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Wyldfyre

Discussion in 'Skyrim Fan Fiction' started by shadowkitty, Sep 10, 2013.

  1. shadowkitty

    shadowkitty Mistress of Shadows

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    Hi to whom ever reads this. So this is my fanfic.. I hope you enjoy it. Please give each chapter a like or whatever rating you feel it deserves so I can see how many people are reading it, just so it encourages me to keep writing. Thank you, and enjoy.


    EDIT: Well It's fifty chapters in and still going strong. I can say now that the rest of the story is only loosely based on the game, so if you continue reading beyond chapter one, you will start to see I break away from the game play, pretty quickly. Be prepared for lots of surprises, epic fights and steamy love scenes..Either way as I read this first chapter I see how my writing has grown better and hope you enjoy it as much as I am.


    [​IMG]

    Wyldfyre: A Skyrim Story

    Chapter one. Helgen.

    Wyldfyre should have stuck to her instincts and not tried to sneak some food out of that encampment of soldiers. It was just too risky and a silly idea. But she was so hungry, having spent many moons climbing down from the mountains that were once her home, battling fierce creatures and even fiercer bitterly cold nights. She spent many nights huddled under her meager moth-bitten piece of scrap she called a blanket, perched on a branch of a tree, clutching her hunting bow, safe from the terrors that roamed the forests. That pitifully small blanket and her bow was all she had left of her home. All she had left to remind her of the family she had lost.

    Now she found herself, hands bound and bleeding, in the back of a carriage with a bunch of other misfits, soldiers of some description and one very mouthy horse rustler. Wyldfyre shut her eyes tight and tried not to show these men any emotion. She did not want to cry even though inside, her heart was breaking. After she was caught she was beaten to almost within an inch of her life, her clothes torn and her precious bow and blanket taken from her. She was sure some of the soldiers would of had their way with her if it had not been for the captain stepping in and ending her torture. She was then bound and thrown into the back of the carriage, hitting her head hard in the process and surrendering to the sweet embrace of darkness.

    When she awoke she was being spoken to by one of the captured soldiers. He was wearing fur armour with a blue cloak. Wyldfyre had no idea what that meant, and she didn’t have any care about it, but he had a kind voice and a nice face, framed by blond hair. He looked at her with pity in his eyes. Something in which she resented, but she listened to him anyway. He was asking her where she came from. No doubt curious why a young woman would turn up in the middle of no-where, half dressed with nothing but a primitive hunting bow to her name. Wyldfyre wasn't interested in answering him. She looked around at the other prisoners when her eyes fell on one man in particular. His head drooped and it was clear he had been beaten as well. Blood had dried and crusted in his hair. He was bound like the rest of them but he also had a gag tied tightly over his mouth. This one is different she thought. There was a presence about him. He was dressed different as well. Like one of those fancy noble men she had seen in the books she had read as a child. She studied him with a keen interest. The way his hair fell over his eyes, the sharpness of his jaw line. Then his head tilted ever so slightly and she was pierced through by pale blue eyes. Wyldfyre returned his gaze and something, if very fleeting, passed between them before the cart jolted suddenly, and the moment was gone. The man returned to his silent defiance and Wyldfyre returned to her slumped, despondent despair. This was not at all like she had planned.

    Her plan was to make her way down out of the mountains. Find some small village somewhere. Maybe get some work on a farm, or hunting game. Then proceed to the next town and the next after that. She wanted to keep moving, as she felt nervous about spending too much time in one place. She had not planned the journey to be so rough, or for it to have taken so long, and she found herself caught in a mountain pass with the snow pelting down and the going hard and exhausting. Her food supplies ran low then ran out altogether. She found it hard to hunt, as she had never experienced snow before. Her village had been set in a hidden vale where the extremes of nature could not make their way in to. Her hunting grounds were deep woods north of the vale that she got to through a network of tunnels under the mountain. Those tunnels. That’s where it began. The horror. She did not want to think about it right then. It was too painful to do so.

    The carriage train made its slow, pondering way through the wilderness until they came to a stop outside what appeared to be a small town. It was surrounded by a high wall made from thick tree trunks and Wyldfyre could see soldiers in towers armed with bows. Flight was not an option at this place. The Driver of her carriage gave a shout and the gates opened slowly to reveal a rather ram shackled town beyond. They continued into the town and passed by houses, and inns. Townsfolk gawked at the new prisoners. Some with hatred, but some with pity. Wyldfyre frowned at all of them, not used to so many eyes on her at once. In her small village in the mountains, it was considered extremely rude to stare as these people did now. She scowled at a young boy who was pointing at her and he cowered into his mothers skirts. No doubt Wyldfyre looked extremely frightening right then. Bloody from her beating, her flaming red hair with all manner of nature stuck to it, and her fierce blue slash tattoo she had down the right side of her face. Out of all of that, nothing was fiercer than her eyes. An unusually brilliant shade of green, her family liked to joke about them being able to produce little bolts of lightning whenever her temper got the better of her. Which was quite often.

    Little did her family know that when Wyldfyre went off into the woods by herself to hunt, she was actually producing real bolts of lightning. But from her fingertips, not from her eyes. She had discovered she could do this quite by accident. One autumn day, as she stealthily stalked a deer through the woods, she did not notice she herself was being stalked. A Sabre cat, so rare in the part of the woods she hunted, had caught her scent and had been following her for some time, waiting for its opportunity to pounce. If Wyldfyre had not been so engrossed in her own hunt, she may have heard a snap of a twig, or the rustle of leaves. If it had not been for the deer suddenly bounding off and breaking Wyldfyre's concentration, she would not have come out of those woods alive that day, for as the deer bounded away, it was then that the big cat decided to strike. Wyldfyre was in the process of standing up and knocked the cat off its flight path and to the side. She was knocked to the ground herself, receiving a gash to her leg and her hunting bow flying out of her hands to land yards away. Stunned, she scrambled backwards until she was forced up against a tree trunk, desperately searching for something she could use as a weapon, anything, before the cat made a second charge. Wyldfyre came up empty and as the cat leapt for her she held up her hands in front of her and poured every bit of energy she could into them to fend off the beast. It all happened so quickly, there was a sudden rush of energy up her arms to her fingers and as she closed her eyes, expecting her life to end, she felt something release and heard a loud crackling sound. The Sabre cat made one howl and then all was quite.

    Wyldfyre sat there, too scared to open her eyes for a few moments. When she finally did she was amazed to see the Sabre cat, lying at her feet, dead. Wyldfyre stared at the cat, and then at her hands, which looked perfectly normal. What had she done? Could she do it again? Did she want to do it again? Wyldfyre turned her attention back to the Sabre cat. She could not bring it home as it was. Her village feared and shunned magic of any kind. To bring the animal home with no visible wounds would be a sure way to get her banished from the clan. So she collected her hunting bow and fired five shots into the cats lifeless body. She also tore her clothes and made a few fresh wounds on her own body to make it seem like she had fought the beast. She hated lying to her family, but it was the only way to keep her secret. That night there was much merriment around the fire and Wyldfyre had to regale them with tales of her great battle with the Sabre cat. It was skinned and the various meat portions shared out amongst the families. Wyldfyre was given the honour of the furs to put on her bed. After that, whenever she could get away, she would go deep into the forest and practice her new arts.

    The cart stopping, jolted Wyldfyre out of her revere and as the soldiers ordered the prisoners down, she suddenly realised that they were in the centre of the town, and in the middle of some more official looking soldiers, was a stone chopping block with a very nasty looking axe leaning against it. Wyldfyre began to panic. What was happening? Why was she here, amongst these criminals and enemies? She hadn’t even committed any crime before she was caught. Was she to be put to death because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time? The prisoners were being asked their names one by one, and when the soldier came to her, he at first looked a little unsure. He looked to the Captain for reassurance and she gave a nod of her head. What a waste the soldier thought. A nod was Wyldfyre's death sentence. This was madness. She had to get away. But how?

    Suddenly the mouthy horse rustler broke away from the group and ran off down the dirt road. He may have got away if not for a quick thinking soldier who loosed an arrow which thrummed into the man’s back and he went slamming into the ground. Wyldfyre's hopes at a quick escape were dashed. One of the blue cloaked prisoners was man-handled towards the chopping block and roughly shoved down onto the ground, his head placed over the red stained stone. Wyldfyre could not make out what he said before his life ended with a swing of the axe man's arm. Wyldfyre had not seen a man beheaded before and she was equally shocked and fascinated. In her panic she had completely forgotten her powers. She had started to master fire and that could have easily burned through her bindings. But how far would she had of got after that?

    Suddenly a great roar unlike Wyldfyre had ever heard rumbled in the distance, breaking the silence and causing everyone to look up to the sky. She thought she saw something way off in the distance, but could not be sure.

    “What was that?” one of the soldiers asked nervously.

    “Nothing” assured the Captain “Keep going. Next!”

    A new amount of tension began to build up amongst everyone in that courtyard. Wyldfyre was escorted between two guards towards the block. She kicked at her captors and tried to summon her powers but in her panic could not even muster a small flame. As she was shoved onto the block there was another almighty roar and as Wyldfyre turned her head towards the tower an enormous winged beast landed on top of it. The ground shook with its landing, and great amounts of rock and debris landed on the people below it. The beast was scaly and black spikes protruded from almost every part of its body. Its great leathery wings wrapped themselves around the ruined tower, and as it open its jaws it spoke words that Wyldfyre could not understand, yet somehow they seemed familiar. The beast has magic in it, Wyldfyre could tell. She could feel the malice and evilness of it shimmer out from its body like hot waves of fire. She could also tell that it wanted her dead. It wanted everyone there dead.
     
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    raido KASAI: 9 Points (I've made it through the first 7 chapters. Really good stuff. I like your writing style.) Apr 30, 2014
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  2. shadowkitty

    shadowkitty Mistress of Shadows

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    CHAPTER TWO escape:

    Completely forgotten, Wyldfyre was able to stand up but immediately staggered to the ground again as the beast shouted something again. The sky turned a dark shade of terror and great fireballs came raining down to smash the town to pieces. Soldiers and citizens ran to and fro, searching for a place to cower and hide, but the great winged beast was relentless in its attack. It spread its wings and took off into the sky. Someone grabbed Wyldfyre by the arm and pulled her towards the tower. She dashed into the small round room to see the other blue cloaked prisoners had gathered there, some of them in the process of removing their comrade’s bindings. The noble man was already shouting orders at his men, and then he and another two were off, back out the doorway into the carnage outside. Wyldfyre turned to her rescuer and saw that it was the kind blond haired blue cloak.

    “Let me get you out of those bindings” he offered.

    “What is that thing?” Wyldfyre gasped, as she offered him her hands.

    “What do you think it is?” he asked with an oddly placed chuckle. He worried at her bindings as they were proving to be a little more stubborn. Finally they were loose and he gently rubbed her wrists.

    “It can’t be a dragon, can it?” Wyldfyre shivered. The blond man looked into her eyes. She could see fear in his. Uncomfortable with his touch, she took her wrists out of his grip. He either didn’t notice or didn’t think to make an issue out of it. He looked around the room. It was sparsely furnished and there were a few rusty swords and maces lying on the floor. He picked up one of the swords, weighed it in his hands and looked at her.

    “Now see if you can find yourself some sort of weapon and follow me. Alright? Stick with me”. Wyldfyre grabbed the nearest sword and tested the grip. She had not really had much experience with a one handed weapon like that, preferring her bow. But she had lost that when...

    A great crash sounded from above as part of the tower was blown inwards and a gust of fire blew through the gaping hole. The Dragon. The room heated up like a volcano, it was almost unbearable. From her position, Wyldfyre could see the winged beast flying off again to turn its attention to another part of the town. The door through which the noble and his men had escaped through before was now blocked by rubble and so the only way for Wyldfyre and her companion was up the stairs of the tower and through the hole the Dragon had just made.

    “Ok you need to jump into the next building can you do that?” he yelled at her over the noise of the fighting. Wyldfyre peered out into the building below. Its roof had collapsed and it was on fire, but she could see a place where she could safely land. She thanked her years of scampering through the woods, climbing trees and jumping from branch to branch. She nodded and her companion hefted himself through the gap. He landed heavily and stumbled slightly, then moved off through the building. In a moment he was concealed by flames and Wyldfyre panicked. So she launched herself off the tower in to the burning building. She thankfully landed fine and made her way through the house, down to the next level and jumped over some more burning debris to the front door. Looking out she saw the devastation the Dragon had caused to the rest of the town. Blackened charred remains of bodies scattered the street beyond, and every building but one had been reduced to burning rubble. People were shouting, screaming, dying.

    It was that one building that she saw her blond blue cloak running towards now. So she steeled herself and charged off into the melee. Great fiery boulders crashed around her, and the Dragon was still roaring and casting its own deadly flames upon buildings and people. Soldiers were loosing every arrow they could at the beast but to no avail. Wyldfyre witnessed one soldier being roasted alive by the Dragon, before another was grabbed in its great claws and dropped from a height, slamming into a burning cart before her. The air with alive with flames and sparks. The hairs stood up on her arms. If it wasn’t so terrifying, Wyldfyre would have found the whole experience exciting. She saw the man gesturing to her on the steps of the only building left intact and made her way towards it.

    “Quick! Into the Keep!” someone yelled.

    She ran up the steps and they both made it into the building.

    “Through here” her companion urged. They passed through the entry into the next room which was quite large. A massive fireplace was still burning and there was a pot of something cooking over the fire. Wyldfyre went over to it immediately and spooned the mixture into her mouth. It was something with meat and vegetables and it was the best thing she had ever tasted. But that was probably due to her not having eaten for days.

    “Hungry eh?” her companion chuckled. “By the way, I forgot to introduce myself. My name is Ralof”.
    “Wyldfyre”. She handed him the spoon.

    Blue eyes studied the woman who had now finally identified herself. She was quite tall. Nearly as tall as him, and had hair in a red like he had never seen before. Under all the dirt was some sort of tribal tattoo down the right side of her face. Full red lips and a body that was made for, well... pretty much anything. He noticed a large scar across her thigh. From the looks of it, a bear, no a sabre cat. So a hunter then. Damned shame she got caught up in all this, he thought to himself. It was her eyes that really caught his attention though. So green.


    She noticed him staring at her and she frowned at him, so he turned his attention to the cooking pot. Not wanting to linger too long Wyldfyre searched around the room for anything she could take for herself that could be useful. She found some leather boots that she put on, a linen tunic that she pulled over the rags she was already wearing, a pair of soft gloves went on her hands. An iron helm was stuffed down over her wild hair. She found a leather satchel which she filled with a steel dagger, some carrots and apples, a loaf of bread and some sort of cheese wedge that smelt funny. She also found a rough blanket to replace her stolen one, and this one at least had no holes in it. Ralof was also gathering supplies. Outside they could both here the Dragon was still attacking the town. Ralof made the decision to move further into the keep to try and find an alternate route out of the town.

    They made their way through various corridors, climbed down numerous stairs down into the bowels of the keep. A couple of times they encountered some red soldiers, the fighting awkward and bloody. Wyldfyre did the best she could with the rusty sword she had. But she was no one handed fighter, and so left the killing to Ralof. She dearly missed her bow. At one stage far below the keep, a tunnel collapsed, so they had to retrace their steps. They came upon some of the other blue cloaked prisoners who had the same thought for escape under the keep. They continued on and after reaching a vast cavern they were ambushed by more of the red soldiers. The blue cloaks rushed in for the fight, but Wyldfyre held back. One of the red soldiers over to the right was using a bow. Not like her hunting bow, but this one had curves and markings on it and she could see it was far more superior to her old bow. The soldier took down one of the blue cloaks with two arrows to her chest. Wyldfyre wanted this bow. She wanted it with a passion.

    Ralof and the other blue cloaks were still heavily engaged with the red soldiers, so Wyldfyre took her chance to sneak up on the archer. She had no action plan and so rather clumsily caught the archer off his guard as she tackled him to the ground. But this man was strong and a seasoned fighter and easily threw her off him. As he rolled to his feet, Wyldfyre, scrambled to her knees and did the first thing that came to her mind. She raised her hands and thought fire. Peals of flame spewed from her palms and hit the red soldier straight in the face. His screams were terrible as he flailed upon the ground. Wyldfyre gripped her rusty sword in both hands and plunged it straight through the dying man’s heart. She was horrified at what she had done. She had killed a man. Killed a man for his bow. She threw away the sword in disgust. Realising everything had gone quite she looked up to see the other blue cloaks staring in shock at her. Wyldfyre frowned at them all.

    “You’re... you’re a Mage?” asked Ralof in an awed tone.

    Wyldfyre wasn’t sure what a Mage was but she just nodded her head anyway.

    “It is not good. Where I come from”. Was all she said to him. Ralof nodded back, clearly realising she was in no mood to talk about it then and there. He held out his hand to help her up, but she brushed it aside and pried the bow she had so desperately wanted, out of the dead man’s burned fingers. She turned him over and found he was wearing a quiver of iron arrows. Not many, but enough to get her by before she could acquire more.

    Ralof put something into her hands “Here” he said. “Take this. It will help with your wounds”. She held up a small red vial. She could hear a liquid of some sort, sloshing around inside.

    “What is it?” she looked at him suspiciously.

    “A health potion. You’ve never used one? Look” and he took out another red vial, uncorked it and upended it into his mouth. “See. It’s not going to hurt you. It will make you feel a little better. Just enough until we can get some proper care”. He looked at her reassuringly.
    Wyldfyre took out the cork and peered inside the vial, it was black as night inside it. She gave the contents a sniff.

    “It smells” she protested.

    Ralof chuckled “Well what good would it do if it smelt good eh? Just drink it and let’s be on our way. The longer we linger the greater the chance of us being discovered and we don’t want that.” He moved on up the tunnel. Wyldfyre figured if he was trying to kill her he would have left her to die in that courtyard, so she closed her eyes and downed the whole vial on one gulp. Liquid fire hit her insides and she gasped, throwing the vial away in shock. She expected to feel pain but instead a slow warmth flowed outwards from her stomach. She could feel herself mending. Not entirely. Her bruises yellowed and then faded, scratches knitted themselves back together, but some of the deeper wounds the soldiers had inflicted although they stopped bleeding, were still quite serious. But at least she felt better than she had for a while. She ran off to catch up with Ralof.

    Nothing else of importance happened to them during their escape. Ralof seemed happy enough to keep the silence between them. They once had to sneak around a bear hibernating in a cave but both were careful enough not to wake it. Wyldfyre was glad she did not have to go up against the bear. She had seen one from a distance when she first came down from her mountain and she wasn’t in a hurry to approach one. They looked fierce. The two eventually came to the cave opening and they both squinted in the sunlight. It all seemed like a dream. Back at that town there was death and destruction. The sky rained flaming rocks. Here it was peaceful and serene and butterflies fluttered lazily amongst blue flowers.

    Ralof turned to her “Well I am continuing along this way” as he pointed up a small path “You can go your own way or,” he looked at her hopefully “or you could come with me? My sister lives in the next village over and she will take us in. It’s not much but it’s a place to stay until all this dies down”

    Wyldfyre considered his proposal. This is what she had wanted. Wasn’t it? To find a small village and start her new life. She wondered how she became to trust this man so quickly. She swore to herself she would make no attachments in this new world, and she was angry at herself for doing so. For being so dependent on a complete stranger. Wyldfyre almost considered saying goodbye to Ralof right then, but something stopped her.

    “I will go with you” she answered. Ralofs face lit up. “For now” she countered.
     
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  3. shadowkitty

    shadowkitty Mistress of Shadows

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    CHAPTER THREE: The Guardian Stones.

    “This way” Ralof gestured, and they both started off down the path. Wyldfyre, still shocked from the events back at the town looked about her nervously. Ready for an ambush by the red soldiers or attack from above by the dragon. But they never heard the dragon and the path they used was little more than a hunters trail so their trek remained unchallenged. The path wound through the sparse forest, so their going was not all that difficult. They saw a few deer which Wyldfyre itched to hunt, but dared not to. She was also starting to hurt again, the potions affect wearing off. Not wanting to show any weakness she gritted her teeth and pressed on. She stumbled on a hidden root and Ralof noticed her struggling in silence. So he called a halt in a clearing.

    Wyldfyre thankfully collapsed onto the ground and took off the boots she had acquired from the tower room. They did not fit her very well and she was developing some nasty blisters, which she rubbed at. She was aware of Ralof lounging beside her. They both looked out at the scenery beyond them. The lake glistened in the midday sun and dart flies could be seen flitting from one reed to another. Occasionally they could see a sudden break in the glassy water. A fish jumping for a meal.

    Wyldfyre took this opportunity to study the bow she had acquired. A different shape to her hunting bow, this one was carved wood and steel bands, and had a rigid leather hand grip. She liked the weight of it, but would reserve any further critique of it until she actually had the chance to use it.


    “You’ve picked yourself up a nice bow there” Ralof nodded towards it, noticing the carvings that the Imperial soldier had taken the time to inscribe onto it. “As far as basic bows go. It has good enough power in it, but… Let’s just say it’s not the best out there. I am an archer myself. But I lost my longbow when we were taken prisoner. Lost my War axe to. ” He chuckled. Wyldfyre liked that Ralof to, was an archer. Remembering her own lost hunting bow. Her fondness of him grew even more knowing this. She continued studying her bow, and they sat there in a comfortable silence.

    After a while Ralof sighed “Sometimes I wish that this civil war never even started”

    “Civil war?” Wyldfyre asked him, darting a sideways glance at him. His eyes were closed and his face was turned to the sun. Dried blood covering a small cut to his forehead.

    Ralof cocked one eye open towards her “You really aren't from around here are you?” He faced back to the sun.”The war between the Imperials and the Stormcloaks.” And he proceeded to explain to her all about the struggle of Skyrims people. Wyldfyre was equally fascinated and horrified. She was no longer sure coming down from her mountain was such a good idea. But then if she hadn't, she would have been killed like the rest of her clan. She could not have stayed in their hidden vale. No longer a place of sanctuary, but now a place of death and decay and horrid blind creatures.

    Ralof continued “..and so we fight for the freedom of our people. For the Nord way of life. That man you saw back at Helgen? He is Ulfric Stormcloak. Ruler of Windhelm and leader to our people. It is to him that I swear my allegiance. But I fight for all Nords. My sister. Her husband and their son. For everyone who has suffered under the hand of those damned Imperials” He angrily plucked at a piece of grass.

    Wyldfyre could clearly see that he was upset, at what exactly she was not sure. So she gave him a look to urge him on.

    He sighed, and the pain shone in his eyes “I lost some good friends back there in Helgen. Men I have fought side by side next to for years”.

    Wyldfyre was immediately sympathetic. She knew all too well what it felt like to see loved ones slaughtered. And so she did something she had never done before. She reached out and touched Ralofs hand in a gesture of understanding. Her hand lingered on his, and they both looked at each other for a while. This contact felt extremely intimate for Wyldfyre. Back in her village, close contact was generally frowned upon. Living so close to one another, personal space became a closely guarded treasure. Wyldfyre had been intimate with a man. Once. But that was during one of their rituals when she came of age. And it wasn’t a very pleasant experience from what she can remember of it, as she had partaken of the ritual drink made from wild flowers and mushrooms which leaves the body numb and her mind senseless.

    Ralof reached up and wiped a smudge of dirt off her face. An innocent gesture on his part but profoundly deep for Wyldfyre. She suddenly felt very vulnerable and broke the contact.

    “What is this place” she said out to the lake. It was so peaceful here. She almost didn't want to leave.

    “This is Lake Ilinalta. The White River runs from it to the north east, past Riverwood. That’s where we are heading. My Sister Gerdur runs the mill there”.

    “I like it here” said Wyldfyre. “Right here” she looked at him. What was she saying? She admonished herself. What were these silly feelings running through her? Whatever they were she did not like them. She did not like them one bit. She was not very successful in convincing herself. She frowned inwardly. Stop this right now.

    “I do to” he answered her “And I would stay here, but we can not linger. We need to get word of the Dragon attack to Riverwood. And you..” he pointed to her wounds, “are in no condition to be spending a night out in these woods.” He got to his feet, brushing off his cloak.
    Reluctantly, Wyldfyre put her boots back on and stood, wincing at the pain. Ralof noticed.

    “It’s not that far” he reassured her. Then his eyes lit up “But if you can endure, I have something along the way to show you. Something I think you will find very interesting.”
    They set off down the path again towards the lake and found the road that ran beside it. They turned north and followed it for a while until Ralof turned off to the left. On a large stone dais, overlooking the river below, were three massive stones. Each one carved with different markings. Curious, Wyldfyre moved in to get a closer look at them. Ralof stood to the side, watching her with interest.

