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  • Dodongo79
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    (Writer’s Note: Some of the dialogue was taken directly from the mod. This chapter contains explicit sexual content. You’ve been warned.)

    Chapter 10

    Bishop was in and out of consciousness for what seemed like a week. Every time he’d open his eyes, he’d see Mysidia close to him, wiping sweat from his brow or giving him a cooling gulp of water. The vomiting stopped after the third time he came to, thank the gods. His stomach muscles burned from the exhaustion and the back of his throat felt raw and scratchy from the acid that came up.

    He laid silent and took a quiet inventory of his extremities. His legs didn’t seem so sore. His arms had let go of the fire that was shooting through his veins. His head wasn’t pounding. He could even taken in a deep breath without coughing. Was it over? Was the hell he was going through, really over?

    “Ah, you’re awake. Good morning.”, he heard Mysidia’s voice near him. He still kept his eyes closed. He wasn’t ready to use them, yet. “Or I should say, good evening.”, she said coming closer. Her voice was soft, soothing. The closer she got to him, the richer that orchid scent became. He would forever associate the flower with her. Orchids and musk…a scent as sensual and exotic as she was.

    He felt a firm cool hand on his head and he groaned softly lifting his chin. More orchids, more musk. She must have just bathed, he thought to himself. He slowly popped open an eye to see her heart shaped face fuzzily come into focus.

    “Evening? How long was I out?”, Bishop’s voice cracked under the dehydration.

    “Almost two days.”, her voice replied.

    He finally mustered up the strength and opened both eyes to see Mysidia in Barbaric armor she’s carried with herself. And she was indeed clean. Her hair was down and it hung thickly to beneath her waist in full dark brown waves. The waves curled under the dampness.

    “Mmmm. You’re a sight for sore eyes.”, he said grinning.

    Mysidia simply smiled softly. She leaned in to look under the bandage he wore. Her eyebrows rose surprised and pleased. “You’ve healed quicker than I thought you would.”, she said and placed what felt like damp mud on his skin. She lowered the bandage again and nodded towards it. “Keep that bandage on with the clay I’ve added to it. It’ll keep you from scarring.”

    He tried to prop himself up and his muscles shook violently under the strain. He slipped back down completely confused and drained. “What the hell…?”

    “You’ve had Wyvern poison running through your system for quite a while. It’s going to take some time to your body to gain its strength back.”, she said and moved towards the boy, who seemed no better than when they first arrived.

    “How’s the kid?”, Bishop asked.

    Mysidia sighed, closed her eyes, and shook her head. “From the amount that I’ve pulled out of him, he should have died by now. Divines bless him, he’s strong. It’s only by Amaya’Fae’s abundant mercy that he’s remained unconscious this whole time. The seizures he’s been having are brutal.”

    He watched Mysidia tend to the boy with a tender care. She absently chewed at her lip as she raised the furs higher on the boy, to keep him warm. She turned over her shoulder and looked at the burning embers where the fire once burned. She squinted for a moment before whispering a word. Instantly, the fire kicked back up and generated a fair amount of heat for the cave.

    “Neat trick”, Bishop mentioned.

    “The longer I’m here in Skyrim, the easier some of my abilities are becoming. It shouldn’t be long before I’ll be able to shift.”, she said and wiped the boy’s brow.

    “Shift?”, Bishop asked.

    Mysidia only smiled in response. “Save your strength, ranger. There’ll be plenty of time for questions after you’ve healed.”

    All at once, Bishop’s stomach growled. It growled so loud that Mysidia heard it from the other side. She chuckled softly and nodded. “That’s a good sign.”

    “I didn’t realize how hungry I was.”, Bishop said. He didn’t even have to ask. Mysidia immediately got up and went to the fire to ladle what looked like stew into a few makeshift bowls. She walked over to him and handed him the hot meal. He took a huge slurp. “I didn’t know you cooked.”

    “Easy, ren’quari. You haven’t had solid food in your stomach for a few days. Scarfing it down will only make it come back up.”, she said placing a hand on his shoulder. When he slowed his eating down, she continued. “I cook when I have reason to do so.”

    “Mmm. Wow. This is really good.”, he said eyeing the rabbit stew. Before he said anything else, she spooned some more into his bowl. He watched her walk back to the boy and tend to him.

    He watched her for a few moments, eating the stew. The warmth of the broth soothed him and he found himself growing sleepy. She checked the boy’s head with the back of her hand and watched him sleep. She took such care in tending to the boy, he wondered if she left behind children of her own.

    “You ever think about having a few, ladyship?”, Bishop asked.

    She turned her head to Bishop and thought for a moment, considering the question. When she turned back to the child, she pursed her lips. “I would be lying if I said I haven’t thought about it once… maybe twice in my life.”

    “But?”, he nudged the conversation along.

    “Then I helped one of my priestess sisters assist in a birth.”, she said and a vacant stare shone in her eyes as if remembering a specific memory. “And… well, that was the end of that.”

    Bishop coughed, feeling the broth almost slipping down the wrong pipe. He laughed for a moment and wiped his chin. He finished his stew and laid back down. The nourishment felt good in his stomach and the heat was doing a decent job relaxing him back to sleep.

    He doesn’t know how long he was laying with his eyes closed. He wasn’t sure if he drifted off to sleep or not. He opened his eyes at the sound of paws shuffling across the cavern floor. He lifted his head and saw two wolves jogging up to them both. Karnwyr immediately sought him out and happily licked his face seeing his master alive and well.

    Sabre approached Mysidia and after a few quiet moments, she allowed her shoulders to slump and her head hang. She looked over at the boy and bit her lip to prevent the tears that were forming in her eyes.

    “There’s nothing left.”, she whispered out. “Sabre said that the small fishing village, where the boy ran from, is gone.”

    “What are you going to do?”, Bishop asked, knowing full well whatever decision was made was not going to be an easy one.

    “I can’t move him, just yet. He’s still hanging on by a thread.”, she said, unable to look in Bishop’s direction.

    It wasn’t until that moment that Bishop began to see how exhausted she really was. Large dark circles clung to Mysidia’s eyes. Her violet eyes were pale, almost gray in color as if she didn’t have the energy to keep them the vibrant shade they usually were. Her voice was so thin. He didn’t know how long she slept, if she did at all. If they were both suffering from the poison, Mysidia more than likely didn’t get any sleep.

    Uncomfortable under Bishop’s stare, she got up and brushed her hands on her legs. She looked over at Karnwyr for a moment, obviously saying something to him. He chuffed a response and looked at the boy.

    “I’m going for a swim. I’ll be back in a while….”, she said and grabbed her backpack. “I just… I need a break.”

    She didn’t even look in his direction. She was crying, he was sure of it. Especially since her voice trembled before she left. He allowed her, her dignity. If she wanted to cry in front of him, she would have. She probably didn’t do it in front of people all that often, he thought. Considering all that she had been through, even before she came to Skyrim, she probably wasn’t given the luxury of a breakdown. Divines know she was entitled to at least one… or two.

    Bishop sat up slowly and felt the pinch of his wound. Even though the majority of it healed, the new skin had yet been stretched through movement and that was something that time itself would take care of. He placed his hand on the wall next to him as he steadied himself to stand.

    It probably wasn’t one of his better ideas. The entire cavern began to sway and spin. He closed his eyes for a moment and shook his head, trying to clear it. He concentrated on his breathing for a few moments before opening up his eyes. The trick seemed to work.

    Using his hand as a guide, and leaning up against the cavern wall, he slowly made his way down the walkway that Mysidia went. Luminous phosphorescent mushrooms dotted the walls, giving the cavern a very eerie light. Skyrim Lunar Moth cocoons also held their own glowing light and each twinkled like living diamonds on the ceiling and along the walls. It was just enough to see where you were walking so that you didn’t trip over anything.

    He carefully followed the sounds of running water. The sound poured out into an enormous grotto where the water pooled under a natural skylight in the cave. It was dark out and the stars flecked the velvet night sky.

    He stood there for a few moments, allowing his eyes to adjust to the lack of light. Mysidia was at the edge of the pool, sitting in the position she was often fond of: knees up to her chest and arms locked around her legs so that she was able to rest her chin on her knees.

    She had a large bottle next to her filled with a dark liquid. He watched as she wiped a tear from her face and take a swig. A light breeze carried her scent towards him. He also caught the scent of really strong alcohol. This was either going to be a really interesting night or it was going to end very badly, he thought. What he didn’t account for was her wolf, and he was keenly in the darker part of the cavern. Two green eyes shone in the darkness ahead of him.

    Mysidia lifted her head and looked toward her wolf. Then she shook her head and put the bottle out to the side of her. “Didn’t your mother ever teach you not to stare?”

    Bishop thought about turning around and giving her the privacy she sought for. Something deep down told him to stay, however, and he walked over to her. Carefully, and wobbly, he sunk down on the ground next to her and picked up the bottle she offered him.

    He sniffed for a moment, unable to place what drink she was imbibing. The vapors were strong and the pungent odor caused him to clear his throat. She watched him out of the corner of her eye.

    “Go easy. That’s no normal mead.”, she admitted.

    Feeling as though his manhood were being tested, he gawked at the remark and took a healthy swig. The moment the fire hit his tongue, he realized he was truly unprepared for whatever was in that bottle. He swallowed the liquid fire and as it crashed into his gut, he couldn’t help but cough. Once he got over the burn, a delicious fruit flavor remained along with the familiar taste of honey.

    “What is this?”, he asked hoarse.

    “Rhydian Mead. I brew my own. I find that Skyrim’s is too weak for my tastes.”, she said and took the bottle out of his hand, taking a huge mouthful.

    Not even a flinch! Either she was really good at hiding the pain or she was that used to whatever it was in that bottle. And yet, he couldn’t help but taking another drink. This time, however, the world around him began to spin and the colors took on a completely different vibrancy. Mysidia finally turned her head towards him and laughed.

    “My brother’s recipe is a little on the strong side. Don’t go drinking it all. That’s the last of it. I can’t brew any more, here.”, she said and placed the cork into the bottle and off to her other side. When Bishop simply looked at her in question, she nodded and said, “It’s the fruit. Skyrim doesn’t have anything close to what I use. At least, not that I’ve found.”

    “Tastes like a berry.”, he said. Suddenly, his face went numb. He looked at his hands oddly. Mysidia laughed.

    “You don’t strike me as a lightweight, Bishop.”, she said.

    “Go ahead, laugh. It’s probably the only time you’re going to be able to.”, he said and watched her lift her head and look towards her wolf’s direction. She squinted her eyes for a moment, concentrating. Sabre got up lowered his head and left towards their camp.

    “What’s it like?”, he asked nodding towards Sabre. “Being able to hear them..?”

    Mysidia paused for a moment. She lifted her head off her knees and looked around at everything. “I really don’t have anything to compare it to. My earliest memories are being able to Listen.” When she turned and saw the disappointed look on his face, she tried to formulate a response. “Well, there’s this whole new layer to everything. At first you hear it as mumbling… because it’s a language you’re not familiar with. Then, as you start to focus, it slowly starts to make sense. There isn’t one thing living that doesn’t speak. Everything from the tallest tree to the smallest bug. There’s always something to hear.”

    Bishop looked at everything and thought about it for a moment. He noticed each mushroom, heard the distant screech of bats, felt the breeze on his face. Consciously considering each lifeform around him overwhelmed him. “And you hear… ALL of them?”

    “Well, it’s not like they all talk at once. But, yes.”, she said. “It’s like having a veil removed from you that you didn’t think was there. And once it has been removed, you realized that you did know all along.”

    “I almost wish I could hear it…them.”, he admitted. The effects of the mead were doing the job and he felt himself relax around her.

    Mysidia faced him and looked at him. She allowed her eyes to take in every inch of him. From his hair, to his wide shoulders, to his waist and to his legs. “Keep looking at me like that, princess, and it will get you in trouble.”

    She disregarded his comment. “I might be able to do it. You are pretty in tune with nature as it is.”, she said and reached out to him, touching his hair. She traced her fingers over his forehead and down his face. He found himself lulled by her touch. She continued tracing her fingertips over his stubble, down his neck, lightly caressing his shoulder. She stopped when she saw the look on his face. “I should be able to do a short term enchantment, at any rate. Not tonight, though… I’m exhausted and completely tapped out.”

    He wanted her to continue. The touch wasn’t enough. He laid back and threw an arm over his eyes, kicking himself in the ass for making the “not my type” comment. He knew that was the comment she kept coming back to whenever she got near him. What if he just told her he didn’t mean it? It wouldn’t be a lie…

    His train of thought was completely derailed when he heard a splash hit the water. He sat up and saw Mysidia’s pile of clothes next to the bank and the surface water broken where she had dived in. He raised an eyebrow at the pile. He took inventory of every piece and realized that she was very naked in that water.

    A large sloppy wide grin peeled across his face as he took off his shirt and pants. He stood on the rocky edge and looked into the water. She had been down there for quite a long time. She better not have hit her head…

    “The water is warm. There’s a geothermic fissure underneath towards the bottom.”, her voice came right next to his feet. He stumbled completely startled and fell into the water. Mysidia put a hand up to her mouth and held back her laugh. Her purpose in telling him wasn’t to scare him. She guessed he didn’t hear her swim up.

    As she was wading and treading water, staying in one place, she swished around looking for him. Then, she felt a hand grip her ankle and yank her under water. With a huge gulp of air into her lungs, she went under and looked at the inky shadow that was Bishop. She giggled and little bubbles left her mouth and nose, floating to the top.

    Bishop saw her gracefully swish under the water. Her long dark hair was a thin veil that feathered out around her in an ethereal wave. Using her long legs, she kicked back and forth, pushing herself towards the surface. Bishop swam next to her and came up for air.

    They both sat and looked at one another for a moment. Beads of water spiked his thick eyelashes. Her hair was smoothed away from her face and her pointed elfin ears were visible. He didn’t really notice them before because her hair usually covered them. She had several piercings in both, equal places keeping perfect symmetry on both ears.

    “Tell the truth, sweetness, was it always co ed bathing?”, he said and swam closer to her.

    Mysidia smirked. For a split second, he recognized the inebriation the mead brought. He wasn’t quite sure exactly how much she had drank before he got there. So, she was either very good at hiding it or she didn’t have that much.

    “Usually.”, she admitted. “We’re not so uptight about our bodies.”

    Bishop’s eyes widen “Oh, I’m not uptight, princess. Feel free to get naked around me…ANYtime. In fact, I hope you never put your armor back on. I’m LOVING what I’m seeing right now.”

    It was Mysidia’s turn to get closer. She allowed her leg to get between Bishop’s. Her other leg was around his hip and she placed her arms around him. She watched him clench his jaw and swallow the non existent lump in his throat.

    “Do you, ren’quari?”, she said, the musical lilt of her language heavy on her tongue. His face came close to her. She could feel his breath on her wet skin. Her hair fanned out and blanketed both of them.

    “How would you say “my ranger?”, he asked, his eyes trailing down her face to her lips.

    Mai ren’quari.”, she said, her accent thick.

    He closed his eyes for a moment as the words moved over him. “Mmm. I like the sound of that.” He pushed her into his embrace and he lowered his head to her neck. “I love the way you smell.”

    He couldn’t hold back. He allowed his hand to get lost in the tendrils of her hair, and he reached up with the other to grab a hold of the rock ledge for leverage. Holding her, she floated with him, her skin brushing up against his. Her heart thudded loudly in her chest.

    He lowered his mouth to hers and stole a kiss. She gently parted her lips for him. He feverishly slid his tongue along hers, the need apparent. His hand slid down her back and along the outside of her thigh, lifting it. His knuckles brushed just underneath her buttocks, feeling her most tender spot. A gasp tore out of her mouth at the feel of his hand. She threw her head back and began to roll her hips as a result. His mouth found her throat and he nipped as he ran his knuckles gently up and down her slit. He knew she was losing all sense of control.

    She slid her hand down and found the erection that she knew was there. His amber eyes looked deep into hers, hardly believing any of this was happening.

    “Lay with me tonight, Mysidia.”, he said, the beg in his voice. He placed her hands on the rock ledge and swam around her, his chest at her back. Lifting her thighs up into a seated position, his hands came up around to the front, moving up to her breasts. She sucked in her breath, unable to formulate a coherent thought.

    “Mmm. What was that, sweetness?”, he gently growled in her ear.

    She swallowed, trying to get her wits about her. It took everything she had. “Sex complicates things, Bishop.”

    “Do you have any idea what you do to me?”, he asked holding her close. The friction of their skin sent shivers down her spine.

    She turned around and faced him, parting her legs She lowered herself just enough to rub the edge of her inner thighs along his length. His breath shuddered. She reached down and gently stroked him. With a playful smile she said, “Oh… I have a general idea.”

    “You little minx.”, his voice full of gravel. He leaned in and nipped at her collar bone and the sensation instantly pricked at her nipples.

    “I don’t want complications, Bishop.”, she breathed into his ear.

    “You sound like you speak from experience.”, he said and moaned softly at the feel of her. She simply nodded, her eyes a shade of dark purple he’d never seen before. “There won’t be any complications, princess.”

    Mysidia leaned back for a moment and it almost felt like they were going to come together right there and then. Mysidia leaned over and kissed him, showing him exactly how much of “not a maid” she was. Everything about her was surreal. She was too soft, too hot, too slick…the scent of her, it was driving him mad. He needed to have her.

    But as quickly as the fire started between them, she ended it. She quickly moved out of his embrace and swam to the side of him before he realized what had happened. She broke her kiss and looked at him in the eyes. “Have you forgotten? One of your “complications” threatened my life.”

    She slipped out of the water with her hand leaving his face. It took him a few moments to remember back to the female thief in Whiterun. Turning around he sank under water and yelled his frustrations as loud as he could. A large cascade of bubbles exploded from his mouth and rushed to the top of the water.

