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A High Priestess of Skyrim - Chapter 33

Discussion in 'Skyrim Fan Fiction' started by Bren, Apr 4, 2021.

  1. Bren

    Bren New Member

    Feb 14, 2021
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    Chapter 33

    “He will be away for a few days only.” Aric said to Freya. “We will ride west into the hills to Labyrinthian and then turn north to rejoin the main road to Morthal.”

    “I understand.” Freya said.

    “Our guest in the stables will have fewer roommates.” Samuel said as he climbed into his saddle.

    “It will be a blessing for his former roommates.” Freya said with a smile.

    “I do not think it likely at this point that Runa and her party will arrive here.” Aric said, “but if I am mistaken, she will know where we have gone.”

    “If they arrive soon after you depart, they can follow your trail and overtake you if they chose.” Freya said.

    “It is good that the Whiterun guard are here to escort the wagon and the prisoner.” Aric said. “Keep the guard from the farm and the mine close. I do not anticipate trouble reaching here, but I did not anticipate having forty guests sleeping in our yard.”

    “We will manage.” Freya said. “Do not be concerned.”

    It was midday when we began to ride west into the hills above Aric’s house, passing the spot where Lucia had taught me to draw upon the poser of the Earthbones. The exact spot where I had placed my hand was clearly visible from horseback, the ground having a glasslike appearance.

    “If I understand our route correctly” I said, a few hours after our departure. “we will turn north onto the same path that Railius and I took from Morthal to Whiterun.”

    “It is a common shortcut, though it is also a favorite place for bandits.” Aric said.

    I recalled the attack that we survived. Even in his later years Railius had eyesight that would be the envy of any bird of prey. Sharp eyes and steady hands, even though his hair had turned grey.

    “Grey hair never did a solider any harm.” He said once. “Hands and eyes are more important.”

    “You no longer need assistance into your saddle.” Aric said. “You have adapted quickly to the life of a warrior.”

    “Not quite so quickly.” I said. “A bit more padding in either my armor or my saddle would be useful.”

    Aric smiled and laughed.

    We continued west across open country when a dot appeared in the sky to the northwest, and we heard a sound that I was growing all too familiar with.

    "That is Skyborn Altar." Samuel said. "Nothing good originates from Skyborn Altar."

    "Into the tree line." Aric said. "He may not have seen us yet."

    We galloped to the nearby tree line and dismounted.

    "What can we do?" Vilkas asked

    "Pray it has not seen us." Lucia said.

    "Could this not be your friend." I asked.

    "No." she said simply.

    The dragon continued to approach.

    "Gods." Samuel said, as the distance between us and the dragon continued to decrease, "it is an Elder dragon."

    "Is that bad?" Vilkas asked

    "It is not good." Lucia said.

    "How can you tell?" I asked.

    "They are the only dragons with that pattern of color on their wings" Samuel said. "You can see it best when his wings are below his body when the sun is at this angle."

    Aric unfastened his warhammer from his saddle.

    "The four of you must stay together." Aric said to us "Do exactly what Lucia instructs, no matter what occurs." He looked at me and smiled, “This will be difficult. It will be more difficult if I must worry about the dragon and you as well. Brother," he said to Vilkas, "In this battle you must remain a spectator. As you love my daughter you must swear it."

    The look on Vilkas' face showed the conflict, but he finally answered.

    "I swear it, Brother." Vilkas said before clasping his arm. "Long life to you Companion."

    "And to you as well Companion." Aric said.

    There was no mistaking now that the dragon had seen us. His approach and descent was directly towards us.

    Aric simply walked out to meet it.

    "Please do not go." I whispered. But he had already moved into the open. My voice almost failed me when I said, "I love you."

    "Keep a tight grip on your reins." Lucia said, who had her father's horse as well. "Face your horses away from the battle. We will have little time for escape if the battle goes ill. Mark the terrain. Mark the course you will ride."

    The dragon's path and Aric's finally met. The dragon was still some distance above Aric as it released the massive breath of frost that it had been holding, enveloping Aric in the bitter mixture of snow and ice and air.

