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    Chapter 19

    Family Ties (NSFW)

     

    The next morning Rona roused to the inviting smell and sound of sizzling food and Bishop playfully humming The Dragonborn Comes. She sat up, a blanket drifting off her shoulders revealing her bare upper body. Her hair was a wild mess around her face and she was still quite sticky between her legs and rather tender.

    “You’re in a good mood,” she mumbled sleepily while rubbing her eye.

    Bishop smiled broadly as he flipped strips of meat in a pan over the fire. “A great mood actually! I feel like a new man Ladyship!” he declared. Karnwyr sat nearby staring hungrily at the cooked meat, licking his chops. Bishop dumped them onto a plate and tossed the hungry wolf a slice. He passed her a cup of hot tea and the plate of food, “Here you are – eggs and seared venison for the lady.”

    The plate was stacked full with two helpings of scrambled eggs, four strips of venison and a large cut of bread. “That’s way too much,” she said ogling it.

    “Eat up,” he said giving a low, sensual growl, “You’re going to need your energy for everything I have in store for you.”

    She laughed, throwing him a curious look before taking a sip of the tea. Her first bite into the eggs made her realize just how ravenous she really was and she scarfed everything down. Bishop stared at her the whole time, either impressed by how quickly she ate or by the fact that her breasts were exposed and she wasn’t shouting him to pieces for looking.

    It didn’t matter to her either way, she enjoyed his lustful gaze. It made her feel wanted and desired. When she finished, she pushed her empty plate aside and said, “Guess I didn’t know how hungry I was.”

    “Mmm, well after last night I’m not surprised at all,” he smiled, laying down next to her on his side. He grasped her shoulders pulling her in and caressed her, kissing her skin lightly.

    She moaned and protested holding a hand to her nose, “Nooo, I need to bathe, I smell.”

    “You smell intoxicating to me,” he murmured through sweet kisses.

    She got up suddenly, allowing the blanket to fall from her body and looked down at him, inviting him to follow her. “You coming?”

    His swollen nethers twitched in reply and he stood to join her, practically chasing her down into the water. She laughed splashing at him as he fought to grasp her through the running water. Finally he got a hold of her and pulled her in tightly, pressing his hips against hers and with a sensual grin he slid his cock between her thighs, spreading her tender, swollen lips apart. She moaned at the feeling, laying her head against his chest while his hand curled through her dampened hair, massaging her scalp.

    “I didn’t hurt you last night, did I?” he whispered gently.

    She looked up into his burning amber eyes and smirked, “No, I assure you, all that screaming was from pure bliss.”

    “Hmm,” he grinned grasping her leg and pulling it up, “Then you won’t mind if I get another taste of your tightness?”

    She pushed herself against him eagerly, giving him the go ahead and he slid himself inside taking her again.

    ~~~

    They spent days by the river, making love endlessly, only stopping to eat, sleep and bathe. Karnwyr made himself scarce every time their howls of pleasure echoed through the forest.

    Bishop took her in all positions, bending her in ways she’d never imagined. She lost track of time with not a care in the world wanting nothing more than to indulge in this new world of pleasure. If she’d known how good it felt, she would have done it so much sooner. She almost regretted waiting as long as she did, but as Bishop held her close every night, sleeping deeply beside her she was glad he was her first.

    One night, after a marathon of sex all day, they lay beside each other, panting and heaving. Bishop sounded exhausted but still insisted breathlessly, “I can keep going if you want.”

    Rona took a deep breath and said, “I’m tapping out. I can’t feel my legs.”

    He rolled over, head in his hand and chuckled, “So I’ve finally defeated the Dragonborn.”

    She cocked her head at him, “Oh please! You couldn’t get it up again even if you wanted to. Go ahead – if you can you can have me however you want.”

    He pursed his lips, looked down at his limpness and wiggled it with a hand, “Damn, you called my bluff,” he sat upright and stretched, “Ah well, who’s hungry? I’m starved.”

    “I could eat,” she sighed, stretching and pulling a blanket over herself.

    He started fixing them a meal, cooking up some of the last of every little thing they had.

    Rona hadn’t touched her lute in days, too tired to play and voice strained from all the screaming. Still, she was itching to sing something and pulled the lute up to her nude body and plucked at the strings.

    Bishop grinned, “Going to play your own rendition of The Dragonborn Comes?

    She rolled her eyes, “I hate that song. Everybody sings it and they all sing it badly.”

    “That red-headed woman sang it pretty well if you ask me,” he said mindlessly while skewering some vegetables and venison.

    “Oh! You mean Eira?”

    “Is that who that was?” he finished piercing food to skewers and placed them over the fire, “Talk about drop-dead gorgeous. Wish she’d kissed me instead of you.” Rona felt a twinge of envy and scowled at him, he glanced back chuckling at her expression. “Feeling jealous, Princess?” he teased.

    “Not at all! Why would I ever be jealous of a tall, beautiful nord woman with long flowing red hair, sexy curves and the voice of a goddess?”

    He lay back beside her, wrapping an arm over her shoulder, “Certainly not you, I hope. Besides, I’ve got my sights set on only one Dragonborn…I honestly don’t think I could handle two.” She smirked and nudged him in the ribs playfully.

    They spent the evening flirting and joking over their dinner and Rona sang a few songs to entertain him afterwards. When their laughter and chatting died down the only sounds in the vicinity were the crackle of the fire and the chirping of torchbugs. Rona held a warm cup of tea in her hands and a blanket wrapped around her shoulders. Bishop lay beside her, quietly nodding off.

    She’d been thinking for days about everything Bishop had said their first night there. She was hesitant to ask him anything else though for fear of losing him once and for all. Jules was his younger brother, she gleaned that much from his outburst. They’d obviously been very close but from the way he’d said it, his brother was no longer alive.

    There was still so much she didn’t know about this man who’d woven his way into her heart. She’d started to wonder if his past really mattered at all. He’d suffered a lot as a child and it made him the man he was today. Someone who had trust issues, certainly, but who was deeply caring and protective of the ones he did open up to. He was brutally honest to a fault, vigilant, strong, sexy, and quite talented in many ways.

    She’d decided to stop asking him questions, having heard all she could stand anyhow. If he chose to tell her then she’d listen, but it didn’t matter anymore. Bishop was Bishop, he was here with her and that’s all that mattered.

    His hand stroked her arm, “What’s on your mind Sweetness?”

    She set aside her cup of tea. “Nothing,” she murmured.

    “Don’t want to sleep alone do you Ladyship?”

    “Why would I when I have you to keep me company?” she smiled and lay back down beside him.

    Uttering an affectionate growl he pulled her in closer. Sleeping in each other’s arms again. She would never grow tired of it.

    ~~~

    The two spent more than a week secluded in a world of their own making, keeping each other company and doing what lovers did best. Rona drowned herself in the pleasures he provided nearly forgetting her purpose. It was only when they were going at it on a small island by the waterfall that they were reminded of the world outside and the reason for their journey. As they both neared their climax the roars of a dragon echoed over the mountains.

    Bishop held for a moment listening for it, but Rona didn’t care. She was almost there and it would have been better to come while engulfed in flames than to never come at all. She bucked her hips against him, making him groan. He looked down at her surprised and more aroused by her eagerness and flippant disregard of the potential danger.

    He lifted her onto his lap, letting her take the lead, and using his body to make it happen. She squirmed on his lap and screamed his name as she peaked. Her forcefulness brought him to climax as well and he released it inside as he often did now.

    Knowing she was using a contraceptive he preferred to finish inside her, though he wasn’t opposed to showering her with his essence on several occasions as well, such as the first time she took him in her mouth and between her breasts.

    As their cries rang through the trees, Rona slumped against him, exhausted and he held her, still listening for danger. The dragon’s roars became more distant and he relaxed and sighed, “How do those damn things always find you?”

    “It’s cause I’m too loud, I think,” she mumbled against him, exhausted.

    He laughed at her, “You could never be too loud Lightfoot. In fact I prefer it, the louder you are the better and then I know I’m doing my job right.”

    She smiled fondly at him and grazed his lips with a kiss before drawing herself to her feet and stumbled. Bishop caught her and lifted her up into his arms. “Ladyship, you’re as light as a damned feather,” he said as he carried her back to their camp.

    “And you’ve got nice broad shoulders,” she replied grasping them.

    He seemed pleased with the compliment, flexing his shoulders slightly.

    The minute he set her down her energy slowly returned. She stretched and staggered around camp looking for her clothes. She put her underwear and dress on for the first time in what felt like days. Bishop looked displeased, groaning, “Mmm, Ladyship, no, don’t do that. These clothes are too restrictive.” He tugged at her dress sleeves, still totally nude himself.

    She laughed at him as she pulled on her boots, “I need a break!”

    “Tired already? Because I could keep going, I’m ready whenever you are, Sweetness.”

    “Bishop, it’s been eight days of endless sex, I can’t even walk straight anymore,” she threw his underwear at him.

    “You didn’t seem to mind it every time I had you flushed and breathless beneath me.”

    She blushed lightly and rolled her eyes, “We really need to go to Whiterun, today. We’re nearly out of supplies.”

    “Just the mead, I can forage and hunt for you any old time,” he suggested.

    “I need civilization!” she declared, “And as much as I’d love to spend the rest of my life indulging in endless pleasure with you I have things to do. Dragonborn, remember? Dragons to kill, destiny to fulfill?”

    “I’d much rather stay here and fulfill you,” he teased. She dumped his clothes into his lap and he finally caved in and pulled his underwear and pants on. They both dressed and packed up their messy campsite. Rona made a mental note to wash the bedrolls and the blankets thoroughly after the hot mess they’d made all over them, not to mention the sour smell they emitted, which was enough to make her eyes water.

    Bishop took every passing opportunity to grope her and kiss her lips as he passed by putting things away. After the last one, she crooned, “Don’t make me shout you off a cliff.” He retreated, laughing raucously.

    As Bishop mounted his steed Rona excused herself for a moment and wandered off into the brush by the waterfall. She pulled her mother’s urn from her pouch. It’d been so long since she held it. She had considered spreading some ashes up on High Hrothgar, but as she slowly started hating the place decided against it. Instead she wanted to spread them in places that held deep significance to her, where she enjoyed being. Places where she knew her mother would have enjoyed being. She sprinkled some at the edge of the river and pocketed the urn. With a last glance at the beautiful scenery she left to rejoin Bishop.

    They found Karnwyr a ways down the road, gnawing on the remains of a rabbit he’d caught and called him along. He seemed happy to finally be on the move again and ran around wildly barking at every little thing, even taking a few risky chances to excitedly weave through their horses legs. Thankfully both Karinda and Whiskey were so used to the wolf and his antics that they hardly bat an eye.

    Whiterun was only a few hours from where they were and they arrived while it was still daylight out. They stabled their horses and made their way inside passing by several guards nearby. One of them seemed to recognize her and ran right over.

    “Lady Rona!” he called, pulling his helmet off revealing his bald head and bushy beard.

    “Dagun! Hello – what are you doing back in Whiterun?”

    “Oh, Sigrs and I had to take leave from Riverwood after a dragon attack,” he said dejectedly.

    Rona’s eyes widened, “Are you alright? Is he alright? What – when did it happen?” Could she have prevented it? Could she have protected them? She panicked inwardly.

    “Oh, everyone is fine for the most part,” he said faltering slightly, “It was a little over a month ago, but we took care of it with, well, mostly no problem. Sigrs got a pretty bad burn to his back and shoulder, he’s been staying up at the Temple of Kynareth for healing. As for me, my rockjoint was acting up again and I knew if I stuck around I’d be useless against another dragon attack so they traded us out. My nephew Talun is still up there though with a couple of new recruits.”

    Rona sighed, relieved that they were okay.

    “Relax Ladyship,” Bishop said clapping her on the back, “You can’t protect everyone all the time.”

    Dagun glanced at the ranger, slightly dismayed to see he was still accompanying her.

    “I’ll have to go visit Sigrs and see if I can use my magic to help,” she said pulling his attention away from Bishop.

    “That’d be mighty kind of you miss – oh! I almost forgot! Jarl Balgruuf wanted me to give this to you if I saw you around,” Dagun pulled a slightly crinkled envelope from his trouser pocket.

    She accepted it, looking at it curiously, “I wonder what it is?”

    “More gold I hope,” Bishop said, to which Rona rolled her eyes.

    “Don’t know, been keeping it for you for a while now,” another guard called for Dagun, “Whoops, sorry Lady Rona, but I’ve got to get going. It was nice seeing you,” he left to go make his rounds when he stopped and turned back, “Hey! If you get a chance tonight, mind stopping by the Bannered Mare? We’d love to hear you sing again!”

    She smiled at him, “I’d love to!”

    They waved goodbye then Rona and Bishop walked down the path towards the marketplace, both staring at the envelope. Rona stepped off the path and tore it open.

    “So? What’ll it be this time?” Bishop pried, “We going off to find some magical golden goose that shits gold bars, or perhaps a dragon killing Daedra in disguise?”

    She ignored his snide comments and pulled out the formal looking letter and read it out loud, “The noble Jarl Balgruuf the Greater of Whiterun hereby summons the Lady Dragonborn Rona Thoraminh to appear before the court at her latest convenience.”

    Bishop leaned over her shoulder, “Damn, he even put it on fancy parchment and signed it personally. Looks like you’re really going places Ladyship.”

    “I wonder what he wants to see me for?”

    “Well, let’s not waste any time finding out,” Bishop suggested leading the way.

    ~~~

    Inside the palace they found everyone in court dining at one of the tables, Rona hadn’t realized it was already supper time until the scent of delicious food filled her nostrils and made her stomach growl. She blushed as Irileth and Steward Proventus both looked over at her mid-chew. Jarl Balgruuf hadn’t noticed her though as he was busy chastising one of his children.

    “What have I told you about fighting with your brother, Frothar?”

    The boy with shorter hair laughed, “It’s not my fault if Nelkir is too much of a milk-drinker to defend himself!”

    “Hey!” Nelkir shouted, throwing his steak knife at the boy, “Take that back!” It flew past his head and bounced off the back of the chair.

    “Father! Did you see what he just did!?”

    “Papa, when’s my new dress going to be finished?” the little girl pestered Balgruuf as the two boys continued bickering louder and louder, calling each other every childish insult under the sun.

    “Draugr-breath!”

    “Skeever-brain!”

    “Mammoth-nose!”

    “Shut up Frothar or I’ll make you regret it!”

    “Oh yeah? I’d like to see you try, Nelkie, you big baby!”

    “I will! I know things about you that you don’t want anyone to know!”

    “Oh yeah? Like what,” Frothar mocked.

    “Like how you’ve got a copy of the Lusty Argonian Maid hidden in your bottom dresser drawer!”

    “Hey! I do not! Father he’s lying!”

    “You’re the liar!”

    “ENOUGH!” Balgruuf bellowed slamming his fists on the table forcing the dishes to clatter everywhere and knocking over his mug of mead, “GO TO YOUR ROOMS! ALL OF YOU!”

    “But papa I didn’t do anything!” whined the little girl.

    “You too Dagny – GO! And don’t come back until you all learn some damned respect you ungrateful little bastards!”

    Nelkir flinched at the remark and looked at his father with pure disgust before following after his siblings.

    Rona glanced over at Bishop who also appeared rather appalled by the scene in front of them. After a moment, while Balgruuf made to compose himself and called for a fresh mug of mead from his maid-servant, Irileth piped in, “My Jarl.”

    “What is it Irileth,” he seethed, clearly not interested in talking about what just happened.

    “We have guests,” she said plainly.

    Balgruuf looked up from his tossed plate and his rage melted from his face, “Dragonborn. I wasn’t expecting you,” he got up grumbling and throwing his napkin from his lap, “Damned guards, can’t even inform me of visitors…”

    He approached her and she said, “I received your letter sir…er your summons.”

    “Yes, I was wondering when you’d grace us with your presence again. If you would follow me Lady Rona, we have much to discuss,” he glanced at Bishop and said, “I’m sorry but your companion will have to stay here, I must speak with you in private.”

    Bishop cocked an eyebrow, arms crossed and said, “You’d deny the Dragonborn her personal guard?”

    Balgruuf laughed, “I sincerely doubt Miss Thoraminh needs protection.”

    Bishop scowled but before he could put his foot dangerously in his mouth Rona gave him a reassuring look and said, “I’ll be fine, just wait here for a minute.”

    Bishop grumbled, walking away from them and took a seat on one of the benches near the front doors, Karnwyr following at his heel.

    Balgruuf escorted Rona to his upstairs balcony. He lead her outside where the cool breeze touched their faces and he casually leaned his back against the railing. Irileth stood nearby keeping a watchful eye on the Jarl.

    “Welcome to the Great Porch of Dragonsreach,” he said waving a hand up to an arched wooden contraption hanging from the ceiling, “This is where King Olaf One Eye once trapped the dragon Numinex, at least, that’s what the legends say.”

    Rona turned and looked out at the sprawling landscape as the wind twisted her hair in her face. Skyrim’s beauty never ceased to amaze her, though she knew the Jarl hadn’t brought her there to admire the landscape. She asked, “What did you want to discuss?”

    “Straight to it then, eh?” he turned back casually leaning over the railing and clasping his hands together, “I heard all about your meeting with Ulfric. You play a dangerous game with that man.”

    She looked over curiously at him, “You have eyes in Windhelm?”

    “Of course I do, girl, who do you think I am?”

    Irileth twitched slightly and Rona said with dawning realization, “The dark elves.”

    “Hmph,” Balgruuf confirmed her speculations, “I’ve been standing precariously at the sidelines of this civil war, keeping my eyes and ears wide open. I need to know where Whiterun stands between these two factions at all times.”

    “Where do you stand?” she asked him.

    He grit his teeth stating firmly, “I stand on the side of Whiterun as I always have. No doubt General Tulius and his friends in the Empire will tell you that I owe them my loyalty, and perhaps I do. Ulfric Stormcloak would say that I owe my allegiance to the nord people as they fight for Skyrim’s independence. Perhaps this is also true. The day might come when I am forced to draw my sword for one side or the other. But that day has not come yet.”

    “You’re waiting,” she guessed, “for me to choose a side.”

    His eyes flicked over to her, “You are a quick study, girl…so much like her.”

    “Like who?” Rona tilted her head slightly.

    Balgruuf sighed heavily, running a hand anxiously through his hair, “Your mother. Claudia… she was a real firebrand that one. I see a lot of her in you. You have her eyes and her height,” he chuckled, ” the rest of you though definitely comes from old Serlas.”

    Rona cast her gaze to the dimming skies before posing her next question, “How well did you know them? My parents?”

    “Your father, I’ve only met him a few times when you were still no higher than my knee. As for Claudia…”

    Rona’s pulse quickened, she could already guess. When she’d returned to him many months ago after slaying the dragon outside Whiterun he’d asked about her mother. She’d only given brief details, informing him that she’d died. She recalled the pained look he gave at the news.

    Balgruuf cleared his throat, “She was an old flame of mine.”

    To hear the words though was a whole other thing. Rona knew her parents were only together briefly. She only existed because her mother and father met in a tavern one fateful evening, both sloshed on ale which lead them to a bedroom and then a single night of passion together. Nine months later and her father received a letter that he had a daughter.

    She always knew in her heart that her mother was like that. Claudia was someone who could never stay in one place and would never let anything or anyone tie her down whether that be her family’s old farm, a string of one-night stands or a child resulting from those flits of fancy. Still, she had to know more.

    “How long?” Rona asked curtly.

    “Me and Claudia? Damn…decades at least. It’s not like we were in a relationship girl, I hope you know that…you know how she was,” he said diverting his gaze.

    Rona knew she shouldn’t ask this next one, but lost the battle with her tongue, “Were you having an affair?”

    She made the Jarl blush. He put a hand to his mouth, coughing slightly, “I can’t believe I’m explaining myself to you.”

    “I’m sorry,” she felt conflicted. This man had been her mother’s lover for several decades, she’d never known him herself but this situation made him feel like some sort of long lost relative, “I don’t mean to pry, it’s just, there’s so much I didn’t know about her.”

    “Hmm…I understand. My wife was on her deathbed when I met your mother. I’m ashamed to say that our relationship began shortly after her passing. Not exactly an affair, but not exactly proper behavior by a man who just lost his wife either.”

    Rona didn’t know what to say. Was this what Jarl Balgruuf wanted to speak to her about? Calling her here just to say, ah yes, by the way Dragonborn, I used to bed your mother on occasion? She felt incredibly uncomfortable.

    He noticed her uneasiness and said, “I wouldn’t have told you all this if I didn’t think it was important Lady Rona. There is a reason I’m explaining this to you now.”

    “Why’s that?”

    He hesitated before he asked, “What do you think of my children? From what you saw today?”

    She looked at him baffled, what kind of question was that?

    “Tell me honestly,” he added.

    “They’re spoiled rotten,” she practically spat the words at him, “They don’t know the meaning of respect or empathy. If you were to tell me they’d inherit your throne tomorrow I wouldn’t trust them as far as I could throw them. Your sons are ready to kill each other and your daughter would sell off your citizens for a new doll.”

    Balgruuf’s face twisted and he burst into laughter, pressing a hand to his head, “Damn woman, I asked for your honest opinion and you gave me a lethal tongue lashing, I see the Greybeards have taught you well,” he sighed before slowly admitting, “You’re right though. It’s difficult to manage an entire city and raise three brats all my own. I suppose I spoil them too much, started doing it after they lost their mother. You though…Serlas did right with you. You turned out to be a respectable young woman and for that we’re all grateful, especially considering you’re Dragonborn now.”

    She pressed him, “But why are you telling me these things?”

    He called to his Housecarl, “Irileth, bring Nelkir here would you? I want him to meet the Dragonborn.”

    “Yes Jarl Balgruuf, right away,” she left them to collect his son.

