Forbidden Love Main Forums Fun and Games Competition Submissions Writing Competition – June 2016

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  • Mara
    • Admin
    Post count: 139

    For our third competition we have one of the skill most central to our mods. Writing!

    However, we do not need you to wrestle with the style of script writing. Instead, we would like you to write a short story of how your character met Bishop! 

    You do not need to stick to what the original conversation is in the mod, or even the situation. For example my own character wasn’t the Dragonborn and encountered him after my actual Dragonborn blew him off. Make it Bishop, make it original and go wild!

    The prize is a drawing of your written scene by our Art Director, Avis. So make sure to physically describe your character in it!

     

    Stories will be judged by our team when the competition closes on June the 30th and the winner will be announced on July the 1st from our Facebook page and in the replies.

     

    Good luck! We all look forward to seeing what you come up with in these 4 weeks!

    RULES:

    • It must feature Bishop and your character when they meet for the first time.

    • There must be between 2000 words minimum and 3000 words maximum.

    • Only 1 submission is allowed per person.

    • No nudity or 18+ subjects. i.e. No sex. 

    • No claiming other’s work as your own. 

    Eltheria
    Participant
    Post count: 3

    Hi all…here is my submission for the contest.

    ———————————————————————

    It was a pleasant day for the time of year.  The last few days of summer were waning, and the feel of falls cooler temperatures was pleasant.

    Walking outside the Orc stronghold of Largashbur the Dragonborn paused and listened.  She was still close enough to the stronghold to hear the sounds of hammers pounding against anvils.  The echoes of clashing weapons in training combat reached her, but she was far enough away that she could tune out the sounds.  The forests of the Rift called to her.

    The recent troubles she had helped the Orcs with had made her blood kin.  It was an honor really.  She may not agree with all their beliefs, but the Orcs she dealt with held honor and loyalty in their hearts.

    The Dragonborn was average height for a Nord.  She had long brown hair that she preferred to let hang loose.   The hair on the sides of her head were lifted up and gathered together braided at the back of her head.  Her brown eyes took in the surrounding area, always alert for any potential trouble.   Her form was that of someone who was used to doing physical tasks, yet she kept a softness about her.

    A sound of twigs snapping had her spinning at towards the sound.  Soft chuffs and a streak of brown red fur showed a fox running by quickly.  Fast on its heels was a bear.  Apparently the fox was to be the dinner of the bear.

    The Dragonborn really loved foxes and decided to save the creature.

    She quickly thought of flames within her grasp, calling to life the element of fire.  Cupping the fire between her palms she shot it at the large bear.

    A howl reached her ears as the bear turned its direction towards her.  Teeth bared it barreled towards her at a very fast run.

    Seltara didn’t have time to think, she Shouted “Feim Zii Gron!” becoming a ghost.  She ran away from the bear to clamber up some nearby rocks to get some height before she launched another attack.

    The enraged beast swiped at her, and would have done some serious damage to her had she not become ethereal, however Seltara felt the Shout was getting losing its strength and would fade before much longer.

    She jumped up the rocks as quickly as she could then spun around and looked down.  The bear was snarling with drool dripping from its jaws.  She needed to keep that bear below her.  Quickly thinking through different spells to do just she saw an arrow land into the side of the bear.   Another quickly followed joining the first.

    Not wasting any time to see who was shooting the arrows she cast her conjure spell to bring forth a Flame Atronach to assist her.   The living flame immediately started to pelt the bear with fireballs.

    With the flame attacks from both the Atronach, and her own fire balls doing damage the bear was soon on its knees.  Feeling confident of victory Seltara made her way down the rocks closer to the bear to finish it off.

     

    Just as she got within range of the bear her ethereal form left her.  She was vulnerable to being hurt.

    The bear turned its attention from her Atronach to Seltara swiping its huge paw against her head.   Agonizing paid hit her and she buckled to the ground.  Roaring in dying victory the bear opened its jaws to deliver the death bite when a man rushed in with a dagger in his hands.

    He stood in front of the bear blocking Seltara from its view.  Almost dancing while avoiding the paws of the bear the man used his blade to the best advantage he could, all the while keeping an eye on the woman at his feet.  The dagger sliced the bear many times when finally it was shoved into the top of the bears head killing it.

    Rushing to Seltara the man knelt down and gently felt around her head.  Feeling his gentle touch she stirred and opened her eyes to look at who was with her.

    “Easy” he said in a low timbre.  Concern was etched in his face.

    “Thank you” she whispered before she passed out.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    The sounds of yelling woke her.   Seltara opened her eyes, sitting up quickly.  This caused a bout of dizziness.  She quickly reached up to the left side of her head and felt the bandage.   She was confused for some moments as to why she had a bandage when the fight with the bear and the appearance of stranger.

    Gently she swung her legs over the side of the bed letting her feet touch the floor.  So far so good.  She looked around and realized she was in the guest quarters in Largashbur.  Seeing a healing potion on the side table she grabbed it and drank it down as quickly as she could.

    The pain in her head lessened.  She still felt terrible but now she didn’t feel so bad.  She didn’t quite feel up to casting a healing spell.  Gently she cast a self healing spell to take care of the wounds.  This made her head pound a bit, but it was worth it when she felt the wound in her head start to close up.

    Ready to see what the yelling was about she hurried outside to the courtyard area where a small crowd had gathered.

    The Orc chief Gularzob had his war axe in his right hand.  Some of his warriors also were in battle ready position.  They were facing the man who had fought the bear with her.   At his side was a wolf which was snarling at the Orcs.

    “What’s going on?!” Seltara yelled to be heard over the yelling.

    Gularzob turned at the sound of her voice and rushed up to her.  “Blood kin! You should not be up.  You took a serious injury. ”

    “I’m fine Gularzob.  What is all the yelling about? ” she gestured towards the man and wolf.  “Why are you angry with him?”

    “My Hunters saw you laying on the ground with this man hovering over you.  The bear was dead.  They thought he had harmed you and thought to steal from you which is cowardly and dishonorable” Gularzob spat on the ground.

    ‘Save me from overprotective orcs.’  Seltara thought.  “Gularzob this man Saved me from the bear! He was fighting it with me when the bear clawed my head.  There is no dishonor here.” she explained.

    “Listen to the Lady Chief.” the stranger spoke up.  “If I had wanted to kill her she would be dead and you wouldn’t have been able to catch me.” he smirked.

    Seltara looked into his amber eyes.  She was exasperated but at the same time intrigued.  He wore leather armor and had a bow slung onto his back.  His brown hair caught the sunlight showing some lighter shades of brown mixed in with the dark.   Rugged was a word that could be applied to him.  He was attractive no doubt.

    “What’s your name?” she asked a bit more softly than her normal tone.

    He raised an eyebrow then smiled.  “You can call me Bishop.”  he replied then his smile was gone as he looked at the bandage on her head.  “You take care of that.” he pointed quickly at her head “It’ll leave a nasty scar if you don’t. ”

    Gularzob looked at Seltara then at Bishop.  He grunted shrugging his shoulders.  “You have the thanks of Largashbur for protecting Seltara our blood-kin.  You can go now.”  He turned away and walked over to his favorite bench.  He was done with the stranger.

    The rest of the gathered Orcs calmed down.   Some went back to what they were previously doing while some stood around waiting to see what would happen next.

    “Let’s go boy” Bishop signaled to the wolf beside him.  He started walking towards the strongholds gates.

    “Wait!” Seltara called.  She quickly walked over to him when he paused.  “I want to thank you for helping me.  I wouldn’t have lived if you weren’t there.”

    Turning to look at her he asked “What’s your name?”

    “Seltara Lightstar” she replied

    “Well Seltara Lightstar, don’t get mauled by anymore bears anytime soon.  I might not be there to save you.” he looked at her a moment more then he resumed walking.

    Seltara stood there stumped for a moment then walked quickly to catch up to him.

    “You know, they say one good turn deserves another.  Perhaps there is something I can do to help you?” she offered.

    Bishop stopped and looked at Seltara.  His gaze ran over her form.  She felt small shivers along her body where she swore she could feel where his eyes had travelled.

    He tilted his head to the side for a moment considering her offer.  “Maybe I could use your help.   Tell you what.   There is a band of bandits that have a death sentence with my name written all over them.  You help me kill them then we will be even.”

    Seltara met his gaze with her own.  “Alright.  Let me get my things then we can be off.”  She turned and walked back towards where the Chief sat sharpening his war axe.

    “Chief Gularzob” she waited until she had his attention before continuing.  She always showed respect to him.

    “Seltara” he grunted as he continued sharpening his weapon.

    “I am leaving to assist Bishop.   I want to thank you for your home and the honor of family while I have been here.” she gave formal words of leaving.

    Gularzob looked up at her.  “Dragonborn Seltara Lightstar may your blades always be sharp.” he replied formally.  Informally he added “You would make a good wife.  Are you sure you don’t want to reconsider my offer?” he smiled a bit leerily at her.

    She held back a laugh and only smiled at him.  “You do me honor with the asking Gularzob, but you already have three wives.  My path leads elsewhere.  May your blades always be sharp.”

    Seltara went into the guest quarters going straight to her backpack.  Taking the extra healing potion she saw on the end table she stuffed that into the bag.   Taking a quick look around and seeing she left nothing out of place she left.

    Bishop was waiting for her by the gates.  She nodded to the gate guard.  The guard nodded back opening the gate.  “Honor or death blood-kin” the guard said.

    “Honor or death Yatar” Seltara replied.   Bishop walked through the open gate with Seltara following him.  The wolf ran ahead sniffing the air a few times.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    They had been walking in a northward direction for awhile quietly.  Seltara was just enjoying the peace after the excitement of the morning.  She observed Bishop as he scouted ahead.  He was always alert.  His movements didn’t waste any energy, but seemed to flow with purpose.   She shook her head slightly confused why he seemed to affect her so.

    The sun was setting and she called to him.

    “We should probably make camp soon.  It will be dark shortly.” she gestured to the sky.

    Bishop looked around more then pointed to a dense section of trees.  “Over there then”.  He whistled and the wolf loped up to him.

    Seltara was amazed the animal responded to him.  The wolf was obviously not exactly a pet, but seemed to be obedient to Bishop.   Watching their interaction while they had traveled today reinforced the idea to her that the wolf was special to Bishop.

    They walked towards the trees Bishop had pointed out.  Looking around and not seeing anything out of the ordinary Seltara slid down against the trunk of one tree sitting on the ground to rest.

    “You never want to just rest up! What’s wrong with you?  You have to scout the area first.” Bishop growled at her.

    Surprised she looked up at him “I looked around!” she said defensively.  “I don’t hear anything out of the ordinary.  I don’t see any wild animals around! ”

    Bishop stared at her a moment.  “Oh, there’s a wild animal around.  Close enough to bite even.” he smiled at her then showing his teeth.

    “Bishop!” she exclaimed feeling a blush flush her cheeks.

    “Just stating the truth Ladyship.” he replied.  “Here take this…” he continued when an arrow thudded into the tree just above her head.

    “Gods damn it!” Bishop exclaimed while quickly readying his bow looking for the source of the attack.

    Seltara rolled onto the ground a bit away from the tree then got up on her knees.  She conjured a flame Atronach.  It wavered in the air near her until another arrow was shot which sunk into her left arm.  It took off unerringly in the direction of the attack.

    Bishop looked down at Seltara when she yelled in pain.   His face took on a look of deadly rage.  “Karnwyr attack!” he yelled then took off into forest in search of the attacker.

    Seltara listed to the wolf Karnwyr howl then saw as he took took off following Bishop.  She wasn’t going to just sit here! She quickly pulled the arrow out of her arm yelling in pain then quickly cast her self healing spell.

    The yellow healing energies encircled her arm knitting together her flesh.  Flexing her left hand a few times she took deep breaths.  Completing a quick circling of her arm to make sure she was healed enough to battle, she shot up to her feet.   She ran in the direction she last saw Bishop running.

    She cast a quick simple candlelight spell to help guide her way.  She didn’t want to fight in the dark.  Sounds of snarling and cries of “Mercy!” reached her ears.  Turning right she saw Bishop fighting with a man while a woman lay dead nearby.

    “No mercy for bandits like you!” Bishop roared then sliced the mans throat killing him instantly.

    “Bishop!” Seltara cried out reaching him.

    His eyes had a wild look to them.   Seltara could see he was more wild animal than man at this moment.

    “Bishop ..they are dead.” she said gently

    He looked around then rushed up to her.  “Why are you here?!” he shouted in aggravation

    “I am here to help you!  It seems though you didn’t need my help” she gestured towards the dead bodies on the ground.

    “You were hurt! Bah!  Why do I care?” he whistled at Karnwyr then stomped off to where they were going to camp.

    Karnwyr stopped by her and sniffed at her left arm.  Seltara felt the wolf nuzzle against her hand.  Without looking down she gently scratched behind his ears as she watched Bishop walk away.

    Shaking her head in confusion she decided to check the bodies for anything useful.  After a few minutes she came up with some gold and a few potions.

    Seltara walked back to the camp.  Bishop had set up a campfire and was cooking what looked like a rabbit on a spit above the fire.

    Silence dragged on for a few moments when she decided to break it.

    “Bishop, contrary to what it seems like, I am actually a decent magic user and am pretty good with a bow myself.  I get hurt quite a bit and have learned to heal quickly and get back into the thick of a battle.  I am not useless.” she huffed feeling a bit put out.

    Bishop stared at her in confusion.  “I have saved you twice already just in this one day.  Tell me please this wasn’t a mistake of mine asking you to help me.”

    Seltara grimaced.  “No, today has not exactly been one of my best days but I can assure you I will be able to help you.”

    Silence met her answer.  Bishop continued tending the cooking rabbit not looking at her.

    Seltara moved outside his line of sight and leaned against a tree.  Silent tears coursed down her face.  She didn’t know why she was feeling hurt.  Especially since Bishop was a stranger to her.  His presence pulled her like no other though and she was hurt all the same.

    A snap of some branches alerted her to Bishops presence.  She looked up and saw he was close in front of her.

    “Ladyship” he said in a low tone “I have no doubt you can do what you say.  For some reason I just want to be sure you are safe.”   He raised his hand as if to cup her cheek then dropped it.

    Seltara breathing shallow breaths at his nearness replied “I want you safe too.”

    They both smiled then, and each quietly looked forward to the coming days and nights.

    Elessia
    Participant
    Post count: 23

    The night was about to fall and Bishop was still busy with doing what he did the last couple of days: watching the residents of this small town called Riverwood and waiting for the so-famed hunters that were supposed to live here. So far he wasn’t able find any of them, just one wood elf that was too busy chasing after the skirts of some wench that used to live here.

    He was leaning at a wall next to the inn’s entrance, his arms crossed before his chest and observed the people walking by. A few steps away he could see two drunk lads, probably travelers who were resting their feet here and wasting their gold on cheap mead and ale. The guards here were of no use, either. Too few, too ‘busy’ patrolling the streets. Suddenly he regretted coming here, but he was not keen on going to Riften. That city was the worst mess yet. Not one honest soul living in there, besides he hated big cities.

    He decided to head inside the inn when he spotted someone approach from the road to Whiterun. The person was carrying a torch, but its light was not enough to make out any details. It was a woman, of that much he was certain, and she was traveling alone. The way she moved piqued his interest. She was nothing like the soldiers he had encountered or the peasants that tended to their farms. Her strides were surefooted, confident, yet graceful at the same time. She almost looked as if she was levitating over the streets.

    When she was passing the two drunkards they whistled after her and made some comments on her body. He could see her stiffen slightly, but she did not react to them, simply walked by them straight towards the inn. Only a few torches lit the area and he preferred standing in the shadows, unseen by the unwary eye, so that he could observe the people here without being noticed by them in return. Before she climbed the stairs to enter the inn she extinguished her torch and was about to open the door to the inn, when Bishop felt the urge to talk to her.