    "NO!" I screamed, as two hand reached for my arms.

    But Aric had simply knelt and covered himself with his cloak when the dragon had attacked.

    The dragons path continued past Aric as it began to turn to approach for another attach.

    It was then that Aric stood and cast a spell with his left hand that brought a blinding lightning bolt down upon the dragon from above.

    The bolt struck the dragon squarely on the left wing. The dragon immediately began to fall as its path turned sharply, spiraling downward.

    "It will crush him!" I pleaded. "Let me go!"

    "Stay!" Lucia said. "He knows what he is doing!"

    The dragon landed with a sound like thunder.

    Aric spoke words I could not hear, and then it seemed as if he was a blur. One moment he was distant from the dragon bringing up his warhammer and the next he was upon him, his powerful swing coming forward and striking the side of the dragon's head.

    "Talos' Blood!" Vilkas said.

    The dragon reared its head back and lunged forward to strike. But Aric was no longer where he had stood. He had shifted at the last instant and landed another powerful blow onto the dragon's front leg.

    The roar of the dragon was deafening even at this distance. It was hurt and angry. Its massive tail began to whip forward, and I remembered Aric's story of the dragon encounter with Sara.

    But the dragon's tail failed to strike. Aric was back at the dragon’s head, casting a spell that brought liquid fire down upon the dragon.

    The dragon bellowed its pain to the sky as Aric began to land a series of hammer blows, using his full strength. His hammer was taking a grave toll, when the dragon began to gather its wings, in preparation to take flight.

    Aric held his hammer in his right hand, pointed his left palm straight down and cast a spell that thrust him off the ground, propelling himself high into the air.

    "Gods!" I said.

    His momentum carried him up and as he began to fall, he swung his enchanted war hammer up and brought it down with all his might. The dragon had just begun to lift off the ground when the blow fell upon his head with a thunderous crack.

    The dragon was dead before it hit the ground, serving now only to cushion Aric's fall.

    I tried to free myself from Lucia and Samuel.

    "Stay but a moment longer." Lucia said.

    "Let me go to him!" I cried

    "In a moment." Lucia said. "Stay."

    I continued my attempt to break free. But something was not right. It seemed that the dragon began to glow.

    "Talos! What is happening?" Vilkas.

    "Something consumes it from within." I said.

    It seemed to burn from within, until all that remained were bones and scales. Until:

    "Gods." I said, "what sorcery is this?"

    It was a glowing stream of energy, moving from the dragons remains towards Aric.

    "It will consume him!" I said. "Help him!"

    "He does not require help." Samuel said.

    "HUSBAND!" I screamed.

    But when the glowing reached Aric, he seemed simply to absorb it, to breath it in like air. He glowed with it for a moment.

    Then he inhaled a deep breath and looked up as his mouth opened and a sound like all the thunderclaps in the world combined rent the heavens.

    Then it seemed like Aric's legs failed him, as he sat down hard, his head hanging down, his chin upon his chest.

    The hands released me, and I began to run.

    "No. No. No. No. No no no no.” I said as I reached him. “Beloved. Beloved, look at me. Look at me. Merciful Divines spare him. Do not take him from me." My voice sounded like it belonged to someone else. My chest felt as if a giant was standing upon it.

    "You will not leave me, sir." I said, as I knelt beside him. "I have lost too much. I will not lose you as well."

    "Not. Today. At least." Aric replied, his breath returning in gasps.

    It was at that point that I felt it was safe enough to burst into tears, as I kissed every inch of his face.

    “It grows worse.” Lucia said.

    “It seems that there is a limit to the number of dragon souls a man can absorb.” Aric said.

    “Is that what we witnessed?” I asked. “Is that what passed from the dragon to you? You consumed the soul of the dragon?”

    “It is not by will or by choice.” Aric replied. “It is part of being Dragonborn. A gift from Akatosh.”

    Merciful Divines, I thought, Kynareth, Magnus, Akatosh, the Old Gods of the Reach. How many Gods had a hand in creating this man that I love?

    “Does it always affect you so?” Vilkas asked.