    He turned back to Rona and said, “I want you to meet my youngest Nelkir.” She stared at him, perplexed as he explained, “He is a dark child. I don’t know what to do with him. He was always a quiet lad, but lately… something has changed. He’s become brooding. Violent. He won’t say a word to me about what’s been bothering him. Though I suspect…”

    Rona went to ask why he was introducing her to this boy and what any of it had to do with her when Irileth returned with the child in tow. His arms were crossed and his long hair swept over his eyes. It was hard to see but she could tell he was scowling underneath.

    “Ah Nelkir, there’s someone I would like you to meet,” Balgruuf called.

    The boy came up to them and when he glanced up at Rona her jaw nearly hit the floor. They shared the same sparkling green eyes and he had most of her mother’s facial features. She felt a shudder crawling up her spine but forced it back.

    The child sneered at her, “Hmph, another wanderer here to lick my father’s boots. Good job.”

    Balgruuf roared at his son, “Watch your tongue boy! That’s the Dragonborn you speak to! Show some damned respect!”

    Nelkir looked her up and down, unimpressed and said, “I thought the Dragonborn was supposed to look tough. You just look like another dumb girl wearing a stupid dress.”

    Rona’s eye twitched, she was half-ready to slap the mouth off this kid. But as Balgruuf made to lash out at him again Rona butt-in quickly, kneeling down to his height and said, “Yeah, I am the Dragonborn, do you want to hear me shout?”

    His face lit up with interest for just a moment before he turned his head shyly and said, “Yeah…sure…I guess.”

    She turned away from them both and stood as tall as her petite frame would allow and hurled three different shouts to the skies.

    “FUS RO DAH!”

    “KAAN DREM OV!”

    “FO KRAH DIIN!”

    Nelkir seemed most impressed by her frost breath, as the frozen words twisted in beautiful crystalline spirals through the air. There was a childish delight playing on his face which he tried so desperately to hide under his long hair.

    “Can you shout fire too?” he asked quickly.

    Rona smiled at him, “Ah, no. I haven’t learned that one from the Greybeards just yet. But when I do I’ll come back and show you if you’d like.”

    He blushed and mumbled, “If you want to, I guess…”

    “Come on Nelkir, your father and Dragonborn Rona have much more to discuss,” Irileth said directing the boy away from them.

    “It was nice meeting you Nelkir,” she called, giving him a friendly wave. Nelkir glanced back at her one last time before leaving.

    The second the door snapped shut Rona dropped her cheerful facade and turned, glaring at Balgruuf, “My mother had a son and you didn’t think to tell me about him!?

    He looked at her surprised, “Ah…hmm. So you could tell, eh?”

    She threw a hand out dramatically, “He’s the goddamned spitting image of her!”

    Balgruuf chuckled slightly and leaned back against the railing, “I suppose he is…”

    Rona turned away from him and looked out over the twinkling stars slowly appearing in the darkening sky, trying to let her mind settle with the thousand questions raging in her head. The two of them were quiet for a moment before she finally breathed, “How old is he?”

    “Just turned nine this past winter,” he said.

    Rona felt sick to her stomach. Her mother had a baby boy when she was fourteen years old and she hadn’t bothered to tell her about him. Had he been abandoned by her too? Had he ever known her?

    “Was she involved in his life?”

    Balgruuf scoffed, “Claudia? No. Not at all. She birthed the boy and gave him to me, said she was no good as a mother and that if she kept him he’d die of starvation and neglect.”

    Rona cringed at him, “How do you know he’s yours then?”

    He laughed, “Oh I wondered for many years. But as he got older, I knew. He’s mine. My poor bastard son. It was hard trying to pass him off as my dead wife’s last child you know. He’s almost too close in age to Frothar. Most people, they’re wise to the fact he came from another woman, it’s just a matter of silencing their damned whispers about it.”

    She shook her head, wanting desperately to return to the night before where she was happy and comfortable in Bishop’s arms. She wanted to get away from all of this. Anything to do with her mother she wanted to escape it and leave it all behind.

    “Why are you telling me all this?” she asked, choking back her frustration.

    “Because I want you to know that you have family here in Whiterun. This war affects all of us, but especially my children – my son – your brother,” he sounded desperate, “Your mother left me in charge of that boy’s safety and I plan to see him through it all,” his voice grew louder, more fraught, “Ulfric grows impatient with my stalling. I’m afraid he’ll make an attack on Whiterun sooner than later. I need to know that I have you at our backs.”

    She scowled at him, “So you’d have me join the Imperials? Is that it?”

    “No! No, I’m not saying you join either of them – just promise me you will guard this city if Ulfric – if any of them make a move! Promise me that you’ll protect my children!”

    She shook her head at him and began to walk away, “I can’t.” Their conversation had lead to such uncomfortable territory that she couldn’t stand to be there anymore.

    He shouted at her back, “What do you mean you can’t!? You’d just as soon let Ulfric overrun this city and slaughter us all!?”

    “I can’t do this! This is too much. I’m sorry about your position and about him – your son. But I just can’t do this right now.”

    She was nearly at the door when Balgruuf barked, “He’s your mother’s son, your brother!”

    She thought of what Bishop would say or do and she turned back, letting regretful words slip free, “That’s not my problem! She chose to hide him from me! To exclude him from my life and it was her choice to abandon the both of us! He’s a stranger to me – just another face in the crowd.”

    “And what of your unending compassion!? I heard all about what you did for the people of Windhelm, why would you forsake Whiterun? After all I’ve done for you woman!” He was enraged, fists clasped and shaking.

    She studied him, realizing now that everything he’d done for her, the title, the house, the money, it was all because she was Dragonborn and perhaps because of the blood tie she shared with her mother. It was all calculated. Everything he did was an attempt to manipulate her and garner her favor with him.

    She glared at him, trembling with just as much anger, “You used me. All of it was just a ploy to get at me wasn’t it? And your son? What, he was your ace in the hole? The hidden playing card? ‘Protect us Dragonborn! Look you have a brother to watch out for now!’ You selfish prick! Well you made your bed, now you get to lie in it.”

    She swiftly spun on her toe, practically racing for the door when he drew his last card and played it, “How well do you know that ranger of yours Rona?”

    She stopped in her tracks, hand on the door. Her heart beat harder. He knew about Bishop? Did he know something she didn’t already?

    “Has he told you who he really is yet?”

    She kept her breathing steady, listening, waiting.

    “Ask him about the Thrice-Banished, Dragonborn…Or go on playing your dangerous games if you prefer.”

    Rona
    Participant
    Post count: 117

    Chapter 20

    Housecarls and Jarls

     

    Rona swept right past Bishop, not even looking at him and burst through the palace doors leading outside. He caught up to her yelling, “Whoa! Slow down Ladyship – the hell? What happened? What did he say?”

    “I need a fucking drink.” Bishop looked taken aback. Rona hardly ever swore and when she did he knew she was really in a mood. He fell back letting her angrily lead the way to The Bannered Mare.

    The tavern was as busy and bustling as ever with the townsfolk, plenty having their dinners at the tables with their families while mercenaries and working men enjoyed a warm drink after a long day.

    Rona found a seat at the bar, Bishop drew up beside her and Karnwyr curled up near the foot of their stools, looking to avoid being stepped on. Hulda was serving drinks and looked over at them, “Oh! Lady Dragonborn, good to see you again, what can I get you?”

    She wanted something much stronger than wine, anything to make her forget what she’d learned tonight, “What’s your hardest drink?”

    Hulda looked surprised at her, “I’ve got some old Daedric Lava Whiskey if you’ve got the coin for it, ‘course I don’t recommend the stuff, it bites back hard.”

    Rona threw her coin purse on the counter and said, “I’ll take it.”

    “A glass?”

    “The bottle.”

    Hulda didn’t argue, taking the gold and left to rummage through her stock of ales, wines and boozes. Bishop was smirking curiously at her. “You ever had anything other than watered down meads and wines Ladyship?”

    She realized then just how stupid it was to go off and order such a ridiculous drink, having completely overreacted out of anger. She leaned her elbows onto the bar and buried her face in her hands giving a muffled whine, “Nooo…”

    Bishop chuckled at her as Hulda brought out a large bottle of Whiskey and placed it on the counter with two glasses for them, “Let me know if you need anything else you two.” She left them to go take orders and serve her other patrons.

    Bishop cracked open the bottle and took a whiff, waving a hand over his nose, “Damn that shit stinks.” He poured them both a third of a glass passing hers over, “Here you go Lightfoot, just what the alchemist ordered.”

    She picked up the glass and held it to her nose cringing at its overpowering alcoholic scent.

    “Bottoms up,” Bishop said and downed his in a gulp, smacking his lips, “Ah, damn that shit is strong!” He poured another for himself and looked at Rona who was still staring at her glass. He chuckled, “Not even going to try it Ladyship?”

    She sighed and threw it back quickly. It burned her tongue and stung the back of her throat leaving a nasty aftertaste in her mouth. She gagged audibly as a shiver ran up her spine. Bishop was already on his third when he shook his head at her, “You ordered it. Don’t back down now! This is a real man’s drink right here.”

    She put her hand to her head, leaning on the counter, “Ugh… I’m just so…so pissed off!

    He raised his brows at her, “You gonna tell me what you’re so pissed off about or keep trying to drink this swill instead?”

    She turned her forehead into her hand, slumping more and grumbled pitifully, “I don’t wanna talk about it.”

    “Oh how’s that fair? You get to poke and prod me for answers all the time and now when it’s your turn you get to keep all your secrets to yourself?”

    She sighed glancing around the room. There were a few people looking at them, seemingly listening to their conversation. She wanted some privacy and said, “How about we rent the bath?”

    Bishop grinned, sitting upright suddenly, “That sounds like a great idea.” He called Hulda over and asked how much for the bath. She exchanged coin with him and said she’d get it set up.

    Ten minutes later and they were both undressing and settling into the warm, bubbly water while Karnwyr laid down near the door, glad to be out of the way of the foot traffic. Bishop leaned back, taking a seat where he could keep his eyes on the door and said, “They really need to get a curtain or something.”

    Rona sunk into the water and traced the top of it with her hands, mindlessly pushing soap bubbles around before she said, “Bishop? What’s it like having brothers and sisters?”

    He grimaced, “What? Are we playing your question game again? Because I’m not really in the mood to talk about that stuff.”

    “No,” she sighed, “I’m an only child. I never had any brothers or sisters and I always wondered what it was like.”

    His mouth twitched and he said, “It was awful. Bunch of nosy little brats who couldn’t mind their own business, always getting into your stuff and older siblings that beat up on the younger ones all the time. I don’t know if it’s like that for other people, but that’s how it was for me. I hated them all, still do.”

    She met his eyes with her own and asked tentatively, “But you liked Jules right?”

    He growled low, averting his gaze, “Don’t talk about him. Don’t say his name.”

    Her face burned with embarrassment and shame, she hadn’t meant to pry on the one topic that he kept so close to his heart. She just wanted to know what it would mean to have a sibling she might be close to, could she ever have that with the Jarl’s son, that feeble boy who tried so hard to be tough?

    “I’m sorry,” she said, “I promise I wasn’t trying to pry. It’s just…”

    He threw her a stern look and said, “What? Spit it out already.”

    “I have a little brother,” she breathed.

    Bishop’s brows knit together, “You said you were an only child.”

    “Yeah, well I just found out tonight,” she said.

    He laughed awkwardly, “Wait. That’s what the Jarl talked to you about?” he threw his hands up out of the water, “Wait, wait, wait. Back up. Tell me everything from the start.”

    She shared every detail from her mother’s relationship with the Jarl, to the fact that the boy looked just like her mother. She then expressed her suspicions that the Jarl was trying to gain her favor for the sake of Whiterun because he was too afraid to take sides in the war.

    After it was all said and done Bishop was thinking hard, scowling down at the water, “Don’t get involved Ladyship.”

    “I don’t want to!”

    He smirked, “That’s a first… Wow, your mother and mine, they’d have made fast friends the way they got around. Hang on – so which brat is it?”

    She rolled her eyes, “The one who threw the knife.”

    Bishop laughed, “Ah the violent one! I see dragon blood runs in your family.”

    She shrugged, “He seems like a troubled child, I sympathize for him, but it’s hard to have feelings for someone I’ve never known, even if I’m related to him.”

    Bishop moved in closer to her, clearly ignoring her rambling and with other things on his mind as he took a seat beside her, “You know, I have ways of making you forget all about this.” He caressed her shoulders and rubbed her back.

    “Not here,” she laughed as goose bumps crawled up and down her skin.

    “Why not?” he playfully nibbled at her ear.

    She gasped, moaning lightly, then blushed crimson and peaked around the barrier separating them from the rest of the tavern. “Because I can’t be quiet!” she whispered loudly.

    “Hmm, I don’t mind,” he growled.

    She slunk away from his grasp to the other side of the bath. “Later,” she promised him.

    “I’m holding you to it Lightfoot,” he threw his arms up over the rim of the bath, smirking lasciviously, “But tonight we’ll drown our troubles in mead!”

    “And sing songs of adventure, battle and glory!” she smiled.

    He shook his head grinning back, “Never change Ladyship.”

    They finished their bath and reentered the tavern to find the town guards raucously singing along with the bard, drowning out his version of Ragnar the Red. The bard looked rather grumpy about it as the men all cried in unison holding their mugs high,

    “And the braggart named Ragnar the Red was boastful no more!

    When his ugly red head rolled around on the floor!”

    They all broke out into fits of laughter and cheers as they finished. Rona smiled broadly at them, she wanted nothing more than to join the men in song at that moment. Dagun noticed her and shouted, “Ay! Lady Rona! You made it!”

    “Ah, that your little lady friend Dagun?” Another much older guardsman asked him coyly.

    “Heard you’re a right good bard Dragonborn!” A fiery red-headed guard called from the bar, “We want to hear some real songs, show Mikael here how it’s done!”

    Mikael scowled as a few guardsmen laughed boisterously,  jostling him around, nudging him in the ribs and giving him a hard time.

    “Alright! Alright!” Mikael cleared his throat composing himself, “Lady Dragonborn, whatever you would like to sing I will gladly accompany you.”

    “What would you all like to hear?” she asked brightly.

    “The Dragonborn Comes!” several of them yelled out.

    She laughed and groaned scrunching her face, “Oh but it’s such an awful song!”

    “If anyone can make it beautiful, you can Ladyship,” Bishop smiled gently at her before walking off to find a spot against a wall.

    “Okay! Fiiine, but I’m going to need some wine,” she insisted. The red headed gentleman was kind enough to oblige, passing her a full glass which she downed in one gulp, the men watched keenly as she vocalized and Mikael started to play, keeping the beat of her tune.

    (The song is The Dragonborn Comes by Erutan)

    She held her audience with utmost skill, keeping them all attentive, eyes and ears on her as she sang her rendition of The Dragonborn Comes. She had them all cheering madly when she finished. Suddenly they were crying out the names of so many songs, even some she’d never heard of.

    Hulda called, “Play something upbeat will you! I want to dance!”

    Rona settled on some old druid songs her mother used to sing. When Mikael didn’t seem to know them, she asked for his lute and put him on drums, which he looked rather miffed about until she started playing and singing.

    (The songs are The Maid That Sold Her Barley, The Jug of Punch, The Briar And The Rose, Siuil A Run, and Dulaman from the album Celtic Wonder)

    She put on her best druidic accent, one that would make her mother proud, and sang all the ones she could remember. Dagun joined in with her on The Briar and the Rose which she was surprised he even knew and even more astonished when he gave a fair performance. Even Karnwyr chimed in at one point, howling loudly along and receiving plenty of encouraging pats all around.

    The few remaining townsfolk and all the guardsmen cheered Rona on madly after each song which only spurred her to carry on throughout the night. She even ended up giving them the big bottle of Daedra Lava Whiskey that she couldn’t stomach, to Bishop’s displeasure of course. Everyone was drunk and having a great time and to Hulda’s delight spending quite a bit of coin too.

    She was so drunk by the end of the evening that she couldn’t sing anymore and ended up dancing with several of the guards while Mikael snagged his lute back and played a jovial tune. After a wild dance with the red-headed guard, he leaned in for a kiss, she leaned back laughing, “Ah!” and Bishop stepped in yanking her out of the man’s arms and pulling her into his own. The other men burst out in laughter as the red-headed fellow toppled over and in his drunken stupor kissed the bard’s boots instead.

    Bishop was drunk, she could smell it on his breath when he said, slurring slightly, “Mmmay I have thiiisss… dance, beeaauutiful?”

    She laughed at him but embraced him all the same and yelled over the loud banter, “Of course you may!” They danced wildly as the guardsmen cheered, amusement abound in the room. At the end of the song he tipped her, kissing her in his arms to which she replied by burying her hands in the back of his head and returning the passion. The guardsmen laughed and poked fun at the red-headed fellow who looked on pathetically. The tavern roared with mirth all night.

    Eventually Bishop pulled her along with him outside, both slipping away from the revelry, Karnwyr trailing close behind them. They stumbled down the road to her homestead laughing and giggling at each other’s drunkenness. Bishop pulled her inside and pushed her up against a wall, his hands were all over her body, their lips entwined. Somehow they made it to the bed, though she couldn’t figure out how they got up the stairs at all. Bishop had her naked on her back, looking down at what he desired most. She vaguely remembered some semblance of drunken love-making and wasn’t entirely sure if they’d even finished, as they both blacked out.

    She woke with a raging headache, the worst hangover she’d ever had, and moaned agonizingly. They were both on the bed, sideways, she on her back, him on his front with his arm and leg draped over her naked body. His face was at the edge of a pillow, drool pooling and dampening it, he gave a light snore and she shoved him off of herself.

    Bishop groaned, blinking through a ray of sunshine casting over his face, “Nooo…I don’t wanna go hunting right now, Ladyship. Lemme sleep some more.”

    She sat up, ignoring his dazed remarks and rubbed her head. The second she stood up Karnwyr leapt onto the bed, stomping on Bishop’s stomach forcefully and licking at his face, “FUCK! KARNWYR! GET OFF!” he roared, shoving at the wolf who simply plopped down beside his master, tongue lolling from his mouth. Bishop rolled over into a pillow growling.

    She snickered under her breath and wandered downstairs to find the wash basin to throw some cool water on her face to try and wake up. She noted that the place seemed unusually homey from the last time they were there, though she couldn’t remember a thing about what they’d been up to last night. Downstairs in the dining area there was fresh food, ingredients and other items laying about. She was incredibly confused but in far too much pain to care at that moment as she found the wash basin and splashed the cool water on her face.

    Out of the corner of her eye she saw movement and whipped around. A dark-haired woman in a nightgown stood aside near the stares gaping at her, “Ah! Wait my Thane, please don’t shout!”

    But it was too late, Rona cried, “FUS!” at the intruder, who dropped down quickly covering her head. Dishes and a pot of flowers went careening off the shelves, smashing to pieces.

    Bishop came running in, Karnwyr barking madly at his side. He was still totally nude, with his dagger in hand shouting, “LADYSHIP!”

    Rona was covering herself as she screamed and pointed at the nervous nord woman on the floor.

    Bishop looked over at the stunned woman and laughed slightly, “Oh shit, just what the fuck did we do last night? Thought it’d be way longer before you let me invite another woman into our bed – damn Ladyship, you are just full of surprises!”

    Rona shot him a scathing look, “What are you talking about!? She’s an intruder!”

    The woman threw her hands up and cried, “Please my Thane! Don’t attack me! I’m your housecarl! The Jarl appointed me to be your housecarl!”

    Rona looked back at her, mouth partly open, “My what?

    The woman glanced up nervously as Karnwyr came down the stairs and sniffed at her, “I was appointed to be your housecarl…it’s my duty to guard you and all you own…with my life… though I’d rather not lose my life just yet, my Lady. Please.”

    Bishop stood by, laughing slightly and rubbing his eyes, before he said, “Ugh, whatever. I’m going back to bed.”

    Rona dashed after him and slammed the doors to their bedroom.

    “Augh! Ladyship, please don’t make so much noise. My head is throbbing,” he crawled into the bed pulling a blanket over his face and groaning loudly.

    THAT FUCKING PRICK!” she screamed, “Eye and ears! DAMNED EYES AND EARS!” She paced back and forth furiously, her mind envisioning all the ways she wanted to throttle Jarl Balgruuf. “He put her HERE! He put her here to watch me, to listen to me and report back to him! UGH! I just want to – I want to!” She grabbed the pillow right out from under Bishop’s head making him grumble miserably as his head plopped onto the bed. She smashed her fists into it before pulling it up to her face and shouted, “FO KRAH DIIN!” with all the force in her voice.

    It solidified instantly into a hard, icy rock which she dropped to the floor with a loud clunk and sat down on the bed with her arms, and legs crossed, fuming. Bishop peeked at her from under the covers, still squinting, “Are you done yet?”

    She glared dragon’s fire at him and he pulled the covers back over his head, “Guess not.” He waved his hand at her and said, muffled through the covers, “Mind raging somewhere else right now? My head is killing me.”

    She got up, threw on her clothes and trudged down the steps where she found the woman, also now fully dressed in steel armor and armed with a sword and shield, ready to go down with a fight this time, should Rona try to shout her down. She was sitting at the table, hands to her knees, glancing anxiously at the curious wolf who stared back. She looked up as Rona entered the room and began to explain herself.

    “I sincerely apologize Lady Dragonborn. I heard you two come in late last night and you seemed quite…engaged at the time,” she looked away blushing lightly, “I was really hoping I might introduce myself under…more appropriate circumstances.”

    So she’d seen them come in, two drunk idiots, lip wrestling and fondling each other. Great, she blushed angrily at the thought. She couldn’t really blame her for not saying anything at the time. Rona stood by the stairs, arms crossed and asked, “What’s your name?”

    “My name is Lydia.”

    Rona looked around at all the homely comforts and then to the flowers smashed on the floor with the vase and dishes, “It looks like you’ve been here for a while.”

    Lydia nodded, “Yes, my Thane. I received my notice of appointment a week after you’d already gone, so I…well I tried to spruce up the place, make it comfortable for your return.”

    Rona sighed, pressing her fingers to her aching head, “So you’ve been here for months?

    Lydia nodded affirmatively.

