong… actually, several somethings strong. He also thought twice about taking the bar wench, that was clearly into him. He might have, if he didn’t watch Mysidia walk through the front door of the tavern and slowly made her way to her room.

    He looked back at the bar wench, that was giving him a seductive smile. Her hair was short and fire red. She was tiny, curvaceous, and full of spirit. He might have had a decent time with her. But after he watched Mysidia go to her room, he looked back and immediately saw the differences between her and the Rhydian. She was hardly a decent replacement.

    Since a casual toss in the sheets was out of the question, he decided to do a very distant second best; drown his frustrations in anything alcoholic and hopefully it killed his libido enough that he could sleep.

    After bottle three, he sluggishly made his way back to his room and slumped on his bed. His wolf gave a soft whine in sympathy. At least, that’s what the ranger thought his wolf did. The only one that really knew what Karnwyr was saying was Mysidia. Blazing hells! He couldn’t go an hour without thinking of her.

    She was unlike any woman he’d ever met…or slept with. And while he did think of the two kisses they shared, his thoughts always ended up with remembering her revealing her tattoo. Her silhouette was elegant; long limbs, athletically defined the soft ridges of her muscles, and the curve of her hips. He warned Casavir that she was more of a woman than he could handle. She was more of a woman than anyone could handle!

    By bottle five, when he had grown unable to keep his eyes open, he rolled on his side and welcomed sleep. Well, passing out was a better definition. And yet, just before the alcohol claimed his consciousness, the vision of him kissing her passed before him. His groin stirred at the memory. He found himself slowly grinding his hips into the bunched up blankets in front of him. He was beyond sexually frustrated.

    “Damn you woman.”, he managed to whisper out before succumbing to the darkness that claimed him. Ah, blissful unconscious mercy!

    That was several hours before, however. And his mind managed to swing from wide awake to exhaustion. He refused to move. The pounding headache introducing the inevitable hangover started nearly morning light. He had forgotten to eat something before he passed out. He was more concerned with finding a comfortable way to sleep with a hard on than circumventing a hangover.

    Remembering why he refused to eat, made him groan. He could have just as easily taken care of himself and give his body a release so that he could sleep better. He inwardly seethed. He hadn’t had the need to do that, because of a woman, since he was a teenager….and he wasn’t going to start that habit now.

    No… no, he said to himself. He was going to get up, eat some form of greasy breakfast, sneak some of that headache powder Mysidia carries on herself, and see if that bar wench was still enthusiastically affectionate. He had to get rid of that tension or it was going to become a huge problem…in more ways than just the obvious.

    Bishop slowly swung his legs over the side of the bed and ran his hands roughly on his cheeks. The moment he was upright, the war drums inside his head began pounding their unrelenting rhythm.

    Strike that, headache powder first, then food, Bishop thought. Otherwise breakfast was sure to come back up….probably all over the bar wench and that was something neither one of them would enjoy.

    Bishop picked up his water skin and started hydrating himself with something other than alcohol. He’d love some “hair of the dog”, but he wanted to be as clear headed as he could when he began traveling with Mysidia later that day. And that bar wench would greatly move that process along.

    Bishop managed to get dressed and walk down the hall to Mysidia’s room. He was just going to sneak in, grab her medicine bag, and sneak back out. No muss, no fuss, no arguments.

    However, much to his surprise, when he quietly entered Mysidia’s room, he found it empty. The bed had been made and all of her belongings were gone. Bishop immediately became sober and pushed off whatever pain he was in. His stomach lurched in a visceral reaction to her being gone. The white pang of anxiety kept him alert and he made his way down to the bar to speak to the innkeeper.

    Finishing buckling his armor, Bishop approached the short fat man behind the bar. “Have you seen…”, he started to ask.

    The short fat man nodded knowing what Bishop was asking. “Aye. Pretty lass ye were travelin’ with. Tall, curves in all th’ right places?”, he said and winked.

    Bishop shot over the bar and grabbed the innkeeper’s shirt, lifting him off the ground. He snarled in the man’s shocked face. “Where. Is. She?”

    “Relax, ranger!”, he said and snapped Bishop’s hands off his person. “She left this mornin’. Early. Woke me up out of sound sleep. She paid for yer rooms, food, too.”, the innkeeper said angrily. He walked further up the bar and bent down, picking up an envelope. “She gave me this to give to ye.”

    Bishop snatched the envelope out of his hands and opened it carefully. A small packet of her headache powder was inside with a note which read:

    Bishop,
    I figured you would need this.