    By the time he calmed himself, she was gone. And all he had left was a heap full of frustration and the memories of moments past burning in his mind.

    Dodongo79
    Participant
    Post count: 67

    Chapter 11

    The sun was breaking through the cavern and illuminated the quartz veins strewn throughout the rocks. Mysidia slowly opened her eyes and blinked away the sleep. The first thing she noticed was the boy’s labored breathing. It had been all of two weeks since they had been living in that cave and the child’s health hung by a thread. He wasn’t getting worse, which relieved her. But, he wasn’t getting better, either. His life was in flux and she wasn’t sure why.

    She rolled over to see how Bishop fared. He hadn’t said one word to her since their time in the grotto. She couldn’t blame him. The longer she thought about what she did, the worse she felt. That was cruel, even for her.

    “Yes, it was, Alpha Sister.”, she heard Sabre say.

    She looked down at her feet to see her wolf’s face blinking at her. She cleared her throat. “You know I hate when you do that, Sabre.”, she scolded. They had traveled long enough for Sabre to be able to hear her thoughts. He didn’t do it often. At least, he didn’t admit that he did it that often.

    “Then you shouldn’t think so loudly.”, Sabre said and placed his head on his paws.

    Mysidia childishly rolled her eyes and in a mumble, mocked Sabre’s voice. When she noticed Bishop gone she looked about, concerned. His bedroll didn’t look like he had slept in it at all. All of his things were still scattered about, so he was still there…just not around her at the moment. With the way she left things, she half expected to see him gone one morning.

    “No, he hasn’t left. He’s been at the grotto all night.”, Sabre said watching Mysidia.

    Mysidia sat up and threw off her blanket. “Would you stop!?”

    “I would, dear sister, if I knew why this human meant so much to you?”, Sabre said and leaned back on his hind legs to stretch his front. He gave a yawn, pulling back his ears and shook his head in a canine manner.

    “Why are you so curious?”, Mysidia evaded the question.

    Sabre looked at her for a moment and then blinked. He snorted and began to walk. “You don’t have to answer me, sister. But you will have to come to terms with it…with him, sooner or later.”

    “Terms? There are no terms to come to. I find the plant, we head home. I finish my Rites to become Hierophant and I become Dryad. The end.”, she said annoyed.

    “Lies now, too?”, Sabre grinned.

    “Weren’t you going to do something?”, she snapped. Sabre bit his tongue and walked out of the cave…to hunt or relieve himself, or whatever so long as it wasn’t there picking on her.

    “I don’t mean to pry, pack sister. Whatever goes on between you and my brother is none of my concern.”, Karnwyr said following Sabre out of the cave. “However, you might want to give him something to occupy his thoughts other than the obvious.”

    Karnwyr didn’t wait to hear a response. He left the cave to follow after Sabre and left Mysidia to stew in the mental hell she placed herself in. At the very least, she should apologize. Despite the chastising her wolf gave her, none of it was misplaced.

    Swallowing her pride, she got up and tried to think of the right words to say. Admitting wrong was never her strong suit. She gave a final look to the boy, hoping that she had seen some sign she was needed near him. She watched his little chest rise and fall in the rhythm he had been keeping the entire time they were in the cave.

    Sighing, she began to walk towards the grotto. She tried to come up with a plausible excuse, even tried to turn the blame on him. Oh for heavens sakes, Mysidia. Just apologize and be done with it! If she is to be Dryad, as she said she wanted to be, apologizing to him shouldn’t be an issue.

    And yet, Sabre’s words kept bouncing through her head. Did he mean anything to her? She cared about him, sure. They had been traveling together long enough that she cared about his well being. Why would she have gone through the trouble of saving his life?

    She shook her head and entered the large cavern when she saw Bishop with his back to her. Other than his muscular physique she noticed, she also made the discovery that he was very naked and one of his arms propped up on the wall ahead of him.

    Curiously, she walked in, making sure she was silent. Her eyes followed his contours when she realized where his other hand was and what he was doing with it. She bit her lower lip hard enough to hold back the gasp she wanted to let go.

    In that intimate private moment, she couldn’t help but watch. She admired the way his muscles flexed and moved as he worked on himself and she heard his soft panting echoing off the wall ahead of him. For reasons she couldn’t explain, he was so beautiful to her in that moment. All of his abrasiveness and ego had been shed and the vulnerability was alluring…was real.

    She turned to let him have his moment and started to walk away. She heard him groan as he finished and her name left his lips. She stopped dead in her tracks. He was thinking of her! A flush creeped up her cheeks and she fled, quietly running back to camp.

    She dove into her bedroll and turned to face the boy; in the same position she was when she woke up. She closed her eyes and couldn’t stop replaying the image in her mind. Up until that moment, she thought every flirtatious thing he said, every snide comment, every physical touch, was merely a game to him. He enjoyed riling her up, at least that’s what she told herself.

    He had made it abundantly clear day one; she was not his type. What if it had been a lie? What if he did, in fact, want her? “Oh Divines save me.”, she whispered. The only reason why she was able to keep it together was because she thought him insincere. If it had been a lie? It would be her total undoing.

    Sabre’s words echoed while the image replayed. She squinted her eyes closed and wanted to bang her fists against her head. “Stop it, stop it, stop it!”, she muttered through clenched teeth.

    She exhaled slowly and relaxed. The boy…focus on the boy. What was she to do with him? He wasn’t getting better and the longer he held on, the longer it had to be painful for him. She started to say a prayer to her goddess, reciting the words she memorized as a child. She prayed for the boy’s release, whatever that outcome was to be. “Great Mother, have mercy.”, she prayed.

    She was so deep in prayer that she didn’t hear the shuffling behind her. She also didn’t pay attention to the closeness feeling she should have felt.

    “Enjoy the show, princess?”, Bishop’s voice purred close to her ear. It startled her and she jumped, moving forward.

    She turned over and looked at Bishop. Amber fire looked back and his clean musky scent wafted towards her. Her breath quickened. She swallowed and her eyes followed their way down to his waist. She closed her eyes coming to the realization… “You’re naked.”

    “So I am.”, he said and looked down. “Want to keep me warm?”

    Shaking her head she pushed herself back and turned her face. “Get dressed. I need to talk to you.”

    Coyly smiling, he spread his hands around him. “I don’t see what one has to do with the other.”

    Shaking her head in defeat, she pushed past everything that flooded her mind. “Fine. Have it your way.”

    She threw off her blanket and placed it over his groin. She ran her hands through her hair trying to get her thoughts together. “I wanted to apologize for the other night.”, she started. She looked at him. When he realized she was serious. He sat with his back against the wall and his legs out in front with the blanket draped over his lap. The way he was sitting, his stomach muscles bunched and rippled.

    “Go ahead.”, he said and crossed his arms.

    “It was cruel of me to end it the way I did.”, she said and looked up at him. Even though his face was hard, his eyes held the same dangerous fire they had that night. It looked like that night left him haggered, too. “However, my point stands. I won’t become another one of your… complications.”

    He watched her for a moment, his eyes moving down her body. “Is that what you think? Have you so little faith in me?”

    “Give me one reason why what I think isn’t valid.”, she said and crossed her arms about her, sitting in her usual pose.

    He got up and moved towards her. The moment he got near, she held her breath and a nervous look took over her face. He placed his finger under her chin and pushed up, forcing her to look into his eyes. “I won’t leave your side, come morning. You have my word.”

    She believed him. She broke her gaze and turned her attention back to the boy. It was then he realized that while she had been cruel the other night, he didn’t exactly play fair either. He trailed his finger down her neck and her arm. She closed her eyes at the feel.

    “I know you have your plate full with the boy. Just answer me one question and I’ll let it go…”, he said and gently kissed her shoulder. She turned her face towards him and raised an eyebrow. “…for now.”, he said and grinned. “The other night wasn’t just to prove a point, was it, princess?”

    She looked at him for a few moments and traced her fingers on his lips. He gently nipped at them. She wondered how much she should tell him…how much was safe? Finally she said “No… it was more than that.”

    He sat up and placed a chaste kiss on his forehead. Then he got up and got dressed. She looked up at him and said. “I’m not finished, yet.”

    He raised his eyebrows in a response. “Oh? What do you have planned for me, ladyship?”

    She brushed her hands on her legs and stood up. She grabbed his hand, lead him out of the cave and into the midday sun. The smell of damp earth hit him and he had seen the light mist on the tall grasses around them. It must have rained that morning.

    She turned around and her long hair blew behind her. Her earrings shined in the sunlight that started to peak its way through the dissapating clouds. She took his hand and looked at his palm for a moment before lifting her head and looking at him in the face. The conversation earlier hand shifted the energy between them. That moment, she realized, everything had changed.

    “What do you plan on doing, ladyship?”, he asked, smoothing a piece of her hair away from her face.

    “Something that I should have done for you a long time ago.”, she admitted. She traced a circle in his palm and said a few words in her native tongue. He watched her trace a symbol on his palm three times . By the third time, a tingling sensation started to take hold and his hand grew warm. She came close to him and placed her right hand over his heart and her left on his back. She stood against him and closed her eyes. The top of her head rested against his forehead. He wasn’t used to a woman so tall. Her orchid scent fluttered around him and he closed his eyes relishing the feeling of her.

    After a few moments, he swore he could hear her voice in his head and where her hand was on his chest, the same tingling sensation took hold. Finally, she looked up and placed a gentle loving touch on his forehead. A tingling sensation also started, the same as the other two places. She tapped at the space between his eyebrows and took a step back.

    She waited. He curiously looked around him not understanding what was done to him. He was about to ask when he heard a soft whispering all around him. He grew suspicious at the sound. There was a mumbling, a buzzing of a language he couldn’t quite understand. When the breeze picked up, two birds flew over head and chittered their song.

    He flinched and watched them with wide eyes. “I… I can hear them!”, he exclaimed. “The birds. They’re singing…”, he paused trying to understand, “…about flying, and nests, and their eggs.”

    Mysidia laughed. “Yes, they usually do.”

    Then, all at once, he looked rapidly around him. Everything started to talk. The grass whispered amongst itself. The ladybug on a nearby leaf spoke softly to the plant it was on. The birds raced around the skies singing about how it feels to fly. The trees began to introduce themselves to the ranger. He turned around and around in a circle, stumbling by making himself dizzy. Then he stopped and looked at her.

    “Is this what it’s like for you, all the time?”, he asked his eyes full of wonder.

    She walked up to him smiling and touched his face. “Yes.” She placed a tender kiss on his cheek. “This is only temporary, though. I’m unable to do this long term, as of right now. You have until sunset.” She fidgeted and looked down at her hands as if embarrassed. “I’m sorry I can’t give you longer.”

    “Don’t.”, he simply said. She gave him a beautiful genuine smile. The same smile she gave Casavir the time he eavesdropped on them both.

    She looked around Bishop and said “You can try it now.”, she said to something behind him.

    “Greetings, pack brother.”, Bishop heard a voice behind him. The voice was familiar and yet, not. He flashed around and saw Karnwyr sitting on his haunches staring at him.

    Slowly, Bishop sank down to his knees. “Karnwyr?” He reached out and his hand trembled. The two of them connected on a level that should have been from the start. Tears stung Mysidia’s eyes and a lump made it difficult for her to swallow.

    Karnwyr began rattling things off to Bishop, things he wanted to tell his human brother for so long and couldn’t. They discussed memories, events, people that have come and gone in their lives. Mysidia was right. Once the veil was removed, you somehow knew it was there all along. Everything about her made so much sense, now. Everything she did, how she acted. He thought about her wanting to be Dryad. Becoming an ultimate part of nature was the highest honor any person could achieve. He finally understood why it meant so much to her.

    He turned to thank her but she was gone. Not even her scent was left. She left to allow him the privacy of discovering since it was an unusually intimate moment.

    “The Druid left awhile ago, brother.”, Karnwyr said. “She is… most unusual.”

    Bishop looked towards the cave and couldn’t disagree with his furred brother. They sat and talked for hours about everything and nothing. The sun hung in the sky and moved its usual dance towards the horizon. And yet, it didn’t seem that long. The time flew and for the moment he knew what being blessed meant.

    Bishop was never a religious person. However, with everything Mysidia had shared with him, maybe acknowledging Amaya’Fae wasn’t such a terrible thing.

    “Ranger, I would speak with you, now.”, he heard a deeper voice behind him. He turned to see Sabre towering over him while he sat on the ground. Even from this angle, the dire wolf looked intimidating.

    Karnwyr gave a head bow and walked off towards the cave. The energy around Sabre shifted and Bishop shuffled uncomfortably.

    “What is it, Sabre?”, Bishop said and noticed the sun starting to set. They had about a half hour of sunlight left.

    “You need to understand the risk my alpha sister took in doing this for you.”, Sabre said and sat next to him watching the same sunset. The awesome power of him was incredible. Sabre was a very old soul. Bishop wasn’t sure how old, but the energy around the dire wolf was one that deserved profound respect.

    “Risk?”, Bishop asked. “She didn’t tell me of a risk.”

    “That is because my sister cares for you.”, Sabre said. “Where we are from, what she did for you is strictly forbidden. The vows she took as a Druid forbid such enchantments. So much so, that if her people found out, she could be put to death.”, Sabre said and blinked.

    Bishop’s stomach fell. The thought of her dying immediately made his chest tight. He absently rubbed the area over his heart. Sabre didn’t miss the gesture.

    “They don’t have to find out.”, Bishop said. “I won’t tell them.”

    “It isn’t a matter of revealing, ranger. The Great Mother knows. It will be up to Her to decide.”, Sabre said. The wolf sighed and hung his head. “I don’t mean to burden you. I simply want to be sure that my sister’s risks aren’t wasted.”

    “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”, Bishop snapped.

    “Sooner rather than later, it will be my time to cross over to the Ancestral Lands. Mysidia will take my crossing especially hard. I won’t leave her until I know for certain that she is cared for.”, Sabre said and looked at him. “For reasons she won’t tell me, she does these things for you. You need to make a decision, ranger. If you do not return what she feels, let her go so that she can find someone who does.”

    All this time, Bishop had Sabre wrong. Sabre didn’t hate him. Wolves don’t hate and it appeared that Dire Wolves didn’t hate, either. Sabre simply wanted to be sure that Mysidia wasn’t wasting her time with someone who simply wanted to conquer her and go. And if she did in fact, risk death just to give him a glimpse of her world. He had to come to a decision rather quickly.

    “I can’t just… tell her.”, Bishop admitted. He sighed and laid back in the grass struggling with a decision. “I’ve never known anyone like your Alpha Sister. Anything I come up with sounds hollow.”

    “Then you need to let her go.”, Sabre said and got up.

    Bishop sat up and turned to Sabre. He shook his head at the thought. “Maybe… “, he said and paused. “…you could help me.”

    ~*~

    The sun had set and Mysidia watched the remaining light fade from pink into hues of purple and dark blue. Bishop would be returning soon, she thought.

    That afternoon, after she had left him in the field with his wolf, she returned to the cave to start her prayers to the Great Mother. She begged for mercy… Not only on the child’s behalf but hers as well. She knew full well the danger in placing the enchantment on Bishop. She didn’t care. She owed him.

    The more she thought about becoming the Dryad, the more empty those words sounded. For the first time in her life, her destiny didn’t seem so cut and dry. She was so sure of what it was. She was so sure that becoming Hierophant was for her, she took her vows early. Her reasoning wasn’t without merit.

    The green ink in her skin was the aforementioned poisonous sap from the Sacred Tree. She received no ill side effects. Not even one muscle spasm. Nothing happened to her. And it was due to the lack of any effects that she felt sure it was her destiny to become Dryad.

    It was shortly after nightfall that Bishop came home with both wolves. Karnwyr was easily explained. They had plenty to say to one another. But Sabre? What could have possibly been so important for her wolf to say to him? She raised an eyebrow and watched her wolf walk in and circle at the end of her bedroll before laying down.

    “Nothing?”, she said to her wolf. Sabre opened up his gray eyes and looked at her for a moment, before closing them again and falling asleep. She turned to Bishop who was just staring at her. Not sure how to take the silent attention, she started to stoke the fire to get the flames to spring up.

    “Why didn’t you tell me what you did was forbidden?”, Bishop said finally, the edge on his voice clear.

    Mysidia lifted her head and looked at her wolf, realizing what their conversation was about. She shrugged. “It doesn’t make a difference.”

    “Come again?”, he asked raising his voice.

    She turned her head and looked at him. “I said it doesn’t make a difference. We’re not in Rhydia.”

    Bishop took two large strides closing in the distance between her and him. He looked at her and simply allowed his chest to rise and fall with the breath that wanted to be stolen from him. “It does, princess. Your goddess’ reach doesn’t just stop at Rhydia.”

    She looked up at him. “My people believe that our fates are written long before we’re born. If I am to die by Her hand, nothing you can do will stop it. If I am to become Dryad, She will overlook this transgression. I can run as far as my legs will carry me, it won’t make a difference. I’ll simply just die tired.”

    “Do you really believe that?”, he asked and chuckled.

    She shrugged and looked at the boy. “I’ve witnessed both. I’ve seen people cheat death. I’ve also seen what happens when you fight fate.”, she said and flopped down on her bed roll. “Up until a few days ago, I thought I knew.” She stroked the boys hair away from his face. “Now, I’m not so sure.”

    She took her usual posture and wrapped her arms around her legs. Bishop realized that if she were a wolf, she’d be sitting on her haunches. He surprised that he didn’t notice it before. Now that she had lifted that veil for him, everything around him took on a completely different meaning.

    He decided to give something a try; leave the games behind. He came up behind her and put his arms around her waist, gently pulling her back against him. She allowed herself to fall against him and place her head on his chest, enjoying simply being held. He stroked her hair and watched the fire lick its flames across the logs.