    “Look at you! The people you meet must treat you like nobility. Don’t expect anything like that from me, woman. I am not so foolish as to give in to your charms.” He said. He knew he was blunt, but that was the best way to find out whom you were talking to. The woman seemed to be taken by surprise, looked at him with big eyes. In the twilight of the evening he could not make out much other than her snow-white skin.

    “Excuse me? What did you just say?” She asked with a voice clear as a bell. It was somewhat soothing and he couldn’t help but think about what the face belonging to that voice would look like. He grinned and looked down on her. She was nord, telling by her accent, but slightly smaller than the average nord woman he met so far. She was wearing an old and worn out leather armor and now he could see the short bow fastened on her back. Was she a hunter? She moved silently enough being capable of sneaking up on game.

    “You heard me. I am not as easily fooled by a pretty face like those two idiots over there.” He continued, even though he wasn’t sure of her pretty face just yet. But he intended to find out.
    “Besides, you’re not even my type.” He added and saw her shaking angrily, one of her hands clenched into a fist. She seemed to have a temper, which intrigued him even more. But as fast as her fury rose up, it disappeared again and she relaxed.

    “Good, then you and I won’t have any issues. Have a nice evening.” She chided and vanished inside the inn. Bishop decided that he wanted to learn more about her. At least she was much more interesting than the residents of Riverwood. Shortly after she went into the inn he followed her and sat down in a dark corner where he had a good look on her. He observed her watching the other guests as if she was studying them.

    Now, in the well-lit room of the inn, he could take a better look at her. She had very long black hair dangling down loosely her head in slight curls. Her skin was indeed as white as snow and he saw a long and deep scar running down her left cheek, which all the more emphasized her fair features. He saw that she was biting her lips from time to time so that they turned into a deep red.

    She was talking to the innkeeper when suddenly she turned to face him and looked at him in surprise. Then she shook her head and got up, walked straight towards him, sat down at his table and took a sip of her mead.

    “So, ranger, I hear you’re good at tracking things down.” She started and looked at him with a stern expression, Bishop finding himself hypnotized by her pair of emerald green eyes. She obviously needed something from him and maybe she was just the person he could use, but he did not want to let her believe he was desperate for help.

    “Depends. What makes you think I’m for hire?” He thus said and let his gaze wander over her tiny figure. Something told him this woman was stronger than she appeared to be and was all the more willing to find out more about her.

    “I am in need of a tracker and I was hoping for someone who could find his way around without getting me killed in the process.” She said and he had to chuckle at her choice of words. But Bishop was not about to fall for her bait of the damsel in distress this easily and shook his head.

    “Fine. As you don’t seem to be interested in earning my eternal gratitude, I should probably return to my place over there and wait until tomorrow. With a bit more light I might just make it to Helgen without getting eaten by wolves or bears.” She stated and walked back to her seat at the innkeeper’s counter. He liked her already. He was continuing to watch her for a few minutes, then stood up and closed in on her, looking into a very confused pair of green eyes when he spoke up.

    “Let’s discuss this in your room. There it should be easier to talk, away from all that noise.” He said and she recovered quickly from her astonishment, replying with a fury in her voice that amazed him.
    “I won’t let some stranger into my room! I may be capable of defending myself just fine, but I won’t take any chances.” She almost hissed at him and Bishop snickered at her little outburst.

    “Don’t flatter yourself, darling. There are others more the prize than you’ll ever be.” Bishop mocked her, although he thought she was truly beautiful. But he was not the kind of man to give away compliments lightly. He saw the fury in her eyes and waited for her to spit insults at him, but instead she grabbed her bow and motioned for him to follow her.

    Bishop sat down on a chair and fixed his eyes on her. She made herself comfortable on her bed, far away from him. He waited until she was settled, then started to talk terms.
    “You need a tracker, sweetheart. I might be willing to help you. For a favor.” He began and she looked at him suspiciously .

    “What kind of favor do you need?” She asked him warily and Bishop couldn’t refrain from teasing her any further.
    “Not that kind of favor. I told you already, you’re not my type.” She stiffened again, clutched her bow tighter and for a second he was certain she would start shooting. But she would never be able to best him. He had a bow on his own and was very good at using it, too.

    “I have no idea what you are talking about and I don’t need to be insulted by someone who seems to be in dire need for my help. I tried to be polite, but I guess I will have to find another tracker foolish enough to fall for my grace. And now, out of my room!” Her voice was filled with sarcasm and Bishop felt he could work with that. He shifted on his seat and leaned a bit forward.

    “Alright, sweetheart, let’s start over. I need someone to help me get something back. My wolf Karnwyr went missing a few days ago when he was out hunting. I tracked him down to a cave in the east. Trouble is, the cave is filled with bandits and I am not about to stumble into an ambush without backup.” He told her. Her fury subsided and she seemed to be somewhat sympathetic to his case. But she seemed reluctant to offer him his assistance immediately.

    “And what makes you think I’d be capable of fighting bandits and poachers?” She wanted to know, eyeing him warily. Their eyes met and he saw something in her face that showed him more about her than she could ever tell him with words: she was afraid of him, and she had every reason to be. Bishop was a dangerous man. This attitude might keep her alive on their journey.

    “The way you move around shows me a great deal, Princess. I can tell that you know how to defend yourself. I can also see that you modified that bow of yours, so that you are able to use it even in close-combat. And you are careful, wary. Observing every guest in the inn told me that you are always on the lookout for danger.” Bishop told her honestly. There was no point in keeping that from her. She seemed to be considering what he was saying before she agreed to anything. Then she nodded, but not without stating her own terms.

    “Fine, I will help you get your wolf back. I’d like to have a small stop at Helgen first, though. Maybe the people there know something about my quarry. Don’t worry, I’ll try to make it quick. A ranger without his animal companion is only half a ranger, after all.” Bishop was taken a bit off guard by her words. Karnwyr was kind of his soft spot and he would not stand anyone mocking his brother.

    “What do you know about the bond between a ranger and his wolf?” Bishop snapped at her and a slight smile showed up on her face, followed by a belligerent gleam in her eyes. She liked to live dangerously it would appear. When she spoke again her voice was so sweet it almost hurt, but he was never one to fall for something like that and he wouldn’t start with that now.

    “I like animals. I had a fox when I was a kid. And I grew up with a whole bunch of dogs.” She purred and Bishop was furious.
    “She had a fox! And what happened to this fox of yours?” He snorted and she simply shrugged, then pointed at her fur collar.
    “I am wearing her right now. She looks great on me, don’t you think?” He was so close to putting his hands around her neck and squeeze the life out of her, but he managed to calm down and stayed where he was.
    “Funny, really.” He simply said and if looks could kill he would have obliterated her.

    “She ran off, probably to find a mate and procreate.” She then said, shrugged again and walked towards the door, opened it and signaled him that she was done talking. Bishop got up and shook his head.
    “I really am going to regret this…” He mumbled more to himself and left her room.
    “I’ll meet you tomorrow morning then. Don’t run off without me.” She bid him farewell and closed the door behind him.

    He was not angered by people easily. Most of the time he ignored them. Was healthier for both sides. But this woman apparently knew immediately where to hit him. He had to be careful around her, of that much he was certain. Her lack of fear when talking to him rendered his previous calculation obsolete. Maybe she was just wary, but she was not afraid of him. On the contrary, she was fully aware of his superiority and yet she still tried to lure him in the open. Did she have a death wish or was she not as bright as he thought she’d be?

    He ordered another drink, realizing he never asked for her name. But she didn’t ask for his name, either. Maybe they had more in common than he thought. Now that he was alone again he had to admit that it was rather refreshing talking to her, trying to bait her only to fall for her trap himself. He had to admit that the thought of traveling with her thrilled him. For a short time he even forgot about his wolf and simply enjoyed the conversation they had.

    He was used to women fall for him when he entered a room. He never cared for them, but sometimes they had their charms. He wasn’t one for love or romance, life’s too short for this kind of rubbish. But this one seemed like a challenge he would enjoy. He grinned and emptied his keg, then retreated into his own room he rented a few days back when he arrived here to find someone capable enough to get Karnwyr back. He was not sure of how well she could handle herself in combat, but if she was able to draw the attention away from him long enough, it would do.

    The next day they met early in front of the inn and made their way to Helgen. She was not talking very much and he preferred it that way. He had time enough to watch her during the journey and he had to admit that he liked how she was moving. Helgen was not far now and he looked into the distance, spotting a huge column of smoke rising up from where the town would be. He was not sure if he liked that, so he tried to start a conversation to distract himself from the strange feeling forming in his guts.

    “Tell me, Princess, what do you need a tracker for?” He asked, stirring her from her thoughts and she graced him with an annoyed look in return.
    “My parents went missing on the road to Whiterun. I want to find them, or what’s left of them, then find who’s responsible for their likely demise, and end them.” She told him.
    “End them? I knew you were a killer, Princess.” Bishop said and shook his head.

    “Would you please stop calling me Princess? My name is Ella Thornton and I am far from being a princess!” She growled at him and Bishop had to smirk at that. She was quick to anger and he had a feeling he could have a lot of fun with that.
    “I’d rather stick to Princess. You look kinda cute when you’re getting angry.” He said and grinned a wolfish grin at her. The woman was growling something to herself he couldn’t quite grasp.

    “What should I call you then, ranger? How about ‘arrogant jerk’?” She was really adorable when furious, Bishop thought. He was not very touched by her attempt to insult him, was he used to harsher things.
    “Name’s Bishop, but you can call me whatever works for you. I don’t care.” He answered her and she sighed, shook her head and focused on the road ahead. They had already reached the city gates and Bishop wondered where the guards had gone. The smoke column was even larger than he had anticipated and the ranger knew that something was wrong here.

    Then a thundering roar echoed through the air and a huge black shade was soaring into the sky. It looked like one of the dragons he had read about and that the bards were singing songs of. Angry red eyes were meeting with his and the dragon, or whatever it was, seemed to consider whether the two travelers were worth the trouble of landing again. Then it flew off into the direction he and Ella were coming from.

    “Did you…?” She started and seemed to be pretty shaken.
    “Yep.” Bishop answered, then she ran off into the city and he had a hard time catching up with her. She was damned fast! The gruesome scene before them made even the ranger uncomfortable. He had seen a lot, but what was presented here was more than even he could handle. Ella seemed to be close to collapsing, was retching due to the smell of burnt flesh filling the air. He looked around for survivors, but there were none.

    “We need to inform the Jarl of Whiterun.” She gasped and Bishop nodded.
    “Agreed.” He simply said and grabbed her arm, pulled her away from this horrible place. She let it happen without objection and once they were out of the city again, they hurried to return to Riverwood. What he learned here was only the beginning of a chain of events that would happen in the near future. He was not aware of what this woman would mean to him just yet, but he would find out soon enough.

    Dodongo79
    Participant
    Post count: 67

    (Writer’s Note: This is cannon in my story “Of Ranger and Druid”, however, I was unable to find the names of Bishop’s siblings. When this information is released, I will edit the document where it is needed.)

    Prophecy

    The problem with prophecies is the fact that most of the time, they are a bunch of nonsense that don’t make a whole lot of sense at the time they’re given. It’s only after that the event happened that everything that was said makes sense.

    Say the word “prophecy” to someone and watch the crowd split into two groups; those that their eyes grow wide with awe and the other that shoves it off as rubbish to entertain the small minded. There isn’t a whole lot of gray area with it.

    And honestly? It’s just a huge fancy word for seeing things that haven’t happened yet, or giving a good estimation of what “might” happen. It could be as grandiose as hours pouring over handwritten scripture on aged vellum, written in spindly letters with quill and ink… or as tiny as a fragmented dream with flashes of random imagery that is pieced together years, even centuries later.

    However, in this case… This was simply an adventure gone awry and a seer revealing an unlikely future to a growing young man who didn’t believe in any of it.

    In the dense forests of the Reach, a group of children ran. Their ages varied from 14 to 7 and it appeared they were all related. The majority of them were chasing the older through thick brush and they were playing some kind of chasing game. Certain details were fuzzy and they didn’t matter. What did matter was that Bishop was among them and it was one of the very few memories he enjoyed from his youth.

    “Come on, Bishop. My legs are tired!”, the youngest, a little girl said.

    “It’s just a bit further. Stop being a wet blanket. If you’re tired, then go home, Lizzy.”, Bishop yelled back.

    The oldest wasn’t Bishop, however the young ranger was the leader of this expedition. His older brother, Bryan, looked back at the rag tag group and sighed. “I gotta admit, Bishop, I’m a little tired of running through here, too.”

    “Look, go back if you want to. But I’m going to see what’s in there. And if there’s rich stuff, I’m not going to share it because all of you were whiny babies.”, Bishop said and drank a gulp of water from his canteen.

    “Is that it?”, another younger boy asked.

    They all turned around to see a giant tree in a clearing that had a broken down door on the trunk. Bishop’s amber eyes lit up and a smile spread across his face. “Yes! This is it.”

    The group all filed in behind Bishop as they pushed through the last of the brush. Quietly, they all looked around cautiously and crept over stone and stick.

    The air was still…deadly still. There were no birds, no bugs, no sound of any kind. It’s as if they all crossed the threshold in some kind of time vacuum and the tree itself was in another dimension.

    Bryan looked around and glanced up to see the trees standing still and silent. He shook his head and shuddered. “I don’t like it. There’s a bad energy here.”

    The youngest walked around the tree, touching it in various places. Other than the door and a few knots on the tree, nothing appeared to be out of shorts. There was a small wooden trap door a small distance away from the tree and the child placed a foot on it, testing the rigidity. It sprang back as if on coiled springs and an odd creak came from the aged wood.

    All of them turned their heads at the sound to see their little sister jumping on it and giggling. “This is fun!”

    “Lizzy, get away from there. You don’t know how old that wood is.”, Bishop snapped.

    “You always take away my fun, Bishop. Besides, it’s not like we’d get in trouble. There’s no one here.”, she retorted. She flipped her head and her light ash brown curls bounced in the afternoon sun, making her look like a doll.

    Bryan and the other brother walked around the tree to the front door while Bishop went to his sister to get her away from the trapdoor. The girl got in a few more jumps before her brother came to break up her fun.

    “See? It’s fun, Bishop. You should try it.”, she said and bounced higher than her last.

    “The wood isn’t making the right sounds, Lizzy. It’s going to break.”, he pleaded, looking at the ground.

    “No it’s not! Bounce!”, she jumped.
    “Bounce!”, she jumped again.
    “Bou—”, she said and the wood gave way. A terrifying scream left her throat as she fell deep into the ground.

    “LIZZY!”, they all called out. Bishop rushed over to the giant hole in the ground to see his little sister get up and wiped her hands. She started to sniffle and cry.

    “Lizzy, are you all right?”, Bryan called down.

    “My knee is bleeding.”, she cried back.

    “Shit.”, Bishop said and looked around to see how he was going to go down and get her back.

    “We should go get Dad. He’d know how to get her out of there.”, the youngest brother said.

    “NO!”, Bishop yelled. “If you get him, we’ll all get tanned. We’re not supposed to be this far away from camp.”

    “I don’t see how we’re going to get her out of there.”, Bryan said, his face worried.

    Bishop rolled his eyes and smoothed his hands down his smooth baby face cheeks. “Tie your rope to mine and then around my waist. You two lower me in and I’ll see how bad it is”

    “And then?”, Bryan asked.

    “And then you and Squirt go back to camp. No sense in all of us getting whipped. I’ll take the fall for Lizzy. Just don’t say where we went. We didn’t go with you. Got it?”, Bishop said looking into his brothers eyes.

    Bryan nodded realizing that their options were limited and sunlight was a pressing factor. And just as Bishop suggested, they all secured themselves and lowered Bishop in as best they could. The last 3 feet, the two surface brothers stumbled under the strain and Bishop fell on his back.