    “I thought you’d like them. These are the Guardian stones. This one here” he gestured to the stone with a warrior carrying a great war axe carved into it “...is the Warrior Stone. This one here with the hooded man, is the Thief Stone. And this one” he moved to the last stone. Its carvings depicted a man in swirling robes wielding a staff, “is the Mage Stone.”

    “You called me that before” Wyldfyre looked at him. “What is this mage word?”

    “Your powers, the magic” he gestured to her hands “What you do with your hands. People who wield such powers are called mages. Though I am not really the right person to tell you about, since I know very little about how it all works. Maybe you could seek out a mage once you are well enough. I know Ulfric has one at Windhelm, his capitol.” Wyldfyre could sense uneasiness in Ralof as he spoke of magic. Clearly it wasn't just her own small village that had its superstitions. She wondered if everyone thought the same in this new land. But she was also excited to think of others like herself. What new things could she learn from them?

    Wanting to connect herself to these others, she raised her hands to the stone and, as she felt the cold stone underneath her palms, something happened. Something unexpected. The carvings in the stone started glowing. Immediately Wyldfyre tried to break her contact with it but found she could not.

    “What’s happening!” she cried in panic, trying to throw herself off the stone.

    “It’s not going to hurt you. You've activated the stone, it… I don’t know how to explain it. It gives you its energy. Just let it finish and it will release you. Don’t worry I have done the same thing myself with the Warrior Stone.” Ralof reassured her.

    Wyldfyre wasn't altogether convinced but stopped struggling and watched the stone as it continued to glow more brightly. At the top of the stone was a hole where a round blue ball of light was forming, brighter and brighter until it was almost unbearable to look upon. A great stream of blue light shot upwards into the sky and Wyldfyre could feel rivers of energy entering her fingers and pulsing up her arms to spread over her whole body. It was uncomfortable, but at the same time exhilarating. When she felt the last flood of energy fade the stone suddenly released her hands and she stumbled back a few steps.

    “wow.” Was all she could say.

    Ralof looked at her, the beginnings of a laugh in his eyes. “How do you feel?” he asked her.

    Wyldfyre frowned “The same, yet…different. I don’t know how to explain it.” She held out her hands, palms up and concentrated. A ball of flame burst into life on not one but both palms. Ralof stumbled back in astonishment.

    “Hey!”

    Wyldfyre was astounded. She had never been able to produce flame on both hands before. The balls gave a little splutter and fizzled out. It took more energy on her part though. But still. Both hands! She studied the Mage Stone again. It was now as it was before. Cold and silent. She gingerly touched it with one fingertip but nothing happened. Oh well she shrugged.


    She looked at Ralof, smiling. Although Ralof returned her smile, Wyldfyre could see the demonstration of her powers made him uncomfortable. He was a warrior. He fought with weapons made of iron and steel. She decided not to do it again until she was alone.


    “Let’s get moving” Ralof grunted. Wyldfyre took one last look at the stones, and trudged after him.
     
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  4. shadowkitty

    shadowkitty Mistress of Shadows

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    CHAPTER FOUR: RIVERWOOD

    Ralof didn’t know how wise it was to follow the main road to Riverwood, but he wanted to get there as quickly as possible. So he took the risk. The Dragon attack had been something out of a nightmare. Ralof was shaken to the core. Dragons were real? After generations of Nord children were taught to believe that the legends of old were simply some fantastical story. Something to scare them into doing their chores, or going to bed when told. But the beast at Helgen was as real as he was. The charred bodies and burnt buildings were testament to that. Ralof remembered staring up at the tower in horror as the great black dragon breathed its terrible fire and shouted those terrible words. The chaos around him paled in comparison to the inner terror that clutched at his insides.

    And yet, amongst all the horror of the Helgen attack, and the sorrow of losing his comrades, was one shining star. Wyldfyre. The woman walking beside him was an enigma. He was equally fascinated and a little frightened by her. She was so innocent, and yet there was a darkness about her as well. There were so many questions he was burning to ask her, but was afraid that doing so would scare her off. And he did not want her to leave him. Where was she from? How did she come to be captured by the Imperials? Ralof wanted to know everything about her. He also wanted to know her more intimately. He could not deny his attraction to her. She was indeed stunning to look at. He cast a sideways glance at her now. Her flaming red hair swinging in the breeze. Those mesmerising green eyes. Ralof fully intended to discover new mesmerising parts of her once they were safe in Riverwood.

    To distract himself from the thoughts he was having he pointed up to a mountain and said “Up there you can see, just over the top of those rocks, is Bleak Falls barrow. And ancient Nord ruin.” Wyldfyre looked in the direction he was pointing.

    “You will find a lot of ancient ruins dotted all over Skyrim. A lot of them have been cleared out by various bandits and treasure hunters. But you have to be pretty adventurous to enter one. The dead walk inside those tombs.”

    “The dead walk?” she asked.

    Ralof looked at her “long dead warriors of old. Buried in the tombs. Their final place of rest, once silent. Now they stalk the tunnels and hunt the great halls. Ready for the unwary to stumble upon them”. Ralof watched Wyldfyre as she studied the ruins. Something in her eyes made him regret having told her about the ruins. She shivered.

    “I do not want to see any of these walking dead things” she declared. He smiled at her and they continued on. After a while they rounded a bend in the road and Ralof could see the small village of Riverwood up ahead. He left the road and lead Wyldfyre around the guard gates towards his sisters mill. He could hear someone chopping wood and the mill was also running. A large log was being split down the middle, ready for the lumber pile. They came upon the wood chopping block where the elf Ralof recognised as Faendal was hard at work. The Elf looked up at Ralof in surprise.

    “Faendal” nodded Ralof.

    “Oh!..Um Ralof. Wasn’t expecting to see you here” he looked around nervously “Is, ah.. everything alright?”

    Ralof, not wanting to linger too long out in the open, asked him straight “I’m looking for Gerdur. Do you know where I may find her?”

    “Sure she is up at the mill” he cocked his head towards the noisy mill. “I’ll let her know you are here?” he queried.

    “Yes, but do it quietly. We’ll wait over by those trees there” he pointed.

    Faendal nodded to Ralof, looked over Wyldfyre, his gaze lingering a moment too long, then was off to fetch Gerdur. Ralof lead Wyldfyre over to a shadowed spot by the river. He noticed her staring at the retreating back of Faendal, a small frown on her perfect face.

    “What’s wrong?” he asked her.

    She looked at him, her eyes wide. “What happened to that man?”

    Now Ralof was confused. “What do you mean?”

    “Why is his face like that, and his ears and his eyes are funny?”

    Ralof was beginning to understand. “You have never seen a wood elf before?”

    “Wood elf?” she asked? Ralof realised that where ever it was that Wyldfyre had come from, she had indeed been sheltered. He was now even more curious about her past.

    “Wyldfyre. You will find that Skyrim is full of many races. Not just Nords and Imperials. Faendal is a Bosmer, or Wood elf. They herald from Valenwood. There are also Dark elves and the high elves. Orcs, Breton, Redguards. Not to mention the Argonians and Khajiit.”

    “Kha-jiit?” she said, her slight accent giving the word a pleasant lilt to it that Ralof found endearing.

    “A feline race from Elsweyr. They can be seen travelling along the roads throughout the province, or camped outside the gates of towns. Mostly traders, but a few get involved in smuggling and the like. Not really the sort you would want to get yourself involved in.” Ralof wasn’t too fond of Khajiit. Their love of the banned Skooma put them on his list of undesirable people to be acquainted with. Ralof was not as intolerant as some Nords were when it came to the other races that had made their way into Skyrim for one reason or another. But he was still a little uncomfortable around them, preferring to have as little dealings with them as possible. He was mulling over this when a pretty blond woman hurriedly approached their shady spot. A worried look on her face.

    “Ralof?” she squinted in the sun “I don’t believe it? What are you doing here?”

    Ralof laughed as she rushed into his arms “Is that any way to greet your big brother?”

    She shook her head as they parted “I’m sorry brother but it’s just, I never expected to see you here. What’s going on? Where is your regiment? How is the fight going? Is Ulfric….?”

    “Whoa, whoa!” Ralof held up his hands “You are relentless girl! Let me explain and you will have all your answers.” And he proceeded to tell his sister about their capture and the attack on Helgen.

    “A dragon!” she exclaimed. “Normally I wouldn’t believe you, but, a while ago, I thought I saw something flying south, heading towards Helgen way. “

    “You saw correctly sister. Helgen is no more. It was completely destroyed by that Dragon. Wyldfyre and I barely made it out of there alive” He nodded in Wyldfyres direction. She had been standing there quietly. Gerdur looked at the woman and took in the bloodied mess that she was.

    “Brother!” she exclaimed “She is badly hurt! Why didn’t you tell me this at the beginning? Look at her! She is barely standing.” she placed her arm over Wyldfyres shoulder and started leading her away towards her house. “By the Gods!” she scolded. Ralof followed behind like a naughty child. How his little sister could make him feel so ashamed was beyond him.

    As soon as they entered the house Gerdur and Hod lived, Ralof was ordered to strip out of his Stormcloak uniform, put on some workers linens, and put to work pulling out the large tub they used to bathe in. After stringing up a line of cloth and furs in one corner of the house to give the women some privacy, he was then tasked to fetching firewood to keep more water on the boil for the bath. Ralof himself longed for a bath but knew Wyldfyres injuries needed attention first, so he set about his tasks, chatting to Hod about menial things. It felt good to be doing something other than hunkering down in bushes for hours on end in the rain, or storming through an Imperial strong hold, wondering whether this was going to be his last battle.

    He could hear the quiet whisperings of the women behind the curtain and grew a little dizzy at the thought of a few furs between him and Wyldfyres unclad body. He heard a gentle splashing and then Gerdur came out from the makeshift room, holding Wyldfyres bloody ragged clothes in her hands. She noticed Ralof looking longingly at the fur wall, and he was promptly shooed out of the house.

    Ralof and Hod stood around the fire in front of their house, the heat coming off it comforting. Ralof stared into the depths of the fire. Pensive. Twilight was upon them and a chill was in the air. He hoped Ulfric had made his way safely back to their encampment near Falkreath.

    “Gerdur told me what happened in Helgen” Hod started. “Never in my dreams did I think such a thing possible.” He shook his head. Ralof looked at his brother in law. Years of hard work at the mill had seen many lines begin to appear on his grizzled face. There was a smudge of dirt on his brow. Ralof was a little startled to see how much Hod had aged since the last time he had seen him. He felt sorry for all the years he had lost with the only family he had left. Especially with young Frodnar. How he had grown. He was a mere babe in arms when Ralof went away to fight for Ulfric. Now he was almost a young man, so eager to come of age. So tough and headstrong. Just like his mother.

    The door opened behind them and Ralof eagerly turned around to see that it was only his sister who had come out.

    “How is she?” he questioned her, worried.

    Gerdur moved towards the fire, her eyes grave, “I tended her wounds, and gave her some clean clothes. Ralof, that wound on her leg was quite deep and filled with all manner of muck. I had to stitch it. It was not pleasant. I’m afraid. I had to give her some potion to calm her down, and, she fainted.” Ralof started towards the building “You needn’t go barging in there. She is sleeping now and I will not have you wake her up.” She lay her hand on his arm, looking into his eyes, she smiled, “Let the girl rest”. Ralof relaxed a bit, but was still eager to check on the woman he had so quickly grown so fond of.

    “If you feel it best” he agreed. He turned back to the fire and talked to his family for a while longer, enjoying the antics of Frodnar and his dog, as they played with a stick. Frodnar, struggling to tug the stick out of the large shaggy dogs mouth. Later after they had supper of rabbit and root vegetables, he crept light-footed down to the basement where Gerdur had set up a place for him and Wyldfyre to stay while they recovered. A single candle cast a meagre light over the sleeping form of the woman. Ralof studied her, now clean and her hair brushed to a shine. Her eyes lightly closed and her breathing soft. The rise and fall of her chest underneath the soft white tunic she wore was intoxicating to Ralof. He looked at the wound on her leg that was now wrapped in bandages, praying to the Gods that Gerdurs ministrations were enough to keep it from any infections.


    Sighing, he sat down on the cot next to Wyldfyres, slipped of his shoes and stretched out. Staring at the ceiling he finally drifted off to a sleep full of Dragons and fire and flaming red hair.
     
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  5. shadowkitty

    shadowkitty Mistress of Shadows

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    WARNING: This chapter has some adult content. Not detailed, but I thought I should give you a heads up anyway. Enjoy :)

    CHAPTER FIVE: RECOVERY

    Unfortunately Gerdur was no healer, and Wyldfyres wound succumbed to infection. She slipped in and out of a restless fever. At times not knowing where she was. Other times thinking she was still back in her hidden valley, with her clan. She saw her mother, hovering over her, the Sharman with her fowl smelling bundle of smoking plants. Her Brother she saw the most, his face coming in and out of her unconsciousness. It frightened her how worried he looked. How worried all of them looked. She fought to stay awake, but then, welcomed sleep when it came. Her waking hours were full of a wracking pain. Sometimes she was lucid enough to realise that it was her leg that was giving her the trouble, and then she would fall into fever again.

    Days later, Wyldfyre opened her eyes. She was lying on her cot as Gerdur gently sponged her.

    “Back with us I see” Gerdur said. Wyldfyre looked over to the vacant cot next to her.

    “My brother will be back soon. He has not left your side once. Almost collapsed with exhaustion himself.” She said as she wiped the other woman’s arms. “He is, very fond of you I think.”

    Wyldfyre cleared her parched throat “How long have I been here?” Gerdur passed her a tankard of water and Wyldfyre took it gratefully.

    “Five days. You had us all very worried. I had to use quite a lot of potion on you. But still you had a fever. Ralof was beside himself. I’ve never seen him so concerned.” She tilted her head to the side, sizing Wyldfyre up. “Are you up to sitting child?”. Wyldfyre was a touch annoyed at Gerdur calling her child, but she tried to ease her body off the cot none the less. Although shaken, she didn’t feel quite as weak as she thought she would.

    “Ah this is good. You have a strength in you” Gerdur approved “I am amazed at how well you have recovered. I’d like to know how it is possible” She mused “I wonder if you can make it to this chair here, so I can change your bedding? I also have a fresh tunic for you and you can wash yourself some more.” She helped Wyldfyre to the chair, pointing out the warm basin of sweet smelling steaming water she had placed on the table next to it. “I’m afraid a basin is all I can offer you for now. A bath is out of the question. There are reports of Imperial scouts in the area and you and Ralof need to stay down here.”

    Wyldfyre looked over to the ladder that lead up to the main floor of the house “Where is Ralof?” she asked.

    “He is out with my Husband checking the area. I told him not to be too long. He will want to see you, now that you are fully awake.” She checked over Wyldfyres bandage and set about changing the linens of her bed. Wyldfyre took off her white tunic and handed it to Gerdur, not at all embarrassed to be naked in front of the other woman. In her village, the women would all bathe together in the small lake they reserved for bathing. Men were strictly prohibited. After Gerdur had left, she took the cloth from the basin of hot water and wrung it out. It felt warm and soft on her skin and smelt like the wild roses that grew in her valley. After her wash she pulled on the fresh white tunic Gerdur had left her. She left the linen pants, preferring to keep the bandage on her leg unrestricted. Gingerly she prodded the bandage. The wound still throbbed. But it also itched, and she knew from previous injuries, that itching was a good sign. It was healing at least.

    She stood up slowly and took one step on her good leg while holding on to the chair. Then she took at step unaided on her wounded leg. She stumbled and would have fallen if not for a pair of strong arms from behind catching her. Ralof pulled her close.

    “Steady now” he gently reprimanded her. “Barely awake and you are dancing all over the place” he helped her to her bed.

    “I didn’t hear you behind me” she said as he lowered her down. She sat on the edge of the cot while he sat down on his to face her.

    “Really?” he raised one eyebrow “And I thought you were a great hunter?” he teased. Wyldfyre shot him an angry look but then realised he was smiling, so she offered him a smile back. His eyes lit up and she noticed again how pale blue they were. He looked good, healthy, like he had got some sun. He was also looking at her in a way that both thrilled her and scared her. Like he wanted to devour her.

    “Um.. Gerdur mentioned Imperials. Do you think they will find us here?” she asked him to break the tension.

    “No” he answered her, still studying her like she was a precious gem “They won’t find us here. Don’t you remember how you got down to this basement? Oh I suppose you don’t. Gerdur said she had to give you a potion to calm you down when she was tending to your wound. The entrance to this basement is hidden behind a wall unit upstairs. Gerdur has used it for years to hide Stormcloaks and sympathisers on the run. This place was built buy our ancestors, so no-one knows about it but us. We are quite safe here.”

    Wyldfyre relaxed a bit. She was glad that Ralof was back from his scout of the area. But she was conflicted by the feelings that swirled inside her from the close contact with him now. She wanted to touch him. She wanted to take off that tunic and see what lay beneath. She was sure Ralof felt the same. She recognised the look in his eyes. The same look a couple from her village had before they took the rite that allowed them to lay together until one or the other was over the union. In her village, such pairings lasted for a long time, but not forever. So it was not unusual for one to have two or three different partners in their lifetime. Wyldfyre considered Ralof now. She wanted intimacy, but after her life in the village with its rules and customs about partners and such things, she was afraid Ralof would think of her as wicked.

    “How is your leg” Ralof asked, his voice thick. He was staring at her bare legs.

    Wyldfyre looked at him, her breath quickening, “It throbs, but it is feeling better, it is healing much more quickly with the potions Gerdur is having me take”

    Just then Ralof reached out and fixed a loose strand of her hair behind her ear. His fingers swept down her cheek tracing the tattoo on her face, ran along her jaw and down her neck. Wyldfyre shivered. She knew what she wanted. She wanted Ralof. And she was no longer in her village. She was in Skyrim now. She moved towards Ralof and he took her in his arms, both surrendering to the sensual pleasure.

    Later, as Wyldfyre and Ralof lay together, entwined in each other’s arms and legs, Ralof spoke softly to her about his days growing up as a boy in Riverwood. Their visits to the market in Whiterun and him and his best friends hunting exploits in the mountains surrounding Riverwood. Wyldfyre lay there silent, listening to his voice, feeling the slow up and down of his breathing. She did not volunteer any information about her past. Not because she didn’t know what to say. It was far too painful to talk about her loved ones and her beloved valley just yet. It was still too soon to tell about the night their peaceful serenity was shattered by the terrible blind creatures that swarmed the village, killing everything they came across. Not even their livestock stood a chance under their terrible swords and axes and bows tainted with a foul poison. Everything that went under the blow of one of their weapons died a screaming agonising death. Wyldfyre shivered and Ralof pulled up a fur to cover their naked bodies, pulling her closer to him, thinking she was cold. He remained silent for a while.

    “Wyldfyre” he began “I don’t want you to feel uncomfortable, but what did you intend to do here before you were captured by the Imperials?” He gently stroked her hair.

    Wyldfyre sighed. “I… I did not really have a plan in my mind. This land is unknown to me. So I only had the notion to find a village. Get some work and go from there. I thought maybe I could hunt and sell the meat and skins. Just until I could gather up the supplies I needed to move on.”

    She could feel Ralof shift a little beside her. “And now…?” he asked her.

    “I don’t know” she answered truthfully. “All that has happened. I am not sure. I never thought I would be captured by soldiers, almost beheaded, survive a dragon attack and soldier ambushes, to end up here, laying with a man I’ve not even known for a week.” She propped herself up on her elbows and looked into Ralofs eyes. “I am not saying that this is not a nice place to be. I am just saying that this isn’t what I had planned. Even if my plan was not so detailed.” She smiled at him and it seemed to reassure him. He smiled back and she felt a pang of guilt.

    What was her plan? What was she going to do now? This was certainly not on her list of things to do. Surely she could not stay with Ralof. As cosy and sated as she was now, she didn’t think that one intimate moment between them was going to stop him from searching out his fellow Stormcloaks once again. Wyldfyre knew him well enough to know that he was devoted to his war. She did not even know if she wanted to be with him in the long term anyway. Even in her village Wyldfyre was very independent and would often spend days alone, hunting in the woods, or communing with the spirits that lived amongst the ancient trees. She had never taken a partner for herself, much to her mothers’ dismay.

    Ralof looked like he wanted to say more but remained silent instead. Peering down at the view she offered, propped up on her elbows like she was. He looked her in the eyes, with a new fire burning in them, and shocked Wyldfyre by flipping her over so he lay on top of her. Laughing, she let him know her again.

    Hunger drew them out of their hiding hole, and a pleasant aroma hit Wyldfyre as she slipped around the wall unit that concealed the ladder down to the basement. Gerdur looked up from her work at the cooking pot.

    “Ah! They arise!” She exclaimed. A man Wyldfyre assumed to be Hod, chuckled from his place over at the large bench table. He was slicing a rough loaf of bread into thick chunks.
    Wyldfyre blushed. Furious at her fair skin, and the fact that Gerdurs jesting made her so flustered. Ralof didn’t seem to mind Gerdurs comment at all and instead swankered over to his sister, laying a noisy wet kiss on her cheek.

    “Yuck!” Gerdur cried, slapping Ralof away with the ladle. A boy Wyldfyre hadn’t seen before laughed hysterically from another seat at the table. He had the same blonde hair as the rest of his family.

    “Frodnar!” Cried Ralof in mock surprise “Did you see what your mother did?” He rubbed his hand where the ladle had hit him, playing it up for the boy.

    “Do it again Mother! Do it again!” He cried, bouncing in his seat.

    “Now now Frodnar” scolded Hod “Settle down. And eat your meal, it’s well past your bed time”

    “Aw” the boy pouted, but spooned a large spoonful of the stew into his mouth anyway.

    Ralof sat at the table as Gerdur placed a steaming plate of stew in front of him, and he reached for a chunk of bread. He gestured to Wyldfyre to sit beside him and as she sat he handed her his bread and then grabbed another piece for himself. Gerdur placed a plate of stew in front of Wyldfyre and soon they were all silent, content in eating. It was Hod who eventually broke the silence.

    “This dragon attack has me very worried. I fear for Riverwood.”

    “Did you really see a dragon Uncle Ralof?” cried Frodnar “Did you? I bet it was really big but you scared it away with your war axe! Didn’t you Uncle Ralof?”

    “Frodnar!” Hod reprimanded the boy, who immediately went back eating, casting wary looks towards his father.

    Gerdur nodded “What if it comes back and decides to attack Riverwood? Except for a few guards, we are defenceless here. A dragon could wipe us off the map just as Helgen has been.”

    Ralof looked worried. “I know we need to get word of this to Whiterun, if there hasn’t been already. But, Sister. You know I can not go there. A Stormcloak walking into Imperial territory alone? It’s suicide. “

    “I know that brother, and I would not ask such a thing of you. “

    Ralof grew angry “I know where you are going with this and I will not let you ask her”

    “But we can not spare any one from the village to send the message. No one here is a fighter such as you. We are all merchants, farmers, and the road to Whiterun is rife with wolves, bandits, not to mention Imperial patrols”

    “And you think an injured woman is more of a match? I know what you are suggesting” Ralof accused her heatedly, waving his fork at her. “It seems you and Hod have this all figured out. But there is one thing you didn't figure on. Me. And I will not allow it!”

    “Steady” warned Hod.

    “I’ll go” said Wyldfyre quietly.

    “Don’t be silly brother” Gerdur scolded “I am trying to convey to you how dire our situation is. And it’s wasn't unreasonable to….. what?”

    Every one turned to look at Wyldfyre.


    “I’ll go” she shrugged.
     
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  6. shadowkitty

    shadowkitty Mistress of Shadows

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    CHAPTER SIX READYING FOR WHITERUN

    “NO!” Ralof shouted, surprising everyone at the table. None more so than himself.
    “What I mean to say is “he continued a little more calmly “Wyldfyre, you have not fully recovered from your injury. The journey to Whiterun is short but dangerous. You can’t possibly go.”

    “Can’t?” asked Wyldfyre. Since when was he allowed to tell her what to do? Wyldfyre frowned at him.

    Frustrated Ralof tried to explain himself better. “What I meant was, the journey is too hard for one in your condition. You haven’t even got any decent clothes, armour. You..”

    “Nonsense brother!” cried Gerdur “Have you seen how quickly her wound heals? Even with the use of the potions, I have never seen anyone recover from an injury such as hers so well. And you know full well about my stash of armour and things in the basement.”

    Wyldfyre, ignoring Ralofs scowl, turned to Gerdur. “How far is this Whiterun place?”