    “Only recently.” Aric said. “Each additional soul is like too much wine poured in a cup. Some must be poured out. It leaves me somewhat drained afterwards.”

    “That sound afterwards, the sound of the heavens themselves cracking open.” Vilkas said, “That was you pouring out the excess?”

    “Yes.” Aric said. “It has become necessary these last few souls.”

    “But it becomes worse.” I said. “Lucia says it grows worse.”

    “The sickness afterwards becomes slightly longer with each new soul.” Aric said.

    “Then you must cease the practice.” I said.

    “I would gladly do so, my love, but it is not entirely within my control.” Aric replied.

    “Are you well enough to ride?” Samuel asked.

    “I have recovered.” Aric replied. “There is no cause for concern.”

    “Your color has not yet returned.” I said.

    “I can ride a horse, I assure you.” He said, as he took my hand. “Do not be concerned.”

    We had been riding a short time after the dragon attack when Lucia road up next to me.

    “You were quite upset during the attack.” She said. “I have seen you in battle before now, and you were always so confidant. Competent. This was different.”

    “I was always a participant before.” I answered. “It is something different when you must stand by and watch the man you love die.”

    “Sara was much of the same mind.” Lucia said. “She brought the wrath of the Gods down upon that dragon.”

    “I would have sent this one to Oblivion to join it.” I said. “I do not know how you can calmly stand and watch your Father battle a dragon alone.”

    “I have learned the skill over time.” Lucia said. “We have all had to learn it, as you will have to if you are to continue in his company.”

    “Was it difficult for you at first?” I asked.

    “I do not possess the word to describe how difficult it was.” Lucia answered.

    “I would also have difficulty finding the correct words.” I said.

    “Your choice of words during the battle was interesting.” She said.

    “I have no recollection of saying anything during the battle.” I said in all honesty. “I have no recollection of breathing during the battle, let alone speaking.”

    “You recall nothing of what you said?” Lucia asked.

    “Nothing.” I answered. “I apologize if my language was hurtful, or in any way inappropriate. I was in extreme distress. Did I say something I should not have?”

    “Not at all.” She answered with a smile.

    “Railius and I were accosted by bandits here.” I said as we rode north, retracing in reverse the path that Railius and I took those months ago. I had begun to think of that time as another life. Before the loss of the man I considered to be my father. Before the shack. Before my life was turned upside down and inside out.

    “Do you know, I never felt fear when I was with him? Not even during the bandit attack. He had a calmness that was contagious. Every situation was matter of fact to him. These are the facts; this is the solution. He was always right, up until the end.”

    “I have lost count of the number of times I have thought, or said, I wish I had known him.” Aric said. “I would have loved him, if for no other reason than for producing such an excellent daughter, such an excellent woman.”

    “I have used up all my tears on you, beloved, or your words would yield a new flow.” I said. “I thought I had lost you.”

    “Clearly, I do not have the same affect upon you that your father had.” Aric said with a smile. “Your confidence in Railius was absolute.”

    “Railius was never reckless enough to face a dragon in single combat.” I replied with my own laugh.

    “Will you indulge me in a desire of mine?” he asked me a short time later.

    “Have I not already provided the answer to that question, given sufficient privacy?” I asked, my smile changing form slightly.

    “Would you allow me to erect a monument for your father?” he asked, “To mark his final resting place?”

    “You know his mind on the subject.” I said, surprised by his request. “It this a matter close to your heart?”

    “As close to my heart as you are.” He answered.

    “In that case, sir, how can I deny you your heart’s desire?” I replied.

    The hour was growing late when we arrived in Morthal.

    “The number of my visits to this small hamlet grows long.” I said. “I will give serious consideration to personally financing a bath house if the number grows any larger. I am, after all, a woman of means and can afford it. Surly a bath house cannot be such a large expense?” I asked.

    “I am Thane of Hjaalmarch.” Aric said. “and I will not hear of you bearing the entire expense of such an establishment.”

    “Must Samuel now learn how to manage a bath house as well?” I asked with a laugh.

    Our first destination after the stables was the Jarl’s hall.