    Rona gave her a threatening look and said, “If you’re one of Balgruuf’s little toads then I don’t want you here.”

    “I only work to serve and protect you. I don’t answer to anyone else. Though if you wish to dismiss me that is fine as well my Thane. I’m sure I can find a new assignment elsewhere,” she sounded almost too eager to be dismissed. Perhaps she wasn’t just another one of Balgruuf’s eyes and ears.

    “You’re my housecarl, right? You’re supposed to serve me?”

    “That is correct.”

    Rona sighed and pulled up a seat at the table, grabbing for the pitcher of water and a glass. She snagged a piece of sweet bread and ate it, hoping it would absorb the alcohol left in her stomach, Karnwyr sat by begging and wagging his tail.

    He hadn’t seemed to react to the woman in a negative way at all and the wolf, puppyish as he could be, was pretty good at sensing and identifying dangerous people.

    She tapped her fingers on the table, thinking hard. On the one hand, she hardly spent any time at the home, it was really just a stop off point for them to get their supplies and move on. But on the other she’d wanted to stay in town for a few days, talk to the townsfolk, offer her services and have a pair of swords forged from the dragon bones she’d collected. Lydia may or may not be one of the Jarl’s stooges, she could easily dismiss the woman and not request any new housecarls. Still it would be wrong to punish the woman just for doing her job.

    She scowled at herself. Why did she always have to be so conflicted and strive to do good? It would have been so much easier to be like Bishop and just boot this woman out on her ass and tell her to take a hike.

    Lydia waited patiently for her to collect her thoughts and Rona, sighing loudly finally said, “You protect all I own and something or other?”

    Lydia chuckled, “Yes, something like that.” She had a warm smile which tugged at Rona’s heart. She didn’t seem like a bad person at all.

    “What else can you do?” she asked.

    The woman blinked and thought for a moment, “Well, I cook, I clean, I’m trained in battle. I’m quite handy at making potions, I specialized in alchemy at the Knight’s Academy.”

    Rona looked over at her surprised, “You trained in Cyrodiil?”

    “Yes, they have the largest academy out of any other,” she looked away and said slowly, “I did serve in the Imperial Legion for a while, I hope that’s not a problem.”

    Rona felt a twinge of excitement meeting someone else from her homeland for a change, “Not at all. Where in Cyrodiil were you stationed?”

    “I was stationed way on the outskirts of Chorrol,” she said.

    “Got stuck on border duty huh?” Rona smiled, laughing lightly.

    Lydia scoffed, “Yes! It was awful, stuck out in the boonies making the same rounds every single day!”

    The two of them clucked away like a couple of old friends, chatting all about their time in Cyrodiil. Rona learned that Lydia had come to Skyrim shortly after the Civil War broke out. She’d been stationed with a regiment near Falkreath and after many bloody battles with the Stormcloaks she’d decided she couldn’t bear the fighting anymore. She requested formal leave after losing so many comrades in battle. Her superior officer took pity on her and discharged her from the Legion as unfit for combat, allowing her to pursue a more relaxed and focused line of work in Whiterun.

    Rona was only her second position as Housecarl, her last was an older war veteran who’d passed on in his sleep.

    “When they told me I’d be working for the Dragonborn I honestly didn’t know what to expect…though I suppose I should have prepared myself for being shouted at,” she laughed.

    Rona cringed and said, “Yeah, sorry about that.”

    “So, my Thane, will you be staying in Whiterun for a while or do you have plans elsewhere? I would gladly accompany you if you’d like.”

    Rona looked at her and raised her brows. She couldn’t imagine having this – albeit, very nice and polite woman – being a third wheel on her journey with Bishop. “That’s alright,” she said, “I’ve already got a…um, personal guard.”

    “Ah yes, the illustrious nord gentleman from the night before,” she said glancing up at the ceiling.

    Rona’s cheeks burned hot and Lydia noticed saying, “Oh don’t worry! You two didn’t get terribly far before you both passed out, at least that’s what it sounded like.”

    “Ah,” Rona replied awkwardly.

    “Well my Thane, I will go about my duties, if you need any potions or anything from the market or even just some company please let me know,” Lydia got up and wandered over to the mess on the floor and started cleaning up the shattered dishware.

    Rona fixed breakfast for herself and brought a tall glass of water and a plate up to Bishop who was still hiding under the covers. She nearly tripped over the soggy pillow on the floor, remembering that she’d shouted it into ice earlier.

    She set the plate and glass down on the end table and nudged him. “Bishop,” she whispered, “Bishop, wake up.”

    He reached out from under the covers grabbing her and pulling her down onto him. “Oof!” he grunted as she slammed into him, “I didn’t think that through.”

    She leaned over him, feet hanging off the bed and smirked at him, “I’m going into town, I made you breakfast and got you some water.”

    “Ah, if it’s more of that gruel I’ll pass.” She scowled at him and he chuckled at her face before pulling her in more, for a deeper embrace, “You should stay here with me, we can have more fun together.”

    “I’ve got things to do!” she insisted.

    “Yeah, like making friends with the Jarl’s spy?”

    “She’s not a spy,” she whispered as she made a mental note about the thinness of the floorboards.

    He threw her a skeptical smirk, “Right, she just so happens to be from Cyrodiil and worked for the Legion, who ever so kindly let her leave so she could come here to be your housecarl. You are so naive Princess.”

    She frowned at him and he kissed her, slicing her scowl wide open with his tongue. She pulled away, scolding him, “Quit it! I’ve got to go.”

    She hopped off the bed and yanked her boots on. Bishop sighed, watching her leave and yelled, “I’ll be sure to come find you when I get bored of polishing my dagger!”

    Ryli A
    Participant
    Post count: 24

    So excited for more!

    Rona
    Participant
    Post count: 117

    Chapter 21

    Fear and Blackmail

     

    Rona left the homestead around noon, bringing Karnwyr along with her to let him stretch his legs and do his business outside. She declined Lydia’s offer to join her as she still didn’t fully trust the woman, remembering everything Bishop pointed out about her story.

    She first made a quick trip down to the stables to collect their bed rolls for washing and the dragon bones from their saddlebags. When she pulled the beds out though, she gave up completely on the idea of washing them and tossed them out instead.

    She returned to the city and purchased two new bed rolls and had them sent down to the stables for packing. After asking the shopkeeper about the location of the Skyforge she traveled up to the Mead Hall, Jorrvaskr. It was a remarkably long building; one she’d hardly noticed before. She was fascinated by the unique roofing,noting that it was made from an overturned ship.

    She really wanted to go inside to meet the Companions, to know the people her mother had preferred to spend so much of her time with over her own daughter. A thousand questions bound through her mind, but first she set off on her mission to have swords of dragon bone forged.

    At the top of the stairs on the landing overlooking Jorrvaskr was the biggest forge Rona had ever seen. An enormous bird, carved into the stone overlooked it, while hot lava flowed from its talons and smoke rose from its fiery eyes and beak. She ambled around the landing, watching as a rugged older man with long gray hair and a grey beard worked hard on a sword, casting it in the fire and molding the steel with a mallet expertly. He was so focused on his work that he didn’t see her standing off to the side admiring his display of finished weapons and armor.

    When he finished molding the metal to his liking, he dipped it into the cool water nearby and wiped the sweat from his brow with his arm, turning slightly and noticing her watching him intently. He stared at her and whispered, “Claudia? Ysmr’s beard, I’ve been working too hard…” He shook his head, trying to shake the vision of the young woman before him and when she didn’t disappear he demanded sharply, “Who are you!? What do you want!?”

    She jumped, startled and nearly dropped the dragon bones from her arms. She said, “Ah – I was hoping you could take an order to forge me some swords.”

    He furrowed his thick brows at her, “Who are you?”

    “My name is Rona Lightfoot, sir.”

    Rona?” He laughed, smiling suddenly, “Little Rona?

    She resented the little part, frowning slightly as she said, “Uhh, yes?”

    He set his materials aside and approached her, “Well I’ll be. Can’t believe how much you’ve grown child! Though I see it’s not much more than your mother!” He threw his hands on his hips and gave a deep chortle. She gave a small awkward laugh in reply, amused to see this man she didn’t even know was so happy to see her.

    Rona said, “I’m sorry, but what’s your name?”

    “Ah right, I s’pose you wouldn’t know me since you were just a pup when you left Skyrim. My name is Eorland Gray-Mane, as you can see I work the Skyforge, “he looked down at the bones in her arms,”What have you got there?”

    “I was hoping you might be able to make me a pair of swords from these,” she said holding one of the bones out to him.

    He took it and rolled it over in his hands, “Gods woman, so it is true. Thought Aela was pulling my leg when she said old Claudia’s girl was Dragonborn. This is some mighty tough stuff, but I’ll see what I can do with it.”

    She passed him the other piece and he set it aside. She asked, “How much for the swords?”

    He waved a hand at her, “Oh no, I can’t take your gold for this. To make swords out of real dragon bone and for the Dragonborn herself? No, it is my honor to take on this task.”

    She smiled, “I appreciate it, though I’ll gladly pay, I have more gold now than I know what to do with these days.”

    Eorland relented, “Alright, alright. I can’t reject your money if you insist on it. Fralia would have my hide if she ever found out. A thousand gold for each sword will suffice, though let’s see if I can work the material first.”

    “Can you make one other item,” she asked, “if you have material left over, would you mind forging a dagger for me?”

    “Hmm, I think I might be able to do that. This claw would make a fine dagger, certainly,” he held the piece up in a hand, examining it.

    “How long do you think before they’re ready?”

    “Don’t know, never forged anything from bone before. I’ll have to go digging around for my book on bonemold – maybe pay a visit to an old friend out on Raven Rock and get his advice. My best guess is that it’ll be about one month, maybe two if I have to make the trip to Solstheim.”

    Her heart sank, “Two months?

    “Sorry to disappoint, miss. Molding bone is an art in itself, one that I’m not accustomed to.”

    “I see. I understand,” she sighed looking back over at the sounds coming from the yard outside Jorrvaskr. She caught sight of one of the Companions she met before practicing his swordplay on a training dummy while an older balding fellow looked on from the porch. A woman’s voice called from the Mead Hall, “Farkas! Skjor! You’ve got to see this! Njada and Athis are going at it!”

    “Again?” Farkas called from the yard.

    “Just let them fight it out Aela,” Skjor grumbled.

    She laughed boisterously, “Oh I intend to! You want to place bets? I’ve got my money on Njada!”

    They disappeared into the Mead Hall. Rona was brought back to a time when her own friends would fight it out in the middle of their great halls at the Fighter’s Guild.

    It was usually Roxlin, a tough young breton woman, with short blonde pixie hair and sharp eyes, always picking fist fights with the others, trying to prove her strength.

    She was only a year older than Rona and slightly taller. Roxlin was her first good friend in the Guild. She showed her the ropes and was elated to meet someone shorter than her for a change. She always did have a habit of playfully punching people in the arm a little too hard though.

    Lorrie was the bosmer mage that suggested she run off to join the Fighter’s Guild years ago. Her twin brother Linel preferred the sword to endless books and magic training and was Rona’s in, into the Guild. He and Lorrie were practically inseparable, with Lorrie often hiding out at the Fighter’s Guild to escape her instructors and the endless work and expectations that came with being a mage.

    Magrob was an enormous hulking orc, but he had the kindest heart. He trained war dogs in his free time and had a fascination with the Dawnguard. He even managed to fashion together his own crossbow and the bolts for it which Rona thought was amazing, though he told her orcs often trained in the art of the forge from childhood.

    Then there was Marco, a somewhat snooty Imperial man with thick black hair that he always slicked back from his face, caring a little too much about personal appearances when he’d just be covered in blood, sweat and dirt later. He came from noble blood and only joined the Guild after failing to get into the Imperial Legion. His father made him join, saying he needed a real man’s training before he could try for the Legion again. Rona always thought he’d rather be off singing songs and courting noblewomen. They often sang together and he taught her how to play the flute.

    The oldest of them and the woman they looked up to and aspired to be like was Charisa, a Redguard woman. She was the most responsible of them all and took her job quite seriously. She was often left in charge of doling out tasks to them and leading them on larger campaigns. Charisa taught Rona to use a bow and whipped her into shape. It was grueling work but worth it. She really missed them and hadn’t realized just how much until Eorland looked over at her and asked, “You alright pup?”

    She snapped out of her reverie and feeling a coldness on her cheek wiped at it. She’d started crying thinking of her home and her friends. She swallowed and said, “Yes, sorry, just lost myself for a minute there.”

    “Ay…this place must bring back memories for you. Aela told me what happened to your mother, you have my condolences.”

    She scratched the side of her head and mumbled, “Right, because my mother was a Companion…”

    “You ought to go down and visit with them. I’m sure Kodlak wouldn’t mind meeting the daughter of his best warrior.”

    Rona nodded and walked away quickly, Karnwyr got up from his spot on the ledge and trailed at her heels into the Mead Hall. The moment she walked in she saw fists flying in front of her and ducked down at just the right time avoiding a dunmer punching forward, precariously aiming for a nord woman nearby.

    “Hey!” Aela called from the sidelines, “Watch it you two! You almost hit a meal ticket!”

    The nord woman was evading each punch deftly when she smirked and said, “Yeah Athis, watch it before you punch our gold right back out the door, idiot.”

    “You watch your mouth Njada! I swear, I’m going to make you wish you hadn’t crawled out of bed this morning you bi-!”

    The woman took a quick shot to his face, cracking him in the jaw. He went down hard, and after a minute pushed himself up slightly to rub his chin, “Damn woman, I think you broke my jaw.”

    Aela came rushing over to Rona and said, “Sorry about that – Oh! If it isn’t Claudia’s girl. What brings you to Jorrvaskr?”

    “Just thought I’d stop in. I’m having some swords made up at the Skyforge and, well, I wanted to meet everyone,” she shrugged sheepishly.

    There were quite a few strong looking warriors standing around, most of them nords. Aela called her friend over, “Skjor, c’mere! You remember little Rona, right?”

    The tall, balding nord man with only one good eye gave her a quick once over before putting a hand out to shake, “Been a long time. Nice to meet you,young lady, I was good friends with your mother before she left us. So, Aela tells us you’re the Dragonborn.”

    Rona nodded, “That’s right. How did you find out?” She turned asking Aela.

    “Are you kidding?” Aela beamed at her, “We heard all about that dragon you killed outside Whiterun and then again about the one at Bonestrewn Crest – I’ll tell you one thing, with accomplishments like that word spreads fast!” She laughed loudly, hands to her hips, “I still can’t believe Claudia’s girl is the Dragonborn, I always did say that woman had a little fire in her. Guess I was right!”

    The other Companions all looked on curiously at her, many clearly in disbelief at her power, tiny as she was.

    Aela pulled on her hand, “Come on, you should meet Kodlak.”

    ~~~

    The beams of light peaking through the cracks in the ceiling were too much to try and sleep through anymore. Bishop threw the blanket off himself, nearly knocking over his emptied plate and glass on the side table.

    He groaned, rubbing his eyes as he sat on the edge of the bed. The food and water had helped curb his hangover a little but not completely. He decided to chase it off with some more mead instead. Throwing his clothes on and grabbing his dagger, he went downstairs and rummaged through the cupboards looking for a bottle of Honningbrew. He glanced over at the woman sitting idly by the hearth fire while she chewed on a piece of bread.

    “You’re still here?” he growled.

    Lydia looked over at him, “It seems my Thane has decided against dismissing me, so until she does I am obligated to stay and carry out my duties.”

    Bishop grunted, rolling his eyes as he crouched down, tossing pots and pans from the cupboards searching for liquor of any kind, he’d even stomach an old ale just to take the edge off. “Right, honor and service and all that crap. Do you even have a mind of your own?”

    She chuckled and shook her head, “Of course you wouldn’t understand. I know your kind, brigand. You know nothing about decency or loyalty.”

    He stood up, growing more and more agitated at the lack of alcohol and the persistent headache pounding in his head. Her offensive remark only set him off more. He leaned over the counter sneering, “Well you’re a right bitch aren’t you? You don’t know a thing about me, darling, but I’ll be sure to let the Dragonborn know all about your nasty little attitude. Persuade her real quick to boot you out on your ass so you can go off and bother some other fool with your uselessness.”

    Lydia took a bite of her bread and grabbed a bottle of mead from the floor by her feet to sip on. Bishop’s eye twitched, annoyed at the sight of it, he thought about walking right by and snatching it from the arrogant woman.

    She said slowly, “I think it’d be in the best interest of everyone if you persuaded the Dragonborn to join the Imperials instead.”

    He narrowed his eyes at her, “And why the fuck would I ever do that?”

    She continued chewing her bread piece and drinking her mead, a wry smirk pulling at her lips. Bishop’s pulse quickened slightly, something was off completely off about this woman. He thumbed his dagger and eyed her warily before slowly speaking, “Who the hell are you?”

    She looked over at him, a strange, unnatural smirk curling at her lips.

    He took a chance and said, “I knew you were full of shit. I could smell it a mile away.”

    Her dark lips parted, “Well aren’t you a sharp one? I wasn’t lying when I said I was from Cyrodiil or that I was a member of the Legion, though I was never discharged.”

    “You’re still working for them,” he scowled, crossing his arms, “So you’re trying to convince her to join up the same way Balgruuf is trying to keep her around as Whiterun’s little protector? With manipulation and lies?”

    “Balgruuf got desperate,” she said turning away from him, “General Tulius has been putting the pressure on him a bit too hard and he got hasty. He’s not very good at this game. We, however, are.”

    He scowled, crossing his arms, he couldn’t quite place it, but everything about her seemed wrong. Her movements were abnormal and her voice didn’t seem to belong to her either, he spoke slowly, “What do you mean, we?”

    She grinned and laughed arrogantly, “We are those who have a vested interest in bringing peace back to Skyrim.”

    Bishop’s gut instincts were telling him that this person was extremely dangerous, they were also wondering if this person was even human considering how she moved and spoke. He studied her carefully, his dagger in hand. It would be so easy to slit this woman’s throat, right then and there. He could explain it to Rona later, right now though he had to do what he could to protect her. He moved around the counter approaching the nord woman as non-threatening as possible, keeping the conversation going, “You honestly think you’d have any kind of sway over her? She’s growing wise to those kinds of tricks.”

    “Going to gut me with that old hunting knife of yours?” she said, “The same way you gut your father?”

    He went cold, stopping in his tracks. She cocked her head at him, mocking him, “What are you waiting for Thrice-Banished?”

    Bishop rushed at her furiously drawing his blade to her throat and snarled, “THE FUCK DO YOU KNOW!?”

    “We know everything about you,” she said coolly, “We have eyes everywhere and we’ve been watching the Dragonborn’s progress, following her closely. Naturally that means we’ve followed you too. We were surprised to see that a Thrice-Banished had returned to Skyrim. It was difficult digging that dirt up on you…fortunately there are those of us old enough to remember your family all too well,” she smiled wickedly as she hissed, “You’re the spitting image of your father you know.”

    His blood was boiling. The urge to silence this woman’s incessant blathering was overwhelming. But he needed to know everything first. “So you think you can hold my family’s history over my head to control me? I’ve already told her about them. She knows and she doesn’t care.”

    “Does she know about Thorn too?”

    He backed up, pulling the blade from her throat and leaving a small cut which did not bleed. He fell into the other chair across from her, gripping the hilt of his dagger in one hand and the arm of the chair in the other. His eyes flickered furiously in the firelight.

    Lydia traced the cut on her neck with a finger and met his eyes, “It took a lot of work following that trail. You don’t cover your tracks as well as you might think though and people are quick to talk with enough gold in hand or a knife to their throats. The trail lead us all the way to Falkreath,” she laughed, “My, what a vile man he is.”

    Bishop thought the same of her and was almost sorry that Thorn hadn’t had his way with her when he had the chance.

    She gleaned what he was thinking and said, “We’re not fools. We met with him under armed guard and he was all too eager to share the most unpleasant stories about you. Kidnapping… torture… rape and murder? Tsk, tsk.”

    I never touched those women,” Bishop spat.

    She cocked an eyebrow and said, “Well you didn’t exactly help them either, now did you?”

    His mouth twisted as he scowled into the fire, a feeling of utter shame and disgust washing over him.

    Lydia sighed, waving a hand haughtily, “It’s fine, I get it. Times were tough and you didn’t want to make waves seeing as you were the new recruit. Still, you probably don’t want your dear, sweet, Ladyship to know these things now do you?”

    He turned his eyes to her, steadying his breathing, “What do you want from me?”

    She traced her upper lip with her tongue, smiling inhumanly, “All we ask is that you carefully guide the Dragonborn down the path of joining the Imperials. She’s already more inclined to join them especially considering that Ulfric has that nasty little habit of hating the elves… Now I know what you’re thinking, ‘But the Imperials tried to kill her!’ Well no worries,” she waved a dismissive hand,“the issue of her near beheading has already been assuaged. General Tullius is prepared to speak with her personally on the matter whenever she arrives in Solitude.”

    He grit and ground his teeth together, “Why do you need her?”

    Lydia scoffed, “Are you serious? A power like that? The power to shout down an army of men in a single go? This war would be over faster than the blink of an eye with her leading the Legion.”

    Bishop chewed on his lip, thinking hard until one of his least favorite thoughts rolled off his tongue, “And what will you do if I tell her everything? I tell her about my family and about Thorn? You’d have no sway over me anymore.”

    Her pupils twisted into thin slits and her voice echoed with malevolence,”You would thoroughly regret it.

    The hair on his neck stood on end. What the fuck is this woman? He eyed her anxiously.

    She leaned her elbows on the chair, crossing a leg and pressing the tips of her fingers together. Her voice dripped with an arrogance rarely heard from a nord, “You see, we can protect her in ways that you cannot. Thorn was already planning to take the girl. Said he’s been smitten with her since their eyes met at Helgen. He wants to make her his own.”

    Bishop felt a wave of nausea building in his stomach. Thorn would take her? He’d lay his hands on her? He paled at the thought.