    Gerdur took a map out of a draw in a dresser. Hod cleared a place on the table and she spread out the map. Wyldfyre stood to gain a better view. The map was old and a little faded but was clearly marked with every town, city, and road in Skyrim. Wyldfyre saw Helgen and the road she and Ralof had taken past Lake Ilinalta and the Guardian Stones. They really hadn’t travelled as far as she thought.

    “See here” she pointed at a spot on the map. “This is us here at Riverwood.” She traced her finger over the markings of a road. “And here is Whiterun. See it is not terribly far. Why, as soon as you cross the river here out of town you can just make out Dragonsreach through the trees.”

    “Dragonsreach?”

    “It’s the home of the Jarl. It is built up on a hill with the city surrounding it below, so you can see it for many leagues. That is where you need to go once you are inside the city’s gates.”

    Wyldfyre studied the map. It appeared that her route to Whiterun wasn’t a very difficult one. She needed to cross the river a couple of times as it wound its way northwest, but all the crossings were forded by bridges. Still, she would have to keep her eyes open along the way. Gerdur had mentioned wolves, which Wyldfyre was confident she could handle in small numbers, but the bandits and Imperial Soldiers might prove to be a problem. She may have to go off the road should any of those two blocked her way to the city.

    “I don’t like this at all” Ralof grunted from his seat. “Wyldfyre. You shouldn’t have to do this. I was going to ask you to…” he hesitated.

    Wyldfyre studied his face. He was in turmoil about something. “Ask me what Ralof?” she urged.

    “I.. I want you to come with me. Join with the Stormcloaks, fight by my side. We could…” he left it hanging. Gerdur looked away and Hod shifted uncomfortably in his seat. Frodnar noisily chewed on a piece of meat, unaware of the tension in the room.

    Wyldfyre looked at Ralof. She knew he would ask her to leave with him at some stage. But this civil war he told her of. It was not her fight. It was not something she wanted to be a part of. Granted she now had a reason to hate Imperials, but was it enough to join a war that she had no business being in? Wyldfyre took her quest to Whiterun as the excuse she needed to break things off with Ralof before she got herself in too deep with him. She already had feelings for him but she could not let herself love again. Not when loosing that love was so painful. She knew it was cowardly, and that Ralof would be upset. But she also knew he would be fine without her, as she would be without him.

    “May we talk alone?” she said as she placed her hand on his arm. Ralof rose to his feet and Wyldfyre lead him down to their basement. When they were alone he took her in his arms, breathing in her scent.

    “Please reconsider.” He pleaded with her. Wyldfyre allowed the embrace then sat him down on the chair. She knelt down in front of him, wincing a little at the pain it caused her leg to do so. She looked up into his sad pale blue eyes.

    “Ralof” she began “please understand. The last two days I will never forget. Your kindness. I am forever in your debt. What we had here, I will always think of you with a great fondness. But I need to go my own way. I need to discover what I am in this new world.”

    “Can you not do that with me by your side?” he begged her.

    She sighed “I lived such a sheltered existence before. I know that now. I want to experience this new world I am now trying to belong in. To face dangers alone. To make decisions for myself. I can not do that with you protecting me every step I make. Do you understand?” she searched his face for understanding.

    Sighing heavily, he slumped back in the chair. “I do understand. I do Wyldfyre. I knew it was only a matter of time before you wanted to go out on your own again. And I know what you are saying is right.” He gave her one of his smiles “I don’t have to like it though do I?” He pulled her up onto his lap. “But for now I want to forget it to” he kissed her deeply slipping his hands under her tunic.

    The next morning Gerdur showed Wyldfyre a stock pile of various pieces of armour she had hidden down in the basement. Wyldfyre was impressed at the woman’s foresight and touched when she told her to take anything she wanted. She replaced her iron dagger with a much sharper steel one, and then looked over the bits of armour. There was a heavy steel chest piece that she wrinkled her nose up at. Way too heavy she thought. A couple of fur armour items were either way too big for her, or falling to pieces. Wyldfyre would have liked the fur armour to be in better condition, for this was closer to her own armour she once had. She came upon a leather cuirass that caught her eye. So she dug around some more and found matching leather bracers. She liked the bracers because they didn’t cover her hands like gauntlets did. She liked her hands free when using her bow.

    She replaced the Imperial boots she had stolen from Helgen with a pair of soft worn fur ones that fit her perfectly, the left one having a place to slide a dagger down into. Luck was with her again as she also found a leather quiver for holding the arrows she had acquired. Ralof helped her into her new armour, fixing the straps and buckles so it fit her like it was made for her. He strapped the arrow quiver to her back so she could fix her bow to it as well. He stood back, admiring her choices.

    “Well?” she asked, turning for him. She felt much better now that she had some manor of armour on herself again. She had been forced to leave all her armour behind when her valley was attacked. It had been in the dead of night and she and her fellow clan members had all been fast asleep, caught completely unaware and vulnerable. She only managed to catch up her bow and dagger because she always left it beside her bedding.

    Ralof signed. “You look… “He struggled “You look like you are ready. I’ll wait outside while you say your farewells to the others” and he left her alone. She checked her satchel again, making sure she had all the supplies she needed. She wasn’t going to be caught short again. Gerdur had given her some fruit, a small cheese wedge and a loaf of bread. She had two white tunics and the pair of linen pants. There were also a couple of small healing vials as well as her steel dagger. Wyldfyre took out the dagger and shoved it down her left boot. She cast one last look over the corner of the room she and Ralof had been together in. Suddenly she took out her dagger and hacked of a small strand of her hair. She sheathed the dagger and dug some hot wax out from the candle burning on the table. She moulded the wax around one end of the hair, so it made a tight little red bundle. She tucked it away down behind her leather cuirass, and then climbed up the ladder.

    After receiving more travelling advice from Gerdur, briefly hugging Hod and Frodnar, Wyldfyre left the house, gently closing the door behind her. She scanned down the road with her eyes and just made out Ralof lingering at the intersection of the main thoroughfare through town. She walked briskly to him and he turned to her.

    “Allow me to walk with you for a way?”. Wyldfyre nodded and they continued up the road that lead north, they passed under the gates and soon made it to the first bridge.

    Ralof stopped. “Wyldfyre” he said, gently placing that wayward piece of her hair behind her ear. “I..I don’t really know what to say.” He struggled .

    “Then don’t say anything” she said as she threw her arms around him. They stayed in the embrace until Wyldfyre stepped back.

    “I guess this means goodbye?” said Ralof, downhearted. Feelings of guilt, once again washed over Wyldfyre. She shook her head.

    “Where I come from, we do not say goodbye. Goodbye meant forever and, we shall meet again, one day. I am sure of it.”

    Ralof looked hopeful “Do you think so? We are going in opposite directions”

    Wyldfyre nodded “I will make it so”

    He smiled. “Well what do you say then, if you don’t say goodbye?”

    She took his hand and gave it a squeeze, pressing the stand of her hair she had made earlier onto it. “We say “Good Hunting””.
    Ralof peered at the strand of hair then looked up at Wyldfyre, eyes burning.

    “Good hunting, my fierce red girl” said Ralof.


    “Good Hunting Ralof” And with that Wyldfyre turned and walked away. Ralof held on to the strand of her red hair while he watched her for as long as he could, until she rounded a bend in the road. Wyldfyre never looked back. She did not want Ralof to see her tears.
     
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  7. shadowkitty

    shadowkitty Mistress of Shadows

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    CHAPTER SEVEN: Journey to Whiterun

    As soon as Wyldfyre was sure that Ralof could no longer see her, she found a spot to leave the road and sought out a small clearing. She wanted to test out her new bow. Taking the bow out she studied it for a while, admiring the carvings on the limbs, and the leather stitch work on the hand grip. It was a sturdy bow and the string was taught, like it had recently been replaced. She cocked an arrow and looked around for a target. A tree stood some distance away that caught her eye and she let loose the arrow. It hit the tree trunk with a nice thunk, burying itself halfway into the tree. Wyldfyre remained in the clearing for a while, practicing with her new bow, getting a feel for it. She was not entirely pleased with the iron arrows and decided she would have to acquire something better in Whiterun. She had only a few gold septims Gerdur had pressed into her hand when she said her farewells to her. She would have to make do with them until she could find a way to make some more money.

    She cocked the last arrow and just before she fired it she heard a crack of a twig behind her. Not thinking, she whirled around and loosed the arrow, hitting a leaping black wolf right between the eyes. The animal fell down dead. Wyldfyre was stunned, and a little sad that no-one was there to witness her fine shot. Ralof would have especially been impressed. She walked over to the wolf and crouched down beside it. It was a large animal, its black fur coat long and coarse. She had encountered wolves before, and had even killed a few, but this one was slightly larger than what she had come up against. She looked up from her place there next to the wolf and scanned the tree line of the clearing, hoping that this wolf was a loner.

    She set down her bow and removed her leather bracers, then took out her steel dagger and began expertly skinning the wolf. It was messy and hot work and took Wyldfyre longer than usual, having only the steel dagger to work with. Wyldfyre missed her skinning tools. Another thing she had had to leave behind. She contemplated cutting a few pieces of meat off the wolf as well, but she had nothing to carry it in. She felt a little guilty leaving the carcass behind. In her valley, none of it would have been wasted, meat being a rare thing to come by. Although wolf was not the best meat, it was a little tough. Finally when the job was done, she rolled up the wolf skin and tied it together with some leather strips she had in her satchel. She hoped she would find someone she could sell the skin to for a decent price. She then picked up all of her belongings, shouldering the satchel and the wolf skin and carrying the bow and her bracers, she left the clearing. She crossed the road to the side where the river ran and washed her arms in the cool running water. She put the leather bracers back on, then climbed back up the bank of the river and continued on down the road to Whiterun.

    It was a pleasant enough walk, the sun was shining, and beautiful blue butterflies were flitting from one flower to another. Wyldfyre knew from her experiences with the village’s Sharman that some of the flowers she was seeing along this road had medicinal properties. She should have collected some, but again, had nowhere to store them. As she walked along she could faintly make out a large structure to her left, through the trees, jutting towards the sky. Dragonsreach..What kind of welcome will I receive there? Wyldfyre was more than a little nervous, being in one place with so many people. It was something she was not at all familiar with. Not to mention the news she was bringing with her was not good. No one liked to be the bearer of bad news.

    The road continued downhill and soon the trees gave way to rolling planes and farm houses. Wyldfyre now had an uninterrupted view of the city of Whiterun. She could see the pointed thatched roofs of the houses in the lower and middle section of the city, some of them with smoking chimney stacks. Wyldfyre marvelled at the fact that houses in Skyrim had indoor fires. Dragonsreach itself was the biggest building Wyldfyre had seen so far in her lifetime. It stood proudly on top of the hill, daring anyone or anything to question its authority. Wyldfyre swallowed nervously, but pressed on, eager to make the city before nightfall, her stop in the clearing taking longer than she had planned.

    Wyldfyre was crossing the last bridge when she saw a guard coming towards her from the opposite direction. She gripped her bow tightly, ready for fight or flight. But this guard was dressed in yellow, not red or blue. He carried a shield painted yellow with a black horse sigil. Wyldfyre passed him and he nodded his head politely. She breathed out the breath she didn’t realize she was holding. She glanced back, but the guard was continuing on his way along the road. She passed by a couple of buildings. One had a sign out the front of it that said “Honningbrew Meadery” . Two men were outside the door having a heated argument.

    Up ahead, at what Wyldfyre assumed to be a farmstead, there was some sort of struggle going on. As Wyldfyre approached there was a loud thud and the ground shook slightly. The closer Wyldfyre got the more amazing the scene before her became. Armed warriors were surrounding the biggest man Wyldfyre had ever seen. He was easily two men tall. He was clad only in a fur loincloth and his body was covered in tribal markings that looked like they had been burned into the enormous man's skin. He was extremely enraged and swung a massive club through the air, swiping at one of the warriors, who dodged it with inches to spare.

    The warriors were a mixed bunch of men and women, clad in various armour. One brandishing a great two handed sword, one with a war axe and one scantily clad woman fired arrow after arrow from a simple hunting bow. Wyldfyre watched the fight for a moment then decided she would help the warriors. She also saw this as an opportunity to try her bow on a moving target. Not that the giant man was moving very much, harassed by the warriors as he was. She dumped her things and cocked an arrow and fired it at the giant, hitting its arm. The giant didn’t appear to notice and so Wyldfyre fired another shot, this time piercing it through the neck. The giant stopped its attack and groped at the arrow, its club still swinging dangerously through the air. The warrior with the sword took that opportunity to dash in and sliced the giant across its legs. The giant fell to its knees with a great crash and Wyldfyre loosed another arrow into it, hitting it in the head. Its head snapped sideways with the force of her arrow, and as the other warrior came in and crushed out half its skull with his axe, the giant toppled to the ground, raising a cloud of dust where it fell.

    Wyldfyre could hear the cheers from where she stood. After a quick inspection of the giant, the two male warriors strolled over to the now ecstatic farmer, who profusely shook the warriors’ hands. The female however walked over to Wyldfyre.

    “Nice couple of shots there” she remarked. She was dressed in a vague type of armour that didn’t leave much to the imagination. Wyldfyre studied the woman. She had red hair and her eyes had a funny yellow tinge to them. She had three fierce looking tribal tattoos slashed across her face. There was also something about her that Wyldfyre couldn’t quite put her finger on.

    “Thank you.“ Wyldfyre answered.

    “Not that we needed the help with the Giant” the woman continued “But anyone who helps out a fellow warrior in need is a friend in my book” She held out her hand “I am Aela, member of the Companions and One of the Five of The Circle.”

    Wyldfyre took her hand “The Companions?”

    Aela looked slightly taken aback “You’ve never heard of the Companions?”

    “I’m not from around here” Wyldfyre answered vaguely.

    “We are a warrior’s guild based in Whiterun. We lend ourselves out to hire to anyone who needs our help. Eradicating pests” she nodded her head back towards the Giant “settling disputes, filling bounties. It’s a decent life and pays well”. Wyldfyre was definitely interested in the pay part of being a Companion.

    “How do I become a Companion?” she asked boldly. Aela arched her eyebrow, impressed with Wyldfyre's boldness.

    ”If you want to see about joining us you can speak to Kodlak in Jorrvaskr. We could use another good archer” she indicated her own bow. Wyldfyre was about to ask who Kodlak was when the male Companions walked over to where she and Aela were standing. The older man, with a balding head and an authority about him spoke first.

    “Aela, introduce us to our helper” He stopped, standing very close to Aela. Wyldfyre noticed Aela leaning slightly towards him. There was definitely chemistry between these two.

    “Skjor, Farkas, this is Wyldfyre. I was just telling her about Jorrvaskr” answered Aela. She gave Skjor a meaningful look that Wyldfyre didn’t understand. Skjor studied Wyldfyre for so long it made her uncomfortable, so she looked at the other man. He was very tall and broad and was wearing massive steel armour. He already had his great sword strapped to his back. Even though he was such a huge imposing man, Wyldfyre could see a gentleness in his eyes, which were, strangely, tinted with the same yellow tinge as Aela's eyes.

    Farkas gaped at Wyldfyre for a few seconds before he thrust out his hand ”Farkas” was all he said as he shook her hand. It completely enclosed Wyldfyre's and he held it for far longer than was the custom. Wyldfyre eventually broke off the contact and Farkas tried to look busy by adjusting some of the straps on his armour.

    “Well then” continued Skjor “Seeing as our shield sister here has invited you already, I will see you at Jorrvaskr. Seek out Kodlak, and he will see if you are fit to become a Companion”. Wyldfyre nodded her head and the three Companions turned and walked towards Whiterun, Farkas looking back a couple of times. Wyldfyre herself followed not too far behind them, continuing on to Whiterun, checking out the Giant as she passed by it. Its hands looked big enough to be able to crush her skull. Also it was carrying another wolf skin and a skin from what look to be once a Sabre cat. Wyldfyre looked around and seeing no-one claiming the corpse, helped herself to the skins. She dug around a little more and was surprised when she came upon a leather coin purse with thirty pieces of gold in it. She stashed the coin purse into her satchel. She also reclaimed back two of her arrows, the last one having been snapped when Skjor had crushed the Giants skull with his war axe.

    Wyldfyre passed by a few more farms and houses before the road turned to the right and she came upon some horse stables. There was a man sitting in a carriage just off the road humming a tune softly to himself. Further up, the road passed under a stone bridge flanked on both sides by guard towers. Wyldfyre passed under the bridge and soon came to the main gate. The Companions were just passing through and the guard was in the process of closing it again. Wyldfyre gripped her bow and walked up to the gate. It was a massive two door wooden construction surrounded by huge thick stone walls.

    “HALT!” said a guard in that same yellow armour “What business have you here in Whiterun?”

    Wyldfyre was about to answer when Farkas poked his head back around the gate “That’s her business” he answered the guard gruffly “And she is with us”.

    “Oh” said the guard. ”Sorry. Well be on your way then” and he stepped aside to let Wyldfyre in to the biggest city she had ever seen. The first thing she noticed was that there were more people than she was used to. All manner of people. Well dressed gentlemen and Ladies strolled the streets. Busy workmen rushed to and fro. Children ducked in and out of side streets, playing some sort of chasing game, their laughter mixed in with the other noises of the city. Wyldfyre took it all in. To her right was a smith and Wyldfyre saw a woman working at a tanning rack. She approached the woman and watched her for a while before the woman noticed she was being watched.

    “Welcome to Warmaidens traveller” she said in a rich deep voice “What can I interest you in?”

    “Well” said Wyldfyre, as she piled her skins on the ground in front of her. “I have these”

    The tall blond woman looked over the skins. “These are fine samples, and I could use some more. I’ll give you ten gold each for the wolf pelts, and this Sabre cat one” She turned it over and inspected the underside “I’ll give you twenty five for it.”

    “Done” nodded Wyldfyre and the woman counted out the gold into Wyldfyre's open coin pouch.

    “If you ever get any more good skins, bring them to me” the woman asked “The names Adrianne. I own this blacksmith. If you need anything else, go see what my husband has inside” She smiled. Wyldfyre thanked her and entered Warmaidens. At the counter stood a largish man with a great black shaggy beard. The shop was full of every type of weapon, and armour Wyldfyre could imagine, and then some.

    “Welcome to Warmaidens” said the man as Wyldfyre approached the counter. “Now you my girl look like you are looking to do some damage with that bow of yours” He chuckled heartily. Wyldfyre liked him instantly.

    “I intend to” she answered him “But not without some fine arrows. What have you got?”

    “Over here” he led her to a table that was piled with quivers filled with all types of arrows. Wyldfyre could not even tell what some of the arrows and their respective quivers were made out of.

    “Now here you have your basic iron and steel. I have a few Elvin in stock, they are sturdy enough. This here” he picked up a shining green quiver of arrows. It was almost luminous in its appearance. Wyldfyre itched to touch it. “this is glass. By the look on your face I’d guess you have never seen glass arrows before?” Wyldfyre shook her head.

    “Go ahead, have a look at one” he offered. Wyldfyre pulled out one of the arrows. It was indeed, very beautiful. It glistened and the head itself looked like a jewel. She slid the arrow back in its quiver. She ran her hand over the leather of another quiver, and her fingers came to rest on a quiver of black arrows. Wyldfyre felt a jolt of electricity run up her arm. She snatched her hand away.

    “What was that?” she exclaimed, rubbing her fingers.


    The man eyed the quiver of arrows. “I hate touching those damned things. They’ve never done that to me though” He shook his head “Damned Daedra, be careful to never have any dealings with one of them” the man warned her. Wyldfyre peered at the quiver of arrows. They were black and seemed to have a faint ominous red glow about them. She could sense evil emanating from them. She decided she did not like touching them either.
     
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  8. shadowkitty

    shadowkitty Mistress of Shadows

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    CHAPTER EIGHT: Jarl Balgruuf

    After some haggling with the man who introduced himself as Ulfberth War-Bear, Wyldfyre eventually left the shop with a quiver of Elvin arrows. She dearly wanted the glass arrows, but they were far too expensive for her. Ulfberth also gave her a few more iron arrows for no charge. When Wyldfyre protested at the gift, he merely grunted back that he needed to get rid of old stock. She met up with Adrianne outside and asked her for directions to Dragonsreach and Jorrvaskr. Adrianne asked Wyldfyre to deliver a sword to her father and Wyldfyre accepted the task and then continued further into Whiterun. She passed houses and shops, as well as a few market stalls where people were buying and selling wares of all types. Wyldfyre noticed another Bosmer was behind the counter of a stall selling fresh cuts of game meats. She continued up some stone steps to the next level of the city. A courtyard lay in the middle of this section with a vast dying tree in the centre. Wyldfyre could see Jorrvaskr to her right and was tempted to go straight there, but her mission for Gerdur was more important than her desire to seek out the Companion leader.

    She started climbing the great stairway that lead up to Dragonsreach, passing patrolling guards. No-one stopped her, until she got to the massive front doors. Wyldfyre told the guard she had important news on Helgen and that she also carried a sword from Adrianne to her father. The guards let her in without any further delay.
    Inside Dragonsreach there was a huge columned foyer that lead to a small flight of steps that Wyldfyre took. As she came to the top they revealed an even larger hall beyond. So large that it would have fit her entire village inside it with room to spare. Two massive tables dominated most of the room, and a great fire pit burned in between them. Wyldfyre could just make out a raised dais at the other end of the hall. Seated on the throne was a middle aged man in fine clothing with a gold circlet adorning his head. As Wyldfyre drew near a fierce looking woman stopped her.

    “Halt!” she ordered “By what right do you have entering the presence of the Jarl?”

    Wyldfyre swallowed. This woman had the same type of features as Faendal, but her skin was a dark ash colour and her eyes had an eerie red glow to them. She was also fully armed and dressed in immaculate leather armour. Wyldfyre felt a little uncomfortable in her presence.

    “I bring news of Helgen” she told the elven woman.

    “Helgen!” the woman raised her eyebrows in surprise “We have heard rumours of what happened there, but they are vague and conflicting. Why should the Jarl want to hear what you have to say?”

    “Because I was there” answered Wyldfyre. The woman narrowed her eyes at Wyldfyre, then finally nodded.

    “Come with me. You will address the Jarl with respect.” Wyldfyre followed the woman up the stairs to the dais. “Jarl Balgruuf! This traveller has news of Helgen, she claims to have been there at the time of the attack.” She ushered Wyldfyre forward. Wyldfyre studied the Jarl of Whiterun, then jumped slightly when he spoke loudly.

    “Well what is it traveller? Speak your mind.”

    “Helgen has been laid to waste. Everything destroyed. Buildings, people, everything.”

    “By the Gods!” exclaimed the Jarl “What could have caused such destruction?”

    “It was a dragon” Wyldfyre said simply “Myself and other witnesses saw it with our own eyes. A great black beast that called down fireballs from the sky.”

    “A dragon you say?”A man Wyldfyre had not noticed before stepped forward. He was dressed in fine clothes and there was a familiarity about him. “My Jarl, The dragons of old are precisely that, of days long gone. A legend, a folk tale. Perhaps what the young lady here saw was some powerful conjuration magic.”

    “I know what I saw” said Wyldfyre heatedly. She frowned at the man. “And I am telling you it was a Dragon. I saw people reduced to ashes by its fiery breath right before my eyes.” She turned to the Jarl “Sir, if my word is not good enough then send guards to Helgen to see for themselves”

    “I do not need some strangers’ council!” the Jarl said impatiently. He turned to the man “Proventus, the reports we have received so far have been scattered at best. But one detail remains the same. A great black winged beast. We can not ignore this young woman’s warnings.”

    “But my Jarl…”Proventus protested.

    Wyldfyre interjected “Citizens of Riverwood also saw the dragon, as it flew overhead. That is also why I am here Jarl. They are worried the Dragon might come back and lay to waste Riverwood as Helgen was done. They say they are defenceless against such a foe.”

    “Do they now?” asked the Jarl, one eyebrow raised. “You have given me much to think about. But I don’t think I should delay in my decision.” He nodded his head, seemingly to have made up his mind about something. “Irileth, assign a small legion of guards to go to Riverwood to bolster their ranks. Put out extra patrols around the outskirts of the hold. We don’t want any surprises here in the city as well.”

    “Yes my Jarl” Irileth nodded. She turned and strode off down the great hall. The Jarl beckoned Wyldfyre closer.

    “You have done us a great service by bringing us this news. I thank you for that. Please speak to my steward should you need anything during your stay in Whiterun.”He turned to his steward ”Proventus! Pay the girl for her trouble”. And with that he dismissed Wyldfyre with a nod of his head. He rose from his throne and went down the stairs, speaking to a man who was dressed in hooded robes, who was sitting at the table, drinking from a tankard. Wyldfyre walked over to Proventus.