    Thanks for the dance,
    Mys

    Bishop quickly pounded the chalky powder down his throat and whistled to his wolf, leaving the tavern. As painful as his headache was, he was too fixated on finding Mysidia. He was kicking himself.

    “I pushed her too far.”, He mumbled to Karnwyr. “And now she’s left.”

    Karnwyr softly cried to his master and walked ahead a few steps before looking back. He whined a bit more and then turned his attention towards the front gate of the city. Bishop walked over to him and knelt down.

    “You know where she is, don’t you?”, he asked realizing that Karnwyr could track her down by scent. When his wolf seemed to yelp a response, Bishop was sure of it.

    “Let’s find her.”, Bishop said and allowed his wolf to lead the way.

    ~*~

    Mysidia lovingly brushed her horse’s mane and tail. Casavir happened to be up early, also tending to his large dappled gray steed. Thaeja had Casavir’s mount by at least a hand and several pounds as well.

    “I must tell you, my lady. I fear for you traveling with such a dangerous companion.”, Casavir started.

    Mysidia looked over the back of her horse. “Bishop? He’s harmless.”, she said shaking her head.

    “I wouldn’t say that, my lady. You are indeed a good woman. I would hate to see that change because of him and what he is.”, Casavir said, coming around his mount.

    Mysidia dismissed the warning. “His moral compass may not always point true north. However, if I felt my life was in danger, I would have left him long ago.”

    “I’m sorry, my lady. I’ve known Bishop a long time. He will never be anything other than a savage beast.”, Casavir said.

    Mysidia considered his comment for a moment, but said nothing. She smoothed out Thaeja’s mane and lovingly scratched along his nose. Then she went into her pouch and handed him a half of an apple.

    She turned her head as a breeze picked up. Her violet eyes were searching. Even her horse’s ears flicked forward. When Thaeja chuffed softly, Mysidia nodded. “I know.”

    “He truly is an impressive steed. How did he come to your care?”, Casavir asked.

    Mysidia looked over at him and her face grew dark for a moment as some fleeting memory flashed through her mind. She looked down and tossed the brush she was holding. “Since what I have to say about Bishop has bearing on this conversation, I will tell you Thaeja’s story.”

    Mysidia grabbed a stool and sat with her back to her horse. Thaeja merely relaxed, and swat his long tail at the flies that bothered him. Mysidia sighed and began her story.

    “I was young, very young. Barely a first year adept. And like all yearlings, in my tribe, it was my turn to make a pilgrimage to see The Great Tree. My priestess sister was much older than me and stronger in every way you would think. I felt completely safe in her care. We set out, as all pilgrimages start, and began walking. We were making good time as it was only the two of us to worry about. A week out from our start, we were ambushed at night.”, Mysidia said and licked her lips, choosing her words carefully. “Poachers are a rare problem in our forest. Mostly because it’s protected by the dryads of the Great Tree. However, their power does have limits and there are a few places where their influence cannot reach. We were traveling through one of those patches. We didn’t know it, then. My sister simply thought it would be easier if we had taken a short cut.”

    She stopped when Thaeja brought his large head around and nudged Mysidia’s back. She looked up, smiled and gave him the other half of the apple. “Poachers aren’t the only problem in our forest. You see, slavery is legal to the country in the south. As long as that’s where its kept, the majority of everyone else looks the other way. We had thought it was simply a small band of thugs and my sister had taken out several before we were overrun. The majority of my magic was in healing, at the time. I could barely summon a fireball. However, was pretty decent with a blade. Of the group of slavers we had killed, there were five left. One being the leader. We were shackled and taken away…far away. I had no idea the forest was so large. Up until the pilgrimage, I had never ventured outside of my tribe’s borders. I had no reason. Everything I needed was within my tribe.”, she smiled softly, obviously stalling over getting to the point. “Anyway, being that my sister was the stronger of us, we both agreed that she would be the one to go get help…”

    Mysidia stopped for a moment before leaning her elbows on her thighs. She flexed her fingertips on each other. Obviously uncomfortable about the conversation, she folded her arms around her and continued. “It didn’t take long for the men to realize she had escaped. They dragged me to the leader. They shackled my arms up. They stripped me. They whipped me. They beat me. They assaulted me. They did….”, she swallowed, “ unspeakable things… They said it would stop if I had told them where she was. I refused. There was no way I would betray her.”