    “Thank you.”, he said finally and kissed the top of her head. When he didn’t hear her respond, he looked at her face. She had fallen asleep on him. He piled the blankets behind him and carefully positioned the both of them in such a way that she slept on him all night. He fought sleep just so he didn’t waste one moment not enjoying the feel of her.

    Dodongo79
    Participant
    Post count: 67

    (Writer’s Note: This was the song I had playing on repeat: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-XLc8rYh4M)

    Chapter 12

    Mysidia barely moved that night. Bishop would wake up every few hours to see if she was comfortable. He’d never admit it to anyone who asked, especially Mysidia, but he enjoyed holding her while she slept. He was also highly amused that she would lightly snore. Not enough to keep him awake, but noticeable.

    Mysidia, however little she moved, was not having a restful sleep. Some time during the night, right before dawn, she had a visitor and it would be a visitation that would change her forever.

    In the hours between night and dawn, when the world was quiet and deep in sleep, she heard a voice call out her name.

    “Mysidia.”, the voice said sure and strong, “Mysidia, wake up.”

    Had she just kept her eyes closed, she would have sworn she was back in Rhydia, in her fluffy bed, high in the tree canopy where her tribe dwelled. The voice reminded her of that home, of simpler times and moments of belonging.

    “Mysidia, open your eyes.”, the voice pleaded softly.

    She did. A large svelt man stood before her, with a long well kept white beard, and thick white hair kept in a braid. Two dark green eyes crinkled under aged sun weathered skin. He was dressed in a simple tunic and pants, but had several beaded necklaces around his thick neck that hung at various lengths down his body. The only other garment worth of note were the two bracers that had Mysidia’s tribe insignia on it; The Tree of Life with a wolf’s paw in the middle.

    “Bearsoul!”, she exclaimed and leaped up to embrace her adoptive father. He spread his massive arms and took her into a bear hug of an embrace. He smoothed her hair down her back as he felt her hug. A tiny sob shuddered her body. He took a step back and lifted her face to smooth the tears from her cheeks.

    “Shhh, there, there.”, he said in a deep comforting voice. Mysidia looked around her and saw that she was in the cavern she had been in for the past several weeks. She turned to see herself sleeping sound on Bishop’s chest, her arm around his waist. She looked back at Bearsoul and the reality began to sink in.

    “No…”, she said shaking her head from side to side. Tears spilled down her cheeks. “…no….”, her voice choked and small.

    “It’s all right, my daughter.”, he said allowing her time to process the events.

    “..you’re dead.”, she whispered. It was a statement of fact more than a question. Bearsoul gravely nodded and reached out again to wipe tears of pain from his adoptive daughter’s face.

    “Everything is all right, my child. It’s meant to be this way.”, he said and brought himself to hold her once more. He gently swayed from side to side with her, rocking her for comfort. “You were never meant to find that nirnroot.”

    She sniffled and looked up, wiping her own face. She looked about herself and the tiny sighs of hard sobbing choked the breath out of her. “Then, there’s no reason for me to stay….”

    “No. I came to tell you that you must stay here.”, Bearsoul said and gave her a stern look. “Your destiny is not in Rhydia.”

    “What?”, Mysidia asked, hardly believing her ears. “That’s nonsense. I’m supposed…”

    “You are to remain here and help these people. You were never meant to become Dryad.”, Bearsoul said, interrupting her.

    “No, no that’s impossible. I took my vows.”, she started and staggered back shaking her head. “The sap from the Tree is already in me. I… I didn’t get sick. I.. I …. didn’t…”, she looked down shaking her head in total disbelief.

    “Be that as it may, my daughter, becoming Dryad is not in your future. I don’t have a lot of time to convince you.”, he said looking at her. “You wouldn’t have been happy as Dryad, Mysidia.”

    “What?! That’s all I’ve ever wanted! I wouldn’t have gone through everything I did, sacrificed everything, if I didn’t want it!”, Mysidia shouted. “I thought you wanted me to be it, too.”

    Bearsoul sighed shaking his head. “I wanted you to be happy. That wouldn’t have made you happy.” He stopped and looked at Bishop holding Mysidia’s sleeping body. She turned her head and watched the two of them for a moment. She couldn’t help the smile that came to her face. Then she turned back to Bearsoul and shook her head.

    “Is it such a terrible thing?”, Bearsoul asked nodding towards Bishop, “To fall in love?”

    She gave a mocking laugh. “I do NOT love him!”

    Bearsoul gave her a look that clearly stated he didn’t believe her. She wrapped her arms around herself and looked away. She repeated the phrase over and over again in her mind, hoping that someone would believe it… Even her.

    “If you continue to fight your destiny, your path will be met with ruin and death. You have the ability to prevent any more tragedy, Mysidia. You need to make a choice.”, Bearsoul said and walked towards her. He hugged her once again and kissed the top of her head. “Whatever you decide, know that I have always been, and will be, proud of you.”

    “You’re leaving?”, she asked, fresh tears stinging her eyes.

    “It is time.”, he said and wiped the tears away. “I will never be truly gone, my child. The breeze that plays with your hair. The rain drop that tickles your cheek. The butterfly that lands on your hand. Close your eyes and open your heart. I am with you…and always will be.”, he said and backed away.

    Mysidia reached out with her hand. “No! No, don’t go…”, she cried. “…please.” She closed her eyes and felt the tears quietly streaming down her cheeks. “…don’t leave me…”

    “Hey… Hey!”, she heard Bishop’s voice whisper to her. She felt his hand wipe her cheek. She opened her eyes to see his face looking down at her, concerned. “Mysidia, are you ok?”

    Mysidia immediately sat up and sniffled, realizing that she was crying in her sleep. She wiped her chin and looked around frantically. Bishop placed a hand on her shoulder.

    “Another nightmare?”, he asked.

    Mysidia looked at him and blinked for a moment. She couldn’t even think of telling him what she had dreamt about. The lump in her throat began to build. She shook her head to give him an answer.

    Without thinking, she got up and went to the boy. When she saw the blue tinge to his lips, her heart fell. She felt his skin and got an icy reply. She let her head fall and her shoulders slumped. When he came over and saw the reason for her reaction, his heart hurt for her.

    “He must have passed in his sleep.”, Bishop said.

    Mysidia brought her knees up to her chest and let her head hang down. Everything Bearsoul had told her began to click. She turned her face to the boy and bit at her lip. She finally sighed and stood up. Bishop came up to her and wanted to hold her. She shook her head and turned away.

    “They’ll be plenty of time for that, later. There’s a ceremony that I have to perform.”, she said and looked at the boy. Sabre woke up and looked at Mysidia. Before he could ask, he smelled the light scent of death.

    “Hey, give yourself a moment. You are allowed, Mysidia.”, Bishop said looking at her.

    Again, she shook her head. It wasn’t going to change anything. Crying wouldn’t bring the boy back, nor would it bring back Bearsoul. She had to focus. She had a ceremony to perform and help the boy’s soul cross over. If she felt like it afterwards, she’d allow herself a moment to cry. “I need a few things… lavender, brine salt, linen… I don’t know if we’re near a town that would sell them.”, she said and looked back at Bishop. His face was hard but the softness in his eyes gave her the sympathy she needed.

    “Anything you need.”, he said and grabbed his bag. She nodded and rattled off what she needed. He finished getting dressed. Before he left, he turned to her and touched her face. She reached out and grabbed his hand, squeezing it gently.

    “Thank you.”, she said softly. Then she turned to the boy and began to prepare him for the ceremony. Sabre and Karnwyr followed him out of the cave.

    ~*~

    It took the better part of the day for both of them to do what it was they needed. Bishop got everything she had asked for and she performed the prayers and washed the body. When Bishop returned, Mysidia was sitting with her back against the cavern wall and chewing at her thumb absently. When he gave her the items she asked for, she didn’t waste a moment cutting the linen into strips and dipping it into a solution of brine salt and lavender that she had prepared.

    She worked quickly and was chanting something softly to herself while she did it. The whole cavern smelled of the lavender. The smell was relaxing but Bishop would never be able to smell the plant again without thinking about that moment. He watched her work with quick nimble fingers. An hour before sunset, she finished and stood in front of the child’s corpse. Mysidia looked completely emotionally ragged. It was taking everything in her power to keep it all together.

    She reached into her pocket and took out a necklace. She handed it over to Bishop and said, “This is for you. I made this while you were gone.”

    Curious, Bishop took the necklace in his hands. He had seen the insignia on it with the moonstone on the front. It was the necklace she always wore. He looked at her not sure what to say.

    “I don’t have any necklaces that don’t already have enchantments on it. That piece will allow you to Listen. The longer you keep it next to your skin, the more you’ll be able to hear like you did yesterday. It will take a little while for you to get used to it.”, she said.

    He turned the necklace over in his hand and had seen the Tree of Life with the wolf paw. He ran his fingers down the intricate workman’s ship. He looked up at her and said. “Thank you.” She nodded a response. “I don’t think I’ve ever asked this before… What is your tribe’s name?”

    Mysidia smiled softly. “Wolfsong.”

    He walked up to her and hugged her. She seemed to need one. And for a moment, he felt her let go of the pain and burden she had been holding. But as quickly as she let it go, she stiffened up and looked up at him.

    “Are you ok?”, he asked unsure what to say.

    She swallowed. “No…. but I will be.” She looked over at the dead child and pushed back the tears. “I need you to be there.”

    “Of course.”, he said completely serious.

    “No… not what I meant. The ceremony requires opposites to be there. Nature has shown us that everything has an opposite. Earth and sky, fire and water, man and woman…. it’s the balance that’s required. You just have to stand opposite of me. I will do all the talking.”, she sand and lowered herself to the body, placing her arms delicately underneath and lifting him.

    Bishop walked over to her and said. “I can do that.”

    “No. He was under my care. I have to.”, she said, her voice ragged. She lead them both through the cavern to the grotto.

    Bishop walked through into the large cavern, to have the sun setting light to illuminate everything around him. A small platform had been built right in the sun. Flowers surrounded it and a small makeshift pillow had been made. She lowered the body onto the platform and stood back. Bishop walked over to the other side, opposite of her and placed his new necklace on. He allowed the metal to lay in the middle of his chest. A strange and yet familiar pulling sensation started to tingle his skin. The enchantment had already begun.

    Mysidia lifted her hands up to the sky and quickly said a prayer in her native tongue. She held her hand over her heart and tapped her fist to it three times. He could tell she simply wanted to get through everything as quickly as possible. He didn’t know how she was keeping it all together as it was.

    “Great Mother, we lift your son to your care, to carry him over to his ancestors. See his crossing safely and cease his suffering forever more. The prayer taught to us through the ages has been handed down from Father to Son, Mother to Daughter. It is a calling to our people to see us over to the Ancestral Lands safely.”, she said and placed a hand lovingly on the boy’s wrapped face, “Son of the Great Mother, loosen the bonds on this living plane and become as you were before you were granted this body. Become energy, become spirit, become weightless and soar back to your people.”

    She took a step back and placed her hands in front of her and closed her eyes. Bishop realized that she was saying everything she had said before, in the common tongue so that he could understand it.

    She continued…

    “Lo, there do I see my Father.
    Lo, there do I see my Mother,
    And my sister, and my brothers,
    Lo there do I see the line of my people,
    back to the beginning.
    Lo, they do call to me.
    They bid me; take my place among them,
    in the halls of Valhalla;
    Where the brave may live forever.”

    She waved her arm over the body and white ethereal energy swirled around the body. A bright blue streak slowly came from the chest of the boy’s body and swirled around in the energy on the platform. It swirled so fast, a light breeze blew against their faces. It met with other strands of energy and flew high up into the air.

    Before Bishop could say anything, the boy’s ghost stood off to the side with a man and a woman behind him. They were smiling. Bishop concluded that they could only be the boy’s parents. And slowly, several other ghosts started to fill the cavern. As the prayer said, the line of the boy’s people came to cross him over.

    The boy looked at Mysidia and smiled warmly. “Thank you.”, he said in a whisper that seemed to echo over the cavern. She simply tried to smile through the tears. His parents smiled at her and she held up a hand to wave.

    Then one by one, they all started to disappear until it was only the boy who was left. He simply waved and smiled before he vanished. Before everyone was gone, she saw Bearsoul walk towards her. She couldn’t help but let out the sob that was trapped in her throat.

    “I love you, my daughter.”, he said and lead the boy back to the Ancestral Lands.

    “Until we see each other again.”, she said allowed the tears to fall off her face.

    Bishop knew who it was without even asking. Mysidia’s reaction that morning was the same as it was right then. Bearsoul had passed over and was showing her he had crossed safely.

    Bishop wanted to go over to her and hold her until the tears stopped. It was killing him not to. Instead of crumpling into a heap on the cavern floor, she looked at the body in an odd wonderment.

    “Destiny.”, she said finally.

    “What?”, Bishop asked unsure of where the word came from.

    “You had asked me a few days ago, what I believed in. I didn’t know then.”, she said and turned to him. “I believe in destiny…and I need to stop running from mine. I’m tired of people dying because of my lack of belief in it.”

    She turned to leave. He followed behind her. Just as they were about to walk down the pathway to the beginning of the cave, she looked at the platform one final time. She squinted her eyes for a moment and silently whispered a word. The platform exploded into flames, filling the cavern full of its orange light. All Bishop could do was watch silently, the flames dancing in his amber eyes.

    She grabbed her bags and headed out of the cave into the freshly starlit night. And as she threw her bags on her horse’s saddle, they heard a small explosion as the boys corpse burned through into the night. Mysidia’s dream to become Dryad had also died along with the boy and whatever remains of it burned with the corpse and left with the smoke into the night sky.

    Dodongo79
    Participant
    Post count: 67

    (Writer’s note: Some of the lines are taken right from the mod. This chapter has sexually explicit content. Viewer’s discretion is advised.)

    Chapter 13

    The Dragonborn was heading to Falkreath because her wolf had mentioned stashing the armor she crossed the Oblivion gate with. He mentioned it was in a cave near where they were caught. Sabre wasn’t too sure which cave it was and agreed to split up to cover more ground.

    “Be careful, Sabre. The hunters and trappers here would find your hide to be a huge trophy.”, Mysidia warned. “I can’t lose you.”

    “We will meet up in three days, Alpha Sister. Wisdom guide you.”, Sabre said and scampered off.

    It was unusually warm that evening and Mysidia was already in a peckish mood because of her wolf leaving. Bishop had given her space since the grotto. She needed time to grieve for Bearsoul. She had said that her culture didn’t view death the way most did and she put on a brave face… But Bishop heard the soft sniffles at night, when her back was turned. This wasn’t a Druid that understood the cycle of life. This was a daughter that was grieving because her father had passed.

    They decided to make camp and Mysidia tended to the horses before she got out her bedroll. Karnwyr curled up in a tight ball and slept near the campfire. Bishop was busy sharpening his blade. Mysidia came back and was wiping her brow with the back of her hand.

    “Is it always this warm, this time year?”, she asked and collapsed on her bedroll.

    “No. Not usually. The rising of the dragons might have changed the the ecosystem around here.”, he said without looking up.

    He had removed his armor and shirt. Mysidia threw an arm over her eyes to shield them from the firelight. A few fly away strands of her hair clung to her sweaty skin. She was miserable. Well…at least the mosquitoes weren’t bothering her. She was raised that all life is precious from the flea to the tree, but that didn’t mean that she got along with everything alive. Mosquitoes she could do without.

    She had managed to change into her barbarian armor that she picked up from a bandit camp raid they had done several weeks back. The exposed skin helped but she simply wasn’t used to the climate. It got too hot too quick and there was no adjustment period.

    Bishop stopped and watched Mysidia for a few moments, taking in every inch of her body. She had legs for days, according to him. He had noticed that she had tattoos on her lower legs, too. He didn’t remember seeing them.

    “When did you get those?”, he said and pointed his knife at her legs. She looked at him for a moment and then looked down.

    “Those are the first ones I’ve ever gotten.”, she said and resumed with her eyes closed.

    “I don’t remember seeing them.”, he mentioned.

    She turned towards him and smirked. “Usually because when I’m dressed like this, or less”, she gave him a look, “your mind isn’t on tattoos.”

    “What do you know…It’s not on them now, either!”, he said and sheathed his weapon hopping up. He came over to her and held out his hand.

    “Come with me, princess. There’s a decent quiet place to go swimming that’s not far from here. It’ll take the edge off the heat.”, he said.

    Mysidia placed her hand in his and he yanked up, pulling her up quickly to her feet. Her eyebrows rose at feeling his strength. She crashed into his chest. She wasn’t used to being thrown about so easily. She smiled at the thrill.

    He took her chin in his forefinger and his thumb and looked into her eyes. “Let’s go, ladyship, before I change my mind and find other ways to keep your mind off the heat.”

    He grabbed her hand and they jogged through the brush. It was dark out. She didn’t know how he was able to see anything without falling. The closer they got to the water, the louder the sound became. He was taking her to a waterfall. Once the brush cleared, she felt the cool spray on her face and she sighed at the feel.

    Lightning bugs blinked around them and the full moon cast it’s powder white light across the water. She was just looking around at the beauty of the wildlife around her, when she heard a loud splash and flinched as some of the drops landed on her.

    She got down on her knees and leaned over on the bank. She tried to see in the dark water where Bishop went. All she saw and heard was the waterfall crashing. Suddenly, two large arms come up out of the water and wrap around Mysidia’s bent body, throwing her into the water. She gasped at the surprise and rolled with the momentum.

    She splashed up to the surface and looked around. Bishop was swimming towards the waterfall and she could hear his laughter echo off the rocks. “The look on your face! That’s worth whatever’s coming my way.”

    Taking a large breath, she sunk down into the water and began to swim towards him. The water was dark and the moonlight did little to illuminate the water around her. As soon as she got near him, however, she could fuzzily make out his figure. Based on his movements, she could tell he was looking for her. She simply waited.