    “I have a delivery for you. From your daughter” and she handed him the wrapped sword.

    “What? Oh yes, the sword I commissioned her to make for me.” He took the sword but didn’t unwrap it. Wyldfyre waited patiently.

    “Huh? Oh I guess you will be wanting something for your trouble?” he fished around in his coin purse and counted out ten gold septims into her hand. Wyldfyre studied the amount in her hand and then looked up to the man again. He sighed and handed over the entire coin purse. Wyldfyre smiled at him and pocketed the coin purse. She would count her earnings later. With nothing else keeping her in Dragonsreach she left the building and made her way to the Great Mead hall of Jorrvaskr.

    Wyldfyre got a good look at Jorrvaskr while she was descending the stone stairs. To her, it looked like an overturned boat. Although she didn’t really know what a boat looked like. She could only imagine from what she had read in the few story books she had as a child. To the left of the Hall was some sort of stone dais, with a giant carved stone eagle, a strange yellow glow emanating from beneath it. Wyldfyre decided she would have to investigate that area as soon as she was able. She passed by a statue of some ancient warrior. In front of it was an old man babbling something about someone called Talos. Wyldfyre hurried on up the stairs and entered the Mead Hall.

    She was greeted with a heady smell of mead and sweat. The hall was set lower into the ground with tables running around the perimeter. There was a fire pit in the middle, with hunches of unknown animals roasting over it. A few warriors were scattered around the mead hall, with a small congregation down to Wyldfyre's left. They were gathered around a male and female warrior who appeared to be having a boxing match. Wyldfyre stood there silently, unnoticed, and watched the spectacle. No-one seemed to want to intervene between the two, in fact a few were urging them on, and Wyldfyre saw a few more putting on bets as to who the victor would be. Wyldfyre noticed Aela and Farkas sitting at one of the tables over to her far right and moved towards them, leaving the fighting duo and their crowd behind her.

    “Ah so you made it here then” said Aela as Wyldfyre approached.

    “Yes” answered Wyldfyre “My business is done at Dragonsreach.”

    “Come sit with us” Aela indicated a chair and Wyldfyre sat, setting her satchel down on the floor beside her. Farkas smiled shyly but said nothing. Aela handed Wyldfyre a tankard of mead. Wyldfyre took a sip, as she had never had mead before. The honey flavoured liquor slid down her throat pleasantly, so she drank more deeply.

    “Easy there Red” chuckled Farkas. “That stuff will have you under the table in no time”. Wyldfyre set the tankard down. She turned to Aela.

    “I was thinking about what you said. And I would like to join the Companions”. Aela looked pleased.

    “Good. Like I said before though, I am not the one you need to be talking to about that. You…”

    “Kodlak is the one you need to talk to” interrupted Farkas. Aela gave him a stern look. “What?” he shrugged.

    “Where do I find him?” asked Wyldfyre. Farkas suddenly stood up, almost tipping his chair backwards.

    “I’ll take you to him” he offered. Aela rolled her eyes. Wyldfyre thanked Aela for the mead and followed Farkas. He led her to a flight of stairs that went down into the bowls of Jorrvaskr. Farkas opened the door for her and she stepped through, having to squeeze past him. She could smell his musty scent and decided she liked it. There was something wild and untamed about him. She sensed it in Aela as well. Something about these Companions that drew Wyldfyre to them. She was very curious to know what it was.

    “These are the living quarters for the Companions. If you join you will be staying here with me. Ah I mean, with us” Farkas blushed. Wyldfyre suppressed a grin, not wanting to embarrass the big warrior. He led her down a long hall. It was broken on either side by doors that lead into the rooms of the companions that lived there. Another long hall branched off to the right. How big is this place? Wyldfyre wondered. Farkas pointed down the long hall that branched off.

    “Down there, right at the end is the bath house. There is a natural thermal spring that bubbles up in there. We have a steady supply of hot water and steam. If you don’t mind sharing that is. I tend to go there late at night when everyone else is sleeping. Gives me time to enjoy myself” He smiled. Wyldfyre looked at him with her eyebrow raised. Then realisation dawned on Farkas’s face. He looked shocked and embarrassed at the same time.

    “Not that I… What I mean is.. damn.” He cursed. Wyldfyre giggled and Farkas chuckled to. Wyldfyre really liked the sound of the bath house, and promised herself she would visit it when she was done with Kodlak. They came to a door at the end of the main hall and Farkas stopped and knocked loudly on the door.

    “Enter” came a voice from inside. They entered the room and Wyldfyre saw an older man with silvery grey hair and beard seated at a table, studying a book he was reading by the light of a single candle. He was dressed in fine carved steel armour. Another warrior was seated with him and Wyldfyre had to look twice at him as he looked exactly the same as Farkas.
     
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  9. shadowkitty

    shadowkitty Mistress of Shadows

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    CHAPTER NINE: The Twins

    “There are two of you?” she blurted out. The other Farkas looked annoyed.

    “This is my twin brother Vilkas” Farkas explained.

    “Twin?” asked Wyldfyre, not familiar with the word. She looked from Farkas to Vilkas, studying them both. As she did she could see slight differences between the two. Where Farkas’s eyes were soft and gentle and he had laugh lines, Vilkas’s face was harsh and serious.

    “Born from one mother, under the same moon” explained Farkas. Wyldfyre was fascinated. There had never been twins born in her village. She could not even imagine how it was possible.

    “This is a rare or common thing, here in Skyrim?” she asked Farkas, who beamed at her.

    “Not really all that common” Vilkas answered her. “But it’s not unheard of. Why did you say Skyrim like that? You are Nord, but you are not from here?” he asked her. Farkas glared at his brother, but then looked to Wyldfyre, curious for her answer as well.

    “No. Not from here” was all she said. A moment passed before the silver haired man spoke.

    “Well my boys” he said “as curious as you are about the new comer, I am guessing she did not come here to talk about her origins with you. Come child.” He beckoned to Wyldfyre. She walked over to him and, for a reason she can not explain, kneeled in front of the man.

    “I am Kodlak Whitemane, Harbinger to the Companions. What is it that brings you here?” He studied her face. So fierce this little one is, he thought. He could see fire in her green eyes.

    Wyldfyre swallowed “I have come seeking to join the Companions.” She answered him. She noticed his eyes were yellow and a strong powerful presence emanated from him.

    “Have you now?” he raised his silvery eyebrows. “Well I am sure you have seen by now that we do not let just any rabble off the street join. You will have to prove you are worthy. Both in battle and in honour. What is your name daughter?”

    “Wyldfyre”

    “Well Wyldfyre. Before I can say yes or no, you will need to be tested. Vilkas, take her out to the practice yard.” Wyldfyre stood up again. Vilkas sighed, but stood none the less.

    “Yes Sir. Come on” He ushered Wyldfyre through the door, Farkas making to leave as well.

    “Farkas. Sit with me for a while” asked Kodlak. Farkas looked torn, but obeyed the Harbinger, casting a glare at his brothers retreating back. Wyldfyre followed Vilkas back up the stairs and out through the doors on the other side of the Mead Hall. They lead out to an under covered area with a practice yard out beyond that. Vilkas led Wyldfyre out into the middle of the yard. A few Companions stopped what they were doing and gathered to watch the newcomer. Vilkas turned to Wyldfyre.

    “What weapon do you favour?” he asked brusquely. Wyldfyre indicated her bow, which she took out and showed Vilkas. He looked dubiously at the bow.

    “I’m no archer myself” he admitted. “More Aela’s thing. How can I test you? Have you any experience with a
    sword?”

    Wyldfyre shook her head “Not much. But where I came from we used to have hand to hand contests”

    “Hand to hand eh?” Vilkas approved. “Alright then. Put your weapons down and let us brawl it out” Wyldfyre set her bow and quiver on one of the tables. She approached Vilkas who suddenly lunged for her, taking her completely by surprise and knocking her to the ground. Angry, she scrambled to her feet and lunged to attack Vilkas. She got in a good hit to his right jaw, before he countered and hit her in the ribs hard enough to knock the wind out of her. She turned quickly and used her momentum to land a solid kick on Vilkas’s knee, which sent him down to the ground. He didn’t stay down there long though, springing up with uncanny swiftness and charging at her again. He punched wildly but Wyldfyre blocked it, sending his fist out to the side and she countered the punch with her own hit to his ribs. Vilkas grunted and stumbled back a step or two, while he was distracted Wyldfyre kicked again, this time sweeping Vilkas’s feet out from under him and he landed heavily on his back. Wyldfyre jumped on top of him. Her legs straddled his torso, and in one swift movement had whipped her dagger out and had it at his throat.

    They were both breathing heavily from the fight. Wyldfyre and Vilkas stared into each other’s eyes. He has yellow eyes to, thought Wyldfyre. Then someone started clapping and Wyldfyre was pulled up off of Vilkas by strong arms. It was Farkas. He glared down at his brother, who was slowly getting to his feet. Vilkas laughed.

    “Well done Sister!” he laughed. “It’s been a while since I had a good partner to brawl with”

    “Watch it!” warned Farkas.

    “Oh I am just teasing, Brother. I know you saw her first” He laughed again. Farkas turned a new shade of red and Wyldfyre looked down at her dagger. It had blood on it. She looked up to Vilkas. A small cut was on his neck, a thin ribbon of blood seeping from it.

    “OH!” she exclaimed “I cut you!” She started for Vilkas. He felt around on his neck and looked at his fingers, now covered with blood.

    “Eh..” he shrugged “What’s a fight without a little blood?”

    “He’s a big boy” said Farkas “I’m sure he’ll manage. Maybe Ria could look at it for you?”

    Vilkas chuckled “Ok brother. I get it. See to your woman” he indicated to Wyldfyre, who was sporting a scrape of her own on her shoulder. He walked off towards the Hall. Farkas ushered Wyldfyre over to a seat.

    “I beat him” she said amazed. She winced as Farkas dabbed at her scrape with a wet cloth.

    “You sure did” chuckled Farkas, relishing in this moment. He boldly placed his left hand on her other shoulder and gently wiped at her wound. Wyldfyre was not sure whether she liked Farkas’s attentions or not. But she sat still all the same.

    “I have seen someone knock Vilkas on his arse only once or twice before. One of them being me. The other Kodlak himself. You did well”. He washed and wrung the cloth out and dabbed at the wound again.

    “Ouch!” Wyldfyre protested. Farkas stopped immediately.

    “Sorry” he apologised. “It seems clean enough now anyway.” His hand lingered on her shoulder. Uncomfortable, Wyldfyre stood.

    “So does this mean I am a Companion now?” she asked, shouldering her quiver and taking up her bow.

    Farkas nodded “Yes, but you are only a whelp. Don’t be surprised if you are asked to do all kinds of small jobs for the others.

    “A whelp?” Wyldfyre asked, gritting her teeth at the name. Baby wolves were Whelps. Not her. Farkas held up his hands in front of her.

    “Don’t shoot those green eyes at me. I didn’t make up the name” he protested. “Come on. I’ll show you where you will be staying.”

    After Farkas showed Wyldfyre her room, which she would be sharing with another new comer Ria, he lingered awkwardly in the doorway before excusing himself. Wyldfyre looked at the cosy little corner she had been allotted. It had a pallet bed that was piled with furs and stuffed with straw. A chest was at the end of the bed with its key laying on top. She also had a small dresser to herself as well. A couple of new candles were placed on the dresser. She touched one of the candles.

    “That would be Tilmas doing” said a female voice behind her. Wyldfyre turned to see a young woman standing there, smiling at her. “Tilma is our maidservant. She looks after everyone here. Even the Harbinger”. The girl strode over to Wyldfyre and shook her hand enthusiastically. Wyldfyre was startled to notice that the girl did not have that yellow tinge to her eyes, nor did she get that feeling from her like the brothers and Aela had done.

    “Hello. You must be the newcomer. I heard you knocked Vilkas on his arse in the practice yard. What do you think of it so far? Do you like the twins? I think Farkas likes you. Personally I think Vilkas is dreamy, but I don’t think he even notices me, what do you think?”. Wyldfyre blinked. This girl could talk, and then some. The girl looked embarrassed.

    “Oh I am so sorry. Sometimes when I am nervous I talk a lot. My name is Ria, and you are?”

    “Wyldfyre”

    “Wyldfyre? Wow that’s a great name. Your hair is very pretty, where did you get your tattoo?” she stopped. “Oh dear.. there I go again. I am sorry” she smiled.

    “It’s alright” Wyldfyre assured her. “I am sure we can catch up later.”

    “Oh for sure!” Ria exclaimed “We are roomies!” She giggled. Wyldfyre set about unpacking her things into the chest as Ria sat on her own bed chatting incessantly. She locked it and strung the key on a leather cord and put it around her neck. She suddenly felt very hungry, so she asked Ria when dinner time was.

    “Oh you can eat any time you want, as there is always something cooking. Thanks to Tilma. But most of us congregate just after dusk. We can head up if you want. I can introduce you to all the others.” Wyldfyre followed Ria up the stairs and saw that indeed, the rest of the Companions were now in the main hall. Ria led her over to two male warriors and introduced them as Athis and Torvar. Wyldfyre noticed that Athis was one of the warriors who had been in the boxing match when she first entered the hall. He appeared to be the same race as the fierce woman from Dragonsreach, Irileth. Athis noticed her study of him.

    “Dunmer” he said to her. “or Dark Elf if you want” he shrugged.

    “I’m sorry” Wyldfyre apologised, embarrassed “It’s just I have never seen the likes of you where I am from”

    “No?” he asked “Well if you like the look of me you are going to love the argonians” and he wandered off, chuckling to himself.


    “Don’t mind him” said Ria. “He is sore from being beaten by a girl. OH! Boar! My favourite! Let’s eat!” she pulled Wyldfyre over to the fire pit.
     
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  10. shadowkitty

    shadowkitty Mistress of Shadows

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    Adult content, again :)

    CHAPTER TEN: The Archery Contest


    After Wyldfyre had eaten her fill and drank the last of her mead, she stood, feeling slightly giddy. The Companions all wandered outside to drink some more and Wyldfyre joined them, taking her bow with her.

    “That’s a nice bow” Torvar leered at her. He smelled of mead. Wyldfyre noticed that his eyes, although bloodshot, did not have the yellow tinge. Was it only The Circle that were different? She mused.

    “Thank you” said Wyldfyre, uneasy at his closeness. He loomed even closer to her, peering down the front of her leather cuirass, low cut as it was.

    “You know what’s even nicer?” he asked her, just about to poke one of her breasts. But before he could he suddenly wasn’t in his seat any more. Wyldfyre looked behind her to see Vilkas and Athis frog marching Torvar away and Farkas sliding into his empty seat.

    “Thank you” She sighed gratefully.

    “Any time” Farkas nodded. They sat in companionable silence for a while. “Vilkas was impressed with your fighting skills” he said to her.

    “I need to learn how to use a sword though” Wyldfyre lamented.

    “There are plenty here that can teach you. If you catch Athis on a good day he is a skilled arms man. Just don’t let him charge you too much, he likes his gold that one.”

    “I don’t think your brother likes me very much” Wyldfyre said.

    “Nah. Don’t let his grumpiness fool you” Farkas defended his brother.”You are our shield sister now. If there is any one you can count on in a fight. It’s Vilkas. “

    “He likes to tease you” Wyldfyre noted.

    “He does” Farkas chuckled “Then he always has. He knows he can confuse me when he is being all smart like he does”
    Wyldfyre looked at him. “You are smart” she assured him.

    “Not as smart as Vilkas” he shrugged “But I am a better fighter than him. I would never have let you put me on my arse”

    “Oh really?”

    “Yes. Really”

    “Well” said Wyldfyre, fuelled by the mead in her belly “We will have to find out one day.” Farkas stared at Wyldfyre, raising a tankard of mead to his lips, missing and pouring it down the front of his tunic.

    “Damn!” he cursed. Wyldfyre laughed at him.

    “Hey lovebirds!” shouted Aela, as she strolled over to the pair. Wyldfyre blushed as Farkas wiped at his tunic.

    “Aela” nodded Wyldfyre. She was pleased to see Aela, keen to thank her for being so welcoming.

    “You in turn are welcome shield sister” Aela smiled. “Now, how about a little friendly competition?” Wyldfyre looked at her quizzically.

    “I have seen you use that bow of yours. Let’s see just how good you are.”

    “This should be good” chuckled Farkas. Wyldfyre followed Aela to the practice yard and faced the archery targets. Aela took her first shot. It landed just outside the centre target. She stepped back for Wyldfyre who took out an iron arrow and notched it. The light of the practice yard was dimming, dusk giving away to nightfall. But Wyldfyre had unusually keen eyes and was an excellent archer, day or night. She loosed her shot and it landed almost dead in the centre of the target. The others that were standing around watching the contest clapped. Aela loosed her second arrow and it hit dead centre.

    “Beat that” she challenged. Wyldfyre looked at Aela’s last hit. It was impossible to beat a dead centre target with another one. So, after the target was cleared Wyldfyre turned her back and walked away from the target, notching her arrow as she did so. Then, when she was far enough away she quickly spun and loosed her arrow all in one motion. It hit the target right in the centre with a loud thunk. There was a moment of stunned silence before a cheer rang from the crowd. Wyldfyre strolled back to Aela, who was staring at the arrow lodged in the target. She turned to Wyldfyre.

    “Well done sister.” She smiled at Wyldfyre “I see you probably have a thing or two to teach me instead of the other way around.” And she strode off and joined the other companions at the table. Farkas was the only one left at Wyldfyres side.

    “I think Aela is both annoyed and impressed. Where did you learn to shoot like that?” he asked her. Wyldfyre shrugged, placing the arrow back in the quiver.

    “Where I came from, if you didn’t hit the target, you didn’t eat. You learn pretty quickly” She smiled at the warrior. They went back over to the table and downed another tankard of mead with the others. Much later, after everyone else had gone to bed or passed out, Wyldfyre and Farkas lay out in the middle of the practice yard, looking up at the stars. Wyldfyre felt the heat coming off Farkas’s body. He had unusually warm body heat. He was trying to point out a group of stars to her. A constellation he had made up himself.

    “See that one bright star up there on its own?” he pointed to the sky.
    Wyldfyre giggled “Not really” she pointed to the sky as well, her hand wobbling all over. The mead had gone to her head.

    “Show me!” she demanded. Farkas shuffled his body closer to her, putting his head right next to hers. He took her finger and aimed it at a star that stood out from the rest.

    “That one” he said and she squinted.

    “OK I see it”

    “Now” he traced her finger over to the next star and the next “These make up the head”

    “Uhuh”. He traced her finger further across the sky

    “And these make up the body. Do you see what it is?” he lowered her hand but kept holding it in his. Wyldfyre squinted up at the sky.

    “A Mud crab?” she asked.

    “NO!”

    “A Skeever?” she giggled. Farkas laughed then. He sat up and turned towards her, looking down at her. So pretty he thought to himself.

    “No, it’s a wolf. Can’t you see it?” Wyldfyre sat up and studied the stars. If she thought about it, she supposed it could be a wolf. She tilted her head and it came to rest on Farkas’s shoulder.

    “I suppose it could look like a wolf. Why a wolf though?”

    Farkas shrugged. “I like wolves” He hesitated before blurting out “I like you”. Wyldfyre continued staring up at the sky.

    “You have only known me one day.” She said to him. Farkas didn’t know what to make of that. He frowned, working out what to say.

    “One day is enough” he finally said. He tried to get Wyldfyre to look at him.

    “I will not get hurt again” Wyldfyre proclaimed. She suddenly stood up. He was taken aback at her sudden outburst.

    “I won’t hurt you” he answered, standing to face her.

    “What if you have no choice” she whispered, and she fled to her room leaving Farkas standing there confused. Wyldfyre flopped onto her bed, then winced as she stood up again and unbuckled her armour, dropping it to the floor. She sat on the edge of her bed and slid off her boots and bracers. It felt good to be out of them. She sat there in just her tunic listening to the soft snores coming from a sleeping Ria. She slowly peeled off the bandage covering the wound on her leg and studied it. It was nicely on the mend. Suddenly Wyldfyre felt very tired and dirty. She realised that the last time she had a bath was back in Riverwood. Then she remembered Ralof, and wondered what he was doing now. Had he left for the Falkreath camp after she had left for Whiterun? She hoped he had. She fondly remembered the time they spent together down in their little hideaway. She felt a thrill run through her as she remembered their intimate moments. She missed it. Sure she missed Ralof, but she missed those moments more. She had decided she really liked those moments.

    Wyldfyre shook her head. She could not believe what Farkas had said to her. She was not used to such attention from males. In her village she was seen as the odd one. Her aversion to taking a partner for her own was looked on as unusual. She did not like the odd glances her fellow clan members would give her, which is why she spent so much time by herself. She was not interested in sex at all, until she had discovered how good it could be. Wyldfyre missed the pleasure of it and wanted more. She stood and grabbed the soft piece of material that she was to use as a towel and headed to the bath house, secretly hoping that Farkas would be there. She padded softly down the hall, passing one closed door where soft giggling wafted through from the other side. Someone else was thinking the same thing as Wyldfyre. Maybe it was the mead that had gone to her head, but Wyldfyre really wanted to find Farkas now. She came to the bath house door and slowly opened it and stepped inside.

    It was very dimly lit by just a few candles dotted here and there. The whole room was made of stone, but the floor was a natural stone slab, with four large deep holes carved into it. The holes were big enough to fit three people in it and they were filled with bubbling steaming water. In the bath the furtherest away from the door, in the darkest corner, a figure relaxed, his head lolled to one side. Wyldfyre could tell it was Farkas. His muscled arms stretched out either side. He seemed to be asleep so Wyldfyre snuck around the other baths, keeping close to the walls, hidden in the shadows. She put her towel down onto a carved stone bench, peeled off her white tunic, and stalked Farkas like he was her prey. She ever so slowly slid into the hot water feeling the heat of it work into her legs and body. She moved over to where Farkas half floated in the water. She studied him for a while. His broad muscled body glistened with the moisture from the steam, droplets dripping from his hair. His face relaxed and soft in his slumber.

    Wyldfyre licked her lips and moved in for the kill... suddenly lunging at Farkas and wrapping her legs around his body. He started awake and found his lips consumed by hers. He wrapped his arms around her waist and drew her closer to him. They explored each other’s bodies. Wyldfyre ran her hands down Farkas’s chest, relishing in the tight ripples of muscle. Water sloshed over the side of the bath as the two entwined, their need for each other growing more urgent and carnal. Wyldfyre, surprised at her own desires, sort out the part of Farkas that would give her release. She could feel his own excitement grow and threw her head back as he kissed down her neck and her breasts, which sent her over the edge, crying out from the pleasure. He soon followed after her.
    Much later, as they lounged in the bath, Farkas ran a sea sponge over Wyldfyres back. The sponge was rough on her skin and Wyldfyre liked the feel of it. She felt more alive than she had for months.

    “I thought you said you weren’t interested” Farkas said to her.

    “That’s not what I meant” Wyldfyre explained “I said I didn’t want to be hurt again”

    “Did I?” Farkas struggled, missing the point of what Wyldfyre was trying to say “You know, hurt you?” he asked worried. Their lovemaking had been rough.

    “Yes” said Wyldfyre. She turned around to face him, sliding her hands up his legs. “But it felt so good”.

    “Again?” he asked her, a big grin changing his face from one of concern to one of pure heat.


    “Again” breathed Wyldfyre, as she slid her hands around him.
     
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  11. shadowkitty

    shadowkitty Mistress of Shadows

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    CHAPTER ELEVEN: Newblood


    Wyldfyre found out what Farkas had meant by the term Whelp. To the other Companions she was the newblood. And that meant they could ask her to perform any menial task they wanted.

    Vilkas sent her up to the Skyforge with his sword to be sharpened. Wyldfyre discovered under the large eagle carving rested a great forge, worked by a man named Eorlund Gray-mane. Wyldfyre liked Eorlund. He was a superb smith, possibly the best in Skyrim the other Companions had told her. But he was also good conversation. He was blunt and to the point, but Wyldfyre found she liked that in the man. She spent the whole time he sharpened Vilkas’s sword, sitting there listening to the old man’s stories. He told her how the forge was discovered by a band of the Five Hundred Companions and that the building of Jorrvaskr was indeed, an upturned boat. Wyldfyre looked out over the Mead hall to the plains beyond Whiterun, wondering how they got the large boat there in the first place.