    “Well Thane, Reverend Mother, you arrive at last.” Idgrod said with her customary wit. “We had begun to think you had forgotten us.”

    “Never, Jarl.” Aric said. “Developments in both Whiterun and my home in the Pale detained us for some time. We seek your council regarding some of those developments.”

    “Would that you had been here earlier today when my daughter had one of her fits.” The Jarl said, “the Reverend Mother’s council would have been indispensable.”

    “Your daughter had a fit, Jarl?” I asked.

    “It is not the first such.” The Jarl replied. “But for the fact that she was awake at the time, they much resemble her sleeping fits.”

    “You daughter had a waking dream?” I asked.

    “You could refer to it that way, I suppose.” She replied. “She and Joric had just left Falion’s home when she simply stopped and became distressed.”

    “What distressed her?” Aric asked. “Did it involve Falion?”

    “No.” she replied. “Joric said nothing out of the ordinary occurred during their visit. She simply stopped walking and became quite agitated, speaking as if something terrible was occurring before screaming husband. Any vision of a husband that yield such results is a vision, and a husband, to be avoided.”

    “May I see your daughter, Jarl?” I asked. “Is she well enough for visitors?”

    “She is recovered.” Idgrod said. “She has sufficient practice now that she recovers quickly. You will find her in her room at the top of the stairs.”

    She was kneeling at a shrine of Kynareth when I approached the door to her room. The room was somewhat larger than my cell in Wolfskull cave, and better furnished; but she was obviously not one for frilly decoration. It was not quite spartan, having a very nice rug, and an equally nice comforter; both of which I thought I recognized.

    “I trust I do not disturb your devotions.” I said quietly.

    She had been looking at the shrine but turned at the sound of my voice.

    Her eyes grew quite large, and her hand flew to her mouth.

    “It is you.” She said after a moment. “I know you. I have seen you before.”

    “It is possible.” I answered. “I have stayed in Morthal before. Once with my father, and once with Thane Aric. May I come in?”

    “You were there, in my vision.” She said. “You were there when the dragon attacked.”

    Gods, I thought, she has the Gift. How much did she see?

    “That was what you saw?” I asked. “Earlier today, when you stopped and had a vision, you saw the dragon attack Aric?”

    “It attacked all of you, until lightening and fire rained down upon it, and the God of Magic struck it dead.” she said.

    The God of Magic. Aric. The descendant of Magnus.

    “Your mother said you cried husband.” I said. “Is the God of Magic to become your husband?”

    “I did not cry husband.” Idgrod the Younger said. “you did.”

    “Dreams and visions can be hard to interpret, and also to remember clearly.” I said. “You and my mother share the same gift, so I have some knowledge of this. Believe me that you will not always be so burdened. When you are but a little older it will resolve itself into a tamer version and become a true gift.”

    “Your mother suffered as I do?” she asked.

    “My mother did not suffer at all.” I answered. “She was skilled at dreaming and interpreting dreams. Many sought out her talent and council. It was how we survived. You only lack maturity, and some direction and instruction.”

    “Can you instruct me?” she asked. “Can you help me tame this gift?”

    “I am sorry, young Idgrod, I cannot.” I said. “This is not a gift I possess.”

    “But other gifts you do possess.” She said. “You dress in the armor of a warrior. Yet you did not always do so.”

    “How do you know?” I asked, my concern growing.

    “I saw you.” She answered. “You were there on a road. You wore a dress. There was a flaming horse. And the God of Magic.”

    Her mother said she would remember little of the vision of the south road. Clearly, she remembered something.

    “Do all your visions involve the God of Magic?” I asked.

    “Not all.” She replied. “But of late many do. I cannot explain it, or why he invades my dreams so.”

    If she were to walk downstairs now and see Aric, she will certainly faint. I thought.

    “There is very little I can offer you in way of assistance,” I said, “Other than to say that there is nothing wrong with you. You are as the Divines made you, and they have given you a great gift. It is a gift that is only given to the strong, to those who can use it for the good of all. You are blessed by the Divines.”