    Bishop heard her go underneath the surface so he was waiting for whatever she had planned. When a few moments ticked by, he grew worried. What if he threw her on a rock and she hit her head? He looked around and he didn’t see blood in the water. There wasn’t the familiar irony wet smell that blood carried. She was simply waiting.

    Her lungs began to burn with the lack of fresh oxygen entering them. She simply relaxed her body and barely moved so that whatever air was left in her lungs could be used sparingly. She just needed to wait long enough for Bishop to walk towards her a step or two. A small bubble eeked out of her mouth and floated up to the surface. She relaxed her body allowing the fear of drowning to wash over her like the water around her. She simply waited.

    Bishop, circled around frantic. “Ladyship?”, he said and placed his hands into the water to feel around. He took a step forward, spread his hands out. All he could feel is the water move around him. How long could she hold her breath? She never talked about swimming, where she was from. Maybe she said a spell before she went under the water? He circled around again and faced towards the waterfall. She was simply waiting…

    Once he took a step back, he felt the water immediately shift and a large body jumped out. He turned to see a leaping Mysidia flying right at him. His amber eyes wide with surprise. He compared it to a large sabre cat leaping on its prey. And here she was, throwing her total body weight at him and he wasn’t prepared.

    Her arms wrapped around him and he went with her, falling in the water. He felt her push off of him and come up again, getting another breath of air. Now it was Mysidia’s turn to wait. Drops of water dripped off her eyelashes and down her nose. She pushed a drenched strand of hair away from her face and turned around to try and find him under the water.

    “This is ridiculous.”, she muttered. Taking her fingertip, she touched the surface of the water and uttered a word softly. The molecules of the water immediately started to freeze. The ice took on a life of its own as it snaked around the water, free to form at its leisure. The crackling of ice crystals started to fill the air around them and the water began to get painfully cold. Bishop leaped out of the water, gasping air.

    “Damn you, woman!”, he yelled, his body shivering violently.

    “You didn’t think you were going to win that one, did you?”, Mysidia laughed shaking her head. She turned to head back to the bank, satisfied of her win. Bishop closed in quickly and she didn’t have time to react. He swiftly and nimbly undid the ties on her top. She turned around put her arm around her breasts. Her violet eyes wide with shock.

    “I’m naked.”, he said and grabbed her other hand a little lower than his waist to prove his point. “Fair is fair, ladyship.”

    She looked at him for a moment and shrugged, removing the rest of her garments. She flung them on the bank and turned back to him, standing completely revealed from her waist up. Bishop drank in her sights. “By the gods, you’re beautiful.”, he said exhaling. “I have to have you.”

    Mysidia lowered herself in the water and raised an eyebrow. “And if I refuse?”

    Bishop’s face grew dark. “Oh, to Oblivion with you, woman! Can’t you feel it? This desire is killing me! I want you in my bedroll right now! There will BE no regrets and no meaningless words.”

    “Ren’qari… I…”, she hesitated.

    “What?! What is it you want from me?!” Bishop yelled getting closer. The very sight of her in her natural state was sending him in a frenzy. She was unabashedly free. She bit her lip and looked down. “I’m not a poet or a bard, ladyship. So if you’re looking for either, seek elsewhere. I take what I want, when I want.”

    She shot up a look at him that immediately made him regret saying what he did. A mixture of sheer terror and fury turned vibrant violet to gray. She nodded slowly chewing on his last statement. “And that works for you….”, it wasn’t a question and he knew better than to answer. “…taking what you want.”

    Bishop sighed, feeling defeated. “That’s…not what I meant, princess.”

    She walked right up to him and placed her hands on either side of his face, forcing him to look at her. Her eyes looked back at his and he could simply feel the panic come off of her in waves. She stood her ground, however. As terrified as she was, she refused to show it.

    “Do you want to know why I’ve hesitated up to this point?”, she asked calmly. All he could do was nod. “It’s because I could see myself falling in love with you… very easily.”, she admitted. All Bishop could do was freeze. She continued, “But you, as you put it, “take what you want”, and give absolutely fuck all whatever misery you leave in your wake. I’m not opposed to a casual toss. I love it just as much as the next red blooded person, but I REFUSE to be conquered. I am not a country you pop a flag in and move on to the next uncharted land. And once you stop treating me like one, whatever this”, she said moving her hand back and forth between the two of them. “..is… will evolve into whatever it’s going to be.”

    She stopped and took a step closer, lifting his head again to look at her. “But…if you come at me without my permission, I will cut it off and wear it around my neck. “, she said dropping her hands. Bishop took a step back. He damn well knew she meant every word.

    She turned around to leave. Bishop grabbed her wrist and he prepared himself for a slap or for her to fly off the handle and attack him. She simply stopped and looked at him. He saw the tear threatening to leave her eye and stream down her cheek. He felt like such a shit. “Princess…”, he said and sighed realizing that the nicknames were inappropriate. “Mysidia. You have to know I would never…ever….”, he stopped and lifted his hand to her chin, turning her to face him. She chewed at the inside of her cheek to prevent herself from crying in front of him. “I…hate that anything like that happened to you. The truth is, princess, I can’t tell you what I feel because I’ve never had this before.”, he stopped and wiped the tear from her cheek. She wrapped her arms around her, feeling vulnerable and exposed. He wrapped his arms around her and held her close to his chest.

    She gently laid her head on him, hearing his heartbeat. “I know you wouldn’t, Bishop. If I had thought you would have, I would have left a long time ago.”

    He rested his chin next to her face. He felt her move her arms and wrap them around his waist, pushing her body against him. Everything in him stirred and he pulled back for a moment, looking down at her. She lifted her face and the moonlight caught the violet in her eyes. He lowered his mouth to hers and kissed her lips. She slipped her hands up his muscular back and lightly traced her nails across the nape of his neck.

    He broke from her and looked for a moment. With a swift movement, he bent down and lifted her off her legs, swinging her body to the side, carrying her out of the water.

    Under the moonlight, on a bed of purple wildflowers, he laid her body down softly. He started at her hairline on her forehead and traced a finger over her eyebrows, around her ears, gently over her cheeks, down her nose, brushing her lips, under her chin and stopped at her collarbones. She opened her eyes and looked at him curiously.

    His amber eyes a lit with a passionate fire; he said, “Tell me now, princess. Yes or no?”

    She took his hand to her mouth and inserted his index finger, sucking on it with slow deliberate pulls. She rolled her tongue over the tip of his finger and softly nibbled at it, watching his expression enjoy the sensation. He closed his eyes and knitted his brows together, while rolling his hips in a lustful instinct.

    “Does that answer your question, mai ren’qari?”, she said and allowed her language to accent her speech heavily.

    His voice rumbled in an animalistic moan. He lowered his body to her and passionately kissed at her mouth. She parted her soft natural red lips and massaged his tongue with her own.

    Balancing his weight on one arm, he used the other to trail his fingers down the valley and swell of her breasts, rubbing his thumb on an accepting nipple. Mysidia arched her back at the sensation and a soft moan tore from her lips.

    His mouth moved down her chin to her neck, giving it a soft playful nibble. The sounds she made vibrated his mouth as he licked down her throat to her collarbones. He loved the sound of her. The smell of orchids surrounded him and he found himself drowning in her. His hand traced every ridge, every slope, every curve. He wanted to memorize her body with his hands.

    His tongue traced down the ridges of her stomach muscles and he looked back up at her. Her eyes twinkled in the moonlight as she watched him move over her. “I’m going to take my time, princess. I’ve waited a long time for this.”

    She smirked. “Just know if you tease me too much, I will smite you hip and thigh.” His face grew long as she let out a giggle. She grabbed him by the hair and lightly pulled him up to meet his mouth with hers.

    He pushed her on the shoulder. “Oh no, princess. Just lie back and relax. I’m not even close to being done with you, yet.”

    He continued at her navel and kissed around her lower abdomen. He gently took one of her legs and propped it up, exposing herself to him. He couldn’t help but groan at the sight. Taking his finger and tracing the vine tattoo on her leg, he moved his way down. He looked up one final moment and saw her violet eyes afire with lust.

    With the tip of his tongue, he licked at the inside of her thighs. She arched up and bit her lip. Her hips undulated towards him. He watched the muscles roll with a curious satisfaction. Years of horseback riding had fine tuned the movements she was making and he pictured her on him. He shuddered and took in a breath.

    He began to lap at her slit, slowly at first. She thrust her hips up and gasped at the feel of him. He pushed his tongue in and tasted the musky sweetness he fantasized about time and time again. She tasted incredible. There was no way this rare exotic creature was real. Orchids deepened to a musky jasmine as his tongue quickened in pace.

    His throbbing erection was straining to be attended to. It would have to wait. There was no way he was going to stop now. She entwined her fingers into his hair as he flat his tongue and lapped at the little bud that begged for attention. Her hips undulated against his head and she lightly pulled on his hair. He could feel the urgency build in her.

    Just as he entered her with the rigidity of his tongue, she gasped and cried out his name. The earth shattering sensation ripped through her body as she arched off the ground. He reached up with his hands and held her body on either side as she rode out the waves of ecstasy.

    He picked his head up and looked at her for a moment. Her cheeks were flushed and her lips were crimson from being nibbled. Her hair was all around her. In that moment, she was breathtakingly beautiful.

    As if reading his expression, she slowly got up and pushed him down on his back. He raised an eyebrow, curious as to what she was about to do. “Feeling naughty are we?”, he said, his voice full of gravel.

    She swung her hips around and straddled him. Using her thighs she held his legs closed. He was surprised on how strong she was. With her hands, she fanned her fingers over his muscular chest and down his rigid stomach. With a light touch, she went over his sides and he flinched. Mysidia looked at him and chuckled. “Ticklish,. Ren’qari?”

    “Keep it up, ladyship and I will make you pay for that.”, Bishop said with his amber eyes filled with a predatory promise.

    She lowered herself to him and allowed her hair to fan about them both. Dark brown silken strands tickled his skin, his shoulders, his head. Goosebumps started to prickle themselves up to the surface and Mysidia simply smiled.

    Then she started her assault. She trailed her tongue down the chords of his muscular neck and over the ridges of his trap muscles. He growled in response to what she was doing. She slid her body down, down, further down. Her tongue was quite talented, Bishop noted. She was right; she was no maid.

    When her tongue reached the “v’ of his tone waist, he shuddered as the tickling sensation shot over him. “Damn you, woman.” All he heard was a throaty laugh. “You’re enjoying this a little too much, I think.”

    She propped herself up and looked at him, dark brown waves enclosing them together. “I could stop.”

    Bishop growled low in his throat, making his chest vibrate as a response. She simply shrugged and continued her onslaught of tongue lapping and nibbling.

    The moment she placed her hand around his shaft, he sucked in his breath at the feel of her. She didn’t give him any time to process the feeling and he felt her wet tongue on the head of his manhood. He wanted to say her name. His mind, however, couldn’t formulate words properly and he merely moaned.

    Once he felt her entire mouth on him, it took everything he had not to finish right then and there. He was trying to think about anything other than what was going on. Boring things like bug parts, or how many miles it was from where they were to Falkreath. When Mysidia used the back of her tongue to pull along his shaft. He sat up and let out a breath.

    “Unless you plan on finishing me that way, I would stop.”, he barely made out. She didn’t say a word. She simply pushed him back down and straddled him again.

    She brought her hips down close to his manhood and he felt her slick wetness rub up and down him. He watched with fiery intent as she rolled her hips in a beautiful sensual rhythm.

    She reached down and grabbed a hold of him. She could see him take in a breath and he parted his lips in anticipation. She lowered herself along his length and the slick wet sheath she offered him blew his mind. He rolled his eyes back and closed them.

    She waited a few moments, knowing that he was close. That and the fact she enjoyed how he felt inside of her. He opened his eyes and placed his hands on her either of her thighs.

    Once she started to roll her hips, he was lost. The rhythm they both kept at was one as old as mankind itself. He watched her muscles ripple and move, feeling him slide in and out. She hung her head back and her long dark hair tickled his legs. His hands smoothed up her curvaceous body.

    Her rhythm quickened its pace and he sat up, folding his arms around her. She looked down at him with the vibrant violet he grew addicted to look at. She placed her hand on his face, moving her fingers gently down his cheek to the stubble on his jaw.

    He reached up and gave her a deepened passionate kiss. He began to meet her rhythm in a fevered pace. She could feel the urgent need sweep over him. He lifted her up and laid her down. She looked up and saw his muscular features in the moonlight. The sight of the silhouette where his neck sloped down to his shoulders, made her catch her breath. He was so beautiful to her.

    His amber eyes looked down at her and watched her expression as her body tore through another orgasm. She bit at her lower lip and placed a hand on her neck and the other, lost in her hair. She cried out his name. That was all it took for him to crash over the edge. The tension that was building in his lower spine, released, and he felt himself pulsate deep within her.

    She sat up, still locked with him in her. Her body trembled under the intense sensations. All he could do was look at her. With a gentle caress, he smoothed her tasseled hair away from her face and behind her elfin ear.

    Something in him changed. He didn’t think his emotions would deepen after their mutual encounter. He didn’t know what the emotion was. All he knew was if and when she leaves to return to her homeland, he would be utterly undone. The thought of being away from her was devastating.

    They got dressed and walked back to camp. He reached out and grabbed her hand. She looked up at him and a slight blush touched her cheeks. She understood why the mid spring Fertility Ritual, everyone wore masks. The anonymity separated the emotion from the act itself.

    She gently laid her head down on her bedroll. She felt Bishop come up behind her and lay close, pulling her against him. He pressed his cheek against her head and took in her scent. They didn’t say anything to one another for the rest of the night. They didn’t need to. Everything that needed to be said had been said in the previous actions.

    Mysidia felt his hand lazily caress up and down her side. She knew full well that sleeping with him would only further complicate everything. Her emotions bubbled up to the surface and like it or not, she was falling in love with him. Sooner or later, when the dragon threat had been dealt with and put behind her, she would have to return home. The pain of leaving him was too much. She quietly let the tears fall off her face. Of all the things that could have happened after sleeping with Bishop, crying herself to sleep that night was not one of them.

    Dodongo79
    Participant
    Post count: 67

    (Writer’s Note: Some of the lines are taken directly from the mod. Extreme graphic violence. Viewer’s discretion advised.)

    Chapter 14

    Early next morning, the birds chirped Bishop awake. The memory of the night before placed a lazy smile on his face and he rolled over to gently wake the Druidess up. When he didn’t feel Mysidia beside him, his eyes snapped open. He felt the spot where she slept and got a cold reply. She had been awake for quite some time.

    He sat up and looked at the camp. Her bedroll hadn’t been touched. Thaeja, however, had been left next to his horse, so she was still around. He listened intently for anything out of the ordinary. Other than the bugs buzzing, the birds chirping, and a random sound from the horses, it was quiet. Quiet was good, it meant there were no dragons around.

    It didn’t, however, solve the mystery of where Mysidia went off to. He got up and grabbed a light breakfast before he decided to go find her. Ugh, the next morning, he thought. He’d soon find out if there was going to be that horrible awkwardness after the previous nights frolic. Well, he did it… he finally bedded the Druid… And yet, he wasn’t satiated the way he thought he would have been. He didn’t know why, but bedding her wasn’t enough. He wanted…. something else…something he couldn’t put his finger on.

    He finished his meal and stood up, looking around for signs to track her with. “The Druid left a few hours before morning light.”, he heard Karnwyr say. He turned and smiled warmly. The enchantment that Mysidia had placed upon the necklace he now wore, was working.

    He followed her footprints towards the cliffs in the distance. Maybe she did hear a dragon, he thought. Other than getting a lay of the land, there was no other conceivable reason why she would have gone this way. And then he saw her… Her silhouette was darkened out by the sun, but she was on a ledge and had her swords in her hands.

    He just watched her. As far as he could tell, she was shadow-fighting. She had unsheathed her swords and did a series of moves swinging the blades around effortlessly. He had seen her do a few of the moves on the dragons or bandits they’ve killed along the way, and a few he hadn’t seen before. He surmised it was the specialized training she received in her homeland. Since she was dressed in light armor, she was able to move more fluidly. She didn’t look like a Druid who was practicing fighting, she almost appeared like a dancer who learned how to fight.

    When she was done, she sheathed her swords and wiped the sweat off her brow. The sun was climbing higher in the sky and the he could see the sheen of sweat on her skin. She had taken a long drink from her water skin before heading down the cliff. When she turned around and had seen him, she paused for a moment.

    “You’re up early, ladyship.”, Bishop started.

    She shrugged. “Depending on how you look at it, I suppose.”

    “What, you didn’t sleep?”, he asked looking at her.

    “No.”, she said and walked past him. Ah… and here it was, the awkwardness he knew so well.

    “Sex usually is great for insomnia.”, he said and smirked.

    “And normally it would be, but there’s a dragon that’s close. I could feel him all night. I decided to get up instead of keep you up tossing and turning.”, she said and started packing her bag.

    He just sat there and watched her for a few moments, unsure where they stood. He could tell she was exhausted. The dark circles had come back under her eyes and her voice was flat and thin. He grabbed her by the shoulders and forced her to face him. “We don’t have to go just yet, princess. Why don’t you lay down for a little while and grab a nap?”

    She closed her eyes and shook her head. The thought of a nap sounded lovely, but stopping wasn’t an option. “We really should find the cave Sabre was talking about. It’s high time that I take the title of Dragonborn a little more seriously.”

    Oooookay, he thought. This was uncharted territory. He wasn’t sure how he should have handled the conversation.

    “Once I get my armor back, I’m headed back to Riverwood to talk to Delphine. I need to put a stop to this dragon problem.”, she said and tossed her pack onto her horse’s saddle.

    “Ladyship, why do I get the feeling that I’m not part of that equation?”, Bishop asked and folded his arms across his chest.

    Mysidia was in the middle of securing her saddle when he asked. She sighed and dropped her head. Here we go, he thought.