    “Obviously we can’t have that. So we’ve already paid the man a hefty fee to keep his hands off of her.” Her voice deepened with malice and she spoke very slowly, “However, if you fail us, if you try to tell her any of this or make a run for it, we will find you and we will make you suffer as you have never suffered before.”

    Bishop could feel his rage bubbling now, spilling over at the utter shit this woman was spewing. He rose from his seat, dagger in one hand, the other balled into a fist, his entire body trembling, “YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT SUFFERING! WHAT COULD YOU POSSIBLY DO TO ME THAT HASN’T ALREADY BEEN DONE!?”

    The woman, no, the demon, gave him a cold and calculating look as she hissed, “It is not what we will do to you, but what we will do to her.”

    He lunged at the woman, burying his dagger into her chest where her heart should have been. She didn’t flinch. His body shuddered, his fear escaping him as she slowly met his eyes. He reeled back, nearly stepping into the hearth. His dagger was left, impaled in her chest. She glanced down at it and said, “Hpmh. No matter. This body was starting to lose its rigor.”

    “A thrall,” he muttered under his breath.

    She laughed wickedly, “I did tell you didn’t I? This woman was not discharged from the Legion. In fact, this poor girl was left for dead on the battlefield by her comrades. We meant to gain the Dragonborn’s confidence months ago…unfortunately you swept in and took her away.”

    “Who are you,” he demanded.

    She waved a hand dismissing him, “That’s not important. What is important is that you focus on encouraging the girl to join the cause – to end the war in our favor. Should you fail us or do any of those idiotic things you suggested then the coin flowing to your old friends will stop and when it stops they will only have you to blame. That Thorn fellow is just itching to get his hands on the girl too, so much so, he almost declined when we offered him payment. Thankfully, there are always threats of violence to persuade with.” The twisted, thin smile curled at her lips again.

    “You’re not Imperial,” he concluded,“Even the Empire would never stoop so low as to have an innocent woman raped and murdered for their own benefit,” he held his hands out, wringing an invisible neck, “You sick, twisted, FUCKS! Don’t you EVER lay your hands on her!”

    She scoffed at him, “Gods, you really do love her don’t you? What a shame since she’s such a necessary pawn in our game.”

    Love? Is that what this feeling was? This torturous pain he felt whenever she was far from his side, whenever he felt like he couldn’t hold her close enough in his arms to protect her from the world around them, or save her from psychotic twisted fiends like this? He fixed a vicious glare at the woman.

    “Oh – did I touch a nerve?” she mocked, “It must be hard for you, loving someone like her. I heard you were quite the womanizer until meeting the Dragonborn. But then you finally opened up and as usual it’s come to bite you right in the ass,” she laughed at him, “Pathetic. You humans are so pathetic.”

    It hit him like a ton of bricks, “You’re Aldmeri.”

    “Whoops!” she smirked, holding a finger to her lips, “Did I give it away? Hmm, no matter. You may believe that the Dragonborn is yours, boy, that you’ve claimed her, but she is ours. That filthy little half-breed belongs to us and we shall use her how we please. See to it that you play your role well enough and you might even get to have a happily ever after with her.”

    Bishop was trembling with rage and a whole host of emotions twisted and writhed just under the surface making his stomach turn.

    “Well it seems my time here is up. Be sure to make up some story about dear, old Lydia here running off to visit some dying cousin or what-have-you. Lying…Hmph, you’re good at that right?” She narrowed her eyes at him, her smirk turning into a vicious scowl as she leaned forward,“And remember this ranger, if you cross us, not only will you have Thorn and his brigands at your back, but the entire Aldmeri Dominion will come crashing down on you. There will be nowhere left to run.”

    Her face twisted from one of sneering cruelty to pure agony as her body disintegrated into dust. His dagger clattered to the floor and he fell to his knees his body overwhelmed with fear and anger. He retched, vomiting up his breakfast and sat back, trying to catch his breath, his body perspiring heavily as he pound a fist to the floor and swore repeatedly under his breath.

    Rona
    Participant
    Post count: 117

    Chapter 22 (NSFW)

    The Companions

     

    Aela lead Rona down some steps into what appeared to be their sleeping quarters, then further down a long hall where two men could be heard speaking quietly amongst themselves.

    “But I still hear the call of the blood.”

    “We all do. It is our burden to bear. But we can overcome.”

    “You have my brother and I, obviously. But I don’t know if the rest will go along quite so easily.”

    “Leave that to me.”

    Aela stopped for a moment and mumbled, “Hmm…ah, best go on without me girl. I just remembered something I need to take care of.”

    Rona made to say something but Aela moved so fast she couldn’t get the words out in time. Then Karnwyr decided to go his own way and loped down the corridor and into the room where the men were talking. She chased after him as she heard the younger of the two shout, “What’s this? Someone let a dog in here!?”

    She stopped by the doors and saw Karnwyr sniffing at their boots, “Karnwyr!” she clicked her tongue, calling him to her, “Sorry about that.”

    The old man, who was obviously Kodlak stared at her like he’d just seen a ghost.

    “You a new recruit?” The other man asked her. He looked quite a bit like Farkas and she realized the two must be brothers. He had his arms crossed looking her up and down warily, “Or you need to hire us for a job? If you’re here to hire, you’ll need to talk to Aela or Skjor upstairs.”

    Kodlak interrupted him, keeping his eyes trained on her, “So the Dragonborn finally comes to our old hall. Welcome Rona.”

    “Dragonborn,” Vilkas whispered, “You can’t be. There’s no way.”

    Kodlak looked over at him, “If Aela was telling us the truth, then this girl is most certainly the Dragonborn of legend,” he chuckled, “I always knew Claudia’s daughter would do great things. Please, come take a seat, we have much to discuss… Vilkas if you’d excuse us please.”

    Vilkas got up from his seat and left them, frowning skeptically at her as he walked by.

    She took his spot while Karnwyr laid down at Kodlak’s feet instead of Rona’s. She was surprised that the wolf was so quick to trust this man, though he did have a gentle and welcoming air about him. He reminded her of a kindly, old grandfather.

    He gave her a warm smile, “I sense that you have a strong spirit. We have some empty beds in Jorrvaskr for those with a fire burning in their hearts. Perhaps you are here to join us?”

    She shook her head, “Unfortunately no, I don’t think with my training I’d have much time to work as a mercenary again.”

    “Ah, that’s right, you’re a member of the Fighter’s Guild aren’t you? I still remember the day Claudia got the news. We celebrated all night in your honor, the poor woman sang songs until her voice gave out.”

    Rona tried to imagine her mother feeling anything for her when she showed such little interest her whole life, then she wondered how her mother had heard about her joining the Guild when she never wrote.

    “How did she know that I joined up?”

    Kodlak thought for a moment, “Well I believe she received a letter from your father. He often wrote to her about you.”

    Rona was thunderstruck. All this time he’d kept in touch with her mother. Yet the woman still refused to make an effort to reach out, to just say, hey I’m here. I care, I think about you.

    Rona couldn’t help it when she said, “You all talk about her so kindly, like she was such a wonderful person…You know she abandoned me, don’t you?”

    Kodlak crossed his arms and nodded his head, “Oh yes, we are all quite aware of that, at least the few of us who were around back then. Hmm,” he paused thoughtfully, “I’m sure you have many questions about her. Claudia often confided in me. I can offer some insight into her life. I will answer any questions you may have to the best of my knowledge,” he offered.

    Rona struggled to think of any other question that wasn’t some form of, why didn’t she want me? Why didn’t she love me?

    She finally said, “How long was she a Companion?”

    “For quite some time, twenty years at least. She wasn’t the first of your family to join us you know.”

    She shook her head, “I didn’t know.”

    “Curious,” he paused scratching at his chin, “Your namesake, Rona Benanius of Chorrol was the first in your family to join us.”

    Rona cringed at the sound of her middle name, although she was intrigued. She never knew that her mother had named her for such a woman, she always assumed – that her middle name at least – came from some old fuddy duddy family member from a long time ago.

    “She was a warrior?”

    He chuckled, “Not at first no. Rona Benanius was a maid that served the royal family of Battlehorn Castle in Chorrol in the third era. Shortly after the Oblivion Crisis she returned to Skyrim, bringing your mother’s family back to their homeland. She joined the Companions in an effort to fight the creatures left behind by the Oblivion Gates and to bring peace to our realm. She had quite a story. Your mother idolized her, wanting to be free of the provincial farm life that her family ultimately fell into.”

    Rona looked down at her hands, resting in her lap, “She really hated being tied down, didn’t she?”

    “Claudia was quite capricious, yes. When she found out that her father had arranged for her to be married to a local farm boy from Helgen she ran away from home and made her way to us, begging to join. She wasn’t much of a warrior, but my, did she have spirit!” He gave a hearty laugh, smiling warmly, “I trained her sword arm and she made good friends with the Shield-Sisters of old. Grella, Aela’s mother, was her closest friend. Together those two could kill wild bears, trolls, draugr and giants as simply as picking daisies in a field.”

    Rona was feeling things she didn’t want to. She couldn’t believe she was actually relating to her mother, or could she? After all, she’d said herself she was too much nord to handle and she had a similar story of being foisted into a life she hated that she ran away from. She was more her mother’s daughter than she thought.

    Kodlak crossed his arms and leaned towards her, “How much has your father told you about your mother’s past?”

    She looked away from the man, “Ata never liked to talk about her much. He always tried to avoid speaking ill of her. I think he hoped that someday the two of us would reconnect and he wanted to make sure I could give it a fresh start.” She felt bitter thinking back on those days, “When I did try she just abandoned me again. Literally left me all alone at an inn for months…”

    He looked morose, “Yes, I know. I gave Claudia quite a bit of grief for it when I’d heard. We went there to find you but, thankfully, your father had already collected you and taken you home.”

    Rona couldn’t help herself when she said, “I hate her.”

    Kodlak nodded, knowingly, “As I imagine you would. It’s only natural for a child to despise a parent that abandoned them.”

    “How can you speak about her like she’s this wonderful person then?” Rona demanded, scowling at him.

    “Because it is how I knew her. Claudia was a free spirited woman, that’s for certain, though she was not without her demons either. She was fickle and had a bit of an unpredictable temperament. Her heart was in the right place, her actions though, sadly were not.”

    Excuses! These were all just pointless excuses. “Do you know she has a son too? Another child she abandoned!”

    Kodlak’s eyes widened, “You know about the boy?”

    Rona was stunned, this old man knew about her brother when even she didn’t?

    “Yes, I… I only learned of his existence, recently,” she stammered, turning away.

    “I’m sure you know the boy is better off. She could barely handle you as an infant considering you nearly died in her care.”

    Rona whipped her head back so fast she nearly got a crick in her neck, “What?

    “Hmm, I see Serlas never told you about your birth. I would say he was far too kind to keep the harsher stories to himself.”

    “Tell me,” Rona beseeched him.

    He hummed, stroking his beard, “Perhaps I should start from the beginning then.You were born here, in these halls. The Shield-Sisters of old attended your birth, helping your mother to have you. I’ll never forget when I first saw you, my you were a precious little pup with a cry that could shatter glass, a trait you seem to have kept,” he smiled with a twinkle in his eye.

    “Aela and her mother Grella did what they could to help her, trying to get you to nurse. Claudia struggled quite a bit with it and often pushed you away. I’m afraid it was my mistake, suggesting she return home to the peacefulness of her farm to care for you over the next few months. I thought it would help her. I was deeply wrong in that regard.”

    He paused, for a moment, looking anxiously over at her, “This is very distressing girl…are you sure you want to hear the rest?”

    She nodded fervently.

    He pressed his lips together and carried on, “Grella was worried of her leaving. She knew what it meant to have a little one and understood better than any of us the feelings a woman has after a child. So she left to visit Claudia after a week. What she discovered nearly tore hers and your mother’s friendship apart. The cottage was in complete disarray. You were on the floor, wrapped in soiled blankets, left alone for gods know how long, starved and screaming like a banshee. Grella found your mother up at a tavern in Helgen, drunk off her wits. When she arrived with you in tow Claudia cried, trying to get away from you, wanting nothing to do with you. The poor woman was going mad attempting to care for you and when she couldn’t stand it anymore she just left you.”

    Rona looked down at her hands feeling a rush of grief taking hold, she clenched her teeth trying to hold it back.

    Kodlak leaned forward and touched her hand. She looked up into his kind face as he said with a grandfather’s gentleness, “I know how you must feel about her. Claudia often shared her struggles with me. I assure you, that you were oft on her mind. She loved you dearly, though she didn’t know how to show it. She knew all too well that she could not be your mother, no matter how much you wanted it.”

    Rona’s lower lip trembled and her face cringed as the tears spilled heavily from her eyes, and she let out a sob. She felt ashamed to be crying in front of this man who might as well be a stranger to her. He pat her hand gently in an effort to comfort her and looking quite mournful himself said, “There, there child.” He sat back and passed her a handkerchief. She wiped at her eyes and blew her nose noisily.

    He smiled slightly under his beard, “Don’t fret girl, for this tale has a happier ending than you might think… We knew Claudia couldn’t care for you, so we told her to find your father so that we might give him a chance to take you. Grella said she’d raise you herself if she had to, but when Serlas showed up in as little as a month, we knew you were in good hands. That man took one look at you and fell in love.”

    The tears spilled even harder from her eyes hearing this. She wanted to go home to Cyrodiil more than ever, to forsake her journey and give up on being Dragonborn. She hadn’t realized just how homesick she was. She cried and cried burying her face in her hands. Karnwyr even came up to her whining and licking at her arm, trying to cheer her up. He nestled his head in her lap and looked up at her with big eyes.

    Kodlak looked down at the wolf and said, “What a good companion you have here. You have a way with wolves I see.”

    She choked on a laugh and wiped at the tears in her eyes, “He’s my friend’s wolf actually,” Friend? She thought. It seemed they were much more than that by now. She started thinking about Bishop and how good it would feel to fall into his strong embrace. He always knew how to take the pain away. She wondered if he would join her in leaving Skyrim. “He’s probably wondering where I am right now,” she said standing.

    Kodlak nodded, “Well my dear, if there is anything else you wish to know, you may ask me.”

    “Actually, before I leave, can I ask you, what do you know about Nelkir? Did my mother name him for some great warrior too?”

    “Actually she didn’t name him. She gave him to Balgruuf the minute he was born not wanting to have the same attachment to him that she had for you.”

    “Why?”

    “It will always be a mystery to me. Grella seemed to understand better, though unfortunately she is no longer with us.”

    “Nelkir seems…angry. The same as I was at his age. I’m worried for him,” she couldn’t believe she was saying so after denying it so much the night before.

    Kodlak nodded, “I have already discussed it at great length with the Jarl. I told him that when the boy is old enough to carry a sword to send him our way. I believe that the troubled children of Claudia need the training of a warrior to guide them and help them find their place.”

    She frowned and said, “Please don’t tell me there are more of us.”

    Kodlak chuckled, “No need to worry girl. Rest assured, you and the boy are her only children.”

    Rona gave a sigh of relief as Kodlak stood and gripped her hands warmly, “Thank you for visiting Lady Rona. It was a pleasure to speak with you. I hope when your training ends that you will come join us someday.”

    She smiled up at him and gave him a hug. He was surprised, but returned it, patting her on the shoulder, “Go with honor and glory young Dragonborn.”

    ~~~

    When Rona left Jorrvaskr it was still fairly early in the day, several hours past lunch for sure as she and Karnwyr were both feeling hungry. She made her way home mulling over the stories Kodlak had told her. Instead of feeling incredibly sad like she thought she would, she actually felt like the burdens of her and her mother’s past were lifted. The veil had come off and a light shone through. She still wasn’t sure why her mother had been so averse to raising her own children, but she was grateful that there were people who cared enough to help her.

    As Rona approached the house she saw Bishop standing outside, back pressed to the wall, arms crossed, scowling off into the distance. Something was obviously bothering him, as he was so deep in thought that he hadn’t noticed her or the wolf approach.

    She stopped beside him and leaned around looking into his face, “You okay?”

    He jumped, throwing his arms out, “Shit! Ladyship! Don’t do that!”

    She stifled a laugh and said, “Sorry, I didn’t know I’d startle you like that. Hey let’s go get some tavern food, I’m starved!”

    He grasped her arm and said, “No, we need to leave right now.”

    She yanked her arm back and frowned at him, “Why? We just got here.”

    He looked around anxiously, before moving in close to her and said in a hushed voice, “Look, I can’t explain here. We need to leave town. Please, Ladyship.”

    She cocked her head at him smirking, “Did Bishop do a bad thing?”

    He raked his head with his hands furiously and insisted, “Now is not the time to get smart with me. I’m being serious with you for once. We need to leave now.

    She blinked, knitting her brows together, “Okay. Well, I left the dragon bone up at the Skyforge, the blacksmith said it would take about two months before my weapons would be ready.”

    “Great, let’s go,” he said walking away from her.

    “Back to the farm?” she called.

    He waved a hand through the air, “Anywhere, just not here!”

    They set out down the path opposite to Riverwood. Rona complained after looking over a map that it would take them twice as long just to get home, but he wasn’t having it. He pressed on, completely ignoring her. She watched as he fidgeted and glowered down at each and every passerby on the road. He seemed far more paranoid than usual and she wondered what had happened but knew better than to press him for answers until he’d calmed down.

    They passed by the western watchtower where she’d killed her first dragon. She stared off at what remained of the broken building and thought she saw the outline of a woman’s ghost sitting at the edge of the top landing. The second she blinked the woman had vanished. She was positive that it was Jillian. Rona was used to seeing the Dragonborn ghosts of yore now. They often followed her, usually in her dreams, guiding her on her path.

    She realized then that no matter how much she missed her friends and father she would have to finish her journey. If she didn’t carry on then the dreams would never stop plaguing her.

    They spent several hours silently following the road ahead. As dusk fell they reached a fork in the path with a sign indicating the location of each hold. Falkreath marked to their left, but instead of taking it Bishop pulled off the road to the right into the brush. Rona followed him as they passed by three tall, stone henges marking what appeared to be a large burial mound. She wondered if it was the resting ground of soldiers fallen in battle from long ago.

    Bishop passed right by it leading them down to a small streamlet where the water traveled through the underground and trickled through an open trench before retreating underground again. Luna moths fluttered around, touching on the lavender and wildflowers strewn about. It was very pretty, romantic even.

    She flinched when Bishop finally spoke for the first time in hours, “Let’s rest here tonight.”

    She agreed and they set up their camp, doing their best not to disturb the wildlife. Rona’s stomach growled loudly as she finished tossing a few logs onto the small fire she’d made. Bishop smirked and said, “I’ll go get us some dinner, wait here alright?”

    He seemed to have relaxed a bit, now that they were far from the city and the road. Knowing him though he’d be securing every inch of the perimeter. An hour passed and the sun set. Rona kicked aside an apple core she’d munched on to curb her appetite and went to go fish around for her flute from Karinda’s saddlebag. She sat back down by the fire with the tent at her back. She blew into it gently giving off a slightly off-key sound. She tried a few more times. She was feeling rusty from not playing for so long. Finally, she got into the swing of it again and played a quiet song.

    (The Song is Reis Glorios by Erutan)

    ~~~

    Not far off Bishop heard the faint sound of Rona’s flute and relaxed knowing she was well. He sat atop a rock, overlooking a giant’s camp nearby. A strange, purplish, glowing tree stood tall in the center of a pond. The giants had all but disappeared into their cave below. He knew they would be no trouble if they just kept their distance.

    Karnwyr was nearby, tearing into the leg of their evenings kill. Bishop had already cleaned and dressed the elk, leaving thick cuts of it wrapped in a swatch of its pelt when he wandered off to collect his thoughts on the hill top. Leaning with his elbows to his knees and his fingers laced together he cast his eyes over the landscape, searching for any sign of an enemy, some semblance of a man or a woman who might be following them. He’d had the distinct feeling that someone was following him all day. He took extra caution, suspecting every traveler, tradesman and passerby of nefarious intent. He couldn’t trust anyone.

    His mind was tangled with unclear thoughts. He knew she’d ask why they left so abruptly, as she always did, and he’d have to give her some kind of explanation. The question he battled with now was whether he should give her the truth or a lie. For so long he’d started to open up, to trust her and share the pain of his past while again and again she returned to embrace him and dull the sting of memories long past. She proved that she wasn’t afraid of him or his wolf…and not much else either.

    He’d started to question how he really felt about this woman. Everything about her was intoxicating to him. Every laugh and every smile was so pure and genuine and the way she looked at him with her sexy green eyes, long lashes fluttering briskly when he held her close in his arms. Her scent was the most invigorating to him. She had the soft and sensual smell of fresh wildflowers from her soaps and perfumes, but after a long day’s travel, or an evening in his bed he could smell the distinct aroma that was hers and hers alone. It wasn’t off-putting in any way, in fact, it pleased him. He liked to bury his face in her soft locks and breathe it in, memorizing it so that when she left it on his skin he could enjoy it and remember her.

    It was her voice though that made him want to bare his soul to her. It almost pained him when she couldn’t or wouldn’t sing. He’d rarely experienced a night of restful sleep before meeting her. The gentleness of her lullabies calmed him on a deeper level than even he could understand. He could actually fall asleep to the soothing sound of her vocalizing and rest peacefully through the night without nightmares or relentless unease plaguing him and sending him into fits of restlessness.

    But when she sang with formidable power and a commanding authority, that is when he felt true awe. She was incredibly strong for a woman so small. The ferocity in which she faced down dragon after dragon standing before them as though she were ten feet taller than she actually was astounded him.

    Her strength and physical prowess stirred the sexual desire within him, but it was her compassion and joy which pulled at his softer side…something he was unquestionably uncomfortable with. Especially now that the Aldmeri Dominion was using it against him.