    “I’m fine. Go on and get home.”, he yelled up. When he didn’t hear a reply, he turned to his sister. Lizzy’s big blue eyes were tear stung. Bishop leaned over and looked at her scuffed knee. Other than the few small abrasions, and a bruised ego, Lizzy was no worse for wear.

    “What is this place?”, the young girl asked.

    “I don’t know. I found it when I tracked that rabbit yesterday.”, Bishop said and walked around. The place appeared to have been lived in at one point. Dusty crates and broken urns littered the cavern they were in.

    They both walked through to try and find a way out. Bishop opened up a door at the end of the cavern that lead them both inside the tree itself. Layers of dust and cobwebs littered over the debris, books, and whatever furniture was in there. Nothing of value caught their eyes.

    Lizzy came to a book and blew the dust off. She sneezed as a result. Then she opened a book and looked at a drawn picture. It was some kind of insignia; a triangle with a circle of vines in the center.

    “What is this?”, she asked as her brother came up behind her.

    Bishop ran his fingers over the insignia and a shiver went down his spine. “I…don’t know.”

    “WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN MY HOUSE!”, a loud voice boomed.

    Both jumped nearly out of their skin and flashed around to see a grizzled old woman limping towards them. Her long salt and pepper hair was matted and knotted, nearly covering her dirty face. Her eyes, however, were bright and lucid.

    “I….I’m sorry. My sister fell through the trapdoor back there and we were just looking for a way out.”, Bishop started to stammer.

    “Out is that way!”, the woman pointed towards the opposite door.

    “Come on, Bishop, let’s go.”, Lizzy whispered.

    He was about to turn around when the woman snatched his wrist.

    “Wait… I know your face.”, the woman said softer, with a slight accent.

    He was about to protest when Lizzy scattered out of the room and ran in the darkness ahead of them. Her sister had abandoned him to his fate… whatever that was going to be.

    “Come here, boy.”, the woman said and limped over to a chair. She lowered herself in an winced half way down. She moved her robes out of the way and waited for Bishop to approach her. A hole in the ceiling allowed sunlight to pour in through a single ray. It did very little to illuminate the place around them.

    Bishop, swallowing his fear, walked over to her and stood.

    “Come closer.”, she said. He inched a few steps closer, unsure. “Come on, come on. Closer! My eyes aren’t what they used to be, boy.”

    He stood in the light and she reached out pushing his face up to the sunlight. His amber eyes flashed in the light, looking at her. He couldn’t see everything, but he did manage to see her wrinkled face twist into a grin.

    “Yessss….”, she drawled. “I know you. I’ve seen you.”

    “You’re mistaken. I don’t know you.”, Bishop said. The woman chuckled. “Where have you seen me?”

    “In my visions.”, the woman said and sat back. She nodded towards that book they were looking in. “My visions put you with that insignia.”

    “You’re a seer.”, Bishop said and rolled his eyes.

    “Oh… a skeptic, huh?”, the woman asked, raising her eyebrows. Bishop nodded. “I like skeptics. They end up becoming my most lucrative clients, heh.”

    Bishop stood in the light looking around. The woman was a seer and it appeared that this tree was where she conducted her visions and made her potions. The curiosity was gnawing at him.

    “What do your visions say of me?”, he finally asked.

    The woman squinted her eyes and laughed. “Give me your dominant hand, boy.”

    He reluctantly reached out and turned his hand over. She leaned in and looked at the various lines he had. There was a thin but noticeable scar down the center of his palm. The woman ran her thumb up and down it for a moment before she grunted and tossed his hand back.

    “You’re allowed three questions.”, she said.

    “I… I don’t have any money.”, he said and looked down embarrassed. The woman looked at him for a few moments.

    “I didn’t ask for any.”, she said finally.

    Various questions burned in his mind. He stood for a long while before speaking. “What did you see when you looked at my hand?”

    The woman laughed. “I saw lines, boy.”

    Bishop’s shoulders slumped. “Really…?”

    “Yes, really. And that’s two.”, the woman cackled with glee.

    “Wait..wha….”, he stopped. He wasn’t about to blow his third question asking something stupid. He really began to think over how he should word his final question. He looked at the book Finally, he looked back at the woman and asked. “What did you specifically see with me in your visions, other than that insignia?”

    The woman grinned. “Clever boy. Fast learner…. That’s good. You will need it.”

    She adjusted in her chair and crossed her arms. “What I had seen were various animals and colors around you. Your destiny is not on Tamriel.”

    Bishop’s eyebrows knitted together. Finally he shook his head and shrugged. He walked towards the door. The woman surprised at his restraint, quickly snaked her hand out and grabbed the door knob, preventing him from leaving.

    “You’re not going to ask another question?”, the woman asked surprised.

    “I used all of mine.”, he reminded her.

    “Ask another.”, she said looking at him.

    “I told you, I don’t have any money…”, he said.

    “Ask.”, she interrupted.

    “What animals?”, he said looking at her. The look he gave warned her about her next answer and she realized tricking him was not a wise decision.

    “That scar on your hand. How did you get it?”, she asked looking down.

    “I don’t know, I guess I was born with it. I don’t remember actually hurting myself that bad.”, he said shrugging.

    The woman nodded, as if that final tidbit was the piece she needed.

    “I see you with an ocean of violet. I see the wolf and the ghost of a bear. I see a large tree with a dragon wrapped around it. The dragon…. the dragon comes for you.”, she said and turned to walk away. “Of wolf and dragon… Of Ranger and Druid.”

    He turned around and was about to say something to the woman, but she had disappeared. She left without a trace, as though she were never there. A cold shiver shot down his spine and he didn’t need a second reason to bolt out of there….

    That seemed like ages ago. So long that he had nearly forgotten the encounter.

    Bishop had return to Riverwood to stock up on supplies while he tried to track his wolf, Karnwyr. He was leaning up against their town inn door. He had just eaten his lunch and was people watching. And that’s when he had seen her. He watched how the people went out of their way to greet her and she seemed pleasant enough to speak a few minutes with random strangers. She tried to make her way towards one of the fur traders and it seemed every other person walking by had something to say or ask her.

    One of the tavern hands was sweeping the porch of the inn when Bishop looked over and nudged him. “Who is that?”, he asked and pointed into the woman’s direction.

    “You’ve been gone a while, Bishop. That there is the Dragonborn. I believe her name is Mysidia.”, he said and continued. The scratchy broom provided a soft rhythm in the background of their short conversation.

    He watched the woman for a bit. She was taller than your average Nord female. Her long dark hair was braided away from her face and she had dark green war paint across her eyes and down her cheeks. She carried her bow and arrows on her back and two swords at either side. She handed the fur vendor a bundle and he gave her a pouch of coins.

    “You might want to ask her to help you find Karnwyr. If anyone can help you, it’s her.”, the man said and walked inside.

    She leaned over and said something to the vendor and he sadly shook his head. Then he pointed in Bishop’s direction and nodded, saying something. She looked over and tried to see him. Bishop knew the shade he was in, hided his appearance. He could, however, see her.

    Long graceful limbs, elegantly beautiful…she looked more dancer than fighter. When he had seen her ears, Bishop grunted. Elf, he thought…. tall elf.

    Mysidia came up the steps and Bishop quietly moved a little closer. She was counting her coins as she made it up the steps. Where Bishop was standing she had no choice but almost bump into him.

    “Why don’t you watch where you’re going, wench?”, Bishop sneered, starting the conversation. He wasn’t prepared for the violet eyes he saw when she looked up, stunned.

    “Excuse me?”, she said, raising an eyebrow. Violet….violet as deep as an ocean.

    “Oh, I’m sorry. Perhaps I didn’t say it loud enough.”, Bishop grizzled back.

    “I heard you clearly. Apologies for bumping into you.”, she said and placed her hand on the inn door knob. She stopped and Bishop waited for a response. Little did he know that the next line would reel him in and change his life forever.

    She looked at him and damn near could look at him in the eye, which was new for him. Mysidia was tall and nothing about her body language gave a hint of fear. No fear… there was absolutely no fear in her what so ever. Who was this woman?

    “I was told there is a ranger I could hire…”, she said.

    Bishop smirked.

    Naela
    Participant
    Post count: 18

     

    Stay downwind. Stick to the shadows. Slow and steady.

    It’s almost as natural as breathing to me at this point, slinking into the smooth motions of the stalking predator in the darkness of the twilight. There was no room for error, not even a foot out of place. If so much as a twig snapped, it was all over and I would become the prey instead.

    A slip-up had already occurred, despite my careful attention to detail. I left my camp for just a few minutes to scout the area for traps or more bandits, only to return to a man scouring through my pack inside of my tent, his back and legs sticking out of the entrance while his head and torso were inside of my makeshift sleeping quarters. I could have sworn I had hidden it well enough, even with the sun still proceeding slowly over the horizon, lighting up the mountainside with hues of such vibrancy. I had made no campfire to draw attention, and of course I covered the leather fabric of the tent with branches from the tree it rested under so it would be hard to spot at a distance. How this one stumbled upon it was anyone’s guess, none of them had even ventured close to this area until now.

    I hadn’t seen him among the scraggly men and women yet when I had scouted the cave out during the daylight hours, but I couldn’t be so foolish as to dismiss the notion of him being a possible member of this band of trappers. But I was nothing, if not patient. Rushing things was never really my style. I couldn’t just rope him in with the rest of these thugs. Acting in haste only leads to more mistakes and could cost more than it was worth to save a bit of time.

    Either way, he was rummaging through my pack and he had to be dealt with before he took my belongings, or even worse, blew my hiding spot and ruined everything I had so carefully planned out. The gods truly loved to throw a hammer into my plans at the worst possible moment. I don’t think there was an unluckier person in all of Tamriel than myself.

    So far, it didn’t seem like he’d noticed me. He gave no physical hint that he had sensed my presence, so I took my time preparing the first strike. Straighten the spine, give a strong pull of the bowstring all the way back to my cheek, ever so slowly as to avoid any sudden noises or motions that would alert him to my location. Inhale, exhale, slow and steady. I’d done it a thousand times. A thousand different scenarios, a thousand different settings. Each ended the same: a dead target and a happy elf who was getting paid.

    He had his back turned. I had to take this opportunity while this still appeared to be in my favor. I let loose the ethereal string trapped underneath the strength of my fingers, letting the ghost-like arrow cut through the mountain breeze and right for the intended target.

    I watched as he reacted instantly as the sound of the arrow breaking through the wind alerted him that he was under attack by an assailant in the shadows. He barely ducked out of the arrow’s path, the wispy object embedding itself into the tree some distance behind him before it disappeared, as if it had never existed at all.

    Shadows preserve me. Once again, the gods mock me.

    There was only a small window of opportunity for me to attack him while he was still disoriented and surprised. I didn’t hesitate, using my power to call upon the energies of Oblivion, channeling the swirling magic of another plane into my right hand, an orb of bold yellow taking shape in the palm. It only took a simple gesture from my hand, closing the fingers around the palm before stretching them out again and flicking my forearm forward to send the spell outwards. With a little concentration and some magicka on my part, I managed to bring forth my ghostly companion. A translucent creature taking the shape of one of Skyrim’s breeds of wolf came shimmering into existence some feet away from me, in between us. He acted immediately upon my will, running with bounding leaps across the clearing towards the man with a ferocious snarl that could make grown men shake in their boots.

    Apparently, he was ready for that. It only took him a second to draw a dagger from his belt and slash at the familiar, destroying it in one swing. Maybe I should have gone for something a little more powerful, like the Flame Atronach. My Frost Atronach would be too slow against this one. Unseasoned warriors like petty bandits out in the woods usually balked at anything magic-related and let such a weak spell overtake them. I’d underestimated my opponent, he was clearly no simple run-of-the-mill bandit like the men and women in Redoran’s Retreat.

    I mentally cursed the gods and their mockery of me while I dashed out of my hiding spot, dropping the daedric bow so it dropped to the ground and vanished, fading from this realm and back to Oblivion. The matching quiver slung over my shoulder followed suit almost instantly. Then, I replaced the bow with a daedric dagger from the dark plane while my free hand was preparing the spell to summon another atronach. This shouldn’t have become so much of a challenge, but apparently fate was toying with me on this eve.

    Then, probably the last thing I expected happened.

    I was so close, only about three feet away when he scooped up a pile of loose soil from the ground and threw it right at my face, into my eyes. The surprise made me pause for a second now that I was half-blinded for the moment, but a second was all he needed. The next thing I knew, I was flat on my back with cold steel at my throat and my opponent sitting on my stomach, pinning me down with just his weight.

    Now that I could see a bit better with some of the dirt gone thanks to my fall, I could see the surprise evident on his face as he gave me a good once-over. My blue hood had been previously covering the entirety of my head and obscured my face in shadow, but it had fallen back from the sheer force with which I had been tackled. It’s not like I stood out from many other wood elves. I had the trademark tanned skin, pointed ears, angular features and rather large almond-shaped crimson eyes, though lots of other Bosmer tended to comment that my eyes were pretty above average, even for an elf. Lots of people tell me it gives me a fierce feline look with the slanted orbs. The sea of ebony hair was tied back into a low ponytail, the end reaching just to the middle of my back, with the excessively long bangs hanging over the right side of my face.

    Today I was wearing my armor specifically designed for a mage that I’d found abandoned at a camp in Rorikstead. The quilted dark leather corset was buckled over a high-necked light brown tunic. I had the left sleeve tied up with leather string to my elbow so I could easily wield my bow and dagger with that arm without a sleeve getting in the way. Both arms I had comfortably covered with my white cotton arm-warmers with the fingers missing in the gloves to keep me nice and toasty in the Skyrim weather. I had matching leg-warmers right over my grey leggings for just that same reason, pulled up over my knees and tied in place with more leather strings. A hand-embroidered short brown skirt, designed with a large slit to show off the right leg and leaf-like patterns sewn into the fabric, covered all of that up. The boots were hand-stitched, brown leather on the outside and white rabbit fur on the inside. My light brown leather belt had my potion pouch tucked safely away. Just to add a “wood elfish” touch to the outfit, I was wearing my favorite earrings, silver hooks adorned with white bird feathers. From which bird they came from, I wasn’t quite sure, but I loved them.

    The poor human was still stunned into silence as we both silently observed each other. Was he surprised that a Bosmer was using magic? Was he surprised that a woman had attacked him? I’m not sure exactly what he was surprised about, but that was where he made his mistake.

    His surprise made him hesitate with that knife.

    And I took full advantage of that hesitation.

    Right behind him, the pop and sizzle of a large flame broke the newfound silence of the forest. There was a Flame Atronach standing right behind him, her fingertips lazily trailing over his back in an almost playful manner. The leather didn’t catch fire, but it did char from just that light touch.

    It was a warning more than anything aggressive. If he harmed me, he’d trigger the atronach to self-destruct. He couldn’t kill me and avoid the Oblivion creature at the same time, as the both of us were entangled on the grassy mountaintop. His reaction wouldn’t be fast enough to beat the atronach’s exploding body thanks to his own tackle maneuver.

    In this moment, the world was still. It looked like the whole world was holding its breath once my attacker had realized that this little skirmish had ended in a draw. He should have either slit my throat and finished it right there or at least restrained my hands if he wanted to make a vain attempt at snagging me alive. It was his blunder that had him stuck with very little choices on how to get out of this unscathed.

    The silence seemed to be unending as the two of us wordlessly observed each other, two pairs of eyes sizing each other up like skilled predators just waiting for the other to show a single sign of weakness before the first attack was made.