    “Once I handle this dragon problem, I can head back home.”, she said and turned around looking at him. She saw the look on his face. It was the same stern look he had the day they met. “Don’t look at me like that. I’ve been here too long as it is.”

    “And…? What, we just part ways here?”, he said spreading his arms around him.

    “You are welcome to come along with me, Bishop. I figured you wouldn’t have minded the sever, however. A clean break and all that.”, she said securing her bow to her saddle.

    “And what makes you think that, princess?”, he said getting closer to her.

    She looked up at him and shrugged, rechecking a few straps. “You’ve gotten what you wanted. And your promise to me has been fufilled. You said you wouldn’t take off come morning, and you didn’t. But let’s face it, you’re not exactly the “mate for life” kind of man. You’ve said so yourself.”

    He grabbed her hand to stop her. She looked up at him and he could see it in her. Last night did change things for her and she wasn’t sure how to deal with everything. “You have no idea how I feel, and I’d like to keep it that way. You want to risk your life for these Nords, I can’t figure out a reason why. Fine. I’ll help you get your armor back and we’ll go from there.”

    He couldn’t be sure but he swore he saw a tear form in her eyes before she mounted her horse. And for reasons he couldn’t figure out, the thought of her leaving sent him in a panic. She was right. He did get what he wanted… so why did he feel it necessary to stay with her, no matter what?

    ~*~

    They rode all day and chatted little. He could tell she was engrossed in her thoughts. She wasn’t awkward towards him, just withdrawn… As if everything she had said and felt was back at square one. This frustrated the hell out of him.

    “Ladyship, a word if you please?”, Bishop said reigning his horse near hers.

    She slowed Thaeja and turned in her saddle to watch Bishop come up next to her. “Yes, Bishop, what is it?”

    Every time she said his name, he felt the emptiness she put behind it. He swallowed the grumble building in him, knowing full well it would spurn a fight with her. He looked at his hand and took his ring off. He rolled it between his fingers before she came close enough to accept it.

    “Here, I have something for you. I’ve had it for some time and I want you to wear it.”, he said and softly placed the ring in Mysidia’s open palm.

    She looked at it for a moment, stunned. She lifted her head and looked at him. “Your ring? I’ve never seen you take it off…”

    “It’s not much, but let’s just say that some people would envy this trophy. And if some tavern wench gets jealous, you can dragon shout them to pieces.”, Bishop said. The effect of the gesture was exactly what Bishop was looking for. It told her that he wasn’t going anywhere any time soon and there was no reason to emotionally sever from him.

    She smiled and placed it on her thumb. She laughed when she realized that his hands were much bigger than hers. He looked down at her hands and realized why she laughed. She had strong hands, but they were a woman’s and so the ring was never going to fit her. Even on her thumb, it easily slipped off.

    He nudged Rose closer to her and reached for Mysidia’s braid. He undid the leather strip she always tied her hair back with, and slipped the ring on it. Then he attached the strip around her neck like a necklace. He allowed her hair to fall through his hands. The ring gleamed in the sunlight and right next to her chest. When he saw it, he couldn’t help but swell up in pride.

    “I know this ring means a lot to you, ren’quari….”, she said rolling the ring around on her finger looking at it. It was a wolf stretched out to make the ring. The head and the tail closed in on itself to complete the look. And it carried the scuff marks of a well worn piece of jewelry.

    “It was my mother’s. She gave it to me and said for me to hold on to it and give it to a woman who’s worthy of it. The only woman I’ve had my eye on is you, ladyship. Keep it.”, he said watching her look at it.

    She lifted her eyes and looked into his. Instantly the vibrant violet came flooding back. He lifted his hand and ran his thumb gently on her lips. Then he leaned over and kissed her. She returned the kiss with a deepening passion that he knew she meant. It was odd for him, he thought, wanting her to have that ring. He thought he was going to die with it on his hand. It somehow seemed “right” for her to have it.

    She broke the kiss and ran her fingertips down his face lovingly. “Thank you.”, she said breathlessly.

    “Not yet, but you will, ladyship. And very thoroughly between the sheets..”, he said giving her a wolfish grin. Instantly, memories of their previous night entered his mind and he found himself having to adjust in his saddle to get comfortable. He’s never known anyone to do to him what she did. Much to his surprise, he didn’t mind it, either.

    She turned Thaeja back towards their intended direction and he rode beside her. Every time she casually looked in his direction, he could see the blush stain her cheeks. And the awkwardness is over, he thought. She was emotionally right where they left off.

    After a quick break of watering the horses, they found where they would be putting up camp for the night. A huge pine tree stood near a boulder that was jutting out from the mountain. Underneath the rock and tree canopy, the ground was dry and soft with a layer of pine needles. It was perfect. Far enough away from the road to be safe from bandits and close enough to Falkreath to be able to meet up with Sabre. Mysidia hoped her wolf found the cave because their search turned up nothing but bad luck.

    Bishop had grabbed Rose’s reigns and was walking her towards Falkreath when he turned to see Mysidia gathering a few plants for her pouch. “This couldn’t wait until after we meet up with Sabre, princess?”

    “This isn’t for potions, ren’quari. I wanted to create another batch of woad. Technically, I’m not supposed to be traveling without it on, but I ran out of my previous batch and haven’t really had the time to create a new one.”, she said rubbing a few leaves between her fingers. When she saw the stain they made, she nodded and put them in a separate pouch. “Go ahead. I’ll catch up.”

    A few moments later, she had her pouch full and grabbed her horse’s reins. She could see the houses and shop rooves break up the foliage line in the distance. The smell of cooked meat clung thickly to the air and she heard the distinctive brassy banging of a blacksmith’s hammer. They finally had made it.

    As she came to the front gate of the town, she noticed Bishop stopped with a group of men nearly surrounding him. She grabbed her weapons and nudged Thaeja off telling him to stay out of harms way. The body language of the men were on the edge of violence. She padded her way lightly towards Bishop and nudged Rose off into the same direction she had Thajea trot off to.

    A huge blond headed man blocked their path with his arms folded across his chest. Tall and broad, he was mammoth compared to Bishop and her ranger was no push over in terms of size.

    “Well, well… look who decided to show his face again. And it seems as though he comes bearing a gift.”, the large man said said to the men around him. A few snickered. The way they were leering at Mysidia, she decided to place her hands on her swords.

    Mysidia walked up beside Bishop and asked. “Friends of yours?”

    “A friend? Oh no, my little mouse. Far from it, in fact.”, the man said, his eyes dark and full of danger. Bishop looked over at Mysidia and she read the warning in them.

    “You’ve got it all wrong, Thorn. She’s no little mouse, far from it in fact.”, Bishop said and gripped his bow a little tighter.

    “Isn’t she?”, Thorn asked and started to walk closer to Mysidia. “She’s a woman, Bishop. Women are soft and delicate, “ Thorn said running a finger down Mysidia’s arm. She snatched her arm away looking down. Thorn merely snickered. “That is the purpose in which they serve. This little mouse will serve hers…On my furs, tonight. Whether she likes it or not.”

    Mysidia shot a look up at him and she felt the color drain out of her face. Bishop saw the look of terror in her eyes and he clenched his jaw, trying to keep calm. Bishop would have loved to simply leap across and slit Thorn’s throat, pulling his tongue out of the gaping hole. But rushing into a situation that they were in, causes mistakes and death. Bishop wasn’t about to risk her life due to his anger.

    “I see your powers of observation haven’t changed, Thorn. Still can’t see past fragile ego, can you?”, Bishop said through clenched teeth. The waves of anger were building off of him.

    Mysidia looked at Karnwyr through the thick underbrush. Her eyes moved about the crowd of men and the wolf understood the silent conversation. Karnwyr took position behind one of Thorn’s archers.

    Thorn laughed. “Well, it was my own image that defeated you, was it not? You claim to be the best out there. But the truth is, you’re a pathetic scared little rodent. Not all that unlike your company here. Anyone here can see that.” Thorn’s men laughed in agreement.

    Mysidia counted the men in her head and saw that neither of them were casters. Two archers and the rest were fighters. She might be able to throw her dagger at one and catch them off guard, but being outnumbered like this was taking her well outside of her comfort zone. She wished Sabre were with her right now.

    “Anyone as vain as you.”, Bishop noted.

    Thorn took a step closer and snickered. “That, coming from the man that cares for no one but himself. Huh, very well.”, he backed off and took a step closer to Mysidia. “Let’s take a closer look on our little mouse, here, shall we?”

    Thorn put a finger under Mysidia’s chin and forced her head up to look at him. She growled low in her throat. “Get your hand off of me, or you will lose it.”, she seethed.

    “Oh… lookie here, boys. We got ourselves the Dragonborn. Well…. this, this is a gift indeed, Bishop. I’m going to enjoy forcing her to submit to me. And since you were so nice in delivering her to me, when my boys are done with her, I’ll even let you have a go.”, Thorn said walking back to his spot. “If there’s anything left to get at.”

    Mysidia calmly placed her hand on her sword and kept a free hand to say a spell if need be. Thorn continued his speech.

    “The price on her head will be more than enough to set us up for life. Come on, Bishop… what do you say…for old time’s sake.”, Thorn said with an evil twinkle in his eye.

    Mysidia picked up her head and shot Bishop a look. The ranger sighed and looked down feeling her accusatory glance. Thorn watched the both of them and laughed.

    “Oh yes, little mouse. Your little ranger didn’t tell you? Heh, you aren’t the first woman he’s run through. He and I used to have quite the time back in the day.”, Thorn said and laughed deeply.

    “Bishop…?”, Mysidia’s voice was small. “Tell me it… tell me it isn’t true.”

    Bishop’s face contorted in disgust. He growled at Thorn and it took everything he had to keep calm. When this was all done, he would explain it to her. Whatever happened afterward, he would deal with it… first, they had to live through the next few moments.

    “That was a long time ago, Thorn. There’s been plenty of time that’s passed between then and now. And if you remember, we fought to a draw the day I left your band of merry little men. I’ve…changed. I’ve learned a lot since then.”, Bishop said hoping… praying Mysidia got the underlying meaning of the words. “You, I’ve heard, ran away into the forest. Big bad warrior taking down those aggressive bunnies and squirrels.”

    “Funny you should mock me, Bishop. You know perfectly well how easy it would be for me to skin you alive. With your own hunting knife, no less.”, Thorn said. He was enjoying every moment Bishop allowed him to become angry.

    “Six to two. I like those odds.”, Bishop said and walked right up to Thorn, looking at him in the face. “And just so we’re clear, I’m going to enjoy carving my name into that face of yours.”

    “Go ahead and try it.”, Thorn said.

    When Mysidia looked back on that moment, she would have wished she acted sooner. She might have been able to avoid injury if she caught them off guard.

    “Oh for fuck sake, you guys are boring me! Enough talking!”, she said and swiftly threw her dagger at the man standing in front of her. Her aim was true and the knife went deep into the throat of her opponent.

    The others were startled and immediately fell back into their fighting stance. Karnwyr wasted no time leaping at one of the archers and tearing into his neck. That left the four men to scatter and wonder what the hell just happened.

    Bishop and Thorn were squaring off. Mysidia said a word and moved one of her fingers in front of her. Immediately after, all of the arrows the other archer had warped and rendered them useless. The remaining archer looked at his quiver and dropped them frightened. Mysidia unsheathed her other sword and charged the one with the mace and shield.

    The maced warrior clipped her shoulder by bashing his shield into her shoulder. She yelped and swung her arm around, trying to decapitate the man. He easily deflected her attack and her sword threw sparks as it crashed into his shield. Mysidia fell back to regroup and stratagize her next move.

    The moment she did, she watched another warrior run up behind Bishop. There was no time to help him so she did the only thing she could, call out his name and hoped he was able to get out of the assailant’s way.

    “Bishop!”, she yelled. It was too late. The warrior jumped at Bishop, tackling him to the ground. Bishop hit his head on the ground and the sickening thud threw Mysidia into a panic.

    She roared and took off, flying at the warrior. She jumped into the air and instinctively started to shift herself into one of her animal forms. Leather armor gave way to fur. Hair gave way to thick scruff towards the back of her neck. Hands gave way to massive paws with giant claws and the Rhydian form gave way to Dire Bear.

    She landed in front of Bishop, protecting him and roared with every fiber of her being. The sound was deafening and shook the trees around them. The booming sound threw Thorn and the three remaining warriors off their feet to land square on their backs.

    The closer of the warriors jumped up to attack her, but she stood on her hind legs. On all fours, Mysidia’s dire bear form was frighteningly intimidating. From her shoulders to the ground, she was five feet all. When she got up on her hind legs, she was easily every bit of 18 feet and her weight put her into the ton range.

    The charging warrior stopped dead in his tracks, seeing this monster of a bear in front of him.”Holy shit!!”, he yelled. Immediately he lost control of his bodily functions and pissed himself stupid. She roared again and swiped at the warrior in front of him, shredding at the flesh in front of her. Veins, tendons, and muscle exploded out of the large gash marks and the lifeless body fell to the ground, thrashing from the severed nerves.

    Karnwyr took another warrior down, leaving just Thorn and another unlucky friend of his. The remaining warrior, began to back away in a crab’s walk on his hands and feet. He scattered backwards and watched with terror the bear that was coming towards him.

    Mysidia jumped on him and bone crushed under the pressure, caving in the man’s chest. A fountain of blood exploded out of his mouth and his remaining scream was distorted by blood gurgling in his throat.

    Before she could turn and take out Thorn, he managed to grab the bow and arrows from the first defeated archer. His mark was true and an orcish arrow pierced Mysidia in the neck. She let out an shattering roar. Going at him full charge, Mysidia galloped up to him and kicked out his legs, causing him to fall to the ground. With her massive right paw on his body and her left planted on the ground to give her leverage, she bit him in the chest.

    Like a knife would shred a wet paper bag, his flesh gave way. She didn’t have exude any strength in tearing his body apart, limb from limb. Tossing her head over to the left, Thorn’s body was violently ripped in half. Blood and organs sloshed around in the air before splashing on the blood soaked ground. When Mysidia was sure every enemy was dead, she then turned around to help Bishop.

    Bishop was frozen with fear, seeing the unthinkably enormous bear in front of him. He had a hand on the back of his head, feeling the lump rise to the surface. He couldn’t speak. Words failed him. The dire bear sniffed in his direction and timidly walked up to him. He looked into the bear’s face and paused. Two violet eyes stared back at him.

    “Mysidia?”, he asked.

    The bear chuffed. Bishop couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Then he remembered her mentioning that she would be able to shift. He had no idea she meant a bear. He thought she was a werewolf or something of equal menacing value.

    The bear sniffed him over and licked his face in happiness. Bishop laughed and then grabbed his head as a fresh headache rose up from the bump. He got up and looked around at the bodies thrown about. He picked up his bow and reassured a nervous Karnwyr whining at him.

    “When you said shifting, ladyship, you could have been a bit more specific.”, Bishop said. When he turned back to her, she was back into her usual Rhydian form. “You could have told me.”

    “You… are ok….ren’quari?”, she asked through labored breathing.

    “Yeah, princess, I’m fine. Although I know I’ll never hear the end of it with you coming heroically to save me.”, Bishop chided playfully.

    “Good.”, she said, her voice cracking. “Help…me…”

    Bishop snapped his head towards her and watched with horror as she fell to the ground. Her hand was over the arrow that Thorn shot into her neck.

    The color drained from his face and panic set into his amber eyes. “No, no, no!”, he yelled, rushing to her.

    He tried not to move her too much as she lay, bleeding on the forest floor. He put his hand over her wound and blood rushed up to the surface. A trickle of blood trailed out of her mouth and down her face, towards her hair. “Oh, gods, no!”, his voice pleaded.

    He looked at where the arrow entered. It had entered flush against her neck and missed the major artery by centimeters. Pushing it through would only cause a bigger wound.

    He looked around and had seen their camp a few hundred yards away. Not wanting to injure her further, he had to pick her up and move her to her bedroll. Options were severely limited.

    He lifted with barely any effort. He carried her gingerly and lovingly to her bedroll and laid her down. She yelped, sounding like a wounded animal. He took a shirt out of his bag and placed it on her neck, trying to stop the bleeding.

    “You foolish girl… Foolish, foolish girl.”, he repeated to himself as he scrambled to find a healing potion. He held up a tiny red bottle and cursed as he realized it wasn’t going to do much. If anything, he hoped, it would stabilize her so that he could get a healer.

    “Stay with me, princess.”, he said as he lifted her head to force the potion down. “Don’t you die on me. Don’t you DARE die on me!”

    She coughed and another gulp of blood bubbled up to the surface. Her skin started to turn deathly pale and her lips began to tinge blue.

    He forced the remaining potion down her throat and a lump of panic constricted his own. “No… no no… please, no.”, he said smoothing her hair away from her face. He picked up her hand and held it to his lips as he kissed it over and over again, as if the affection would heal all wounds back to health.

    She looked so pale to him. Blue shifted into hues of purple around her eyes and lips. Her breathing was ragged and raspy. Bishop knew he was in well over his head. This injury was beyond healing potions.

    “Pack brother, you have to head into the town and get someone.”, Karnwyr said looking gravely at Mysidia. “That liquid you gave her won’t hold.”

    “I can’t leave her.”, his voice waiverd. Seconds felt like years, as he watched the potion try and heal his Druid.

    “You have to.”, the wolf said and laid next to Mysidia. “I will stay with the Druid. Head into town and get someone.”

    Knowing his wolf was right, he looked at Mysidia desperately. He leaned over and kissed her forehead tenderly. “Just hang on, princess. I won’t be long. I promise.”

    Bishop was never a religious person, however at that exact moment, he thought about saying a prayer to whoever this Amaya’Fae was. He grabbed his bag and sprinted into town. Thighs burning, he threw open the door to the first business he got to. The sudden rush made the shopkeeper flinch, holding her hands up.

