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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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    CHAPTER FORTY SEVEN: Tonight we Run


    The Circle of five had now become six.

    Aela and Skjor had gone off in search of any human cattle that the vampires had kept in the ruins. Farkas and Vilkas had brought in their supplies they had dumped outside the ruins, before they had changed into their beast form and stormed the fortress. Wyldfyre sat by the roaring fire Kodlak had made in the middle of the large room where she had not long ago had her initiation into the Circle. She had the cup that she had drunk Farkas’s blood from, in her hands. Turning it over, she examined the carvings on the outside of the cup. They depicted Weres in various poses, one couching, ready to pounce, another with its head thrown back, howling into the night sky.

    “This cup I drank from, is it some sort of ritual cup?” she asked Kodlak.

    “Not really” the old man replied “But it seemed fitting. Usually the ritual is held in the Underforge but your situation was a little, unusual”

    “The Underforge?”

    “It is our sacred place. A place of quite thought and where we conduct our rituals.” Kodlak looked thoughtful “To be honest, the Underforge has not seen much use as of late.”

    “That is where I would have drank the blood, if I had not been a..?”

    “Yes daughter” Kodlak nodded “Like I said, your ritual was under special circumstances. We could not have brought you into the city in your former, condition.” Wyldfyre nodded, understanding. She was glad that they had all been present for her ritual, as shockingly painful as it was. She handed the cup back to Kodlak.

    “Thank you” she said to him. He knew what she meant and he gave her a fatherly pat on the shoulder.

    “Now” Kodlak said as he stretched his legs out towards the fire. “When are you and Farkas to be married?” Wyldfyre was slightly taken aback and glanced over at Farkas who was lying on their bedroll in a dark corner of the room.

    “We haven’t really discussed that” Wyldfyre answered him. Kodlak nodded.

    “Well do not delay for too long, I do love a good wedding” and with that he dozed off. Wyldfyre moved over to the bedrolls that she and Farkas were to share and lay down next to him. They both lay on their backs and stared at the ceiling. Farkas put his arm around her and drew her to him and Wyldfyre rested her head on his chest, enjoying the warmth of his skin, and his smell.

    “You smell different” she said to him. He smiled as he stroked her back.

    “I don’t think so. I think you can smell the real me now”

    “You are right” Wyldfyre answered him “Before, it was normal human smells, like grass and sweat, but now it’s different. Better.”

    “And what do I smell like now?” Farkas chuckled. Wyldfyre sniffed him. A dozen thoughts and images crossed through her mind.

    “The earth, animal, blood” she tried to convey what she was seeing. Farkas nodded, understanding.

    “What do I smell like?” she asked him. Farkas drew in a breath, it was full of an intoxicating musky mixture that almost drove him over the edge.

    “You don’t want to know what a female Were smells like” he said to her.

    “Tell me” she urged him. Farkas ran his hand through her flaming hair, it felt like silk between his rough fingers.

    “It’s like nothing else” he said “Drives us men mad.” Wyldfyre raised her head and looked into his eyes. “In a good way” he finished, a look of hunger in his eyes. Wyldfyre shook her head.

    “Farkas I can’t do that here, not in this place” a look of anguish on her face. Aela and Skjor never returned to their camp and Wyldfyre guessed what they were doing, but she could not bring herself to be intimate with Farkas in this place where she had done terrible things and where memories of her torture were still lingering in the air. Farkas held her tightly.

    “Sleep my love” he soothed her as she placed her head on his chest. “Tonight we run”. Wyldfyre drifted off listening to his heart beat.

    *****​
    Wyldfyre stood naked, delighting in the chill of the evening air. She and Farkas had divided their belongings between the rest of the Circle, who were making their own way back to Whiterun. Aela and Skjor had left that afternoon and Kodlak and Vilkas had just bid them farewell. Wyldfyre could see them way off in the distance. She looked out over the countryside, her heart beating in anticipation of what was to come. Farkas stood there beside her and he took her in his arms and they kissed passionately for a few minutes, before he drew away.

    “Ready?” Wyldfyre nodded and Farkas’s body began to shimmer and change. Wyldfyre concentrated on her own body and she felt the tugging and breaking of her bones and muscles as she changed into her beast form. When the two Weres stood there together Wyldfyre moved closer to Farkas sniffing him again, familiarising herself with his scent. Farkas’s eyes locked onto hers and they shared a moment of intense desire.

    “We need to run my mate” Farkas said to her.

    “Try to keep up” Wyldfyre lunged forward and sped off into the wilds. She felt exhilarated as she raced through the countryside and dodged between trees. The wind whipped through her fur and she felt so alive she wanted to cry out. She was surprised when she realised that she knew the way home. Her natural instincts had kicked in and she followed an invisible trail as Farkas kept pace beside her, which led them past Morthal and towards the mountain.

    Wyldfyre sniffed the air constantly and discovered new and unusual scents. She came upon one that was delightful to her and she veered off course and followed it. She slowed her pace, sniffing at the ground as the scent meandered among the trees. Farkas came up beside her.

    “What do you smell my mate?” he asked her.

    “I do not know” she answered. The scent was animal, but she couldn’t quite determine what it was. Farkas sniffed the ground and immediately knew what Wyldfyre had picked up, but he wanted her to guess.

    “Describe it”

    “It’s animal. Large. Four feet. No, four hooves. Delicate. Musky” She lifted her head, suddenly excited. “Deer!” Wyldfyre rushed off through the trees following the scent of the deer, a new hunger building inside her. She was now the hunter after her prey. Farkas followed behind her, letting her enjoy this first hunt. He remembered what his first hunt was like, that exhilarating feeling. He wanted his mate to feel the same.

    “There!” Wyldfyre had stopped and through the trees was a lone female deer, cropping at blades of grass, completely unaware of the danger it was now in. A low rumbling growl emanated through Wyldfyre and she tensed her whole body, ready to lunge.

    “Wait!” Farkas stopped her. Wyldfyre shivered slightly with annoyance. “Look at it. Look at the way it moves, anticipate its next move before you make your kill. Know your prey” Wyldfyre relaxed and watched the deer. It looked up from its patch of grass every now and then and sniffed the air. Wyldfyre could see the timid animal was wary and that she would have to move quickly when it was time. The deer moved a step forward and put its head down to feed again, angled away from the two Weres.

    “Now!” Wyldfyre lunged through the undergrowth and took the deer down with her claws before she clamped her teeth down onto its delicate neck and snapped it. The deer had barely enough time to let out a cry before it went limp in Wyldfyre’s jaws. She let the deer go and it fell to the ground. Wyldfyre normally would have held a little remorse for killing such a delicate animal, but in her beast form it was food.

    “A good kill my mate” Farkas came over to her, and they fed on the deer, stripping its flesh from its bones. They sat there for a while, licking the blood off their fur before continuing on to the mountain.
    As they neared the mountain Farkas slowed and peered up at the peak. It was not a very high mountain and Wyldfyre could just make out a stone construction at the top.

    “What is it?” she asked her mate.

    “Skyborn Alter” Farkas remembered the human name for this place. He also remembered something else about it. “My mate, it has a word wall”

    “I have to go up there” Wyldfyre started towards the path that led up to the monument. As the two Weres neared the peek Wyldfyre caught another scent on the wind. She stopped and tilted her head. Fire, and power and ancient words.

    “Dragon!” Farkas stood beside her, peering up the path. He had always wanted to see a real dragon, but now that he had a chance to he was not so sure he wanted to. Not to mention they were both in beast form and had no other weapons to fight the dragon with but teeth and claws.

    “My mate” he urged her “This is not a good hunt” Wyldfyre stopped and looked back at him.

    “Why?”

    “Because we do not fly!” he answered her incredulously.

    “We can take it before it does” she tried to convince him.

    “We have no weapons”

    “We have these” she showed him her claws and teeth. They were quite formidable.

    “That may not be enough” Farkas argued.

    “I want to look” she said then “If it is too hard, we come back another day with human weapons”

    They followed the path cautiously and as they rounded the last corner Wyldfyre saw the word wall. Unfortunately the Dragon was asleep on top of the wall. Wyldfyre surveyed the area. The mountain beside her rose above the wall and she could see a way to climb up around the back of it. She could take the dragon by surprise if she could sneak up on it close enough. She relayed her plan to Farkas who, although he didn’t like it, agreed. Wyldfyre started to climb the mountain. Her Were strength made the going easy and she stepped lightly across the rocks, pulling herself up with brute strength when the going was too steep. She circled around the wall and came up behind it from above. The Dragon lay draped over the wall, its eyes closed in its slumber. Wyldfyre was surprised to hear the familiar chanting coming from the wall even in her beast form.

    She could see Farkas down below slowly creeping toward the dragon. He was going to attempt grabbing it by one of its wings to keep it grounded while Wyldfyre took it from above.

    “Ready?” she asked Farkas when she was in position. Farkas sent her a positive image and Wyldfyre tensed her muscles, ready for the jump from the mountain to the dragon. Wyldfyre sprang forward in time to see the dragons eyes open. She collided with its head and latched on with her claws, snapping and biting at its thick scales. She brought her arm down with as much strength as she could and ripped a fair sized hole in the side of the dragon’s neck. The dragon thrashed around, its wing pinned to the ground by Farkas. He tore at the wing, its membrane in tatters. Wyldfyre had to hang on when the dragon thrashed about and then it dropped to the ground. It landed heavily on its side and Farkas jumped onto it, slashing at it with his claws.

    The dragon let out a blast of frost in frustration which blew across the yard harmlessly. Wyldfyre continued to savage the dragon’s neck, sending its hot blood flying everywhere. She slashed at the wound, opening it up further. As the Dragon weakened, Wyldfyre felt the souls inside her stir and they fuelled her savagery to a new level. She was no longer Wyldfyre but a Werewolf, a beast of the moonlight, running purely on animalistic instinct. This Dragon was her prey and she and her mate were going to kill it. She bit into the neck of the dragon and tasted its flesh, its hot blood searing down her throat tasted like pure honey to her. She tore at the neck until she realised that the dragon was now dead.

    The Werewolf stood over the dragon and she threw back her head and howled into the night sky, triumph and dragons’ blood coursing through her body. As she stood there the dragon’s body disintegrated and another soul entered her and filled her. She looked over to her mate who stood there watching. Dragon blood dripped from her fangs as she moved over to him and he nuzzled her neck. The dragon blood on her smelt strange and alien to him and when he tried to lick it off her fur it burned him. He yelped and stepped back.

    “My mate” he said to her “Does the dragon blood not burn you?” The she-wolf tilted her head, not understanding the male wolfs question. Farkas threw a questioning image to her and he began to worry that Wyldfyre was lost inside the beast. He took in a breath and changed back into his human form. The she-wolf lowered her head and growled at him, raising a huge clawed hand. Then the human spoke to her.

    “Wyldfyre! Change back!” he urged her. The she-wolf stood there growling at the human male. She stepped towards him “My love, remember who you are!” She shook her head, trying to clear the murderous thoughts and images that ran through her mind, until one image stood out. It was of a house by the lake. Her house. And standing before her was her mate. Farkas, her love. Wyldfyre stepped away from Farkas and focused her strength on changing back into her human form. It took all of her focus not to succumb to the call of the beast and the restless dragon souls inside her. She looked into Farkas’s eyes as a means to pull herself out of the dangerous path she was almost set upon.

    Wyldfyre stumbled to the ground when at last she was back in her human form, she whimpered as Farkas lifted her up and carried her over to a large rock, propping himself against it and sitting her on his lap. She clung to him shivering until she was able to speak again.

    “I almost killed you” she half sobbed. Farkas smoothed her hair.

    “It’s all right” he soothed her.”What happened?”

    “I don’t know exactly, but whenever I fight a dragon and absorb its soul, it is very hard to control at first, and I go sort of wild for a time. I’m not a very nice person to be around when that happens, unless..”

    “Unless what?”

    “Unless you are a male” Wyldfyre looked guilty, but still she was starting to feel those primal urges as the close proximity of Farkas and his wonderful scent filled her nostrils.


    “I guess the beast took over me to?” she asked him. Farkas nodded. Wyldfyre leaned in and nuzzled his neck. His breathing quickened as her musk overcame him. Farkas drew her in closer to him and she felt that he was as aroused as she was. They made love under the moonlight on top of Skyborn Altar.
     
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  2. shadowkitty

    shadowkitty Mistress of Shadows

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    CHAPTER FORTY EIGHT: The Calm before the Storm


    After sleeping for the whole day in a small cave they had found, Wyldfyre and Farkas finally arrived on the outskirts of Whiterun. Wyldfyre lifted her shaggy red-brown head and felt a mixture of joy and a burning hunger as she looked at the soft glow of lights shining out from the buildings and homes of the Capital. She had absorbed the new word from the wall at Skyborn Alter and the Dragon soul she had devoured consumed the word and she learnt a shout that produced a blast of cold air. Wyldfyre still had the other unknown word inside her and knew she needed to slay another dragon before she fully understood it. She figured that the dragon soul had chosen the frost shout because the dragon she and Farkas had slain was itself, a frost dragon. The frost dragon that had guarded that very wall.

    “How do we enter the city?” she asked Farkas. There was no way they could enter Whiterun in their beast form, nor could they enter as human. Walking naked through the streets would have raised just as much attention.

    “Don’t worry” Farkas reassured her “There is a way in the side of the hill that leads to the Underforge. We can slip into the Hall from there.” Wyldfyre was looking forward to a bath in the hot pools below the Hall. Even in her beast form she still craved the water. They continued on and Wyldfyre could see a small part of Breezehome peeking over the walls of the city.

    “Lydia!” She suddenly cried out. She had almost forgotten her friend in all that had happened the last couple of weeks. “Farkas, what about Lydia?” Farkas led her to a section of rock that had been carved out to form a kind of overhang. As they ducked under it Wyldfyre saw a tunnel above them. She leapt up and followed Farkas through the tunnel and into a small chamber with a pedestal in the center. A small basin had been hollowed out in the center of the pedestal. This was where the Circle conducted their most sacred of rituals. Wyldfyre felt calm in this small chamber as she looked around it. There were three empty shrines, spaced out evenly along one wall.
    “Farkas?” she waited for his answer. He stood there and started to shimmer as he changed back and Wyldfyre did the same.

    “Sorry. But it is hard to speak in beast form” he explained to her. Wyldfyre understood what he meant. She had found her understanding of human words and thought to be greatly stilted in her beast form.

    “I don’t know about Lydia” he shook his head “I mean it’s not up to us really. It’s a discussion that has to be between the entire Circle and Kodlak gives the last word.”

    “I just feel terrible keeping this from her” Wyldfyre sighed. “She is my best friend” Farkas nodded.

    “I know.” He smiled at her wryly “Now you know how I felt” Wyldfyre widened her eyes.

    “Yes! It’s a terrible feeling keeping something from the one you love. I’m sorry” she apologized to him. He stroked her face then picked up a bundle of clothing that was always kept in the Underforge for any members of the Circle to put on if needed. He handed Wyldfyre a tunic top and she slipped it on over her head. They exited the Underforge and made their way to the Hall.

    “The others are back” she said to Farkas, sensing the their presence.

    “They should be, we slept for a whole day remember?”. As they entered the hall they were greeted by Vilkas who embraced both Wyldfyre and his brother.

    “Brother. Shield-sister, glad to see you both return to us safe” he said rather formally.

    “Have you seen Lydia?” Wyldfyre asked him. Vilkas smiled cheekily.

    “Yes and she is also waiting for you. I am betting you will be bombarded with as many questions as I was.”

    “What am I supposed to say to her?” Wyldfyre fretted “I can’t tell her I was a vampire and now I’m a Werewolf!”

    “You can tell her whatever you want” Kodlak said from behind them. They turned to look at him, surprised. He had just finished fixing the shard of Wuuthrad back onto its rightful place on the wall.

    “Father” Vilkas said “The Circle? I thought we had to discuss this?” Kodlak smiled kindly.

    “I think that we can make an exception for our Lydia. After all, she is now family too is she not?”. Wyldfyre and Vilkas both nodded enthusiastically. Farkas punched his brother playfully on the arm.

    “I’ll leave it to you” Wyldfyre said to Vilkas who looked slightly alarmed then nodded with determination. He left them and Wyldfyre and Farkas went down to the baths to enjoy a soak and other activities.

    *****​
    To say that Lydia was excited to have her friend and Thane back was an understatement. She seemed to have taken the news of the Circles’ well kept secret in her stride, even admitting that she had suspected as much anyway. Wyldfyre had knocked on her door after Vilkas had returned to the Hall. She was greeted with much hugging as Lydia ushered her inside and seated her down beside the fire. She fetched Wyldfyre and herself a bottle of mead each and Wyldfyre gladly accepted the bottle, the mead sliding down her parched throat. She shifted in her seat, uncomfortable beside the fire. Even though it was chilly outside, Wyldfyre’s new beast blood in her kept her at a nice warm regular temperature and the fire was more than warm to her.

    “How about we move away from the fire a bit?” she asked her friend.

    “Of course!” Lydia exclaimed. “So it’s not just a Vilkas thing.”

    “Pardon?”

    “He never likes to sit by the fire, say’s its too hot. I guess it must be a Were thing?”. Wyldfyre nodded.

    “I guess”. Lydia put her hand on Wyldfyre’s forehead, then her arm and her chest. Wyldfyre was amused at her investigations.

    “Yes” Lydia summed up “You definitely are running a lot warmer than last time I saw you”. Wyldfyre began to tell Lydia all about her and Farkas’s journey to Ustengrav. The horn being replaced by the letter and then being kidnapped by the vampires. She struggled talking about her torture and becoming a vampire herself, Lydia sitting there with wide eyes, holding her hand. Wyldfyre then described in great detail her ritual and first transformation into a Werewolf.

    “How are you still functioning?” she shook her head. Wyldfyre could hardly believe it herself.

    “I wouldn’t have made it without Farkas and the others.” She said. “If they hadn’t of come back for me, I think I would have either ended my own life, or..or lost myself in the monster that I was. Lydia, I did terrible things when I was a vampire.” She sobbed, tears in her eyes.

    “You can’t blame yourself for that” Lydia tried to sooth her. But Lydia did not understand what it was like to be under the spell of wanting another’s blood. That all consuming urge to take a life, just to sate your own. It plagued her with nightmares. She woke up shaking at night, Farkas having to hold her to calm her down and settle her back to sleep.

    “But I do Lydia” she said in a whisper “And I will never forgive myself”.

    *****​
    There were an unusual number of Imperial soldiers in town that the Companions watched carefully. Two days later an army appeared on the outskirts of Whiterun.

    The circle leant over the battlements that enclosed their practice yard behind Jorrvaskr. Wyldfyre, with her keen eyesight could see men in blue cloaks swarming over catapults and ballistas’, gathering rocks and reinforcing their makeshift camp with large spiked logs. Kodlak had already ordered the closing of the Hall and the steps leading up to it barred with ominous looking spiked barricades. The town’s folk looked at Jorrvaskr nervously as it stood there in silence. No-one was getting in, or out.

    “Why are the Stormcloaks attacking Whiterun?” asked Wyldfyre. She never really bothered herself with politics.

    “Jarl Balgruuf has always been somewhat neutral in the civil war” Kodlak explained.

    “Neutral!” Vilkas snorted “Everyone knows that Balgruuf favours the Empire”

    “And Ulfric has been trying to get him to turn to his cause.” Kodlak finished.

    “I heard a messenger brought Ulfric’s axe to the Jarl, but he refused it and sent it back.” Skjor said in his quiet voice.

    “Seems Ulfric got the message” Aela nodded to the army. Wyldfyre looked out at the mass of men and women.