    The sun was halfway over the horizon, but even in the dimming sunlight I could still see his face clearly with a trained eye in the darkness. He was a Nord, that much was obvious in his rugged features. I was too familiar with the natives of Cyrodiil to not notice the differences between the two races of men, and his fair skin tone ruled out being a Redguard. As with any other Nord man, he was broad-shouldered and gifted with well-trained muscle hiding under all of that bland-looking leather armor, and fell in with the Nordic stereotype of a seasoned fighter that had scars, at least on his face. He had four noticeable scars, three straight lines that marred the skin of his right cheek and one that cut through his left eyebrow. His short copper hair was rather untamed, the top strands sticking up in an odd fashion that was unnatural to Skyrim’s usual sense of style. The eyes were interesting, shimmering like gold in the blazing fiery hues of the evening light, reflecting the dancing sunshine with the rather unflattering scowl he was sporting now that he had realized the predicament.

    “…So. Are you going to let me up, or risk my atronach blowing your body parts all across Skyrim? I mean, you slit my throat, you’re a dead man. You get me, but she’ll get you.”

    “Like I’m really going to move just so you can have your little pet roast me, wench. I’m not a fool.”

    “Wench, really? What a stale insult. Well, then you’re going to be sitting there for a rather long time. Best get comfortable.”

    “You can’t keep that atronach here forever. I know more about magic than you seem to think. You’ll be dead once it fizzles out. Just tell me where my wolf is and I’ll make sure you don’t suffer.”

    Oh, this was rich. He thought I was with the trappers! Hahaha, as if! I couldn’t help it, I actually started laughing.

    “That was actually funny! Use your eyes, human, do I LOOK like I belong with this scraggly group of trappers?”

    “…Looks can be deceiving.” He was hesitating again, readjusting the grip on his knife while he stared intently into my face.

    “So can your own stupidity deceive you of obvious truths. I’m not with these trappers, and neither are you. I thought you were at first. I couldn’t have you revealing where my camp is hiding, so I tried to eliminate the problem quietly. That didn’t work out quite as I expected. Then I realized you’re not one of them.”

    “You’re pretty stupid for trusting your own judgement more than the fact that a ranger has a dagger at your throat.”

    “I judge from what I see, and what I saw was YOU hesitate. If you were with these trappers, you wouldn’t have paused, be it man or woman, human or mer. ESPECIALLY with me being a mage, they wouldn’t have even paused for a breath thanks to that fact.”

    Probably struck a nerve with what I said; he was glaring at me like he really was planning on killing me this time around before I could open my mouth again.

    “Tell me then, if you’re not with the trappers, then what reason do you have for being here?”

    “I’m on a job. Some Redguard in Whiterun asked me to retrieve a family heirloom for him, some rusty old sword his father owned or whatever. These trappers have it in their possession, so I came to get it. I’ve been scouting out the area all day.”

    “How do I know you’re telling the truth?”

    “You don’t, but it’s the story I’m sticking to. Now why are YOU here?”

    “That’s none of your business.”

    “You did mention something about a wolf. Let me guess, he’s your pet and he ended up getting snagged by the trappers? Better pray he hasn’t been skinned for his fur by now.”

    “By Oblivion, you are ASKING to die, elf!”

    Anger wasn’t even a strong enough word to describe the fury written on his face, deep wrinkles etching onto the flesh with the narrowing of his eyebrows and the animal-like growl that came rumbling from his throat.

    Still, he hadn’t denied my claim. That gave me an idea. This would make all parties (except for the bandits) happy, so I shrugged and put on my best smile, though it usually came out as some sort of coy smirk. At least that’s what people told me. I don’t smile, not really.

    “Seems we’re going the same way, then. How about this? There’s a significant number of bandits hiding in that cave, and those are only the ones I’ve seen come in and out of the entrance. Neither of us alone could kill them all and get out unscathed. I’ll dismiss the atronach, you get off of me, and we go in there together. You help me get the sword, I’ll help you get the wolf, and we can slaughter some bandits in the process. We both leave here, no strings attached. What do you say to that?”

    “You’re more naïve than I thought if you’re going to expect me to trust you after you just tried to kill me!”

    “I don’t expect you to trust me. Only a fool trusts anyone but himself. This is a business deal, nothing more. I’m not even asking for a leap of faith on your part. You want your wolf, I want that sword so I can get paid. Both of us walk away from this happy. I find it to be a rather lucrative deal, don’t you think?”

    It was apparent that he was mulling over the idea, I could practically see the Dwemer cogs turning in his head as we both sat there in silence. Seconds dragged on like minutes, minutes like hours. Eventually, though, I heard him sigh and he moved to climb up off of me. I knew he would see it my way. He wanted his dog back, he needed help, and I was readily offering it in exchange for something so easy to accomplish. He still kept his knife ready, though, just in case.

    I made sure to ease his worries by dismissing the atronach, waving my hand once and watching as she fizzled out of existence before I pushed myself up off of the forest floor, snatching up my blue hood in the process, and dusted the dirt and grass from my corset, pants and skirt. With everything all nice and tidy, I draped the detached hood back over my head and shoulders before I tightened the buckle of the leather strap that kept it attached to my body.

    “Let’s go. There’s only one guard at the entrance, and he’s been swimming in mead for hours. Best get it done before they decide to do a guard change.”

    “Fine, but if you give me any reason to think you’re going to stab me in the back, I’ll end you.”

    “Likewise, human. Now, shall we be going? We’re burning moonlight here.”

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by  Naela.
    Kauyn
    Participant
    Post count: 1

    (Authors Note: I failed to mention Xrea is a Nord. Her name is pronounced {Zer-ray-ah})

     

    Xrea’s hands traced the outer rims of the dried mud. What was left of the footprints crumbled against her delicate touch. “Tch. Trail’s gone cold.” She muttered crouching over the pools of dried mud. She stood up and stretched her stiff muscles, two days she spent tracking these forsworn, wasted. The fog began to roll in as the sun drifted behind the mountains. Xrea quickly retreated back to her horse, Frost. “Better go find that Old Hroldan place before it gets too dark.” She sighed pulling herself up onto his saddle. The fog only seemed to get thicker as dusk quickly turned into night. “I’m so lost right now. Are we even on a road?! This is ridiculous!” Xrea yelled riding around in what seemed to be like circles. “I’m not blaming you of course Frosty.” She gently leaned down and kissed his mane. “We just need to get out of this fog.”

    Dusk turned to night and the fog only grew worse under the two moons light. “Go get the Sybil of Dibella, they said. It’d be easy, they said. Well Ms.High-Priestess, you forgot to mention I’d have to rescue the brat from a group of savages! Just great.” Xrea angrily cursed Dibella as she and Frost trotted aimlessly onward. Suddenly a black shadow darted across their path. Frost reared up in surprise almost throwing Xrea! “Please don’t be a saber cat!” She gasped reaching for her blades. She was a master dual wielder but on Frost it’d be a challenge. Her eyes shifted through the darkness and fog until they caught the silhouette of … a dog? “A dog?” Xrea wondered. She moved rode closer to it, revealing a black wolf. Xrea readied her blade but the strange wolf just watched her approach. Xrea sheathed her blade while their eye’s remained locked on each other. The wolf began to playfully whine at her as she drew closer to it. “Can’t be a real wolf, its too tame. Must belong to somebody close by though. And that somebody has to be staying somewhere.” Xrea thought as she watched the wolf sit and stare at her, eager to be acknowledged. “Hey buddy, where’s your master?” She sweetly cooed. The strange wolf suddenly jumped to his feet, tail almost wagging, and darted off into the darkness. “Hey! Wait! Frost follow that weird dog!” Xrea kicked her heels into Frost and they darted through the darkness. As the chased, she could her the strange dog’s howls, almost like he was purposely guiding her somewhere.

    “There! Lights!” Xrea exclaimed in relief. As the reached the source, she saw the strange dog standing on the porch of the Old Hroldan Inn! “Thank you!” She laughed steering Frost towards the small nearby stable. Xrea slid off and unsaddled him for the night. “See you in the morning, Frosty.” She whispered as she kissed his forehead. Xrea leisurely strode back to the inn’s entrance and walked up the steps only to find the strange black dog still there, waiting for her. “Wait, you’re actually talking me to your master?” She jokingly teased, as if he could understand her. But he whined happily in response as his eyes darted from her to the door handle. “By the Gods, fine.” She swung open the door and he eagerly ran inside. Xrea peered around the inn, it was pretty deserted except for a few late night drinkers and the typical bard begging for requests. She was making her way towards the innkeeper’s counter when she noticed the strange dog again, but this time he was next to someone. The handsome man was leaning against the wall away from the other patrons. He gently stroked the black dog as his eyes intensely watched her. Xrea cocked her eyebrow at him. “Master, huh?” She thought to herself. Xrea changed her course of direction and swiftly yet gracefully glided over to the stranger.

    “Your weird dog helped guide me out of that fog. You teach him that?” The stranger’s golden eyes narrowed. “Anyone with eyes can see that he’s a wolf.” Xrea examined the man’s attire. Rugged, worn. He looked like the sort to know his way around these mountains. “You a tracker, maybe a mercenary looking for a job?” Xrea asked as she removed her hood and face mask allowing her wavy black hair to fall wildly down her back and chest. The strangers eyes widen as she revealed herself. “Whats wrong with your skin?” He demanded, straightening his posture. “Relax, I’m not one of the afflicted. It’s more interesting that that.” The Stranger raised his eyebrows and scoffed at her. “Really, now?”

    Xrea tossed her hair back and leaned against a table top. “When I was a small child, I fell into the frozen harbor of Windhelm. I was so frostbitten my skin turn this pale blue color, a dunner from the gray quarter managed to save my life. But I remain frostbitten, hence why some mockingly call me the Winterborn, but you might know me as Xrea, the Dragonborn.” She arrogantly smiled at him. “And your name?” “It’s Bishop.” He returned her smile with a wolfish grin. “Windhelm’s a long way from here; What brings the might dragonborn so far east?” His eye’s traced her curves as he spoke. “Looking for someone, a small child. Some foresworn kidnapped her. You think you can help me out?” Xrea played on his desires and seductively posed. Bishops eyes darted back to her silverly irises. “Sure, I could help you out. Might lead to something interesting. But Gods forbid you treat like one of your lackeys.” Xrea cheerfully smiled, she’d loved getting her way. “Great! You can be my shield. But one more thing;” She bent down to the sleeping wolf and gently stroked his head. “Whats his name?” Bishop grinned, “Kanwyr.”

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    The morning sun cut through the last remaining remnants of fog. Xrea stretched blissfully from a good nights sleep in an actual bed as she walked to the stable; Kanwyr close behind her. “Morning, Frost. Ready to go?” Frost snorted as she saddled him up. Bishop casually walked down the porch steps, leaned against the railing and yawned. “Do you even remember which way you came from. Princess?” He quizzed her rolling his eyes. Xrea flipped her hair as she turned to glare at him.”First off, I’m far from being a helpless princess. Secondly, aren’t you supposed to be a tracker? Those hoof prints over there might be a good start.” She sassed him as she climbed onto Frost. “I’m a Ranger.” He retorted. “So watch it. I’m more dangerous than I look, princess.” Xrea coyly grinned at him. “Lets get going, We have a Sybil to save.”

    Xrea was ready to push Frost into a gallop if Bishop had not stepped in front of her. “No horses.” Bishop stated. “What?!” She scoffed in disbelief. Never had Frost parted from her since they had met. “No Horses.” Bishop firmly stated again. “On foot is the best way to track; Besides this is the safest place to leave him for the time being.” Xrea pouted but climbed out of the saddled and returned Frost to the stable. She’d never put Frost in harms way. She sighed and kissed his velvety snoot. “I’ll be back for you, I promise.” Xrea returned to Bishop and crossed her arms temperedly. “Now let’s go.” Bishop grinned and his golden eyes gleamed with a wolfish charm to them. “As my lady commands.”

     

    Mara
    • Admin
    Post count: 139

    I’ll probably end up making a visual family tree to represent this xD If you want to edit, Bishop’s older brother is called Jack who is 5 years older than him, and his youngest sister would be Liesl who is 5 years younger than Bishop.

    Raccoonism
    Participant
    Post count: 9

    “Can’t believe this…after all that. After all that.” Rain soaked her hood and cloak, drops of water dripping down onto her soft, small round nose. The cloak wrapped around her neck and the hood covered her high defined cheekbones and dunmeri curved forehead well. Only her dark lips and soft, round nose lay exposed to the cold forest air, much of her narrow face protected. Small strands of her short oaken colored hair danced across her face, stubborn strands that broke free of her tight hairbun. Her hands rubbed her eyes then dragged down along her face. “I have to go to the village. Fetching…Riverwood is the closest but…” Her legs parted and her elbows rested atop her knees, the woman was utterly disheveled. “What if it happens again, what if I go savage? Lose myself again?” Facing the smouldering ruins that were her home through the pouring rain, she growled and grumbled to herself. “Maybe…she is there.” She huffed and fell silent once more. “No choice anyway, just a quick supply run.That’s all. Just have to keep moving.” Taking in a long slow breath, she tried to wring out her soaked sleeve. “Maybe some finery that isn’t made of rat fur. I wonder if my comb survived…most probably not.”
    Soaked boots sloshed through the mud of Falkreath hold. Clouds clung to the skies long after the rain had stopped, and a thick fog blanketed the forest. The waterlogged dunmer resembled a shambling undead, risen fresh from the grave. Each step she made was forced, her arms folded against her small chest, her hood dripped with old raindrops. A harsh scowl clung to her face, the grumpy hollowed woman wandered the woods.

    “Where in all of oblivion is the fetching path, could be heading into a den of spriggans for all I know.” Emelia stopped to lean against a tree, squinting to see through the thick, grey fog. “Stu-OH!” Cloth boots slipped against the wet stone she was standing on, sending the dunmer tumbling down a muddy embankment. Seconds passed before the now mud covered mer could even think again. “Gods…could this get any worse?! I hate this forest! I hate it!” She sank her fists into the mud in an attempt to push herself up, instead of mud however, she felt something hard. A tree root perhaps?  “What in the…”

    With a firm yank, she pulled the thing lose. It was most definitely not a tree root. Crimson eyes widened at the sight of the femur bone now in her hand. A quick glance around didn’t add any comfort to her growing panic. Discarded bones of mer or man lay scattered among the pines, leaves, and fresh mud. A skull here and there with a eye still lodged into its socket, an elk horn, antlers, brown rotted meat still clung to some of the bones. Most however looked picked clean. “Well. This is not a good sign. Just got to stay calm…that’s all…right Emelia, calm among rotting….everything. Just slowly…” The mer hesitantly tried to rise to her feet, but before she could take another step, a bellowing roar echoed from what seemed to be just feet behind her. The dunmer grimaced, still clutching the bone. She’d never fought a bear alone before, and she certainly didn’t want to start now.

    A tired, weary panting was heard along with the breaking of branches and sloshing of puddles. The bear was close, she could smell it. A checklist was run through her head, what spell could she use? She was soaked worse than a drowned rat, fire would require too much concentration to keep. Maybe a calm spell? That might- A louder grunt was heard, it grew closer, then the thud of stampeding claws. “Fetcher!” Fresh out of time, she pounced clear onto her feet now and scampered over the grisly bone pile, throwing herself over a fallen log. The crash of splintered wood was felt before it was heard, a massive paw slammed into the only thing between her and hungry death.

    “I’m gonna die…” Cowering for a moment, panic finally fueled the woman to move, and move she did. Emelia bolted like a senche with its tail on fire through the fog obscured forest. The sound of snorted breath and smell of damp fur was growing ever closer. Heart pounding in her chest, she could feel a dull buzzing rising in her veins.

    As quick as the dunmer was on her feet, she was no match for the sprinting grizzly that followed. In an instant, Emelia found her head slamming back into the mossy, cold ground. A fresh sting and warm wet sensation spread across her shoulder and back. She rolled over, this was it, she was going to die. The hot breath of the bear reeked of decay, just like the bones. Just how many poor souls met their end at these jaws?