    Casavir’s face blanched. He clenched his fist tightly, the knuckles on his hands went white. She continued. “My sister would have made it, if I didn’t make a sound. She would have kept going…if I didn’t scream.”

    “You cannot blame yourself, Mysidia. What happened to you is not your fault. You need to believe that.”, Casavir said full of compassion.

    She chewed absently at her bottom lip, tears stung her eyes. She shrugged. “If I didn’t though…”, she paused thinking about something. “Anyway, they were securing my legs for whatever they had planned to do to me. That was when I screamed. My sister heard me…. she heard me and she came back. Suffice to say, she got the worst of the treatment. They cut off her nose and the tips of her ears for escaping. Do you know that there’s a point in receiving abuse that your body becomes completely numb? Your body becomes this fleshy shell that feels nothing. I suppose it’s a defense mechanism so that your brain can process and block accordingly.”

    Mysidia released her dagger and began to spin the point in one of her fingers. A tiny red dot of blood oozed up to the surface. Mysidia didn’t flinch to prove her point. “My sister never recovered. She never spoke to anyone after we managed to get home. I don’t remember exactly how it happened. I believe we were with them almost a year before one of their guards became sloppy and too familiar with us.”

    She looked back at Casavir who was holding back tears for her. “Save your tears, paladin. I had gotten my revenge. My sister’s rage burnt the camp to the ground. She was such a powerful Druid… so much more than she realized. For a year she kept practicing when they wouldn’t look. She skipped meals, skipped sleep… just to keep practicing her power. Burning them alive was too quick, in my opinion. I grabbed… this dagger, actually… and climbed into the leader’s tent. I plucked out his eyes while he was passed out drunk. I cut out his tongue so that he couldn’t say who did it to him. I cut his thumbs off and his manhood. If he survived the fire, he’s blind and mute, wandering the forest.”

    She pointed to Thaeja, “This was his horse. If he felt so little towards human life, you can imagine how little he regarded animals. The majority of this horses scars aren’t from the battles he and I faced. They were mostly from him. I promised Thaeja that as long as I breathe, no one would ever hurt him again. I would never “tame” him. He was allowed to be free running until a time came that I would need a mount to ride. When that need was over, I would turn him free again. And no man would ever sit on his back again… ever.”, she smiled up at her horse. “So I named him Thaeja. It’s Rhydian that loosely translates to Veteran Warrior. It’s a high honor to be called that.”

    She got up and gently stroked Thaeja’s face. “So when you call Bishop things like a savage animal?”, Mysidia said with a grave look. “You have no concept of what you speak. None. Bishop would never EVER even think of doing that to me.”

    Casavir looked down embarrassed. When he remembered the previous night’s conversation, he winced. No, Bishop wasn’t a savage animal. Not at least to what Mysidia was referring to. “I am truly sorry, my lady.” It was all he could say. Nothing spoken could have been good enough. Even his apology felt hollow and superficial.

    Mysidia exhaled the air that she seemed to be holding in. She smoothed her hair away from her face and walked up to Casavir, giving him a hug. “Don’t. Everything that I’ve been though has made me who I am. I love being me.”, she said and smiled into his face.

    “You are a rare light in a very dark world, my lady.”, Casavir said and lovingly touched her hair. “I find that I am unspeakably drawn to it.”

    Mysidia smirked. “Regretting your vows, Sir Knight?”

    Casavir blushed looking down. “No, my lady. My chosen path I know is the right one. That doesn’t mean that I’m not tempted from time to time, to stray from my path.”

    Mysidia kissed his cheek softly. “I mean this when I say, I hope you find the peace you’re longing for.”

    Casavir paused for a moment, unsure how to handle her astute observation.

    “The paladins of my realm rarely stray far from their temples, unless they are on a pilgrimage to another. You carry neither crest or flag among your things. I don’t know what history transpired between you and Bishop. Nor do I know why you fled your homeland.”, at the mention, Casavir looked down. The embarrassment written on his face. Mysidia gently took her hand and placed it on his face, forcing him to look at her. “What I do know is that it’s forced you to find and follow the Light.”

    Casavir’s eyes lit up and he puffed up, full of pride.

    “And now I must bid you a fair well, Casavir.”, Mysidia said and gave him a final hug.

    Nodding, Casavir took the reigns of his horse and started to walk up the cobblestone walkway. The horses hooves clopped hollow on the ground beneath them. “I hope our paths cross again, Dragonborn”, he said waving.