    “What about the citizens of Whiterun? They are not innocents in this war?”

    “If they know what’s good for them they will stay in their homes and leave it to the soldiers to kill each other” said Aela. Skjor nodded his approval.

    “But they are innocent? The women and children. Shouldn’t we help them?”

    “No” Kodlak shook his head. “As much as I hate it daughter, the Companions have always remained strictly neutral. We can not interfere”.

    “But Kodl...”

    “I will NOT be swayed in this Wyldfyre. We are to stay in the Hall. Vilkas, is Lydia safe?” Vilkas nodded.

    “She is down in the dorms.” Kodlak nodded, glad all his children were safe, even the adopted ones.

    “Although she didn’t like it” Vilkas continued. Wyldfyre studied the army. They were armed with simple weapons and long bows. How were they going to take down a city as well guarded as Whiterun? While she did not believe in taking sides, she still believed that Ulfric’s cause was a little more noble than the Imperials. She also bore a grudge against the red soldiers for the way they treated her and for placing her head on the chopping block. She wanted to help the Stormcloaks. She remembered how passionate Ralof had been when he had spoken about Ulfric and the Stormcloaks. Wyldfyre, frustrated, pushed off the stone wall and turned towards the hall.

    “Wyldfyre?” Kodlak called to her.

    “Yes father?”

    “Don’t do anything stupid”. Wyldfyre silently cursed, Kodlak knew her too damned well. Farkas found her down in their room, strapping on her armour.

    “Where do you think you are going?” he asked her. Wyldfyre bristled at his tone.

    “I can’t just sit here when I can do something to help” she said, pulling on a gauntlet. Farkas strode over to her, stilling her arms with his large hands.

    “Are you mad?” he said shaking her slightly “You are going to go out there with an army camped at the gates?”

    “No” Wyldfyre shook her head “I’m going out TO that army camped at the gates.”

    “What?”

    “Farkas, do you want fighting in our streets? The place we call our home?”

    “No but...” He shook his head.

    “Do you want to see our home destroyed, Lydia’s home burnt to the ground?” she knew she was being dramatic but she needed Farkas to get what she was saying. “Our friends slaughtered?”

    “No but Wyldfyre, do you know what you are saying? You are talking about dethroning the Jarl. If you are caught you will be trialed for treason. That’s a death sentence. Not even the Companions will be able to help you.”

    “But if I’m not caught, if I can make this siege end with minimal bloodshed?”

    “Wyldfyre” Farkas breathed “You are not an army”

    “But I am Dragonborn and I will not have my home destroyed and family slaughtered. Not again!”

    “Is that what this is about? Your village being attacked? My love, this is not the same” he tried to embrace her but she pulled away.

    “Yes it is! It’s exactly the same. I won’t let it happen Farkas. I will not let it!”

    “Will nothing I say convince you? Do I have to force you to stay?”

    “I wish you wouldn’t, I don’t want to hurt you”. Farkas blinked.

    “You would do that?” he asked.

    “If it means saving you and everyone else I love? Yes. I’m sorry.” She moved towards the door. “I have to go. Don’t let Kodlak know where I’ve gone, hopefully I will be back, soon.”

    “Wyldfyre!” Farkas cried out. She turned.

    “Good hunting” he said.

    *****​
    Wyldfyre slipped out of the front door of the hall and around to the Underforge where she traveled through the tunnel to come out on the west side of Whiterun. She then ran towards the army, keeping as low to the ground as she could and circling slightly away from the city. When she drew closer to the Stormcloak encampment she could hear the shouts of men and women as they constructed the siege weapons and prepared for the oncoming battle.

    Wyldfyre stepped through the barricades and headed for the main tent, sure she would find whatever commander lead this army. She was met outside the tent by two guards who escorted her in. A large man in spiked bear armour and fur stood peering over a map spread out on a table. One corner was pinned down with an ornate looking dagger.

    “Sir” one of the guards spoke “A member of the Companions”. The man looked up at Wyldfyre and his eyes lit up with surprise, clearly not expecting the woman before him.

    “What do you want Companion?” he asked in a rough, grizzled voice “Can’t you see I’m busy here?”

    “To whom am I addressing?” she asked politely.

    “Galmar Stone-fist” he grunted. Wyldfyre was impressed.

    “Ulfric’s man” she nodded.

    “What do you know of us?” he looked at her suspiciously, his hand resting on his sword.

    “I was at Helgen” she replied “I helped escape with Ulfric and Ralof”

    “Really?” he asked “Well Ulfric told me about a brief encounter with a red-haired woman, and I heard Ralof speak of you to. I guess I will believe you.”

    “My name is Wyldfyre sir”

    “Wyldfyre. What is it that you want?”

    “I wish to help Sir. I want this to end with as little bloodshed as possible”. Galmar laughed loudly.

    “Ha! And so does every man and woman here and in that city I am betting. But what makes you think that one more body to add to my ranks is going to make any difference.”

    “Because I am the Thane of Whiterun. I can speak to the Jarl” Galmar shook his head angrily.

    “Do you think that Ulfric has not already tried that girl? Ulfric has already sent him letters, and his own axe as a peace offering and the Jarl threw it back in his face”

    “Maybe I could....”

    “There is no reasoning with Balgruuf” Galmar interrupted “He has made his loyalties clear when he lined his streets with those red bastards!” He slammed his fist down on the table, causing everything on it to scatter.

    “You are wasting my time girl. Go back to your Hall and lock yourself inside like the Companions always do. This doesn’t concern you.” He turned and walked outside. Wyldfyre hurried to catch up with him, keeping his quick pace.

    “I can still help. I can get us through the barriers and up to Dragonsreach with as little harm to your number as I can”

    “What can a slip of a girl like you do?” he mocked her as he strode across the yard, soldiers looking at the two with interest, stopping what they were doing. Wyldfyre began to get angry. She bristled at the term ‘girl’. She stopped and gathered her strength and shouted.

    “FUS!” Galmar stumbled to the ground and the nearby camp fire whipped about and blew out. Soldiers drew their weapons, cursing. Wyldfyre stood over them all, her eyes flashing dangerously.


    “Because I am the Dragonborn and you WILL listen to me!” she said in a deadly tone.
     
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  3. Brewman

    Brewman Do I look worried?

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    You go girl!
     
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  4. shadowkitty

    shadowkitty Mistress of Shadows

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    CHAPTER FORTY NINE: The Storm


    To say that Galmar was impressed with Wyldfyre’s announcement would be an untruth. To Galmar, she was still just a slip of a girl in skimpy armour. In his eyes she was still an outsider, not having gone through his little initiation ceremony, or sworn Ulfric’s beloved oath. But the soldiers seemed impressed by her display of power and Galmar saw a new energy running through them, like they seemed a bit more positive about the outcome of the eminent battle. Wyldfyre and Galmar poured over plans of the city in his tent but there finally came a point where maps and planning couldn’t do anything more.

    Wyldfyre and Galmar finally strode out of the tent and Galmar addressed the gathering Stormcloaks. He whipped them into a frenzy with his pre-battle speech and soon, after the catapults started firing, Wyldfyre and the soldiers went charging off to the city gates. She had tried to convince Galmar that the catapults were not necessary but the battle-hardened warrior refused to give in.

    As they ran along the road, large rocks went flying over their heads to smash against the stone battlements of Whiterun. Wyldfyre hoped that the towns folk were safely away from any damage the missiles dealt. They ran through the gauntlet of arrows that rained down on them from the first gate and came upon the second that had been drawn up. Galmar shouted over the top of the noise.

    “Find a way to open the gate!”. Wyldfyre nodded and ran off up the stairs, encountering an Imperial soldier with a steel sword. Wyldfyre swiped his unsteady blow away and sliced through his armour below the ribs, causing him to double over and topple off the walkway. An arrow flew past her face and Wyldfyre ducked and ran along the walkway and up a ladder to the leaver that would lower the gate. Before she could pull it she was charged by the Imperial archer. She swung her sword and he blocked it with his bow, but it smashed in his hands. He threw it to the ground and backed away from Wyldfyre.

    “I don’t want to kill you” she said to him. His face filled with anger and he whipped out a long steel dagger and came at her again. Wyldfyre parried his blows, striking him with the flat of her blade as he backed further away from her. He did not notice he was at the end of the walkway and lost his footing and toppled over the edge, landing with a sickening crunch on the rocks below. Wyldfyre sheathed her sword and ran to the leaver, throwing her strength into it. The gate lowered with a loud boom and the Stormcloaks rushed further into the yard. Wyldfyre jumped from the top of the battlements down beside Galmar as he ran by, startling him.

    “By the nines girl! Don’t startle me like that” she grinned wolfishly and ran along with Galmar until they reached a spiked barricade. Wyldfyre gathered her strength and shouted.

    “FUS!” blowing the spiked logs out of the way so the soldiers could run through and towards the gates of the city. Two soldiers held the gates open and they all streamed into the streets of Whiterun, only to be met by more Imperial soldiers.

    “Galmar!” Wyldfyre yelled “With me!” The warrior took off after her and together with a small group of Stormcloaks veered off to the left, and up through the housing quarter of Whiterun. They were met by only a few Imperial soldiers and Galmar and Wyldfyre fought them side by side. Galmar was impressed with the wild woman beside him. There was an animalistic power and grace to her and she fought like a daemon. He was beginning to rethink his reluctance to have her along with him as things were going better than he had planned. They lost one of their escorts as he fell to an Imperial sword, Galmar making his death not for naught.

    “This way!” Wyldfyre urged them on, her sword bloody in her hand. They came through the court yard were the dying Gildergreen grew and Wyldfyre blasted away another barricade that stood before the steps that led to Dragonsreach. Here they encountered more Imperials, archers and swords, but a few of the main Stormcloak attack group had caught up with them, so, buoyed by numbers Wyldfyre and the others advanced up the stairs.
    Wyldfyre used her Fus shout again to throw open the doors of Dragonsreach and they fought their way through Whiterun guards before their overwhelming number forced the rest to lay down their arms and surrender. She and Galmar rushed to the dais where Balgruuf stood before his throne, sword in hand, flanked by Irileth and Proventus. Wyldfyre advanced on the Jarl who looked at her with despise.

    “You?” he said angrily “What are you doing with these rebels?” She had no time to answer as Galmar stepped forward.

    “Surrender Balgruuf, or not. Give me a reason to gut you here and now”. Irileth stepped in front of her jarl.

    “Not before you get through me first, Stone-fist” she sneered.

    “There will be no more killing in Dragonsreach today” said a voice from behind. Wyldfyre turned to see a grey haired man with a white beard she knew as Vignar, striding towards the dais.

    "Vignar Gray-Mane!” sneered Balgruuf “I should have known!”

    "The Empire has no place in Skyrim Balgruuf” Vignar said, shaking his head. “You should know that”

    "So you have come to sit on my throne. But what then? Ulfric and his rebellion! Skyrim will be stained red with the blood of Nords when the Empire is finished with us!”

    "I would rather die fighting than be denied worship of whoever I damned well pleased. Do you wish to see Skyrim without Talos? Do you really want to bend your knee to those damned Thalmor? Skyrim needs Ulfric as much as Ulfric needs the support of his Jarls”

    “Enough of this talk!” Galmar interrupted “Vignar, you have a city to restore to order”. Vignar nodded his head.

    “You are right Galmar, let us go out into the city.” He nodded to his guards and they took the weapons from the three prisoners and led them away. Balgruuf looked over to Wyldfyre as he was escorted past.

    “I had thought better of you, a mistake I will not make again.” Galmar approached Wyldfyre.

    “Thank you for your help today” he surprised her by saying “I know what a great risk it was for you.”

    “I only did what I felt was right” she said to him. Galmar nodded.

    “Still, you should report to Ulfric. He will be pleased to know he has the Dragonborn on his side” and with that he strode off with Vignar, out through the doors of Dragonsreach. I’m not on anyone’s side.

    Wyldfyre looked down at her bloody sword and sighed. It was done. She felt drained, yet glad that the outcome was as she had planned. Now Whiterun was safe from further harm and she could go back to her own quest. She walked down the steps of Dragonsreach, surveying the damage. A few of the catapults had hit their mark and a couple of buildings were lying in rubble. Red and blue bodies lay still on the ground. There would be a lot of recovery time for the people of Whiterun. Still, she had to believe that she had had a hand in saving a lot of innocents from an untimely death. Soldiers in the throes of battle were not known for their abilities to distinguish between their enemy and people who were just running to get out of the way.

    Wyldfyre entered the Hall and, without even needing to be told, headed directly for Kodlak’s room. By the time she excited the room with her tail between her legs, it was meal time. Wyldfyre sat at the table between Farkas and Aela and devoured almost half a haunch of roasted goat. Later, she and Farkas soaked in one of the baths under the Hall. He sat up against her as she massaged his shoulders.

    “I think I will go to Riverwood tomorrow to meet this ‘friend’” she said. She reached for a bar of rose scented soap.

    “Duck” she ordered Farkas, who immersed himself and then came back up, blowing out a puff of air. Wyldfyre began massaging the sweet smelling soap into his hair.

    “You want me to come along?” he asked her, closing his eyes, enjoying the massage.

    “I would like that. We can go to the house when I’m done”

    “What is that?” Farkas sniffed.

    “What is what?” she asked him. Farkas grabbed her hand and brought it around to his nose sniffing the lather and then screwed up his face.

    “Tell me you did not just put that stuff in my hair?” he swirled around to face her, a look of utter horror on his face.

    “What?” She blinked innocently “It smells pretty” Farkas dunked himself under the water and then jumped up, playfully grabbing Wyldfyre and dunking her as well. They heard laughter behind them and knew it was Vilkas before they saw him.

    “What’s the matter brother? Afraid your masculinity will disappear?” Farkas threw the rose soap at his brother who dodged it gracefully.

    “Hey!” Wyldfyre protested “That’s my special soap!” Vilkas threw it back to them and stripped off, immersing himself in the pool opposite them. Farkas turned back to Wyldfyre and drew her to him. He ran his hands over her body under the water and she kissed his neck.

    “It will be nice to get out of the city” Farkas said “Spend some time by ourselves”. Wyldfyre agreed whole heartedly.

    *****​
    The Sleeping Giant Inn in Riverwood was a small Inn. It sat on the main road of the village so that it could entice any travelers in on their way to the capital. Wyldfyre and Farkas entered the Inn and waited at the door while their eyes adjusted to the darkness inside. There were only a few patrons inside and one serving girl, as well as the barman. Wyldfyre walked over to the bar, the letter from Ustengrav in her hand.

    “Morning” the barman greeted them “How may I serve you?”

    “I’d like to rent the attic room please” Wyldfyre asked the man. His eyebrows shot up and he frowned at her.

    “Attic room? Does this place look like it has an Attic room?” Wyldfyre looked at Farkas, who shrugged.

    “I’ll help them out Orgnar”. Wyldfyre and Farkas turned to see the serving girl standing before them. Wyldfyre held out the note.

    “I was told to ask to rent the attic room” she said to the woman. She had blonde hair and a stern face and was wearing a rough, plain dress.

    “Well we don’t have an Attic room, but I can let you take the one on the left. I’m sure you’ll find it to your liking” She walked over and entered the room before Wyldfyre could say anything, so she entered the room as well, prepared to tell the woman that she had made a mistake. But the woman turned and spoke to her urgently.

    “Look, I am the one who wrote that note” Wyldfyre looked at her in surprise. This serving girl had fought her way through bandits, mages, draugr and deadly traps to take the horn?

    “I find that hard to believe” she said to her. The woman produced a bundle from her apron and handed it over to Wyldfyre. She unwrapped it and found a rather unremarkable looking horn sitting in the wrappings.

    “Believe it now? Look, I can explain everything to you but not here. Come with me” she left the room and walked over to the room on the other side of the Inn. Wyldfyre stowed the horn in her satchel and followed her reluctantly, but also curious as to what this woman was going to say.

    “Close the door” she ordered Farkas when they were both inside. Farkas closed the door and the woman opened the wardrobe on the right hand wall and pulled a leaver which caused the back of the wardrobe to slide open, revealing a narrow stairwell.

    “Follow me” she said again, descending the stairs. Farkas held Wyldfyre back.

    “I don’t like this” he said to her. Wyldfyre agreed and called out to the woman.

    “How do we know we can trust you?”

    “Believe me” the woman called out from down the stairs “If I had wanted you dead you would be dead already” Wyldfyre and Farkas smirked to each other, amused that this woman could be so sure of herself with two complete strangers. In truth, either one of them could have snapped her neck without even trying too hard, in their beast form. Still, Wyldfyre was impressed with her boldness. She descended the stairs to find a large room with weapon racks and chests and a large table covered with a map of Skyrim. Small pins dotted the map. The woman leant against the table.

    “I’m sorry for the way we had to meet but it was the only way I could get you here.”

    “I’m listening” Wyldfyre said, crossing her arms.

    *****​
    “You’d better be right about this Delphine” Wyldfyre said through gritted teeth. After their meeting in the secret room under Sleeping Giant Inn, Delphine had managed to convince Wyldfyre that she knew when and where the next dragon was going to appear. Delphine had not been willing to tell her who or what she was until Wyldfyre had convinced her that she really was the Dragonborn. No amount of shouting at her had convinced her either. She wanted her to defeat a dragon. So Wyldfyre now found herself running up a path from the small village of Kynesgrove, toward an ancient dragon burial mound, on a heavily misty morning.

    “Didn’t you hear those villagers back there? This is the place. I just know it!” Delphine puffed. Wyldfyre was far from tired and so ran ahead, up the winding path towards the burial mound when a great roaring could be heard from above. It was a dragon alright, but something was different. Wyldfyre felt the dragon souls inside her turn over, but not with excitement from the eminent battle, but with fear. Wyldfyre looked up and also felt a shot of fear run through her as she saw the great black winged beast from Helgen fly over her head. Images from that terrible day flashed through her head. Delphine caught up with her.

    “Is this what you wanted?” Wyldfyre hissed at her. “This is the beast from Helgen!” Delphine looked at the dragon with a mixture of horror and disgust.

    “It’s still just a dragon” she said. Wyldfyre growled in frustration.

    “You don’t understand. I can not defeat this dragon, it’s too powerful!” Delphine peered over the rock they were hiding behind. She frowned.


    “Wait, what is it doing?” she said. Wyldfyre looked around the rock and watched as the black dragon hovered in the air above the burial mound and spoke ancient words. The two women watched in horror as the ground inside the grave began to crumble and a skeletal dragon wing burst through the rubble.
     
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  5. shadowkitty

    shadowkitty Mistress of Shadows

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    CHAPTER FIFTY: Resurrection and Defiance


    “So that’s how the dragons are returning!” Delphine cried. Wyldfyre was sure she detected a certain smugness in Delphine’s tone. She was more than annoyed at the woman who crouched beside her.

    “After this is all over, if we survive, you had better do some explaining or I may kill you myself” Wyldfyre said through gritted teeth. She made her way further around their hiding spot so she could get a better view of the dragon’s resurrection. Steam flowed off the dragon’s skeletal body as it writhed there in the earth.

    The two dragons were conversing with each other in their ancient language. Wyldfyre longed to know what was being said. As she crouched there the Black dragon turned its head towards her. Once again Wyldfyre could see directly into the great beasts unfathomable eyes. She was hit by a wave of malice and power that sent her knees shaking. It spoke to her in the ancient tongue and Wyldfyre stood there unresponsive.

    “So you are the Dragonborn? And you do not even speak our tongue.” It then spoke to her. Wyldfyre stood up and stepped forward. If she was going to face this dragon she would face it like a true warrior should, not cowering behind a rock.

    “I would have your name before I destroy you” she said to it boldly.