    After the sword was sharpened and polished Wyldfyre asked Eorlund what he had for sale. She was keen to get a sword, and wanted to start practising with it. Eorlund showed her many fine swords he had forged. One in particular caught her eye and she picked it up and tested the weight and the grip. It was a nice weapon. Eorlund had taken the time to work on it a little more than most. It had some intricate carvings on the pommel and guard. Wyldfyre bought it and a custom sheath for it. She had no problem parting with the money as she had been earning a nice amount doing all the odd jobs for the Companions. Eorlund showed her how to strap the sword on securely, and she left the forge. After giving Vilkas’s sword back to him she returned to her room and put the coin Vilkas had given her into her growing coin purse. She tucked the key back inside her armour and went to find Kodlak. Vilkas had told her he had a job for her.

    Wyldfyre was excited to find out what the Harbinger wanted of her, but she was disappointed to learn that he merely needed more ink, which sent Wyldfyre out to the city gates to trade with the Khajiit. Wyldfyre was a little nervous as this would be her first encounter with the feline race. Farkas offered to go with her, but she declined, wanting to see them alone, hoping to trade with them herself. She exited Whiterun and found their small camp just outside the first stone gate near the stables. Wyldfyre slowed her pace so she could study the Khajiit from a distance, without staring and appearing rude. There were four of them. One sitting at the front of a large tent and two were working over a cooking pot. These three wore simple merchants clothing, their tails peeking out from holes cut in the fabric, or from under the female’s skirts. The other strode around the camp in steel armour. Wyldfyre was fascinated with these Khajiit and she longed to learn more about them, so she boldly walked over to the one sitting and spoke to him.

    “Hello” she simply said. Great start Wyldfyre. The Khajiit looked up at her, his enormous luminous eyes flashing in the sunlight. His fur was striped grey and he had white markings on his face.

    “This one bids you greetings” the Khajiit said to her. He had a deep accented voice that Wyldfyre liked. “You wish to trade, yes? This one has many wares for you” he stood gracefully to his feet and led Wyldfyre into the tent. Baskets and chests of all shapes and sizes filled the tent. There were piles of various furs and weapons, and a table that held a number of curious looking bottles. Wyldfyre recognised them as potion bottles and moved over to examine them closer.

    “Ah so you are an alchemist yes?” the Khajiit asked beside her. He picked up a small red bottle “This one is for the mending of the body. A little potion, but it works good yes” He put it into Wyldfyre's hand, his fur brushing the palm of hers. It was very soft.

    “I have used this one before” Wyldfyre indicated the wound on her leg. She had not bandaged it up for two days, wanting it to breath in fresh air. The Khajiit examined her leg.

    “Ah yes. This one has seen many injuries of this type. The war has been good for this one’s business” he chuckled. It was deep and throaty.

    “Mine was not made by fighting wars” Wyldfyre told him. “I was captured. Then I escaped”. The Khajiit looked at her, his luminous eyes full of understanding.

    “Yes. This one knows what it is like to be bound by his enemies. But enough talk of past hurts. You wish to trade yes? What is it you are looking for?” He spread his arms, indicating his goods. Wyldfyre told him she was after some ink and the Khajiit rummaged around in a trunk before producing a corked bottle of black ink. Wyldfyre paid for it with the coin Kodlak had given her and placed it into her satchel. For herself she bought two of the small healing potions, another white tunic top, and some Elvin arrows the Khajiit had going cheap. During their transactions he introduced himself as Ri’saad. Wyldfyre also learned that the armed Khajiit was a female by the name of Khayla and that she was their bodyguard.

    “Do you have much trouble here in Skyrim?” Wyldfyre asked, curious.

    “Depends” Khayla answered her “We have no troubles outside the city’s we travel to. But the roads between are dangerous. Bandits and animals are a constant threat to us.”

    “Why don’t you just stay in the city?” Wyldfyre asked. The female Khajiit made a funny throaty noise.

    “Yes and why not buy a house and set up shop in there as well yes?” Wyldfyre looked confused “This one is sorry” Khayla said to her “This one did not realise you did not know. Khajiit are not permitted inside the city walls. The races of men are nervous of us. They like to trade with us and buy our wares, but they do not want to be living beside us.” Wyldfyre frowned.

    “That doesn’t seem right” she said to them. Khayla put her hand on Wyldfyre's arm. It was soft and warm. She had striking white marks on her face and her ears bore many gold hoops.

    “Do not worry about this” she said”It is our way. We are used to it”

    The Khajiit invited Wyldfyre to sit at their fire and eat lunch. Wyldfyre liked talking to them and hearing their stories about their travels and of their homeland, Elsweyr. As she made to leave, the other female, Atahbah pressed something into her hand.

    “This one wishes to give you a gift of good aim” she said before she wandered off back inside the tent. Wyldfyre opened her hand and found the Khajiit had given her a silver ring. It had a beautiful green gem in the centre. It also seemed to glow. Wyldfyre was stunned at the generous gift and slid it onto her finger. She was not sure what the Khajiit had meant by “good aim”. She admired the ring and set off back into the city of Whiterun. After she had given the ink to Kodlak she found Athis and he gave her some training in one handed swordsman ship. Although he was very skilled, Wyldfyre found him to be a very impatient and brusque teacher. But he did not charge for the lessons, so Wyldfyre did not complain.

    “Farkas would kill me if he found out I charged you” he said rather grumpily. Wyldfyre wondered if Farkas had had a word to Athis before her lessons. They sparred all afternoon, Wyldfyre receiving a few cuts and bruises. She only managed to land a couple of hits onto the sprightly elf. When they were finished for the day Athis gave her his first bit of positive appraisal.

    “Well” he said loftily “I suppose you are a bit of a natural with the sword as well. With my help of course. Be here the same time tomorrow. No later, or I will not wait for you” and he strode off back into the Hall.
    Wyldfyre was hot and sweaty and dumped her armour in her room and made her way to the bath house to wash up before the evening meal. She closed the door and found herself in a room of naked people. Male and female alike. Wyldfyre felt like leaving but didn’t want to appear foolish. This is how they do it in Skyrim she reminded herself. She slowly walked over to one of the stone benches and peeled off her tunic, feeling a dozen eyes on her. She caught Athis and Torvar exchange an approving glance so she hurried as best she could to the nearest bath. That bath happened to contain Vilkas. Wyldfyre ducked down in the water so that only her head was out of it. Vilkas chuckled to himself.

    “You’re not shy are you?” he teased her.

    “Where I come from, men and women do not bathe together” she said, frowning at him.

    “Really?” he asked, grinning “And you still think that after what you and Farkas did in here the other night? Twice?”

    Wyldfyre blushed wildly “How?”

    “Don’t worry. Farkas didn’t kiss and tell. I saw you going in and knew Farkas was in here and um… heard you.” he raised his eyebrows at her. “My room is next door”

    Wyldfyre was horrified “oh” was all she could manage. She looked over to where her other Companions were enjoying the baths. Either relaxing in the bubbling pools, or simply sitting on the stone benches, soaking in the steam. Aela and Skjor were in another pool, enjoying each other’s company. Wyldfyre was right when she guessed the pair were more than just friends. None of them appeared to be embarrassed or shy. Wyldfyre rose out of the water a little more.

    Vilkas cocked one eyebrow. “Impressive” he teased her. She splashed him. “HEY!” he cried.

    Just then Farkas came through the door. He scanned the dim room and seeing Wyldfyre, strolled over to her. He peeled off his clothes and slid into the bath, his arm falling around her. He gave his brother a meaningful look and Vilkas sighed.

    “And that’s my cue” Vilkas said as he hefted his body out of the bath. Wyldfyre watched him leave. They really are twins she thought wickedly to herself. Farkas reached out and grabbed the sea sponge from the side of the pool, dipping it into the water.

    “Turn around” he said to her. She obeyed and he started scrubbing her back.

    “Where did you get this?” he asked her, pointing to a cut on her arm. Wyldfyre twisted her head around to see where he pointed.

    “What? Oh, that. Probably from Athis” she answered him. “We did some sword fighting today.”

    “Do I need to have a word with him?”

    “NO!” she said hastily. “I can look after myself you know. Besides, I gave him a few back.” Farkas looked over to Athis who was indeed sporting a new cut to his leg.

    “Atta girl” chuckled Farkas approvingly. He ditched the sponge and massaged Wyldfyre's neck and shoulders. Wyldfyre relaxed against him and they soaked like that for a time before they both grew hungry.

    “Let’s go up for the meal” Wyldfyre suggested. “Before Ria eats the entire boar”. Farkas reluctantly agreed, wanting to spend more alone time with Wyldfyre in the baths again.

    “Alright” he said sullenly. “But you and I have some more...um, bathing to do”

    “Really?” Wyldfyre cocked an eyebrow. She was now out of the bath and Farkas was given the pleasure of seeing her in full view. He whistled.


    “Oh yeah” he sighed.
     
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  12. shadowkitty

    shadowkitty Mistress of Shadows

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    CHAPTER 12: Halted Stream Camp


    A few days later, Farkas slid into the chair next to Wyldfyre, who was eating breakfast. He was reading from a piece of parchment. He sighed and looked at Wyldfyre.

    “I have a job for you. Your first job actually” He didn’t look too pleased about it. Wyldfyre's heart jumped with excitement. Her first Job. He handed her the parchment. The writing was barely legible but she could make out a few words. Halted Stream Camp stood out. Farkas filled her in.

    “Some bandits are making trouble at Halted Stream Camp. Seems they have moved themselves in there and have also taken over the mine. The people who own it kind of want it back. That’s where we come in.”

    “How do I achieve that?” Wyldfyre asked him. He sighed again.

    “By any means possible. This usually means you have to kill the bandit leader. And probably any other bandits in the area.” Wyldfyre looked at the parchment again. There was a simple map drawn on the bottom of the page. It looked to be not too far from Whiterun. But she would probably be gone for only a day. She nodded.

    “Understood” she said.

    “Wyldfyre” Farkas began “You don’t have to accept the job”

    “It’s fine. I can do it” she assured him.

    “I don’t like it. But the old man said you needed to prove yourself. I can’t go with you” he lamented.

    “Don’t worry” she told him, kissing him quickly on the cheek. “I’ll be back before you know it”. And she left the table to go pack her things. Ria was in the room when she entered.

    “So I hear you’ve got your first job? You must be excited. I was excited when I got my first job. Do you want to know what it was? Clearing a mine of Frostbite spiders” she shivered “I’ll never forget those horrible things as long as I live.”

    “Spiders?” Wyldfyre asked incredulously. Tiny little spiders?

    “Hey!” Ria protested “These aren’t just ordinary spiders you know. They are this big” she opened her arms as wide as they could go “some even bigger”. Wyldfyre only half believed her. She had seen a lot of strange things since she had been in Skyrim. Why not giant spiders? She shuddered.

    “Exactly” agreed Ria “I almost lost my nerve, if it had not of been for Athis, I probably would have high tailed it out of there.”

    “Athis?” Wyldfyre looked up from the satchel she was packing with food.

    “I had Athis with me. What with it being my first job and all. Who is going with you?” she queried.

    “No one” Wyldfyre frowned. Why had Farkas not mentioned she could have a companion with her?

    “Oh” was all Ria could say. Wyldfyre continued packing her things and checked her quivers were full of arrows before she shouldered the lot. She could do this.

    “Goodbye” said Ria, a little glumly. Wyldfyre stopped at the door and shook her head.

    “Not goodbye” she said “Good hunting”

    She left the Mead hall, not seeing Farkas anywhere on her way out and then exited the city. Once she was clear of the city she turned north towards the camp. The going was relatively easy. The plains of Whiterun were quite sparse, dotted here and there by small stagnant pools of water, and low rocky outcrops. Wyldfyre was not used to so much open countryside. She scoured the sky and distant mountains for any signs of the Dragon, as well as keeping her eyes open for any wolves and sabre cats. At one point she saw a small pack of wolves in the distance but they were after some deer and not interested in her. She hurried on none the less. She stopped for a quick lunch under a shaded rock ledge.

    There was a basic road that Wyldfyre assumed led to Halted Stream Camp, but she stayed to the east of it. She did not want to be seen, as she wanted to scout out the camp first. She came up a small rise and spotted the Camp up ahead. She ducked down and studied the camp for a moment. It was surrounded by a log palisade and had only two gates into the yard. An Eastern gate and a westerly one. There were two platforms on either side of the camp, with men patrolling each and a third one set back into the rocky hillside that the camp backed on to. The mine entrance was below the third platform. Wyldfyre decided to come at the camp from the north, circling around the camp around its east side and scaling the hill from the other side. She set down her things and watched the camp for a time, noting the bandits’ movements. There were three outside and Wyldfyre only saw one other come out from the mine Farkas had mentioned. Wyldfyre could not see the entrance of the mine from her position.

    She planned to take out the bandits in the yard quietly before the others inside the mine were alerted to her presence. Wyldfyre sat up on one knee, risking her hiding position and notched an arrow. She aimed it at the furtherest bandit who was patrolling one of the raised platforms. She stayed this way for a long time, following the bandit with her readied arrow, waiting for the right opportunity to strike. As he moved towards the western side of the platform Wyldfyre could see he was obscured from the sight of the other bandits by the wooden structure that stood in the centre of the yard. Wyldfyre waited until he made another pass before she let loose her arrow. It flew through the air in a graceful arc before it angled down towards the bandit. It hit him squarely in the back and he tumbled over the side of the palisade.

    Wyldfyre blinked. She had not expected her shot to be so successful from so far away. The shot was easily the best she had made from such a distance. She could not understand how she had made it. Then something she remembered dawned on her, “the gift of good aim”. She looked at the ring on her left hand. Was the ring magic? Was it somehow making her archery better? She vowed she would ask the Khajiit the next time she saw her.
    Wyldfyre waited, listening to hear if the bandit would make some noise to alert the others, but he made no sound and so she lined up the second bandit. This one was patrolling the second platform that was closer to the Mine entrance. Wyldfyre notched her arrow and followed the bandit as she had done before with the first one. His patrolling was a little more erratic. Wyldfyre could see he was talking to someone below him, clearly distracted from the job he was supposed to be doing. There was no way that Wyldfyre could take him out without the last bandit knowing, so she let loose her arrow and left her perch, not waiting to see whether the arrow was going to hit the target or not. She was confident that it would hit the bandit, and if it didn’t kill him, it would do enough damage to immobilize him.
    Wyldfyre could hear shouts coming from the yard as she raced around to the west gate, notching an arrow as she ran. She stopped just shy of the gate and poked her head around the edge. Across the yard she could see the bandit on the ground clutching his leg, her arrow protruding out of it. Standing over him was a female bandit. She had her hands raised and some sort of shimmering round light hovered in front of her. Wyldfyre stopped where she was, having no idea what the light was. She knew it must have been magic but she had never seen the likes of it. The woman was looking up to where Wyldfyre was hidden before so she took the opportunity to take out the wounded bandit. He gave a short cry and crumpled to the ground. The bandit woman whipped around and spied Wyldfyre standing at the gate. The shimmering light faded and suddenly the woman was running towards Wyldfyre. She still had her hands raised and steam appeared to be coming from them. Wyldfyre was hit with a blast of cold air. Not steam, frost!

    Wyldfyre was stunned for a second, the frost biting into her. She quickly recovered and dropped her bow, raised her hands and thought fire. The woman screamed as the fire hit her full in the face. She stumbled back. Wyldfyre lowered her hands. The woman was on her knees breathing heavily. Her hair had been burned away and bits of flesh still sizzled. Wyldfyre was horrified. But even more so when the bandit woman stood up and started to glow. Before Wyldfyre's eyes the burned skin began to heal, the woman looked at Wyldfyre with hatred in her eyes. She started to raise her hands again and moved towards Wyldfyre.

    “Now you die!” she screamed.

    Wyldfyre stepped back and drew her sword from its sheath. She did not want to burn the woman again, even though the woman was trying to kill her in turn. Wyldfyre swung her sword the way Athis had showed her. She was too far from the woman though and it whistled through the air, missing her by inches. The woman changed tactics and pulled out her sword as well. It was not as well made as Wyldfyre's and was a little rusty, but Wyldfyre made no mistake that it could do as much damage as hers, and the woman seemed to be a better swords man than she. She swung at Wyldfyre wildly, hitting her in the ribs with the flat of the blade. If it had of hit true it would have bit into Wyldfyre's armour and ribs. It was still a tough hit and Wyldfyre felt a swelling in that area.

    Wyldfyre swung her sword again and this time hit the woman on her shoulder. She was wearing hide armour and Wyldfyre's sword bit into the leather and into the women’s shoulder. She fell to her knees again and this time Wyldfyre struck her again, changing her swing to deliver a killing blow, the sword cutting down through the woman’s neck, nearly severing her head. The blade stuck inside the woman’s body as she remained in that kneeling position. Wyldfyre used her foot to kick the body off her sword. It toppled to the ground, a dark patch of blood spreading over the dirt.

    Wyldfyre steadied herself for a moment. She wiped the blood off her sword on the grass and went to fetch her bow. She sheathed her sword and notched her bow again. She slowly stalked across the yard, looking in all directions in case there were more bandits hidden that she hadn’t spied before. If she was right there was only one bandit left inside the mine. She quietly pushed her way through the mines door and waited while her eyes adjusted to the darkness, also listening for any sounds. She quietly made her way down the tunnel when suddenly she stopped. In the dim light she could see a fine piece of twine, strung across her path. Wyldfyre backed up and studied the twine. She could see a wooden construction above her in the ceiling of the mine. Wyldfyre had no idea what was hidden inside that construction, but she guessed it was some sort of trap.

    She could also see way up ahead in the tunnel a bandit was leaning up against a pole, dozing, with his back to her. She decided she needed to take out the bandit as quietly as possible. So she stepped over the trip line, and keeping as close to the wall as she could, she crept up on the bandit. She put down her bow and slid her dagger out of her boot. She inched closer to the bandit and paused before suddenly lunging at the man. She grabbed his hair to tilt his head back and with her dagger she slit his throat. He gurgled as she dropped him and he crumpled to the floor. She wiped the bloody dagger on the dead man’s clothes before sheathing it and picking up her bow and continuing on until she found her way blocked by a locked gate. She doubled back to the dead bandit and rummaged around the body until she found a key. She hoped it was the key to the gate. She also found a full coin purse and made a note to check the other bandits outside for valuables.

    The key thankfully opened the gate and she made her way silently down a small incline until she found herself in a large chamber. Down below there was a bandit at a cooking pot. Another bandit wearing full steal armour and steel visored helmet, that Wyldfyre assumed was the leader, was over the far side of the chamber. Wyldfyre scanned the chamber and could see no more bandits. She could see the floor of the chamber had some sort of liquid all over it. It glowed all colours in the lamp light. Wyldfyre had a thought. She notched an arrow and aimed it at one of the oil lamps that hung suspended from the ceiling. It smashed apart and droplets of fire rained down into the oily liquid below. The resulting fiery explosion was extremely satisfying.


    The air from the explosion blew Wyldfyres hair back from her face. The bandit at the cooking pot was blasted across the room. He got up to his feet, dazed, then realised he was still on fire, turned and ran down the tunnel at the end of the chamber. Rocks and dust rained down from the ceiling, and Wyldfyre coughed. The bandit leader quickly recovered from the blast and had spotted Wyldfyre and was charging towards her. He was brandishing a large war hammer. Wyldfyre notched an arrow and fired at the man. It hit his steel armour and bounced off. She quickly notched another and fired again, this time hitting the man just above the knee. He faltered a little but still continued his charge, roaring in some language Wyldfyre did not understand. As he drew closer she saw his exposed skin was a colour she had never seen on a person before. And this man was huge. Wyldfyre began to suspect that this man was not a man at all, he was something else.
     
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  13. shadowkitty

    shadowkitty Mistress of Shadows

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    CHAPTER THIRTEEN: The Bandit Chief and the Beast


    The enraged man raced up the ramp and swung his hammer at her. Wyldfyre ducked and the hammer sliced past her head and smashed into a barrel behind her. The splinters flying everywhere. In her haste Wyldfyre dropped the arrow she had. The Bandit Chief was relentless in his attack though and it was all Wyldfyre could do to keep away from the swing of his hammer. She ducked and wove, backing up the small ramp and through the gate. Wyldfyre cast aside her bow and drew her sword and tried her best to defend herself, swinging her sword with no thought of her training, just hoping to land a blow on the huge man. Athis would not have been happy if he had of seen her right then.

    She angled one of her swings upwards towards the man’s head and it connected with his helmet, knocking it off. The man grunted but continued to swing his hammer. It hit Wyldfyre in the ribs on the same side as the previous hit from the woman bandit outside. Wyldfyre felt a rib crack, and the pain was intense. She stumbled back almost receiving another blow, but she blocked it with her sword and the hammer glanced off it, the force of the blow ringing through her arm making her drop her sword. Wyldfyre started to panic. This man was more than a match for her. She could not defeat him on her fighting skills alone. She had to think. Desperately she tried to remember the layout of the tunnels hoping to find some sort of tactical advantage.

    Her ribs hurt terribly, but Wyldfyre could not stop to rest, the man was still determined to kill her. She passed by a lantern and when it lit the man’s face Wyldfyre was startled. What little she saw of him was green tinged skin, a great protruding jaw with two tusk like teeth. His heavy brow almost hung over his eyes.

    “What are you?” Wyldfyre cried over the man’s grunts and roars.

    “I am your death!” He roared at her in a heavily accented voice. He swung his hammer at her again and Wyldfyre ducked awkwardly. He kicked her on her side and she went down. She quickly rolled to her back as the hammer came down again and she rolled to the left to avoid it, dirt spraying her in the face. With the little remaining strength she had left she raised her hands and summoned up her fire spell. It hit the bandit and engulfed his body. He staggered back a few steps giving Wyldfyre a chance to scramble to her feet and she spun and ran up the tunnel towards the exit. She could hear the man following behind her. At the last second she remembered the trip line and ran through it, causing a great cascade of rocks to plummet down behind her and she desperately stumbled on to the mines entrance. She fell when she came to the door and waited there on the ground, breathing heavily, the pain in her ribs making her almost see stars.

    A cloud of dust shot up to meet her and Wyldfyre's vision was obscured for a time. She could not see the man anywhere. She sat and waited for the dust to settle, expecting to see his shape looming out of the haze. But all was quite except for a groaning further down the tunnel. Wyldfyre stood up painfully and staggered back down the tunnel. She found the bandit lying in amongst the rocks and rubble. Both his legs looked to be broken and his hand was mangled, the hammer gone. Wyldfyre removed a rock from his chest plate and saw that it had also been crushed in from the force. His wounds were fatal. Wyldfyre knelt down beside the man, studying his face.

    “Finish it” he grunted. Wyldfyre looked to were the man’s war hammer lay. It was a formidable weapon.

    “I will end your life as you request” Wyldfyre promised him “But first you must answer me this. What are you?”

    “I am Orsimer, an Orc” the bandit Chief grunted, struggling to breathe.

    An Orc? “Where do you come from?” she demanded, but the Orc would not or could no longer speak. She got to her feet and picked up the Orc's war hammer. It was very heavy and Wyldfyre could barely lift it. She settled it down on the Orc's chest. She retrieved her sword from where she had dropped it and stood over the Orc, resting the tip of her blade on his neck.

    “You fought well. You would have defeated me had it not been for your own rock trap. This is not my victory.” She said to him and then plunged the sword through, ending his life. Wyldfyre pulled out the sword and stood there for a long time, looking down at the now lifeless Orc. She hurt terribly, but knew she needed to leave this place as quickly as she could. She needed to get back to Jorrvaskr. She had a lot of questions for Farkas. The main one being why she was sent here alone.

    She walked gingerly down the ramp and back into the main chamber of the mine, finding her bow and the dropped arrow. She went down into the chamber and had a quick scout around for any valuables she might be able to claim. A chest was half hidden under a table but it was locked and Wyldfyre could not get into it. Up in the alcove where the bandit Chief had been was a bed with a small table beside it. Wyldfyre found a curious book on the table as well as a hefty coin purse. The book had an odd tree like symbol on it. She took the purse as well as the book, intending to read it later.

    She tried to carry some of the ore that the bandits had mined but they were too heavy for her with her injured ribs, so she reluctantly left them behind, cursing herself for not thinking to bring her healing potions. When she returned to the yard outside she looked over the other dead bandits and gathered more coins, a shining red gem and another curious book, this one had a symbol of a flaming hand on it. Then she remembered she had left her satchel on top of the hill. She sighed and slowly made her way back up the hill. After stowing her loot away she looked out over the plains to Whiterun off in the distance. It was not a very far walk for someone who was not injured as her, but the day was coming to an end. Wyldfyre was not sure if she wanted to try stumbling over the rocks and dead trees in the dark. Not to mention if she came across any wild animals or more bandits she would not be able to defend herself very well.