    “Please… you have to help me. Mysidia…. she’s…she’s hurt. I can’t heal her.”, he said looking around at everyone. A young woman, only about as old as late teens, gathered up what appeared to be an herb bag. She grabbed two rolls of linen cloth and nodded towards the door.

    He rambled at the girl, quickly explaining the story. She could tell he was clearly panicking and not completely lucid. So when he got to the part of her shifting into the dire bear, she merely tossed it up to the fact that he was under a great deal of stress and wasn’t talking coherently.

    As they made towards their camp, she saw the wretched state Mysidia was in. The girl could tell that she was on death’s door and every second counted towards keeping the woman this side of the living.

    “My lord, I need you to get your wolf away so that I may attend your wife.”, she said in a calm assertive manner.

    He whistled and Karnwyr heeled. She worked quickly. She removed several surgical items from her bag and applied various salves. Once she was able to remove the arrow from Mysidia’s neck, her hands worked deftly to try and repair any of the damage. She shook her head as she worked tirelessly. Bishop began to pace behind the woman, hoping for good news. Finally, she wrapped a bandage around Mysidia’s neck and stood up shaking her head again.

    “I was able to repair the superficial damage and at least stabilize her…”, the young girl said avoiding eye contact. Bishop could read between the lines. He saw the “but” and he slumped to his knees, immediately feeling his legs go numb. “Her injuries are beyond my skill, my lord.”

    She sat next to him and placed a gentle hand on his shoulder. Then, a flicker spread across her face and her expression became enthusiastic. “There was a paladin that visited the past few days. He left late this morning, heading east. I’m sure he could help her. With a fast horse, you could probably catch up to him by nightfall.”

    Casavir. Bishop knew the girl meant Casavir. Never in a million years would Bishop ask that pompous self righteous ass for help…for him. He looked at Mysidia and nodded. For Mysidia, however, Bishop would make a deal with a daedra if he knew it would keep her alive.

    “We should move her to a safe location, my lord. She can stay with me in my home. It’s just above the shop I was in. She will be safe from predators smelling her blood. Staying out here, even with the wolf, I can’t promise that.”, the girl said.

    Bishop nodded and lifted Mysidia up. “Thank you.”, he said quietly.

    “My name is Adara.”, the woman said and lead the way back into town.

    Dodongo79
    Participant
    Post count: 67

    Chapter 15

    Mysidia was settled in and Bishop never stopped watching over her. Adara had gotten her stable and comfortable. Karnwyr said he would watch over her while Bishop went and found Casavir. Adara mentioned that he’d need a fast horse. He hoped Rose was up to the task.

    “Ask Thaeja.”, Karnwyr said, yawning.

    Bishop looked at his wolf for a moment, considering it. He remembered the story on how the enormous steed came into Mysidia’s care and the promise she made him. Would the horse even allow the ranger on his back? Being thrown from a beast that large is a definite risk. Bones would surely break.

    “Ask him.”, Karnwyr said again and laid his head next to Mysidia. The young wolf was worried about his Druid friend. He had grown quite fond of Mysidia in their time they’ve traveled together. Even though Bishop went to great lengths to rile up the woman, even the wolf could see the happiness she brought his pack brother.

    “I can’t lose her.”, he whispered barely audible. He grabbed his cloak and his weapons and head down to the stable where the horses were being kept. Thaeja flicked his ears and tail nervously. The large beast could tell something was wrong, but didn’t know what.

    Bishop lay what little belongings he had on his person, off to the side and stood before her horse. “Thaeja, I need to speak to you.” He felt utterly ridiculous doing what he was. There was no guarantee that the enchantment was working to the degree where the horse understood him.

    The horse lifted its enormous head and flicked his ears forward, towards Bishop. The ranger sighed feeling emotionally exhausted. “I need to find the paladin that helped Mysidia find you.”, he started. Would the horse even know who that was? “We need to find him.”, Bishop sighed. “Mysidia’s hurt… badly. I don’t know where Sabre is and there isn’t a healer here that can help her. If we don’t find Casavir…” He didn’t finish his sentence. He couldn’t. The thought of losing her was too much.

    “You are the fastest horse I know and I need your speed to reach the paladin in time. I know…”, he shook his head and looked down. The horse moved his head from one side, to the other, as if he were trying to look at him through both eyes. Bishop closed his and took a deep breath, feeling the pain in his chest. “…I know she promised you no one would ride you again. You are the best chance at saving her… You are the only chance.”

    When Thaeja didn’t answer, Bishop shook his head and walked over to Rose. “You probably don’t even know what I’m saying.”

    “Of course I can hear you, ranger.”, he heard a deep voice say. Bishop looked around to see if someone was hiding in the bushes. He eyed her horse for a moment and waited. “This is the first time I’ve ever seen you humbled.”

    Bishop’s eyebrows rose in surprise. “Holy shit, it works.”, he said not believing the necklace he wore. He didn’t know how to answer the horse.

    “Of course it works. I’ve heard every word you’ve said to her since she allowed you to Listen. You’re a self inflated egotistical ass.”, Bishop heard the voice say. Bishop slumped his shoulders in defeat. “I didn’t say no, ranger. Despite what I think of you, Mysidia sees something in you I don’t. She has that way about her… It’s one of her biggest strengths and greatest weaknesses.”

    “Will you help me?”, Bishop asked again.

    “I would ride through Oblivion with a Daedra on my back if I knew it would save her. It took a lot of courage to ask me for help.”, Thaeja said and turned his head to the side to look at Bishop. He paused for a moment then asked. “Do you love her?”

    Bishop didn’t answer. He looked at the ground, as if searching for the right words. Did he love her? It would explain why her dying terrified him so. It would explain why her leaving made it hard to breathe. It would explain why just being the reason she smiled was enough for him to finish each day exhausted. He would have gladly died for her and ripped her enemies to pieces if she asked him to.

    “I… don’t know. I have nothing to compare it to.”, Bishop admitted. Thaeja considered his answer and scraped at the ground with a hoof. Then the large horse walked confidently up to Bishop and stood next to him.

    “Get on, Ranger. We will find this paladin.”, Thaeja said and waited as Bishop sat atop the steed. “And perhaps along the way you might consider what I’ve asked. Not everyone gets a second chance to say what should have been said.”

    Bishop sat in Mysidia’s saddle and grabbed the reins. Immediately, Bishop felt the difference between Thaeja and Rose. Thaeja had this magnanimous energy about him. If Thaeja wasn’t the alpha stallion in his own herd back home, it would have surprised Bishop.

    “Hold tight.”, Thaeja muttered and charged out of the barn with a thunderous leap. Bishop damn near fell out of the saddle and leaned forward, grabbing on to Thaeja’s thick neck. The awesome power of the stallion thrilled the ranger. He now knew why Mysidia loved riding the horse so much.

    ~*~

    Mysidia lay in a dark soundless womb. Everything was quiet. It was terrifyingly serene. When she died, she didn’t expect this. She had seen it countless times before and even helped several souls cross over, not including the boy from several days back. She knew there was an afterlife. And yet… here she was. Neither here or there, somewhere dark and quiet….so so quiet.

    She was ungratefully disappointed. She sacrificed her whole life to Amaya’Fae, gave everything to that goddess and how was she repaid? Limbo. Hanging. Non existent. She could have had a family. She could have traveled more. She could have done a hundred other different things. And had she knew this is what was awaiting her, she would have done all those hundred other things and more.

    “Mysidia…”, she heard a voice quietly call out. The voice was familiar. She remembered she loved that voice. That voice was attached to so many happy memories, so many emotions. She remembered she loved the way her name sounded on his tongue. She smiled.

    Titta seler…”, she heard the voice say “little sister” in her mother tongue. She knew who it was. There was only one person to call her that. She opened up her eyes and saw Joffery’s handsome face looking back at her.

    “Joffery.”, she said in return. He picked her up and gave her a bone crushing hug. Joffery was an enormous man. Easily six feet six inches. He had gorgeous long dirty blonde hair and piercing blue eyes. His face had a well kept and groomed beard that he wore in a braid. His facial features made him absolutely gorgeous. Wide shoulders muscularly sloped down to tone arms, a chiseled chest and abdomen, and large tree trunk like legs. The gods wept when they made him.

    “If you’re here… then I’m dead?”, Mysidia asked looking up at him. Joffery shook his head.

    “No.”, he said.

    Mysidia looked around and all she saw was Joffery. Everything around them was pitch black. Everything.

    “Then I’m dying.”, Mysidia made the observation. Joffery simply crossed his heavily tattooed arms across his wide chest. She slunk down and sat in her usual pose. Joffery went and sat next to her, nudging her playfully as he went down. Mysidia tried to keep a straight face but couldn’t.

    “Are you here to cross me over safely?”, she asked looking at her childhood friend.

    “No.”, he smiled.

    Mysidia shook her head and smiled. “Are you going to keep me guessing or…?”

    Joffery smoothed his hair back away from his face and played with his beard. As large and gorgeous as the man was, his mannerisms were very childlike. “I’m here to tell you to stop blaming yourself.”

    Mysidia stopped and looked at him. “I don’t blame myself.”

    Joffery laughed. “I’m sorry, do I know you? I thought I was talking with Mysidia… the High Priestess whom I’ve known since I was five, who shoulders everything herself and holds the world at arms length.”

    She didn’t like it when he pointed out how well he knew her. She crossed her arms and pouted. He looked at her for a moment and laughed.

    “Yeah, thought so.”, he said.

    She was silent for a while, enjoying the company of her childhood friend. Finally she turned to him and asked, “Have you ever thought what our lives would have been like if you and I…. you know… got married?”

    Joffery let the air out of his lungs in a hiss as the weight of the question hung between them. “Just about every free moment, when I was alive.”

    Mysidia looked up at him, shocked. “Seriously?”

    Joffery laughed and ran his hand through his gorgeous hair. “Come on, Siddie, you had to have known.”

    Mysidia turned back and didn’t say anything. She was playing several memories back and every once in a while, would shake her head. “I guess I never really paid attention.”

    Joffery placed a loving hand on her shoulder and looked into her eyes. “I’m also here to tell you that your destiny is not in Rhydia. It’s here, in Nirn.”

    “I know, Bearsoul came to see me, too.”, Mysidia said sadly.

    “No, Mysidia… I’m saying that you can never go back.”, Joffery said softly.

    The color completely ran from Mysidia’s face and she started to tremble. “Wh….what do you mean?”, tears began to form in her eyes.

    Joffery sighed and placed his arms around her, giving her a huge comforting hug. “I’m so sorry, titta seler. I can’t get into the whys of it… If you try to return, Rhydia itself will be destroyed..”, he said and kissed the top of her head.

    He felt her sob. He ran his hand through her long dark hair, feeling the silken strands fall between his fingers. “I can only tell you that the path you were on, you were never meant to be on.”

    “So… what, now? When I’m ready to cross over, I’ll never reach the Ancestral Lands? My fate is to be in Sovengard?”, Mysidia said sniffling. She wiped her cheeks and tried to pull away. Falling apart like this, in front of Joffery, she felt embarrassed.

    “No, I didn’t say that. Ancestral Lands, Sovengard, Valhalla, Summer Lands… it’s all the same place. Each civilization just calls it by a different name. Bearsoul, your mother, your father, all the way back to the beginning of your ancestral line, even myself, we’ll all be there to help you cross.”, he said with his face pressed into the side of her head. “I know that this is all overwhelming to you, right now. But you must stop your trying to return. Even thinking of it puts Rhydia at risk.”

    Mysidia lifted her face and looked into Joffery’s. He was just as she remembered. He wiped the remaining tears off her face with the back of his hand and gently ran his thumb over her lips. “You have no idea how much I longed to be this close to you.”

    “So kiss me.”, she said looking into his eyes, playfully. For a moment, she could see the want. And for a split second, thought gave way to action as he moved closer to her mouth. He stopped himself, however and shook his head.

    “No…”, he said, smiled, and looked down. “No. I’m not meant to be yours. That honor…”, he said with the emphasis on honor looked at her, “…goes to someone else.”

    Mysidia blushed and looked down, figuring he meant Bishop. And it was odd for her. At that moment, she could have seen herself settling down with Joffery and being happy with him. Joffery calling her “little sister” in Rhydian was merely referring to the priesthood they belonged to, in her tribe. Perhaps it was just as well, that she didn’t see the signs of his attraction. His death would have been all that more painful.

    “I want you to be happy, Mysidia. However you can achieve that here, and with whoever, you have my blessing.”, Joffery said placing a chaste kiss on her forehead. “You should wake up now, titta seler. You aren’t dying today.”

    “I don’t want to.”, she said, looking towards Joffery. But he had already left and she was alone once again in the blinding darkness. He did that because she hated goodbyes and it spared her, her dignity by not breaking down in front of him.

    The thought of never returning to Rhydia terrified her. The thought of not being Dryad, terrified her. The thought of living out her days in Skyrim, terrified her. And as her mind bounced around from one thought to the next, she tried desperately to keep it from thinking of one person the most. Bishop… What Bishop represented in her life terrified her most of all.

    “I don’t want to.”, she said again, her voice small and quiet.

    ~*~

    Bishop thundered down the cobblestone road on Thaeja, hoping to find a sign that Casavir came through. If the paladin stuck to the streets and not gone off the beaten path, he would have to had to come through that way. Adara had said he left late that morning so catching up with him that day was a strong possibility.

    What amazed Bishop was the amount of stamina Thaeja had. The breaks they took for the horse’s benefit were short at best. The horse worked tirelessly carrying the ranger over broken streets, overgrowth, fallen trees. He was a magnificent animal and feared little. Thaeja even leaped over streams without so much as a hesitation. Most horses hated jumping, let alone over water. Bishop knew that Rose wouldn’t have been so compliant.

    There were few people traveling that day. Each person that they came to, Bishop would always ask about the paladin and only a very small handful would give an affirmative sighting. They were heading the right way, but it didn’t seem like they were gaining any ground.

    Right around dusk, Bishop dismounted and walked Thaeja to a nearby stream for a rest and a drink. Bishop was deeply engrossed in his own thoughts. He was randomly throwing his knife into the ground while Thaeja drank. Every few seconds, he’d reach down, pick it up, and casually toss it having it stick out of the damp earth. He often did this unusual behavior when he was thinking deep.

    Swish, thump, went the dagger. He was remembering back when they were in the cave grotto and Mysidia was exhausting herself trying to save him and the boy. The care she took in nursing him back to health, Bishop didn’t feel deserving of it.

    Swish, thump, went the dagger. Mysidia would time and time again go out of her way for him. She was everything he despised in society. Caring, compassionate, sacrifice… everything he hadn’t been. Everything his mother raised him to be. And yet, Bishop couldn’t deny the light Mysidia had. Casavir said he was drawn to it. And Bishop found himself addicted to it as well. Simply being near her, made him happy. Every time she laid her head on his chest, he felt it beat with purpose. And if he was the reason she smiled? It was a drug stronger than any Skooma created.

    Swish, thump, went the dagger. When Bishop had seen that arrow stick out of her neck, he felt his blood run cold. If she didn’t get between him and Thorn, Bishop would have surely died. It was only due to the thick hide of Mysidia’s Dire Bear form that saved her from death’s door. No…not for me, he thought. She was not going to die for him. He wasn’t worth it. Too many mistakes, too many broken hearts, too many broken promises. He wasn’t going to allow her to waste her light on him.

    Swish, thump, went the dagger. Bishop looked down at his hands and noticed the line on his left palm. That line… That line had been with him for as long as he could remember. That line had haunted him for nearly as long. That line was the reason why he didn’t believe in fate or destiny. He vaguely remembered his father trying to keep that line dirty. Whether it was covered in animal blood or dirt from living a life on the road, that line was kept hidden… As if his parents were embarrassed by that line. It looked like a scar, at first glance. It was only when you got close enough to see that it was merely a deep groove that was simply a natural line in his skin. It looked as though the gods carved the line into his palm while he grew in utero.

    He rubbed at the line, trying to clean some of the dirt off. He was about to throw the knife into the earth again when Thaeja picked up his head and flicked his ears forward. Bishop noticed the movement and tried to listen what caused the horse to intently pay attention.

    “I hear a human approaching on horse, ranger.”, Thaeja muttered quietly.

    Bishop stalked silently around the horse and deep into the bushes to wait for the unsuspecting victim. He could distinctly hear heavy hooves clomp down on soft earth. The horse sounded large and the rider on its back must have been equally large for the horse to walk so heavy. Bishop could hear the familiar tingle of armor shift in the saddle. The ranger eyed his knife and held it at the ready.

    A large dappled gray war horse made way into the clearing they were in and on its back, a heavily armored man rode confidently. The moment Bishop saw his face, he nearly fell over with excitement.

    The ranger came out from behind the bushes. “Casavir.”, he acknowledged. Casavir’s horse nearly reared up from being spooked and the paladin shifted in his saddle as to not be thrown off. Casavir looked sharply at the ambusher and was equally surprised to see the ranger.

    “Bishop. What are you doing here?”, the paladin asked. That’s when he noticed the ranger had his knife drawn and Thaeja standing off to the side. The knight looked around to see where the Dragonborn was. When he didn’t notice a camp set up or any of the Druids belongings around them, he unsheathed his sword and nudged his horse ahead. “Where is Mysidia and why do you have her mount?!”, he said and pointed the sword at Bishop. “What did you do to her?”

    “Oh come off it, knight. I came to find you.”, Bishop snapped. “I….”, he sighed swallowing his pride. “I need your help.” When Casavir merely looked at him and didn’t answer. Bishop continued. “Mysidia’s hurt… pretty bad.”

    Casavir calculated the situation. If Bishop came to find him, that meant that the health potions he had didn’t work on her and she was unable to cast her own magic. Also, it would have been a cold day in hell that Bishop would have asked for his help in anything. The fact that he braved to not only find the knight, but also attempt to ride Mysidia’s mount, spoke leaps about how severe her situation was.