    “Such arrogance mortal, to think that you could defeat me” The dragon looked down at the resurrected dragon, still in its skeletal stage.

    “Shaloknir, deal with these” he said and then flew off. The new dragon was still pulling itself out of the ground. Flesh and scales were beginning to cover its body. Wyldfyre pulled out her bow and notched an arrow and loosed it at the dragon. It roared with rage as it struggled to complete its transformation from skeleton to flesh and blood.

    “Delphine!” Wyldfyre yelled over her shoulder “If you want to slay a dragon now is the time!” Delphine raced around the rock and towards the dragon, recklessly unsheathing her sword and slashing at the beast. It swung its tail wildly and before Wyldfyre could warn her, Delphine was struck and sent flying backwards, landing heavily against the rocks. Delphine fell onto hands and knees, trying to catch her breath. Wyldfyre rolled her eyes and shouted at the Dragon.

    “YOL!” a jet of flame burst from her mouth and engulfed the Dragon. Instead of roaring in pain it seemed to absorb the flames and its body started to heal even faster. Wrong shout! Wyldfyre sought out her frost shout and tried that instead.

    “FO!” this time the dragon roared and shied away from the blistering frost that caused its skin to sizzle and steam as ice crystals clung to its exposed ribs. The dragon was nowhere near as powerful as the fully resurrected dragons Wyldfyre had come across and soon it was weak enough for her to end its life with a sword thrust through its half formed head. Wyldfyre almost felt sorry for the animal as it collapsed to the ground. As its body disintegrated and she absorbed its soul, Wyldfyre felt a deep sadness inside her. The dragon souls gathered their fallen comrade to them and mourned its death. She felt something shift inside her and the word she had learnt from Ustengrav finally made itself known to her. She did not fully understand its meaning and decided to test it some other time. For now she and the dragon souls needed to recover from this latest battle.

    She sheathed her sword and recovered her bow and pushed past Delphine, who had been standing there with her mouth open in amazement.

    “That was incredible!” she exclaimed. Wyldfyre was in a dangerous mood. She whipped around to Delphine and stalked her, causing the woman to back up against the rocks.

    “Incredible?” she hissed “I don’t think killing a dragon for your pleasure is incredible!”

    “It’s a dragon “Delphine protested,” it deserved nothing but death” Wyldfyre glared at her and stormed away. Delphine ran to catch up with her.

    “Don’t you want to know what I wanted to tell you know?” she asked.

    “Frankly Delphine, I don’t care, and you need to stay away from me right now”. Wyldfyre sensed Delphine slow and stop, but she did not care and kept walking. Where she was going, she did not know. She only knew that she needed to be alone while her dark terrible mood brooded. She sought out the nearest body of water, a small crystal clear lake and after stripping of, plunged into the ice cold water. She sat at the bottom of the lake, letting the coldness seep into her body, feeling herself calming down. After a very long time, when her lungs could not take it any longer, she exploded back through the surface of the lake. She floated for a while, enjoying watching the clouds roll by and then swam back to the shore where Delphine sat, waiting for her.

    “How did you do that?” Delphine asked her.

    “Do what?” Wyldfyre asked as she wrung out her hair. Delphine seemed uncomfortable with Wyldfyre’s nakedness so she decided to remain so for a little longer, just to be annoying.

    “How did you stay under the water for so long? I thought you’d drowned”. Wyldfyre shrugged. She thought nothing of her new abilities since absorbing the dragon souls, but to an outsider, it would seem abnormal and amazing. She stretched out next to Delphine and the woman shifted uncomfortably next to her, eyeing off all of Wyldfyre’s scars. Wyldfyre smiled to herself.

    “So I guess I’d better explain myself” Delphine began. Wyldfyre remained silent and Delphine took that as a sign to continue.

    *****​
    “The Blades?” Farkas asked. He and Wyldfyre were lounging out on their balcony that overlooked Lake Ilinalta. Wyldfyre had returned to the house immediately after her and Delphine’s expedition to Kynesgrove. She was sunbaking naked and Farkas was enjoying watching the sunbaking. She was telling Farkas what Delphine had revealed to her.

    “Have you heard of them?”

    “In stories of old. I never thought they were still around to be honest” Farkas nodded, studying Wyldfyre’s curves intently.

    “Well Delphine says she is the last of them and that she is sworn to protect me and help bring the end of the dragons” She said.

    “The end of dragons?” Farkas raised his eyebrows.

    “I know. She says that she suspects the Dragons are rising again for a reason, that someone is behind it and that only I can stop it” She flipped from her stomach over onto her back. Farkas’s mouth watered.

    “Does she now?”

    “Yes”

    “Does she know you have got a wedding to plan?” Farkas grinned at her.

    “No” Wyldfyre giggled “But I will make sure to tell her next time I see her”

    “So there is going to be a next time?” he asked her, untying the laces of his tunic top.

    “I’m not sure. She wants me to meet her again soon, but I just don’t know. I need to go back to the Greybeards to give them the horn. I’ll ask them what they think”

    “Sounds like a plan” he nodded in approval. He stood and stripped off his clothes, no longer able to just sit and watch Wyldfyre basking in the sun.

    *****​
    Farkas had accompanied Wyldfyre on her trek back up to High Hrothgar. He was curious to see the monastery, having never set foot on the mountain himself. After Wyldfyre handed over the horn of Jurgen Windcaller the Greybeards had gathered around her and had given her the final two words of the Unrelenting force shout, Ro and Dah. They had given their knowledge of those two words to her themselves, as a reward for retrieving the Horn. They then performed an official ceremony to recognise her as the Dragonborn. Their voices, normally kept quiet, echoed through the halls of the temple. Farkas had to sit and cover his ears with the strength of the words coming out of their mouths. It rocked Wyldfyre to her very core and she felt honoured when they had finished the greeting. After that, the other greybeards filtered off and Arngeir was left to speak. Wyldfyre told him about Delphine and her revelations. Arngeir shifted uncomfortably.

    “Do not let yourself get caught up in the petty dealings of the Blades, Dragonborn. They are relentless and have no idea what they are facing.”

    “Delphine seemed certain that the dragons were returning for a reason, and that someone was behind it.”

    “I am certain of that as well, but as to what one lone member of a long forgotten order can do I am of doubt.” Arngeir said a little acidly.

    “She said that I was the only one who could stop it all”

    “Then you are merely being used as a means to an end”

    “I am no-one’s tool, I make my own decisions!” Wyldfyre answered hotly. Arngeir looked distressed.

    “Forgive me Dragonborn. It was not my place to say such things. Just know that if you follow the path of the Blades, then we cannot give you any more help. They are a dangerous and unpredictable lot. Still you have given me much to meditate over, and I will ask Paarthurnax when I next speak with him”

    “Paarthurnax?”

    “He is our leader and mentor. He lives in seclusion on the top of this mountain, and never comes down to the temple, but we can contact him through other ways.”

    “I would like to meet him” Wyldfyre requested, causing Arngeir to shift again.

    “When you are ready, Dragonborn. For now, go and find out what you can.” Wyldfyre studied the old man for a while. There was something he was not telling her. She decided to let it go for now but she had a great desire to meet with this Paarthurnax and would not let her request be forgotten. They descended the mountain and spent the night in Vilemyr Inn, much to the delight of Wilhelm. They sat by his fire drinking mead, Wyldfyre filling him in on her life since she had left, leaving out the kidnapping and her initiation into the Circle. Wilhelm shook his head.

    “Well I hope you are going to keep this one home from now on?” he asked Farkas, who surprised Wyldfyre by laughing.

    “Um, I don’t think I could even if I wanted to” he answered Wilhelm.

    “You will come to the wedding?” Wyldfyre asked him. Wilhelm beamed at her.

    “I wouldn’t miss it for anything love. My two serving girls can handle the Inn while I’m away. Just send word when you have a date and I’ll be there”

    The next morning they headed off early and went back to the lake house to spend a few days to themselves. Farkas surprised Wyldfyre by having a large rock bath installed down in the basement. Wyldfyre had been too uncomfortable to go down into the basement ever since her kidnapping and imprisonment, so Farkas contracted the builders who had helped with the house originally, turn the basement in to a luxurious bath house, complete with a large deep heated bath in the centre of the second room. The water in the bath was heated by a mini furnace that had the water running through it along shallow gutters, which then flowed into the bath. One simply emptied buckets of water at one end of the furnace and as it ran through the gutters, the heated rock would in turn heat the water. Farkas had got the idea from one of the builders who had seen such a set up in a house in the modern city of Solitude. Wyldfyre loved the bath and now the basement was her favourite room of the house.
    Days later a courier knocked on their door. He handed Wyldfyre a letter from someone by the name of Jorleif asking for her to present herself before Ulfric Stormcloak in Windhelm. Wyldfyre lowered the letter, looking at Farkas when she was done. He sat there with a frown n his face.

    “I don’t like this” he said grumpily.

    “Neither do I my love but I can’t deny Ulfric. Especially since I got myself involved in this.”

    “It’s a few day’s journey from here. You might want to think about buying a horse” Farkas suggested.

    “You’re not coming then?”. Farkas shook his head.

    “As much as I would like to, I can’t. Things are heating up with the Silverhand and I am needed back in Jorrvaskr” Wyldfyre nodded, slightly disappointed. Then she had an idea.

    “What about Lydia? I’m sure she would love to come along.”

    “I’ll send her here when I get back to Whiterun.”

    “Good. Get her to buy herself a horse, and look for one for me if she can”.

    That evening Farkas and Wyldfyre bid each other an emotional farewell and Wyldfyre sat on the balcony rail and watched Farkas as he made his way along the road back to Whiterun. When he was out of sight she searched him with her mind. Good hunting my love, she thought. Stay safe my love, he answered her back. Wyldfyre wandered around the house for a while before retiring to the bedroom to read for a bit then drifted off to sleep. Her sleep was broken with fleeting dreams. She tossed and turned as images flashed through her subconscious. She was chained to the pole again, and vampires with huge fangs lunged at her, biting and suckling at her body as she writhed in pain. Then she was alone in the wilderness, hunting deer across the plains, full of bloodlust. She was chained to the pole again, this time the great black dragon stood before her and its gaping maw enclosed over her and she was consumed in fire.

    Wyldfyre awoke with a start and sat up in bed, sweat dripping from her body. She left the bed and went down to the bath, lighting candles to illuminate the room in a soft glow. She immersed herself in the bath and plunged under the water hoping to wash the terrible images from her mind. Wyldfyre soaked in the bath for a good hour before she was able to climb back into her bed. She fell into an exhausted, uninterrupted sleep.

    When Wyldfyre woke next, the sun streamed through the small windows that opened out on the northern side of the house, she lay there, enjoying the rays when she smelt delicious cooking smells wafting through the door from the kitchen. Wyldfyre smiled. Lydia was here. She dressed in a light shift and padded into the kitchen, catching Lydia unawares as she snuck up on her and kissed her on the cheek.

    “By the nines!” Lydia cursed. “I just about dropped your breakfast” she laughed as she hugged her friend. They sat at the small table in the kitchen and ate breakfast, Wyldfyre filling her in on their next adventure. Lydia was excited to be going to Windhelm.

    “We’ll have to pack for the cold” she said, then frowned “Oh, I supposed you don’t really do you? I mean you run hot all the time”

    “Well, somewhat.” Wyldfyre answered her “I can still feel the cold if it is decent enough and the snow certainly is that. I will be wearing a cloak and hood at least.” Lydia nodded, glad that she had packed her fur gloves and heavy travellers cloak, along with her fur lined helmet.

    “Well we won’t have to worry about carrying it all. I picked us up a couple of fine horses. Yours in particular is a beauty.” Wyldfyre was excited. She had never owned a horse, even though she could ride one since she was a child. They would sometimes capture a wild one and have fun riding it for a while before they let it go. Keeping horses in their little valley was just not practical.

    “I want to meet him!” Wyldfyre scraped her chair back and Lydia led the way to the stable. As she approached she could see a white horse tethered to the rail. It stamped its hoof on the ground as she approached. Green eyes looked into deep brown ones and at once Wyldfyre felt a connection. She held up her hand and let the horse smell her, and it bumped her palm with its nose as if to say hello. Wyldfyre stepped in closer and ran her hand across the horse’s neck, bringing her other hand around to the other side. The horse stood there still and quietly whickered at her and Wyldfyre stroked him on the nose.

    “We are going to get along just fine” she whispered to him.

    “Do you like him?” Lydia asked a little apprehensively.

    “I love him” Wyldfyre answered her. “Does he have a name?”

    “No” Lydia shook her head “I guess that’s up to you”

    Wyldfyre stared into the animals lovely brown eyes and one word came into her mind. She smiled, delighted at the name.


    “Frost” she said. “Hello Frost” she hugged the horse, taking in his scent.
     
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  6. Brewman

    Brewman Do I look worried?

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    Love the bath house in the cellar!
     
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  7. shadowkitty

    shadowkitty Mistress of Shadows

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    CHAPTER FIFTY ONE: Ulfric Stormcloak

    Their journey took them two days and they arrived on the outskirts of Windhelm on a chilly afternoon. After securing their horses in the stables, Wyldfyre and Lydia made their way across the great bridge that led to the doors of the snowy city. When they entered they found a dull, grey city full of even duller citizens. They were directed straight ahead, along a roughly cobbled street and through a large walled courtyard to the Palace of Kings. After showing her letter to the guards they were admitted into the palace. The doors were shut behind them and Wyldfyre noticed that inside was still chilly. As she walked towards the throne she passed a long table full of platters of fruits and meats and all sorts of desert pastries.

    “At least Ulfric feeds his people well” Wyldfyre commented. Lydia nodded, eyeing off a sweetroll. The massive stone throne at the back of the hall was empty and Wyldfyre slowed as she heard raised voices in a room off to the left. Unsure of what to do she looked to Lydia, who shrugged unhelpfully.

    “Wait here” Wyldfyre said to Lydia, who nodded and positioned herself by the wall next to the door as Wyldfyre passed through it. As she entered the room she found Galmar and Ulfric leaning over a large table covered with a map of Skyrim. It had little blue and red flags pinned to it in various places. Ulfric was talking with an annoyed tone to his deep voice.

    “Even with this Crown Galmar, we still have to fortify our hold on these areas” he stabbed a finger at the map. Wyldfyre studied Ulfric Stormcloak. He was tall, even for Nord standards. His broad shoulders carried the fur cloak he wore like he carried the weight of the Provence. To Wyldfyre, he looked the same as when she had first seen him in Helgen. His piercing blue eyes looked up from the map and he studied her as he straightened up. Galmar looked to his Jarl to see why he had stopped talking and Ulfric indicated to Wyldfyre.

    “Ah, you have made it to Windhelm” he greeted her. Wyldfyre stepped forward.

    “Presenting myself, as ordered” she said a little too heatedly. Ulfric’s eyes widened in surprise.

    “I know you” he said in his deep voice. Wyldfyre, despite herself, blushed a little.

    “My lord” she inclined her head. “I was at Helgen.”

    “AH! That’s right. You were with Ralof when we parted ways. What a day that was” he shook his head “And now Galmar tells me you helped in the siege of Whiterun and that you are none other than the Dragonborn.”

    “Yes” she said simply. Ulfric had pretty much summed it up. He studied her again so intently that Wyldfyre felt uncomfortable. She shifted on the spot then looked to Galmar.

    “What is it that you want me to do, now that I am here?” Galmar looked to Ulfric who tore his eyes away from Wyldfyre and nodded.

    “Why don’t you take her to retrieve this Crown you keep going on about? If it even exists”

    “Ulfric, it is there I know it is!” Galmar said in his gravelly voice.

    "I don’t like wasting time and men chasing a legend Galmar”

    “Not long ago the Dragons were a legend.” Galmar grunted. He looked at his Jarl with hope in his eyes. “The crown would legitimize your claim during the moot. The Jarls are unhappy Ulfric, not all of them are supportive of you."

    "Damn it Galmar, I know that! This dammed Moot!” He paced angrily around the table. “Even if you were to retrieve this Crown, it doesn't guarantee to make a king."

    "No, but this one will. It exists Ulfric, and it will be the symbol of our cause! No-one can deny such a powerful artefact like the Jagged Crown. It will give your people hope and they will rise in support of you. They will call for you to be their King!"

    "You're certain it is in Korvanjund?"

    “Positive” Galmar nodded his head vigorously.

    "Fine!” Ulfric threw up his hands “Just don’t come back here without it.” He turned to Wyldfyre, his eyes boring into hers “I will leave you with Galmar to go over this mission.” He nodded to her and strode out of the room. Wyldfyre breathed a little more easily when Ulfric left. There was something about him that made her slightly uncomfortable. He looked at her far too familiarly for her liking.

    After Wyldfyre and Galmar had gone over the arrangements for the journey to Korvanjund, she left the war room and she and Lydia were shown to guest rooms in Ulfric’s personal quarters. There was to be a delay of two days while Galmar arranged soldiers and supplies and so Wyldfyre and Lydia had time to relax and explore the city. It was a confusing maze of streets and alleys but the city seemed to be divided into the Nord residences and the Grey Quarter which housed the different races of Mer and Argonians. Wyldfyre saw firsthand how prejudiced Nords could be against the other races that had made their way into Skyrim. She found it disturbing as she loved the Argonians and most of the elves. She spent a while speaking to the Argonian dock workers, fascinated by their stories. She even helped one or two with some minor problems they were having, in her role as a Companion.

    Late that evening, Wyldfyre had wondered down to the throne room as she was awoken by another bad dream. She padded across the floor in a shift and an exquisitely embroidered dressing gown that had been given to her by the Jarl. She took a crème pastry off the table and munched on it while she walked around the throne room. It was clouded in shadow and Wyldfyre enjoyed the silent darkness.

    “I’m fond of sweetrolls myself” Ulfric said from the throne, causing Wyldfyre to jump. He leaned forward to show himself in the light.

    “I didn’t see you there” she said, trying to calm her heart. She went to leave but Ulfric got down from his throne and walked over to her.

    “Stay. Please” he indicated a chair to her and they sat. Wyldfyre munched on her pastry while Ulfric pored them a goblet of mead each. She drank from the ornate cup, the mead heating her insides pleasantly.

    “What brings you down here in the middle of the night?” he asked her in his deep voice.

    “I..I could not sleep” she answered him. Not entirely a lie but she wasn’t about to tell him about her dreams.

    “That makes two of us” he said quietly. They sat in silence for a while before Ulfric leaned over and grabbed a sweetroll and sliced it. Wyldfyre found it slightly amusing that the Jarl of Windhelm was sitting next to her eating sweets. He caught her smirk and smiled himself.

    “May I ask what you find so amusing?” Wyldfyre emptied her goblet. Ulfric pored them another.

    “I’m sorry My Lord, I just find it funny to see you eating a sweetroll. You have..you have icing on your chin”. She wasn’t quite sure how Ulfric would take that but relaxed when he smiled widely at her.

    “If you please” he asked her. Wyldfyre took a napkin from the table and wiped his chin, feeling a little awkward.

    “So have you been up to High Hrothgar yet?” he asked her as he studied her intently.

    “I have, twice” Wyldfyre answered, grateful to break the tension with talk. “When they first summoned me after I killed the dragon in Whiterun and then again to return something that had been lost to them.” Ulfric nodded.

    “Is it still as dark and dreary as it was?”

    “My Lord?”

    “I used to be a student of the Greybeards” he said to her “That is how I learned the way of the voice. Things did not work out though, which is why I am now the leader of the ‘Rebellion’ and not a greybeard.” Wyldfyre was surprised by this revelation.