    “May you always walk in the Light, Paladin.”, she said, using a phrase paladins say to one another. He smiled brightly, his eyes twinkling.

    She turned back to Thaeja and began placing a light saddle on him. She was fixing the straps when she paused and looked over her shoulder. “You can come out now, Bishop.”

    Bishop mutely walked towards her, his eyes fierce and full of concern. She barely acknowledged him. She didn’t want to look into his eyes and see what she already knew was there.

    Bishop remembered the nightmare she had on the carriage to Solitude and he balled his fists, wondering if it was those memories that caused the bad dream. If that slave trader was in front of him, he would have tore his intestines out through his mouth.

    “Don’t.”, Mysidia said grabbing his hand. “I don’t live there anymore. I’m not the same person I was then.”

    He opened his eyes and looked at her. “Was it true?”

    “Mostly.”, Mysidia said and walked back over to her horse. When she watched him stop behind her, she knew he wanted her to finish the story.

    “My sister never recovered. That much is true. She never made it out of that camp alive, either. One day, they had taken us to bathe.”, she turned and saw him. “Yes, they watched… My sister never spoke afterward except the day she died. She looked at me and said ‘I’m sorry.’ before throwing herself off the ledge and plunging into the waterfall ahead of her.”

    Bishop reached out and wiped the tear off of her face that managed to sneak out. He allowed her to continue. “There are two kinds of people that come out of something like that. Victims and Survivors. Victims never recover… like my sister. Survivors live to fight another day.”

    “I thought the camp burned to the ground.”, Bishop said in a quiet voice.

    “It did. I was the one that set it ablaze. I learned two things that day. One, pain can be a powerful ally when channeling it into magic.”, she said getting a vacant look on her face.

    “And two?”, Bishop asked.

    “That I was more powerful than my sister.”, Mysidia said.

    “What was her name?”, Bishop asked. He placed his arms around Mysidia and for a moment, she allowed herself a brief point to enjoy the strength he gave. It felt gratifying not having to be strong all the time, to allow a moment of weakness where no one exploited it. She laid her head on his chest and closed her eyes.

    “Adara”, she said. He placed a hand and smoothed it through her hair. Then all at once, she snapped out of it and wiped her face, removing herself from his embrace.

    She went into the barn and had the reigns of another horse. A beautiful palomino draft followed behind her. “I bought you a horse.”, Mysidia said, handing Bishop the reigns.

    Bishop looked confused. “Ooookay…?”

    “I bought her from the farmer here. He said she became too feral to work with…started biting everyone.”, she said and Bishop flinched back. Mysidia shook her head. “She simply was abused by the farmer’s son. She’s fine and sound. I promised her you wouldn’t do that to her.”

    “Of course not.”, he said and scratched under the horse’s chin.

    “Don’t pity her. Abused creatures don’t need pity. They need patience.”, Mysidia said and looked directly into Bishop’s eyes before mounting her horse. “Her name was Buttercup. Don’t call her that. That name is associated with pain. Call her anything you want to…but that.”

    Bishop looked the horse over and found a swirly birthmark pattern on her hindquarter. “Rose.”, he said. “Her birthmark looks like a Rose.”

    Mysidia smiled at him, agreeing with the name. “It’s perfect. She likes it, too.”

    “Where to, princess?”, Bishop asked reigning his horse next to hers.

    “Thaeja said that where the pine trees break into willows and oaks, there’s a wolf pack that has several wolves that look like Sabre.”, Mysidia said to Bishop.

    He thought for a moment trying to remember the landscape. “That would be Falkreath, Ladyship.”

    “To Falkreath, then. Do try and keep up.”, Mysidia said with an evil twinkle before Thaeja shot off like an arrow.

    Bishop laughed. “Yes, ma’am.”

    Dodongo79
    Participant
    Post count: 67

    Chapter 9

    Bishop and Mysidia decided that taking a detour and riding close to Whiterun was safer than trouncing through rough mountain terrain. Especially since they both had horses and wolves love to ambush their prey. One thing was for certain, however, Mysidia was growing stronger every day. Her energy was aligning with the natural energy around her.

    It was close to summer and all of the flowers, wild and domestic, were in full bloom. Everything was bright and colorful. Like a dappled watercolor painting, the hills were rolling with speckled blossoms in the midday sun.

    Still not quite used to the heat, Mysidia felt it necessary to lose some of her heavier armor. She may have been prone to injury, but falling from heat exhaustion seemed a larger threat. Not that Bishop minded, the more he got to see of her, the more tempted he became.