    He groaned loudly and pressed his face into his hands, sitting like this for a minute or more before the sound of a voice carried up to him. He glanced down at the strange tree in the center of the pond and watched as a wispy woman with hair like fire and skin like snow tread through the ankle-deep water. The water remained quite still despite her beautiful dance through it. She spread her arms elegantly through the moonlight and sang,

    (The Song is The Wolven Storm by Malukah)

    “These scars long have yearned for your tender caress

    To bind our fortunes, damn what the stars own

    Rend my heart open, then your love profess

    A winding, weaving fate to which we both atone

    You flee my dream come the morning

    Your scent – berries tart, lilac sweet

    To dream of raven locks entwisted, stormy

    Of violet eyes, glistening as you weep

    [Foreign Language]

     

    She looked up at him then, their eyes meeting. She shared the same glowing green gems as Rona and her gaze bore into his soul just the same. His heart pound in his chest and he stood, watching her, allowing the feelings he tried so hard to keep at bay to finally wash over him, accepting them.

     

    I know not if fate would have us live as one

    Or if by love’s blind chance we’ve been bound

    The wish I whispered, when it all began

    Did it forge a love you might never have found?

    The wolf I will follow into the storm

    To find your heart, its passion displaced

    The wolf I will follow into the storm

    The wish I whispered, when it all began

    Did it forge a love you might never have found?”

    She gave him a knowing look before vanishing in a pillar of white flames. He knew then that he had to go back to Rona, he needed to be with her, not off alone, brooding by himself. Bishop ran down the hill, collecting the neatly wrapped parcel, leaving Karnwyr to continue enjoying his meal. The wolf could care for himself just fine.

    As he approached their camp he heard the wonderful sound of her voice echoing across the plains. It was different from Eira’s in that it was lighter and more innocent. He stopped to listen to her words and knew that just as Eira had sang for him, that this song was for him too. It filled him with a deep yearning that hurt his heart. Was this love? Could he deny it anymore?

    (The Song is No One But You by Erutan)

    “See the summer’s light
    Round with rays so bright
    Fading out of sight
    Melting in night

    Hold me unto you
    No one but you
    No one but you
    Hold me unto you
    No one but you
    No one but you

    All the world is dear
    When my love is lying near
    Oh to linger here
    Far from all I fear

    [Chorus]

    Love is like sailing by moonlight
    Reading the stars, navigating by night
    I know tomorrow I’ll be closer to you
    You are the one that I want
    No one but you

    See the morning light
    Round with rays so bright
    Waking from the night
    Brilliant is the sight

    Hold me unto you
    No one but you
    No one but you
    Hold me unto you
    No one but you
    No one but you”

    He walked slowly into the camp, watching her closely as she finished her song. Her eyes were closed as she crooned the words. The moonlight accentuated her perfect heart shaped face and luscious pink lips as they parted gently. A ripple of soft skin showed at the neckline of her dress, her cleavage dipping as she leaned over her lute, playing with a profound dedication to her craft. He had to have her.

    Bishop dropped his parcel to the ground, startling her. She looked up at him, lashes fluttering over her beautiful eyes, a gentle smile curled at her lips, happy to see him.

    (Recommended song while reading: Madre Terra by Globus)

    He undid the buckles on his clothes and tore his shirt off. A wry smile perked at her lips as she admired his form, setting her lute aside. He knelt down in front of her and she said, “So I take it we’re skipping dinner and going straight for dessert?”

    He growled low, “I know you’re hungry Sweetness, but I’m feeling quite ravenous myself.” He grasped her under her arms, lifting her up with him, she laughed with that infectious sound before he smothered it in a deep kiss. He let her slip to her feet, still pulling her close to him as he reached around for that feeble button on the back of her dress. He found the damn thing and set it free allowing her clothes to fall to the ground as he moved on, tugging her white underwear from her body next.

    Her delicate hands dug into his back as he lavished her neck with open mouthed kisses, sucking and pulling sharply at her tender skin, leaving his mark on her body. She mewled and whimpered into the night sky. He couldn’t get enough of those sounds and traveled up to her flushed ear, nibbling gently at the tip causing her to create a new song that made his already constrained nethers, swell painfully. He pulled at his belt, undressing his lower half so that he might pair his skin to hers.

    She reached for him, wrapping her soft hands to his thickness. He groaned, burying his face in her hair. Her touch was electrifying, but he wanted to hear more of the magical songs he could make her sing, so he scooped her up into his arms and lay her down on their bedrolls. He fell beside her and traced the hardened nubs on her perfect breasts with his tongue and slowly made his way down, kissing and biting gently as he went.

    Each moan and whimper compelling him onward until he reached his prize. He buried his face into her sweetness, taking his time tracing each and every fold with his lips and tongue, gently teasing the erect bundle of nerves at the top before digging into her more forcefully. A smile played at his lips as she squirmed beneath him, squealing and raking her nails through his scalp. It wasn’t until he slid his fingers deep inside, searching for that secret spot that set her off that he received the encore he’d wanted.

    He knew he found it when her tunnel convulsed tightly, gripping his fingers. He moved them in and out swiftly, pressing that spot, making her scream with pleasure. He pulled his face away, sitting upright so he could watch her writhe in ecstasy and listen to her plead with him between moans to just get on with it. He dug in deeper and pressed his thumb to her aching nub, making her peak. Her back arched and her womanhood convulsed around his dripping fingers. She came hard, before falling limp, panting, breathless. He withdrew his fingers and tasted her sweet nectar, making her burn a deeper shade of crimson than before.

    He grinned at her, pleased to have satisfied her and intended to do it again, immediately. He positioned his own dripping need between her folds, pressing himself against her opening, watching her twitch from the overstimulation. She was most likely feeling sensitive from her climax, so he took his time and leaned in close to her, catching her lips with his own and teasing her relentlessly down below, waiting for her second wind.

    It wasn’t long before she grasped the back of his neck crying out with need. He responded to her desperate pleas by sliding his entire length within, feeling his own pleasure overtake him. He bucked into her body, pushing himself further and further with each thrust while she wrapped her legs tightly around his waist, refusing to let go. He growled low, kneading her breasts and enjoying them to the fullest and before long felt his cock throbbing, his own climax reaching near. He cried out her name as she clamped down around him and he gave her everything he had, releasing himself within.

    He felt lightheaded and fell to the side of her, withdrawing himself. He pulled her against him, wrapping his arms around her petite frame, keeping her close so that he might protect her. Her eyes were closed and a sweet smile played on her perfect lips. He touched her face and kissed her gently.

    She smiled through it and looked into his eyes as she said, “I’m still hungry.”

    He laughed at this beautiful, sweet woman, kissing her on her forehead before pushing himself up to fix her a meal.

    Rona
    Participant
    Post count: 117

    Chapter 23

    Dragons Resurrected

     

    Rona’s dreams were filled with the nightmarish figure of a vicious black dragon consuming the souls of men all around her. She cried out, shouting, doing everything she could to defend them to no avail when the beast flew down upon her –

    Wake up! WAKE UP!

    Rona’s eyes snapped open to the sound of Bishop’s urging as he shook her shoulders. He was fully dressed and had a look of sheer terror on his face, something she’d never seen from him before.

    “Gods, woman you sleep like the fucking dead – we have to leave now!”

    “What?” she mumbled in sleepy confusion.

    He threw her clothes at her and tossed dirt on their campfire to put it out. She realized it was still night time when the flames went out and everything fell into complete darkness. Bishop was in a hurry to go, grabbing their things as the sound of a dragon’s roar pierced through the skies – alarmingly close. Rona started moving at break-neck speed, pulling her underwear, dress and boots on and clamoring to find their things. The roar was over their heads then and the ground shook under their feet as the dragon flew directly over them. Bishop pulled Rona to the ground covering her, but no flames sprayed around them.

    They watched as the beast flew over to the burial mound, hovering over it and speaking loudly in dragon’s tongue. Bishop climbed off of her and pulled her to her feet and continued running around the camp, grabbing their things, “Shit! The horses ran! Fuck!”

    Rona stared off at the creature illuminated by the moonlight as it spoke deeply, “Vuljotnaak! Ziil gro dovah ulse!” The mound of earth shone with an eerie force of light shooting into the sky.

    The dragon flew around it once before shouting a devastating whirl of light against it, “Slen Tiid Va!

    The earth rumbled, throwing them off balance and the burial mound exploded, spraying gravel everywhere. She went pale, unable to turn away from the sight before her as the bones of a dragon pulled itself from the ground, clawing its way to freedom.

    Bishop stood by her, watching and trembling with fear. He grasped at her arm, gripping her tightly. He was not afraid for himself, but for her, knowing what she would do.

    The dragon’s bones looked to the sky at his fellow, as its flesh regenerated through fiery light to its body. He spoke thickly, “Alduin, thuri! Pogaanbok lost vod naal?

    Geh,Vuljotnaak, kaali mir.

    The wind whipped up around them as the sounds of spirits cried all around them,

    (The Song is The Promise by Within Temptation)

    Where are we now?

    We’re almost in heaven.

    The souls of dead soldiers appeared, wandering aimlessly around looking lost and terrified. Then Jillian illuminated before them, waist length, raven hair sweeping through the night as she gazed across to the ghostly figure of a man. She reached out for him, unable to grasp him. The black dragon looked to them and growled deeply before he stomped down to the ground crushing the man’s spirit under him.

    He roared at her, but when she did not move, he cocked his reptilian head, intrigued and uttered, “Dovahkiin…

    The rumbling of drums and strings sawed in the air.

    She stared down the twisted black dragon before her, drawing a glinting great sword from her back. Her voice rang high and furious, her song one of hatred and vengeance.

     

    “On behalf of her love
    She no longer sleeps
    Life had no longer meaning
    Nothing to make her stay

    She sold her soul away

    I held you tight to me
    You slipped away
    You promised to return to me

    And I believed

    I believed”

     

    The dragon seemed to smile cruelly at her, ignoring her singing, as he whispered her name, “Jillian…hi lost daal. Zu’u fen krii hi enook tiid.

    She swung her sword at his maw, catching him on the snout! He hissed at her and flew high into the sky.

     

    “After the night he died
    I wept my tears until they dried
    But the pain stayed the same”

    I didn’t want him to die all in vain
    I made a promise to revenge his soul in time
    I’ll make them bleed down at my feed

    I held you tight to me

    You slipped away
    You promised to return to me
    And I believed
    I held you tight to me

    You slipped away
    You promised to return to me
    And I believed

    Sometimes I wonder

    Could I have known
    About their true intentions
    As the pain stayed the same
    I’m going to haunt them down all the way

    I made a promise to revenge his soul in time
    One by one they were surprised

    I held you tight to me
    You slipped away

    You promised to return to me
    And I believed
    I held you tight to me
    You slipped away

    You promised to return to me
    And I believed”

    Rona felt herself drawing her bow from her back, joining her song, compelled to sing her vengeance for her. Bishop twisted at her arm, trying to stop her, pleading with his eyes not to go and she said, “I’m sorry, Bishop.” She shouted,”WULD NAH KEST!”

    Lunging forward, breaking free of his grasp and straight through Jillian’s spirit. She heard him cry out, “RONA!” as she aimed her bow high, aiming for the black dragon looking down at her before launching a spinning arrow into its hide. He roared and turned to his resurrected companion, spitting angrily, “Vuljotnaak! Bo ahrk du daar dovahkiin!”

    He soared over her then, spouting flames which Jillian stopped with her own icy shout, “FO KRAH DIIN!”

    Rona leapt out of the way as the resurrected dragon snapped its jaws at her. She cried, “SU GRAH DUN!” and sped across the plains. It chased her on foot before flapping its wings, flying low, gliding over the plateau. She narrowly evaded its icy breath and its flames as it was much faster than the others she’d fought before. She cried another whirlwind sprint, launching herself away from the claws bearing down on her, so that they tore at the grass instead.

    She was in a position now to lob arrows into its hide, so she nocked her bow sending one after the other careening through the sky. She hit her mark multiple times, causing the creature to lose altitude and forcing it to land far from her. It came down heavily and something from her nightmares happened. Bishop was rushing the dragon, bow in hand. She screamed for him, but he did not stop.

    Whirlwind sprint could only take her so far before she had to recover her voice. She tried it again, bursting forward and taking a breath, watching as Bishop, still fifty paces away from her launched an arrow into the dragon’s eye just as it made to whip its head around and engulf him in flames. It roared, writhing in pain and flailing its body. Its tail caught Bishop in the side, toppling him over hard. Rona ran as fast as her legs would carry her and threw herself into the face of the beast as it sprayed flames where Bishop lay.

    She shouted back, “FO KRAH DIIN!” and threw herself into the resulting blast between the two shouts, using the dust they created for cover. She found her prey, digging at its eye when she threw herself upon its snout, using its horn as leverage and burying her dagger into its skull. The dragon did as she predicted, as all the others did before, throwing its head back, attempting to throw her off. She clung desperately to its horn while it thrashed about wildly and she shouted, “FUS RO DAH!”

    This was both the right choice and a mistake. It was the right choice because the unrelenting force of her voice thrust the dragon’s head to the ground with enough power to snap its neck and shatter its skull killing it. But it was also a mistake because she was standing on its head and as it hit the ground it ricocheted back slamming into her, casting her body off like a pebble and knocking her unconscious.

    The dragon withered and its soul entered her unmoving body. Bishop lay on his side, reeling from the pain in his arm, which had definitely snapped in several places. His leg also throbbed, though it didn’t feel broken. He crawled on the ground, dragging himself towards Rona’s lifeless body. Horror taking hold of him as he screamed out her name to no reply. He was sweating profusely and barely budged trying to move with one good arm and leg only. He rolled onto his back, trying to steady his breathing as his vision started blurring from the pain.

    Karnwyr came running over now that the coast was clear of dragons. He stopped by Rona’s body, whimpering and whining, nudging at her before responding to his master’s wails. He padded to his side licking at his face. Bishop groaned as tears of pain, worry and helplessness stung his eyes. He cried out, agonizingly to the empty sky and Karnwyr howled with him.

    “Khayla! Wait, be careful!” he heard the sound of a khajiit hissing nearby.

    He looked over to Rona and saw an armored khajiit leaning over her body, checking for a pulse. “This one’s still alive,” she said. Bishop blinked, letting the tears in his eyes spill outward as a sense of relief washed over him.

    Another khajiit appeared, standing over Bishop. He was dressed in finery and knelt down, “Are you alright? Tell me how the dragon has harmed you.”

    He grit his teeth, feeling lightheaded from the pain, “I think my arm is broken and my leg isn’t feeling too great either.”

    The khajiit stood up and looked back calling, “Atahbah! Bring me the potions, the strong ones!”

    He looked back down at Bishop, crossing his arms and said, “Do not worry stranger, Ri’saad is here to help you… for a price of course.” His shifty grin was the last thing Bishop saw before he finally gave in and passed out.

    ~~~

    Rona felt a cool cloth touching her face. As her eyes fluttered open she saw a very concerned khajiit woman leaning over her, pressing the cloth to her face, “How do you feel Dragonborn?” she whispered kindly.

    Aside from the throbbing in her head she felt okay. She made to sit up, wobbling as she did so, the khajiit woman said, “Be careful. You and your companion were injured in battle.”

    “Bishop!” Rona cried, “Where is he!?”

    She glanced around the small tent and saw him laying, unconscious, nearby, Karnwyr at his side. He was covered in perspiration and blood, his arm mangled into an unnatural shape. She crawled over to him and placed her hands on his body summoning all her powers of healing, attempting to mend his arm. His flesh moved strangely as the bones inside knit themselves back together. Bishop’s pale face winced painfully.

    That one spell took the life out of her and she fell back, dizzy.

    “Do not push yourself Dragonborn!” the woman insisted, “Wait here, I will get you some water and a potion for the pain.”

    Another khajiit, a male dressed in finery looked into the tent at her, “Ah, good morning… Lady Rona, is it?”

    “Who are you,” she mumbled.

    “My name is Ri’saad. I have heard much about you from Ahkari. We have taken the liberty of collecting your steeds and other items and bringing them here for you.”

    The khajiit woman pushed by Ri’saad and hissed at him, “Do not bother her now, she needs rest.” She handed her two bottles of potion and said, “Go on, drink up. It will help. The other is for your friend when he wakes.”

    Rona downed the bottle and felt a tingling relief all over her body, but especially in her head. The woman then passed her a tankard of cool water which she drank gratefully. She asked the woman, “Please tell me your name.”

    “I am Atahbah,” she said, smiling.

    “Thank you for your help Atahbah, please thank your friend for me as well.”

    The khajiit let her be so that she might recover her strength in peace. She watched over Bishop, pressing a wet cloth to his face as Atahbah had done for her. When she felt even a little stronger she carefully grasped his arm and whispered words of healing, mending it slightly. By the third time Bishop roused, gritting his teeth and groaning from the pain. His eyes flit up to her as he uttered, “Ladyship?”

    Her smile turned into fitful sobs as tears streamed down her cheeks. Though he said nothing in reply, too exhausted and too much pain to tell her to stop with the waterworks. She wiped at her eyes with the palm of her hands and grabbed the other bottle of potion Atahbah left for her. She tilted it to Bishop’s mouth, letting him drink slowly.

    He sighed deeply as the color returned to his face, “That feels a lot better.” But when he went to move his left arm he flinched and groaned, “And that still hurts.”

    Rona touched his arm again, caressing it gently as she used another healing spell on it.

    “Try not to move it for now,” she said, “You’ll still have to heal naturally. I’ll see if the khajiit have any medical supplies that I can use, preferably a splint and some cloth for a sling.”

    “Shame it’s my left arm,” he said.

    She looked back at him curiously, “I’ve never seen you use your dagger in your left.”

    He smirked, “No, but I do use my left to polish it.”

    She blinked, then scrunched her nose and laughed at him, “I’ll be right back.”

    She was thankful to see he still had his sense of humor and wasn’t scolding her for going after the dragon.

    The two of them spent the next three days taking time to recover. Ri’saad was kind enough to halt his travels and stay with them while Rona paid him back by helping him dismantle the dragon remains giving him a chance to take the best parts of the bones so he might sell them later. Their small caravan was overflowing with bones and Ma’Randru-jo, another male khajiit traveling with them, argued with Ri’saad every chance he got about tossing at least half the bones from their supplies simply because they wouldn’t fit and made it impossible for them to search for other items.

    Atahbah tended to Bishop’s wounds, fixing his arm to a splint and sewing together a sling from some old cloth. His leg, thankfully, hadn’t broken so Rona was able to heal it completely with her magic alone allowing him to walk around and get fresh air when he needed.

    Rona spent most of the time patching up their torn and burned clothing as well as entertaining their new friends with songs and keeping Bishop company while he healed. He never once mentioned anything about her obstinate behavior and willfulness to barrel into trouble at a moment’s notice.

    Rona, however, couldn’t stop thinking about the black dragon. She’d recognized him as the dragon from Helgen and the one from her nightmare.

    She dreamt about Jillian and learned of her past through confusing visions and fuzzy memories. It seemed that Jillian had at one time fought against the black dragon. He had brutally killed her lover and she vowed revenge against the beast and all his kin. There were so many times she would be in arms length of the man she yearned for and the dragon would consume him whole. There were too many times when that man turned into Bishop for Rona.

    It seemed that this dragon in particular was the reason that all dragons had returned to Skyrim. She knew that he was more powerful than any of them and she didn’t know how she could stop him with her skills the way they were now especially when she could barely hold her own against the lesser ones. She had to continue her training if she would ever end the scourge of dragons that plagued Skyrim.

    But with Bishop needing time to recover his broken arm, would that mean she would have to leave him behind? She tried not to think about it.

    By the third day the two of them were packed up and ready to go, giving their thanks and saying their goodbyes to Ri’saad and his companions. An hour into their ride on the road leading to Falkreath Bishop called over to her, “Hey, we need to talk, now.”

    He sounded serious so she stopped Karinda and leapt down, Bishop hopped off Whiskey with surprising grace considering the state of his arm. He lead the way off the path a bit and turned to face her looking grim.

    “What is it? Does your arm hurt?” she held her glowing hands out when he grasped one with his free hand and shook his head. He held her hand, rubbing his thumb into her palm and looked down into her eyes, his own dark amber orbs pleading with her.

    “We should go, leave Skyrim for all I care. Just you and me, away from all this insanity. We can disappear and no one would ever find us.”

    She looked at him, stunned by this proposal. It seemed that he would have left with her if she so desired it and she did. She had an overwhelming urge to run away from this place.

    He carried on, practically rambling, “We can even take on new names, leave this place far behind us and then live entirely different lives. Together… A life where you wouldn’t have to be in constant danger.”

    She knew she couldn’t leave now though. Not with the black dragon wreaking havoc across the land and her being the only one who could stop it. Her dreams and nightmares were getting worse and her visions of the other Dragonborn were becoming all too frequent. Her lips trembled as she turned her eyes downward, staring at his strong, calloused hand grasping desperately at her small delicate one.

    “I can’t,” she whispered, “I can’t leave.”

    He drew his hand back, balling it into a fist and growing angry, “Why do you do it? Is it the thrill of looking death in the face? Is that why you run around Skyrim challenging every damn dragon? Give me one good reason why.”

    She wanted to say, because I have the soul of a dragon, because I can’t stop myself from trying to dominate and destroy them, because I’m the only one that can stop them, which he seemed to glean from the look on her face and scoffed,”I need to hear a better reason than the fact that you have the soul of some overgrown lizard.That’s not a good enough reason for me to watch you put yourself in danger and for what? Because of some ancient prophecy? Did you even stop to think what all this might mean to me?”

    She never stopped thinking about how it hurt him, how every time she fought another dragon it became more of a battle between the two of them on who could protect the other more. But if she didn’t fight them, who else would? There was only one Dragonborn and the gods had chosen her. “I… I’m just trying to do what’s right.”

    “What’s right she says,” he snarled,”You know what I think is right? Throwing you over my shoulder right now and saving you before you get yourself killed! Listen, the right thing, gets you nothing princess. You’ll end up dead, broken or a beggar, trust me. At least with my way of doing what’s right, you’ll stay alive and so will I.”

    Was this his way of showing his love for her? Would he ever say these things if he didn’t feel that way about her?

    He persisted at her indecision, “I’m the least likely option to get you killed Rona. If I were you, I’d choose the obvious which is to run away with me. I can protect you, keep you alive.”