    With all the strength of a desperate woman, Emelia clubbed the bear in the snout with the femur. Then a second strike, this time wedging it into the bear’s mouth. Powerful jaws snapped the strong bone into two, but now one end was jagged. She thrusted the sharp end into the bear’s eye, or what she hoped would be its eye. A horrible snarl told that she was perhaps successful in her strike, but the smell of blood confirmed it.

    Again the inner ache of something primal threatened to claw its way up through her skin. The scent of bear blood, the running, the hunt. She shook her head, judgment wasn’t clouded enough for her to lose herself to the Great Huntsman’s call. Lips quivering, but this time not from fear, Emelia uttered the words to weave illusion to her fingertips. She slammed her hand against the bear’s bleeding forehead, the soft wet fur felt such a contrast to the horror that wore it. For the moment, both predators locked eyes. Emberous dunmeri eyes pierced into the beady black gaze of the beast, one eye looked obliterated from the bone impact, thick ribbons of blood clotting into its dark fur.
    The harmonious lull of green magic seemed to dance along her hand, sinking and bleeding into the creature’s eyes, to its very heart. Both stood, frozen, panting and bloody, Emelia’s eyes locked in a scowl. “Come on you large stupid thing…you don’t want this…” Seconds passed before any indication of the spell’s success showed. The creature’s dark umberous eye seemed to shimmer with a green hue, its curling lips folded back over those horrendous teeth. Its will was not i’s own, it was pacified. “Gods above…” A single sigh of relief left the dunmer before she gathered her thoughts. Behind those beady black eyes, the bear’s will was fighting hers, this peace wouldn’t last. She had mere minutes to flee. The soft faced dunmer gave a solid, firm hateful look at the beast. “This–this ain’t over bear.”

    The moment Emelia let go of the bear, she sprinted like a mad woman. Her feet just seemed to carry her, on the breeze the faint scent of hearthsmoke, of chopped wood. A settlement. Running. She was running from a hunt. Her very blood seemed to boil over in protest of this.  A rabbit running from an arrow, a vole scurrying from a fox. No, she would get that bear.

    . Through the thick fog she could just make out the outline of fences, a roof, were those walls? Yes, safe walls! She threw herself forward, past the trees and over the wooden fence. She didn’t see the cart or poor stocky nord pushing it until it was too late. It all suddenly just went black.
    “Hey! Hey are you alright?” The stout nord shook the girl awake. “By the gods, look at her clothing.” His kindness was rewarded with a slap in his bearded face.

    “WHAT?!” The dunmer shouted as she slapped him. “Where is it?!” Her normally neat bun was partially undone.

    “Whoah, whoah, calm down there lass. You look like you took a beating from the wilds. You’ve been out for nearly a day.” A fine layer of charcoal smudged across the man’s round, fleshy cheeks as he rubbed his face.

    “WHAT?!” Once again, the dunmer shrieked like a bird.

    “Please lass, stop doing that. You’re going to give this old smelter a headache.”

    “A day? A whole day, are you certain?” Shooting up, she grabbed ahold of his dusty apron. “A day?” What day was it, what phase were masser and secunda at? The urge to hunt was still there, clearly she hadn’t turned over night. A brief sigh of relief passed her plum colored lips.

    “Aye, that’s what I said.” His grizzled brow scrunched up as he gave his beard a good scratch. “You had a good clawing to your shoulder. You should thank the innkeeper, she spared some mead to cleanse your wound.”

    “Innkeeper…oh right. Riverwood. This is Riverwood. You get many hunters through the inn?” Emelia rolled up on the pelt covered bed, taking a good moment to adjust to the dimly-lit cabin.

    “Aye. We do, mostly those heading to and from Whiterun and Falkreath. You’re welcome by the way”

    “Oh, right. Thank you uh…mr…” She gave him a good look over from his beard to his wrapped feet. “My good soot covered nord. If you excuse me, I have a-OOF!” One step from the bed and her foot had somehow gotten obstructed by a satchel. Her ashen forehead met the splintery floor with a thud.

    “Shor’s bones lass, easy!” The mountain of a man assisted the dunmer to her feet. “The name is Alvor by the way. That your satchel I assume? Found it next to you when you pummeled into my cart.”

    Emelia groaned and shifted to pick up the leathery bag, all her worldly possessions now fit into such a small thing. “Yeah that’s mine alright.” She took a moment to adjust her shoulder length hair up back into a bun, then abruptly just walked out the door.

    “Hey! Little elf, what are you doing? Where are you going?” He shouted from the doorstep, into the village streets. The dunmer was already half way across when she turned around and shouted back.

    “You have my thanks Alvor, but I have a bear to-” Leather armor slammed into her shoulder, sending the dunmer once again face first into the cobble stone road. It took her a few seconds to realize she was on the ground yet again. As she went to shout, more dirt than spit passed her lips. A good wipe on her sleeve and she was up, dusting herself off. “HEY! What gives?!”

    “Watch where you’re going wench!” Before her stood a man, clad in deep leather armor, now similarly coated in street dirt. “Are you blind?”

    Knitting her brow to a scowl, Emelia stepped up to the man. He was but a few inches taller than her, yet she strutted right up to him and cocked her head to meet his gruff face. His eyes were a sharp amber, it grabbed her attention almost immediately. “How rude! Who do you think you are to just run into whoever? You think this road was built just for you? You some kind of ‘emperor of the village roads’?”

    There was a pause of silence, his golden eyes met her crimson stare. The golden eyed nord erupted into heavy laughter. Emelia looked less than pleased.

    “Why, why are you laughing?! Th-that was not funny, You could have hurt someone! Namely, me!” Before the stranger could utter another word, she pointed at the bow on his back. “Wait! Hold on! Are you a hunter? Do you track?” For a moment, her eyes light up.

    The man looked utterly befuddled. “Ha! I’m laughing because there’s a mud covered elf in front of me that looks like it lost a fight with a tree.” A yellow brow perked on his stern face. “Depends.”

    “So that is a yes? Perfect! I need you, your skills I mean.” She’d already begun to reach for his arm and try and pull him. He didn’t budge an inch.

    “Whoah hold on a minute. Getting ahead of ourselves aren’t we? I never said you could hire me!” His calloused fingers ran through his coin colored hair, his expression one of mixed confusion and irritation. “Besides, what does a wench like you need a tracker for? Don’t expect me to hunt down a tired old lover, though by the looks of things, you’d just scare him off.”

    The dunmer blinked, huffed, then let go of his arm. “I need a tracker because I need to track something. You can’t possibly be that thick, can you?” Frustrated, she pulled her fingers down her gaunt cheeks. Her tattered sleeve slipped down her arm, indignantly she pulled it back up as if it were the finest attire.

    “As a matter of fact, I am doing something and you’re wasting my time.” His handsome features displayed further irritation, a stern frown on his stubbled face.

    Emelia scowled again, folding her arms as she stood. Try as she might, she couldn’t walk away from those amber eyes. There was something about this man. “Oh yeah? What? You smell as if you’ve been hunting in taverns.” He pushed past her and started down the road again. Emelia swiveled around and started after him. He wasn’t getting away that easy.

    When he spoke, it was with a slightly softer tone.“My wolf, karnwyr.” The gruff hunter slowed a little, but his face remained every bit stern and dominant.

    “Your…wolf? Like a, pet wolf or…?” She stopped, bringing an index finger to her lips. A wolf. He was searching for something too, and from the sounds of it, he wasn’t hunting for its fur.

    “Ha, you wouldn’t understand.” He shook his head and turned to face the forest, resting one hand on his chin, a deep pensive look in his eyes. “He disappeared a week ago and when I went looking for him, I discovered he’d been taken by trappers. Normally not a problem for a skilled ranger such as myself, but tracks indicate that this little group of trappers has grown into a small army of bandits.”

    Frozen, chewing on her finger, Emelia’s wheels turned. That sounded very much like a hunt, tracking an army of bandits then besting them? The allure of the challenge danced in her like a flame. Reaching her hand out, she barked. “Wait! Ranger, I will help you track your dog… wolf…whatever! Not only that, but I will help you stomp that little army into dust!”

    The man stared at her for a solid minute before speaking again. “Are you serious? Can you even fight?”

    What was she thinking, what was she even saying? The words flew out of her mouth faster than she could reason. Too prideful was this dunmer, she couldn’t back down. She felt her person for her dagger…then realized she had left it in her now-crumbled shack. A spell it had to be then. With an impish little smirk, she whispered the incantation she desired; a simple fireball spell. It wasn’t long before the flaming orb collected into her palms, without a moment’s hesitation, she threw it at a nearby stone a gathering of butterflies had been resting on. A small scorch mark and torched flowers told of the impact. “That answer your question?”

    For the first time, the man looked at her directly and intensely. A sharp, imposing stare that seemed to just tear through her skin and into her very soul. Was he sizing her up? After what felt like an eternity of silent tension, his cracked lips parted. “Let’s say I agree to your offer. You help me get my companion back, and I’ll consider if your company suits me.”

    “So, does this mean we are in agreement? I do this, then you will assist me?”

    “Maybe. We’ll set off now, the trail indicated they are heading west, and I’ve wasted enough time as it is. Oh, and If you have any coin I’d consider buying yourself something that can actually stop a blade. Don’t expect me to carry you, or that you can order me around. I’m a free man and do as I please.” As he spoke, he walked to her and tugged at the torn scarf and hood.

    “Erm…right.” Shrugging, she turned to follow, taking a second to adjust her short hairbun. “So what do I call you, ranger? King of Riverwood?” There was a hint of snobbiness in her words.

    “Now, now, ladyship. Bishop, but king of the woods has a nice ring to it.” Already he was quirking a brow at her hair fussing. “And you, princess?”

    “Emelia.” She wrestled with a stubborn piece of hair before just pulling it out. “Ha! Oh? Emelia Sloane.”

    TheMoonWitch
    Participant
    Post count: 11

    So this is with my new character, Usagi (I’m trash for naming her that I know), who I still need to make an actual character profile for in the thread, probably to replace Val. I will be doing that next, though I don’t think any extra background context is really needed for this or anything. c:

    ~~~~~~~~~~~

    “You are hereby charged with sedition, perjury, assault of two public officials, and resisting arrest. For your crimes against Skyrim and her people the punishment…is death.”

    A small figure knelt on the unforgiving flagstone, the cold seeping through her ragged trousers to her already raw knees. Two soldiers flanked the criminal on either side, their expressions hidden behind their helmets, masking their pity for the creature. She looked pathetic to say the least, no larger than a young teenager, but beaten worse than some of the other felons that had passed through that dungeon. Bloody bandages wrapped her torso, while yet another wrapped around her left eye. Her head was bowed, silvery hair shadowing her face, though the pain she was experiencing went beyond mere expression, shaking her petite form. However she did not cry out, nor did she meet the gaze of the head guard as he announced her fate. Her visible milky white eye remained fixated on the uneven stone beneath her.

    Blind…they are all blind.

    She did not have to look up to know representatives of the Thalmor Embassy were watching, she could feel their wicked gazes gnawing holes into her skull. They were smug, of course they were, for they had won. Another rebel was being put to death for speaking the truth, out of sight and out of mind, or rather out of this plane of existence. If anyone so much as questioned the Thalmor presence in Skyrim they were viewed as the enemy. True, some major leaders were suspicious, but nothing could be done about them without causing a scene. One, lonely woman? No one would remember her, no one would care.

    “Tomorrow at dawn you will be taken to the block where your last rites will be read before your execution. May the gods have mercy on you.”

    With that, the two guards each grasped onto an arm, roughly hauling the young woman to her feet. The unnecessary use of strength did bring out a hiss, but nothing more. Could she truly blame them? They were only doing their duty, and likely acting more harshly made it easier to ignore just how severely wrong this whole situation truly was. They were just doing their duty…

    …to Skyrim and her people.

    Without so much as waiting for her to stumble to her feet, the guards dragged her from the room, back towards the cell she had been given only a few days prior. It was hardly fit for holding someone captive, much less for living, but apparently few were foolish enough to speak their mind in Solitude. The guards tossed her back into her confines, ignoring the thud as she slammed into the stone floor in a heap, leaving her in silence. These were now the final hours of young insurgent, the Oracle.

    One would think being raised within a temple of Julianos, some divine wisdom would rub off. What can one, small person do to stand against an Empire? Even if that individual is able to see shreds of the future, it is a skill that is more a curse than a blessing. But, it is impossible to deny one’s bloodline. Whether welcomed or not, wisdom in the form of visions would flood the mind upon touching a trigger. “It’s a blessing from Julianos, a gift from the gods themselves”, everyone would say. In reality, it is nothing but trouble, and the entire reason the young Oracle was imprisoned in the first place. If only she had not bumped into that Thalmor officer on her way home from the tavern, this entire situation could have been avoided. She would not have stumbled to the ground screaming “murderer” and “ending of an empire”. She would not have been blinded by her own far-seeing gaze, vaguely lashing out at forces that attempted to restrain her. She would not be in an icy cell all alone.

    …and I would still be ignorant to the truth.

    With a sigh, the woman curled up on the stone, bringing her knees to her chest for warmth. This was the end, the cause completely out of her control, her “gift” bringing about her demise. However, rather than regret and hatred toward her very abilities, her mind was clear, calm, almost numb.

    “Come to me, Julianos, for without you, my wit is weak to sort the wheat from the chaff, and my eyes should neither know the true from the false, nor sense from folly, nor justice from prejudice and interest.”

    The soft prayer broke the silence, though barely above a whisper. Taking a deep breath, the young woman cleared her mind, willing the wisdom of the divines to aid her. While at the temple she was not exactly the most pious of individuals, merely an orphan under the care of the priests, at this point she was determined to live. She had be wronged, this punishment was undeserved, and, most importantly, she knew the truth. Skyrim had to know, all of Tamriel had to know the grim fate the land was quickly heading towards. If living and spreading the reality of the situation meant relying on deities that may or may not exist, then she was more than willing.

    A soft tickle of her blunt, doll-like bangs brushed against her face, causing her once serene expression to scrunch in irritation. As she brought up a slender hand to scratch the irritated spot, that was when she heard it. Barely noticeable, but a soft whistle of a breeze sneaking its way between rocks. The woman shot up, eyes wide to pinpoint the location. Along the far wall she saw the crack, a trickle of crimson light from the setting sun bleeding through. Scrambling on hands and knees, a murky eye was brought to the crack and from there she could see it.

    “…the sea.”

    The loud creak and bang of the dungeon door brought the willowy young woman scrambling away from her find, acting as if she never made the discovery. Moments later a guard paused at her cell to give her a pitiful last meal of mead, bread, and a single apple. The woman did not move from where she was curled up in the corner until she heard the dungeon door slam shut once more. Crawling back to the crack she studied it carefully with her remaining good eye. The walls were old, weak…breakable. However, without an alchemy lab in sight and all her ingredients confiscated, there was little hope to breaking it down safely. Time passed as she wracked her brain for another option, though only one seemed to remain.

    I have no other choice.

    It would be dangerous and she would likely be caught in the blast, but a well applied fireball would do the trick. Destruction magick was hardly her forte, but she was out of options. After pausing to listen for guards outside the dungeon door, the woman began to charge magicka between her hands, visualizing the compressed inferno and its devastating heat in her mind.

    “Three…two…”

    BOOM!

    The dungeon echoed with crashing rock and debris as the prisoner was thrown across her cell and knocked into the wall, her shoulder dislocating with a painful pop as she hit the hard stone. Biting her lip until it bled, she took a moment to slam her shoulder back into place, fighting back the urge to scream from the ripples of agony passing through her arm. Though in place, it was nigh impossible to move. The alarm was raised; there was no time to nurse the limb. Without a second thought, she took a running leap and jumped, just as the dungeon burst open to a flood of guards.