    “So, everyone in your tribe dresses like this?”, Bishop asked, while walking his horse. When Mysidia nodded, he continued. “What happens during winter?”

    “The area my tribe is in, lives in an inactive caldera. The volcano imploded thousands of years before, but the exothermic properties of the magma below the surface keep the temperature relatively mild. I’m not saying we don’t get snow, but it’s not a common thing.”, Mysidia said walking beside Bishop, leading Thaeja.

    Bishop walked quietly as she explained the climate in where she lived. The terminology she used was over his head, but he didn’t want her to realize it. He coughed a moment and changed the subject. “So, Thaeja’s name is Rhydian. Think you could teach me a bit of it?”

    Mysidia stopped walking and looked at him. “You…want to learn my language?”

    “Yeah, why not? It’ll pass the time traveling between towns.”, Bishop shrugged. He walked up to Mysidia and smirked, caressing her cheek with his free hand. “And besides, when you start cursing at me, I’ll know what you’re saying.”

    Smirking in return, she couldn’t help but laugh. “Now, why would I want to give you that kind of advantage?” She thought it over for a moment and saw the the benefit of having another person speak Rhydian. It would be easier to communicate if she didn’t want anyone else knowing what she was saying. Tactically, it made sense.

    “Very well, ren’quari. I will teach you my language.”, Mysidia said and continued walking.

    “Ren’quari”, Bishop tried to pronounce it. She repeated the word placing the emphasis on the last syllable. When he got it right, Mysidia smiled. “That means…ranger?”, he asked.

    “T’an”, Mysidia responded.

    “T’an is yes?”, Bishop repeated the word.

    “Good. This will be easier than I thought.”, Mysidia said. “Most people have a tough time wrapping their tongue around the pronunciations. From what I’ve learned, Aldermis is a dead language here and Rhydian isn’t all that different from it.”

    “My tongue can do so much more than this, princess.”, Bishop said and winked. Mysidia playfully pushed him. “So, how do you say ‘beautiful’?” , Bishop asked.

    “In what way? The word ‘beautiful’ changes depending on what it’s used for. If you’re describing something inanimate, ‘beautiful sunset’ or ‘beautiful ring’, it’s Nyjad. If you’re using it to describe a person, it’s ‘Cin bain aorlin’”, Mysidia said.

    Bishop stopped and lifted his hand slowly. He brought the back of his hand down Mysidia’s cheek and looked deeply into her eyes. “Cin bain aorlin.”, he said.

    The effect was exactly what he wanted. Her eyes lit up at the compliment and he saw a rush of blood flush her cheeks. Without thinking, her hand instinctively went up and lovingly touched his face. When her hand slid down to his scruffy jawline, she snapped out it and walked ahead.

    “Does the compliment bother you, princess?”, Bishop smirked.

    “Only when I know it’s not genuine.”, Mysidia said coldly.

    “Who said it wasn’t genuine?”, Bishop asked shocked.

    “I’m not your type, remember?”, she tossed the phrase back at him again.

    “You don’t need to be my type to see that you are, in fact, a beautiful woman.”, Bishop said shaking his head.

    Mysidia stopped dead in her tracks and blinked at him. Her eyes squinted and her brows pulled down in anger. “Are you kidding me?!”

    She wanted to say a thousand different things. ‘You don’t kiss people you’re not attracted to.’, ‘Why do you go out of your way to be so close to me?’, ‘Why do I see you staring at me out the corner of my eye?, ‘Why do you constantly put yourself in harms way, then?’ All those things ran through her head, and yet, she remained silent. If he had a valid answer of anything other than he being attracted to her, she didn’t want to hear it.

    She was about to respond when she saw a child running for his life, out in the field behind Bishop. Mysidia stepped around him and curiously watched. The boy couldn’t have been any older than seven or eight, by her guess, and he was tearing across the tundra as though the devil were chasing him. It might as well have been. Just as the dragon came flying over the ridge, Mysidia swayed in place.

    She was so fixated on forcing a confession out of Bishop, she wasn’t paying attention to Karnwyr growling ahead of them. Had she been, she would have felt the dragon flying towards them.

    She grabbed her weapons and shoved Thaeja off to the side. It didn’t take her horse another moment to realize the danger he was in. Bishop’s Rose took the lead and scampered off to a cave in the distance. The boy ran right up to Mysidia, swallowing gulps of air into his depleted lungs.