    Casavir sheathed his sword and nodded. “Lead the way.”

    Dodongo79
    Participant
    Post count: 67

    Chapter 16

    It was late when Bishop and Casavir decided to make camp for a few hours reprieve. They had been traveling hard and when met up with each other, had pushed the horses harder than they should have. Bishop was taking a big enough risk in riding Mysidia’s mount. To return Thaeja in anything less than perfect condition was unthinkable.

    They said little to each other as one really didn’t have anything to say to the other. The curiosity got the better of the paladin, however, and he decided to break the silence with the barrage of questions Bishop was expecting hours before.

    “What happened, Bishop? …. really happened.?”, the knight said poking a stick at the fire in front of them. Bishop sat opposite of him and merely gazed at his hand. Casavir noticed that the ranger was fiddling with some sort of scar quite a bit, recently.

    “Thorn was waiting for us.”, Bishop muttered. Casavir looked up at him and the grave look in his eyes said everything that Bishop didn’t.

    “Go on.”, the knight pressed.

    “It was six to two…well, three if you counted Karnwyr.”, Bishop said. “Sabre had split up to find some kind of cave where he stashed her armor. He said he was going to meet up with us…. today, actually.”, Bishop said and rubbed his palm with the other hand’s thumb. He continued. “She attacked first. Had we waited for them to attack, we both would have been dead.”

    Casavir held a smirk, thinking about Mysidia fighting. Then he remembered why he was needed and the look in his eyes grew icy cold. “How did she come to get hurt and you did not?”

    “Oh lay off with the self righteousness, Cas. I don’t understand how you can function in this world with you living so high on your Ivory Tower. You’re just as human as the rest of us, only I don’t hide my flaws and you’ve spent way too much energy and time trying to cover up yours.”, Bishop spat.

    “I function well enough to see the devastation your life creates and leaves, especially at the hands of the innocent. How much longer do you think Mysidia will survive traveling around with you?”, Casavir said, raising his voice. When Bishop didn’t answer, Casavir grunted. “Thought so…. Mysidia is too good of a person for you.”

    Bishop bit his tongue. He couldn’t afford to anger him to the point where the knight left, leaving Mysidia at the mercy of Death. He decided to finish telling the story and try and grab a few hours before sunrise. “She’s more than a capable fighter, Cas. She doesn’t need anyone protecting her or defending her honor. I’ve seen her fight. She’s a beast at the end of a blade. Anyway… She had managed to take out two of his men. I was working on Thorn when one of his men ran up behind me to tackle me. I hit my head on a stone and blacked out. When I came to, there was this….”, he paused remembering the bear form, “huge bear. I’ve been hunting these lands since I was a little boy. I’ve never seen a beast like this. At first, I thought it was just a large grizzly. Turns out her Ladyship had a few more tricks up her sleeve. She had mentioned some time back, about being able to shift into animal form… but she never clarified. The bear was her. She jumped in front so that I could get my footing. Thorn, the slimy wretch he was, managed to slink away and grab a bow.”, he stopped and swallowed, feeling the lump in his throat. The image of Mysidia holding her neck, the fresh blood pouring down her front and color draining from her face, haunted Bishop. He looked away and said, “… the rest you know.”

    Casavir didn’t say anything for the rest of the night. Bishop grabbed his cloak and wrapped it around him, rolling over and facing the darkness. With Karnwyr staying with Mysidia, sleep was going to be difficult. Every little movement, every little bug, every little tree frog, every sound, seemed impossibly louder and dangerous.

    It wasn’t long before Bishop was being poked in his side. He grumbled. “Fuck off, we’re closed.” He felt the poke a bit harder. His amber eyes shot open and looked up to see a dirty bandit smiling his rotten teeth in his direction. Immediately, he shot up and scuttled back. Casavir had been held at crossbow point.

    “Fuck.”, Bishop cursed.

    “Tha’s a pretty amulet ya got.”, the dentist’s nightmare said. Bishop couldn’t tell if it was the man’s lack of teeth or where the man was raised, that gave him his accent. It didn’t sound like any accent he had heard of. Then again, most of the people he conversed with usually had all their teeth.

    “Try and take it and you will lose your hand.”, Bishop warned.

    “Oh…. we got ourselves a live one.”, the man said and laughed. He could hear two other voices laugh, in the bushes around them. Once Bishop realized they were surrounded, his stomach bottomed out. Not good, he thought.

    “Aye, look. Th’ paladin has a pretty dagger.”, the crossbow man said, going through Casavir’s saddlebags.

    With Bishop wrapped up in his cloak, he slowly went for his dagger. The toothless bandit was quick and placed a sword under his chin. “Nuh…uh. Now, now. Don’ be rude. I’ll take tha’ there knife…and yer pretty necklace.”

    He started to cautiously walk towards Bishop when Thaeja started to make terrible wild sounds. Everyone turned to see the huge mount rear up and throw his hooves out to try and attack one of the bandits that reached to put the bridle on.

    The toothless man flashed back around and looked at Bishop. “Who are you?”

    “I wouldn’t try that, boy. He doesn’t like strangers.”, Bishop warned.

    Thaeja threw his body around, knocking the bandit to the ground. The bandit narrowly moved out of the way as two large hooves struck the ground he was on. The bandit cursed. “This horse is a demon!”

    Bishop shrugged. “I tried to warn him. He doesn’t even like me riding him.”

    “Knife, now, and the necklace. Quickly now, I haven’ got all day.”, Toothless yelled. Thaeja reared again and thrashed his head around. The commotion started to get Casavir’s horse agitated. “Oh come off it. Leave the fuckin’ horse.”

    Just as Bishop went for his knife, he heard one of the bandits in the bushes yell and scuffle. The sound of flesh being torn were heard and the man gurgled out his last breath. Toothless started to panic.

    Casavir took the opportunity to push the crossbow out of his face and elbow the man in the mouth. The man stumbled back, dropping the crossbow. Casavir wasted no time in picking it up and firing it at the man’s leg, rendering him incapacitated.

    It was at that moment that the other hiding bandit screamed. Growling sounds were heard as a large beast tore through flesh and crunched bone. Toothless looked back at Bishop and the color ran from his face.

    Bishop’s face grew relaxed as he realized what had just happened. He got up and calmly wiped his hands on his pants. “Still interested in this necklace?”

    The man shook his head and his eyes were as wide as dinner plates. His hand trembled and he dropped the sword that he had pulled on Bishop. The ranger walked over and looked at the sword and nodded. “Thanks for the gift.” With one fluid movement, Bishop swiped with the sword and took the toothless bandit’s head clean off his neck. The head rolled off and bounced twice in the direction of the last remaining bandit. The man grabbed his leg and screamed.

    A huge dire wolf walked out behind Bishop and his muzzle was dripping with fresh blood. Bishop smirked and watched with a sick curiosity as the man wet himself and started to cry. He looked up at Casavir and asked. “Are you ok?”

    The paladin nodded. “Come on, Bishop. Let’s get going….” He stopped when he looked at the wolf and started to back step.

    “What, and leave this little shit here?”, Bishop asked, pointing the blade at the man. “Sabre, meet Casavir. Human Hemorrhoid, this is Mysidia’s wolf, Sabre.”

    “Killing him serves no purpose. He won’t be able to follow us.”, Casavir said securing his belongings to his horse’s saddle. Thaeja had calmed down and walked back towards where he was stationed for the night.

    “I don’t like being robbed. I definitely don’t like being robbed while I’m trying to sleep….”, Bishop started.

    “Would Mysidia kill him?”, Casavir asked.

    Bishop paused and turned to the wolf. “Well, Sabre…. What would she do?”

    The wolf stalked the man slowly, baring his large canines. Thick strings of saliva dribbled out of either side of the wolf’s mouth. Every hair around the wolf’s neck and down his spine, stood on end. He looked ferocious and the man couldn’t even form words, he was so scared.

    Bishop looked at Sabre and then back at the bandit. “The wolf wants to know if you would have killed his owner.”

    The man’s face went ghost white and he started to tremble all over again. He stammered as he spoke and he made little sense. Sabre snapped his muzzle in front of the bandit’s face. He didn’t need to answer. Everything about his body language spoke for him.

    Sabre picked up his head and looked towards the distance. His ears swung forwards as if he was listening for something. His nose twitched every so slightly as the breeze changed. Then he turned his face towards Bishop.

    “You’re lucky. I was going to let Sabre have his way but we are needed elsewhere.”, Bishop said and quickly bridled and saddled Thaeja. Casavir mounted his horse and the three of them started on the road.

    “I am honestly surprised, Bishop. I didn’t think you were going to let him go.”, Casavir said beside him.

    “I wasn’t. Sabre wasn’t, either, but there’s a dragon in the area. The wolf smelled it. If that bandit makes it out alive, I hope he chooses a different line of work. With the amount of blood around that camp, though… “, Bishop said and laughed at Casavir’s expression. “You want to know what Mysidia would have done? She would have killed him. I hate to break that bubble you put around her, but Mysidia doesn’t like getting robbed, either.”

    Casavir kept his comments to himself. If that was what she would have done, then Bishop’s influence had already corrupted her, he thought. Once they reached Falkreath, Casavir would heal her and he would make his plea again, using this past experience as an example. There was no way she would have killed him, he thought. She was not an evil character, not by any stretch…

    ~*~

    They strode into town and made haste towards Mysidia’s room. Adara was wiping the Rhydian’s forehead with a damp cool cloth. The young surgeon had cleaned Mysidia’s body and dressed the wounds as best she could. All of Mysidia’s warpaint had been removed and her skin looked ashen against the pillowcase.

    Casavir walked over to her side and sat down in the chair next to her. He looked her over and gently removed the bandage with care, examining her neck wound. His expression was grave. He grabbed her wrist and placed his finger over one of her veins to feel her pulse. He turned to the young woman who was waiting patiently behind both of them in the back of the room.

    “Has her status changed, my lady?”, he asked.

    “It’s just Adara, my lord. And no. She hasn’t gotten better. She hasn’t gotten any worse, either. There’s hope.”, she said and tried to force a smile.

    Casavir turned back to Mysidia and closed his eyes. A blue nimbus surrounded his hands as he tenderly laid them around Mysidia’s neck. A serene blue light covered Mysidia from head to toe. The scratches and superficial cuts on her skin began to mend and healed without any trace. Casavir held his hands over her for what seemed like hours. The longer he cast his healing spell, the harder it began to take a toll on him. Small beads of sweat began to cling to his forehead and his breaths became shorter and frequent.

    He sank down into the chair and swayed in his seat. Adara came over to him and handed him a cup of lemon water. He gave a weak smile as he drank; his hand shook. She placed her small hand under his and held him steady as he raised the cup to his lips.

    Slowly, Mysidia’s eyes began to flutter. Light violet eyes opened fuzzy and unfocused. She took in a deep breath and winced as she felt the pinch on her neck. She raised her hand but felt completely drained. She fully opened up her eyes and looked around the room she was in. Adara smiled in relief.

    “You gave us quite a scare, my lady.”, she said coming to her side.

    Mysidia’s eyes looked at her face, unable to recognize it. She tried to speak, but only a dry squeak came out. Casavir came over to her and held a fresh cup of water to her lips. She looked over at him and raised her eyebrows.

    “What are you doing here?”, she was finally able to ask.

    “Bishop found me and told me what had happened. The gods are with you, my lady. Had I been a day later…”, he let the statement hang.

    At this point, relief completely washed over Bishop and he felt light headed. He silently thanked the wall he was leaning on or he probably would have fallen over. He released the air that he seemed to be holding in his lungs. Mysidia looked over at him and her expression grew soft.

    “Do you remember what happened?”, Casavir asked.

    Mysidia looked at the blank space in front of her, trying to replay everything that had happened. “I think so…”, she muttered. It took a few moments of silence, but then she raised her hands to her neck and looked up in terror.

    “We were ambushed… I attacked first. Bishop had gotten hurt. I shifted and was shot in the neck. The last thing I remember is being carried.”, she said plainly.

    There were a series of soft whines at the door as both wolves stood looking in. Mysidia looked at her wolf and Karnwyr. She smiled and softly patted the bed next to her. The came trotting in and both licked her hands. She rubbed them both behind the ears.

    “Were you able to find the armor, pack brother?”, Mysidia asked Sabre, in the manner of wolves.

    “Yes. It’s not far from here, actually.”, he replied. “Heal up. There is no rush, Alpha sister. They are safe.”

    Mysidia let her head fall back on her pillow, suddenly exhausted.

    “Right. Ok, everyone out, please. The Dragonborn needs her rest. There’s venison stew in the cauldron, downstairs. Help yourself.”, Adara said authoritatively.

    Casavir left first. Karnwyr left behind him and Adara hesitated for a moment before leaving Bishop and her alone. Sabre curled up next to her bed and quickly fell asleep. There was no convincing him to leave her. And he wouldn’t.

    Bishop waited for a few moments before walking up to her. “Are….you ok?”

    Mysidia opened her eyes and looked at him for a few moments. She understood his meaning. He said “you” but really meant “we”. There was quite a bit for her to process. She remembered the fight and getting impaled with the arrow. It wasn’t until she remembered what Thorn had hinted towards, earlier, that she realized what Bishop was asking about.

    Thorn pandered around the topic of Bishop and him around other women. It didn’t take a genius to realize what Thorn was all about, based off of what he said to Mysidia previously.

    Mysidia locked her eyes on Bishop. His amber eyes stared back. For a split second, Mysidia saw something flash in his expression. Fear? Fear of what…exactly? This would have to be addressed at another time. Mysidia was simply too exhausted to think about it.

    She closed her eyes again and swallowed, nodding. She felt his hand touch hers and give a gentle squeeze before he left. Exhaustion gave way to the sweet indulgence of dreamless sleep.

    Bishop left Mysidia’s room and started to walk towards the front door. He felt eyes on him and he turned to see Adara and Casavir eating and chatting. Casavir looked at him for a moment before his expression became curious.

    Adara, uncomfortable with the tension, got up from her chair and grabbed an empty bowl. “My lord, are you not hungry? You should eat something.”

    Bishop shook his head. “No. You both eat. I….”, he stopped unsure of what he was feeling. His chest began to grow tight and for reasons he couldn’t be sure of, the walls felt like they were choking him. Karnwyr, who was laying at Adara’s feet, got up and walked towards his master. He looked over at the small pile of chopped wood and nodded towards it, “I’ll get some more.”

    He didn’t wait to hear a reply.

    Breanna Flamekeeper
    Participant
    Post count: 27

    I really enjoyed your story I hope you come back to write more! XD I want to find out what happens!

    Dodongo79
    Participant
    Post count: 67

    Aww, thank you, Breanna.

    When they started to make the animated version of SRM, I didn’t know if I was going to finish this or put it off until the new one was released. Since there is a TON of new content with the Animated version, I am going to hold off on completing this fanfic until 3.0 is released. Then, I will simply rewrite and start anew, still keeping Mysidia who she is and how she got here.

    I promise, I haven’t abandoned this story completely… just holding off until I can play the new version. 😉

    adventurezebra
    Participant
    Post count: 4

    this is verry good!! I love the creativity in it. Im excited to see more when it comes out (:

    Phoenix G
    Participant
    Post count: 7

    This was an extremely creative read, I just love alternate means of dealing with ranger boy. I’ve been enjoying it a lot, thank you.

    Dodongo79
    Participant
    Post count: 67

    (Writer’s Note: Howdy! Sorry it’s taken me so long to continue on my story, but I had to decide if I was going to start all over or just add the new 3.0 scenes as they happened. Considering that I am pleased on how this fanfict is turning out, I decided to keep it and just keep adding to it. There’s a TON of new stuff coming up and I am happy to say that the adventures won’t stop after the wedding. Feel free to drop comments / questions here or shoot me a PM / email. Also, I have thick skin and can take constructive criticism, so if you think this is lacking in something, please feel free to speak up. I’m always looking on how to better myself and my writing. FYI, I edited the first post to this story thread to give you more info about this continued work. PS- OMGOMGOMG!!! Y’all did a FANTASTIC job with this mod. The new lines, I’m swooning all over again. Thank you for rekindling the hopeless romantic in myself. Enjoy!)

    Chapter 17

    Casavir and Adara were enjoying the stew she prepared earlier that day. They were busy in casual “get to know you” conversation when Bishop came thundering down the stairs. They stopped and looked up at the wild eyed ranger. Adara knew that look. She had seen it so many times before, when the brush of death came a little too close to those who were preciously cared about. She looked over at Casavir who glared at him. Adara wasn’t sure what had happened between the both of them but Mysidia was in the middle of it.

    After Bishop turned down the stew and left, Casavir grunted and continued eating. Adara said nothing. Finally, the tension was too much for her.

    “I don’t mean to pry, my lord…but you can cut the tension with an ebony sword.”, she said in a soft voice. Immediately after she spoke, the strong sounds of wood chopping began outside. The chopping was done in a rhythm but angrily. Physical labor was good for draining anger, she noted to herself.

    “There isn’t much to say. Mysidia is one of many destroyed by the darkness that man carries.”, Casavir said with a distant look in his eyes.

    Adara pondered on that for a moment. Then she apologized. Casavir looked up sharply at the confession. “What do you have to be sorry for, my lady? You have done nothing wrong.”

    “I am afraid I have made a mistake. With the way the ranger acted towards the Dragonborn, I thought surely he was her husband. I see now that is misplaced. It also explains why you and he are at odds.”, she said dipping a small piece of bread into her bowl.

    Casavir paused for a moment thinking over what she had said. Then he chuckled and shook his head. “No, my lady. Bishop is not her husband. And your assumption is wrong. I am not, either. My order doesn’t allow it.”