    Setting herself in a dive, the woman hit the ocean with a smooth splash. She struggled at first, the waves threatening to claim her as she haphazardly swam with only one arm and her legs in the general direction of the marshes of Hjaalmarch to the east. There was hardly time to catch her breath, much less check to see if she was being pursued.

    Keep moving…keep moving…

    Though her limbs were screaming at her to stop, the woman fought through her exhaustion, dragging herself through the surf to the freedom of the shore. As she stumbled she glanced back to see torches bouncing at the other bank. They would be onto her in minutes, the marshland was her only chance of escape.

    “This way, I think I heard something!”

    The calls of the soldiers were, faint, but clear. They were near, closing in faster than the young Oracle had anticipated. Her breath quickened, her lungs burned and her entire body ached from her escape. Even now she could see lights in the distance. She would be caught. This escape was all worthless.
    Slowly she backed away from the tree she was resting behind, not ready to give up just yet.

    …creak…

    A bow. She spun in a fury of silvery hair just in time to feel the steel tip of an arrowhead graze her flush porcelain cheek. Eyes wide and wild with surprise she turned to see the intended target of the arrow, a wolf that had been stalking her from the shadows. The sound of snapping twigs dangerously close had her attention and she turned to have a hand pressed over her mouth before a scream of surprise managed to escape.

    “Are you welcoming death, wench?!” A husky whisper breathed against her neck. The woman struggled to release herself from his grasp.

    “I think I heard something over here, sir.”

    “Trouble?”

    Finally managing to escape his fingers, milky eyes shot frantically up to the man, fear and desperation clear on her face. His honey gaze, which glittered faintly in the moonlight, danced between the woman in his grasp to the voices closing in.

    “Come on.”

    Without even the chance of protest, the man roughly dragged her back into the shadows of the underbrush, yanking her down into the protective cover. A rather dirty and calloused hand was placed over her mouth to silence her, though unnecessary. Only a fool would speak as feet stormed past their hiding spot. Mere moments felt like hours as they remained perfectly still, pressed firmly against one another to remain out of view. If her mind was not under the adrenaline rush of attempting to stay alive, the young woman would have been more conscious of the stranger’s body held against her back.

    “Anything?”

    “Nothing, sir. Nothing but a dead wolf.”

    “Still fresh. Fan out and search the surrounding area, they cannot have gotten far.”

    The soldiers quickly dispersed, their muffled footsteps in the loamy earth quickly fading away. As soon as the night air was full of nothing more than the sounds of nature, the young woman quickly pried the man’s hand from her mouth and ungracefully wriggled free from his grasp,

    “Fool, do you think they’re gone yet?! What are you doing?!”

    “They are gone and I am getting out of here.”

    Standing, the Oracle gave a stretch, relieving herself from the cramped hiding spot.

    “You stupid wen-“

    “SIR, FOUND THEM!”

    The point of a steel blade was placed firmly at the woman’s back, daring her to move and skewer herself in the process. Glancing over her shoulder she saw the Imperial soldier at the ready, escape would be impossible.

    “Impressive, but wasted effort.” The slick and superior voice of a Thalmor guard came from her right, and she bristled with rage, “Did you honestly think you would escape? Foolish, terribly foolish. Guards, bind her and her…accomplice and take them away.”

    “I’m not her-“

    It took several guards to wrestle down the man that had previously saved her, but it was not long before they were both being walked back through the night to Solitude.

    …At least I am not alone this time and…

    Though it was difficult to see, the young woman grasped at any nearby plant for potential ingredients, even going so far as to stumble into them for a handful. This was far from over.

    “…This is not your first time being imprisoned, is it?”

    Murky eyes cautiously gazed at the man leaning against the cell wall, a permanent frown fixed on his face which only seemed to deepen at her question,

    “No, but what is it to you? More importantly, aren’t you a little young to be a criminal?”

    It was the Oracle’s turn to glare, her visible eye driving daggers into him.

    “I will have you know that I am an adult. Aren’t you a little old to be running around outside, picking mountain flowers?”

    Though the irritation was clear on his face, a hint of a playful smirk quirked the corner of his mouth at her well-timed retort,

    “I’m a tracker, actually, following the trail of my wolf after some bandits got their hands on him…or I was until I got pulled into your mess.”

    The young woman sighed and brought her attention back to her work, crushing herbs with a stray stone scattered throughout their cell.

    “I did not ask for your help, tracker. You did that of your own volition.”

    “Well the weepy puppy gaze you gave me certainly begged otherwise. You should be thanking me for the assistance.”

    Thank you, sir. There, happy now?”

    “Hardly.” He growled as he pushed himself from the stone wall and made his way over to where she was crouched. “We are still trapped here, set to be executed in a few hours and you’re mushing plants-“

    “Shush, will you?!”

    The man glared once more but settled down quietly beside her. A few moments of silence passed between the two, with nothing but the subtle grind of stone against stone to fill the musty air.

    “What is your name?”

    The young woman paused in her motions, gaze turning to him with hesitation.

    “…Usagi. And what about you? Or shall I just continue to address you as ‘tracker’?”

    “Bishop, though you could use ‘Sir’ as well, if you’d like.”

    Usagi rolled her eyes at his playful jab, not even dignifying it with a response. However the action sent a stabbing pain through her left eye socket, yanking a small yelp from her lips. Her minor sign of weakness caught Bishop’s attention and without much thought to his actions, he brought a hand to her chin, turning her head to face him once more.

    “Did they do that to you?”

    Specification was not necessary, both knew only a few were cruel enough in their torture methods. Apparently the Thalmor were not great believers of divine gifts and rather thought she was a Stormcloak spy, or a whole new rebellion all together. A little pain always brought out the truth right?

    With a small twist of her head, she yanked it from his grasp.

    “I am going to get us out of here and then I am going to spread the word on exactly what kind of people the Thalmor are and exactly what they have planned.”

    Bishop quirked an eyebrow at the sudden venom and determination that laced her previously gentle, if not juvenile voice. She was serious, that much was clear.

    “And? What is it that they’re plotting?”

    Pausing at her grinding, Usagi frowned,

    “…I don’t know exactly. But it’s bad. Very bad. We are talking the destruction of an entire empire, Bishop, everyone will fall with it.”

    “Don’t you think you’re being a bit overdramatic? The Thalmor are just one group of people, after all.”

    Narrowing her eyes, the Oracle firmly met his amber gaze.

    “It is the truth, and whether you believe me or not, you too will see it fulfilled one day unless we do something to stop it.”

    “Excuse me, ladyship, but ‘we’? Oh, no, no, no-“

    “Done!”

    Ignoring his refusal, Usagi stood, a proud smirk settling on her lips as she rolled the tightly compacted ball of crushed herbs in one hand.

    “Dare I ask what you have completed?”

    “Concentrated fortify strength supplement. All of the ingredients of the potion in a convenient bite. However it only lasts for a short time as you can’t swallow it. You would probably die from some sort of poison if you did.” Chiming laughter danced from her pale lips, as if death was but a fairytale. Bishop merely stared up at her in a mix of shock and wariness, perhaps even a little amusement.

    “Listen,” Sighing, Usagi frowned down at her companion, “We both know I would not have a chance of getting out of here on my own and I also got you involved in this in the first place. So what do you say we strike up a deal? You assist me to get us both out of here and then I help you find your wolf.”

    An innocent pale hand extended to the tracker who eyed it with suspicion as he weighed his options. Finally with an exasperated sigh he pulled himself off the stone, folding his arms firmly over his chest.

    “Fine, purely because I would like to see how a little rabbit like you could track a wolf. But if you slow me down don’t even think I would hesitate leaving you behind. Dead weight is dead weight and I look out only for myself. If you just happen to escape at the same time, then that’s fortunate for you, understand?”

    A small snort of laughter was her only reply, amused by his sudden need to defend his independence. Instead she popped the ball in her mouth and chewed as she approached the bars. The supplement quickly took affect with a quick burst of strength and Usagi grabbed the bars, bending them slowly apart. The creak of straining metal rang through the dungeon, though nowhere near as loud as the explosion she had caused previously. Once the space was wide enough for the two of them she hopped out, spitting the remains of the herbs to the side.

    “Come on, ranger, let’s track that pup.”

    ~~~~~~~~~~

    Just barely under the word count oh boy. >-<

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by  TheMoonWitch.
    Breanna Flamekeeper
    Participant
    Post count: 27

    The journey had been slow and tedious, this damn paladin was making it hard for me to enjoy my skills at being a thief, and a nightingale no less. Still haven’t found the heart to return that skeleton key yet; it was proving to be too useful. Casavir was proving useful with his healing magic since I run into trouble more than I would care to admit. We had just finished fighting some bandits on the road near Riverwood. The last of them turned tail and ran. I drew an arrow, time slowed as I aimed then releasing the arrow, it hit its mark right through the chest killing him. “My lady, that was not very honorable,” he said.
    “Think of it as natural selection, anyone who is stupid enough to think they could rob the Dragonborn should die,” I said simply. He constantly questions my methods, and sneak around when dealing with my jobs for the Guild, where proving to be difficult, I’ve simply had enough. I’d travel to the wall of oblivion if it meant more entertainment than the excitement I was having with this tin can. Reaching Riverwood, I gave the reigns of my horse to Casavir to stable, “I will get us some rooms and a meal. I’m having a bath. Did you want one?” I asked shouldering my pack. He shook his head in agreement, “Yes, that sounds pleasant.”

    It had been awhile since I had been to The Sleeping Giant Inn, Orgnar would be sight for sore eyes. The last rays of light where disappearing over the mountains. Twilight, my favorite part of the day. My mama always told me I had the eyes of a Khajiit even though I was a Breton. A couple of drunk men were hanging around, “Oh look at this beautiful lass, she looks thirsty. I think I might buy her a pint of brew,” he said in my direction raising his mug. Not sure how he could see me under my hood, I usually wear my magus circlet but when I enter towns I don’t like to be recognized. UGH, I was not in the mood for drunk men, his companion, who was even drunker yelled, “Hey baby, want to lip wrestle with me?” I pull my arm back and punch him right in the nose. He fell to his knees in pain, blood gushing out, and his friend starts laughing at him. I turn and walk up the stairs, “Did that make you feel better, Princess?” A shadowed figure asked, “No, because I always throw my punches in two’s, did you want the other one?” I ask. He laughed, laughed right to my face. I pulled back my arm to throw my second punch, but he moved at the last second grabbing my arm and spinning me, pinning me with my back against his chest. “If you’re looking for someone to kiss your boots, Princess, you should look elsewhere,” he said in my ear. I struggle against him. He was strong. I suppressed a growl, taking a deep breath to not let my wolf take over me, he let go. I turned around to get a better look at him, tall and rugged, with dark auburn hair and a pair of golden eyes, a shade I had never seen before. “You look like you handle yourself pretty well. You available to hire?” I inquired.
    “What does a wench like you need a tracker for?” he asked.
    “Does it matter what I need a tracker for? Gold is gold,” I said.
    “I never said that you could hire me,” he grumbled.
    “Yeah, guess not, you look like you’re really busy holding up that wall there,” I replied.
    His lip curled up exposing his canines as he chuckled, “Feisty, with a sense of humor, I like it. Let’s say you do me a favor and then I would owe you one,” he says, examining my sparkling green eyes.
    “If you want favors you can ask the local wenches,” I replied tartly.
    “Don’t flatter yourself, Princess. Not that kind of favor, I just need some help retrieving something of mine,” he continued. Well, whoever this man was he obviously needed help. I did like helping people.
    “What can I help you with?” I asked.
    “My wolf Karnwyr he went missing a week ago. When I went looking for him I found that he had been captured by some trappers, there trail leads east of here. I wouldn’t need your help but these trappers have grown into a small army of bandits, and I’m not about to go stumbling into their den with out another pair of eyes and skilled hands,” he said.
    “I will help you get your pup back, ranger, but we do so tomorrow. I am in need of a bath, food, and a bed in that order. I am Breanna, what can I call you?” I asked entering The Sleeping Giant as he followed me in. “Just Bishop,” he replied.

    “Orgnar, Bath, rooms, food and mead, please,” I greeted him.
    “Well if it isn’t Breanna Flamekeeper, been a long time since I saw you last, you know where the bath is but I only got one room,” Orgnar said.
    “That’s fine, I guess we can bunk together like usual,” I replied.
    “Bunk with who, princess?” Bishop asked, helping himself to some mead.
    At that moment Casavir appeared at my side, “with me,” he said. Bishop was annoyed and amused at the same time. How in oblivion did Casavir of all people get to enjoy this minx?
    “Let’s have that bath now,” I said reaching up under Casavir’s cuirass to pull him along, enjoying Bishop’s jaw on the floor and Casavir’s blushing cheeks as he protested.
    “My Lady, that is not proper.”
    “I thought you were going to guard me from danger?” I asked with a bit of laughter in my voice.
    “My Lady, I can stand guard outside the door,” Casavir said, stopping at the door way refusing to enter. The only fun I ever have with Cas is when he gets all flustered.
    Bishop moved to the door way, “Well, if you’re offering princess, I’ll join you, help scrub your back,” he said with a mischievous smile. “NO!” Both Casavir and I said in unison. Bishop looked a bit deflated but I felt he was not going to give up that easily. Casavir finally gave in and entered the bathing room with me.

    Sometime later I emerged from the bathing room combing my fingers through my long red hair, Bishop holding up the wall near the door like he previously was outside, a smirk of amusement on his face. “Did you enjoy that as much as I did, Ranger?” I asked, glancing at him from the corner of my green eyes.
    “Your hobbies are amusing princess, you enjoy watching the paladin trip over himself. I knew there was something that I liked about you, but the man under all that armor wants you, and one of these days he’s going to break, you should be ready when it happens,” he said, then headed off to his room that was right next to ours. I wondered what he was thinking, who was the man behind the ranger? I would have lots of fun with these two if I played my cards right.
    Casavir was not happy that I had agreed to help Bishop, “My Lady you should not trust him, he is deceitful and only cares for himself,” he said protesting sitting on the edge of the bed in our rented room next to me.
    “I am not the fair maiden you paint me as Cas, I am a woman that has seen many things, I read people very well, everyone has darkness in them, even you,” I said taking his hand in mine, to comfort him. He was shocked by my words and looked defeated, he went to protest but I cut him off. “Stop denying it, the more you lie to yourself the unhappier you will be, you need to come to terms with whatever issues happened in your past, you can also choose to leave my services if you are that unhappy with my decisions, now let’s get some sleep,” I said pushing him down on the cot and had fallen in next to him pinning him between me and the wall on the cot before he could protest about sleeping on the floor. I was getting lonely sleeping by myself all the time.
    A moment had passed before Casavir spoke, “Breanna I will stay by your side for as long as you need me,” he said placing his hand on my arm. It was the first time that he had called me by my name.
    A few days into our journey a roar came from the sky and the ground shook. I drew my bow. Bishop had eyed its workmanship. I could only begin to guess if he knew its origins, being a nightingale. Most of my armor was nightingale as well. I know he sure enjoyed watching me walk in front of him as my hips swayed in the tight fabric, “Want to see who the better archer is? I asked with a wink.
    Bishop laughed, “what’s the mark Princess?”
    “The dragon’s eye,” I said as it came roaring down on us Casavir running past us to grab the Dragon’s attention while we attacked it with our ranged weapons. “Tiid Klo Ul” I shouted. Time slowed as I drew an arrow and aimed took a breath in then released the arrow as I exhaled. My arrow found its mark with deadly accuracy, time caught up to me and the dragon reared in pain. I didn’t wait to watch if Bishop made his mark, I pulled my cloak from my head letting my loose curls fall down my back pulling my dagger and short sword from my hips I ran in to join Cas.