    “I can’t really see you as a greybeard” she said boldly to him. Ulfric laughed and it echoed around the large room.
    “No neither could I” he chuckled. They continued talking for a while, filling up on mead and sweets. Wyldfyre licked the sticky icing off her fingers and caught Ulfric watching her again.

    “I should probably get back to bed” she said to him awkwardly.

    “Have dinner with me”

    “My lord?” she said, stunned at his sudden request.

    “Tonight in my quarters.” Wyldfyre didn’t want to be alone with Ulfric in his rooms but she also did not want to anger the Jarl.

    “I..” she stammered. “I am engaged to be married” she blurted out. Ulfric blinked.

    “What’s that got to do with you eating? Tonight, my quarters. I won’t take no for an answer.”

    *****​
    “He asked you to what?” Lydia exclaimed later that morning. She and Wyldfyre were lounging in Wyldfyre’s bed, enjoying a lazy morning, as they ate the breakfast one of the servants had brought them.

    “Did you tell him you were engaged?” she asked as she spread lemon butter on a wedge of toasted dark bread.

    “Of course I did!” Wyldfyre answered her “I don’t think it made any difference to him. He ordered me to dinner.”

    “So you are going to go then?”

    “I don’t think I have much choice” she grumbled. “He is a very demanding man, and he makes me uncomfortable the way he looks at me, but I can’t say no to a Jarl. I’d be thrown in jail, or, worse”

    “You don’t think he’d really do that, do you?” she asked as she popped another grape into her mouth. Wyldfyre was glad at least one of them hadn’t lost their appetite. As it was she had barely touched her platter of fruits and preserves. It all looked so delicious but right now Wyldfyre could not stomach it. She didn’t know what was wrong with her.

    “Well, all I know is that tonight I am dinning with the Jarl when I would rather be at home soaking in my bath.”

    “With Farkas” Lydia added.

    “Yes that is a given”. Lydia squeezed her friend’s hand. She knew how much Wyldfyre missed Farkas because she missed Vilkas just as much. Her heart ached when she thought about him now.

    “What do you think they are doing now? OH! Can you tell? Do you sense them at all?” Wyldfyre threw out her mind and searched for the twins but she did not find them, instead crossing paths with a mind so scattered and filled with bloodlust she recoiled from it. She gasped.

    “What is it?” Lydia exclaimed “Are they hurt?” Wyldfyre shook her head, breathing in deeply before she answered Lydia.

    “It’s not that. I didn’t find the Twins. I think I found a wild were. It was horrible!” She took a long swig of mead from the bottle. The images that ran through her head from the wild Werewolf were almost too horrid to bear. She briefly explained it to Lydia.

    “Oh you poor thing, that must of been horrible! I’m sorry, I won’t ask you to search for Vilkas again”

    “It’s not your fault” Wyldfyre shook her head “I just wasn’t expecting it, that’s all. I will be fine if it happens again”

    Wyldfyre declined the dress that the servant had presented to her, instead dressing in a simple white tunic top and her beloved, well worn suede pants that fit her like a glove. She briefly brushed her hair and turned around for Lydia to inspect her.

    “I still think you should have worn the dress” Lydia said to her. Wyldfyre dropped her arms and strode over to the bed, shoving her daggers into her boots. “And what are they for? You intend to assassinate the Jarl?” Wyldfyre threw her a scowl.

    “NO! But I will not go to him dressed like one of his court ladies. I am a warrior! A Companion and a dammed Were and I will not be trussed up like some child’s doll!”

    “Alright” Lydia held up her hands “whatever you say my Thane.” She smiled cheekily. Wyldfyre swatted her playfully, smiling as well.

    “You DO know that those pants you are wearing are really tight” she said, inspecting Wyldfyre’s outfit “And that top is a little thread bare in places” she pointed to the front of Wyldfyre’s tunic.

    “I’m leaving” Wyldfyre glared at her. She left the room with Lydia still chuckling. As she made her way down the hall she was met by a guard who escorted her to Ulfric’s privet quarters. Ulfric looked slightly annoyed when Wyldfyre entered in her top and pants, then he smiled widely.

    “How did I know you would not be wearing the dress I picked out for you?” he chuckled. “That will be all” he said to the guards, who filed out of the room and closed the door behind them.

    “I’m sorry my Lord” she said to him as he seated her at a small table set for two. “It was a lovely dress, I just..”

    “No need to apologise” Ulfric said as he pored her a goblet of spiced wine. “I should have known I could not treat you like any ordinary courtesan.”

    “You are right” she nodded her thanks and tasted the wine. It had a pleasant mix of heady spices that slid down her throat nicely. Ulfric asked her about her life and Wyldfyre gave him a brief description of it up until that moment. He listened to her intently, sipping on his wine. A servant brought out their meal of crabs legs seared in butter and Wyldfyre was at a loss as to how to eat it. Ulfric noticed her hesitation.

    “You don’t like crab?” he asked her, a worried expression on his face.

    “I don’t know, I’ve never had it before. I don’t even know how to eat it?” Ulfric chuckled at the beauty sitting before him. She had him mesmerised like no other female had done so before. She sat there with an innocence that he found endearing and yet there was a ferocious darkness to her that he also found intoxicating. He had tried to stay away from her as much as he could, determined not to be distracted from his cause, but he was unable to resist the pull she had on him. Her grace and defiance made him want her even more, fiancé or not. She picked up a crab leg and bit into it, surprising him when she shattered the hard outer shell with her teeth.

    “Well that’s one way to do it I suppose” he swallowed as she sucked the meat out of the leg. They continued on with the meal, speaking occasionally about trivial things. Ulfric revealed to her more things than he thought he would. He surprised himself at the things he was saying to this woman, this complete stranger. He watched her as she licked the butter off her lips and he did all he could to stop himself from throwing the table aside and taking her there on the floor. Wyldfyre was quite unaware of the effect she was having over the Jarl apart from the fact that he was suddenly smelling different.

    After dinner they adjourned to some comfortable lounges next to a roaring fire. Wyldfyre sat angled away from the flames, the heat too much for her beast blood. Ulfric sensed her discomfort.

    “Is the fire to hot for you?” he asked her puzzled. She wasn’t sure how to explain it to him without revealing to him.

    “I find it a little too warm” she said. Ulfric got up and dampened down the fire so that it was a mere flicker, the room darkened and the small flame bathed Wyldfyre in a soft glow. She relaxed in her chair and listened to Ulfric, lulled by his deep calm voice and the flickering flames.

    “I’m sorry you find me so tiresome” He said, startling her.

    “Did I... did I fall asleep?” Wyldfyre asked, horrified. Ulfric chuckled.

    “Only for a moment. I think I talk too much in your company. I....I never felt so comfortable with someone before you” He said to her. Wyldfyre shifted in her seat.

    “I should probably go” she said and stood. Ulfric came over to her and put his hands on her arms.

    “I am trying to bear my soul. A Jarl does not bare his soul. To anyone”

    “And that is supposed to make me fall into your arms?” Wyldfyre asked him hotly. Ulfric looked frustrated.

    “No but I thought that you might at least give me some kind of hope”

    “My Lord, I am engaged to be married. I love my fiancé. My heart is bound only to him. I’m sorry”

    “Please stop calling me that. My name is Ulfric”

    “I’d prefer to call you My Lord. The other is too familiar” she said to him. Ulfric dropped his hands.

    “Very well. You have made your decision”

    “I have My Lord”

    “Can I ask of you one thing? Just one thing and I will never ask of you again?”

    “What is it?”

    “May I kiss you?”. Wyldfyre was stunned. She did not want to be kissing anyone other than Farkas, even if he was the Jarl and now technically her leader. He could demand of her anything and she had to obey. But to kiss another man? She had already betrayed Farkas in the past and she had no intention in doing it again.

    “I will not betray my Love” she said to Ulfric.

    “A kiss is not a betrayal” he said, taking a step towards her. Wyldfyre backed up as Ulfric kept moving towards her, until she came up against the wall. Her hands scrambled for the door handle.

    “You can’t deny me when I give you an order” he tried another tactic, even though he cursed himself for saying it. She stood there wide eyed, and he almost backed down, disgusted in himself. But her pert lips trembled and she ever so slightly licked her lips and he was gone. He leant in and took her mouth in his. His tongue parted her lips and he delved inside her. She tasted so exquisite. Ulfric lost himself in the kiss as the woman clutched the front of his cloak. He was almost lost for good when he reached up and caressed one breast but she suddenly pushed him backwards and he stumbled a little, surprised at her strength.

    “Never do that again” She glared at him hotly. “Jarl or not I will skin you alive if you do that again” and she turned and stormed out of the room, leaving Ulfric dazed as he touched his lips.

    *****​
    “He said what?” Lydia exclaimed the next morning as they were packing their things, ready to leave for Korvanjund. “Did he really?” Wyldfyre nodded, retelling the whole story to Lydia.

    “’You can’t deny me when I give you an order’” Lydia did a very bad impersonation of the Jarl. “I can’t believe he said that!”

    “Well he did and then he kissed me and I told him I’d skin him alive if he did it again” Wyldfyre said. Lydia looked partly horrified and partly amused.

    “I wish I had of been there, I would have loved to have seen his face when you threatened him”

    “It was extremely satisfying” Wyldfyre giggled.

    “Well, I can’t believe Ulfric is such a... anyway. Your secret is safe with me.”

    “What do you mean?” Wyldfyre asked as she strapped on her sword.

    “Farkas, I won’t be telling him”

    “You won’t have to because I am”. Lydia raised her eyebrows.

    “Really?”

    “Yes. Farkas and I promised each other there would be absolutely no secrets in our marriage so I am going to tell him exactly what happened”

    “By the Nines he is going to be angry” Lydia whistled.

    “Yes but not at me, at Ulfric”.

    “Indeed” Lydia nodded “you had better keep those two from ever meeting each other” Wyldfyre had already come to that conclusion all on her own. While Farkas wouldn’t out right kill Ulfric, she knew them meeting would not be pleasant and decided to avoid it all together.

    “I don’t understand it Lydia” she frowned, frustrated “What is it about me that men feel they have the right to jump down my throat?”

    “Really?” Lydia asked her surprised “Have you not seen yourself? You’re gorgeous! There is no wonder men are falling over themselves over you. I’d want to maul you if I were a male”

    “What?” Wyldfyre exclaimed. Lydia nodded.

    “Uh huh. All men look at you the same. I’ve seen it even though you are totally oblivious.”

    “I don’t want them to!” Wyldfyre declared hotly. “I am b...”

    “Bound to Farkas” Lydia interrupted “Yes I know, and I know you don’t invite the attention, but that’s how it is, so live with it Hottie”.

    Ulfric had made an appearance at the end of the bridge when the party was ready to go. He still looked at Wyldfyre like he wanted to take her right there in front of everyone and she glared at him after she mounted Frost. Wyldfyre remained grumpy for the rest of the day as they followed behind the line of soldiers that trudged their way through the snow to the Nord ruins of Korvanjund. As they approached the ruins Wyldfyre had a vague sense of familiarity.

    “Why do I sense we have gone in a big loop?” she asked Lydia.

    “Because in a way we have”. Wyldfyre stood in her stirrups a little and sniffed the wind.

    “Whiterun is that way!” She pointed in a south westerly direction, delighted in her instincts.

    “I guess it is” Lydia said.


    “Enough chatter” Galmar grunted. “We are nearing the ruins”.
     
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  8. Brewman

    Brewman Do I look worried?

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    “I’m fond of sweetrolls myself” Ulfric said (Yeah, redheaded sweetrolls) I always thought he was a d-bag!
     
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  9. shadowkitty

    shadowkitty Mistress of Shadows

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    CHAPTER FIFTY TWO: The Jagged Crown


    Two of Galmar’s scouts reported back to the party that they had spotted Imperial soldiers crawling over the ruins. As to their total number they could not tell. Galmar was livid, going on about Imperial spies.

    “Damned them! How did they know to come here?” Galmar and the rest of the Stormcloaks were keen to storm the ruins and take the Imperials down. Wyldfyre and Lydia agreed this was Galmar’s quest and he could run it as he saw fit. As Wyldfyre was securing Frost to a tree she heard someone calling her name.

    “Wyldfyre? Is that you?” She turned to see none other than Ralof striding towards her, his arms opened wide and the grin on his face even wider.

    “Ralof!” She exclaimed as he took her in his arms and embraced her heartily. Lydia stood by watching with interest. Wyldfyre blushed with confusion before stammering.

    “What.. What are you doing here?”

    “I lead the scouting party for Galmar” He said proudly. “But you? You are the last person I thought I’d see here”

    “I know and believe me, I wish I didn’t have to be, but I kind of got involved with the Whiterun Siege and had to go see Ulfric and now, here I am” she shrugged. Now it was Ralof’s turn to be confused.

    “What do you mean? Why did Ulfric want to see you? Now that seeing you is bad.. you know what I mean”

    “It’s a really long story“ She sighed. “And one I will tell you as soon as we are done in here. I promise” Ralof nodded and they prepared themselves to enter the ruins. The Stormcloaks and the women slowly advanced on the outer part of the ruins, which was a shallow cavern with sheer walls on either side. Stone stairways had been carved into the rock to reach the various levels of the ruins.

    “So that’s Ralof huh?” Lydia asked her from their crouched position “I can see why you two were...close”. Wyldfyre shot her a look and Lydia smirked, but said no more.

    They crept closer to the edge and she could see groups of Imperial soldiers patrolling the different levels. Galmar
    signaled to his soldiers, and men and women alike charged down the steps to take the Imperials by surprise. Wyldfyre and Lydia perched up at the top and rained arrows down on the red soldiers, felling three and wounding a few others.

    They joined the others when the fighting was over and made their way to the door. Inside was a small chamber with a few fur bedrolls and two dead bandits laying by a fire, victims of the Imperials. Out in a massive chamber they discovered more Imperial soldiers but easily cut them down. Galmar posted guards and the rest of them continued on through the ruins.

    “We need to be careful” she warned Galmar “These places are full of traps for the unwary” Galmar nodded and assigned Wyldfyre to the front of their party as she was the more experienced with ruins such as this one. She led them through the ruins, setting of various traps, and showing the party how to avoid others when they came to a large room with stairs leading to a second level. Galmar could see into another room through a narrow hallway but was reluctant to go through, fearing an ambush. Wyldfyre and Lydia went up the stairs to the second level and through a winding passage way until they came out into the other chamber. They were looking down into it and could see Imperials positioned for an ambush. They both notched their bows and loosed arrows at the same time, taking down two of the Imperial numbers. The Imperials let out shouts as they looked for their hidden attackers, which signaled Galmar and his men to come rushing in and engage the rest of them.

    Wyldfyre observed the fight from their elevated position. She watched Ralof as he fought with one of the Imperial soldiers. She could not believe that she had ended up on the same mission as her former lover but there he was. She had almost forgotten how handsome he was. His blue eyes shone with happiness when he had greeted her. Wyldfyre did not feel awkward at all in his presence, and it seemed that Ralof had moved on as well. She was immensely grateful for that.

    When the last of the Imperials were cut down they re-grouped and Wyldfyre led them through another chamber. A draugr lay still on the ground and the Stormcloaks gathered around it.

    “Ah.. Ick!” Lydia commented when she saw it. Lydia was not fond of Draugr.

    “What is it?” a female Stormcloak asked.

    “They call them Draugr” Ralof answered her “The walking dead”

    “They are hard to ‘Kill’” Wyldfyre explained to them “They do not feel pain like the living. Do not think that you have felled one until you see its head leave its shoulders”

    “Well whatever it is it’s not walking now” Galmar grunted. “Be on your guard” he warned his soldiers.

    “This way” Wyldfyre urged them on. She had put her bow away and had unsheathed her sword and made her way through the ruins a little slower as she checked every nook and cranny for sleeping draugr. They found a few laying prone on the ground and a few dead Imperials that suggested they had made it this far at least. Through a door and down a hallway they came upon a puzzle door. A lone dead Imperial soldier had a black dragon claw in his hand and Wyldfyre pulled it free and after moving the circular panels into their correct positions, she inserted the claw into the lock and turned it. The great door lowered ponderously and Wyldfyre handed the claw to Lydia, who stowed it in her satchel.

    They came to the final chamber and Wyldfyre heard a familiar chanting. It was very faint but she knew there was a word wall in that last room. As she peeked out into the chamber she saw four massive thrones sitting in a circle facing each other on a raised dais. Sitting in the thrones were four Deathlords apparently in slumber. One of them was wearing a crown of steel and spiked bones that Wyldfyre assumed to be the Jagged Crown. She warned Galmar and the soldiers about the dangers of fighting Deathlords and they slowly advanced on the dais. Galmar positioned his archers to fire on the Deathlords at the same time and when everyone gave the signal they were ready he raised his fist.

    The archers, along with Wyldfyre and Lydia all fired on their targets and then fired again, peppering the Deathlords with arrows before they even had time to stand. But stand they still did and as they unsheathed their deadly weapons, a few of the more braver or stupider Stormcloaks, raced in to engage them. The ensuing fight was a tangle of bodies as the Deathlords wreaked havoc amongst Galmar’s ranks.

    “This is not going well” Lydia yelled over the rabble “Wyldfyre, can’t you do something?”

    “Galmar! Order your troops to retreat! Do it now!” Galmar didn’t hesitate after seeing the look in Wyldfyre’s eyes.

    “Fall back!” he roared. Immediately the Stormcloaks fell back and Wyldfyre gathered her strength and shouted her full unrelenting force shout.

    “FUS, RO DAH!”. It was the first time she had used all three words together and the effect was devastating. It threw all four Deathlords back and they tumbled over each other. The Stormcloaks whooped and charged in to take the Deathlords while they were still struggling on the ground. Soon three were dead and the remaining one with its Jagged crown pulled itself to its feet. Wyldfyre could see it was readying itself for a shout. It was facing Ralof and Wyldfyre leaped over and stood in front of him and blasted it with a two handed frost spell from her hands, stopping it in its tracks. Lydia also leaped over and swung her sword and separated the Deathlord's head from its body.

    After a second of stunned silence the Stormcloaks all cheered, some of them patting Wyldfyre and Lydia on the back. Wyldfyre leant down and retrieved the crown. It was lighter than she thought it would be. It wasn’t very spectacular looking in her opinion. She made to hand it to Galmar but he shook his head.

    “No Dragonborn” he said to her “You defeated the Deathlord. It is only fitting that you take it back and present it to Ulfric.” Wyldfyre sighed.

    “As you wish, but first I have some business to attend to” She made her way over to the word wall that was almost obscured at the back of the room. Ralof fell in beside her.

    “You saved my life back there” he said to her “What was that? Those words you said that threw the Draugr like that?”

    “Again, something I will explain to you. Ralof, right now I can barely hear you, I need to do this” she pointed at the wall. The chanting was becoming unnervingly loud.

    “What?” he looked confused “What do you...”

    “Ralof” Lydia took him by the arm and coaxed him back “Let Wyldfyre learn the word, this is very important to her”
    Wyldfyre silently thanked her friend as the chanting wall drew her closer. As she neared, one word on the wall began to glow and as her vision faded she felt it enter her body. She swayed slightly when her vision returned and walked back down to the centre of the chamber, not noticing the looks of awe she was receiving from the soldiers.

    “Lydia, are you ready to go?”

    “Yes my Thane” she nodded, stuffing the Jagged Crown in her satchel along with the black dragon claw. Galmar frowned at Lydia’s treatment of such a precious relic but after what the two had just done for him he was not going to bring it up.

    “Good” he grunted “Return to Windhelm with all haste. I will send Ralof and two of his men along with you for protection” Wyldfyre protested at that, saying they would be faster on their horses when Ralof spoke up.