    “What is your name?” she asked.

    “My name is Noxaura.” I replied.

    “I do not feel strong Noxaura.” She answered. “I have not felt strong in quite some time. You are a warrior, so it may be difficult for you to understand.”

    “I understand it perfectly.” I said, “I am very well acquainted with the view from the edge of that cliff.”

    “They will need a larger Inn if you continue to bring such numbers to Morthal, sir.” I said to Aric as we sat for a late meal before retiring. “Your number will increase by four if your broad-shouldered daughter and her party arrive.”

    “Or the two of you must expand your plans and build a larger Inn and equip it with a Bathhouse.” Lucia suggested.

    “At this rate of building Idgrod the Younger will inherit a much larger village when she is Thane.” Vilkas said.

    “Is it true she had some sort of fit earlier?” Samuel asked.

    “That cannot be a smile you wear can it, young sir?” I asked him. “Someone who does not know you better will think you mock her.”

    “It was not my intention, your Grace” Samuel replied. “Has the young lady recovered?”

    Young lady. Samuel and Idgrod were the same age. “She is quite recovered.” I said.

    “Is she prone to fits?” Vilkas asked.

    “She had a vision of the dragon attack.” I said plainly.

    “Truly?” Vilkas asked.

    “Yes.” Aric replied. “She gave an interesting account. Her mother says her visions are often quite fantastic when she describes them afterwards.”

    “Did she share any particular details about the battle?” Lucia asked, as she looked at me.

    I did not cry husband. Idgrod the Younger had said. You did.

    Your choice of words during the battle was interesting. Lucia had said after the battle.

    I felt the blood rush to my face, as I looked back at Lucia.

    “gods” I whispered, finding the table top the most convenient point to focus my eyesight.

    “You were in distress.” Lucia said softly. “It was your heart speaking. It was entirely natural. There is no reason to be embarrassed.”

    “I would take it as a great personal favor if we were to change the subject to the weather.” I said.

    “I have clearly missed something important.” Aric said.

    “It is a subject for sisters to discuss.” Lucia said, before looking at Vilkas and Samuel in turn “and no others.”

    Samuel and Vilkas looked at each other for a moment, passing messages in some nonverbal form.

    “I do not take your meaning, madam.” Vilkas said, “neither Samuel nor I have the slightest idea of what you speak.”

    “Well” Aric said, “I have received my marching orders. I am to mind my own business and go off to bed. We have council with Jarl Idgrod at a reasonable hour tomorrow morning. Do not feel the need to stir too early.”

    “I will be only a few moments.” I said to Aric.

    “As will I” Lucia said to Vilkas.

    Vilkas gave her look that would have lit up a much larger Inn.

    “We have traveled together before.” She said. “and have shared a tent more than once. This is no different.”

    “I was in no way, shape, or form, complaining madam.” Vilkas said with a smile.

    “I wonder if there is a tub or basin to heat water.” Aric said. “I would benefit from some form of bath.”

    “We will search together, brother.” Vilkas said. “you have arrived only slightly before me at the same destination.”

    “I will not deny that it is a dream that I occasionally allow myself to build.” I said to the tall mage seated across the table from me. “A home, a family of our own. A life in a world at peace. It is a fantasy, I recognize it as such, but a comfortable one that keeps me company at night when I cannot have the genuine article. Still, that does not excuse my behavior.”

    “You must stop acting as if you have done something wrong.” Lucia replied. “The dream you wish most, your hearts dearest desire, distilled down to one word, poured out in a moment of extremis. There is no beating heart on earth that will fault you. I certainly do not fault you. I am happy for you.”

    “Happy that I love a man I can never have, not as you have Vilkas, or will have soon?” I asked.

    “Happy that you feel such a love for my father that it manifests in such a way.” She answered. “As for me and Vilkas, we are both wary of ruining something very precious by attempting to improve it.”

    “I will tell you a secret then, sister.” I said, “Vilkas asked if I would perform two weddings this summer.”

    “Did he?” she asked in a most unconvincing manner.

    “He has told you already.” I said.

    “We have reached an understanding.” Lucia said with a smile.