    “Bishop, I…”

    “We belong together, can’t you see that? No one else in this world will ever be good enough for either  of us,” he growled, “You’re mine and I’ll be damned if I’m about to give you up.”

    She went cold. Is that what it was? He felt as though he were about to lose a prized possession? She was just something for him to claim and own? Her heart sank and she grew heated, “Nobody owns me! I’m not some, thing, some toy you can just keep for yourself! I’m a god damn person, Bishop!”

    She turned on her toe and stalked away from him as he cried, “Ladyship! Rona wait! I didn’t mean it like that!”

    She pulled herself up on Karinda and snapped the reins, cantering off down the trail to Falkreath, leaving him behind. All this time she’d been falling in love and all he’d felt was some sort of ownership over her. How could she be so stupid?

    The swift crackle of hooves on stone echoed behind her as Bishop caught up, screaming, “Will you just listen to me please!? Do you think I’d go throwing myself at a fucking dragon if it was just possessiveness!?”

    She yanked on Karinda’s reins pulling her to a stop, Bishop doing the same with Whiskey. The roofs of the buildings in Falkreath peaked over the pines nearby. They were close to the town and she didn’t want to air her dirty laundry around them, so she turned flashing him a stern gaze, waiting for his explanation.

    He sighed, twisting his mouth before he said, “I care about you. I care… way, way more than I should ever care about another person. More than I have in a long time. I want to keep you safe, because I care.”

    He still couldn’t bring himself to say those three little words to her. Could she really expect it from him though?

    “Why did we leave Whiterun in a hurry Bishop? Tell me the truth,” she said plainly.

    Again he struggled with his words, as though searching for some other route, some other way. He glanced around nervously, making sure the coast was clear.

    “What the hell has you so scared out of your wits!?” she demanded.

    He met her eyes and grit his teeth, looking like he might actually cry, “I can’t lose you. Every single person I’ve ever cared about has died on me, Rona. Every single one.”

    “Bishop I can’t help you if you won’t talk to me,” she cried.

    “It’s you who needs help!” he barked, pressing his fingers to his temple, “You have no idea. No fucking clue! There are people that want to control you!”

    She looked at him confused, “You mean Balgruuf?”

    “NO! Not even close! Not even remotely the same! These people will kill you, they’ll do… unspeakable things to you and I just… I have to protect you and I don’t know how!”

    These ambiguous words meant nothing to her. All she knew was that he was keeping something serious to himself and he couldn’t tell her for some reason.

    He growled, frustrated by her and by his own muddled words and said, “Enough talking!” He spurred Whiskey onward, leaving her behind. She hung her head back and exhaled noisily, releasing her own irritation before slowly following him into the little town.

    She saw him stop at an inn, prepared to go inside when she trot right on past. He looked over at her, scowling and shouted, “Where are you going?”

    “I’m going home.”

    He snarled, “FINE! If you don’t want to take me seriously then go! Go get yourself killed! I’ve had all the near death experiences I can stomach anyhow!”

    He barreled into the inn and she pressed on heading for the farm. They needed this time apart. He clearly needed it to collect his thoughts and she couldn’t bear to fight with him anymore.

    It was a brisk ride to the farm, a half hour at most to get there. When she arrived she felt a sense of peace overtake her as she looked out over the beautiful, flourishing farmland. She was also amazed by the cottage. The entire thing looked like it had been rebuilt from scratch with several additions made to it. There was a second floor and what looked like two additional rooms added. The roof had been stripped and redone entirely and the whole building had been given a fresh coat of white paint.

    Rona stabled Karinda and wandered along a beautiful stone pathway that wove through the garden which was full of flowers and a variety of alchemical ingredients. She smiled as several butterflies landed on her, there were so many of them dancing among the flowers.

    She found Illia at the other end of the farm, by the fence, and saw that she was not alone. Illia glanced back and said, “Oh! Rona!”

    Her companion stood up, a thin man of six foot, five inches, towering over the woman beside him. His white wispy beard and long wispy hair fluttered gently in the wind. He looked on at the girl in front of him with kind golden eyes and flashed her a father’s loving smile.

    He spoke with a deep, warm voice, “Rona, velvynen!”

    Her heart ached and a sob burst from her throat as she cried, “Ata!” And ran across the garden to hug the man she’d been missing for so long.

    Rona
    Participant
    Post count: 117

    Looks like it deleted a chapter again? (I was editing and it disappeared from my screen, so sorry if this is a double post!)

    Chapter 23

    Dragons Resurrected

     

    Rona’s dreams were filled with the nightmarish figure of a vicious black dragon consuming the souls of men all around her. She cried out, shouting, doing everything she could to defend them to no avail when the beast flew down upon her –

    Wake up! WAKE UP!

    Rona’s eyes snapped open to the sound of Bishop’s urging as he shook her shoulders. He was fully dressed and had a look of sheer terror on his face, something she’d never seen from him before.

    “Gods, woman you sleep like the fucking dead – we have to leave now!”

    “What?” she mumbled in sleepy confusion.

    He threw her clothes at her and tossed dirt on their campfire to put it out. She realized it was still night time when the flames went out and everything fell into complete darkness. Bishop was in a hurry to go, grabbing their things as the sound of a dragon’s roar pierced through the skies – alarmingly close. Rona started moving at break-neck speed, pulling her underwear, dress and boots on and clamoring to find their things. The roar was over their heads then and the ground shook under their feet as the dragon flew directly over them. Bishop pulled Rona to the ground covering her, but no flames sprayed around them.

    They watched as the beast flew over to the burial mound, hovering over it and speaking loudly in dragon’s tongue. Bishop climbed off of her and pulled her to her feet and continued running around the camp, grabbing their things, “Shit! The horses ran! Fuck!”

    Rona stared off at the creature illuminated by the moonlight as it spoke deeply, “Vuljotnaak! Ziil gro dovah ulse!” The mound of earth shone with an eerie force of light shooting into the sky.

    The dragon flew around it once before shouting a devastating whirl of light against it, “SLEN TIID VA!

    The earth rumbled, throwing them off balance and the burial mound exploded, spraying gravel everywhere. She went pale, unable to turn away from the sight before her as the bones of a dragon pulled itself from the ground, clawing its way to freedom.

    Bishop stood by her, watching and trembling with fear. He grasped at her arm, gripping her tightly. He was not afraid for himself, but for her, knowing what she would do.

    The dragon’s bones looked to the sky at his fellow, as its flesh regenerated through fiery light to its body. He spoke thickly, “Alduin, thuri! Pogaanbok lost vod naal?

    Geh,Vuljotnaak, kaali mir.

    The wind whipped up around them as the sounds of spirits cried all around them,

    (The Song is The Promise by Within Temptation)

    Where are we now?

    We’re almost in heaven.

    The souls of dead soldiers appeared, wandering aimlessly around looking lost and terrified. Then Jillian illuminated before them, waist length, raven hair sweeping through the night as she gazed across to the ghostly figure of a man. She reached out for him, unable to grasp him. The black dragon looked to them and growled deeply before he stomped down to the ground crushing the man’s spirit under him.

    He roared at her, but when she did not move, he cocked his reptilian head, intrigued and uttered, “Dovahkiin…

    The rumbling of drums and strings sawed in the air.

    She stared down the twisted black dragon before her, drawing a glinting great sword from her back. Her voice rang high and furious, her song one of hatred and vengeance.

    “On behalf of her love
    She no longer sleeps
    Life had no longer meaning
    Nothing to make her stay
    She sold her soul away

    I held you tight to me
    You slipped away
    You promised to return to me

    And I believed

    I believed”

     

    The dragon seemed to smile cruelly at her, ignoring her singing, as he whispered her name, “Jillian…hi lost daal. Zu’u fen krii hi enook tiid.

    She swung her sword at his maw, catching him on the snout! He hissed at her and flew high into the sky.

     

    “After the night he died
    I wept my tears until they dried
    But the pain stayed the same”

    I didn’t want him to die all in vain
    I made a promise to revenge his soul in time
    I’ll make them bleed down at my feed

    I held you tight to me

    You slipped away
    You promised to return to me
    And I believed
    I held you tight to me

    You slipped away
    You promised to return to me
    And I believed

    Sometimes I wonder

    Could I have known
    About their true intentions
    As the pain stayed the same
    I’m going to haunt them down all the way

    I made a promise to revenge his soul in time
    One by one they were surprised

    I held you tight to me
    You slipped away
    You promised to return to me
    And I believed

    I held you tight to me
    You slipped away
    You promised to return to me
    And I believed”

    Rona felt herself drawing her bow from her back, joining her song, compelled to sing her vengeance for her. Bishop twisted at her arm, trying to stop her, pleading with his eyes not to go and she said, “I’m sorry, Bishop.” She shouted, “WULD NAH KEST!

    Lunging forward, breaking free of his grasp and straight through Jillian’s spirit. She heard him cry out, “RONA!” as she aimed her bow high, aiming for the black dragon looking down at her before launching a spinning arrow into its hide. He roared and turned to his resurrected companion, spitting angrily, “Vuljotnaak! Bo ahrk du daar dovahkiin!

    He soared over her then, spouting flames which Jillian stopped with her own icy shout, “FO KRAH DIIN!

    Rona leapt out of the way as the resurrected dragon snapped its jaws at her. She cried, “SU GRAH DUN!” and sped across the plains. It chased her on foot before flapping its wings, flying low, gliding over the plateau. She narrowly evaded its icy breath and its flames as it was much faster than the others she’d fought before. She cried another whirlwind sprint, launching herself away from the claws bearing down on her, so that they tore at the grass instead.

    She was in a position now to lob arrows into its hide, so she nocked her bow sending one after the other careening through the sky. She hit her mark multiple times, causing the creature to lose altitude and forcing it to land far from her. It came down heavily and something from her nightmares happened. Bishop was rushing the dragon, bow in hand. She screamed for him, but he did not stop.

    Whirlwind sprint could only take her so far before she had to recover her voice. She tried it again, bursting forward and taking a breath, watching as Bishop, still fifty paces away from her launched an arrow into the dragon’s eye just as it made to whip its head around and engulf him in flames. It roared, writhing in pain and flailing its body. Its tail caught Bishop in the side, toppling him over hard. Rona ran as fast as her legs would carry her and threw herself into the face of the beast as it sprayed flames where Bishop lay.

    She shouted back, “FO KRAH DIIN!” and threw herself into the resulting blast between the two shouts, using the dust they created for cover. She found her prey, digging at its eye when she threw herself upon its snout, using its horn as leverage and burying her dagger into its skull. The dragon did as she predicted, as all the others did before, throwing its head back, attempting to throw her off. She clung desperately to its horn while it thrashed about wildly and she shouted, “FUS RO DAH!

    This was both the right choice and a mistake. It was the right choice because the unrelenting force of her voice thrust the dragon’s head to the ground with enough power to snap its neck and shatter its skull killing it. But it was also a mistake because she was standing on its head and as it hit the ground it ricocheted back slamming into her, casting her body off like a pebble and knocking her unconscious.

    The dragon withered and its soul entered her motionless body. Bishop lay on his side, reeling from the pain in his arm, which had definitely snapped in several places. His leg also throbbed, though it didn’t feel broken. He crawled on the ground, dragging himself towards Rona’s lifeless body. Horror taking hold of him as he screamed out her name to no reply. He was sweating profusely and barely budged trying to move with one good arm and leg only. He rolled onto his back, trying to steady his breathing as his vision started blurring from the pain.

    Karnwyr came running over now that the coast was clear of dragons. He stopped by Rona’s body, whimpering and whining, nudging at her before responding to his master’s wails. He padded to his side licking at his face. Bishop groaned as tears of pain, worry and helplessness stung his eyes. He cried out, agonizingly to the empty sky and Karnwyr howled with him.

    “Khayla! Wait, be careful!” he heard the sound of a khajiit hissing nearby.

    He looked over to Rona and saw an armored khajiit leaning over her body, checking for a pulse. “This one’s still alive,” she said. Bishop blinked, letting the tears in his eyes spill outward as a sense of relief washed over him.

    Another khajiit appeared, standing over Bishop. He was dressed in finery and knelt down, “Are you alright? Tell me how the dragon has harmed you.”

    He grit his teeth, feeling lightheaded from the pain, “I think my arm is broken and my leg isn’t feeling too great either.”

    The khajiit stood up and looked back calling, “Atahbah! Bring me the potions, the strong ones!”

    He looked back down at Bishop, crossing his arms and said, “Do not worry stranger, Ri’saad is here to help you… for a price of course.” His shifty grin was the last thing Bishop saw before he finally gave in and passed out.

    ~~~

    Rona felt a cool cloth touching her face. As her eyes fluttered open she saw a very concerned khajiit woman leaning over her, pressing the cloth to her face, “How do you feel Dragonborn?” she whispered kindly.

    Aside from the throbbing in her head she felt okay. She made to sit up, wobbling as she did so, the khajiit woman said, “Be careful. You and your companion were injured in battle.”

    “Bishop!” Rona cried, “Where is he!?”

    She glanced around the small tent and saw him laying, unconscious, nearby, Karnwyr at his side. He was covered in perspiration and blood, his arm mangled into an unnatural shape. She crawled over to him and placed her hands on his body summoning all her powers of healing, attempting to mend his arm. His flesh moved strangely as the bones inside knit themselves back together. Bishop’s pale face winced painfully.

    That one spell took the life out of her and she fell back, dizzy.

    “Do not push yourself Dragonborn!” the woman insisted, “Wait here, I will get you some water and a potion for the pain.”

    Another khajiit, a male dressed in finery looked into the tent at her, “Ah, good morning… Lady Rona, is it?”

    “Who are you,” she mumbled.

    “My name is Ri’saad. I have heard much about you from Ahkari. We have taken the liberty of collecting your steeds and other items and bringing them here for you.”

    The khajiit woman pushed by Ri’saad and hissed at him, “Do not bother her now, she needs rest.” She handed her two bottles of potion and said, “Go on, drink up. It will help. The other is for your friend when he wakes.”

    Rona downed the bottle and felt a tingling relief all over her body, but especially in her head. The woman then passed her a tankard of cool water which she drank gratefully. She asked the woman, “Please tell me your name.”

    “I am Atahbah,” she said, smiling.

    “Thank you for your help Atahbah, please thank your friend for me as well.”

    The khajiit let her be so that she might recover her strength in peace. She watched over Bishop, pressing a wet cloth to his face as Atahbah had done for her. When she felt even a little stronger she carefully grasped his arm and whispered words of healing, mending it slightly. By the third time Bishop roused, gritting his teeth and groaning from the pain. His eyes flit up to her as he uttered, “Ladyship?”

    Her smile turned into fitful sobs as tears streamed down her cheeks. Though he said nothing in reply, too exhausted and too much pain to tell her to stop with the waterworks. She wiped at her eyes with the palm of her hands and grabbed the other bottle of potion Atahbah left for her. She tilted it to Bishop’s mouth, letting him drink slowly.

    He sighed deeply as the color returned to his face, “That feels a lot better.” But when he went to move his left arm he flinched and groaned, “And that still hurts.”

    Rona touched his arm again, caressing it gently as she used another healing spell on it.

    “Try not to move it for now,” she said, “You’ll still have to heal naturally. I’ll see if the khajiit have any medical supplies that I can use, preferably a splint and some cloth for a sling.”

    “Shame it’s my left arm,” he said.

    She looked back at him curiously, “I’ve never seen you use your dagger in your left.”

    He smirked, “No, but I do use my left to polish it.”

    She blinked, then scrunched her nose and laughed at him, “I’ll be right back.”

    She was thankful to see he still had his sense of humor and wasn’t scolding her for going after the dragon.

    The two of them spent the next three days taking time to recover. Ri’saad was kind enough to halt his travels and stay with them while Rona paid him back by helping him dismantle the dragon remains giving him a chance to take the best parts of the bones so he might sell them later. Their small caravan was overflowing with bones and Ma’Randru-jo, another male khajiit traveling with them, argued with Ri’saad every chance he got about tossing at least half the bones from their supplies simply because they wouldn’t fit and made it impossible for them to search for other items.

    Atahbah tended to Bishop’s wounds, fixing his arm to a splint and sewing together a sling from some old cloth. His leg, thankfully, hadn’t broken so Rona was able to heal it completely with her magic alone allowing him to walk around and get fresh air when he needed.

    Rona spent most of the time patching up their torn and burned clothing as well as entertaining their new friends with songs and keeping Bishop company while he healed. He never once mentioned anything about her obstinate behavior and willfulness to barrel into trouble at a moment’s notice.

    Rona, however, couldn’t stop thinking about the black dragon. She’d recognized him as the dragon from Helgen and the one from her nightmare.

    She dreamt about Jillian and learned of her past through confusing visions and fuzzy memories. It seemed that Jillian had at one time fought against the black dragon. He had brutally killed her lover and she vowed revenge against the beast and all his kin. There were so many times she would be in arms length of the man she yearned for and the dragon would consume him whole. There were too many times when that man turned into Bishop for Rona.

    It seemed that this dragon in particular was the reason that all dragons had returned to Skyrim. She knew that he was more powerful than any of them and she didn’t know how she could stop him with her skills the way they were now especially when she could barely hold her own against the lesser ones. She had to continue her training if she would ever end the scourge of dragons that plagued Skyrim.

    But with Bishop needing time to recover his broken arm, would that mean she would have to leave him behind? She tried not to think about it.

    By the third day the two of them were packed up and ready to go, giving their thanks and saying their goodbyes to Ri’saad and his companions. An hour into their ride on the road leading to Falkreath Bishop called over to her, “Hey, we need to talk, now.”

    He sounded serious so she stopped Karinda and leapt down, Bishop hopped off Whiskey with surprising grace considering the state of his arm. He lead the way off the path a bit and turned to face her looking grim.

    “What is it? Does your arm hurt?” she held her glowing hands out when he grasped one with his free hand and shook his head. He held her hand, rubbing his thumb into her palm and looked down into her eyes, his own dark amber orbs pleading with her.

    “We should go, leave Skyrim for all I care. Just you and me, away from all this insanity. We can disappear and no one would ever find us.”

    She looked at him, stunned by this proposal. It seemed that he would have left with her if she so desired it and she did. She had an overwhelming urge to run away from this place.

    He carried on, practically rambling, “We can even take on new names, leave this place far behind us and then live entirely different lives. Together… A life where you wouldn’t have to be in constant danger.”

    She knew she couldn’t leave now though. Not with the black dragon wreaking havoc across the land and her being the only one who could stop it. Her dreams and nightmares were getting worse and her visions of the other Dragonborn were becoming all too frequent. Her lips trembled as she turned her eyes downward, staring at his strong, calloused hand grasping desperately at her small delicate one.

    “I can’t,” she whispered, “I can’t leave.”

    He drew his hand back, balling it into a fist and growing angry, “Why do you do it? Is it the thrill of looking death in the face? Is that why you run around Skyrim challenging every damn dragon? Give me one good reason why.”

    She wanted to say, because I have the soul of a dragon, because I can’t stop myself from trying to dominate and destroy them, because I’m the only one that can stop them, which he seemed to glean from the look on her face and scoffed,”I need to hear a better reason than the fact that you have the soul of some overgrown lizard.That’s not a good enough reason for me to watch you put yourself in danger and for what? Because of some ancient prophecy? Did you even stop to think what all this might mean to me?”

    She never stopped thinking about how it hurt him, how every time she fought another dragon it became more of a battle between the two of them on who could protect the other more. But if she didn’t fight them, who else would? There was only one Dragonborn and the gods had chosen her. “I… I’m just trying to do what’s right.”

    “What’s right she says,” he snarled,”You know what I think is right? Throwing you over my shoulder right now and saving you before you get yourself killed! Listen, the right thing, gets you nothing princess. You’ll end up dead, broken or a beggar, trust me. At least with my way of doing what’s right, you’ll stay alive and so will I.”

    Was this his way of showing his love for her? Would he ever say these things if he didn’t feel that way about her?

    He persisted at her indecision, “I’m the least likely option to get you killed Rona. If I were you, I’d choose the obvious which is to run away with me. I can protect you, keep you alive.”

    “Bishop, I…”

    “We belong together, can’t you see that? No one else in this world will ever be good enough for either  of us,” he growled, “You’re mine and I’ll be damned if I’m about to give you up.”

    She went cold. Is that what it was? He felt as though he were about to lose a prized possession? She was just something for him to claim and own? Her heart sank and she grew heated, “Nobody owns me! I’m not some, thing, some toy you can just keep for yourself! I’m a god damn person, Bishop!”

    She turned on her toe and stalked away from him as he cried, “Ladyship! Rona wait! I didn’t mean it like that!”

    She pulled herself up on Karinda and snapped the reins, cantering off down the trail to Falkreath, leaving him behind. All this time she’d been falling in love and all he’d felt was some sort of ownership over her. How could she be so stupid?

    The swift crackle of hooves on stone echoed behind her as Bishop caught up, screaming, “Will you just listen to me please!? Do you think I’d go throwing myself at a fucking dragon if it was just possessiveness!?”

    She yanked on Karinda’s reins pulling her to a stop, Bishop doing the same with Whiskey. The roofs of the buildings in Falkreath peaked over the pines nearby. They were close to the town and she didn’t want to air her dirty laundry around them, so she turned flashing him a stern gaze, waiting for his explanation.

    He sighed, twisting his mouth before he said, “I care about you. I care… way, way more than I should ever care about another person. More than I have in a long time. I want to keep you safe, because I care.”

    He still couldn’t bring himself to say those three little words to her. Could she really expect it from him though?

    “Why did we leave Whiterun in a hurry Bishop? Tell me the truth,” she said plainly.

    Again he struggled with his words, as though searching for some other route, some other way. He glanced around nervously, making sure the coast was clear.

    “What the hell has you so scared out of your wits!?” she demanded.

    He met her eyes and grit his teeth, looking like he might actually cry, “I can’t lose you. Every single person I’ve ever cared about has died on me, Rona. Every single one.

    “Bishop I can’t help you if you won’t talk to me,” she cried.