    “Surely the Dragonborn should be allowed to choose who she travels with then, my lord…does she not?”, Adara asked.

    “Of course.”, he said plainly.

    “Is she a poor judge of character?”, she asked.

    He didn’t answer. She left it for a moment, continuing their eating. It didn’t sit well with him. He put his bread down and said, “It’s just that I’ve known Bishop for longer than she has. I know what he’s capable of.”

    Adara nodded softly. “I see.” She cleaned up her place and poured Casavir another glass of water. She sat down and looked at him for a moment. “May I ask you something?”

    “Yes.”, he said and looked up.

    “Are you the same person you were five years ago?”, she asked.

    Casavir sat up and looked shocked. “No. Of course not.”

    “Would it be fair if I judged you based on the person you were?”, she continued. His expression relaxed for a moment, realizing where she was going with the conversation. “You don’t live where you were five years ago. No one does. It’s not fair that you judge him based on a person he isn’t anymore. You didn’t see him with her. I have a hard time believing that he is damaging to your friend. He feels bad enough that his past came back to haunt him and she got caught up in the cross hairs. If I may be so forward, let it go, my lord. If you are a paladin, carrying around that negativity would only keep you from the Light.”, she said and cleaned up his place.

    She turned her back and started to do the dishes. She heard him get up and leave the cottage they were in. A soft smile played on her lips. Adara may not have been magically inclined, but she believed that the gods worked through everyone in their own way. It was her hope that her words struck true with the Paladin.

    ~*~

    Casavir slowly walked around the cottage to where Bishop was chopping wood. He watched as the ax came down over and over, splitting log after log. The ranger was long lost in thought. If Bishop were the person he used to be, he would have left Mysidia to die where she fell. He didn’t. Instead he did the exact opposite. And more so, he asked Casavir to heal her.

    “She’s changed you.”, Casavir said finally.

    Bishop stopped mid swing and looked up. When he had seen Casavir leaning on one of the cottage posts, he scowled and went back to chopping. “If you’re here to gloat, Cas, I’m not in the mood.”

    “No, Bishop. I’m not here to gloat.”, he said and started walking towards him. He grabbed a cup and dipped it into the rain water barrel. He walked over to Bishop and handed him the cup while he took the ax out of his hand and began to continue what the ranger started. Bishop looked at the cup strangely and took a step back.

    “Why ARE you here?’, he asked finally.

    “I said, she’s changed you.”, Casavir said and split the wood in half just as Bishop did before. He looked up and saw Bishop’s face contort into a scowl. “It wasn’t meant to be an insult.”

    “What makes you think she changed me?”, the ranger asked. “How do you know I didn’t rub off on her?”

    Casavir split another log. “You found me to save her. The Bishop I remember would have left her for dead.”

    Bishop didn’t say anything. He wiped his face with the end of his tunic shirt. Casavir had seen the soft pink line of the new scar on Bishop’s stomach. He figured he had gotten that while traveling with Mysidia. Had she not been there, it would have been a mortal wound.

    Casavir continued to split the logs. “Do you love her?”

    “That’s none of your damned business.”, Bishop warned.

    “True.”, Casavir said and tossed the split logs on the pile. “But as much as you’ve warned her of me, you should have been up front with your past. I highly doubt she would have stuck around had you told her of Lilyandra.”

    Bishop’s amber eyes flared at the sound of the girl’s name. “Keep your mouth shut, paladin.”

    “Easy, ranger. I’m not here to start a fight.”, Casavir said holding his hands up. “But if you are in love with her, and I suspect you are, she needs to about all of you. Not just the parts you show her.”

    “Spoken from a true bullshit artist.”, Bishop spat. He put his cup down and ran his hands down his face, rubbing the stubble on his chin. “It might be out of my hands any how. Thorn mentioned something about her to Mysidia.”

    Casavir could see the desperation on Bishop’s face. This wasn’t an enemy from his past. This was someone frightened of losing someone precious in his life. Casavir placed the ax down and looked at him. “The Dragonborn isn’t without mercy. If she asks, tell her the truth. She’s told me she believes in second chances.”

    The paladin started to walk away. Bishop eyed him as he made past and felt the change between them. “Where are you going?”, he asked.

    “To the inn to rent a room for the night. As much as I enjoy Lady Adara’s company, her house isn’t large enough to accommodate and I don’t want to put her in that position. I will stay in town in case Mysidia needs my magic again, until she’s fully healed.”, he said and turned. “The young surgeon said something to me that’s made me reevaluate a few things. And the Dragonborn had said that you are abrasive, not cruel. I have found this to be true, recently.. My battle is with injustice and those that prey on the weak. What ever has transpired between you and Mysidia has changed you for the better, Bishop. You falling in love with her wouldn’t be the worst thing to happen to you.”

    And like that, Casavir ended their decade long quarrel. Bishop still couldn’t stand the self righteousness that Casavir had, but even the paladin had changed. And he was right. Bishop also changed. For the better? Well…. that was a matter of opinion.

    Bishop picked up the ax and got back to chopping wood. He grumbled like an old man. Why was everyone so interested in whether or not Bishop loved her? Every time you turned around, someone else was asking the same friggin’ question, he thought.

    ~*~

    The next morning, the sun poured through window and hit Mysidia’s face. She opened her eyes to see Sabre’s face inches from hers. She smiled lazily and lifted her hand to scratch his soft fur. She hated being away from her wolf companion. And truth be told, he hated being away from her, too.

    They had traveled every where together and had lived through some amazing adventures. Mysidia noticed more gray hair peppering his dark muzzle, signaling the long journey they’ve taken together. She could feel his weariness. They were connected. The closer he was to her, the more she could feel from him.

    “You’re time is coming, isn’t it old friend?”, Mysidia said sadly.

    Sabre’s eyes opened and looked at her. He couldn’t answer. Anything other than the truth, she would know. Tears stung Mysidia’s eyes as she continued to smooth his soft fur down his head.

    “You knew it was going to happen eventually, Alpha sister.”, Sabre said finally.

    “How long?”, she said softly. She could barely get out the words as sadness constricted her throat. Her tears spilled down her cheeks and wet the blanket covering her.

    “Not for a while. There’s still time.”, he said and nuzzled her hand.

    Mysidia and Sabre were magically connected. When she saved him from certain death at the hands of trappers, she had nursed him back to health and weaned him until he could eat solid food. Bearsoul had said that he was a gift from Amaya’Fae and that he was to be her companion. There was a ceremony and their souls were magically connected. This was why Sabre was able to live as long as he had. Most wolves don’t live past 12 or 13 years in the wild. Sabre more than tripled that because of Mysidia’s bloodline. Rhydians are cousins to elves, and so, are gifted with long lives. This gift was passed on to the wolf during the ceremony.

    But… even this gift had its limits. He knew, as well as her, that he would die long before she would. They were both told this before the ceremony. Sabre felt obligated, in the beginning. Since she saved his life, he felt he should protect her and return the favor. Over the years, however, they became close and he loved her as a pack member. When he said “Alpha Sister”, he meant it. She was as close to a sister to him as any fur kin could be, blood be damned.

    He grew to respect his furless sibling. She had proven time and time again that she was a noble, self sacrificing creature. She gave and helped freely, without wanting anything in return. She never felt sorry for herself or whatever situation she found herself in.

    And in turn, she too, loved him like a brother. Even though he was a wolf, the way he viewed the world was fascinating. There had been numerous times that he provided wisdom when she needed it. It might not have been conventional, but it guided her through the years and help shape who she became. She knew that Sabre wouldn’t die with her. Animal companions always were outlived by their human counterparts. It was inevitable. However, each death is felt keenly because of the special bond they share. Sabre was Mysidia’s first. She vowed he would also be her last. No one could take his place or come close to trying.

    “You scared your ranger friend.”, Sabre said, breaking the silence.

    “I think it was more of his pride than anything else.”, she muttered.

    If Sabre could have laughed, he would have. He lacked the vocal capacity to do so. Instead, he lolled his tongue out and gave a wolfy grin. Mysidia looked at him and chided. “What was that for?”

    “You are impeccably bright, my sister. What you have in intelligence, however, you lack in observation.”, Sabre noted.

    “Hey!”, she said and playfully pushed against her wolf.

    “I will not spend my remaining months convincing you two to say what’s been in your hearts for a while, now. As your animal companion, it is my duty to make sure that you are taken care of when it is my time to cross over. So stop being the stubborn humanoid you so fondly enjoy clinging to and either be the first to say something or cut your ties and find a place to settle into.”, Sabre said. Mysidia knew he meant every word and also knew he did this out of love.

    She closed her eyes and her brows knitted together as if a painful memory flashed before her. “You know why this is difficult.”

    “Yes, dear sister, I do. But life continues, as it always had and Amaya’Fae has shown us that there is always rebirth after a death. Like the autumn leaves that are shed and we are taught to let go that which does not sustain us, so does spring in reminding us to begin anew. As powerful as you are, Druid, you cannot stop death. All you can do is to start the next cycle.”, Sabre said and nuzzled her face, wiping the tears that managed to stream down her cheeks. “What happened to your mate was tragic and I mourned with you. Holding onto ghosts of who our loved ones were places us in a stasis, however. And I know he wouldn’t have wanted you to carry so much grief in you. The spark of life that you carry was something I know he admired and eventually fell in love with you through it. It is time, Alpha Sister. Lay down the heaviness you carry in your heart.”

    What Sabre was referring to was the tragic death of Mysidia’s fallen husband. She had been married once before when she was barely over a hundred. (Extremely young by Rhydian standards, especially considering she was had seen several Eras/Ages.) War took him from her, which is why she refused to get into the current situation in Skyrim.

    “Even if I tell him how I feel, I will outlive him, too. One mate’s death is enough for a lifetime.”, she said, her voice barely above a whisper.

    “There are ways around that. Stop using your bloodline as an excuse.”, Sabre retorted.

    “I would have to tell him everything…”, she paused trying her hardest not to relive the most painful of her memories. “I’m not ready for that.”

    “He deserves to know the truth regardless if you tell him you love him. Withholding something like that shows a lack of respect.”, Sabre added bluntly

    “And you don’t think he’s not holding anything from me?”, Mysidia said and crossed her arms defiantly. “Besides, why are you so adamant on getting us together? You don’t like him.”

    “I don’t hate the human. I just don’t like it when he deliberately….as you humanoids put it….push your buttons. Landing that aside, I see how you look at him and the smile he gets from you. As much as you don’t admit it to yourself, the two of you were born of the same soul: stubborn as the summer days are long and live life nothing less than fiercely passionate.”

    Mysidia scowled at her wolf. Being scolded by her companion caused her to fidget. She lowered her eyes and grumbled to herself. “I’m nothing but a good lay for him, anyway. Now that he’s had me, he’ll bore of me and move on. So all of you and this in my business, is moot.”

    If Sabre had the capacity to shake his head or roll his eyes, he would have. He walked to the door and looked back. “If that were true, Alpha Sister, asking Thaeja to help him find the paladin to save your life wouldn’t have crossed his mind.”

    Mysidia froze still staring down at her blanket. “Wait…. he did what?” There was no reply. Sabre had left before she could ask the question. She knew about Casavir being here to heal her, but Thaeja? She thought it over several times before tossing her blanket off of her and getting dressed in a hurry.

    Before she could rethink what she had done, the room began to spin. She held onto the nearby dresser until the room stopped playing Topsy Turvy. Deciding that slowing down her bodily requests was an exercise in wisdom, she managed to finish dressing and down the stairs to see Adara speaking with Casavir.

    Mysidia smiled watching the two of them share a quiet conversation. When Adara looked away for various reasons, Casavir stole more than just a few casual glances. As Adara noticed Mysidia standing there, she jumped up shocked.

    “Oh no, my lady. You shouldn’t be up on your feet, yet. You lost a considerable amount of blood.”, Adara said concerned.

    “No need to worry.”, she said waving her hand away. “Really, I’m quite recovered.”

    Adara wasn’t convinced. She held on to Mysidia’s arm and tried to escort her up the staircase. Mysidia shook her head. “I’m sorry, Adara, but I need to speak with Bishop.”

    “I can’t have you going into a relapse, my lady. While Sir Casavir’s healing abilities have saved your life, you can still be in danger.”, Adara said, her light brown eyes full of worry.

    Mysidia pursed her lips trying to put her doctor at ease. “I am greatly humbled at your concern, my lady. But, I fight dragons for a living. It takes much more than an arrow to deliver me to Death’s Door. And, as you stated, we have Casavir. Allow him to escort me outside. If it proves physically taxing, our hero paladin will be right there to either heal me, or carry me up to bed. And the fresh air would do me good.”

    Adara took in a slow deep breath, considering Mysidia’s explanation. Finally she nodded at the offer and looked gravely at Casavir. The paladin placed a hand over his heart and closed his eyes.

    “If I even see the slightest decline, you have my word I will bring her in.”, he said and Mysidia looped her arm around his.

    Once outside, Mysidia took in a deep breath and exhaled. A soft smile spread across her face as the early summer’s breeze played with her unbraided hair. Casavir looked at her from his peripheral vision. While her complexion still was pale, the color came back to her cheeks. Her eyes had returned to their vividly violet color; evidence of her health returning. This was the first time Casavir had seen her with her hair unbound and her face clean of the exotic tribal markings she always had on.

    “May I ask you a question, Sir Knight?”, Mysidia started the conversation as they slowly made their way towards the back of the cottage.

    “Of course. And please, Dragonborn, you don’t need to be so formal.”, He said looking around them, trying to find any sight of danger.

    “As you wish. But then, you need to call me Mysidia. Agreed?”, she said and stopped, facing him.

    Casavir looked at her heart shaped face. The Widow’s Peak she had accentuated the shape even further. He looked down, feeling embarrassed about staring so long. Mysidia noticed, but said nothing and gave him his dignity.

    “I recently learned that Bishop was the one who went out to find you…and on Thaeja, no less.”, she said. And even as the words fell off her lips, they sounded odd. Nothing about that statement made any sense to her.

    Casavir nodded slowly. “Indeed, my lady-”, he paused catching himself and smiled, “Mysidia. It was a surprise to me as well. I noticed your mount tied off without any sign of you and grew gravely concerned.”

    The reaction Mysidia gave wasn’t one he was prepared for. A troubled crease folded her brow and she looked down.

    “You’ve changed him, Mysidia. From what I’ve seen, for the better. The man I remember would have left you for dead and taken anything of value.”, Casavir said, hoping to change her expression. Instead, it made it worse.

    Mysidia cursed under her breath and sighed, closing her eyes. Casavir, not understanding the negative reaction, looked confused. Mysidia looked up and shook her head. “Nothing to worry about, Casavir. I’m finding myself dreading a conversation I should have had with him a long time ago.”

    “I apologize if this is too forward of me, Dragonborn, but I had always noticed that falling in love was usually a happy occasion.”, Casavir said tilting his head to catch her gaze.

    Mysidia looked up sharply and raised her eyebrows in shock. “Oh gods, is it that obvious?”, she asked.

    At first, Casavir thought she meant Bishop. It wasn’t until he answered that he realized she meant herself. “Actions usually dictate intent, do they not?” Mysidia held silent but chewed at her lip in thought.

    “It’s just that I didn’t think we would be together as long as we have been….”, she trailed off trying to find a delicate way to word it, “…by the time actions escalated to the…(ahem)….event, I figured he would have grown bored finding someone else to conquer.”

    Casavir’s heart sank, but not because he realized they had slept together. “Mysidia, do you not think you are worthy of being loved? Everything I have seen and the stories I have heard about you reaffirm my first impressions that you are a good woman. You’ve selflessly placed others needs above your own. You give freely without wondering if the rewards are worth the effort. You’ve tried to stamp out evil where you can. If that’s not the very definition of good, I’m not sure what is.”, he said. Without thinking, he placed a tendril of her hair behind her elfin like ear. The sight of her piercings made him smile. “You are worthy of love, Mysidia. Granted, I wouldn’t have chosen the ranger for a long term partner, but the positive effect you have on him is evident. You’ve…”, he stopped trying to find a better word, “…saved him.”

    Mysidia’s face grew softer and she chuckled under her breath. “I don’t laugh at you, Casavir. I am simply reminded of something my brother has told me more than once.”, she said. When Casavir’s face rippled into curiosity she said, “Alignment is based on perspective.”

    “Brother? As in the priesthood?”, Casavir asked.

    “No, as in blood related. I have two brothers and they were very much alive when I left my home to come here.”, she said and nudged them to walk some more.

    They continued their walk towards the back of the cottage where the sounds of chopping grew louder and louder. The echo bouncing off of the trees grew tighter as they got closer to the sound. Before Mysidia rounded the corner, she stopped and faced Casavir again. “Thank you, and not just because you saved my life. You’ve given me much to think about. The conversation I am dreading has nothing to do with how I feel. It has more or less to do with my past and who I left behind. Some day, I hope to tell you about my homeland. Perhaps when this dragon crisis is over and Alduin is dead…”

    “I have enjoyed our conversational walk, as well. And I would very much love to hear about Rhydia.”, he said and took her hand to kiss the back of it. Mysidia smiled softly and stepped in to give him a hug.

    “You had your hands on my neck and chest while I was in bed. That’s at least worth a hug.”, she said and laughed, giving him a warm embrace. He numbly hugged in return, not sure how to answer. She placed a chaste kiss on his cheek and pulled back to walk to Bishop. When she did, Casavir was beet red from his hands to the top of his head. Mysidia couldn’t help but laugh.

    “Perhaps it’s just as well we weren’t travel companions. I would have far too much fun getting you to blush and that’s a little cruel, now that I think about it.”, she said and gave him a sexy wink. “See, Sir Knight? Perspective.”

    Casavir smiled and she knew he didn’t take offense to what she did or said. It was all in good fun. He turned and walked towards Falkreath’s inn and Mysidia turned the corner to find Bishop.

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