    “Sister” I said, “I am happy for you. Both of you. I wish you joy.”

    The door to the Inn opened as Idgrod the Younger entered.

    “Your Grace” Idgrod said, “I am fortunate to find you are not all retired to your beds.”

    “I was talking with my sister, sera.” I replied, “Have you met the Daughter of the new Thane of Hjaalmarch?”

    “We have never been properly introduced.” Lucia said as she stood. “My name is Lucia, sera.”

    “Please, madam, your Grace, sera is not appropriate for me. My name is Idgrod, a name I share with my mother.”

    “You share more than that.” I said, “You will one day be Jarl in her place. Sera.”

    “Divines willing that will be decades hence.” Idgrod replied as Samuel came out of his room.

    “This small sliver of wax and string may no longer be referred to as a candle.” He said before stopping when he saw Idgrod.

    The two young adults looked at each other and seemed to simultaneously lose the power of speech. Idgrod was first to recover.

    “Good evening to you sir.” She said, “I trust my late visit did not disturb your sleep. I was sent to deliver a message from my mother.”

    “I return your evening wishes, madam, and assure you that your visit is most welcome, at whatever time it occurs.” Samuel replied

    Lucia was waging war with the muscles in her face to maintain her composure.

    “Idgrod the Younger, daughter to the Jarl of Morthal and Hjaalmarch, may I introduce Samuel, Son to the newly minted Thane of Hjaalmarch, as well as a list of holds that grows too long to recall from memory.”

    “Milady, I am honored to make your acquaintance.” Samuel said after a feeble attempt to restore his hair to some semblance of order.

    “Please call me Idgrod, good Sir Knight.” Idgrod replied. “It is the only title I wear with any comfort at my age.”

    “Gods, did he just bow?” Lucia whispered.

    “You did not imagine it.” I whispered back.

    “Samuel is fortunate that Runa is not here.” Lucia said, “he would never hear the end of it.”

    The two smitten youths seemed to have forgotten anyone else was present.

    “You mentioned a message, future Jarl.” I said. “Were you to recite it, or is it written down?” I asked as Lucia hid behind me and smothered her laughter with her hand.

    “Forgive me your grace” Idgrod said as she produced a folded piece of parchment.

    “Please allow me” Samuel said, as Lucia’s laughter had proceed to a shaking that vibrated against my back.

    “Thank you, sir.” Idgrod said.

    “I apologize.” Lucia said as she reemerged with a prominently red face. “I have inhaled some of this excellent wine.”

    “If you will give me but a moment, Milady, I will deliver this to my Father and escort you home.” Samuel said.

    “I thank you sir, but I need no escort to return to the only home I have ever known.” Idgrod said.

    “I would not sleep a wink Milady if I did not see you safely to the door of your home. Please.” Samuel said.

    “You are too kind sir.” Idgrod said. “Of course, I will accept your generous offer.”

    Judging by the amount of time it took Samuel to deliver the message, he must have simply opened the bedroom door and flung the message in his father’s general direction.

    “After you Milady.” Samuel said as the two left.

    A fair amount of time was require before either Lucia or I could speak.

    “Thalmor force crossed bridge west of Morthal before leaving main road and turning south.

    Proceeding southeast by path and trail.

    Estimate size of force at 25 - 35 soldiers, 4 Justiciars or Mages.”

    Aric was laying on his side as he read the late-night message as I massaged his shoulder that had not escaped unscathed from the dragon attack. The bruise was developing nicely, but he swore it required nothing beyond my touch.

    “They are avoiding the main roads.” Aric said. “They still attempt to avoid detection.”

    “The bridge west of Morthal.” I said.

    “They were forced onto the bridge if they did not wish to swim across the river.” Aric said. “They are coming from the direction of Dragon’s Bridge.”

    “They have withdrawn their forces from Dragon’s Bridge?” I asked.

    “Most, if not all.” Aric replied. “This force is estimated between thirty and forty in size.”

    “Traveling southeast.” I said.

    “If they are not careful, they will venture too close to Eldersblood Peak and a dragon will reduce their numbers further.” Aric said.