    “My men and I have horses as well”. Great, sighed Wyldfyre.

    *****​
    “So now you are Thane to Whiterun, a member of the Companions and the Dragonborn?”

    “Don’t forget engaged to be married” Lydia added. They were walking their mounts along a particularly icy stretch of the road and this gave Wyldfyre the opportunity to tell Ralof all that had happened to her since they had departed in Riverwood that day. Wyldfyre had obviously left out a few things that Ralof was better off not knowing. Her kidnapping and her transformations into vampire and Werewolf. She also felt he had no business knowing about all her ‘other’ activities. She told Ralof about Farkas and he listened quietly as Wyldfyre talked about her fiancé.

    “Oh yes, how could I forget that one?” he chuckled. He told Wyldfyre about his journey back to the Falkreath camp. He had missed Ulfric by days but had been ordered back to Windhelm and had reported to Galmar who had kept him busy on various missions around the province of Skyrim. Ralof had had barely time to sleep he had been so caught up in Ulfric’s cause. He told her that he thought about her once or twice, wondering where she was, and Wyldfyre was glad that they now seemed to be comfortable with each other.

    The road seemed safe again and Wyldfyre could feel Frost’s restless twitching underneath her. She urged him into a trot and then into a canter, the icy breeze that whipped through her cloak was exhilarating. Wyldfyre felt Frost’s excitement as he stretched out underneath her, his hooves pounding the snow. She wondered how she felt the animal’s emotions. Another question that would probably never be answered.

    “Let’s make it back before nightfall!” she called to the others. She dreaded facing Ulfric again but it had to be done and she wanted it over with as quickly as possible. She needed to return home. They all urged their horses into a run and made it back to Windhelm in record time. Ralof escorted the women back inside the Palace of the Kings and found that Ulfric was sitting on his throne talking to a man in plain servants’ garb.

    "Well, sir, the hold of Falkreath is fairly vulnerable, and blocks the only road from Cyrodiil."

    "A good point, Jorleif” Ulfric answered him. “Ah! They have returned!” he exclaimed as he saw the three approach. Wyldfyre had the Jagged crown, but then handed it over to Ralof, who looked at her in surprise but took it to his Jarl anyway.

    “I don’t believe it! The old man was right!” he studied the Crown, turning it over. He looked at Wyldfyre.

    “You have done me a great service, again. I don’t know how to thank you”. Wyldfyre thought it over for a moment.

    “There’s no need really. I didn’t come away from there empty handed” She didn’t elaborate on the word wall, or the dragon claw that her and Lydia had claimed.

    “Still” he mused “I have to give you and your housecarl something. Jorleif, make up a couple of coin pouches for them.” He stepped down from his throne and produced a beautiful glass sword to Wyldfyre. It had an icy blue glow to it and Wyldfyre could tell it was enchanted. “Please accept this as a token of my appreciation” Wyldfyre was stunned. She took the sword from Ulfric and studied it. It shone beautifully in the light of the sun streaming in from the windows behind the throne. It felt cool to touch and Wyldfyre would have bet that the enchantment involved some sort of frost spell.

    “My Lord, this is a kind gift indeed” she said to him. Ulfric looked down to her and, sensing everyone standing there uncomfortably, he shook himself and turned back to his throne.

    “My Jarl, the others have taken to calling her ‘Ice Veins’” Ralof spoke up. Wyldfyre shot an embarrassed glance at Ralof. After her display of power with the shout and the blistering frost spell she had blasted the last Deathlord with, the soldiers had dubbed her Ice Veins. Of course Lydia had encouraged it as well. Ulfric raised his eyebrows, studying Wyldfyre again with his piercing blue eyes, reflecting on her rejection of him.


    “Ice Veins?” he said “It suits you. Very well, from now on you shall be known as Ice-Veins”

    "Thank you.. My Lord" she said through gritted teeth.
     
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  10. shadowkitty

    shadowkitty Mistress of Shadows

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    sorry for the delay, this one took a bit to write.

    CHAPTER FIFTY THREE: Fallen


    Wyldfyre stood in the doorway, looking in at the figure lying on the bed. The rise and fall of Farkas’s chest indicated that he was asleep. She crept into the room and shed the soft towel she had wrapped around herself after her bath. She had made it back to their lake house in the middle of the night. Wyldfyre had checked in on Farkas, who was asleep, and so she had padded silently down to the bath room and had washed off the grime of the journey to Windhelm.

    She crawled into the bed and shuffled over to Farkas, burrowing under his arm and resting her head on his chest. Farkas woke briefly to kiss her on the head and tighten his grip around her. Wyldfyre smiled and drifted off to sleep. In the morning she woke up to feel Farkas’s hand sliding up her thigh. He was propped up on one elbow and leant down to kiss her.

    “How long have you been watching me sleep?” she asked when their lips parted. His eyes shone with love.
    “Long enough” he said as he kissed down her neck and his hand slid over her stomach. Wyldfyre arched her back in pleasure as she ran her hands through his hair.

    *****​
    Farkas took the news of Jarl Ulfric’s kiss better than Wyldfyre had expected. She had told him every last detail as he sat there patiently listening to her story. He could clearly see how upset she was by the whole ordeal and decided the best way to deal with the information was to remain as calm as possible. Inside his head, a few murderous thoughts crossed his mind, but outwardly he gave her what he thought to be the correct responses, appearing as equally shocked as she. Wyldfyre didn’t entirely believe his reaction but she was grateful he made an effort to not make a big deal out of it. She just wanted to forget the whole embarrassing mess. She did not see Farkas later, alone in the woods while he angrily slashed at an innocent tree, imagining the Jarls face on the shredded bark.

    The next day they arrived back at Jorrvaskr to find Aela waiting for Wyldfyre.

    “Ah, I have been waiting for you to return” she said after their greetings. Farkas wandered off out to the practice yard and Aela led Wyldfyre to a quiet corner in the hall where Skjor was patiently waiting.

    “Shied sister” he nodded. They then went into detail telling Wyldfyre of their plans to assault an old fort they had discovered south-east of Windhelm that had been taken over by members of The Silverhand. One target in particular had Skjor and Aela worked up.

    “Krev the Skinner they call him. You can guess as to why” Skjor told her. Wyldfyre didn’t need him to elaborate. She could only imagine the horrors that such a name had invoked. They discussed their plans and decided that Skjor would go ahead of them to scout the area. He left immediately after bidding Aela a somewhat passionate goodbye while Wyldfyre stood there a little uncomfortably. She then sought out Farkas to let him know of her unexpected trip. Farkas was not happy about her leaving again so soon, but was consoled a little when she told him she would be with Aela and Skjor.

    Wyldfyre and Aela left that night; Aela announcing that she would be travelling in her beast form so that she could keep in communication with Skjor when they were close enough. This meant that Wyldfyre had to carry her armour and weapons. Once they were away from the city, Wyldfyre packed Aela’s belongings onto Frost and waited while Aela transformed into her beast form. Wyldfyre had a tight hold of Frost’s reins in case he shied away from the werewolf, but she needn’t have worried, for the horse was perfectly fine in the presence of the Were. Wyldfyre shook her head at him.

    “One day you are going to stop surprising me” she said rubbing his nose. Aela made an impatient noise and Wyldfyre mounted Frost and they set off across the country. Their destination, Gallows Rock was almost directly west of Whiterun, but it took them the better part of the night as they travelled through the winding paths and roads that followed the White River. When they were close enough, Aela started receiving reports from Skjor. The outside of the fort was guarded by only two Silverhand members and he had only seen two others exit then re-enter the building. The women stopped in a small clearing out of sight of the fort and Wyldfyre secured Frost to a tree.

    “Dammit!” Aela cursed as she transformed back into her human form.

    “What is it?”

    “He’s gone in without us!” Aela cried, pulling on her armour hurriedly. “The fool! I told him to wait!” Wyldfyre could sense the distress in Aela’s voice. She helped her with the rest of her armour and then they both took off running towards the fort. Wyldfyre was getting worried and Aela was almost frantic.

    “I can’t get through to him.” Aela puffed as they ran “He’s not answering me”

    “He may just be trying to...” an arrow whizzed past Wyldfyre’s face and she pulled up short and threw herself against the forts rock wall. Aela did the same on the other side of the entry. They both drew their bows and Aela peered around the rock, looking for the archer.

    “Top left parapet” she said to Wyldfyre, who nodded and drew her bow tightly. She would only have a second to loose her arrow before she was spotted. Her excellent night vision helped her as she leant around the edge of the entry and spotted the archer. She released her arrow and ducked back around, hearing a cry of pain as she did so.

    “Well done sister” Aela complimented her. They entered the courtyard, slowly and quietly, even though they both wanted to storm through the fort in search of Skjor. Wyldfyre was beginning to have doubts as to whether Skjor was alive or not. She could not detect him at all. Suddenly a terrible silent cry of agony swept through her. It hit Aela as well and it almost brought her to her knees.

    “Skjor!” Aela cried. She ran to the door of the fort and threw it open. Wyldfyre felt sick from the terrible feeling of pain that had washed through her and she did not understand what was happening; she only knew that the pain was coming from Skjor. They entered the ruins and had to fight their way through members of the Silverhand, brandishing all kinds of weapons but most of them carried silver swords that burned Wyldfyre’s skin when they touched her. Soon she and Aela were bleeding from several cuts that burned as well.

    Aela fought like a woman possessed, as they made their way deeper into the fort. She brutally slayed Silverhand members, as Wyldfyre provided backup for her sister. They came across a dead Were, tortured and left hanging on a hook and Wyldfyre felt even worse. She knew she would see things like that here but actually seeing it for real was almost too much.

    “We can’t do anything for this poor soul now” Aela said and they left the room. They eventually came to a door that they opened just a crack and surveyed the room beyond. It was a large room and they could see two Silverhands along with another man, dressed in steel armour. Wyldfyre could not see any sign of Skjor. The armoured man, whom Wyldfyre assumed to be Krev the Skinner, stalked back and forth on a raised area at the back of the room. None of them appeared to have been alerted to the two women’s presence.

    “Krev” Aela nodded towards the armoured man. “Take out the other two first then concentrate our efforts on him. Be careful. He is a skilled and brutal warrior” They both notched an arrow and drew back the strings on their bows, Wyldfyre nodded to Aela who kicked open the door and fired a shot at the Silverhand near the fire, while Wyldfyre aimed for the other sitting at a table, drinking from a tankard. Wyldfyre noticed that her victim was a Khajiit. His tankard went flying as her arrow thrummed into his head and he slumped in his chair. Wyldfyre reached for another arrow and searched the room for Krev, in time to see Aela’s target crumpling to the ground.

    They stepped into the room and both focused on Krev as he drew a greatsword from his scabbard. The room smelt of blood and death. Wyldfyre loosed an arrow at him and it ricocheted harmlessly off his steel breast plate.

    “Well, look here!” Krev sneered through the slit in his visored helmet “Two bitches have come to play with old Krev”. Aela drew her sword and Wyldfyre did the same.

    “Where is Skjor?” Aela demanded of the man, who was slowly descending the stairs towards them.

    “Who? Oh you mean the dog I just put down? Don’t worry, you’ll be joining him soon” he laughed as he advanced on them. Aela let out a savage growl and before she could throw herself on the man, Wyldfyre gathered her strength and shouted at him.

    “FUS RO DAH!” The steel plated man keeled over and over and was thrown against a rock pillar before crumpling to the ground. As he struggled to regain his feet, hindered by his armour, Aela cried out and rushed at him. She slashed at him wildly, hitting him on his back. It caused him to slump a little, but not enough to do any major damage and he scrambled to his feet as Aela recovered from her swing. Wyldfyre raced in and brought her sword down on his own sword arm, hoping her blow would make him drop his sword but Krev was strong and kept a hold of his greatsword which he lifted and swung it in a wide arc. Wyldfyre blocked the blow but it rang through her and jarred her arm. She ducked away from another swing and while Krev was distracted, Aela took that opportunity to slash at his helmet. Her blow knocked the helmet off and Krev grunted in pain.

    Wyldfyre raised her hand and threw a fire spell at his exposed head. He screamed in pain and backed away from the two savage women, patting at his head with a steel plated hand.

    “I’ll skin you alive bitch!” he spat at her. He advanced on her, swinging his greatsword, and Wyldfyre had to retreat as she blocked his blows. He changed the angle of his sword in mid swing and Wyldfyre’s sword did not block it fully. The greatsword bit into her side and she screamed and slumped to the ground. Her sword clattered to the floor as she held onto her side. She looked up in time to see Krev swing his sword over his head in a killing blow but he was suddenly knocked to the side by a black blur. Aela, while Krev had been focused on Wyldfyre, had transformed and was now savaging Krev with her claws and fangs. The man screamed as Aela tore him to pieces. Wyldfyre took that opportunity to inspect her wound. It was as deep as she had feared and she took out a healing vial and swallowed the foul liquid. The wound knitted together partly and the flow of blood slowed to a trickle. It didn’t fully heal but it was enough to be bearable. Wyldfyre stood painfully and watched as Aela transformed back into her human form. She stood there naked and bloody, breathing heavily as she looked down at the mangled form of the Skinner. Then she seemed to snap out of here revere and searched the room.

    “Skjor!” she cried out, stumbling towards the back of the room. Wyldfyre followed her and saw a large table that was covered in blood and on it was the body of Skjor. He was still in his Were form and had been bleeding from several deep burnt cuts to his body as well as having a silver sword thrust through his heart. Aela cried out in anguish and wreathed the sword from his body, flinging it to the side. She gathered Skjor’s great shaggy head in her arms and sobbed into the bloodied fur. Wyldfyre was overcome with grief as she watched her sister mourn the loss of her mate. Tears rolled down her face as she laid a hand on Aela’s shoulder. Aela tenderly laid Skjor back onto the table and stepped back, transforming into her Were form. Wyldfyre quickly shed her armour and did the same.

    The two female Weres stood by the body of their fallen pack mate and howled. There were no words to describe the terrible anguish. Their howls of pain echoed through the halls of the ruins.

    *****​
    Wyldfyre had made the lonely journey back to Whiterun while she left Aela with Skjor’s body. She was reluctant to leave her sister alone, but Aela as adamant that she was not leaving her mate’s side. Wyldfyre had urged Frost to make the journey back to Whiterun as fast as he could take her. Her wound hurt terribly as they raced towards the city and waves of dizziness washed over her. When she was within range she stopped Frost and searched out Farkas with her mind.

    My love” she sent out frantically.

    Wyldfyre?” Farkas said surprised “What’s wrong?” even over the distance, Farkas sensed her distress.

    “It’s Skjor. He’s gone Farkas. He’s dead. I left Aela back at the fort. You have to get the others and come to the fort” Wyldfyre sensed Farkas’s rage and grief. She almost fainted from the pain in her side. “Hurry Farkas, I am wounded. I need to stop and rest. Please hurry”


    “We are on our way, I am coming my love” Wyldfyre could not take the pain any longer and slowly slid off Frost and slumped to the ground, falling into blackness.
     
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  11. mattizcool

    mattizcool Flying lawnmowers are cool.

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    It's been a long wait, but my patience has paid off. Nice chapter.

    Sent from my VS840 4G using Tapatalk
     
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  12. shadowkitty

    shadowkitty Mistress of Shadows

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    CHAPTER FIFTY FOUR: Goodbyes and promises


    After Wyldfyre’s communication with Farkas had ended so abruptly, the rest of the Circle members had raced out of the city; their speed fuelled by their grief for Skjor and concern for Wyldfyre. They had found her passed out on the side of the road with Frost standing guard over her. They revived her with healing potions and salves and Wyldfyre came to with Farkas leaning over her. His faced was lined with worry and sadness. He helped Wyldfyre to her feet and enfolded her in his arms as she sobbed. The others stood there patiently and then they began walking towards the fort.

    “How long did it take you to find me?” Wyldfyre asked wincing with pain. She walked alongside the others, as Farkas led Frost by his reins.

    “Not long” said Vilkas, who was rubbing his hand and glaring back at Frost.

    “What happened to your hand?” Wyldfyre asked, noticing the red welts.

    “Your brute of a horse bit me when I tried to check on you!” He spluttered indignantly.

    “Not Frost?” she exclaimed, looking back into the horses deep brown eyes and he nodded his head at her as if to admit to the offence.

    “He was just protecting me” Wyldfyre said as she rubbed his nose.

    “He didn’t bite me” Farkas said. Even though it was a humorous situation, they were all too shocked to smile or laugh. They made it to the fort a few hours later and all entered, Wyldfyre leading the way to the last room where Skjor had lost his life. They found Aela there, sitting by Skjor’s side. She looked up when they entered; her face stony and devoid of emotion. But as Kodlak strode over to her and placed his hands on her shoulders, she slumped forward and sobbed. Wyldfyre hung on to Farkas who sobbed as well and Vilkas demolished a nearby chair in his rage and grief.

    *****​
    Because Skjor had died in his Were form they could not honour him in the fires of the Skyforge as is fitting of a Companion. Instead, they moved into the woods and built a massive wooden pyre and reverently laid Skjor’s body on top of it. Lydia had also arrived and stood beside Vilkas, red eyed, as Aela lit the pyre with a burning torch. The flames took hold of the dried wood and glowing embers drifted away on the breeze. The members of the Circle then disrobed and transformed and howled into the night, sending their fallen pack mate on his way.

    Wyldfyre was surprised when Aela transformed back and stepped forward and sang an ancient lament of loss and love, her voice ringing out clear. It tore at her heart to see Aela so broken by her mate’s death. As with real wolves, Were’s mated for life. To lose one’s mate was to lose a part of oneself. Wyldfyre could not imagine how she could keep going with her life if anything happened to Farkas. She stood there next to him as Aela sang, comforted in his presence.

    Later, they sat next to the pyre and talked quietly about Skjor and his life. Wyldfyre, not having known the man for that long, listened to the stories the others told about his bravery and fierceness. Aela spoke of his kindness and the intimate moments they shared when no-one else was around. No one there was uncomfortable by Aela’s personal revelations. In a way it helped them get through the loss they were feeling in their hearts. They all felt the loss of their brother, son and lover; a grief that would take time to heal, if it even did at all for some of them.
    Wyldfyre watched Aela carefully, concerned for her shield sister. She sat there pensive, gazing into the fire, only occasionally joining in on the conversation. Wyldfyre moved over to her and sat close, taking a hand in hers.

    “My heart breaks for you sister” she said to her. Aela smiled weakly and fixed a loose strand of Wyldfyre’s hair behind her ear. The pair looked like sisters in blood, as they sat there in their ancient nord armour and red hair and tattooed faces.

    “I know. And I am glad you are here with me sweet sister”. Wyldfyre kissed Aela on the forehead and sat there with her, consoling her with just her presence. Farkas and Vilkas had gone off to hunt and Lydia was talking quietly with Kodlak. If the events of the last day had not occurred, this evening would have been perfect. They had decided earlier on that they would camp there while the proper time of mourning had been adhered to, and the men had retrieved bedrolls and food from the fort. It was an unspoken mutual consent that none of them desired to set a foot back in Gallows Rock. They all wished to be close to Skjor, to the wild and each other.

    Farkas and Vilkas returned later with haunches of deer that they had already skinned and prepared to roast and put them on a spit that Kodlak and Lydia had built. While the meal cooked, they lounged around on the bedrolls. Lydia had laid Wyldfyre down and was rubbing more salve onto her wound. It was gradually healing, but the greatsword had left a wide, dark red welt on Wyldfyre’s smooth skin.

    “You keep this up there is not going to be a part on your body that isn’t scarred” she said to her friend. Wyldfyre smiled briefly.

    “Isn’t that the mark of a true warrior?” she asked.