    “Dragonborn…”, he panted, “…please. Help…us.” As the boy collapsed she leaned down and caught him. She saw the large gash on his back and shook her head. The dragon soared high in the sky and started to make for another come around.

    Quickly saying a healing spell, she laid her hands on the boy and temporarily healed his wounds. Bishop picked him up and she pointed towards where the horses ran. “Take him to the cave over there. It should be safe.”

    “What are you going to do?’, Bishop asked looking at her.

    “Kill the dragon, what I always do.”, she said and unhinged her bow from her bag. Charging ahead of them she nimbly leaped to a larger rock, knocking an arrow in her bow. Before she landed, the arrow flew through the air and caught the dragon under its wing.

    A high pitched screech sliced through the sky as the dragon cried out in pain. She knocked another arrow and waited as the dragon flew close. The familiar swish of the arrow leaving her bow sounded and another arrow pegged the dragon, this time in its thigh.

    The dragon crash landed into the ground with such a tremendous force that Mysidia fell backwards as a result. As she was getting up, the dragon flashed around and clamped his mouth shut. Mysidia managed to get out of the way, but not before a large gash opened up her upper arm. Bright red blood gushed out of the fresh wound and down her arm.

    “Ouch”, she said through clenched teeth, angrily.

    “Mysidia!”, Bishop yelled as he watched the events unfold.

    Mysidia unsheathed her swords and swung her arms around, cutting a piece of the dragon’s nose off. As she was fighting in the front, Bishop was circling around the back and plunged two arrows into the wings of the beast, pinning him to the ground.

    The dragon panicked and flailed about, trying to get free. Mysidia capitalized on the opportunity and slashed at the dragon’s neck. Dark red, almost black, blood poured out and pooled at Mysidia’s booted feet. The ground became muddy from the wetness.

    The dragon turned his head and fixated on Bishop. Fanning its dangerous tail out, it sliced in the air and came alarmingly close to severely wounding the ranger. Mysidia leaped towards the dragon, stabbing one of her swords into its thick muscular chest. Blood funneled out and soaked Mysidia’s hand, causing her to slip her grip and leaving the blade lodged in the dragon.

    “If you want a piece of her, you have to get through me!”, Bishop yelled and jumped between her and the dragon.

    “Bishop! What are you doing??”, Mysidia yelled. It was too late. The dragon flashed his tail around and sliced across Bishop’s abdomen. Bishop fell back and landed.

    “Pack brother, drag him back to the human young!”, Mysidia said to Karnwyr in the manner of the wolves.

    Karnwyr grabbed Bishop’s neckline with his muzzle and began to drag him back towards the cave in the distance. Having Bishop at a safe distance, Mysidia could focus on finishing the beast.
    Mysidia was down a sword and the dragon reared too high for her to reach the other. Placing both hands on her remaining sword, she charged straight for the dragon, full of fiery rage. With a battle cry, she brought her arms over her head and swung down. The dragon freed one of his wings and slammed into Mysidia, causing her to fly back and hit the ground. Immediately, the air rushed out of her lungs and she gasped to breathe.

    After a few moments, she staggered standing up and her normal breath resumed. “Now I’m REALLY pissed!”, Mysidia yelled.

    Closing her fist and saying a spell, two stone hands came out of the ground and grasped the dragon’s legs. The bloody beast snapped towards Mysidia, again, this time, narrowly missing her head. Out of no where, the dragon yelped and Mysidia looked up surprised.

    Mysidia held up a hand, trying to shade her eyes from the midday sun and she witnessed a large wolf silhouette standing before her. She tried to see over the powerful sun rays, but tears stung her eyes from the blinding sunlight. She concentrated for a moment, feeling a familiar echo in her soul. Her eyes went wide and she felt the color drain from her face.

    “…Sabre?”, she squeaked. Her hand trembled as the adrenalin pumped through her veins.

    “Greetings, Alpha Sister.”, she heard a voice say. Mysidia jumped up recognizing the voice and ran towards her wolf companion.

    “Sabre!”, she cried. The large dire wolf licked her face and cried with her. She hugged her wolf not believing he was there. She smoothed her hand over his head and two large gray eyes stared back. “It IS you!”, she said. And try as she might, the tears wouldn’t stop.

    “Yes. I caught Thaeja’s scent on the wind and followed it”, Sabre said

    Mysidia leaned against his thick neck and sobbed. “I thought you were dead! When we came out of that Oblivion gate, I had seen you get hit with an arrow. I searched… I searched for over a year for you and Thaeja. I tried, Sabre. I really did. I’m so sorry.”, she stopped looking him over. “I’m so so sorry I didn’t find you sooner.”