    “It’s you who needs help!” he barked, pressing his fingers to his temple, “You have no idea. No fucking clue! There are people that want to control you!”

    She looked at him confused, “You mean Balgruuf?”

    “NO! Not even close! Not even remotely the same! These people will kill you, they’ll do… unspeakable things to you and I just… I have to protect you and I don’t know how!”

    These ambiguous words meant nothing to her. All she knew was that he was keeping something serious to himself and he couldn’t tell her for some reason.

    He growled, frustrated by her and by his own muddled words and said, “Enough talking!” He spurred Whiskey onward, leaving her behind. She hung her head back and exhaled noisily, releasing her own irritation before slowly following him into the little town.

    She saw him stop at an inn, prepared to go inside when she trot right on past. He looked over at her, scowling and shouted, “Where are you going?”

    “I’m going home.

    He snarled, “FINE! If you don’t want to take me seriously then go! Go get yourself killed! I’ve had all the near death experiences I can stomach anyhow!”

    He barreled into the inn and she pressed on heading for the farm. They needed this time apart. He clearly needed it to collect his thoughts and she couldn’t bear to fight with him anymore.

    It was a brisk ride to the farm, a half hour at most to get there. When she arrived she felt a sense of peace overtake her as she looked out over the beautiful, flourishing farmland. She was also amazed by the cottage. The entire thing looked like it had been rebuilt from scratch with several additions made to it. There was a second floor and what looked like two additional rooms added. The roof had been stripped and redone entirely and the whole building had been given a fresh coat of white paint.

    Rona stabled Karinda and wandered along a beautiful stone pathway that wove through the garden which was full of flowers and a variety of alchemical ingredients. She smiled as several butterflies landed on her, there were so many of them dancing among the flowers.

    She found Illia at the other end of the farm, by the fence, and saw that she was not alone. Illia glanced back and said, “Oh! Rona!”

    Her companion stood up, a thin man of six foot, five inches, towering over the woman beside him. His white wispy beard and long wispy hair fluttered gently in the wind. He looked on at the girl in front of him with kind golden eyes and flashed her a father’s loving smile.

    He spoke with a deep, warm voice, “Rona, velvynen!”

    Her heart ached and a sob burst from her throat as she cried, “Ata!” And ran across the garden to hug the man she’d been missing for so long.

    Rona
    Participant
    Post count: 117

    (*velvyn – daughter, *velvynen – my daughter)

    (Trigger Warning: discussion of violent rape/torture.)

    Chapter 24 

    Brigands Abound

     

    Rona held onto her father and cried into his arms like a child, rambling in Aldmeri to him.

    “(Father, I’ve missed you! So much has happened, I don’t even know where to start – The dragons! There’ve been so many dragons! And the Greybeards and Ulfric Stormcloak), ” she gasped, “(and Bishop! Augh! He makes me so angry! But I’m so glad you’re here… wait),” she stepped back a moment, “(when did you get here?)”

    He looked down at her with mild amusement, caressing her hair from her face, “(Please slow down, daughter. Let’s sit inside and discuss things at length. I too have much to tell you.)”

    Illia smirked at them and returned to tending her garden, leaving them be to catch up. As soon as Rona entered into the cottage she looked all around, astonished at the transformation. Everything was mended and so clean! The great room which once held her mother’s bed was now fitted with comfortable living furnishings. There was a crackling fireplace against the back wall, the kitchen was a bit larger and a bigger dining table, with enough seating for six, had been placed in the enlarged nook with shining windows overlooking the garden.

    “It’s so different,” she gaped at it all with awe.

    “I hope it is a good different,” Serlas smiled, “When I arrived I met Illia who’d done a fine job of adding onto the home and repairing it. I offered to help furnish it.”

    She beamed at him, “(It’s beautiful father. It feels like a real home now.)”

    “(Shall I give you the tour?)”

    “(Yes!)”

    He showed her the ground floor rooms, the one nearest the kitchen, facing the road was Illia’s room, a quaint space she’d filled with flowers and plenty of alchemist’s ingredients. On the other side near the entryway and connected to the porch was the main guest room which Serlas said Rona could make her own. It was the same size as Illia’s room, but simpler and unused with a medium sized bed and two dressers on opposite walls and another door leading out to the porch. It was very cozy.

    He then led her upstairs to his own room which was nearly as large as the great room below and resembled his living quarters in the Mage’s Guild. He had a very long bed to fit his height pushed against the back corner, an enchanting laboratory and walls and walls of books. There were two desks on opposite sides of the walls, one of them facing some windows overlooking the lake beyond, the other against a solid stone wall, facing the mountainside and surrounded by shelves full of old scrolls and tattered books. In the middle was a quaint sitting area with three cushioned chairs and a few tables with books piled up on the tables and sitting in stacks next to the chairs. He’d gone and moved right in it seemed.

    She laughed at him, “Ata, if I didn’t know any better I’d say you were living here now.”

    He chuckled, “Well I have been for the last two months, ah! But before I go on I must show you my pet project.”

    They went back downstairs and he showed her to a door leading to the back of the cottage, which she thought was odd considering the cottage was built against the mountainside so everything beyond was all rock. When he opened the door Rona was floored.

    Inside was an expansive space, built directly into the stone. The walls had been carved out into trenches to allow a natural spring to run through while aquatic plants flourished along the planters. There was a desk space next to an alchemy lab with shelves upon shelves of potions, brews and elixirs. He’d even built a small library into the room, the walls lined with bookcases ten feet high, a ladder leaned against them.

    “Ata, this is amazing. How did you do all this?”

    “Magic of course,” he said proudly.

    She shook her head smiling at him and he put a hand on her back and suggested, “Come, let us speak in the living quarters. I’ll make you some jazbay tea.”

    Rona found a comfortable spot on the plump cushioned couch and noticed a soft blanket laying on the arm. She ran her fingers across it and pulled it around herself, enjoying the homey comforts. After a few minutes Serlas came over from the kitchen serving the tea on a platter which he set gently down on the wooden coffee table.

    He poured her a cup, putting two lumps of sugar in and passed it to her, then took his without sugar and leaned back with elvish sophistication and said, “(Alright, tell me everything.)”

    Rona sipped at her piping hot cup savoring the nostalgia of feeling so at home with him before she took a deep breath and began her long diatribe into her adventures through Skyrim. She carried on between Aldmeri and Cyrodiilic. She told him the dreadful happenings at Helgen, went over the story of how she met Bishop, blushing slightly as she did so and moved on to her discovering that she was Dragonborn. She felt like she’d talked for ages, though she was speaking so quickly that it couldn’t have been more than an hour. She filled him in on her training with the Greybeards, her meeting with a strange dragon, then how she left and began her journey anew through Eastmarch. She told him what an awful, horrible, rude man Ulfric Stormcloak was and made sure to gloss over all the more private things in her life between her and Bishop.

    All the while Serlas listened closely, asking a question here or there, but mostly letting her vent. Then she got to the difficult topics of discussion. She was staring silently into her cup of tea, her father patiently waiting for her to continue when she finally looked up at him and said, “(Did you know that Mother had another child?)”

    He blinked and real surprise drew over his face, “(I had no idea.)”

    She breathed, relieved that she wasn’t the only one kept out of that secret, “(He’s a little boy named Nelkir. He’s about nine years old and going through…well, the same phase I did at that age,)” they both gave a light laugh, “(His father is Jarl Balgruuf.)”

    He nod his head, “(Ah yes, I remember him. We’d met a few times before when you were still small. I didn’t know Claudia was involved with him.)”

    “I met Kodlak and the Companions too,” she added quickly.

    “I’m glad. Kodlak is a good man. They’re all good people, a rowdy bunch indeed, but so it is with warriors as I’m sure you know,” he sipped at his tea and asked, “Did Kodlak give you the answers you’ve been seeking?”

    She fidgeted in her seat and said, “Yes. He gave me every sordid detail about how Mother treated me as an infant… Why didn’t you ever tell me Ata?”

    He pressed his lips together exhaling, “I didn’t want you to think less of her for it. Claudia suffered from some kind of mental condition, I’m sure of it. She could be quite manic at times and at others, very angry and sad. I didn’t know how to help her. I will admit I often wondered if Sheogorath influenced her behavior. Please know dear, she loved you. Every time she left you it was to keep you safe – from herself.”

    Rona looked away. She’d never known. So her mother was mentally ill? It explained so much, but was still difficult to swallow. They paused for a moment, drinking their tea, mulling over their thoughts before Serlas said, “Perhaps you could demonstrate your newfound powers for me. I’d love to see just what it is that the Dragonborn can do.”

    She beamed at him and led the way outside.

    ~~~

    – One hour ago –

    “I’m going home,” Rona said curtly as she pressed on down the path turning away from him.

    Bishop snarled back at her, “FINE! If you don’t want to take me seriously then go! Go get yourself killed! I’ve had all the near death experiences I can stomach anyhow!”

    He barreled into the Dead Man’s Drink, the irony of it not totally lost on him and strode up to the bar. Valga, the inn keeper caught sight of him and smiled, “Well if it isn’t my favorite ranger!”

    He pulled up a seat and she took a better look at him, “Gods Bishop, you look awful! What happened to you?”

    “Don’t want to talk about it Valga. Get me a Black Briar’s though, I need something stronger than my usual,” he said frowning at the countertop.

    “Coming right up,” she served him his mead and he fished around for a couple of ten pieces and when he handed them to her she grabbed his arm, leaning over the counter and whispered, “Thorn’s men have been checking in every day and asking about you. His rat’s about to slip out the door –“

    Bishop spun back and saw a scrawny little nord staring at him, suddenly wide eyed. The kid, no older than sixteen, had ratty brown hair and a prominent overbite and wore a beat up old shirt too big for him and some dirty trousers. He yelped as Bishop set his furious gaze on him and scurried through the door making a run for it. Bishop bound after him outside, whistling for Karnwyr who was nearby and yelled, “Sick em’!”

    Karnwyr’s hair bristled and he growled fiercely chasing their prey down an alley and through the graveyard. Bishop lost track of the both of them for a moment before he heard the kid yowling, “AAAHHH! GET OFF! GET ‘IM OFF ME!”

    He came around the back of the Hall of the Dead where he saw Karnwyr digging his teeth into the kid’s leg. He was scrambling to get away and kicked the wolf right in the face with his other foot. Karnwyr yelped and released him. As the boy got up to run Bishop lunged, throwing his good arm to his neck and forcefully throwing him up against a wall.

    And where do you think you’re going, rat?” he snarled.

    The kid winced and choked out, “N-n-nowhere!”

    “No, I think you were going off to tell Thorn old Bish is back in town. You the new recruit, kid? Trying to rise in the ranks by being a nasty little sneak-thief?”

    He was pressing the kid’s throat a bit too hard and let up a little so he could talk. The kid gasped for air and started fast-talking, voice squeaking like a boy becoming a man, “W-w-wasn’t doin’ nuffin’ but minding my own business mister! I dun’ know nuffin’ ‘bout no thorns or bish’s, I swear! Please let me go!”

    The kid gave him a painful look of terror, which to his credit was pretty genuine looking and would have fooled anyone without a trained eye. Bishop however saw right through his ruse and pressed on his throat again, harder this time, “You’ve got some guts peddling that fast-talking country-bumpkin shit to me. Don’t know if they ever bothered to mention to you just who I am, but I can assure you that lying through your teeth right to my face will get you a dagger in the gut faster than you think you can run. So start talking, rat.”

    The kid choked under his arm, sputtering and turning blue, Bishop let up again and this time he talked, coughing for air first, “Okay – okay! Thorn told me to keep watch ‘round town for some old ranger and his mangy mutt, didn’t know you were nobody special!”

    “What does he want?” Bishop snarled into his face.

    “I don’t know! Just thought you owed him sum gold or somefin’, he never said, just paid me real good too keep an eye out… guy’s gotta eat right?”

    “Halt!” a guard stood by, his sword drawn. The kid started squealing, “Help! Guards! Do somefin’! He’s a maniac!”

    Bishop knew it was time to go but had a few last words to part with so he buried his arm into the kid’s neck again to choking him into silence and growled, “Tell Thorn that if I ever see his twisted fucking face anywhere near me or my woman that I’ll slit his throat. Same goes for you and all those other pieces of trash, rat.”

    He released the kid as the guard started approaching and booked it back to the inn to the sounds of, “Halt! In the name of the Jarl, you’re under arrest!”

    Bishop pulled himself up onto his horse with his good arm. He whistled and Karnwyr came running by as they sped off down the path leading to the farm, easily evading the few guards attempting to stop him.

    He was very near the farm, with Karnwyr sprinting far ahead when the wolf stopped suddenly, barking and growling madly. As Bishop came over the slope in the road he saw six bandits standing by, blocking the way, weapons drawn, so he turned Whiskey sharply to his left and into the brush, calling for Karnwyr to follow. As they ran through the trees he realized all too quickly that there were ten other bandits on either side in the trees so he leapt off his horse, abandoning the old boy and rolled on the ground, protecting his broken arm.

    He drew his dagger, hating every second that he was injured and without his bow. He ran over the sloping hills, Karnwyr at his side and stopped suddenly in the middle of a clearing. There were twenty, maybe thirty bandits all around them. They closed in, encircling them, but keeping their distance. Their weapons and arrows glinting in the light of the day.

    Karnwyr growled baring his sharp canines and foaming at the mouth. Bishop held his dagger at the ready. He would not die without a fight. Then he heard a man laughing to his right and turned. Thorn was leaning against a tree his arms crossed, mocking him with his dry laughter. Bishop’s heart was pounding, he could feel his pulse in his head and through his broken arm, making it ache.

    Thorn approached him, drawing a sword and spinning it in the air, playfully, holding his free hand outward in a welcoming gesture. He hung back and smirked at Bishop who put all his hatred for this man into his scowl.

    “Well, well. Look who decided to finally show his face, boys. Been a long time Bishop.”

    “Not long enough,” he growled back.

    “Tsk, tsk, tsk… is that how you greet an old friend? Oh? What’s this? Been injured?” He laughed, “You are just having the worst time of it aren’t you?”

    Bishop said nothing, only glaring and trying to assess his situation which was not looking good. Why did he have to let Rona go alone? Why didn’t he just follow her? Petty arguments be damned!

    “I saw that sweet, little mouse come by, all alone,” he paced slowly back and forth, like a sabre cat stalking its prey, “Mmm… she is quite the sight. I thought about taking her. You see I haven’t been able to get my mind off of her ever since we met outside Helgen. I’d say it was love at first sight, the way she looked at me with those sparkling emerald gems,” he gave a perverse and sexual groan, “Oh yes! How I want to carve those beautiful eyes out, plucking each one from that delicate face of hers.”

    Bishop snarled, “Don’t you ever fucking touch her.

    Thorn shrugged, still pacing when he said, “Well, I can’t now – all because good old Bish here has been going places! Just rising straight to the top of the food chain aren’t you? An ugly piss-skin came to me some time ago, I wanted to make her scream but, alas, she came heavily armed and bearing gifts… and she wanted to know all about you! So I told her every single endearing story I could recall.”

    “Told her what? That my brother and I tortured and raped all those women with you? You sick fuck, I’d never do to a woman what you’ve done,” Bishop spat.

    “Yes, well as much as I wanted to, regrettably, I couldn’t lie to the lady. Her and her cronies made sure of that with their magic. Still she paid me quite a hefty fee to swear that I keep my hands off you and the girl,” he groaned again, “And as much as I wanted to decline, as much as I professed my love for that sweet mouse, I was persuaded to take the deal,” He stopped pacing and turned to face Bishop, raising his shoulders and stretching his neck, “Fortunately there is a clause to our deal. See, now if you decide to go and break that clause, which I know you will sooner or later, then me and my boys will be free to go off and collect my darling dearest and impose upon her every blood curdling thing I’ve dreamed of.”

    Bishop clenched his teeth and gripped his dagger tighter as Thorn approached him spinning his sword in hand.

    He was an arm’s length away when the most vile and inhuman words crawled off his tongue, “Oh how I’m looking forward to spearing her insides with my blade. To entwine my fingers in her entrails as she writhes in beautiful agony beneath me. First thing I’ll do is bite off that tongue of hers so she can’t use that pretty little voice against me. Then I’ll slowly peel the flesh from her lovely body and enjoy the sound of the enchanting love song she’ll sing for me – ”

    Bishop could feel the hairs on his whole body raise with the violent desire to slit Thorn’s throat and be done with it already. He’d die after the fact, definitely, with thirty arrows and swords at his back, but at least she’d be safe from this deranged freak. Karnwyr raised hackle, sensing Bishop’s ire and growled viciously. Thorn stopped talking and looked down at the wolf, “You know, I’m pretty sure that rabid dog of yours wasn’t part of the deal. I think I’ll get my vengeance for the chunk he took outta my leg all those years ago!”

    Thorn raised his sword and prepared to bring it down on Karnwyr when the sound of the loveliest voice in Tamriel carried over to them. Rona was singing, off in the distance at her mother’s farm. Everyone in the field turned back to look beyond the trees at the sound of her song.

    (The Song is Overcome by Within Temptation)

    “Where are the heroes
    In my time of need?
    Is my cry not loud enough
    Or have they gone all numb?
    They just tend to stand

    Out of the rain
    Thinking but not acting
    That they’re not to blame
    Falling and crawling

    A fight to stand up
    Memory still haunts me
    In the dead of night
    Over and over, I felt so small

    But one day I’ll be stronger
    And you better watch out
    I will overcome, your violence their silence
    Although it can’t be undone

    I will overcome, knowing that I’m not the only one
    I will overcome, it’s the only way to carry on
    Where are the saviors?
    Afraid of the toll

    Sorry, do my nine inch nails
    Slash your soul
    Such heroes
    Throwing stones

    Straight at the one
    Who is standing alone
    Twisting and turning
    It’s always the same

    Truth is never honest
    When you’re to blame
    Pushing and pulling
    Never give in, one day I wish

    You’ll see you’re not so beautiful within
    I will overcome, our violence your silence
    Although it can’t be undone
    I will overcome, knowing that I’m not the only one

    I will overcome, it’s the only way to carry on
    Run and run
    Run and run
    I will overcome, their violence your silence

    Although it can’t be undone
    I will overcome, knowing that I’m not the only one
    I will overcome, it’s the only way to carry on
    I will overcome.”

    Thorn groaned deeply again with sickening sexual overtones and breathed heavily, “Mmm, how I want to hear her beautiful voice scream!” He looked back at Bishop, throwing a hand behind him, gesturing towards the direction of the song, “You’re fucking that divine goddess? You damn lucky bastard. Oh how I’m going to enjoy watching you squirm when I finally tear those clothes off her tempting body and have my way with her, hell when all my boys have their way with her.”

    Thorn took two steps, walking to Bishop’s left side. He stopped beside him and said, “You get to live this time. But remember Bishop, the second that coin stops flowing in is the second that I tear that little mouse kicking and screaming from you.” He continued walking and called back, “Or maybe I’ll get bored of waiting and break the deal myself. You never know.” He laughed loudly as he and his brigands withdrew into the forest.

    Bishop’s hairs were still on end, his whole body trembling with fear and anger. When the coast was clear of bandits he kicked off the ground and ran through the trees towards the farm.

    ~~~

    Rona had chosen a song of power that spoke volumes of her feelings. She felt so alone without Bishop by her side and knew she’d have to overcome even these emotions in order to grow stronger. Perhaps the end of their journey together was drawing near. She’d have to hold strong and carry on without him, somehow.

    Serlas and Illia stood by and watched in awe as her voice carried through the skies, summoning visions of the Dragonborn of old. And when she finished her father clapped, beaming at her and said, “That was unbelievable! I’ve always admired your voice, velvynen, but that was,” he breathed, “There are no words. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

    His words warmed her heart in the way only a father’s could. She made to reply when Bishop and Karnwyr both appeared from the brush, pushing their way through the enormous sunflower stalks growing on the edge of the fence. Bishop looked awful, like he’d been rolling around in the dirt. He lost himself the second he saw Serlas standing there, snarling as he ran over to Rona, standing in front of her protectively and pointing his dagger at the elf.

    “YOU WANT A PIECE OF HER YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE TO GET THROUGH ME!”

    Serlas raised his brows at him, “Ah, you must be Bishop.”

    He took a step forward and Bishop barked again, “GET BACK!”

    Serlas approached again and Bishop cut through the air, a warning while Karnwyr growled at him reacting to his master’s aggressiveness. The high elf held a hand out and cast a green colored spell over them both. Karnwyr settled down immediately, whimpering slightly and looking around almost confused as his tongue lolled from his mouth. Bishop’s legs gave out and he collapsed to the ground and dropped his knife. He looked up at the man and grumbled groggily, “What… what did you do to me?”

    Serlas looked down at him kindly and said, “I apologize. That was a pacify spell to calm you. I don’t normally use magic on other’s without their permission, however, you left me no choice but to defend myself. No worries though!” he clapped his hands together, “It will pass very soon.”

    Rona came around glaring dragon’s fire at him. Her fists were on her hips and she was seething, “What is wrong with you!?”

    “I…”

    She yelled snappishly, “Well! I was hoping I could introduce you two under normal circumstances, but since you’ve been acting like such a paranoid lunatic – Ata meet Bishop! Bishop, this is my ata… my father.

    Serlas came up beside her and put a hand to her shoulder, “It is alright velvynen.” He knelt down and reached a friendly hand out for Bishop to take, “I am Serlas, pleased to make your acquaintance Bishop,” he kept his tone light and forthcoming, as though nothing unusual had just happened.

    But Bishop just scowled and pushed himself up with his good arm instead, ignoring the friendly gesture. He cast his eyes away, clearly feeling as stupid as he’d just behaved.

    Serlas wasn’t even angry, in fact he sounded concerned, “You seem terribly on edge, Bishop. Is everything all right?”

    “S’fine,” he mumbled.

    Rona looked over at her father and said swiftly in Aldmeri, “(He’s been acting like this for a while now, I don’t know what’s wrong with him, he won’t tell me anything!)”