    He stared in awe. She was quite the woman, so sure and confidant of who she was, never willing to back down from a fight even against a dragon. She is a beautiful warrior goddess. The stance she took as she drew her bow was from long hard training, it was perfect. The craftsmanship of her bow was very unique, and both her bow and armor carried the sigil of a night bird cradling the moon in its wings which only symbolized one thing – she was a nightingale in the service of the Lady Nocturnal. Bishop drew his arrow and let it fly but too distracted by the flaming hair trail behind her blades drawn to attack the beast, his arrow just hit the beast’s snout. The dragon turned to snap at her. He shot three arrows in unison to dissuade it from tasting her flesh. Casavir called for her to use her voice. What did he mean by that, he wondered. She opened her mouth and spoke that strange language again, “Mid Vur Shaan,” she shouted, both Bishop and Casavir’s weapons began to glow blue with strange powers filled with battle fury. The language she spoke was full of power. Casavir had lunged in with his great sword. Ripping it out caused a splash of blood that sprayed across Breanna. She climbed atop the beast’s head sticking her sword into the dragon’s skull as she used her dagger to stab around her sword in various places. Pulling her blades from the beast she jumped down from its falling head and tumbled out of the way. Bishop had raced to her side, fearing her injured as she hadn’t gotten up.

    Bishop hauled me to my feet but my legs still gave out and I sunk against him, as the dragon’s power left it to ashes and bones. Its power swirled around me. I took a sharp breath as its power found its way into my body and the pain that came with absorbing it was not as bad as the last dozen times or so. I looked up into Bishop’s golden eyes, I saw something in them but not sure what, he looked down at me covered in the blood of a dragon body still humming with power and kissed me. His soft lips captured mine, I felt his raw sexual energy flood through him and into me, he finally broke the kiss after some time, “why didn’t you tell me you were the Dragonborn?” He asked his breath ragged.
    “I thought you preferred tavern wenches?” I asked out of breath as well.
    “I have my eyes trained on a better target than any tavern wench,” he replied.
    “Are you telling me you prefer a woman covered in the blood of her enemies?” I asked glancing at the state I was in.
    “Mm, not a perfect woman is she, more’s the pity,” he said pulling me tight against him. Raw desire mixed with regret shone through his eyes as Casavir’s gauntlet fist smashed into the side of Bishop’s head knocking him a few steps back. Casavir pulled me into his arms. “Don’t touch her you wild animal. Keep your hands to yourself, Ranger,” Casavir hissed. Bishop came up with his knife drawn, Casavir pushed me protectively behind him.
    “You know Paladin, she doesn’t need you to defend her honor; she is quite capable of doing that herself,” Bishop said, holding his razor sharp weapon.
    “Zun Haal Viik, “ I shouted making them both drop their weapons. “Bishop is right, Casavir, I am quite capable of taking care of myself. It’s no concern of yours who I kiss, and if you’re going to fight, use your fists. No killing each other!” I said, storming off to find a stream to wash the dragon blood from my armor.

    It had been two weeks since we set out on the journey to collect Bishop’s wolf. It had been amusing to listen to these two banter. Bishop had been right; Casavir was about to break. I pondered whether it was a mercy to let him for once be truthful to himself or if it was cruel teasing him. It’s not as if Casavir wasn’t attractive. I had wondered what his lips would taste like, what raw passion would come through like the river breaking the dam. But there was something about Bishop that I was drawn to, something in me wanted to help him, help him more than retrieving his wolf. He needed saving. His sharp tongue and wit hid something that was broken within him. I froze all of a sudden as we traveled across the land, “My Lady, are you well?” Casavir asked for he was always attentive with me. I fell to my knees, nauseous with the sudden chanting in my head, there was a word of power near. I took a deep breath as I was hauled to my feet, shocked to find myself in Bishop’s strong arms. My lungs tightened and my heart jumped to my throat. I looked up into his golden eyes and swallowed. Concern mixed with regret painted on his face for a moment before returning to his unreadable features.
    “Do you need help with a rock in your boot again?” He asked tenderly, bringing on the memory of how he caressed my skin even though it felt like he was going to rip my leg out of its socket when he pulled my boot off.
    “-N… No, Bishop, a word of power is near, in that direction.” As I pointed to the base of a mountain in the distance you could see a ruined temple, and surprise crossed his face.

    “Word of power?” he asked.
    “Yeah, it’s a Dragonborn thing,” I said, turning and heading to the ruin.
    “Last warning, Bishop. Keep your hands off of her,” I heard Casavir snap at Bishop.
    “It must be hard for you to watch me slowly steal her from you,” Bishop goaded him. I shook my head, BOYS!

    The ruins were scattered with cultists. I stealthily took them out with each arrow. Bishop even got a few. Bishop seemed to be getting even more agitated as we moved deeper into the ruins. The narrow passageways opened up to a large room with six cultist and their leader. They were easily picked off but I could have swore I heard one yell, “she’s here.” The room led down a corridor and there was another path Bishop had volunteered to scout, going the other way. As he stopped for a moment, the look he gave me scared me, like he was saying goodbye. The corridor was a path that lead above an open room and was caged with bars, possibly to prevent falling. This did not feel right, something was wrong. I took a few steps and noticed some more acolytes at the end of the hall; this was a trap.

    “Breanna, My Lady,” Casavir spoke to halt me. “There is something amiss,” he urged again for me to stop. I had to continue, several things were happening at once.
    “Cas, please wait here,” I told him. He nodded as he saw my eyes change from their sparkling green to the glowing red of the werewolf. I held the change to utilize the senses as a wolf, but not fully turn. I had to do this alone. When I reached the middle, my vision blurred and a voice louder than the chanting took over.
    “Well done, Ranger you brought me the red haired beauty I spoke of, you may have your wolf back. You have both served me well,” the voice said. A Daedric Prince, I should have known, but which one was I dealing with? I didn’t blame Bishop for what he did; we were, after all, getting his wolf back, however under false pretences. It’s not like you have any choice but to go along with the Daedric anyways. But it would be a cold day in Oblivion if these Princes would get the better of me.

    Setsuna
    Participant
    Post count: 9

    My entry for the competition…

    When the Winds Call
    ________________________________________________________________________

    The cold and bitter wind blew harshly today piercing like a thousand needles on soft flesh biting at the naked milky pale skin through the holes of a half wood elf’s clothing while her blood dripped heavily on the half frozen forest floor. Her waist length, fluffy curled, white hair was a mess covered in twigs and blood. Her own blood and of her enemies’. The talons of a dragon left large gashes on her back and a sword had punctured her side. I knew better than to trust a mercenary and yet I did so anyway! How foolish of me, she thought as her half focused intense green eyes under black arched brows tried to glared hatefully onto the direction a head with a small cave not to far off if one where walking, which she was not. I will not die here! I can not die here! I refuse! She crawled and clawed her way through the dirt not having the strength to stand.

    The half-ling barely managed to make it into the cave before she lost all strength and darkness began to take her into it’s cold embrace. Well at least she had one comfort to leave the world with. That dragon and mercenary where both six feet under. Suddenly her eyes landed on a white stag with golden antlers and hoofs, who stood next to her as their eyes met with faces only inches from one another. ‘He is coming… you must hang on…’ a voice called out in me mind.

    “Who?” she asked in a pained whisper.

    ….

    Karnwyr roamed the forest ahead of Bishop, who wasn’t to far behind as they hunted for a rare white deer also called ‘Vara-Dvalinn’. It was said to be one of the forest’s most beautiful creatures in all of Skyrim. It was allusive as a ghost and said to lead one to his rightful fate be it good or bad. It could cure the un-healable, bring luck, or bless those worthy. Un-tamable, deadly with it’s sharp golden horns that was a strong as iron, and also as powerful and majestic as any dragon that now roamed these unsettled and wild lands that only the brave, experienced, or stupid would tread.

    Bishop liked the wilds as they were, but something had disturbed the forest this day. Curious he followed and come upon a battlefield in a small clearing. The ground was scorched black with dragon fire and a large hole was left in the ground when it plummeted to the earth and where it took it’s last breath. Two corpses where left behind. One of a nord man with long blond hair, who laid face down in soaking the burnt ground in his blood and the other the dragon.

    His wolf like golden eyes looked over the battlefield as if he saw the engagement before his very eyes. He crouched as he watched in his mind’s eye sort of view. “There where two people here…” he said in his rugged voice after a moment of silence with the wind rustling the leaves and grass was the only other sound to be heard besides his voice. With his large hand he picked up a patch of dirt and took a whiff. “One was a woman. The foot prints are far to small to be a man’s,” he continued as he let the dirt slip though his fingers. “He betrayed her. She’s injured, but was able to kill them both. Her foot steps lead east of here… likely she’s dead already.”

    He sighed as he stood. It was certain that the white deer would be miles away with all the noise this battle would have certainly caused. It would not cost him much time too see where the female warrior had died. She was not at all to hard to track down with all the blood everywhere. Then there was the pack of wolves. He could hear them howling in the distance… hunting was he was also now after. He was surprised how far she had come as he passed three miles east. It was impressive she had gotten so far in the state she must have been in. She was strong and the world was lesser for her lose or he thought she was lost to the world.

    The sound of a wolf in pain met his ears as he come close to a cave that had a tree growing on top of it hiding it well from an untrained eye, but for him he saw it clear as one would see in day. Wolves where closing in on the spot. “FUS RO DAH!” as shout came and many a wolf flew back and into the air. Frightened by the sudden burst of power that had hit and killed several of their members the wolves fled. Their need for survival out matched their hunger for such a meal.

    She’s alive… he thought in sudden awe. He had to meet such a creature that could survive so many trials that most would be dead by now. Of course Bishop wasn’t stupid by any means. He knew what the power was and that was a thu’um of the Dragonborn. A Dragonborn he had heard of in many taverns and towns as he pasted by. He had heard she was half elf and half nord with the only indications of her elven blood being those long, elegant shaped, elven like ears and the snow color of her softly curled hair. She was said to be a beauty without compare, but also an outsider to all that stood by her side. She was also to strong, who’s heart no man had ever concurred. Well they also said she could shoot lighting out of her ass, but that was impossible and would be ridiculous if it where true. However, now he was to met her and see if any of the stories were true.

    He cautiously approach his steps not making a sound as he honed in on his prey. Her back was against the wall of the cave for support as she stood half-dead. She was unable to keep her head up as it drooped down to face the stone floor of the cave. The Dragonborn was shorter than he imagined barely able to reach his shoulder if they stood back to back. Her legs where shaking from the strain as she coughed up blood. “Shouting… like that may have not of been… the best of ideas.” she said to herself as she slide down her blood covering the stone wall of the cave panting loudly with a dead wolf on her right. He at first thought of leaving her there to her own devices, but something in the back of his mind beckoned him to stay like a light in the darkness drawing you in close. So against his better judgment he decided he would let his presence be known.

    “Seems the stories of the Dragonborn are quite true,” Bishop said as he leaned against the threshold of the cave. “Except for the height, shorty. Oh and is the lighting shooting out your ass true?”

    Her head shot up with an inelegant jerk of her head, “They can never get the height right and Gods I hope that’s not true,” She replied through clench teeth though there was slight humor in her horsed voice. She looked up at the man who had spoken. It was obviously not the mercenary who betrayed her earlier. His wolfish amber eyes seemed to glow in the darkness of the cave. He was very tall or at least he seemed very tall with her on the floor and all. She couldn’t be sure. Maybe he was an spirit or demon of the afterlife coming to guide her to the other side. She didn’t really care either way with all the pain she was in, but of course she didn’t want to die even if she was in pain. Her eyes try to focus on him, but she couldn’t see his face clearly and things were so fuzzy… it was a bit annoying. “Not that it matters…” she said on the verge of passing out again. At least she wouldn’t die alone here. Maybe he would be kind enough to bury her so the crows wouldn’t peck out her eyes after she had died.

    She was falling over back into darkness’s cold embrace when he moved with a quickness she had never seen before as he stopped her head from bashing into a sharp spiky rock that’s gagged edges would of surely finished her off. Then she could see his face as he looked into her green eyes seeing a fire of life still in dwelling within them. He was one hell of an image to leave his world with if she had any say in that manner. He has a scar over one of his eyes that extended to his cheek that mad him sexier. Nice high cheekbones and strong chin. His nose wasn’t overly baring like many men in Skyrim had and those eyes where some of the most beautiful shade of molten gold she had ever seen. His skin was tanned with all the time he had spent in the sun with a five O’clock shadow gracing his handsomely shaped face. His hair was chopped short in a copper red color, but was pushed up and messy in that sexy sort of way, but by her guess he could of woke up like that.

    “You need treatment,” he said.

    “Thanks for the obvious…” she replied with half sarcasm as she passed out again.

    ….

    She woke the the crackling of a warm fire as someone with warm rough hands was wrapping linens around her wounds. His hands where large and surprisingly gentle as they worked there magic over her broken little body. It was strange. She felt safe. Protected. Like she had nothing to worry about as long as she was here.

    After the rise of Alduin there was no where she could go and be safe. That was was proven time and time again. She felt like a poison harming everything that came to near… to close. It took a while for her to realize that she had to push everyone away and kept them at a distance, but she had not learned enough. She hand trusted that blond little mercenary. Their partnership was suppose to be just business. He’d come along with her for fame and gold and she would have a travel companion for the long road a head. He wanted a reputation more than gold and have the Dragonborn’s head seemed like the fastest road to that with her injured because of the battle with the dragon. So he put a blade into her belly, but not before she could put a small knife into his neck.

    All this time she had been alone and those she ever become close to windup hurt or killed. She had no choice, but to run, to fight, or to die for many a year; from dragons, to vampires, to Miraak, or to Alduin himself for her enemies where plentiful and all wanted her head. Now she laid her on a bedroll and she never felt safer or more exposed as his hands gently worked their charm across her skin bewitching her.

    She was rather surprised she was still alive. That stag was very strange. It was like it was talking to her and keeping her alive until this man came. Some would say he was a beast in sheep’s clothing with the way those eyes would focus or even glare, but she couldn’t help herself from liking them. He is quite rugged and wild, but how could such callused hands be so gently? He must of killed many creature and people alike. Fascinating…

    She opened her eyes peeking at him from under black lashes. He didn’t notice she had awaken as he eyed her wound with such focus. She like that. Most would of be checking out her body… or worse taking advantage, but not this man. “Well don’t you have a gentle touch,” she said smirking weakly.

    “Didn’t want to wake her highness,” He replied looking up at her.

    “Thank you for that,” she said gentle. “Where’s the stag?”

    “Stag?” Bishop asked in surprised. “There was only you in that cave and that dead wolf.”

    “I swear there was this white stag not two feet from me. It… it talked. Gods I must have been delirious with blood lost or something.” the Dragonborn said shaking her head in denial. “Though I have met an actually real talking dog before… so I wouldn’t of been surprised.”

    “Did you hit your head?” he asked cocking his eyebrow at the woman.

    “Last time I checked… no. He was the dog of the Daedric Prince Haemar named Barbas. I just brought him back to his rightful owner is all.” she told him as she trying to sit up.

    “You serve daedra?” He asked glaring at her.

    “No, I just returned the guy’s dog is all to be nice otherwise I’d be stuck with a mutt. Damn this hurts!” She groaned holding her stomach for her back wasn’t nearly as bad when it came to pain.

    “Then maybe you shouldn’t sit up,” he said sarcasticly.

    “More like don’t trust a mercenary.” She replied she muttered then growled sarcasticly. “Look let’s be friends and let me travel with you to slay some dragons… you can trust me. No you just stab me in the stomach… Asshole!”

    The man snorted amused at her humorous antic of what happened, “Never trust life is easier that way.”

    “You said it,” She agreed with a nod as she smirked at him. “Thanks for treating my wounds and by the way my name is Kainaya.”

    He simply shrugged his shoulder not sure why he had helped her in the first place. He just did. “The name is Bishop. I’m going to get more fire wood.”