    With reluctance she decided to head back into the mine and down to the main chamber where at least there was a fire already made, a bed roll and some food. She settled down on one of the rolls close to the fire and peered into the cooking pot at what appeared to be some sort of meat and vegetable stew. Wyldfyre had a suspicion the meat was Mammoth, given the number of huge mammoth carcasses and tusks lying around. She had a taste and found it to be not terribly unpleasant so filled a nearby bowl with the stew and sat back on the bed roll. It hurt to sit like that and Wyldfyre wanted to take her armour off, but she knew her ribs would feel worse if they were not restricted by the leather. After she had eaten she pulled out one of the books and lay back on the roll.

    The book was written by an ancient scholar, and as Wyldfyre read further, she realised this book was actually an instruction book for a frost spell, very similar to her fire and shock spells. Wyldfyre read on fascinated. She studied the diagrams and re-read over the steps for casting the spell. She flexed her fingers and tried to concentrate on the frost spell, but she was too tired to produce even a little mist. Soon her fire died down and so Wyldfyre stowed her book and settled in for the night.

    Wyldfyre was startled awake by a noise. It was pitch black in the cavern but Wyldfyre could tell she was not alone in there. She lay there listening to the noise as it moved around the cavern. The hair on her arms pricked up as the noise moved closer to her and she realised it was from some animal. A very large animal judging by its footfalls. At first she thought it was a wolf but the origins of the noise, a kind of guttural growling, were coming from roughly the height of a man. Wyldfyre lay as still as she could, daring not to breathe. She wished she could reach her dagger but to do so she would have had to sit up, due to her sore ribs. The creature moved even closer to her and Wyldfyre cringed back into her bed roll as its hot breath blew on her face. It was smelling her. Her heart was beating so fast she was sure the beast could hear it. Wyldfyre was frozen with fear.

    Suddenly a piece of glowing firewood cracked in the fire pit, causing a small flame to flare up and the creature spun and ran off into the blackness. Wyldfyre scrambled to her knees and took out her dagger, her hands shaking. She threw some kindling onto the flame and it grew until she could see a few paces around her. All was quiet again as she scanned the cavern, trying to see beyond the darkness. She heard another noise to her right in the direction of the ramp and suddenly a torch came to light. The person holding the torch called out.

    “Wyldfyre!” It was Farkas. He came over to her quickly and she drew in a breath. She had never been more glad to see someone.

    “Farkas!” she breathed, looking about her wildly “There is some sort of large beast in here”. Farkas dropped the torch into the fire and knelt beside Wyldfyre, taking her in his arms.

    “It’s alright” he soothed “It’s, um… gone”.

    “Are you sure?” she asked him, the dagger in her hand still shaking. Farkas took the dagger from her.

    “Positive” he said. He looked her over, sensing something was wrong “When you didn’t come back at nightfall I came looking for you. You are injured” he observed.

    “Yes” she answered him. Although she was glad to see him, she was a little annoyed that he had come to look for her. Like she needed rescuing. And she was also angry at him for sending her on this job alone.

    “The bandit chief proved to be more than I could handle. I’ve cracked a rib. Farkas, why did you send me here alone?”

    Farkas looked surprised and then ashamed. He sat back on his haunches, conflicting emotions running over his face. Wyldfyre waited patiently for him to speak.

    “I am sorry. Please believe me that it wasn’t my idea. Kodlak made me do it. I tried to argue with him but” he grimaced “You don’t win an argument with the Harbinger.”

    Wyldfyre frowned “Why did he do it?” she asked him, slightly hurt. Was the old man trying to get rid of her?

    “Wyldfyre, please forgive me. I tried” Farkas looked so ashamed that Wyldfyre couldn’t stay angry with him. She winced as she tried to sit up in a better position. Farkas felt her pain, having cracked many a rib in his time.

    “I know how that feels” he said to her. He handed her a small red vial. Wyldfyre took the health potion gratefully and felt a little better, as the cracked rib knitted together until there remained just a throbbing ache.

    “You need to stay warm”. He busied himself adding more wood and kindling to the fire until it was roaring nicely. He dragged another bed roll over beside Wyldfyre and lay down next to her, his arm slung protectively over her. They lay there in the warmth of the fire.

    “Well head back in the morning” Farkas said.

    “What if that beast comes back?” Wyldfyre asked him.


    “It won’t” he promised.
     
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  14. shadowkitty

    shadowkitty Mistress of Shadows

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    CHAPTER FOURTEEN: Revelations


    Farkas and Wyldfyre made it back to Jorrvaskr the next day, Farkas insisting that he carried her satchel and also a large sack full of ore and the contents of the chest that Wyldfyre could not get in to. Farkas simply hacked it open with a steel mace he found. Inside it was a large amount of coin, gems of all sorts, and an assortment of weapons. Wyldfyre would have left the weapons but Farkas argued that as long as he was carrying it, then she might as well take the weapons to sell. He would not accept half of the loot, firmly telling Wyldfyre that this was her job and so she deserved all the spoils. Wyldfyre knew Farkas was strong, but the loot that he carried as well as supporting her all the way back to Whiterun, was beyond human.

    Once they were back in Jorrvaskr, Wyldfyre was sent to her bed. Farkas was dismissed and then Tilma and Ria helped take off her armour and tunic and Ria rubbed a healing salve onto Wyldfyre's skin. It burned but soon she could feel its healing affects. Ria helped her into a fresh tunic and then into her bed. Wyldfyre protested the whole time that she was feeling fine, but they would not listen so she gave up and let them fuss. It didn’t take long for her to fall asleep.

    A week later, Wyldfyre was sitting outside in the sun near the practice yard. She had just finished another session with Athis. He had insisted she step up her training with her sword and had drilled her twice a day since she had returned from Halted Stream Camp. Her cracked rib was on the mend and it didn’t really bother her so much, the healing potions and salves working wonders.

    Wyldfyre looked up from her book to see Farkas walking over to her. He had been so guilty for sending her out on her own for her first job that he had been almost falling over himself trying to make it up to her. He insisted on taking the weapons she had acquired and selling them for her, as well as the gems. She kept the ore though as she had other plans for it. Wyldfyre had made a very nice profit for her troubles and had now amassed a very sizeable amount of coin.

    He also hovered over her when she walked gingerly up to the common room for the first time, moving bits of furniture out of her way and bullying the other Companions to move. It quickly became embarrassing for Wyldfyre so she put her foot down and told Farkas to stop and that he was forgiven. Wyldfyre had not spoken to Kodlak since she had returned, and was still very annoyed with him. She wanted to speak to him about it but Farkas advised against it. She smiled at his approach now and Farkas gave her a wide grin.

    “My little shewolf” he greeted her. He had taken to calling her that lately. Wyldfyre had no idea why. He squatted down beside her.
    “Reading your book again. Is it really that interesting?” He leaned over the book, peering at the strange diagrams.

    “Yes it is in fact” she said to him “It’s wonderful. It tells you how to change things”. Farkas cocked his head, trying the diagrams from a different angle.

    “Change things?”

    Wyldfyre tried to explain. “Changing one thing into something else. It’s called Transmutation”.

    “Alright” Farkas said uncertainly. Wyldfyre decided that he didn’t really need to know the intricacies of rearranging ores properties so she closed the book and playfully flipped a strand of hair from his eyes.

    “Did you want something specific or are you just out here to apologise again?” she teased. Farkas looked hurt, and Wyldfyre was sorry for her comment, until he cracked a grin and she realised he was faking. She laughed. She had grown very fond of Farkas. The times they spent together weren’t complicated like they had been with Ralof. Farkas was happy with his life. Happy to be a Companion and he didn’t demand anything of her. Ralof had been...well, complicated. Wyldfyre did not want complicated. Complicated led to hurt.

    “I actually came out here for a reason.” Farkas began “The old man wants to see you”. Wyldfyre's heart skipped a beat. Finally she would be able to ask the questions that burned inside her. She nodded and left the sunlight, dropping off the book and her sword in her room on the way. She came to Kodlak's door and knocked loudly.

    “Come in Wyldfyre” called Kodlak from the other side. How did he know it was me? She thought. She entered the dark room and closed the door. Kodlak was seated at his table, again pouring over some books that laid spread out in front of him. He smiled at her when she sat down opposite him.

    “Daughter” he began “I have an apology to make” He held up a hand when Wyldfyre started to interject. “No point in arguing with me. I realise I pushed you too hard for your first job and you got hurt, and for that I am sorry”

    “I can look after myself” Wyldfyre protested. Why am I now defending his choice? Had I not been angry at him just two minutes ago? Kodlaks shaggy eyebrows shot up.

    “Indeed you can” he agreed. “But I always made it a rule not to send whelps out alone on their first job.”

    “Why did you?” Wyldfyre interrupted. Kodlak sighed.

    “It’s hard to explain. When I first saw you, that first day you came to me, so full of fire and spirit. I saw something in you that I had not seen in another for quite a long time. There is something about you Wyldfyre. Something different. Something extraordinary.” Wyldfyre was taken aback, but she listened while Kodlak continued.

    “I knew you were going to excel here. But I also know that you are not destined to be a mere member of the Companions. I can see it in you. You were put here for greater things.”

    “What greater things?” Wyldfyre asked him. He shook his head.

    “That, I am uncertain of. For now” he tapped on one of the books he had been reading. “But maybe I will, in time.” Wyldfyre nodded, hoping to find out more of what Kodlak had told her. He leaned forward and took her hands in his. They were large and callused like an old warriors hands should be.

    “Why do you call me Daughter?” Wyldfyre asked the old man.

    Kodlak smiled “We are a family Wyldfyre. I am the Harbinger. The pack leader. You are my children”

    “Like wolves?” she asked. Kodlak nodded his head slowly, studying Wyldfyre closely.

    “Yes” he answered her “Wolves are very family orientated. They also have their hierarchy. The pack leader, the pups.”

    Wyldfyre laughed “So we are your pups?”

    Kodlak laughed too “In a way, yes. It’s a term of endearment, but also reinforces the bond we share”

    “Are Vilkas and Farkas your sons?”

    “No, but I have known them since they were very young, so in a way, I do feel like they are my true sons. Their father was a very close friend of mine and when he died, I took on the job of bringing up his sons.” Wyldfyre nodded. Kodlak looked down at her hands and saw the silver ring she wore.

    “Where did you get this?” he asked her.

    “Oh! I had almost forgotten about that” she exclaimed “One of the Khajiit gifted it to me. She said it was for good aim. I didn’t know what she meant at the time, but, since I have used my bow my shots seen to be more true, even from a great distance.” Kodlak turned her hand over, examining the ring closely. He could see the slight green glow it had.

    “This is a fine gift indeed Daughter. It has been enchanted”

    Wyldfyres eyes widened “Enchanted? What is that?” She stared at the ring.

    Kodlak looked thoughtful, “Well you know of magic? I have been told you are quite proficient with some destruction spells?” She nodded proudly.

    “Good” Kodlak continued “There are other schools of magic people pursue, one of them being Enchanting. They can take an ordinary object” he held up her hand “Like a ring, and if they know the right spells and with the help of an enchanting table and soul gems, they can imbue that ring with certain properties that benefit the wearer.”

    Wyldfyre was intrigued “Like making you a better archer?” Kodlak nodded.

    “Precisely”.

    “Enchanting...” she mused. “Where does one learn how to enchant?”

    “Most people would journey to Winterhold to seek the tutorage of the wizards there. But, Dragonsreach has a court mage. I’m sure if you ask him, and if you have the coin, maybe he could show you a thing or two”. Wyldfyre made a note to see the Court mage when she had the first opportunity to do so.

    “Now that we have that settled, I think the evening meal is about to start. Care to join and old man for dinner?” he asked her. He stood and offered his hand to her. She took it and stood, but hesitated for a moment.

    “Kodlak?”

    “Yes?”

    “There is something else I would like to know” she struggled with what she wanted to ask next, having gone over it in her head a dozen times. “I was wondering if I have to stay living here? In Jorrvaskr?”

    “You do not like living here with us?” he asked her.

    “It’s not like that” she explained “I love being a part of this family. But I have been wanting a place to call my own. Somewhere I can come home to at the end of the day and know that it is mine. Maybe somewhere I could have my own family one day” she looked down at her feet.

    Kodlak lifted her chin up so he could look into her eyes. He smiled down at her kindly.
    “No my daughter. You do not have to. Most Companions choose to live here for different reasons. Some because they have nowhere else to go, and others simply because they want to. But you do not need to live here with us. You are free to live wherever you want. But I do hope wherever that is, it isn’t too far from us” he grinned “especially from Farkas.” Wyldfyre blushed.

    Kodlak nodded his head “Ah, I see that my son’s affection for you is returned? This is a good thing. I am happy for you both.” He stunned Wyldfyre by leaning forward and kissing her forehead. For some reason it affected Wyldfyre in a profound way. Like she had just been blessed.

    “Let us go eat, I am hungry enough to eat a whole elk” Kodlak declared. He tucked Wyldfyres arm in his and they went up for the evening meal.

    Wyldfyre felt like a great weight had been lifted from her shoulders. She had been agonizing over her living arrangements for a few days now. What she had said to Kodlak was true in that she dearly wanted a place of her own. She had also been thinking of the possibility of having a family again. She had promised herself when she made that terrible decent from the mountains, that she would not let herself get close to anyone for fear of losing them, because the heartache she had suffered after her family was killed was too much. But after spending the last few weeks with her Companion family, Wyldfyre realised she was kidding herself and trying to hide from something that was the truth. The truth that she craved closeness only a family of her own could provide.


    Wyldfyre reflected on the statement Kodlak had made about her and Farkas. Could she see Farkas as her partner? Having a child with him? Wyldfyre didn’t know if having a life other than what he had with the Companions was even something that Farkas would want. He was happy here. She was also happy being a Companion. But what kind of a life was it to bring a child up in? Wyldfyre was very confused about the whole thing. She had no experience in taking a partner. She had no idea how to manage a relationship like that, and had she not just wanted her life to be uncomplicated? She wondered if she should open up to Farkas and tell her story. Where she came from, how she had ended up in Skyrim. Would it make any difference to her feelings for him and his for her? She concluded that she would have to think about it a little more. There was one thing she was certain about though. She was going to buy herself a house, a home. Somewhere that was hers.
     
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  15. shadowkitty

    shadowkitty Mistress of Shadows

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    Adult content

    CHAPTER FIFTEEN: The Midas touch


    The day after her interesting talk with Kodlak, Wyldfyre set out from Whiterun on a mission of her own. She was finally going to test out the Transmutation spell book. Farkas had wanted to come with her but she convinced him that this was something she wanted to do alone. He reluctantly agreed and went off to find someone to spar with. Wyldfyre headed out along the road that led back to Riverwood, searching for the clearing she had stopped in to test her bow and had had the encounter with the wolf. She wanted to make sure she would not be disturbed when she tried out this new magic as she had no idea what the outcome would be.

    Wyldfyre had the ore Farkas had collected for her in a large sack slung over one shoulder and the book in her satchel over the other. It wasn’t the best of days to be out in the countryside as the weather had taken a turn and black clouds rolled over the plains. Wyldfyre could see patches of rain in the distance. The sack was starting to weigh her down when she finally came to the part in the road she remembered she needed to head off to the right to get to the clearing. She dumped her burdens and looked around, expecting to see the wolf carcass but it was nowhere in sight. Wyldfyre assuming some other animal had found it and dragged it off.

    She sat crossed legged on the grass and took out the spell book, studying it for a while before she poured the contents of the sack out onto the ground. She took up one of the iron ores and placed it on the ground in front of her, closed her eyes and concentrated. She held her hands over the ore and went through the steps the book had told her to do. She could feel a faint tingling in her palms and when she opened her eyes she could see they glowed green. According to the book, this was supposed to happen. Wyldfyre stared at the iron ore and concentrated until she thought she would faint.

    Suddenly the ore started to shimmer and glow. It seemed to liquefy, yet hold its shape, glowing ever brighter as the molten liquid swirled and bubbled. Then the ore made a small hissing sound, stopped glowing and became solid again. Wyldfyre dropped her hands, disengaging the spell, disappointed. She was exhausted from her efforts and the spell had not even worked. She turned to her satchel where she had placed the book only to discover the book was gone. In its place was a little pile of ash. Wyldfyre was stunned, and then she smiled with delight. The book had said this would happen. If the spell worked, the book would be destroyed. She turned back to the ore and picked it up, examining it more closely. It did feel lighter, and when she looked at it more closely it was a different colour. Wyldfyre took out her dagger and scrapped at the ore. It was silver! She had turned iron into silver.

    Wyldfyre laughed out loud and fell back onto the grass, staring up at the cloudy sky, delighted with her efforts. She could read and interpret spell books. How many others are out there, just waiting for me? She thought. She sat back up and looked at the ore, wondering if she dared take it to the next level. She decided she had nothing to lose and so held her hands over the silver ore once again and concentrated. The ore shimmered and glowed and swirled and bubbled before solidifying. This time is was a light yellow colour. Wyldfyre's eyes widened. She had made gold. There, before her was a lump of gold ore. Wyldfyre wasted no time in turning all the other iron ore, but one, into gold, and by the time she was done, she was completely exhausted.

    She spent her recovery time reading the other spell book she had acquired. The one about frost spells. She lay on the grass reading and eating the fruit she had brought with her. The frost spell didn’t seem to be as complicated as the Transmutation spell, but Wyldfyre decided she did not want to test it just yet. She felt her magical energy levels were almost depleted and trying out a new spell would have been a waste of time. She would save the frost spell for when she was fresh. Still, Wyldfyre was very happy with the day’s efforts. She now had a sack of gold that she could sell or use, as she chose, and she now had the knowledge that she could turn more ore into gold as she needed it.

    Wyldfyre sat in the clearing, relishing the alone time she had. She needed to think about things without the noises of the city and the Companions. She needed to decide where she was going to buy her house. The only three places she had been in Skyrim so far had been Helgen, Riverwood and Whiterun. Helgen was out of the question. Wyldfyre was sure that no-one lived there now after the Dragon attack. Riverwood did appeal to Wyldfyre. Its location was ideal. Close to the Capital, but far enough away to be peaceful. She liked the little river winding past it as well, being fond of fishing. There was the problem of Ralof and his family though. While Wyldfyre didn’t think that Ralof was still in Riverwood, his family was, and she wasn’t sure if she wanted to deal with them, especially if things with Farkas became more serious. Things would become a little, awkward.

    Wyldfyre was sure that Farkas would be more inclined to a partnership if she lived closer to Jorrvaskr. While Farkas and Vilkas liked to fight and tease each other, Wyldfyre knew that neither one would leave the other. She was equally fascinated and frustrated by the relationship between the twins. She envied how close they were. Witnessing the almost supernatural bond they shared, when one day, while sparring, Vilkas received a very nasty gash to his leg. Down below in the dorms, Wyldfyre and Farkas were sitting in her room talking, when Farkas suddenly clutched at his leg in pain. Farkas had felt the blow his brother had received. It didn’t always happen. Wyldfyre observed that the other would only feel intense emotions.

    She had also observed that, while not as profound, this close bond existed between all of the Circle. Aela always seemed to know when Skjor was arriving home, even before he walked through the doors of the mead hall. Skjor knew whatever Aela was feeling and Kodlak knew what everyone was doing at any given time. While the other members of the Companions were very close, like a family should be, The Circle was close beyond normality. Beyond human. Wyldfyre wished she knew what it was that made them so.

    Wyldfyre was almost lost in her thoughts when she felt a few drops of rain and so she hurriedly packed the gold lumps into her sack and left the clearing. She didn’t want to be caught out in the rain, so she made her way back to Whiterun as quickly as she could. She hurried through the market where the traders were scurrying to cover their wares from the rain. She ran up the steps to the hall as the rain intensified and the first bright flash of lightening lit up the sky. She burst through the door only to run right into Farkas. He had been waiting there for her.

    “Where have you been?” he asked her a bit huffily. Wyldfyre stepped back and threw him a scathing look.

    “Where have I been?” she repeated. Farkas looked a little sheepish and flustered.

    “What I meant was, um, you were gone a long time, and um, you’re wet” he finished lamely. Wyldfyre could not stay mad at him. She smiled and stepped in close to him.

    “There is a reason why. Come and I’ll show you” she whispered, and led him down to her room. She was glad that Ria was away on a job and closed the door behind Farkas, making sure to bolt the door. Farkas sat down on Wyldfyres bed and she dumped the sack on the floor.

    “Just a moment” she said to him and took off her armour, laying it out near the roaring fire Tilma had lit in the fireplace. Farkas sat back, enjoying the view. Wyldfyres body glowed in the fire light. She peeled off her wet undergarments and went to take a dry tunic out of her dresser, but Farkas, it seemed had other plans. He grabbed her and drew her down onto his lap, his steel armour cold against her bare skin. He breathed in deep, savouring her scent. He loved the way she smelt. Like grass and flowers and things earthy. It drove him wild with desire for her.

    “Hey!” Wyldfyre protested, laughing “I have something really wonderful to show you!” Farkas’s arms encircled her waist. He leaned in and kissed her so passionately it almost took her breath away.

    “I bet you do” he answered her, as she unbuckled his armour in a frenzy.

    Much later, Wyldfyre, now dressed, sat on the floor in front of Farkas, who had simply dragged her bed linens over himself. She had the sack in front of her.

    “You remember the ore we collected from Halted Stream mine? The iron ore?” she began. Farkas nodded.

    “And you remember the book I have been reading a lot lately?”

    “A lot” agreed Farkas. She poked her tongue at him and he grinned.

    “Well” she said as she drew a lump of gold ore from out of the sack “It worked”. Farkas stared at the gold for a moment, not understanding what she meant. Then suddenly realisation came to his face, and he slid down onto the floor with her. He took the gold and examined it, turning it over.

    “You. You did this?” he asked her, amazed. “This is what Transmutation means?” Wyldfyre nodded.

    “It’s a spell. At first I thought it didn’t work but when I saw the book had been destroyed then I knew I had got it right. The iron changed to silver and then to gold.” She tipped all of the gold ore out of the sack and picked up the last remaining iron ore she had saved.

    “Can I show you?” she asked him. Farkas looked from the iron to the gold in his hands and nodded.

    “Do it” he grinned. Wyldfyre placed the iron ore on the floor in front of him and he made to move back.

    “Don’t move” she reassured him “It won’t hurt you”. She held her hands over the ore and concentrated like she did in the clearing. Farkas’s eyes widened as the ore glowed and shimmered and became that swirling liquefied blob. When it finally sat, dull and still, it had turned into silver. Farkas looked at Wyldfyre in amazement.

    “Wait” she said to him. Again she concentrated over the ore and when she was done the silver had changed into gold. Farkas picked up the precious metal and weighed it in his hands.

    “What do you think?” Wyldfyre asked him. Farkas looked at her and shook his head.

    “Just when I thought you couldn’t get any more amazing”.

    “What do you mean?” she asked him. “Because I can make gold?” Farkas tried to put what he felt into words.

    “No. Gold means nothing to me. I have no use for it. Every time I do a job I put the coin I earn in my chest and there it stays. I don’t even know how much of it I have. Probably a lot” he shrugged “When I say you are amazing, I mean I have never met anyone like you. You are beautiful. You are smart. You have a braveness in you. You make me weak in a way that I like. You drive me mad. I feel...” he paused.

    Wyldfyre leaned forward “yes?” she urged him on. He sighed.

    “You make me feel...better” Wyldfyre could see wonder and adoration in his eyes. She was stunned and touched to learn that Farkas’s feelings for her were far beyond the intimate moments they shared together. She had the sudden urge to rip off the linens he had wrapped himself in. Farkas started to look slightly worried, fearing he had said too much, misinterpreting the look on her face.

    “I’m sorry” he said “I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable”

    “Put that down” she said to him in a deadly serious voice. Farkas looked alarmed and dropped the ore.

    “What? Why?” he cried.

    “Because I am about to throw you down on this floor.”
    And she did precisely that.
     
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  16. shadowkitty

    shadowkitty Mistress of Shadows

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    CHAPTER SIXTEEN: Dragonborn


    The day finally dawned fine and sunny after two days of rain, and Wyldfyre decided to pay the Court Mage a visit. She counted out some coin into her purse and set off for Dragonsreach. As she passed under the large dying tree in the courtyard she noticed a robed woman standing next to the great gnarled trunk, looking forlornly up into its bare branches. The woman noticed Wyldfyre and nodded.

    “Hail Companion” she greeted Wyldfyre in a sad voice. Wyldfyre stopped and walked over to the woman.

    “Good morning” she said to her. “May I ask what troubles you?” The woman sighed again and looked up into the tree.