    “Shhh. Hush now, Sister. It is all right. I am here and we are a pack again.”, Sabre said and licked away her tears. Mysidia laughed in spite of herself and wiped her dripping face with the back of her hand.

    “I have so much to tell you. I feel like a lifetime has passed.”, Mysidia said smoothing Sabre’s fur down his large body.

    “Start with the human you travel with.”, Sabre said. If his facial muscles would allowed him to raise an eyebrow, he would have. Many of his personality traits are humanoid-ish. Simply for the reason that he has been with Mysidia for a very long time.

    Mysidia sighed and brushed the dirt off her hands and person. “Bishop…”, she said, “…where do I start with him?”

    She thought of so many memories between them, majority of the more memorable ones in the past month or so. She simply started at her large dire wolf, unable to say anything. And he was just as she remembered. Thick marbled gray and black coat was well kept and he still had the scar on his lower left hand thigh from Mysidia helping him escape from a trap as a pup. The years of traveling and aiding Mysidia’s battles didn’t seem to show except in his eyes. His gray eyes scanned the horizon and decades of wisdom and experience could easily be seen.

    She smiled reaching out and touching the peppering gray hairs he had grown on his muzzle. “Well, old man, looks like time is catching up to you.”

    Sabre’s ears went flat at the comment. She leaned over and gave him a kiss on his furred cheek. “It suits you.”

    His gray eyes gave her a side glance and his tongue lolled out into a grin. She mussed the fur on top of his head as they started to make their way towards the injured. Just as she was about to turn her back on the dragon, white tendrils of its soul spun out of the large corpse. As its soul became part of Mysidia, its flesh burned and flaked away revealing its stark white skeleton. Mysidia’s eyes grew concerned.

    “We need to get back to them, now. That wasn’t a dragon… it was a Wyvern!”, she said noticing the skeletal frame of the dead beast.

    ~*~

    Karnwyr managed to get Bishop and the boy to a near by cave. When she approached the mouth, she heard Karnwyr growl low in his throat. Sabre walked out in front and bared his fangs.

    “Easy, pack brother.”, she called out to Karnwyr, “It’s me. Karnwyr, this is my pack brother, Sabre. Sabre, I wouldn’t have gotten as far as I did if it weren’t for these two. Bishop and Karnwyr helped me find you and Thaeja. There is no need for alarm.”, she said and immediately went to the boy.

    Carefully rolling the child over, she looked at the large nasty gash along his back. She winced as she was sure he was in pain. And just as she had expected, the wound was already starting to foam from where the Wyvern struck.

    Using her magic, she placed her hands over the boy. A light green nimbus began to glow around her hands and over the wound. The sounds of open flesh moving began to fill the cavern and a thick dark green liquid started to pool in front of her hands. Bishop, coming to from being knocked unconscious, watched for a moment.

    “What the hell is that?”, he asked, his voice cracking.

    “What we fought wasn’t a dragon. It was a Wyvern.”, Mysidia said finishing up her spell. She moved her hand over and the pooled poison ball flew to the other side of the cave and hit the rock wall, crashing and splashing into the ground. She gently touched the wound to see if she had gotten all of the poison. The boy moaned unconsciously.

    “What’s…the difference?”, Bishop asked, trying to stay awake.

    Mysidia tore at a shirt she had packed in her bag and emptied one of the water skins on it. With the soaked makeshift rag, she began to dab on the wound lightly, trying to clean away the debris that was attached. While she was working on the boy, she explained her comment. “Dragons have four limbs and a set of wings. Wyverns have two limbs, legs, and wings. Their tales are also…”, she was interrupted by Bishop’s inevitable retching. She looked at him worried and continued, “…poisonous.”

    Once the boy was stable enough, she moved over to Bishop. Leaning close, she saw the large gash on his side and ribcage. She took her fingers and moved gingerly around the wound. When Bishop sucked in a mouthful of air in pain, Mysidia apologized. “Sorry. I have to see how deep the wound is.”

    She looked into his eyes for a moment to see if his pupils were dilated from the poison moving into his system. When she saw them dilate while looking back, she smiled softly. “Off with the armor.”

    “Not that I mind the order, Ladyship, but there are easier ways to see me naked.”, he said and smirked. Another wave of nausea crashed over him and he turned his head to vomit again. She created another makeshift rag and soaked it before wiping his face.