    “A warrior?” Kodlak spoke up as he turned the spit, the deer hunches dripping fat into the fire “That word has lost its meaning in our times.”

    “What do you mean father?” Vilkas asked him as he sat down next to the Harbinger.

    “A true warrior is not one who can master his enemies. He does not crave power. He does not keep count of the scars on his body, but the scars of memories in his soul. He burries friends along side of his foes” He stared at the pyre that was near burnt down to the ground. He had everyone’s attention by now, the rest of them still and silent “He is a master of himself, of his memories. His legacy goes on, even when he is sent to greet his gods. It never fades or disappears. He is remembered not by his greatness but by how his presence on this earth impacted on those that remain behind. A true Warrior loves freely, gives his whole heart and never expects it back. He is humble and honest and speaks what he is thinking. A true Warrior is missed when he departs.” He turned back to the spit, apparently that was all he was going to say on the matter. Everyone sat there in silence. A single tear slid down Aela’s face as she stood and walked over to Kodlak, who held his free arm out to her and she burrowed into it. Wyldfyre had never seen Aela display such raw emotion as she did now.

    Wyldfyre, overcome with emotion herself, stood and walked out of the clearing, needing some time to herself. She wandered through the trees, draw by some invisible force, until she came to a small spring. A waterfall rushed over smooth rocks and plunged into the far end of the spring. Wyldfyre peered in and saw that it was quite deep, She wasted no time in peeling off her clothes and immersed herself into the cold water. As she felt the chill seeping into her body her acute hearing picked up someone approaching. It was Farkas. She smiled when he came out into her little hidden piece of paradise. He sat on his haunches and tested the water with a hand.

    “That’s cold!” he exclaimed, pulling his hand out quickly.

    “Join me?” Wyldfyre asked him. Farkas shook his head.

    “As much as I want to be in there with your naked body right now, it’s way too cold for me”

    “Chicken” Wyldfyre pouted. Farkas smirked and sat on a rock. He then looked thoughtful.

    “What did you make of what Kodlak said?” he asked her.

    “It was very profound.” Wyldfyre answered him “I think Skjor’s death has affected him deeply”

    “As it has all of us” Farkas said. Wyldfyre nodded.

    “I wish I had of known him longer” she said. Farkas plucked at a piece of grass.

    “He was hard to get to know. But there were times when he was there for me like no-one else had been. I’m going to miss him”

    “I’m sorry my love” she pulled herself out of the water and came to him. Farkas rested his head on her stomach and she embraced him. They remained that way for a time, the cold breeze leaving bumps on Wyldfyre’s skin. Farkas breathed in her scent as he stood.

    “Promise me you will never leave me” He said to her, looking deep into her eyes. Wyldfyre smoothed his hair as he wrapped his arms around her waist, pulling her in closer.

    “I promise, as long as you do the same”

    “I will never leave you, that is a promise.”

    *****​
    Three days later, the Circle made their way back to Whiterun. As they entered Jorrvaskr they were greeted by the other members of the Companions, all with sad faces and questions about Skjor. Ria sniffed tearfully as Kodlak consoled her and the others displayed similar feelings of grief. The Companion members did not know the details of the mission that had taken Skjor’s life, nor did they know the true story of how he died. All Kodlak told them was that something had gone terribly wrong during their mission and that Skjor had been killed and his body was in too bad a shape to bring it back to Whiterun for the proper burial by fire in the Skyforge. He finished with a warning.
    “Do not pester Wyldfyre and Aela with questions. It is too much for them to retell it for you. I have given you my account and that is enough.” After that the group broke up and went their separate ways, all needing to be alone with their thoughts.

    *****​
    The next day Lydia came up to the mead hall with a letter for Wyldfyre.

    “Who is it from?” Wyldfyre asked, taking the letter and breaking the seal.

    “I don’t know. The unhelpful courier didn’t know either” Lydia shrugged, as curious about the letter as her Thane was.

    Wyldfyre,
    You caused a bit of stir in Gallows Rock when you demonstrated the power of your Thu'um. Not everyone is anxious for the return of the Dragonborn.
    I for one desire to see you grow and develop your talents. Skyrim needs a true hero these days.
    You should turn your attention to Sunderstone Gorge. I understand it holds a mysterious source of power that can only be unlocked by the Dragonborn.

    Sincerely,
    A Friend

    Wyldfyre put down the letter. It had created more questions than it did answers.

    “Sunderstone Gorge?”

    “Um.. I think I know where that is, but I’m not positive’ Lydia answered her. “ A friend? Who in Skyrim knows about you using your shout in Gallows Rock? And why are they writing you a letter sending you to some forsaken place in search of who knows what?”

    “That’s just what I would like to know” Wyldfyre answered her. She studied the letter again and then the seal, but it was now too crumbled to make anything of it. Wyldfyre cursed herself for not studying it before she broke it. They took the letter to Kodlak who scanned it quickly and gave them at least the exact location of Sunderstone Gorge, which was more commonly known as Greywater Gorge.

    “Be careful” He warned the pair “That place has been known to be a favourite haven for mages. The unfriendly type.”

    Farkas surprised Wyldfyre when he announced he was coming with them. She guessed that he was not yet ready to be parted with her again quite so soon and she felt the same, so she was glad he was coming. The cave was only a half day’s ride from Whiterun, but they decided to leave the horses and walk, as Farkas had not been overly enthused about riding. It was an easy walk along the road that went past the ruined Western Watch tower. Wyldfyre showed Farkas and Lydia where the first dragon she had fought had been slain. None of its remains were visible now, except for a bare patch of earth where the dragon’s blood had scorched the ground. The bones had more than likely been looted by bandits and merchants looking to make a fortune on their worth.

    They continued along the road until they had to turn left at Fort Greymoor. This road followed the line of the mountain to their left. They continued on, passing a nearby Giant’s camp with great care. They could see at least two giants, as they herded a mammoth towards a lake. Just then, they heard a crashing and splintering of trees to their left and Wyldfyre, scanning the tree line along the mountain, saw a great form lifting itself out from the forest. It spread it wings and flew towards them.

    “Dragon!” cried Lydia. They drew their bows and prepared to fight, but the dragon merely glanced at them and headed straight for the mammoth. It flew over the giants, spewing frost at them as they waved their clubs at it. As Wyldfyre and the others raced over to get a better look, the deep red-coloured dragon landed and clawed its way across the ground towards the giants’ woolly pet. The enraged giants swung at the dragon as it snapped at the mammoth, who was trying to lumber away as fast as its great bulk could carry it. One giant managed to strike the dragon on the head with its massive stone club and the dragon backed away, shaking its head. The giants blow had done some damage. It thrashed its tail almost sending the other giant flying.

    “Should we help them?” Lydia asked.

    “I wouldn’t” Farkas said “Giants aren’t normally known to be all that grateful. You get near them and they’ll send you to Sovngarde quicker than you can blink.” Wyldfyre took out an arrow and loosed it at the dragon.

    “I can at least help, if I am to gain its soul, I will not stand by idle” She edged forward as the dragon and the giants fought to the death. She loosed half a dozen arrows at the dragon until a giant delivered a killing blow, crushing its skull in. The dragon crumpled to the ground and the giants, immediately shambled off after their mammoth, like nothing had happened, leaving the way clear for Wyldfyre and the others to approach. She felt a deep sadness for the dragon’s demise and as she came closer, its body began to disintegrate. She closed her eyes and felt that familiar feeling of exhilaration as her body absorbed the soul, fighting with those urges that threatened to take over her. Then she heard a sad voice in her mind, like a whisper in the breeze.

    “Vuljotnaak”. Wyldfyre’s eyes flew open.

    “What?” she looked around. The other two stood there looking slightly confused.

    “What’s wrong?” Farkas asked her, worried.

    “Who said that?” she spun around.

    “Dovahkiin” the voice whispered again.

    “Where are you?” she shouted then, alarming Lydia and Farkas.

    “Wyldfyre, there is no-one here but us” Lydia said to her. Wyldfyre looked at them, then her eyes widened as she realised what had just happened.


    “I..I think that dragon soul just spoke to me!”
     
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  13. shadowkitty

    shadowkitty Mistress of Shadows

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    CHAPTER FIFTY FIVE: Sunderstone Gorge


    “How is that possible?” Farkas asked Wyldfyre who shook her head.

    “I don’t know”

    “Well, what did it say?” Lydia urged her.

    “It gave me its name, Vuljotnaak, and then called me Dovahkiin”

    “Why did it do that?”

    “I have no idea, but I think it has to do with how powerful the dragon is. I have come across named dragons before. The one that the great black dragon resurrected had a name, as well as the first one I encountered.” They started walking back down the road towards Sunderstone Gorge.

    “That black dragon has been busy it seems” Lydia summed up.

    “Indeed” Wyldfyre nodded. She was still reeling a little from the dragon soul speaking to her. She had felt it enter her body and join the others like the last souls had done, but this was the first time she had actually felt something a little different, more familiar. And then it had spoken to her! Wyldfyre needed to ask the Greybeards about this, or demand to see their leader Paarthurnax. She needed to know if this was normal, or if she needed to avoid dragons all together. The other souls inside her remained somewhat docile as they clung to the words that they had claimed for their own. This latest one, having no word to claim, was restless. Wyldfyre felt a queasiness inside her as it begged her to sate it primal urges. Then she remembered something.

    “I have a word I haven’t tried yet.” She said, trying to ignore the urges inside her. She badly wanted Farkas right then.

    “The one from Ustengrav?” Lydia asked her. Wyldfyre nodded, she stopped and looked around. They were alone on the road so she concentrated on the word and let it loose.

    “FEIM!” Suddenly, her vision went slightly blurry and tinted blue. But apart from that, she felt no different. She looked at the others who had surprised expressions on their faces.

    “Well? What happened?” she asked them. Farkas reached out to her and then jumped back in surprise when his hand passed right through her.

    “Hey!” Lydia did the same and her hand also passed harmlessly through Wyldfyre’s head. She waved it back and forth which was a little unsettling.

    “Lydia, please, it’s kind of unnerving having your hand inside my head”

    “Sorry” she said as she dropped her hand. Wyldfyre tried to touch Farkas but her blue, see-through hands passed through his body as well.

    “All right. This is odd.”

    “Looks like a word to make you invincible” Farkas commented, as he tried to unsuccessfully grope Wyldfyre’s breasts. She went to slap him but was as equally unsuccessful.

    “I don’t like it” Farkas said bluntly. Wyldfyre felt a shimmer in her body and when she looked at her hands they became solid once again. So the affect was not permanent.

    “I don’t know” she smiled as they continued along the road “It could have its uses”

    “What happens if you come out of it with someone’s hand still in you?” Lydia asked her.

    “Oh that is horrid!” Wyldfyre scrunched up her nose. She hadn’t thought of that, and did not wish to.

    *****​
    Wyldfyre and the others slowly crept through the undergrowth towards the entrance to Sunderstone Gorge, which was in fact, a cave system. They could see someone in a long black robe standing guard outside the cave and decided that surprise was the best tactic. Kodlak had warned them that the cave would be crawling with mages and most of them spent their lives perfecting one type of destruction spell. They would be tricky to get past.
    The mage at the cave entrance yawned and shifted his position. Good, Wyldfyre thought. A bored guard is an inattentive guard. She reached for an arrow and notched her bow as Lydia did the same. As the two ladies aimed at the guard, Farkas watched him and gave the signal.

    “Now”. Two arrows plunged into the mage and he crumpled to the ground with just a small exclamation. “Nice” Farkas nodded. They made their way to the cave and entered, standing just inside briefly to allow their eyes to adjust.

    “Slowly and quietly” Wyldfyre urged them. They crept through the tunnels of the cave system, dealing with a single frost mage and traps to kill the unwary. Lydia accidently set off one trap that made a massive mammoth head fall from the ceiling almost crushing her if it had not been for Farkas’s quick reflexes. They continued further into the cave, through twisting tunnels until they came to an open section that was lit by hanging oil lamps. Wyldfyre stopped the others and silently pointed to the slick of oil that covered the ground. With her keen eyesight she could see three mages patrolling the area up ahead. She notched her bow and aimed for the furtherest oil lamp. She steadied herself. This was to be quite a long shot and she only had one chance at it. She held her breath and released the arrow. It sailed through the air and struck the oil lamp, causing it to explode on the oil slick below.

    The resulting explosion was spectacular as one by one, the other oil lamps fell, igniting the oil slick further, trapping the mages over the other side of the fire. Wyldfyre and Lydia loosed a few arrows at them but two, protected by wards they had thrown up, jumped through the fire and rushed them. Farkas ran forward to engage the mages and swung his skyforged steel at them. It sliced neatly through one mage who did not have to speed to get away. The mage fell to the ground, leaving the last one for Farkas to menace. The mage, a male, sneered at them and held up his hands gathering energy to release a spell. Wyldfyre saw this and shouted a warning to the others, who all ducked in time to have a fireball pass harmlessly over them and explode on the cave wall.

    Wyldfyre released her frost shout at the mage and he staggered back, distracted enough to not notice Farkas come up behind him and plunge his sword straight through his middle. The mage slumped forward and Farkas used his foot to kick the body off his sword. He wiped the blood off on the mages robes. Lydia went ahead and searched for the other mage but found only a body. It appeared that the explosion had taken out the mage. After avoiding a swinging door trap they ascended wooded stairs that lead over to a round platform with a wooden door.

    “This is Nordic architecture” Lydia commented. They opened the door and found that they were now in an ancient nord ruin. The tunnels widened and were built from massive stones instead of raw rock wall. They encountered two more mages in a chamber with beds and a fire with a cooking pot, obviously their living quarters. After they had taken out the mages they briefly searched the room. It contained an alchemy station with a few bottles of unknown potions and Lydia found some coin pouches. Through another tunnel a wooden door opened out to a massive chamber with a large dais at the end. As Wyldfyre entered the room she could hear a faint chanting in her head.

    “There is a word wall in here” she said quietly to the others. So this is what the letter meant by a mysterious source of power. Farkas pointed to the Dais and they could see two mages up there. Again Lydia and Wyldfyre notched their bows and released the arrows. Wyldfyre’s hit one mage in the arm but Lydia’s shot flew wide, shattering an earthenware pot. The mages let out startled cries and saw the intruders down below. Wyldfyre could see a large ring of oil slick on the small platform in front of them and she aimed a fire spell at it. It lit fiercely and cut off the mages advance towards them. Suddenly, in the centre of the fire ring, the air began to shimmer and glow a deep purple and when it vanished a fiery apparition stood in its place. The figure resembled a woman but smooth skin gave way to ripples of flame under black armour. The head was adorned by two pointed ears and flaming horns. It would have been pretty if it wasn’t so terrifying.

    “What in the name of the Maker is that?” Wyldfyre exclaimed.

    “Flame Atronach, Daedra !” Lydia shouted. “I’ve never had to deal with one of these; I don’t know how to kill it!” The Atronach hovered there as it searched for its enemies. Once it spied the three it started throwing fire balls at them. Farkas, Lydia and Wyldfyre all had to split up to avoid the balls of fire. As one exploded close to Wyldfyre, singeing her skin she shouted her frost word at it. It flew back as the frost hit it, steam hissing off its body. Meanwhile, from above the mages rained down fire and ice spikes upon them. One of the ice spikes hit the Atronach and it screeched with rage. Wyldfyre unsheathed her sword as the Atronach fired a fire ball at the mage, and charged the Daedra, slicing into its neck. She was surprised when the Atronach withered and crumbled to the ground. It appeared to be very vulnerable to melee attacks. As Wyldfyre watched it, it burst into flames, causing her to step back quickly. Even then she received burns to her hands.

    Lydia was still engaged with one of the mages. Wyldfyre quickly looked for the other and saw Farkas up the stairs, finishing off the other mage. As the mage collapsed to the ground Farkas did as well. Wyldfyre’s heart thumped in her chest.

    “FARKAS!” she screamed. She leapt up the stairs and raced over to Farkas, who was half crouched on the floor, breathing heavily. Her eyes widened as she saw an ice spike protruding out of Farkas’s left thigh, blood dripping from it. She could only think of one thing to do.

    “Don’t move” she said to him, he nodded, not able to speak as he gritted his teeth. Wyldfyre held her hands over the ice spike and ever so gently released a flame from them. The ice melted away leaving a nasty hole in Farkas’s leg. She pulled out healing potions and helped Farkas drink them. As he did the wound started to knit together. But it was deep and wide and the two potions Wyldfyre had on her were not enough. She looked down below and Lydia had finished with the mage and was making her way up the stairs.

    “Lydia!” she cried “I need your healing potions, quickly” Lydia hurried over, pulling the small vials out of her armour. Farkas drank them as well and his leg slowly healed. It still looked bad but at least the wound had healed over. He sat there for a bit before pulling himself to his feet, testing his weight on the wounded leg.

    “It’s all right” he said, but Wyldfyre could tell he was still in a lot of pain.

    “Just sit for a bit while we look around” Wyldfyre said to him. He nodded and hobbled over to a chair. Lydia went to look in some shelves over to the left while Wyldfyre headed to the Word wall. She had to pass a ceremonial table where a poor dark haired woman had been sacrificed, presumably by the mages. As to why, Wyldfyre had no idea. The chanting grew louder as she drew closer to the wall and once again the word in the middle of the carved wall began to shimmer and flow towards her. The dragon soul inside her, Vuljotnaak, grabbed at the word like a hungry beast and consumed it. It then taught the word to Wyldfyre and she was surprised to find that she now had the second word to her fire shout. Her vision cleared and as she looked around she spied a large chest to her right, almost hidden behind the word wall. She opened the unlocked chest and smiled.

    “Lydia! Over here!” she called and they both unloaded the chest of its valuables. Even though she had gained another word and a lot of loot, Wyldfyre wasn’t so sure the trip was worth it, given Farkas’s injury. She looked over to him and felt a pang of guilt.

    “Everyone around me either dies or is hurt” she said quietly.

    “Don’t be silly” Lydia scolded her “Do you think we don’t know of the dangers we face when we leave our homes?” Wyldfyre looked at the scars on Lydia’s arm.

    “But...”

    “But nothing. It’s our choice. Do you think Farkas could live with himself if he stayed home and YOU were killed or injured? I saw how destroyed Aela was after Skjor’s death. You Weres have something like no other. Your love goes deeper than normal. It’s profound. Losing you? It would kill him dear.” Wyldfyre nodded, understanding exactly what Lydia meant.

    “Anyway, Farkas is a Companion, a Were. He is strong and will heal” Lydia concluded. They collected the last of the valuable loot and Wyldfyre looked around the chamber. She had not noticed three large cages that were occupied by bodies. As she moved over to inspect them one of the bodies groaned.

    “By the Maker!” she cursed “This one is still alive! Lydia, I need you to pick this lock, we have to get him out of there” As Lydia worked on the lock Wyldfyre reached into the cage and touched the man’s hand, he shied away, clearly traumatised by his captors.

    “It’s all right” she soothed him “I’m not going to hurt you”. Farkas stood there watching. The man’s face was obscured to Wyldfyre but Farkas saw it plainly in the light of the candles.

    “Wyldfyre” he said quietly “His eyes have been gouged out”

    “By the Maker” she cursed again.

    “Got it!” Lydia said as the lock clattered to the floor. Farkas swung the door open and Wyldfyre gently coaxed the man out from the cage. She needed to see to his injuries. As the man in tattered rags swung round to face her Wyldfyre was immediately transported back to her small village as she looked into the face she thought she would never see again.


    “Brother?”
     
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  14. shadowkitty

    shadowkitty Mistress of Shadows

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    CHAPTER FIFTY SIX – A Ghost from the Past


    “Brother?” Lydia exclaimed.