    “She is dying” she said as she placed a hand on the trunk. “Can you not feel it?” Wyldfyre placed her hand on the tree. She could feel a faint sign of life within the tree, but it was struggling.

    “What can be done?” she asked the woman, who shook her head.

    “I am not sure. But hopefully soon I will have an answer. Come seek me out at the temple of Kynareth” she pointed to the building to the left of the courtyard. She then nodded to Wyldfyre once again and slowly wandered off, back to her temple. What an odd encounter thought Wyldfyre. She made her way up the stairs of Dragonsreach. Half way up she had to step aside for a guard who ran puffing up the steps. His armour was torn and singed. Wyldfyre sensed something was not right and so hurried up the stairs as well and was admitted by the guards who recognised her as a Companion. Inside, the guard was already half way across the hall so Wyldfyre hurried to catch up. When she neared the dais she could hear him trying to retell his story, panting in between words. It was hard to understand but enough of what Wyldfyre heard made her hair stand on end and her heart drop.

    Dragon attack. Out on the fringes of Whiterun at the western watch tower a patrol of guards was under attack from a dragon. The Jarl, clearly upset himself, was trying to calm the guard down to get enough details. A hooded man rushed over to the group.

    “A dragon attack? So close to the city? How extraordinary!” he exclaimed excitedly.

    “Extraordinary?” shrieked the guard “I have just seen my friends being roasted alive and you think it’s extraordinary?” His grip tightened on his axe, and the hooded man stepped back a few paces.

    “Soldier!” Irileth admonished “Collect yourself. I am sure Farengar did not mean to offend. Did you Farengar?” She glared at him meaningfully. Farengar shook his head fervently.

    “No of course not. I apologise”.

    “Irileth” said the Jarl “Take a squadron of men to the West Tower”

    “Yes my Jarl” Irileth answered crisply. It was then that the Jarl noticed Wyldfyre standing with them.

    “You!” he cried “You are to go with Irileth to help bring down the beast” Wyldfyre was terrified.

    “Me?” she shook her head “Why me?”

    “Yes you!” Jarl Balgruuf shouted “Because I said so, and because you are the only one I know to have witnessed a dragon attack and survived. You have first hand knowledge of what that beast is capable of. So you will go.” Wyldfyre nodded, silently glad she had armed herself this morning with both her sword and her bow. Farengar stepped forward.

    “My Jarl, may I go as well? It has been my dream to observe a real life Dragon” The Jarl shook his head.

    “No you may not. I need you here”. Farengar looked extremely disappointed and started to protest.

    “I said no!” Yelled the Jarl. “Irileth! Why are you still here? Get moving!” Irileth turned and glared at Wyldfyre.

    “With me” she ordered and ran down the hall to the great doors with Wyldfyre following closely behind. They made a mad dash through the city, alarming citizens in their haste. Irileth gathered up a squad of soldiers at the guard tower and they all proceeded out the west gate. Wyldfyre looked to the west but could not see the dragon. They continued past the stables in a dead run and turned west towards the tower. Wyldfyre could see several black plumes of smoke billowing out from and around the tower, which was little more than a ruin. As they neared, Irileth ordered them to halt.

    “Alright men” she spoke to them “We don’t know what we are about to come up against, but I suggest you keep your wits about you and your eyes to the sky. Hit it with everything you have when you see it. Once we bring it down to the ground don’t forget it can do serious damage with its tail and wings. But keep it on the ground.” She studied the tower and the surrounding area for a short time.

    “Let’s get in there as see to the wounded. Remember to keep alert. Now GO!” and she charged off. The rest of the soldiers ran after her a little reluctantly, Wyldfyre in the midst of them. As she neared the tower she could hear the cries and moans from the wounded soldiers.

    She came upon one soldier who was clutching at his arm. It was clearly broken and so Wyldfyre took off his cloak and wrapped it around his body, making a sling for the injured arm. She helped him to his feet and led him into the relative safety of the tower. Two other wounded soldiers were lying on the floor with various breaks and burns. Another lay motionless, burned beyond saving. Wyldfyre gave the most seriously wounded soldier one of her healing potions. Just as he was thanking her a deafening roar filled Wyldfyres ears. She turned to the door and saw a flash of white. A white Dragon. Not black like the one from Helgen. There were more dragons! Wyldfyre ran to the door, searching for Irileth. She saw her over by a pile of stone rubble.

    “This is not the Dragon from Helgen!” She shouted to Irileth. Irileth nodded to confirm she had heard Wyldfyre, just as the dragon made a pass overhead and roared a great plume of flame, hitting the rubble pile where Irileth stood. The dark elf only had inches to spare as she leapt off the pile, rolling along the ground and springing lithely to her feet.

    “It’s still a dragon!” She yelled back to Wyldfyre “We need to bring the beast down! Archers ready!”

    Wyldfyre grabbed out her bow and notched it, ready to fire. She came down from the tower and could see the Dragon flying over the nearby mountain before it turned in a graceful arc and headed straight back towards the tower.

    “FIRE!”. A volley of arrows was loosed at the Dragon. Some completely missed but others hit their target. They appeared to not do any real damage to the dragon, only seeming to enrage it more. The dragon flew off and turned again, heading towards Wyldfyre and the guards.

    “Fire!” Irileth screamed again and again, as the Dragon toyed with them. The dragon swooped down upon them four more times before Wyldfyre thought it appeared to be slowing, its flames not so vicious. It’s tiring! She thought.

    “It’s weakening!” She yelled to the soldiers. The Dragon passed overhead and then landed awkwardly on top of the ruined tower. Wyldfyre and the soldiers ran to avoid its flame, dashing behind rubble. They continued to shoot it with arrows. It shook its tail in a fury and took off again, but it quickly landed on the ground just in front of the tower, its wings a tattered mess from the arrows, no longer able to keep the beast in the air. The soldiers ran to avoid its tail which it used as a weapon as well, thrashing it to and fro. Wyldfyre had a quick thought and slung her bow over her shoulder. She came up to the side of the Dragon as close as she dared and raised her hands. This time she thought of the frost spell book and the steps in which it told her how to produce a blizzard from her hands. As she concentrated, her hands grew cold and out from her palms came a swirling coldness that froze everything it touched.

    Wyldfyre stepped closer to the dragon, feeling the heat coming off its body. She hit it with her frost blast and it writhed in pain. It stumbled sideways, trying to avoid the biting cold. Meanwhile the soldiers shot arrow after arrow into its hide, while some of the more braver dashed in to attack it with swords and axes. One soldier misjudged the reach of the dragon and as he ran in to attack it, it grabbed the man in its jaws, lifting him off the ground. The soldier screamed and Wyldfyre was horrified when blood and other things squirted out from the soldiers’ body. The screams were suddenly silenced when the soldiers’ body went limp. Wyldfyre, in a rage, unsheathed her sword and dashed in and sliced the dragon across its exposed neck. This part of the dragons hide was thinner than the rest and Wyldfyre's sharp skyforged steel blade sliced through it cleanly.The dragon dropped the body of the dead soldier and stumbled back again.

    Wyldfyre knew the dragon was dying. Hot molten blood poured from its fatal wound, staining the ground below it. It thrashed and rolled on the ground, and the soldiers had to stand back. Wyldfyre though, stepped closer to the dragon. Finally it lay on its side, breathing shallow breaths. Wyldfyre came around to look into its eyes. She found herself lost in its depths, swirling through fathomless space and countless lifetimes. Then it spoke to her.

    “"You are brave. Balaan hokoron. Your defeat brings me honour Dovahkiin" it said in its ancient tongue. Wyldfyre was stunned to hear it speak, and even more so when she could understand it.

    “Why do you call me that?” she asked the great beast.

    “It is what my kind call those born with the blood of the Dovah.” It answered her.

    “What do you mean?” she asked it, as its eyes began to close “Tell me!” she demanded.

    “I depart as Mirmulnir. Farewell Dovahkiin.” And it closed its great eyes. Wyldfyre was bitterly disappointed. Yes she had defeated the dragon but in doing so it only added to the mysteries that seemed to be piling up around her ever since she journeyed into Skyrim. Why had it called me that strange name? A soldier came up beside her.

    “Is it...dead?” he asked her. Wyldfyre nodded sadly. She regretted having to kill such a magnificent beast. As she stood there, the dragons’ body suddenly started to glow. The soldier hurriedly stepped back. Wyldfyre watched in fascination as the dragons body started to break apart and disintegrate before her eyes. Little lights swirled around the body and grew faster and faster then suddenly headed straight for Wyldfyre. They entered her body and she felt like she was being tugged and pulled from this world into another. An empty space in her that she never even knew was there was filled with the lights and Wyldfyre realised that she had just absorbed the dragon’s life essence. Its soul. But why? How? Was this something to do with what the dragon had said? About her being born with dragon blood? But how was that possible?

    The dragon’s body disintegrated until there was nothing left but its skeleton. Wyldfyre felt a little queasy when it was all over. She shook her head to clear the fog from it, only then noticing the astonished looks from the soldiers that had gathered around her and the dragon’s body.

    “You” one stammered “You ate its very soul!”

    “You are Dragonborn!” said another.

    “Nonsense!” said Irileth who came stomping over. “There is no such thing as Dragonborn”

    “Well how do you explain what she just did?” argued one soldier, he turned to Wyldfyre.

    “Prove it for us, do something. Shout” he urged her. Wyldfyre had no idea what he was talking about.

    “I don’t know what you mean? Why do you want me to shout at you?” she asked the soldier, confused. Irileth made a throaty noise.

    “There. You see?” she said to the soldiers. “Dragonborn. It’s a fairy tale”

    “We all saw the dragon’s soul enter her body. That’s what the Dragonborn do. They absorb the souls to power their shouts” said the apparently well informed soldier, as the rest of them nodded in agreement. He turned to Irileth, happy that his point was proven. Irileth looked a little less doubtful and unsure.

    “Well, we have no time to be standing around making wild proclamations. We have wounded to tend to. You,” she ordered Wyldfyre “Run back to Whiterun and tell the Jarl what has happened here. Send more guards to help bring back the injured and reinforce the tower. Go”

    Wyldfyre hesitated “Do I tell him everything?” Irileth nodded.

    “Everything as it happened”. Wyldfyre turned and ran to Whiterun.
     
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  17. shadowkitty

    shadowkitty Mistress of Shadows

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    CHAPTER SEVENTEEN: The summons and Lydia


    As she hurried back to Whiterun, Wyldfyre went over the dragon’s words in her head. Dovahkiin it had called her. Born of dragons’ blood. Wyldfyre couldn’t fathom how it was possible. She knew her family, and they certainly never had any dealings with dragons. There was no dragon lore in their ancient writings. How could she have dragons’ blood in her? She was just passing the stables when she was suddenly almost knocked to the ground by a great voice in the sky.

    “DOVAHKIIN!” it boomed. Wyldfyre was shocked to her core. Where did this voice come from? Had it called to her? She looked about and saw the stablehand peering at the sky, scratching his head. The Khajiit caravaners were looking at each other with unease. Again, Wyldfyre began to question herself. Why had her seemingly simple life become so complicated? She was confused, a little scared, but also fascinated. She desperately wanted to find out more about what it meant to be a Dovahkiin. Wyldfyre made it back to Dragonsreach quickly and was soon recalling the morning’s events to Jarl Balgruuf.

    “Good work” he thanked her. “I don’t know what could have happened if you had not been there.” He glanced over to Proventus, who looked indifferent.

    “And so in saying that, on behalf of Whiterun and Her people we owe you a debt of gratitude. Please accept this sword as a token of our respect” A guard stepped forward and presented Wyldfyre with a stunning steel sword. Wyldfyre took it and she could feel a magical power emanating from it.

    “This is enchanted?” she asked the Jarl. He nodded.

    “Yes. Farengar enchanted it with a spell that causes frost damage to your enemies. Wield it well. Also I would like to make you Thane of Whiterun hold. It’s more a token title but you do receive certain benefits from the name. One of them being that you are now able to purchase a property in the hold.” Wyldfyres heart jumped. She could now buy a house!

    “Also” the Jarl continued “I will inform the guards of your new title. This will grant you an audience with me whenever you feel the need without all the hassle. You should also receive a little more respect from them.” He smiled ever so slightly. Wyldfyre felt this was a good time to mention what the dragon had said to her.

    “Dovahkiin?” asked the Jarl, astonished. He sat there, mulling over what Wyldfyre had told him. Then he nodded his head.

    “Yes now it makes sense. On your journey back to Dragonsreach, did you hear a great voice?” Wyldfyre nodded.
    “You have been summoned by the Greybeards.”

    “Who are the Greybeards?” she asked.

    “They live up on the mountain of High Hrothgar. They know the ways of the Dragons. I don’t know how, but I suspect they know about you and want to see you. It would not be wise to delay in meeting with them. They will be able to tell you all you need to know.”

    “How do I get there?”

    “You need to travel around the base of the mountain to Ivarstead. There you will find the beginning of the Seven Thousand steps. It’s the only way up the mountain. Travel light, for it is a hard journey.” Wyldfyre thanked the Jarl. As she was about to leave she turned to him.

    “Jarl, about buying a house?” she asked.

    “Speak to Proventus about that” answered the Jarl. This concluded their business together. Wyldfyre walked over Proventus.

    “Well done” he said to her “You have truly won the favour of the Jarl”

    “Thank you” she answered. “I wish to speak to you about purchasing a house”

    “Of course. It just so happens that one has recently become available. It’s called Breezehome and is located in the Plains district. Right next to my daughter’s blacksmith in fact.” Wyldfyres eyes lit up.

    “Oh yes I have seen that house. It’s nice” she said enthusiastically. “What is it like inside?”

    “It is two stories, like all homes in Whiterun. The first floor has a sitting room, kitchen and a room off to the left side. Depending on what you want in there, it can be an alchemy lab or a child’s bedroom. Upstairs are two more bedrooms, one for the housecarl and the main bedroom.”

    “Housecarl?” asked Wyldfyre, not familiar with the term.

    “Yes now that you have been appointed Thane, you are entitled to a Housecarl. In fact you will meet Lydia before you leave here today. I think that is her waiting for you down the hall” he nodded in the direction of a young brunette lady, in steel armour. Wyldfyre was a little alarmed to learn that she had to share her house with a stranger, before she was ready to share. She had always thought that someone would eventually be her partner. Now she had a staff member, for want of a better term. Wyldfyre was not going to judge the woman though. Maybe they would get on well.

    “So how much is Breezehome to buy?” she asked the Steward.

    “I am assuming you want it furnished as well?” he asked her and she nodded.

    “Well I can see the purchase of the house as well as furnishing it to be no more than, say, seven thousand gold.” Wyldfyre nodded. She had just under that amount.

    “Alright. I don’t have the coin on me right now but consider it sold. I will return later and we can settle the deal” she turned to leave but Proventus touched her arm. He was handing a coin purse to her.

    “Your reward for slaying the dragon” he said as he pressed the hefty purse into her hands.

    “Thank you!”

    “Don’t thank me, thank the Jarl” Proventus muttered and wandered off. Wyldfyre got the impression that he didn’t like her for some reason. She shrugged and walked down the hall to the woman. She was standing straight as a broom, clutching a shield in her left hand. She had a sheathed sword and a bow strung to her back. Wyldfyre noticed she looked a little nervous as she approached.

    “Greetings my Thane” she said formally.

    “Um…Hello” Wyldfyre answered her. She smiled at her and Lydia seemed to relax a little. They looked at each other for a while.

    “So” Wyldfyre began “I have no idea what to do with you”. Lydia let out an explosive breath.

    “Oh I am so relieved to hear you say that. I have no idea what I am supposed to do.” She looked embarrassed “This is my first job you see. I have never been a Housecarl before” They started to walk down the hall.

    “Well what does a Housecarls job entail?” Wyldfyre asked her.

    “I am supposed to defend you with my life” she shrugged. Wyldfyre stopped at the door and looked at Lydia in astonishment.

    “With your life?”

    “Yes”

    “And that’s it?” she asked her. Lydia nodded and smiled. It lit up her face which, until now had looked worried. Wyldfyre wasn’t sure she wanted someone defending her with their life. She didn’t want to have that responsibility. The thought of someone dying just to save her was almost intolerable to her. She could not lose any more people around her. She shook her head.

    “No” she said flatly “I won’t have it”

    Lydia looked confused “My Thane?”

    “I can’t have you defending me with your own life. It’s not right.” Lydia started to protest, but Wyldfyre held up her hand “I won’t be swayed in this. If we ever encounter a situation where it means my life to save yourself, then I expect you to save yourself. If you don’t agree with me then I can’t have you for my Housecarl. I’m sorry but I value your life more than stupid rules”. Lydia looked slightly taken aback, and for a moment was not sure what to say. They never told her what to do when your Thane refused to let you do your job. But this one was adamant. She could not refuse or else she would have to bear the shame of being fired from her first job before she even left Dragonsreach. She decided that the best thing to do would be to tell her Thane whatever she wanted to hear, even if she didn’t mean it.

    “Alright my Thane” she bowed her head in submission. Wyldfyre nodded, and pushed open the doors. They headed down the stairs and Wyldfyre looked over to the Mead hall. It was then she realised that she had not told Farkas anything. Not just the events of today but her feelings towards him and her desires for the future.

    “By the Maker” she cursed. Lydia looked alarmed at her sudden outburst.

    “What is it my Thane?” Wyldfyre wasn’t sure how much she wanted to tell Lydia. She may be hers now but she was still a stranger. She decided to give her the basics of her sudden worries.

    “You know I am Companion? Well, a “Whelp” is more fitting” she started. Lydia nodded.

    “Oh yes. I know that already. And you and Farkas are quite a couple I have heard” she realised she had gone too far when Wyldfyre stopped again and looked at her in annoyance.

    “Where did you hear this?” she demanded.

    “I’m sorry. I overstepped the boundaries.” She apologised.

    “That’s alright. Just tell me where you heard it”

    “Well” Lydia explained “Whiterun is a small town, and word gets around. Especially in the Bannered Mare. A few of your Companions like to go there for a drink or two, and they like to talk.” Wyldfyre was horrified. Torvar. It could only be him, she thought.

    “Alright” she sighed “I see. I’m sorry if I snapped. It’s just, where I come from we were a very privet people. I guess I’m just not used to my privet life being public knowledge.”

    “I know what you mean” Lydia smiled “I have had to deal with a number of people who like to spread rumours and gossip myself. Do you want me to take care of it?” she asked Wyldfyre.

    “No” she shook her head “I’ll deal with the person myself” Lydia nodded, as they continued on down the steps and through the courtyard.

    “So I am guessing your worries are about Farkas?” she asked Wyldfyre.

    “Yes” Wyldfyre nodded, deciding to confide in her Housecarl, having no one else “Farkas and I have grown very…close. And I would like to see how far our relationship can go. Trouble with that is, I have been wanting to leave Jorrvaskr for a while now. Find a place I can call my own. I can’t have a partnership with him in that confined space with all the others there. We can’t have children there. I haven’t told any of this to Farkas yet. I…don’t know how he is going to take it. I don’t even know if he would want the same things as me” She finished. Lydia looked thoughtful.

    “I see what you mean. Maybe if you explained your feelings just like you did to me?”

    “I am going to try” answered Wyldfyre “I just don’t know when the right time is.” She laughed “I guess it will have to be soon. I will need to explain you for one thing. Not to mention all the things that happened today”. Lydia’s eyes lit up.

    “Are the rumours really true? Did you slay a dragon? Did you swallow its soul?”

    “Yes I did. To all three, although I didn’t swallow the soul. It just kind of went into me and filled me. It’s hard to explain.”

    “Did it hurt?” asked Lydia.

    “No, but it felt odd. It felt odd but it somehow felt right as well” Wyldfyre shook her head remembering the strange sensation.


    “You really are the Dragonborn of legends then!” said Lydia in amazement. “I am the Housecarl to the Dragonborn!” she exclaimed. They both laughed and headed inside Jorrvaskr.
     
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  18. shadowkitty

    shadowkitty Mistress of Shadows

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    adult content

    CHAPTER EIGHTEEN: From the Heart


    When they entered the mead hall a few of the Companions looked up to see who it was and seeing Wyldfyre, rushed over to shower her with questions about the dragon attack. She answered as many as she could, before Lydia grabbed her by the arm and ushered her away.

    “Thank you” Wyldfyre said to her. “That was getting annoying”. Lydia nodded.

    “I could tell” she answered her. Wyldfyre led her out to the under covered area and the practice yard. Aela and Vilkas were sitting at the table eating. Athis was sparing with Ria in the yard.

    “Hail Dragonslayer!” Aela greeted Wyldfyre. “Hello Lydia” Wyldfyre looked to Lydia.

    “Aela and I have known each other for a few years.” She explained. “Hello Aela. How are things?”

    “Can’t complain” she answered her. Lydia took a seat next to Vilkas who studied her with great interest. Lydia flashed him a charming smile.

    “Does anyone know where I can find Farkas?” Wyldfyre asked. Vilkas turned in his seat to face Wyldfyre.

    “Where is Farkas?” he asked with a tone of amusement “He just finished a sparring session. So I guess he would be in the…”

    “Baths” Wyldfyre finished for him. She punched him in the arm, knowing what he was implying. “Thanks. Hey Lydia, do you mind hanging out here for a while?”

    “Of course my Thane” she smiled at Vilkas “I would love to”

    “Thane?” Aela asked.

    “I’ll explain” answered Lydia “Wyldfyre needs to talk to Farkas”. Wyldfyre left the trio and headed down into the dorms. She shed her armour and weapons in her room, briefly studying the sword the Jarl had given her. She also examined the little pile of ash that was once the frost spell book before collecting up a towel and padding off to the baths. The steam that met her when she opened the door was a welcome relief to her muscles and she ducked through the door as quickly as she could. Letting her eyes adjust to the darkness, she searched out Farkas and found him in his favourite pool, at the far end of the room in the darkest corner. She slipped off her tunic and slid into the water, plunging her head under to wash the dirt and sweat out of her hair. When she came up for a breath, Farkas was watching her. He smiled at her, loving the way she looked right then.

    “I heard a rumour” he said to her. Wyldfyre moved closer to him and wrapped her arms around his shoulders.

    “Really?” she asked him. His arms came to enclose her and his hands ran through her wet hair.

    “Yes. There was a dragon attack.” Wyldfyre wrapped her legs around Farkas.

    “I heard that rumour to” she smiled and he massaged her back, pulling her in closer.

    “The dragon was slain. And that person who slayed that dragon was a fiery red headed woman.”

    “That is the same thing I heard” Wyldfyre exclaimed, shivering with delight as Farkas’s hands found her breasts. He shook his head.

    “What am I going to do with you?” he asked her as she took him into her hands and felt his arousal grow.

    “Love me” she said to him as she kissed his neck.

    “I already do” he answered her. They gave to each other the release they craved.

    “Frost?” Farkas asked much later. They lazed about on the stone benches, soaking up the steam from the bubbling pools. Wyldfyre had recounted her story to Farkas, and he was trying to process it. She nodded and held up her hands to him. She concentrated and released a small frozen burst of cold air towards him.

    “Hey!” he protested “Alright I believe you! What made you use the frost spell? Don’t you know how to do fire?”

    “Yes I do but the dragon breathed fire, so I guessed that it wouldn’t like frost so much. Luckily my guess was right.”

    “But that’s not how you killed it?” Farkas asked.

    “Right” she nodded her head “It grabbed one of the guards and while its neck was exposed I slashed it open. Eorlunds steel is sharp” she answered. Farkas nodded.

    “How did you eat its soul again?”

    “It wasn’t really like that. I was just standing there after it died and it disintegrated before my eyes. Then these little lights went into my body and filled me. Filled a part of me I didn’t know was there. It was very strange. But for some reason, I knew it was right.” She explained to him.

    “The Dragonborn” Farkas shook his head in wonderment. “This is amazing. All my life I have read about dragons, always wanted to see one and here I am in the presence of the Dragonborn who just this morning slayed a dragon”

    “Doesn’t seem real does it?” she laughed.

    “And now you are Thane to Whiterun and have a Housecarl and…” he sat up ”wait a minute. You have a housecarl. Where is she staying? She can’t stay here, she isn’t a Companion.” Wyldfyre swallowed, it was now time to confess her feelings to Farkas. She sat up to and faced him.

    “Farkas” she began “What you said before, about loving me. Was that true?”

    “Of course it is. I don’t say things I don’t mean” he answered her.

    “Then what I am about to say to you is because I love you to. But please let me tell you something I have never told anyone before. It is hard to talk about.” She looked around, making sure they were alone. She still felt vulnerable and so slid back into the pool, comforted by the warmth. Farkas followed her, sitting opposite her, sensing her unease. He could see her struggling.