    “Okay…” She replied as she watched him walk away cocking her head as she looked at his fine ass and blushed. Oh Gods! Did I just check out his ass?! What the hell?!?!?!

    ….

    When Bishop returned he found her petting the white stag he had been searching for. It was more beautiful than he had ever imagined. It’s head was bowed toward the sitting girl as she gently petted it’s snout. It seemed to be glowing in a gently white light. “Your ‘Vara-Dvalinn’,” Bishop said as the gathered wood slipped through his fingers and at the moment he didn’t care.

    ‘I am,’ The voice in his head replied. ‘I am the spirit of the forests of this world and a teller of fortune. Many have search for me… very little have found me. You have looked for me and I have found her. The last of a dying breed. A Dragonborn. Both strong and weak. One that could shape the world how she sees fit. Yet she does not. What is it you seek, Bishop?’

    “I wanted to know if the legend was true,” he replied as he approached and also patted the stag mostly to see if it was real or not.

    ‘And you know not road to trend upon,’ the Stag replied with a sadden voice. ‘I kept her alive so you may meet. She will lead you to your path. Where she leads you is up to yourself.’

    Bishop looked at the girl as she smiled widely at him. “Isn’t he beautiful?” She asked with a slightly child like delight and ignorant of the stag’s words as his hand slipped over her’s.

    “Yes it is.” he agreed as she blushed.

    ‘She is as wounded as your soul. Together perhaps it shall heal both of you.’ Vara-Dvalinn informed him.

    Fine… I will travel with her,
    Bishop thought to himself as the Stag disappeared leaving the two alone with their hands still intertwined without his knowledge as they looked into each other’s eyes. When he realized what he was doing he jerked away and then picked up the fire wood he had dropped a bit embarrassed at his own carelessness. There was no way that was ever going to happen, but little did he know her already had her heart…

    Coriana
    Participant
    Post count: 2

    The Northern Maiden was a cargo ship of the East Empire Trading Company that sailed between Windhelm’s port and Solstheim’s. For the right sum, it wasn’t completely unusual for her to take passengers along. Her captain, Gjalund Salt-Sage, would always scoff. Although they did pay to see a land of ash and Dunmer, so who was he to complain?

    Currently, he was taking back two passengers at once to the docks of Windhelm. They had traveled with his ship to Solstheim at separate intervals, and happenchance brought them to come home at the same time.

    One was the Dragonborn. She had traveled with him on many occasions over the years. She had been in Solstheim for a couple years at this point, and the captain had begun to wonder if she would ever return to Skyrim.

    The other was a seedy ranger. The captain couldn’t help but think he accidentally brought back an assassin in disguise. He would have to keep an eye on him.

    The Dragonborn was at the front of the vessel, where she stayed during most of her journeys. Her eyes were clouded and troubled. He wondered if she had been instructed to come back to Skyrim. Even after all these years, she still had a reputation she had to uphold.

    The scent of the sea was sharp – all brine and fish. The captain liked it that way. The cold from Solstheim only got more dense and weighty on the trip. As Windhelm’s port came into view, the distant din of the bell could be heard.

    Out of the corner of his eye, he watched the tall and dark ranger make his way to the Dragonborn in slow, sure strides.

    Yes. That would certainly never work out.

    ***

    Although this had not been the first time that Bishop had seen the Dragonborn in person, it would be the first time he would have direct conversation with her.

    That time had been years ago by now, in a chance communication in Riverwood. He had been outside the door of the Sleeping Giant Inn, to escape the heat and noise. She had passed up the inn to, he assumed, sleep in the small Stormcloak encampment outside of the modest town.

    Before she went by, she asked if he was guarding the door.

    It was a weird question. He remembered just saying no, and to tell herself she wasn’t as important as she thought.

    He remembered her response clearly: “I’m not allowed to go in, because I’ve had a… sour friendship with the owners. I just wondered if they had taken it up a notch.”

    So the Dragonborn was one more person who allowed themselves to be bullied around… it made his chest tighten in annoyance.

    She had left after that. She must have departed earlier than even him the next day, since she wasn’t anywhere to be seen by the morning.

    Perhaps he had been a little rougher than he needed to be, but he mostly blamed it on the fact that he had to track his wolf companion, Karnwyr, down after he had been swiped by trappers. He had been a little on edge as he wondered if he would make it there on time when it came to a pit of gambling, foolish pigs.

    “The great Dragonborn actually pays for sea fare and doesn’t fly around on her dragons?” Bishop said. The words tasted salty to his mouth, but perhaps it was just the sea spray.

    Her sloe-eyed stare looked glassy with lack of recognition.

    She didn’t remember him. It was irritating to Bishop. He would have expected the Dragonborn to remember everything. Especially someone like him. It was like saying he didn’t leave an impression on people.

    Her hair was cut short and ruffled, and was the dark red of molten fire. It was different than she had it all those years ago, when it was long and gathered into a messy bun. It had been a lighter shade then, too.

    “What are you staring at?” Bishop said, merely for the fact that he felt she was staring through him. “Don’t act so surprised that I’m not bowing.”

    “People haven’t bowed to the Dragonborn in a long time,” she said with a small smile. “I never expect it anymore.”

    “Ah, but you used to expect people to worship you and lick your boots I see.”

    “That was a long time ago,” she said as she turned back to the sea. “The status sometimes goes to your head in certain circumstances.”

    Her voice was… uncanny. It was an eerie monotone of self-control. Smooth and even, yet ruptured and jagged. A heavy power held back by only a sheer film of sound.

    Is this what happens when you practice the Way of the Voice?

    It felt odd of her to turn her back towards him. Completely exposed, and yet untouchable. She didn’t seem worried about a knife in her spine.

    He had a bizarre inkling of uncertainty that even though he was this close, his dagger might not make it anyway.

    “What are these circumstances you speak of?” Bishop asked, since she seemed content ignoring him.

    “Hm? I suppose in the height of everything. When everyone is chanting your name, and you’re expected at all the feasts, and your guidance is heeded by officials and Royals… your ego might tend to get bloated.”

    She wore dark pants, and a belt too big for her that draped heavily on her fine hips, which favored the side her sword hung from. She had on high leather boots, where cracks marred their surfaces. She was wearing a loose white shirt, which gaped at the neckline of her pleasant cleavage, and showed the smooth curve of her neck. Her skin was pale, which he assumed came from her Breton heritage.

    “I guess you can’t help being stuck up,” Bishop said, “Being a Breton and all. You came all the way from Daggerfall?”

    “Wayrest, actually.”

    “I would apologize for offending you by saying you were from Daggerfall, but I really don’t care.”

    “It doesn’t matter to me. I’ve been in Skyrim far too many years to still be concerned of the feuds from my ancestors. Breton politics are heavy and sly – Skyrim has been a very different change of pace in comparison.” Her shoulders fell a bit as she thought. “Skyrim is more… blunt. Nords will boulder into anything.”

    “You shouldn’t compare all of us to that dim-witted attitude. Some of us think before diving into battle. Some of us have brains.”

    Another smile. “You seem quite confident in your fighting capability.”

    “I’ve been hunting Giants by the age of ten. For fun. So I can say that I’m more than confident.”

    “Are you sure someone wasn’t shooting them down behind your back?”

    “You little wench…”

    “I’m jesting. You seem to walk around with your bow with enough pride. I’ve never been one for archery, on the other hand.”

    “I didn’t think that a Breton knew what a sword was. Not enough magic in your Manmeri blood to be a mage, ladyship?”

    Without her small, knowing little smile ever slipping, she said, “Mockery to my heritage now? You’re quite amusing. My father wanted me to be a mage. My mother wanted me to be a cook. I suppose neither of them got their wish.”

    “I have a hard time believing that Bretony is even your lineage. I’ve never seen a Breton with red hair before.”

    Her dark blue eyes blinked slowly. “You probably never will.”

    “Not your original color?”

    “Maybe it isn’t. Maybe it is. You never know.”

    “Fine, princess. Keep your secrets. Unless you want to spill the one of what’s the great Dragonborn’s name? That seems to be the best kept secret.”

    “My name…” she said, looking down, presumably lost deep in thought. As if she could possibly forget her own name.

    Unless… she had.

    “A long time ago, my friends used to call me Calandra, or… Calli. But now I’m the Dragonborn. But… I like princess. What’s your name, ranger? Since we’re sharing.”

    “Eh, I don’t know. You offered it so freely, without a bargain. Perhaps your Breton wit has waned in all these years.”

    She laughed, and Bishop’s stomach flopped.

    “Nice loophole, ranger.”

    “Name’s Bishop. Since you asked nicely. How long have you been in Skyrim, princess? It’s a long journey from High Rock.”

    “A little over ten winters.”

    “When did you become the Dragonborn?”

    She let her eyes falter, her voice akin to silk-encased steel. “Same time.”

    “I guess it’s been a while since you’ve played hero. What are you doing with your time now?”

    “It would probably make my parents happy to know that I’ve been studying with a wizard in Solstheim these last few years. And have learned to make a good cup of canis root tea, in the meantime. But I can’t go back on paths I’ve taken. I can’t go back to what they wanted me to be. Imagine that, saying that I should have listened to my parents…” She looked up and Bishop was staring right back. She gave a sheepish smile, innocence in her eyes from her statement. “I guess sometimes our parents do know better.”

    Bishop said nothing.

    Calli continued, “Anyway. That was a long time ago. Nowadays, I’m left to wander and yet I’m still supposed to participate in councils for Skyrim. I’m waiting for when the time comes that I don’t have much to live for, because I’ll revoke my title. Or embrace it, depending on how you look at it.”

    “How would you do that?”

    “I’ll never be able to run from it. Except to the mountains. In the end, I’ll finish my guidance with the Greybeards for the rest of my life. I’ll perfect the Way of the Voice until I can speak to no one and nothing. I’ll be left alone then. A life of solitude and meditation…. I have a lot to repent for.”

    Bishop folded his arms and let out a huff. “Life is too short to waste time being sorry for our actions. People never grow up until they realize that.”

    “Do you not have anything that you regret?”

    Bishop wanted to turn his head to advert her stare, but he wouldn’t allow himself to. “Maybe there are things that I would have done differently, but I would never squander away my life to repent for them. And a life of silence and sitting around doing nothing? Being trapped in a never-ending Dwemer maze would be more entertaining.”

    She was as hushed as the windswept shores. And just as powerful as the ocean beyond.

    “Thank you,” she said.

    Bishop felt his face flush. He turned away.

    “Yeah. Fine.”

    Her bangs shaded the intensity in her eyes. “I guess in the course of these years the Dragonborn is nothing more than tales now. A memory of a time when Alduin darkened the skies. I’ve just faded into the stories, until one day I will just be a part of the yarns and songs, too.”

    “I’d rather stab myself with my own arrow than be sung about in poetic verse… in the stupid Bard’s College…”

    “But is it not what everyone wanted in their younger days?”

    “Nope. Not me. Anyone who sings in Skyrim just sound like drunken louts.”

    “I tend to agree with you. Skyrim is not as musically oriented as the Bretons are but at least they put their soul into it.”

    “A little too much of it, if you ask me. Are you saying the Bretons don’t put their soul into it?”

    Her gaze had returned to the sea again. Windhelm’s docks were very close. He felt the urge from her of just wanting to jump into the icy water and forget.

    “Bretons are passionate and lively,” she said, “Cunning and devious. But maybe we’re just liars, too. Perhaps it’s the Elven blood in us.”

    The Northern Maiden slowly slid into the dock, led by the captain’s patient hand. Calli wrapped a dark red Dunmer shawl around her shoulders, and pulled on a cloak that had been at her feet.

    Bishop watched as she applied her layers against the cold of Windhelm. Or against the peering of eyes. Her face had grown stiff and concerned with thoughts of her upcoming meetings. How could a person of this type of power be held so tightly by other’s hands?

    “Idiot,” Bishop said softly. He tried to keep his tone calm, but there was anger rising in his throat. He hated people bowing to anyone. “Why don’t you run away? Nothing keeps you beholden to anyone.”

    “I do leave,” she said, “but they always seem to know where I am.”

    “I can show you some hiding places where they’ll never find you.”

    She didn’t take him up on his offer, which was a bit disappointing.

    “Do you understand what it’s like being the Dragonborn?” her voice had taken on a low key – dreary, even. Yet there was something behind the masquerade of the simple human words. A restrained warning that there would be no action without a penalty.

    “You’re obviously a controlled milksop that still expects people to fall to their knees in front of you, but no one will anymore. Just an ignorant sass that is too immature to know what an ‘inconvenient’ life is.”

    Bishop expected a flash of anger in her eyes. To rile her up and raise her voice. Anything to ruffle that snake oil appearance.

    Instead, her face had gone blank. “People think of the Dragonborn as the spectacle that the name creates. They think of the festivities they attend, the people they know, the legends they’ve made. They don’t think of the chaos they live. The people wouldn’t want to know the dirty underbelly of any political game. They don’t know how many times I’ve almost been poisoned or stabbed in my sleep. A savior to humanity? Maybe. But no one with too much power should be allowed to live for too long.”

    “You think you’re that much of a danger to stuffed-shirt royalty, huh?”

    She moved closer to him from the railing, now close enough that Bishop could see the freckles that splashed across her upper cheeks and bridge of her nose.

    “I may be a protector of the people, but I’m also their enemy. I’ve been a guard to royalty. I’ve been a murderer to all. I’ve come to know information that is privy only to certain circles. The things you know about the Dragonborn are the things you’ve heard from songs, word of mouth, and assumptions. Do you understand now?”

    Bishop had stiffened his stance. His eyes were narrowed and his frown was set in stone.

    Somehow all of this seemed to be said without malice – mockery seemed a more appropriate word. It would appear that she had a sharp Breton tongue in that pretty mouth after all.

    “I understand,” Bishop said, “I understand that you’re being used because you don’t have the backbone to stand up to them. I’m sorry, princess, but no matter what type of sob story you have hidden behind that pretty face, you still allow them to use you. You still come when they call, sit when they tell you to, and growl if they command. Your story is not that special. Grow up.”

    At that moment, Bishop was sure that she would slap him.

    She seemed shocked at herself that the notion was even considered.

    There were a couple fluttered beats of silence. Bishop knew that the ship mates were watching.

    “I guess you’re right.” Tired did not seem enough to describe her as of now. She seemed to have aged ten years. There was a tone of disgust in her voice. “The story of the Dragonborn title is nothing more than a pawn to royalty, a status to the military, and a paltry joke to humankind.” She turned her face away, whether in shame or wariness, Bishop wasn’t sure.

    The air felt slow and weightless. Time stretched and snapped at once.

    “Where are you headed?” she finally asked.

    “Anywhere the deer trails guide me.”

    “How good are you at tracking?

    “Even if it doesn’t leave spoor, I can track it.”

    “Sounds useful.”

    Calli had reverted back to her steady, unperturbed posture. Her stare didn’t waver. “I want to go with you for now.”

    “I thought you were supposed to report back. Going to stand up for yourself, ladyship?”

    “I won’t report back at this moment,” she said with downcast eyes. “But I won’t run from them, either. I need more time to think. Even with all those years in Solstheim, I didn’t accomplish what I had gone there to do.”

    “And that was what?”

    “To come to terms with everything I’ve done in Skyrim,” she said, her voice quiet. “Perhaps I need to learn to forgive myself while traveling her roads, instead of another’s. Would you take me with you?”

    She seemed demure enough, standing there asking. But there was a newfound fire in her eyes.

    Bishop smirked as he hefted his bow and pack. “Travel with you and understand the real story of the Dragonborn, huh? Maybe I’ll take you up on that. But first we need to pick up a friend of mine. Also, you should know my speech to you isn’t without repercussions. I live my words. You’re not allowed to order me around.”

    “If that makes you happy, sir Bishop.”

    “There’s more than that which you can do for me if you want to make me happy. Lead the way, princess.”

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