    “Really, Bishop?”, she said helping him out of his armor. “I’m a High Priestess. Healing is kinda my thing and you aren’t the first male I’ve treated with serious injuries. I’m also not a maid.”, she said and put her fingers on the wound, causing him to yelp in pain. Her point was made. “Help me get you out of your fucking armor.”

    Once his armor was removed and tossed to the side, she leaned in close to get a better look. “You’re lucky.”, she said finally. “Another half an inch higher and you wouldn’t be able to talk to me.”

    She nodded to Sabre. “Grab my herb bag and bring it.”

    Bishop looked up and was shocked to find a very large dire wolf moving quietly about the cave. His eyes went as large as saucers. “Holy shit! What the fuck is that?”

    “Bishop, Sabre. Sabre, Bishop.”, she said and rummaged through the bag her wolf brought her.

    Sabre was the largest wolf Bishop had ever seen. Mysidia’s wolf had Karnwyr by at least a hundred pounds and another several inches bigger, all the way around.

    “You didn’t tell me he was a dire wolf, princess.”, Bishop said whispering to her.

    “I wasn’t going to tell you because I didn’t need hunters or trappers tracking him down and taking him as a trophy. Besides, “ she said smirking. “Size doesn’t really matter.”

    Sabre started to laugh and Karnwyr couldn’t help but join in. Karnwyr didn’t think anything of it. They were two different species. Bishop pouted not saying a word.

    Mysidia’s attention was immediately diverted when the boy began to shake. She cursed and dropped what she was doing to tend to him. She shook her head. “I was worried about this. I don’t know how long the poison was in his system…”

    She did another round of magic to remove more of the poison. Bishop could tell it was an intricate process by the way Mysidia’s face contorted in concentration. Bishop tried to hold back the coughing that started to tickle his throat, but couldn’t. Mysidia looked at him and shook her head. Then she addressed her wolf.

    “You’re going to have help me, Sabre. I can’t cast on both of them. You’ll have to work Bishop while I work on the boy.”, Mysidia said and nodded her head towards Bishop.

    “What?… Sabre knows how to treat a wound?”, Bishop asked. The moment Sabre got close to him, he tried to shrink back.

    “No. If Sabre and I are close to one another, he has the ability to tap into my magic and allow dual casting. It’s not something that we both do very often. It depletes me pretty quickly…and…”, she stopped looking worried. “…it uses up some of Sabre’s life force.”

    “What… doing it too much…and he could die?”, Bishop asked looking at the wolf.

    “Yes.”, Mysidia said in a small voice. “We’re running out of options and time. I can’t save the two of you by myself.” She stopped and shook her head. “And this is why having an extra healer would have been a good idea.”

    Bishop coughed up a spray of blood. His hands shook realizing the severity of his wound. “Don’t start, princess. I don’t want my last thoughts to be of Casavir.”

    Mysidia looked annoyed at him. “You’re not going to die. Not on my watch. Now sit still so Sabre can do what he needs to!”, she snapped.

    The massive wolf stalked up to Bishop and snarled his immense canines, showing a threatening display. The growl he let loose rumbled Bishop’s chest from the inside out. “Uh… Mysidia?”, Bishop asked unsure.

    “Sabre, it’s all right.”, Mysidia said in a soothing voice. She turned to Bishop. “He doesn’t like when I get upset. Now stop interrupting me.”

    Sabre lowered his head and an eerily blue aura surrounded the two of them. Wispy tendrils of blue and white energy swirled around Bishop and Sabre howled, lifting his head. The sound echoed through the cave, giving it a beautiful melodic sound. Karnwyr couldn’t help but join in and the two of them lovingly sang their primal song in an ancient duet that had been long heard through to the dawn of time.

    Bishop couldn’t help but relax at the sound. His eyes became heavy and his amber eyes looked over at Mysidia who also had a similar halo around her. The boy’s body seemed to relax as another pocket of poison was removed from his system. Beads of sweat began to form on her forehead.

    Whatever pain Bishop felt from the poison that was injected into his system, melted away as his body relaxed. He felt the drawing sensations as the poison left his body. The nausea was gone and the only thing that remained was to heal the wound. The Wyvern’s venom had been removed. Bishop was sure of it. And he sighed as the anxiety left with vicious liquid.

    “Thank you.”, he said to the wolf. Exhaustion got the better of him and he found himself lulled off to sleep as the howls echoed through the cavern walls.

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