    “Aiden!” Wyldfyre grabbed the man by the arms and shook him slightly. He frowned and his mouth opened, as if speech was difficult for him. “Aiden, it’s me! Wyldfyre!”

    “Wyldfyre?” he shook his head in confusion. He raised his hands and placed them on her face, searching. A look of sheer relief came over his face and it then crumpled into tears. “Sister, my dear sister!”. Wyldfyre folded him into her arms and held him tightly as he sobbed. While she was ecstatic to have found her brother, whom she thought to be dead, she was also alarmed at his condition, both physically and mentally. He was dressed in rags and through the tattered scraps she could see many scars, old and new as well as fresh wounds, he was emaciated and dirty and his spirit was broken. She looked up to Farkas, worried.

    “We need to get him out of here” Farkas said. “I don’t think he is well enough to walk but, I’m in no condition to be running back to Whiterun, to get help”

    “I’ll go” Lydia volunteered.

    “No Lydia, I don’t want you going on your own..” Wyldfyre protested as she still held her brother tightly.

    “Nonsense!” Lydia interrupted. “I’m the only one out of us that can. I will go back, tell the companions, and get our horses.”

    “All right” Wyldfyre agreed reluctantly. “Make sure you get some more healing potions and salves. For Aiden and Farkas” Lydia wasted no time in heading out through the exit of the cave, while Farkas lowered himself to the floor next to Wyldfyre.

    “I can’t believe I have found my brother” she said quietly to him. Farkas rubbed her arm affectionately.

    “It will be interesting to hear how he ended up in this place” he said to her. Aiden stirred in her arms.

    “Who is that talking to you?” he asked her, a little frightened. Wyldfyre smoothed down his wild hair. It was almost as red as hers.

    “Aiden this is Farkas. My fiancé’.” She stopped herself from saying Mate.

    “Fiancé’?” He frowned at the word, not understanding. Wyldfyre tried to explain the concept of marriage to him, having forgotten momentarily about their customs back in the village.

    “Like a pairing?” he asked her. Wyldfyre nodded, smiling.

    “Yes like that, but for life, forever.” She watched his face while he processed that.

    “I like that” he finally said, a small glimmer of a smile on his parched lips. One of his eyes looked better than the other, but it was so encrusted with blood it was hard to tell. Wyldfyre looked around and from her position on the floor she spied a water skin.

    “Farkas, could you please bring that water skin and a rag over?” When he handed the skin to her she put it to her brother’s lips and he drank deeply from it. Wyldfyre and Farkas both took a drink from it as well. She then tipped water onto the rag and gently dabbed at Aiden’s face, wiping away dried blood. As she neared his eyes she noticed one eyelid was still intact. Wiping at it further removed the dried blood enough for him to open it. Underneath, the eye was still intact. He blinked it a few times, trying to focus. He looked up and saw Wyldfyre’s face peering down at him.

    “It’s been so long since I saw anything. And the first thing I do see is Red” he smiled. Wyldfyre was delighted to see some of her brother return to the wretched form she held on to. Red was a favourite nickname he liked to call her.

    “I thought you were dead” she sniffed. “What happened?” Aiden took another drink from the skin and then swallowed, trying to gather his thoughts into something rational. It had been a long time since he had spoken to anyone. During his capture, making sound of any kind resulted in cruel punishment.

    “That night” he began slowly “When those things attacked, I knew we were outnumbered. I had to do something to save you, so I pushed you off the waterfall, off the mountain. I only hoped that you had survived. I tried to watch you but I was overcome by the beasts.”

    “Why did they not kill you?” Wyldfyre asked, remembering the terrible screams.

    “They kept some of us alive. They took us back down into their lair”

    “WHAT? You mean there are others alive?” she cried, but Aiden shook his head sadly.

    “No sister. I am the last of them. They took us down below the ground, into some sort of abandoned city. There were strange metal machines and grinding things everywhere.”

    “Dwemer ruin” Farkas said “Wyldfyre, your village was attacked by Falmar”

    “Yes” Aiden continued “We were taken and made into slaves for the Falmar. But just the men. We were separated from the women. I...I don’t know what happened to them. But the screams... We never saw the women again. I’m only glad that mother wasn’t....” He swallowed painfully and took another drink.
    “A few of us tried to escape, but those of us who didn’t die in the attempt were punished.” He pointed to the empty socket of his left eye.

    “Oh Brother” Wyldfyre said sadly, kissing his forehead.

    “The rest of us, were broken until we could do nothing but obey our masters. One by one the others withered and died until only I remained. There was one who seemed to like using me the most and one day we were far from the lair, collecting glowing mushrooms when we were attacked. I tried to save my master but he was killed and I was taken. Brought back out into the light and thrown into this cage like an animal.” Wyldfyre looked at Farkas. Just then her acute hearing picked up movement.

    “That can’t be Lydia already?” Farkas sniffed the air.

    “It is. I’ll go see why she is back so soon.” He stood slowly and hobbled down the stairs. When he was out of sight Wyldfyre looked down into her brother’s one good eye; green, just like hers.

    “Brother, why did you not let me stay and fight? I could have...”

    “You would have been killed or taken, just like the rest of us. Sister, I don’t know what they did to the women but the screams I heard will stay with me forever. I could not bear to think of you being violated like that.” Wyldfyre shifted uncomfortably, for indeed she had been treated as such. Lydia walked over to them smiling.

    “Why are you back so soon?” Wyldfyre asked her. Lydia was panting from running so hard.

    “I got lucky” she said after taking a drink “I came upon a carriage driver with an empty carriage; I figured that was much better than two horses, given the state the boys are in.”

    “Lydia you are wonderful!” Wyldfyre cried. Lydia beamed at her. They raised Aiden to his feet but he was so weak he could not walk.

    “I’ll carry him” Farkas offered, and before Wyldfyre could protest, he had lifted her brother over his shoulder and strode down the stairs. They made their way through the ruins, stopping a couple of times to rest. When they at last left the cave they saw the carriage driver had pulled up right outside. Wyldfyre jumped into the back of it and helped Farkas and Lydia ease her brother in. She laid him down and placed his head in her lap. Farkas sat up the front with the driver and Lydia joined the siblings in the back.

    “Whiterun, and fast” Farkas ordered the driver.

    *****​
    Farkas had communicated with his twin when they were close enough and he informed Wyldfyre that Vilkas would meet them at the gates. As they pulled up Vilkas strode forward, curious to see Wyldfyre’s brother.

    “By the nines” he swore under his breath when he saw the man. They wasted no time in carrying Aiden into the Mead Hall and placed him on the bed in the room where injured Companions recovered. Aela came in, curious, and shooed the brothers out, leaving the three women to care for him. He was stripped of the tattered rags and washed thoroughly. Healing potions and salves were given to him and then he was dressed in a fresh tunic and put to sleep with a sleeping potion. Wyldfyre refused to leave his side. But eventually gave in when she fell asleep for a second in her chair.

    “Go wash and have a nap” Aela ordered her “Lydia and I are here for him.”

    “He’s not going to wake up for hours” Lydia said to her. Wyldfyre reluctantly agreed and headed for the room she shared with Farkas when they stayed at the hall. She shed her armour and went to the baths, hoping to find Farkas there. He was just pulling off his tunic when she came into the room. He enfolded her into his arms and she stayed there, still a little stunned at all that had happened.

    “What a day” she said shaking her head. Farkas led her to their favourite bath, as she eased herself in she looked at his leg.

    “How is it?” she asked him.

    “It’s fine now. I had another potion and rubbed a heap of salve into it, look, see? It’s just a red mark now.” They enjoyed a soak in the hot water together and soon the warmth and the emotional turmoil of the day finally got the better of Wyldfyre. It was all Farkas could to do get her dressed and tucked up in bed. He was exhausted himself and lay down beside her, curling a protective arm around her.

    *****​
    It was cold that night. Wyldfyre woke with a start to the sounds of screaming and fighting. As she rolled out of her furs she grabbed her hunting bow and dagger. She didn’t have time to strap on her armour and so strode out of her shelter in just a tunic and rough linen pants. The bitter wind did not chill her bones as much as the horrible scene before her. Man-sized hunched creatures had descended upon their village and were slaughtering everything in sight. The village Sharman lay dead, half in the hearth fire. Villagers ran screaming, or yelling, as they died and there was blood and gore everywhere. Wyldfyre notched her bow and loosed an arrow at one of the foul beasts. It turned and she was horrified to see it had no eyes. It screeched at her, and suddenly Wyldfyre was struck from behind. She was held by dozens of vicious sharp-nailed hands as the creature she had shot with her arrow advanced on her. As it came closer she struggled but the creature raised its weapon and slashed her across the throat.

    Wyldfyre woke with a start from her nightmare. She sat up in bed, groping at her neck, as the vision slowly faded. The room was dark; the one candle they had lit had burned down to the wick. Farkas snored softly beside her. She got up and padded silently down the hall to the room her brother was in. She entered to find him sleeping and Aela still by his side. She had fallen asleep as well, her head resting on her shoulder. Wyldfyre studied Aela and her brother for a second. Aela, it seems had taken on the role as carer for her brother. Wyldfyre wasn’t sure what that meant, but right now her main concern was to get her brother back into shape. Mentally and physically. He stirred in his sleep, groaning softly. Wyldfyre sat on the bed and smoothed his hair. It had grown long and his face was covered in a shaggy red-brown beard which made him look much older.

    “Shhh” she soothed “It’s alright. You are safe now” Her whisperings woke up Aela.

    “Is he alright?” she whispered, sitting up in her chair. Wyldfyre shrugged.

    “I don’t know. He has been in captivity for so long. I’m not sure what state his mental health is in.”

    “Physical wounds heal or scar” Aela said “It’s the emotional ones that take longer, or, never at all” She looked at Wyldfyre’s brother.

    “He is handsome” she observed.

    “He is indeed” Wyldfyre said as she brushed a stray hair from his eye. “Many of the women from our village desired him.”

    “Did he have someone? Before the...?”. Wyldfyre appreciated Aela’s sensitivity in the topic of their traumatic past. She smiled at her.

    “There were many, but one in particular. They were about to do the joining ceremony. But, the attack came before they got a chance. I don’t know what happened to her, and I’m afraid to ask him.” Aela nodded. She knew all too well the pain of losing one’s love.

    “He will tell you when the time is right” she said gently.

    “You should go get some sleep sister” Wyldfyre said to her, for indeed she did look exhausted herself. Aela nodded, studied Aiden for a moment and then left the room quietly. Wyldfyre went to move to the chair but Aiden grabbed her hand.

    “Stay” he said to her sleepily.

    “I didn’t know you were awake”

    “Half awake, sister. Please stay”

    “All right” she said, sitting back down on the bed. They had tied a piece of linen wrap over his damaged eye and he lay there, blinking at her.

    “You look good” he said “Happy”

    “I am” she smiled” Happy to have found you”

    “No” he shook his head “It’s something more, something else. You have found love, a family. It looks good on you”

    “Remember mothers despair over me not taking a partner?” she smiled. Thinking about her mother wasn’t as painful now that she had her brother back. Aiden nodded, and was quiet for a while.

    “They took her” Wyldfyre frowned at him, confused. She had seen their mother killed before Aiden had dragged her away from the village. Before she could say anything Aiden continued.

    “My Sachi, they took her, along with the rest of the women. She died a terrible death and I didn’t save her!” he sobbed. Wyldfyre placed her hands on either side of his face, an old gesture of sympathetic affection.

    “Oh Brother, I am so sorry. It’s not your fault. You would have been killed yourself!”

    “I should have done something!” he said heatedly. Clearly this had been eating away at him inside, and now, after so long he finally had someone to vent to. Wyldfyre welcomed it, if that was what he needed to heal his heart.

    “And how far would you have gotten? How useful would you have been to her if they had captured you both and taken both your eyes? Or killed you? You can’t blame yourself brother”

    “You know we discussed our joining. We wanted to be together like Mother and Father were. Forever. Did you know that?”

    “I did not” Wyldfyre’s heart was breaking for him.

    “I loved her. She was going to bare my children” His hands clutched at the furs.

    “I’m sorry Aiden” She took his hands in hers, trying to give him that human contact he needed.

    *****​
    Aiden’s physical recovery progressed well. His wounds healing and the empty eye socket loosing the nasty swelling. He now wore a rather fetching leather patch over it that Aela had Eorlund make. Wyldfyre was touched by the gesture. She had found Aela was spending most of her free time with her brother, hovering close by when he went for the short walk to the baths or the privy. She had taken it upon herself to see to his every need. Bringing down his meals and then helping him up to the main dining table when he was strong enough. With her and Wyldfyre’s ministrations, he was looking better and better with each passing day.

    Aiden met the rest of the Circle members, not missing the fact that they all had the same coloured eyes and the strange connection they all seemed to share. He had always been very observant and the loss of one eye had not taken that away. He questioned Wyldfyre about it a few times and she had been vague and redirected his questions into something else. One day, Wyldfyre was deep in thought when she walked into his room to find him sitting on his bed with Aela standing between his legs.

    “Am I interrupting something?” she asked awkwardly. Aela turned and Wyldfyre saw a razor in her hand, her brothers face full of lather.

    “It was time for the beast to go” Aela said turning back to Aiden. She slid the razor slowly over his skin, taking off great wads of hair. He had his patch pulled up so that it would not get any lather on it.

    “Oh I see, yes I agree. That thing was terrifying” She giggled when he threw a soap bar at her.

    “Careful!” Aela scolded “I’ll slit your throat!”

    “Yes mam” he said, adopting a naughty boy expression. They sat in silence while Aela continued to shave off his beard.


    “So” he finally said “When are you going to tell me you are a Werewolf?” Aela cursed, accidentally cutting him.
     
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  15. mattizcool

    mattizcool Flying lawnmowers are cool.

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    Aiden is very observant...
     
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  16. shadowkitty

    shadowkitty Mistress of Shadows

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    CHAPTER FIFTY SEVEN: Decisions


    Wyldfyre and Aela exchanged a stunned look for a second. This was the last thing she was expecting; but not entirely surprising. Her brother was the master in observation. It made him the best hunter in their village, even surpassing their father’s skills.

    “How do you know?” Wyldfyre asked him. There was no use denying it, and she would not lie to her brother. Aela calmly wiped at the cut on his face with a linen cloth.

    “You all have the same coloured eyes, except for yours Wyldfyre, you still have green centres. You all have the same animalistic mannerisms, I have seen you talking to each other without making a sound, the men wear wolf armour and you all seem to be more active during the moon hours. The older man, your leader? What did you call it?”

    “Harbinger” Wyldfyre and Aela said in unison.

    “Harbinger, right, even though he is the oldest one out of all of you, you all defer to him like he is the alpha male of your pack. Oh and I have also head Farkas call you his “Shewolf”, a little disturbing, for your brother to be hearing that but there you go.” He had marked each point off on his fingers.

    “Well, when you put it like that, it seems blatantly obvious” said Aela.

    “It does” Wyldfyre agreed. She looked at her brother “You’re not mad?”

    “Why would I be?” he said carefully, as Aela had resumed her shaving, now concentrating on his neck. “I would like to know how it happened though” Wyldfyre sighed, it was a very long story, but she wanted to tell him. She needed to tell him everything, and so she did.

    It was late at night by the time she had finished her story. Aiden sat there in silence. He had interrupted her often, asking many questions, making fierce declarations of war on everyone who had hurt her. Wyldfyre was glad her brother was finally sounding like his old self again.

    He frowned when she mentioned the magic and she had to demonstrate her power as she produced a tiny flame on the palm of her hand, and then a small ball of frosty air. Aiden was a little uneasy at the show, but did not say anything negative to her about it. He was also very interested in her being the Dragonborn.

    “I’m afraid I can’t show you many of the shouts I know in here, they are way too destructive. But I think I can show you this.” She stood and moved away from the bed. Aela and Aiden watched her expectantly.

    “FEIM!” she said as softly as she could, careful to not wake the entire mead hall. The looks on the others faces made her smile as she stood there, all shimmering blue and see-through.

    “Go ahead, try to hit me” she said to them.

    “I’m not going to hit my own sister!” Aiden said shocked. But he was curious and stepped forward, passing his hand right through Wyldfyre.

    “What?” he shook his head, confused. Aela then stood and strode over, raised a fist and swung at Wyldfyre’s head. It passed harmlessly through and Aela almost stumbled if it had not been for Aiden catching her.

    “Hey!” Wyldfyre protested “That would have hurt if I was solid!”

    “Good think you weren’t then” she said “Nice trick sister. I can see where that could come in handy”

    “That’s what I thought” Wyldfyre said as her body returned to normal once again. “Farkas didn’t like it. He couldn’t touch me” she giggled.

    “Of course he didn’t” Aela rolled her eyes. She yawned and bid the siblings goodnight. Wyldfyre caught Aiden staring after Aela as she left to go to bed.

    “Be careful there” She warned gently. Aiden looked at her, his green eyes shining in the candlelight.

    “I know sister. She has recently lost her mate.”

    “You talked about that?” Wyldfyre asked, surprised.

    “Yes” he nodded, standing up to pull off his shirt. “We have both lost our loves; it has made us close friends.”

    “Oh. Well still, be careful. I don’t want to see either of you hurt” He playfully ruffled her hair messing it up more than usual.
    Wyldfyre bid him goodnight as he climbed into bed. She noticed he kept the candle burning, but did not make an issue of it. She went down to the baths, and seeing Farkas was the only one in there, hung a towel on the door which indicated to everyone not to enter. After stripping off, she eased into the bath and wrapped her arms around Farkas’s shoulders. He pulled her in close and started kissing down her neck, sending little thrills through her body, as the dragon souls woke in her belly. They needed release as much as she did.

    “How’s your brother?” he asked her.

    “He’s fine, recovering well.” It was hard to concentrate with what Farkas was doing under the water as his hands slid over her body. “He and Aela seem to be quite taken with each other”

    “I noticed” Farkas said, parting her legs and lifting her up so she straddled him.

    “I worry for them” she fretted.

    “Nah, it’ll be good for both of them to have someone.” He rubbed his thumbs over her tight nipples.

    “Do you think they have...?”

    “Of course” he chuckled “How long has your brother been captive? He’d be bursting at the seams”

    “Farkas!” she playfully slapped him “I do not want to be thinking about my big brother having sex, with Aela!” Farkas looked deep into her eyes, the heat in them was almost overpowering. He grabbed her hips and not very gently guided her onto his swollen member as she gasped with pleasure.

    “Then think about this” he said as his lips consumed hers and they moved as one.

    *****​
    The clash of steel rang out across the practice yard as Aiden and Vilkas sparred. Wyldfyre and Aela watched on as the two men tested the other with the blunted practice swords. Aiden was always proficient with them, but the two-handed greatsword he had taken a shine to was a lot harder to wield than the lighter one-handed like Wyldfyre’s own sword. He was also as good with a bow, being primarily a hunter. He and Aela had spent hours in front of the archery targets, getting the strength back onto his arms and back muscles and adjusting his tactics to allow for the loss of vision in his left eye. Wyldfyre could see that with time, Aiden’s body would recover from his capture, but she was still worried about his state of mind. She mentioned it to Aela, not wanting to pry into her personal life.

    “He is doing well in that respect” Aela informed her. “We have worked through a few things, and he is now able to put some of them behind him”. Wyldfyre was slightly jealous of Aela’s ability to coax her brother’s inner feelings out. She studied her shield sister for a moment.

    “Just what are your intentions towards my brother?” she blurted out. Aela blinked in surprise.

    “I don’t have any intentions” she frowned “We like each other’s company. It’s as simple as that”

    “But you...”