    Serlas smiled gently at her, “Now, now, Rona dear. You know it’s rude to speak in Aldmeri among those who cannot understand, especially if it’s about them.”

    She rolled her eyes and crossed her arms and glared at Bishop. “Well if he’d just tell me what’s wrong already then we could help him!”

    Serlas said, “Come, let us go inside. Perhaps the comforts of the cottage will settle our restlessness. If you would join us Bishop, I have many things to share, those of which may pertain to you as well.”

    Rona
    Participant
    Post count: 117

    I swear it keeps deleting my chapters when I edit. Sorry if double post!

    (*velvyn – daughter, *velvynen – my daughter)

    (Trigger Warning: discussion of violent rape/torture.)

    Chapter 24 

    Brigands Abound

     

    Rona held onto her father and cried into his arms like a child, rambling in Aldmeri to him.

    “(Father, I’ve missed you! So much has happened, I don’t even know where to start – The dragons! There’ve been so many dragons! And the Greybeards and Ulfric Stormcloak), ” she gasped, “(and Bishop! Augh! He makes me so angry! But I’m so glad you’re here… wait),” she stepped back a moment, “(when did you get here?)”

    He looked down at her with mild amusement, caressing her hair from her face, “(Please slow down, daughter. Let’s sit inside and discuss things at length. I too have much to tell you.)”

    Illia smirked at them and returned to tending her garden, leaving them be to catch up. As soon as Rona entered into the cottage she looked all around, astonished at the transformation. Everything was mended and so clean! The great room which once held her mother’s bed was now fitted with comfortable living furnishings. There was a crackling fireplace against the back wall, the kitchen was a bit larger and a bigger dining table, with enough seating for six, had been placed in the enlarged nook with shining windows overlooking the garden.

    “It’s so different,” she gaped at it all with awe.

    “I hope it is a good different,” Serlas smiled, “When I arrived I met Illia who’d done a fine job of adding onto the home and repairing it. I offered to help furnish it.”

    She beamed at him, “(It’s beautiful father. It feels like a real home now.)”

    “(Shall I give you the tour?)”

    “(Yes!)”

    He showed her the ground floor rooms, the one nearest the kitchen, facing the road was Illia’s room, a quaint space she’d filled with flowers and plenty of alchemist’s ingredients. On the other side near the entryway and connected to the porch was the main guest room which Serlas said Rona could make her own. It was the same size as Illia’s room, but simpler and unused with a medium sized bed and two dressers on opposite walls and another door leading out to the porch. It was very cozy.

    He then led her upstairs to his own room which was nearly as large as the great room below and resembled his living quarters in the Mage’s Guild. He had a very long bed to fit his height pushed against the back corner, an enchanting laboratory and walls and walls of books. There were two desks on opposite sides of the walls, one of them facing some windows overlooking the lake beyond, the other against a solid stone wall, facing the mountainside and surrounded by shelves full of old scrolls and tattered books. In the middle was a quaint sitting area with three cushioned chairs and a few tables with books piled up on the tables and sitting in stacks next to the chairs. He’d gone and moved right in it seemed.

    She laughed at him, “Ata, if I didn’t know any better I’d say you were living here now.”

    He chuckled, “Well I have been for the last two months, ah! But before I go on I must show you my pet project.”

    They went back downstairs and he showed her to a door leading to the back of the cottage, which she thought was odd considering the cottage was built against the mountainside so everything beyond was all rock. When he opened the door Rona was floored.

    Inside was an expansive space, built directly into the stone. The walls had been carved out into trenches to allow a natural spring to run through while aquatic plants flourished along the planters. There was a desk space next to an alchemy lab with shelves upon shelves of potions, brews and elixirs. He’d even built a small library into the room, the walls lined with bookcases ten feet high, a ladder leaned against them.

    “Ata, this is amazing. How did you do all this?”

    “Magic of course,” he said proudly.

    She shook her head smiling at him and he put a hand on her back and suggested, “Come, let us speak in the living quarters. I’ll make you some jazbay tea.”

    Rona found a comfortable spot on the plump cushioned couch and noticed a soft blanket laying on the arm. She ran her fingers across it and pulled it around herself, enjoying the homey comforts. After a few minutes Serlas came over from the kitchen serving the tea on a platter which he set gently down on the wooden coffee table.

    He poured her a cup, putting two lumps of sugar in and passed it to her, then took his without sugar and leaned back with elvish sophistication and said, “(Alright, tell me everything.)”

    Rona sipped at her piping hot cup savoring the nostalgia of feeling so at home with him before she took a deep breath and began her long diatribe into her adventures through Skyrim. She carried on between Aldmeri and Cyrodiilic. She told him the dreadful happenings at Helgen, went over the story of how she met Bishop, blushing slightly as she did so and moved on to her discovering that she was Dragonborn. She felt like she’d talked for ages, though she was speaking so quickly that it couldn’t have been more than an hour. She filled him in on her training with the Greybeards, her meeting with a strange dragon, then how she left and began her journey anew through Eastmarch. She told him what an awful, horrible, rude man Ulfric Stormcloak was and made sure to gloss over all the more private things in her life between her and Bishop.

    All the while Serlas listened closely, asking a question here or there, but mostly letting her vent. Then she got to the difficult topics of discussion. She was staring silently into her cup of tea, her father patiently waiting for her to continue when she finally looked up at him and said, “(Did you know that Mother had another child?)”

    He blinked and real surprise drew over his face, “(I had no idea.)”

    She breathed, relieved that she wasn’t the only one kept out of that secret, “(He’s a little boy named Nelkir. He’s about nine years old and going through…well, the same phase I did at that age,)” they both gave a light laugh, “(His father is Jarl Balgruuf.)”

    He nod his head, “(Ah yes, I remember him. We’d met a few times before when you were still small. I didn’t know Claudia was involved with him.)”

    “I met Kodlak and the Companions too,” she added quickly.

    “I’m glad. Kodlak is a good man. They’re all good people, a rowdy bunch indeed, but so it is with warriors as I’m sure you know,” he sipped at his tea and asked, “Did Kodlak give you the answers you’ve been seeking?”

    She fidgeted in her seat and said, “Yes. He gave me every sordid detail about how Mother treated me as an infant… Why didn’t you ever tell me Ata?”

    He pressed his lips together exhaling, “I didn’t want you to think less of her for it. Claudia suffered from some kind of mental condition, I’m sure of it. She could be quite manic at times and at others, very angry and sad. I didn’t know how to help her. I will admit I often wondered if Sheogorath influenced her behavior. Please know dear, she loved you. Every time she left you it was to keep you safe – from herself.”

    Rona looked away. She’d never known. So her mother was mentally ill? It explained so much, but was still difficult to swallow. They paused for a moment, drinking their tea, mulling over their thoughts before Serlas said, “Perhaps you could demonstrate your newfound powers for me. I’d love to see just what it is that the Dragonborn can do.”

    She beamed at him and led the way outside.

    ~~~

    – One hour ago –

    “I’m going home,” Rona said curtly as she pressed on down the path turning away from him.

    Bishop snarled back at her, “FINE! If you don’t want to take me seriously then go! Go get yourself killed! I’ve had all the near death experiences I can stomach anyhow!”

    He barreled into the Dead Man’s Drink, the irony of it not totally lost on him and strode up to the bar. Valga, the inn keeper caught sight of him and smiled, “Well if it isn’t my favorite ranger!”

    He pulled up a seat and she took a better look at him, “Gods Bishop, you look awful! What happened to you?”

    “Don’t want to talk about it Valga. Get me a Black Briar’s though, I need something stronger than my usual,” he said frowning at the countertop.

    “Coming right up,” she served him his mead and he fished around for a couple of ten pieces and when he handed them to her she grabbed his arm, leaning over the counter and whispered, “Thorn’s men have been checking in every day and asking about you. His rat’s about to slip out the door –“

    Bishop spun back and saw a scrawny little nord staring at him, suddenly wide eyed. The kid, no older than sixteen, had ratty brown hair and a prominent overbite and wore a beat up old shirt too big for him and some dirty trousers. He yelped as Bishop set his furious gaze on him and scurried through the door making a run for it. Bishop bound after him outside, whistling for Karnwyr who was nearby and yelled, “Sick em’!”

    Karnwyr’s hair bristled and he growled fiercely chasing their prey down an alley and through the graveyard. Bishop lost track of the both of them for a moment before he heard the kid yowling, “AAAHHH! GET OFF! GET ‘IM OFF ME!”

    He came around the back of the Hall of the Dead where he saw Karnwyr digging his teeth into the kid’s leg. He was scrambling to get away and kicked the wolf right in the face with his other foot. Karnwyr yelped and released him. As the boy got up to run Bishop lunged, throwing his good arm to his neck and forcefully throwing him up against a wall.

    And where do you think you’re going, rat?” he snarled.

    The kid winced and choked out, “N-n-nowhere!”

    “No, I think you were going off to tell Thorn old Bish is back in town. You the new recruit, kid? Trying to rise in the ranks by being a nasty little sneak-thief?”

    He was pressing the kid’s throat a bit too hard and let up a little so he could talk. The kid gasped for air and started fast-talking, voice squeaking like a boy becoming a man, “W-w-wasn’t doin’ nuffin’ but minding my own business mister! I dun’ know nuffin’ ‘bout no thorns or bish’s, I swear! Please let me go!”

    The kid gave him a painful look of terror, which to his credit was pretty genuine looking and would have fooled anyone without a trained eye. Bishop however saw right through his ruse and pressed on his throat again, harder this time, “You’ve got some guts peddling that fast-talking country-bumpkin shit to me. Don’t know if they ever bothered to mention to you just who I am, but I can assure you that lying through your teeth right to my face will get you a dagger in the gut faster than you think you can run. So start talking, rat.”

    The kid choked under his arm, sputtering and turning blue, Bishop let up again and this time he talked, coughing for air first, “Okay – okay! Thorn told me to keep watch ‘round town for some old ranger and his mangy mutt, didn’t know you were nobody special!”

    “What does he want?” Bishop snarled into his face.

    “I don’t know! Just thought you owed him sum gold or somefin’, he never said, just paid me real good too keep an eye out… guy’s gotta eat right?”

    “Halt!” a guard stood by, his sword drawn. The kid started squealing, “Help! Guards! Do somefin’! He’s a maniac!”

    Bishop knew it was time to go but had a few last words to part with so he buried his arm into the kid’s neck again to choking him into silence and growled, “Tell Thorn that if I ever see his twisted fucking face anywhere near me or my woman that I’ll slit his throat. Same goes for you and all those other pieces of trash, rat.”

    He released the kid as the guard started approaching and booked it back to the inn to the sounds of, “Halt! In the name of the Jarl, you’re under arrest!”

    Bishop pulled himself up onto his horse with his good arm. He whistled and Karnwyr came running by as they sped off down the path leading to the farm, easily evading the few guards attempting to stop him.

    He was very near the farm, with Karnwyr sprinting far ahead when the wolf stopped suddenly, barking and growling madly. As Bishop came over the slope in the road he saw six bandits standing by, blocking the way, weapons drawn, so he turned Whiskey sharply to his left and into the brush, calling for Karnwyr to follow. As they ran through the trees he realized all too quickly that there were ten other bandits on either side in the trees so he leapt off his horse, abandoning the old boy and rolled on the ground, protecting his broken arm.

    He drew his dagger, hating every second that he was injured and without his bow. He ran over the sloping hills, Karnwyr at his side and stopped suddenly in the middle of a clearing. There were twenty, maybe thirty bandits all around them. They closed in, encircling them, but keeping their distance. Their weapons and arrows glinting in the light of the day.

    Karnwyr growled baring his sharp canines and foaming at the mouth. Bishop held his dagger at the ready. He would not die without a fight. Then he heard a man laughing to his right and turned. Thorn was leaning against a tree his arms crossed, mocking him with his dry laughter. Bishop’s heart was pounding, he could feel his pulse in his head and through his broken arm, making it ache.

    Thorn approached him, drawing a sword and spinning it in the air, playfully, holding his free hand outward in a welcoming gesture. He hung back and smirked at Bishop who put all his hatred for this man into his scowl.

    “Well, well. Look who decided to finally show his face, boys. Been a long time Bishop.”

    “Not long enough,” he growled back.

    “Tsk, tsk, tsk… is that how you greet an old friend? Oh? What’s this? Been injured?” He laughed, “You are just having the worst time of it aren’t you?”

    Bishop said nothing, only glaring and trying to assess his situation which was not looking good. Why did he have to let Rona go alone? Why didn’t he just follow her? Petty arguments be damned!

    “I saw that sweet, little mouse come by, all alone,” he paced slowly back and forth, like a sabre cat stalking its prey, “Mmm… she is quite the sight. I thought about taking her. You see I haven’t been able to get my mind off of her ever since we met outside Helgen. I’d say it was love at first sight, the way she looked at me with those sparkling emerald gems,” he gave a perverse and sexual groan, “Oh yes! How I want to carve those beautiful eyes out, plucking each one from that delicate face of hers.”

    Bishop snarled, “Don’t you ever fucking touch her.

    Thorn shrugged, still pacing when he said, “Well, I can’t now – all because good old Bish here has been going places! Just rising straight to the top of the food chain aren’t you? An ugly piss-skin came to me some time ago, I wanted to make her scream but, alas, she came heavily armed and bearing gifts… and she wanted to know all about you! So I told her every single endearing story I could recall.”

    “Told her what? That my brother and I tortured and raped all those women with you? You sick fuck, I’d never do to a woman what you’ve done,” Bishop spat.

    “Yes, well as much as I wanted to, regrettably, I couldn’t lie to the lady. Her and her cronies made sure of that with their magic. Still she paid me quite a hefty fee to swear that I keep my hands off you and the girl,” he groaned again, “And as much as I wanted to decline, as much as I professed my love for that sweet mouse, I was persuaded to take the deal,” He stopped pacing and turned to face Bishop, raising his shoulders and stretching his neck, “Fortunately there is a clause to our deal. See, now if you decide to go and break that clause, which I know you will sooner or later, then me and my boys will be free to go off and collect my darling dearest and impose upon her every blood curdling thing I’ve dreamed of.”

    Bishop clenched his teeth and gripped his dagger tighter as Thorn approached him spinning his sword in hand.

    He was an arm’s length away when the most vile and inhuman words crawled off his tongue, “Oh how I’m looking forward to spearing her insides with my blade. To entwine my fingers in her entrails as she writhes in beautiful agony beneath me. First thing I’ll do is bite off that tongue of hers so she can’t use that pretty little voice against me. Then I’ll slowly peel the flesh from her lovely body and enjoy the sound of the enchanting love song she’ll sing for me – ”

    Bishop could feel the hairs on his whole body raise with the violent desire to slit Thorn’s throat and be done with it already. He’d die after the fact, definitely, with thirty arrows and swords at his back, but at least she’d be safe from this deranged freak. Karnwyr raised hackle, sensing Bishop’s ire and growled viciously. Thorn stopped talking and looked down at the wolf, “You know, I’m pretty sure that rabid dog of yours wasn’t part of the deal. I think I’ll get my vengeance for the chunk he took outta my leg all those years ago!”

    Thorn raised his sword and prepared to bring it down on Karnwyr when the sound of the loveliest voice in Tamriel carried over to them. Rona was singing, off in the distance at her mother’s farm. Everyone in the field turned back to look beyond the trees at the sound of her song.

    (The Song is Overcome by Within Temptation)

    “Where are the heroes
    In my time of need?
    Is my cry not loud enough
    Or have they gone all numb?
    They just tend to stand

    Out of the rain
    Thinking but not acting
    That they’re not to blame
    Falling and crawling

    A fight to stand up
    Memory still haunts me
    In the dead of night
    Over and over, I felt so small

    But one day I’ll be stronger
    And you better watch out
    I will overcome, your violence their silence
    Although it can’t be undone

    I will overcome, knowing that I’m not the only one
    I will overcome, it’s the only way to carry on
    Where are the saviors?
    Afraid of the toll

    Sorry, do my nine inch nails
    Slash your soul
    Such heroes
    Throwing stones

    Straight at the one
    Who is standing alone
    Twisting and turning
    It’s always the same

    Truth is never honest
    When you’re to blame
    Pushing and pulling
    Never give in, one day I wish

    You’ll see you’re not so beautiful within
    I will overcome, our violence your silence
    Although it can’t be undone
    I will overcome, knowing that I’m not the only one

    I will overcome, it’s the only way to carry on
    Run and run
    Run and run
    I will overcome, their violence your silence

    Although it can’t be undone
    I will overcome, knowing that I’m not the only one
    I will overcome, it’s the only way to carry on
    I will overcome.”

    Thorn groaned deeply again with sickening sexual overtones and breathed heavily, “Mmm, how I want to hear her beautiful voice scream!” He looked back at Bishop, throwing a hand behind him, gesturing towards the direction of the song, “You’re fucking that divine goddess? You damn lucky bastard. Oh how I’m going to enjoy watching you squirm when I finally tear those clothes off her tempting body and have my way with her, hell when all my boys have their way with her.”

    Thorn took two steps, walking to Bishop’s left side. He stopped beside him and said, “You get to live this time. But remember Bishop, the second that coin stops flowing in is the second that I tear that little mouse kicking and screaming from you.” He continued walking and called back, “Or maybe I’ll get bored of waiting and break the deal myself. You never know.” He laughed loudly as he and his brigands withdrew into the forest.

    Bishop’s hairs were still on end, his whole body trembling with fear and anger. When the coast was clear of bandits he kicked off the ground and ran through the trees towards the farm.

    ~~~

    Rona had chosen a song of power that spoke volumes of her feelings. She felt so alone without Bishop by her side and knew she’d have to overcome even these emotions in order to grow stronger. Perhaps the end of their journey together was drawing near. She’d have to hold strong and carry on without him, somehow.

    Serlas and Illia stood by and watched in awe as her voice carried through the skies, summoning visions of the Dragonborn of old. And when she finished her father clapped, beaming at her and said, “That was unbelievable! I’ve always admired your voice, velvynen, but that was,” he breathed, “There are no words. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

    His words warmed her heart in the way only a father’s could. She made to reply when Bishop and Karnwyr both appeared from the brush, pushing their way through the enormous sunflower stalks growing on the edge of the fence. Bishop looked awful, like he’d been rolling around in the dirt. He lost himself the second he saw Serlas standing there, snarling as he ran over to Rona, standing in front of her protectively and pointing his dagger at the elf.

    “YOU WANT A PIECE OF HER YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE TO GET THROUGH ME!”

    Serlas raised his brows at him, “Ah, you must be Bishop.”

    He took a step forward and Bishop barked again, “GET BACK!”

    Serlas approached again and Bishop cut through the air, a warning while Karnwyr growled at him reacting to his master’s aggressiveness. The high elf held a hand out and cast a green colored spell over them both. Karnwyr settled down immediately, whimpering slightly and looking around almost confused as his tongue lolled from his mouth. Bishop’s legs gave out and he collapsed to the ground and dropped his knife. He looked up at the man and grumbled groggily, “What… what did you do to me?”

    Serlas looked down at him kindly and said, “I apologize. That was a pacify spell to calm you. I don’t normally use magic on other’s without their permission, however, you left me no choice but to defend myself. No worries though!” he clapped his hands together, “It will pass very soon.”

    Rona came around glaring dragon’s fire at him. Her fists were on her hips and she was seething, “What is wrong with you!?”

    “I…”

    She yelled snappishly, “Well! I was hoping I could introduce you two under normal circumstances, but since you’ve been acting like such a paranoid lunatic – Ata meet Bishop! Bishop, this is my ata… my father.

    Serlas came up beside her and put a hand to her shoulder, “It is alright velvynen.” He knelt down and reached a friendly hand out for Bishop to take, “I am Serlas, pleased to make your acquaintance Bishop,” he kept his tone light and forthcoming, as though nothing unusual had just happened.

    But Bishop just scowled and pushed himself up with his good arm instead, ignoring the friendly gesture. He cast his eyes away, clearly feeling as stupid as he’d just behaved.

    Serlas wasn’t even angry, in fact he sounded concerned, “You seem terribly on edge, Bishop. Is everything all right?”

    “S’fine,” he mumbled.

    Rona looked over at her father and said swiftly in Aldmeri, “(He’s been acting like this for a while now, I don’t know what’s wrong with him, he won’t tell me anything!)”

    Serlas smiled gently at her, “Now, now, Rona dear. You know it’s rude to speak in Aldmeri among those who cannot understand, especially if it’s about them.”

    She rolled her eyes and crossed her arms and glared at Bishop. “Well if he’d just tell me what’s wrong already then we could help him!”

    Serlas said, “Come, let us go inside. Perhaps the comforts of the cottage will settle our restlessness. If you would join us Bishop, I have many things to share, those of which may pertain to you as well.”

    Leonora
    Participant
    Post count: 4

    Please keep writing! This is so good!

    Ryli A
    Participant
    Post count: 24

    Eeek, poor Bish 🙁  Such a tough situation. Just tell her the truth!! My sappy heart kinda hurt when she was already considering moving on without him… it’s just an argument dragonlady, relationships are never easy *wails the reader*

    Keep writing please, your work is amazing.

    P.S. I always knew there was something weird about Lydia 😉

    Rona
    Participant
    Post count: 117

    I don’t think I could stop writing this if I wanted to. I’m on a freaking rampage. Already finished up Chapter 25, just have to edit it some more. I pretty much have this entire story outlined in my head already, it’s just a matter of putting it to paper, or in this case text to screen. I’m not very good at creating similes and metaphors though, so I know my writing really lacks there. But I’m so glad you two are enjoying it! It makes me really happy to hear.

     

    Also, it’s funny because I initially started out writing Lydia’s character as a friendly/helpful character and then I was like… but what if she wasn’t? Really, though, I just had to make Lydia sit there eating bread like she always does. Cuz, what does Lydia do? Dat gurl eat bred.

    Lydia eat bread.

    Psst! Rona Benanius is a real NPC from Oblivion. http://en.uesp.net/wiki/Oblivion:Rona_Benanius

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