    “Does the location you predicted for their assembly point lie in that direction?” I asked.

    “Estimating where they would have turned towards the southeast, Silent Moons Camp is, more or less, directly southeast.” Aric replied. “On a path that intercepts an infamous dragon lair.”

    “I am not certain what I should pray for.” I said, “that they should be spared the terror of a dragon attack or that they should not.”

    “This message arrived late.” Aric said. “Idgrod has observers watching for Thalmor activity.”

    “Is it stealth or urgency that they travel at night?” I asked, “It is certainly not prudence.”

    “It is a fair question.” Aric said.

    “Will I ever again hear of a party of elven soldiers and not think of those four who I now love so dearly?” I asked.

    “I wish everyone had as kind a heart as you.” Aric said. “What a different world we would live in.”

    “Your heart is bursting with kindness.” I said. “I have seen the result firsthand.”

    “How came Samuel by this message?” Aric asked. “He delivered it in such a manner that I thought I should investigate whether the Inn was on fire.”

    “Idgrod the Younger delivered it.” I said as I finished rubbing his shoulder and lay next to him. “She had meant to give it to me, but your Son moved almost as fast as you did during the dragon attack to intercept it and bring it to you. He was in a hurry to escort her through the dangerous streets of Morthal back to the safety of her home.”

    “At that time of night, the most dangerous thing on the streets of Morthal would have been Samuel.” Aric said.

    “You should have seen them.” I said to Aric as we nestled into our bed. “It was like one of the old stories. They could not take their eyes off each other.”

    “It is a wonderful age to fall in love, and first loves are always special.” Aric said. “I worry that he may still be more in love with falling in love, than with the object of his love.”

    “I remember it well.” I said. “I was fortunate that I never had the freedom to act. Mother Catilia kept close watch on all of us, but I always felt she singled me. Fewer liberties, more duties, more scorn, less praise.”

    “I keep Samuel busy in part to distract him, but also because he truly has an excellent intellect. He is indecisive on his future, but I see the future Cleric in him. He will see it eventually. He will choose a Priesthood.”

    “He has virtually the entire Pantheon to choose from, given your heritage.” I said. “But would he consider a new order?”

    “A new order?” Aric asked.

    “I have decided to take your, and Hamal’s, advice.” I said. “I will start a new Order in Skyrim. I will found it upon the tenants from the Order of the Communities as well as those of Kynareth.”

    “I cannot find the words to express the joy and pride I feel.” Aric said. “This is excellent news for Skyrim.”

    “I must write to the Mother Superior in Bruma, asking for dispensation and reinstatement.” I said. “I hope that she will allow it. It would give me the right to keep a shrine of Cybele in the Temple. And Danica must assist me with the rites of Kynareth.”

    “Hamal would welcome you with open arms.” Aric said. “May your new order also include Dibella?”

    “I would be honored.” I said. “Dibella has been on my mind this evening. The younger Idgrod would benefit from a visit to Markath, and the Temple of Dibella. Her visions trouble her still. Hamal could help her greatly. Others would also benefit from Dibella’s healing love, were it only a bit closer. That is why I will build a Temple in Whiterun.”

    The way he was looking at me was rapidly erasing all thoughts but one from my mind. “You are a treasure to Skyrim.” He said. “And to me. You will have ample assistance building your temple. You will not want for funds.”

    I looked back at that beautiful face. That face that I had kissed over and over as the tears poured down my own face.

    “I thought I had lost you today.” I said. “It was like losing Railius again, the grief I felt. It consumed me.”

    “You were not so disturbed during our first dragon encounter.” He said.

    “I did not love you yet.” I said, wiping my eyes as a laugh escaped my lips. “And I was still plotting to murder you.”

    He took me in his arms, his look still wiping my mind of all thoughts save for him and kissed me in that way that he knows lights the fire within me.

    “Well then, it seems that your opinion of me has somewhat improved since then.” He said.

    “Somewhat.” I replied, as I rolled on top of him.
    #1 Bren, Apr 4, 2021
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2021

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