    “I recently lost my mate; yes I am aware of that. Painfully aware dear sister, but I have not replaced him with your brother. Nor has your brother replaced his mate with me. No one. I mean no-one could ever replace Skjor” she said hotly “But I am not going to spend the rest of my life alone. Do you wish that of me, or your brother?”

    “No of course not!” Wyldfyre said “I just don’t want to see either of you hurt. I love you both”. Aela hugged Wyldfyre.

    “I know sister, as do we. You don’t need to worry about us though. It’s fine just the way it is and we are both content with that” They looked back to the boys in time to see Aiden dealing Vilkas a hard blow that caused him to stumble to one knee.

    “Well done brother!” Wyldfyre called, clapping. The smile he flashed at her caused all her worries to disappear. Aiden had become a member of the Companions, but was still thinking about whether he wanted to be a member of The Circle. Kodlak had surprised them all when he had brought it up during a Circle meeting and when Wyldfyre and the others had told Aiden; he seemed interested, but uncertain.

    “It’s not the pain I am afraid of” he had confessed to Wyldfyre later in his room “It’s just that I finally feel like the real me again, after so long of being a shell of what I was, I don’t know if I am ready to change it again so soon. Do you understand?” Wyldfyre nodded.

    “I understand, and you don’t have to. Accepting the gift is something you must be sure of. Kodlak has honoured you with this, but he does not expect you to do it unwillingly, as do the rest of us. Take your time and think about it. It’s completely up to you brother.” Wyldfyre had gone back to her room then and lay down on the bed. Farkas was away on a mission and she fell asleep alone, images of Falmar and vampires devouring her body, filling her dreams.

    *****​
    “You what?” Farkas almost shouted.

    “You heard me” Wyldfyre said “I want to find a Dwemer ruin” She watched Farkas’s reaction as he paced the floor of their room. He was not happy at all.

    “Are you completely out of your mind? You want to go into one of those cursed ruins so you can confront a few Falmar that had nothing to do with your village’s destruction, or your brother’s capture? And for what, a bit of revenge?"

    “Yes” she said simply.

    “Wyldfyre....”

    “I need to Farkas. I need the closure I was robbed of when I was taken away that night. Aiden did it to protect me but you have no idea how much it is eating me up inside. I have nightmares about it every night and it always ends the same. I need to do this” They had argued for hours about Wyldfyre’s rash announcement and finally Farkas had stormed out of the room. An hour later he returned and sat on a chair in front of her.

    “All right, but on one condition.” He said to her.

    “I was going anyway but I will hear it”

    “I go with you, as well as Lydia and Vilkas, and your brother is not allowed to come”

    “That’s fine” she nodded “I wasn’t going to take my brother into a Dwemer ruin and the rest of you can stay or come, but I am still going.” Farkas sighed.

    *****​
    Vilkas screwed up his face.

    “You what?” he looked at her like she had just sprouted snakes out of her head.

    “You see?” Farkas nodded “Even my brother thinks you are mad”
    “Well... I wouldn’t put it quite that way” Vilkas chuckled “But I don’t think you have thought about this clearly Sister. One does not simply walk into a Dwemer ruin”. Wyldfyre glared at him.

    “I know that, and I have thought about it, it’s the only thing on my mind right now”

    “Thanks” Farkas grunted.

    “You know what I mean” she said to him. She looked at Lydia; surely she would back her up.

    “Don’t flash those puppy eyes at me!” Lydia exclaimed. “You know I would go with you wherever you want, but... a Dwemer ruin? Did it have to be a Dwemer Ruin?”

    “I don’t think she understands what she is proposing” Vilkas said the others.

    “I tried telling her that” Farkas nodded.

    “I hate Falmar” Lydia added.

    “HEY!” Wyldfyre half shouted “I am right here you know” Vilkas then turned to her.

    “Sorry, I should have remembered you aren’t from around here. The Dwemer are long gone, their cities fallen into disrepair, but inside they are crawling with bandits, Falmar, and not to mention the Automatons.”

    “Automatons?” she asked, not understanding the word.

    “Machines that the Dwarves used in the construction and maintenance of their cities, as well as those that were used to defend it. They were powered by magic some say, and it’s that magic that keeps them wandering the halls still to this day”

    “They sound like they were a pretty advanced race” Wyldfyre said. “What happened to them?”

    “No one knows” Farkas answered her, shaking his head “All the books say is that they vanished”

    “But what we do know is only the very fool hardy or the very brave enter a Dwemer ruin”

    “Well that’s fine then” Wyldfyre smiled “For aren’t we all so very brave?” She looked around at them and Vilkas rolled his eyes.

    “She’s got you there” Lydia chirped happily.

    “Fine!” Vilkas threw up his hands “If the old man says it’s all right then I’ll come along.” Lydia nodded.

    “I will to”

    “Thanks” Farkas said grumpily “You were supposed to talk her out of it”

    “Since when have we ever been able to talk Wyldfyre out of anything?” Lydia asked him. Farkas grimaced.

    “You’re right” He looked at his love, his mate. “Well my dear. Where are we going and when?”

    “Um..” Wyldfyre bit her bottom lip, looking around at the others. “I was hoping you guys would have an idea?”


    “By the Nines” Lydia sighed.
     
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  17. shadowkitty

    shadowkitty Mistress of Shadows

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    REP POINTS FOR THE FIRST ONE TO SPOT THE MOVIE QUOTE IN THIS CHAPTER!
     
  18. mattizcool

    mattizcool Flying lawnmowers are cool.

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    Ooohhh I love people's reactions when they visit or mention Dwemer Ruins. :)


    Also:
    [​IMG]
    I would've photoshopped Vilkas's face there but meh.
     
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  19. Brewman

    Brewman Do I look worried?

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    Okay, I was thinking about this ( Entirely too much obviously) but if you were to actually become ethereal, wouldn't you clothes fall off? after all the spell would only affect you body, not what you are wearing right?
    Alright I'll go back to my corner now.
     
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  20. shadowkitty

    shadowkitty Mistress of Shadows

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    sorry for the delay, had a busy week and I needed to be in the mood to write Wyldfyre's part in this chapter.

    CHAPTER FIFTY EIGHT: Mzinchaleft


    “Tell me again why we are heading to this thrice forsaken place?” Vilkas complained yet again. They had been trudging through the snow for hours now and the weather had made them all cranky, Vilkas especially. Wyldfyre gritted her teeth for the tenth time.

    “You can always turn back” she said to him over the howling wind.

    “What? And have my brother here call me a Milk-drinker? I’d rather freeze to death!” he huffed. Lydia cast a smirk in Wyldfyre’s direction but she was too cranky to return it. As they continued on they came over a rise and saw down into a small valley below, the ruins of Mzinchaleft. Wyldfyre lifted her face to the wind and detected the faint smell of man. The ruins, it appeared, were already occupied. Farkas and Vilkas were already on it, as they both broke from the group to scout out to the left and right. Lydia was confused.

    “Where are they going, oh, wait.. you did a Were thing didn’t you?”

    “Yes” Wyldfyre nodded. “There are humans up ahead in the ruins” She nodded towards the overhanging cliffs “The boys are scouting for strays”. She and Lydia made their way down towards the ruins. Wyldfyre’s keen eyes picked up a lone man standing guard on a raised wooden platform.

    “That’s close enough” He shouted down to them. As they neared he changed his mind “On second thoughts, ladies, how about you both come up here and keep me company? I’ll even let you take turns” He groped at his crotch.

    “In your dreams bandit scum!” Lydia declared hotly. Wyldfyre was a little taken aback at Lydia’s vehemence as she raced forward, sword in hand, up the stairs and quickly dispatched the surprised bandit.

    “What was that all about?” Wyldfyre asked her, but Lydia just shrugged and continued through the ruin. Farkas and Vilkas caught up with them, both their weapons splattered with blood and them grinning like wolves. They had dispersed the rest of the bandits that occupied the outside area of the ruins.

    “Have fun dear?” Wyldfyre asked Farkas affectionately. He just grinned at her. They descended three flights of stairs and entered the ruin. Inside a cold breeze blew under the door and they ventured down a ramp where a number of carts stood. They were full of Dwarven artefacts. Curious machine workings and cutlery made from a golden metal. Amongst the cart was a metal spider, about the same size as a medium frost bite spider and a larger machine attached to a round base.

    “These are the Automatons you mentioned?” she asked Vilkas examining the now broken machines.

    “That’s a Dwarven Spider. They used them to keep up the maintenance of their cities, as well as defending it. From what I’ve heard they can throw some sort of lightening at you and the Sphere” he pointed to the larger one “has a sword arm and a crossbow on the other.” Wyldfyre studied the crossbow. It was small and compact and she very much wanted it, but this one was attached firmly to the Sphere. She recovered the bolts then stood.

    “Let’s continue” she said. They encountered a few more bandits as they made their way through the ruins and also two live Spheres patrolling one large chamber that proved to be a handful until they were finally bashed to pieces by Farkas and Vilkas. They stood there, grateful that none of them were hurt during the fight. A few dead bandits lying around the chamber hadn’t been so lucky. They walked through more hallways lit by strange lights, their source of power a mystery. They passed along a stone path with grates along the sides where they could see down into the floor below. Steam rose through the cracks and it grew quite warm. They encountered another sphere at the end of the hall. Vilkas and Lydia took it out while the others held back. It was too close quarters for them all to engage the machine.

    They went down a ramp where a large room was patrolled by yet another sphere. Wyldfyre walked along some pipes that skirted around the top of the room and took out the sphere with her bow. She jumped off the pipe and landed lightly on her feet, Lydia rolling her eyes at her display of litheness. They were held up for a while when they came to a strange room sectioned off by gates that only lowered in a certain order to allow you to proceed to the next section. Finally when all leavers where thrown they had to backtrack to go through the last gated section.

    “Wonder what the purpose to that was?” Lydia asked. Wyldfyre wondered the same. They went through a large golden door to find a small circular room with a large lever inside. In each corner were huge gears.

    “I guess this is a life shaft” Vilkas said, studying the gears.

    “But does it go up or down?” Farkas asked. Wyldfyre pulled the lever and the floor shuddered underneath them. The gears began turning and slowly, thunderously, the shaft moved.

    “I guess it’s down” Lydia observed.

    When the lift came to a halt, the hallway in front of them was dark, lit only by the eerie blue glow from the glowing mushrooms that grew on the wall. Lying twisted and broken on the ground was another inert Dwarven spider, next to it the body of a Falmar.

    *****​
    Wyldfyre drew in a sharp breath and slowly edged towards the dead Falmar. She knelt down and studied the creature. It was just as she remembered; the blinded eyes, pointed ears and rows of sharp, jagged teeth in its mouth. It was dressed in crude pointed armour that looked like it was made from some sort of large insect. Its long fingers clutched at a weapon that looked like it was also made from an insect like creature. Visions of that night flashed through Wyldfyre’s head. The screams as weapons like this bit into the flesh of her fellow villagers. The look of sheer terror on her mother’s face as these creatures grabbed her and tore out her throat. The months of torture her Brother had endured. A blood boiling rage began to build up inside Wyldfyre. Farkas put his hand on her shoulder.

    “Love, are you all right?” he asked her, worried. Wyldfyre stood, not even hearing the others speaking to her, her body shook violently as the rage overcame her and a red tint washed over her vision. The dragon souls stirred inside her. They wanted revenge, they wanted blood. Wyldfyre took off towards a door, flung it open and ran out into the massive chamber beyond. Drawing her sword, ignoring the shouts from her loved ones behind her, she charged on ahead. She spied a Falmar down another path to the left and ran towards it, screaming in rage. The Falmar raised its blind head towards her and barely had time to react as she slashed her sword in a wide arc, slicing the Falmar’s head clean off, the momentum knocking it off the platform and into the flood waters below. It wasn’t enough, she wanted more. She turned and ran back down the platform, looking for more Falmar to sate her anger.

    Farkas held the others back, recognizing that Wyldfyre needed to do this. They remained on alert however, should the Falmar swarm and overwhelm her. As it was though, Wyldfyre’s rage and skill was a force on its own. For now, she was safe. She went down another path and fought another Falmar, this one heard her coming and it slashed at her, hissing in a rage that almost compared to her own. During the fight, Wyldfyre felt a burning sensation on her leg, but did not have time to find out why. She fought the Falmar, her sword biting into its flesh, and the creature backed up until Wyldfyre stabbed it through its chest. It crumpled to the ground just as a thick green substance landed on the floor inches from her. She turned and saw a multi jointed black insect the size of a frostbite spider, its front mandibles clashing together as it spat the green liquid at her.

    Wyldfyre discarded her sword and drew out her bow and fired an arrow at it, but the arrow glanced off its armoured body. She didn’t want to get near the powerful front jaws so she backed away from it, just as Vilkas ran past her and started hacking at the insect with his greatsword. Wyldfyre turned and left Vilkas to the creature. Her leg burned but not as much as her heart, she spied two more Falmar and so raced off to engage them as well, screaming a blood curling war cry at them, their sensitive ears ringing with her cries. She easily felled the first one but the second, dressed in more armour than the rest, was proving more difficult. They parried back and forth as the Falmar tried to slash her with its crude but sharp sword. She now knew what their armour and weapons were made from. The insect she had left Vilkas to deal with.

    The Falmar was strong and forced Wyldfyre back into a corner; it was all she could do to keep it from landing a blow. Now she was on the defense and so she raised her free hand and directed her flame spell at it. It screeched in pain as the flames engulfed it, igniting its meagre clothing. The Falmar shambled off, clutching at its burning clothes. Wyldfyre took that opportunity to slash at it with her sword. As she hacked away at it she poured all her sorrow and rage into her sword strokes. In the end the creature lay dead, but Wyldfyre was still slashing away at it sobbing the names of her villagers. She discarded her sword and took out her dagger, falling to her knees she stabbed at the creature, until it was a mass of blood and gore, and Wyldfyre was covered in splatters of blood. She finally stopped and slumped to the floor, sobbing. When her rage subsided, all was quiet.

    *****​
    Farkas carefully washed the blood off Wyldfyre’s face as she soaked in the waters down below the platforms. He had picked her up and carried her down to the waters after her breakdown, undressed her and himself and submerged them both in the cold water. He knew her well enough now to know that water, especially cold water, seemed to calm her down and bring her out of her rage she sometimes succumbed to.

    “I’m sorry” she said as he wiped at her face. He lifted her chin and wiped down her neck.

    “It’s all right” he soothed.

    “I put us all in danger” she apologized again. She looked up the stairs and watched Vilkas and Lydia as they stood guard there. She was appalled at her behavior.

    “No you didn’t”

    “But I did” she nodded. “If I hadn’t insisted in coming here...”

    “Wyldfyre” Farkas took her chin between his thumb and pointer finger making her stare into his eyes. “We were not in danger, we chose to come here. No-one has got hurt, well except for you”

    “But I was like a mad woman Farkas!” She moaned. Brief flashes of her rage was all that she could remember.

    “You needed to get that out of your system, you needed to rage” Farkas said to her, continuing to wipe. Her hair was a bloody mess and he instructed her to duck. Wyldfyre immersed herself and swum backwards away from the steps. She looked down into the depths below her and was surprised at what she saw. She burst through the water and swam back to Farkas.

    “There is a whole city down there!” she said louder so the others could hear. “I can see down for miles, it’s lit by those strange lights, it looks immense!” Farkas backed up the stairs; not comfortable knowing that much water was between him and the bottom. They both got out of the water and dressed.

    “Feeling better?” Lydia asked her when they joined the others. Wyldfyre looked down embarrassed.

    “Yes, thank you”. Vilkas grew uncomfortable at the silence and drew his sword.

    “Right, let us press on then. I don’t know about anyone else but I have almost had enough of Dwemer ruins” They went through a door and found themselves in a large room that had rows and rows of stone benches facing a raised dais. Two Falmar patrolled back and forth on the Dais.

    “Um, someone else take them out” Wyldfyre said. She was hesitant to engage the creatures again after her episode. Lydia nodded and took out her bow, loosing an arrow at one. When it fell the other came over to investigate the noise and Lydia took that one out as well. The group continued on through a low vaulted tunnel and a large chamber, full of Falmar. They had constructed crude huts that contained straw bedding and sometimes a chest-like container made from the insect body parts. Wyldfyre found gold and gems inside the chests, pocketing them to divide amongst the rest later.

    They passed through two open chambers that looked like a city square, or main gathering place, felling the Falmar that resided in those two areas. Wyldfyre was careful to hold back now, using only her bow against the creatures. She wouldn’t even go near them to loot their bodies, letting Lydia do the deed. Through a gate and up a large flight of stairs led them to another large golden door. Farkas pushed it open and they walked down a hallway. As they turned the corner they could see a chamber beyond. At the far end of the chamber was an Automaton taller than two men. It rested quietly inside a framework of the same golden metal it was made from.

    “What do you think?” Wyldfyre asked Vilkas, who seemed to know more about Dwemer ruins than the rest of them.

    “I don’t like it.” He shook his head “If it was lying on the ground then I could be certain it was dead, but this one is still attached to its frame”

    “What are we likely to face?” Lydia asked.

    “I’m not really sure” Vilkas shrugged “I know they use steam attacks, but apart from that, I’d say they use a primarily melee type of attack. Brute strength”

    “Why is it just standing there?” Farkas asked his brother.

    “Maybe it has some sort of movement sensor in it? Who knows? Maybe it will just sit there. Only way to find out is to approach it”

    “I could shoot it” Wyldfyre said, raising her bow, she loosed off a shot before anyone could say anything. It hit the large mechanical man in the chest and suddenly it stirred to life. It broke from the framework it was sitting in and slowly creaked towards them. The others dispersed around the hallway and Lydia and Wyldfyre both loosed arrows at it. Farkas and Vilkas used their uncanny speed to race around the machine and hit it from behind. It turned around slowly; looking for whatever enemy was attacking it and blew a jet of hot steam that clouded up the room.
    It took a couple of seconds before Wyldfyre and Lydia were able to shoot off arrows again. Soon Vilkas had hacked away at one of the machine’s legs and it stumbled to the ground. Farkas ran in and hacked at its back before a small door flew open, exposing its inner workings. Farkas reached into the machine and pulled out a strange golden orb with a red light emanating from its centre. As soon as the orb left the machine’s body it collapsed to the ground, steam rising from it through the cracks in its metal.

    *****​
    The orb made a clatter as Farkas dropped it. They all gathered around the large man-machine.

    “Well, they certainly knew how to make formidable fighting machines” Lydia commented.

    “I can’t believe these machines are all still working after all this time,” Wyldfyre pointed to one of the strange glowing pillars “and these lights? It’s such a shame the Dwemer disappeared. What we could have learned from them”. They all looked around the room, Lydia finding a large ornate sword lying on a stone table. Wyldfyre found a chest and was delighted when she pulled out a crossbow, and more of the Dwarven bolts.

    “You’ve got your crossbow” Farkas smiled at her. Lydia was examining the sword she found when Vilkas peered at it.

    “Hey! I know whose sword that is! It belongs to a warrior called Mjoll”

    “And how do you know this..Mjoll?” Lydia asked him tartly.

    “Sounds like you have some explaining to do brother” Farkas chuckled. Wyldfyre wandered off, not really interested in Vilkas’s story. She tried a gate that opened into a small room with a strange mechanism in the centre, but try as she might, she could not get it to work. She shrugged and wandered back to the group before they all made for the door behind the machines frame and found another lift.

    “Hopefully this goes up and out of here” Vilkas prayed. He pulled the leaver and as the gears clunked into motion the lift slowly moved upwards.


    “Thank the Nines!” Lydia sighed. Wyldfyre couldn’t agree more.
     
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