    “It’s alright” he encouraged her. Wyldfyre sighed.

    “I have not spoken about my past because it is so painful to even think about it. Let alone tell anyone. When I was captured by the Imperials I was starving and exhausted. I had made my way down from the mountains. My village, my people, my family was slaughtered” she choked, Farkas went to hold her but she held up her hands.
    “Let me finish, please. We lived in an isolated part of the mountains. Our lives were simple. We hunted our food in the lakes and nearby forest. We took partners, bared children, made our own clothes. If we were sick the Sharman cured us. If we had disagreements the elder would right them. I was the daughter of two of the best hunters in the village. My brother and I followed in our parents footsteps and provided our clan with all their meat and fur needs. We lost our father when we were younglings to a disease the Sharman could not cure. Our mother never took another partner and she almost died from heartsickness.”

    “Heartsickness?” Farkas asked.

    “I don’t know if that is what it really was, but after my father left us, she just seemed to waste away. Their partnership was a very unusual one. They stayed together for many years.”

    “Why do you call it a partnership? Didn’t you get married?”

    “Married?” she asked him.

    “When two people love each other and want to spend the rest of their lives together, they get married” Farkas explained.

    Wyldfyre shook her head “In my village, a “Marriage” was not a permanent thing. People could end the partnership whenever they felt so. You could have more than one during your lifetime, even three or four”

    “Did you…have a partner?” Farkas asked shyly.

    “No” Wyldfyre shook her head “Much to my mother’s concern” Farkas looked relieved.

    “Life in our village was simple. We lived our daily lives, never knowing anything about the outside world and its dangers. One day the ground shook, and a hidden cavern opened up on the side of our valley. We thought nothing of it, but the Elders forbade us to go there. A turn of the moon later and three of our clan had vanished. No trace of them was left behind. Then one night I was woken by the sounds of screaming. I had only enough time to take up my hunting bow when my brother rushed me out of our shelter saying we were under attack. I could not believe my eyes. My family, my people were dying, dead. I saw one of the creatures that were attacking us and they were horrid. Crouched with long fingers and pointed ears. Their faces… they had no eyes, yet they fought with such a savagery. They slaughtered everyone, every animal. I tried to stop them but my brother dragged me away.” She sobbed then and Farkas took her into his arms and held her.

    “He took me away from our village, but not before I saw my own mother get her throat ripped out by one of the creatures. I kicked and screamed at him to let me go but he continued on through the forest, telling me that he promised our mother to get me to safety. He was a big man and I could not best his strength. We eventually came to the waterfall that drops away from our mountain down into the valley below. There is no way back up this waterfall.”

    “He didn’t?” Farkas asked in shock. Wyldfyre nodded her head sadly.

    “He said goodbye and then threw me into the waterfall and I went over the edge. My last vision was of him being swarmed by the creatures. I fell down, down into the waters below, almost drowning. When I came to the surface I had been swept down the river and I went over another waterfall. By the time I could make it to land I was miles away from home, lost in the wilderness, exhausted, and half mad with grief. My only choice was to climb down from the mountains and try to start a new life. One my mother would have wanted me to have. To honour my family I had to make it.”

    Wyldfyre sighed, glad that she had finally told her story. Farkas stroked her hair. She continued.

    “I swore to myself that I would not let anyone get close to me again. I couldn’t bare the pain of losing them like I had lost my family. I was going to travel Skyrim, stopping where I please, hunting, selling furs and meat to make a living until I got bored and moved on to the next place. I had it all planned until I met you and Aela that day when we fought the giant together. You all were so welcoming and I felt like I had a family again. I let my guard down and started to have feelings for you. And before I knew it I loved again. Loved you. Something I swore I would never do. But there it was, and it scared me. But I realised that this is what I want. This is what I have been searching for. To have someone to love, who loves me back. A family.” Farkas held her tighter.

    “But it’s not enough.” She said. Farkas began to panic.

    “What do you mean?” he asked her, alarmed.

    “I am no wandering Khajiit Farkas. I want a place to call my own”

    “You do. Right here in Jorrvaskr” he told her. She shook her head.

    “Like I said, it’s not enough. I want a place to call my own. A place to come home to. A place I know is there waiting for me when I am out in the wilds of Skyrim.” She looked at Farkas shyly “A place I can share with those I love”. Farkas looked blank for a while, then realisation dawned on him.

    “You mean…you and me?”he asked. Wyldfyre nodded.

    “If you would like to, I mean I don’t want you to make any decisions right now, but I have already sort of bought a house.”

    “You did?” now Farkas really looked panic stricken.
     
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  19. shadowkitty

    shadowkitty Mistress of Shadows

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    CHAPTER NINETEEN: The Riverwood Trader


    Wyldfyre moved away from Farkas, a worried look on her face. She could tell Farkas was shocked at what she had just told him and now she had all but proposed marriage to him. He needed space to process what had just happened. There was an awkward silence between them. This was not how Wyldfyre had envisioned this talk going. Farkas didn’t appear to know what to say to her. There was something going on inside his mind that had him in a turmoil.

    “I guess I will leave you to think about it?” she asked him, confused at the emotions racing across his face. He merely nodded and she sighed and left him in the pool, tears stinging at her eyes. She quickly dried off and left the bath. Dressing in her armour again, she grabbed her weapons and satchel, filling it with health potions and food. She needed to get away. She couldn’t face anyone right now. She went out to the practice yard to find Lydia being tutored by Vilkas in the art of weaponry. He had his arms about her tiny waist, showing her a special sword swing he had invented. Wyldfyre watched them for a while. Lydia was laughing at something Vilkas said.

    “That Vilkas sure moves quick” commented Aela from the table. Wyldfyre agreed. Aela cocked her head to one side, studying Wyldfyre.

    “You going somewhere?” she asked.

    “Yes, and I don’t know how long I will be away” Wyldfyre answered her.

    “Everything alright sister?”. Wyldfyre could only shake her head. Aela squinted her eyes.

    “What’s he done to you?” she asked her.

    “It’s nothing” Wyldfyre assured her. “Just, when you see him, tell him… I’ve gone away for a while”
    Aela nodded, understanding. Wyldfyre walked over to Vilkas and Lydia. She didn’t want to break them up but she really wanted to get out of Whiterun.

    “Lydia. I’m sorry but it’s time to go” Lydia sheathed her sword.

    “Aww” Vilkas complained.

    “Sorry Vilkas but we are leaving. You can play with my housecarl when we return” Wyldfyre promised. Vilkas gave Lydia a playful pat on the bottom. Lydia laughed. Wyldfyre turned and headed around the side of the mead hall, not wanting to go through it for fear of running into Farkas. Lydia hurried to catch up with her.

    “I take it the talk didn’t go well?” she asked. Wyldfyre shook her head, not wanting to cry.

    “I’m not sure” she answered truthfully “It was very confusing at the end. He acted odd, even for Farkas”

    “In what way?”

    “I just spilled out my life story to him, something that was very painful for me. But I’m sure there is something he is not telling me, something he is holding back. It’s about the Circle, but I just can’t put my finger on it” Wyldfyre explained. She shook her head.

    “Whatever it is I hope he works it out. I need to get out of here. Leave Whiterun for a while”

    “That seems a little extreme doesn’t it?” Lydia asked.

    “It may but it’s how I feel. Do you know of anywhere we can go? Something we can do to occupy my thoughts?”. Lydia looked thoughtful as they made their way to the gates of Whiterun.

    “Weell… “she pondered “wasn’t Danica Pure-Spring looking for you?”

    “Who?”

    “The priestess at the temple of Kynareth” Lydia answered her. She waved to Adrienne as they passed the blacksmith.

    “Oh. Yes she was, how did you?.. never mind” Wyldfyre shook her head “She can wait. I don’t want to have to stick around Whiterun. Anything you know of out of town?”. Lydia opened the gates and they both stepped through.

    “Ok I heard a rumour that the Riverwood trader had a break in and something was stolen. Might be that they may want it retrieved?” Riverwood? Wyldfyre groaned inwardly. It had to be the one other place she did not want to be. But it was away from Whiterun and hopefully she wouldn’t need to stop there for too long either.

    “Alright” she nodded “Let’s go to Riverwood.” As she turned left at the crossroads in front of the stables.

    “Good thing I had nothing to pack” Lydia quipped light-heartedly. Wyldfyre felt a little ashamed.

    “I’m sorry. I know we left in a hurry. I didn’t even think of what you might need”.

    “Don’t worry about it” Lydia shrugged “It’s not like I have anything to bring with me anyway.”

    “You have no possessions?” Wyldfyre asked her. Lydia shook her head, clearly not wanting to elaborate. Wyldfyre respected her privacy, understanding completely. They walked in silence for a while, Wyldfyre wondering why the other woman had nothing but the clothes she wore. She knew exactly how that felt and made a decision.

    “Well all that is going to change once we get back to Whiterun. I am buying Breezehome and Farkas or no Farkas, you are going to be staying with me. You will have your own room, a place to put new possessions.”

    “That does sound nice” said Lydia as they crossed over the bridge that forded the White River. Wyldfyre looked around. They were coming up to the part of the road where her clearing was near.

    “Careful here” she warned “There are wolves about this area. Eyes open” Lydia nodded and swept the area herself. As they continued on they chatted lightly about different things. Neither really wanted to open up too much in the others company just yet. But Wyldfyre was starting to like Lydia. She was positive and funny and was agreeable enough. As to whether she could handle herself in a fight, Wyldfyre was yet to see.

    As they neared Riverwood Wyldfyre grew a little apprehensive. This was to be her first visit back here since she left Ralof that day on the bridge. She didn’t know what kind of welcome she would receive here from his family. His sister especially. She fidgeted with her armour. Lydia noticed her discomfort.

    “Something bothering you?” she asked. Wyldfyre shot her a look.

    “It’s complicated.”

    “Try me” she urged.

    “After I escaped Helgen I followed someone here. I was injured and his family took us in while I recovered and the Imperials stopped looking for us. We got…close.”

    “Ah” Lydia said “And he is the complication?” she asked shrewdly.

    “Yes” answered Wyldfyre. “He wanted me to go with him to Windhelm, but I wasn’t ready for the commitment he wanted.” She suddenly stopped. “Wow”

    “What is it?” asked Lydia.

    “Now I know how Ralof felt. To be rejected by someone you have feelings for.”

    “It hurts doesn’t it?” Lydia asked her. Wyldfyre nodded. Poor Ralof, she thought. Wyldfyre and Lydia walked into Riverwood, Wyldfyre looking over to the saw mill but Gerdur or Hod were nowhere to be seen. Lydia led her to the Riverwood Trader, the general store for the tiny village. She pushed open the door and let Wyldfyre in before her. The Riverwood Trader, it seemed sold almost anything you could have wanted. There were weapons, household items, food, potions, clothing and a shelf full of odd looking metal items. Wyldfyre studied them.

    “Embalming tools” Lydia told her. Wyldfyre put the tool she was holding back on to the shelf and shuddered. She walked over to the counter. A dark haired man stood behind it, interested in the two stunning women who had just walked through his door.

    “Welcome to the Riverwood Trader” he greeted them.

    “Hello there” said Lydia pleasantly. “We are adventurers looking for work. I heard you had a mishap here a few nights ago? A break in was it?” The man sighed sadly.

    “Yes” he said “I lost the days takings and they stole my dragon claw.” Wyldfyre looked at him, astonished.

    “A dragon claw?” she asked him “How did you come to own a dragon’s claw?”. The man sighed impatiently.

    “It’s not a real dragon claw. It’s made from solid gold. Worth a fortune. But it’s worth more in sentimental value to me. I really would like that claw back.”

    “Any idea who took it?” Lydia asked him.

    “Yes, in their haste to get away they did not notice young Frodnar hiding behind a log pile. He overheard them mentioning Bleak Falls Barrow”. Of course they did sighed Wyldfyre.

    “Agh!” exclaimed Lydia, verbalising Wyldfyres feelings exactly “Isn’t that place full of draugr?”

    “Yes it is” answered the man wringing his hands in frustration “Which is why I haven’t gone after the claw myself. I am, after all, a humble shop keeper”

    Lydia looked at Wyldfyre and she nodded, giving her approval “I suppose we could get it back for you. For a small fee” Lydia said to him.

    “Yes! Yes!” he exclaimed “Anything! Just please, return my golden claw!”

    With directions to Bleak Falls Barrow and their satchels full of supplies, Wyldfyre and Lydia left Riverwood, Wyldfyre breathing a sigh of relief when the gates were behind them. At least she had not seen Gerdur. They had to retrace their steps across the bridge and turned left up the path that Lucan, the shop keeper had directed them. He had told them he wasn’t quite sure how many bandits were holed up in the ruins. There were three that had robbed his store, but there could have been more back at the ruins. The two women had also not forgotten about the walking dead inside the Barrow as well. Wyldfyre and Lydia were ready for anything.
     
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  20. shadowkitty

    shadowkitty Mistress of Shadows

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    CHAPTER TWENTY: Bleak Falls Barrow


    The path to Bleak Falls Barrow wound up the mountain until grass gave away to snow and Wyldfyre and Lydia felt the biting cold in the air. Lydia sighed as they stopped for a quick break and something to eat.

    “Sometimes I wish armour was a bit more weather friendly”. Wyldfyre had to agree with her. She was not so used to snow and the cold, her hidden valley being so protected by the elements. So far she did not enjoy it. They set off again, not wanting to be caught out in the dark. As they neared the barrow, they drew their weapons and remained silent, both scouting the area for bandits. Wyldfyre could see the vast stone arches over the tops of the rocks they were sneaking around. They came to the end of the path and a flight of stairs which led to the upper area of the complex. Wyldfyre took one side of the wide stairs while Lydia took the other and they slowly ascended, weapons drawn. Wyldfyre peeked over the top of the stairs and studied the area beyond.

    The outside of the barrow was a jumble of stone arches and stairways. The arches were supported by one massive column in the middle with a smaller one on either side. The entrance into the Barrow itself was up two more flights of stairs and set back into the side of the mountain. Lydia looked to Wyldfyre and indicated to her right. Wyldfyre scanned the area and saw a small fire with two bandits standing at it. She nodded her head at Lydia, signalling that she would take the left one and Lydia should target the right. They both raised their bows and fired at the same time. Wyldfyres shot rang true and hit her target, dropping him. Lydia missed and so Wyldfyre quickly notched her bow again and loosed an arrow at the startled bandit. He went down like the first.

    “Nice shot” Lydia praised her. Wyldfyre nodded and they pushed off the stairs and quickly ran to where the bandits lay. Lydia went immediately to the fire, warming her hands. Wyldfyre checked the bodies for loot. She found a good amount of gold and a pretty silver necklace with a purple gem. She showed it to Lydia.

    “An amethyst” Lydia identified the gem “Nice, good find my Thane, that will fetch you a nice price” Wyldfyre pocketed the necklace and they made their way up the two flights of stairs to the massive doors of the Barrow. Wyldfyre paused before opening the door.

    “Before we continue, I want to make sure you understand our agreement.”

    “Of course my Thane” Lydia nodded a little too enthusiastically. Wyldfyre was not entirely convinced.

    “I mean it, if there is trouble, you run, don’t try to save me. You get out. Alright?” Lydia nodded.

    “Yes my Th…”

    “And you can stop calling me that to. Wyldfyre is good enough” she interrupted. Lydia hesitated, startled at Wyldfyres request. Was it disrespectful to accept and call her Thane by her name, or was it disobedient to not grant her wishes and call her by the title she rightfully deserved? Lydia was so confused.

    “Alright” she merely said. Wyldfyre nodded and they went inside. A massive chamber lay beyond. Some of the columns that held its roof in place had crumbled and collapsed with age. Tree roots tangled over the old stone floor and everything had a green, mossy tinge to it. Wyldfyre and Lydia could see another camp in the distance. A doorway beyond them was their only way through. As they quietly made their way around the edges of the chamber, keeping to the shadows, they formulated a plan of attack. Again there were only two bandits and this time Lydia would lead in with a sudden charge on the left bandit while Wyldfyre attacked the right one while he was distracted.

    Lydia made her way as close to the bandit camp as she could, unsheathing her sword quietly. She looked over to Wyldfyre and waited until she was in position. Wyldfyre notched an arrow and aimed it at the second bandit. Keeping her eye on him she nodded to Lydia, indicating to her to attack. Lydia let out a terribly loud war cry and charged in to the camp, slashing at the first bandit, who was making a desperate grab for his war axe. He was not quick enough though and Lydia plunged her sword into his belly. Meanwhile Wyldfyre had loosed her arrow at her target and he was writhing on the ground, her arrow protruding from his neck. Lydia had recovered her sword from the bandits belly and calmly walked over to Wyldfyres bandit and finished him off with a sword to the heart. Wyldfyre looked around the camp. They had killed the bandits cleanly enough, with no injuries themselves, but Lydia had made a bit more noise than Wyldfyre would have liked.

    “Good” she said. “But next time maybe we could be a little stealthier?”

    “No war cries?” asked Lydia.

    “No” Wyldfyre shook her head “Buy the Maker, what on earth was that?” Lydia looked a little embarrassed as she sheathed her sword. She squatted down to look through the bandits clothes.

    “I guess I was excited. It’s been a while since I saw any real combat.” She fished out a coin purse and tossed it to Wyldfyre. Then she checked the other bandit. She offered the coin purse to Wyldfyre who shook her head.

    “No you take that one, it was your kill”. Lydia was a little astonished.

    “Really? Are you sure my Th… Wyldfyre?”. Wyldfyre nodded.

    “Of course, you made the kill so you deserve the loot. In fact” as she fished out the other coin purse and tossed it back to Lydia “Take this one as well. You delivered the killing blow”.

    “Thank you”. Wyldfyre nodded and they continued through the door at the back of the chamber, going down stairs that were overgrown with vines and covered in spider webs. Dirt rained down on them every now and then, making Wyldfyre a little nervous at being in such a confined space. Strange looking urns lined the twisting tunnels. Wyldfyre looked into one and saw gold in the bottom of it.

    “These are burial urns” explained Lydia “They are left as a mark of respect for the dead”. Wyldfyre nodded and decided that she did not really want to take the gold from the urns. She replaced the lid and continued on. The twisting tunnels led the two up another flight of stairs, past shelves stacked with rolls of rotting linen wraps and more of the gruesome embalming tools. They also encountered another bandit who gave them a bit of a fight in the cramped confines of the tunnel. Lydia got in a lucky strike with her sword and Wyldfyre finished the man with a blow across his chest.

    “That one is yours” said Lydia and Wyldfyre flashed her a smile as she checked the bandit. They left the body and came into a chamber with three odd stone pillars sitting to the left. They had three sides with animal carvings on each side and when Wyldfyre scouted the room she could see three large heads carved out of stone, also with animal carvings on them inside open mouths. One of the heads had fallen from its dais but Wyldfyre was able to make out a Snake carving inside its open mouth. In the middle of the room was a lever and a barred door was on the other side of the chamber.

    “I guess this is one of those old puzzle doors I’ve heard about” Said Lydia. Wyldfyre squinted at the heads and the pillars.

    “Not much of a puzzle is it?” she concluded. Lydia looked as well.

    “Not really” she agreed. They went over to the pillars and found that they could be turned. They turned the first pillar so that the animal facing them was a snake, to correspond with the head. The next one was a snake as well and the last was a whale. Wyldfyre walked over to the lever and made to pull it. Lydia stopped her.

    “Wyldfyre, I think I should do this” she said, trying to sound authoritative. Wyldfyre raised her eyebrows.

    “Really? Why”

    “In case we got the puzzle wrong. I heard that they can be trapped. Sometimes with poison darts.”
    Wyldfyre scanned the walls, not seeing anything that resembled a trap of any sort. She grabbed the lever again.

    “It’s fine, if it’s wrong I can duck quickly. How about you step away though?” Lydia stood back reluctantly, obeying. Wyldfyre held her breath and pulled the lever. Great machine workings could be heard rumbling in the rocks around them and slowly the barred door rose, dirt and dust scattering everywhere. Wyldfyre swiped away the dust.

    “There you see? Nothing to worry about”. The small room beyond held only a worn spiral staircase that led downwards. Lydia peered over the edge.

    “I guess we go down”. They descended the stairs slowly, each one creaking under their feet. Wyldfyre heard a noise below them. A scurrying.

    “SSH!” she halted Lydia “Do you hear that?” Lydia cocked her head. She grimaced and drew out her sword, Wyldfyre doing the same.

    “Skeevers!” Lydia hissed. “Watch out for their claws and bite, they are filthy things”. Wyldfyre knew all about skeevers and so was ready for them when they scampered up the stairs to meet them. They were large rodent like creatures and very fast and very angry. Not too much for Wyldfyre and Lydia to handle, and so were soon lying in a pile at the foot of the stairs. Lydia prodded one with her foot. Its grey fur was matted and covered with dirt and blood.

    “I hate those things” she shuddered.

    “Don’t you want to loot it?” Wyldfyre joked.

    “Gods no!” she shrieked. They came to a small room with another chamber beyond. They could hear someone calling from inside the room.

    “Please! Help me! Get me out of this!” The door was blocked by spider webs and Lydia cut through them. Just was she was about to go through the doorway Wyldfyre stopped her.

    “Wait!” she peered into the room “Where is the spider that made this?”

    “Help me!” called the man “Before it comes back!” . Lydia looked at Wyldfyre.

    “We can’t leave the man stuck like that” she said. Wyldfyre considered the terrain of the room. It was large and had a vaulted ceiling that was covered in webs, the spider could be anywhere. She remembered Ria telling her about the spiders of Skyrim. She didn’t really want to face one but it looked like the man’s sticky prison was their only way forward through the ruin. She could only hope that the spider was not lurking somewhere in the room. She nodded.

    “Alright but let’s be quick” she urged Lydia forward. She took out her bow and notched it, scanning the room, while Lydia ran over to the man.

    “OH thank you!” said the man gratefully, as Lydia began to slice through the webs. Wyldfyre heard a rustling over her head.

    “Quickly! Quickly!” the man cried “Wait! Why have you stopped?”

    “Wait a minute” said Lydia. “Where did you get that?” Wyldfyre turned around, wondering what Lydia was on about. She saw what Lydia was pointing to. The Golden Claw. Momentarily distracted, Wyldfyre strode over to the man.

    “You thief!” she accused the man, who struggled in the webs, some of them breaking loose, thanks to Lydia. “We have been looking for you. The man who owns that claw wants it back.”

    “And what if I don’t want to give it to you?” he sneered at them. Wyldfyre thought he was brave indeed, sneering at two armed women while trapped in a spider’s web.

    “We won’t be giving you that choice” Lydia threatened him “Any means possible. Isn’t that what he said?” she asked Wyldfyre. The man’s eyes grew big as he looked over Lydia’s shoulder.

    “You two have got bigger things to worry about!” he cried. Wyldfyre and Lydia turned around to see the largest Frostbite spider lowering itself from a hole in the ceiling of the chamber. Wyldfyre looked back to the bandit, not wanting him to get away with the claw. Already he was half way free. But the spider was a bigger concern and so she let the man struggle on and loosed her arrow at the great hairy beast. It’s impossibly long legs held up an enormous body that was covered in orange hairs and its fangs were bigger than a sabre cats. It towered above the women and it lunged forward with such speed. Lydia slashed at the spider, slicing one of its legs. This enraged the beast and it moved towards Lydia, trying to pierce her with its fangs. Wyldfyre loosed arrow after arrow into it, but it seemed to not even notice them. Wyldfyre swapped to her sword and ran in and sliced the spider on its large abdomen. It stumbled back and knocked Wyldfyre over. She landed heavily on her side and narrowly avoided being stood on by rolling away.

    Wyldfyre could not see Lydia but the spider’s attention was not on her so she ran in to attack it again, this time sliding under it and stabbing at its abdomen again and again. Thick green blood covered Wyldfyres hands, making it hard to keep a grip on her sword. She scrambled out from under the spider as its legs came out from under it, missing being crushed. Wyldfyre sprang up and saw Lydia hacking at the beast’s head and eyes, its legs flailing all about, its palps working up and down, in a desperate bid to reach Lydia. Wyldfyre swung her sword down with all her strength and cut into the spider, nearly severing its thorax from its abdomen. Then spider flailed a few more times before it finally came to rest.

    Lydia stood with her hands on her knees, catching her breath.


    “That” she breathed “was not as easy as I thought it would be.” Wyldfyre had to agree with her. She made a note to tell Ria about it when she eventually got back to Jorrvaskr.
     
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